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11.21.14

Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

Posted in News Roundup at 7:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Security considerations for Enterprise Linux

    To maintain an application infrastructure that meets continually expanding business demands, organizations need more than a maintenance and support contract. Organizations need a proven, scalable, reliable, and secure enterprise platform.

  • About Linux Weekly News – 17th November 2014

    This week’s news is a tale of two stories.

    During the week Groupon tried to take the name from under the toadstool of the GNOME desktop and Microsoft became Linux friendly.

    Groupon provides low price coupons and deals for goods and services such as meals at restaurants, haircuts, hotel stays and spa days.

  • Linux Vs Unix: The Crucial Differences That Matter To Linux Professionals

    Lately, we hear a lot about Linux — how it’s dominating on servers, how it makes up a large chunk of the smartphone market, and how it’s becoming a highly viable option on the desktop. But Linux didn’t appear out of thin air; before the creation of Linux, and before the rise of Windows, the computing world was dominated by Unix. And for those who don’t know, Linux is very similar to Unix. Since we’ve already looked at the differences between Linux and Windows, what exactly is the difference between Linux and Unix?

  • Desktop

    • Purism seeks funding for 15-inch free software Linux laptop
    • Librem 15: Sexy Open Source Laptop Wants Your Money

      That free software refers to the fact that you have the liberty to change the laptop’s operating system. The Librem 15′s OS is based on the GNU operating system, which, with the relevant know-how, you can modify the code of to make it work however you want. Clearly, this notebook is for the tinker/programming enthusiast who wants a lot of control over the way their computers work.

    • Purism Librem 15 Linux laptop blends high-end hardware with totally free software

      We don’t normally cover crowdfunding campaigns on PCWorld, but sometimes one comes along that’s just begging for a deeper look. The Purism Librem 15 notebook is one of those.

      Purism, which launched a drive on Crowd Supply on Wednesday, is seeking at least $250,000 to make a high-end Linux laptop that only runs free, or open-source, software. This means no annoying closed-source drivers—or “binary blobs”—necessary to make the hardware work. Make no mistake—this is a serious, slick Linux notebook, not a bit of kit for hobbyist hackers.

    • LISA’14 – Are We Making Linux Too Easy?

      OpenLMI is designed to support this. The LMI CLI is task oriented, simple, and easy to use. All you really need to use the LMI CLI is “LMI help”. The LMIShell scripts are designed to do useful work, to be easy to read, and to be modified for specific tasks.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws Ride Into the Sunset

      Now, Lynch and Scherschel — Dan and Fab to their relatives, friends, and a wide listener base — are at the crossroads. Recently, with the episodes well into the 360s in number, they decided to finish out the year with Linux Outlaws and ride off into the sunset.

  • Kernel Space

    • In praise of Linux Software Raid

      It may interest some of you to know that we in Fedora Infrastructure use Linux Software Raid (mdraid) on all our servers local disks.

    • Introducing 300,000 People to Linux

      We’ve focused a lot of attention in recent years on making Linux learning materials more accessible to more people. This year, for example, together with our partner edX, we were able to offer our Intro to Linux course for free to nearly 300,000 people from all over the world. While the United States ranks first in the number of students taking Intro to Linux, it only represents about 30 percent of all class participants. The top geographies include the U.S., India, United Kingdom, Brazil and Spain. Linux attracted more people with this one course than the number of people who attended all seven games of the recent World Series combined.

    • Predicting the Future of Training for Linux, Open Source Software

      How much demand is there for Linux training? Enough to make the Linux Foundation’s inaugural MOOC online training course, “Introduction to Linux,” the most popular offering on the edX platform. So the open source advocacy group has pointed out in a memo that reveals much about the present and future of open source education.

    • Thoughts on Systemd

      Some folks say that systemd is the svchost.exe of Linux, saying it is essentially making
      Linux more like Microsoft Windows. It is a monolithic entity that hides what’s happening
      behind the scenes. It stomps on the Unix Philosophy (again) of doing one thing and
      doing it well. With systemd we have one large Swiss army knife of a tool that isn’t
      very good at anything in particular.

    • Kernel prepatch 3.18-rc5
    • Automotive Grade Linux Adds Industry Partners for Open Source Cars

      Cars may still not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Linux and open source, but the Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project continues to expand. This week, it announced three new members, bringing the total number of industry partners and academic collaborators to 46.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Is The Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Fast Enough For Steam On Linux Gaming?

        While I generally don’t recommend Nouveau for Linux gaming systems due to the re-clocking still being a huge work-in-progress to allow the graphics cards to effectively operate at their designated clock frequencies / performance states, I decided to run some fresh tests using the Linux 3.18 kernel and Mesa 10.4-devel to see where things stand today. For the tested Kepler graphics cards that support re-clocking, I tested them at their maximum obtained re-clocked frequencies where the system was stable — generally still below their rated core/memory frequencies.

      • More Radeon Driver Changes Queued For Linux 3.19

        Just one week after the bulk of the Radeon DRM changes for Linux 3.19, another round of updates were submitted for DRM-Next.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 14.10 vs Kubuntu 14.10 vs Xubuntu 14.10 vs Lubuntu 14.10 vs Ubuntu GNOME 14.10: A Comparison

        So, in nutshell, I found Lubuntu 14.10 to be the best in performance among the Ubuntu distros. It offered me trouble free experience throughout my usage and I found it to be really stable. Anyone looking for a really really efficient distro and those with low powered machines can safely bet on Lubuntu 14.10

        Based on my experience, I found Ubuntu GNOME to be the second best offering very decent performance with a very refined desktop environment. I thought Xubuntu would occupy this position but unfortunately, a bit of instability in the distro marred my experience. I would safely recommend Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 to users with modern laptop with or without touchscreen over the rest of the four distros.

        As usual Kubuntu is the slowest of the lot and consumes the most power. You can expect the least battery life from Kubuntu. However, the desktop environment (specially the Plasma 5 upgrade) is mind blowing! Those with powerful modern machines and less usage of battery power can safely choose Kubuntu as it seemed to be the most exciting of the lot.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kubuntu 14.10 review

        KDE has improved in may respects since my last review of Kubuntu, so it’s fair to say that Kubuntu itself has improved. Muon Discover has improved too, so kudos to the developer. However, Kubuntu is not the best KDE-using distribution around. ROSA Desktop, for example, offers many more features than most KDE-using desktops. That said, Kubuntu 14.10 should be good enough for most users. If you would like to take it for a spin on your computer, installation images are available for download from here.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 8th June 2014
      • Kubuntu CI: the replacement for Project Neon

        Many years ago Ubuntu had a plan for Grumpy Groundhog, a version of Ubuntu which was made from daily packages of free software development versions. This never happened but Kubuntu has long provided Project Neon (and later Project Neon 5) which used launchpad to build all of KDE Software Compilation and make weekly installable images. This is great for developers who want to check their software works in a final distribution or want to develop against the latest libraries without having to compile them, but it didn’t help us packagers much because the packaging was monolithic and unrelated to the packages we use in Kubuntu real.

      • KDE Applications 14.12 Beta 3 Is Now Ready for Testing

        The KDE Project developers have announced that the 14.12 Beta 3 version of KDE Applications has been released and is now ready for download and testing.

        Now that this particular branch of the KDE project is getting closer to the release, some distributions and developers have added the packages to some repositories. Before trying to test it you should check if it’s already available in the local repos.

        “Today KDE released the beta of the new versions of KDE Applications. With dependency and feature freezes in place, the KDE team’s focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing. With various applications being based on KDE Frameworks 5, the KDE Applications 14.12 releases need a thorough testing in order to maintain and improve the quality and user experience,” wrote the developers on the official website.

  • Distributions

    • The Case Against Rolling Release Linux Distros

      Over the past year, I’ve spent more time than ever using rolling release Linux distributions. My experiences have been positive and negative, depending on the distribution and system updates applied.

      Having tried a number of different rolling release distros, I’ll be speaking frankly in this article about a solid case against rolling release distributions. But before you jump to any conclusions, it’s worth reading the entire piece to better understand where I’m going with this.

    • Reviews

      • Kubuntu 14.10 review

        KDE has improved in may respects since my last review of Kubuntu, so it’s fair to say that Kubuntu itself has improved. Muon Discover has improved too, so kudos to the developer. However, Kubuntu is not the best KDE-using distribution around. ROSA Desktop, for example, offers many more features than most KDE-using desktops. That said, Kubuntu 14.10 should be good enough for most users. If you would like to take it for a spin on your computer, installation images are available for download from here.

      • Cinnamon Desktop Spices Up Makulu Linux

        The Makulu Cinnamon Debian Edition 1.1 marks a new path for Makulu. This latest release has numerous new features that could make it a top competitor against the Linux Mint Cinnamon edition.

      • Hands-On: New KaOS Linux Release

        I wrote about KaOS Linux some time ago, when the 2014.06 release came out. I had it installed on a couple of my laptops, and I have been using it occasionally since then. It is a rolling release distribution, so if you already have it installed, you don’t need to get these new ISO images and install them, you just have to make sure that you are current with all the latest patches and updates.

      • Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 “Utopic Unicorn” Review: Fantastic performance and upgradable to GNOME 3.14

        I must say, GNOME 3 has come up a long way from being really unintuitive desktop environment to a more intuitive and efficient one. I really like what I see in Ubuntu GNOME 14.10. It is aesthetically very refined, intuitive, supports multi-touch (with GNOME 3.14 upgrade) and is very efficient. Plus, the customization options are good and you don’t need to be a techno wizard to make those changes.

        Though the distro has a support period of 9 months, you can safely try it out. I bet you’ll definitely enjoy it. Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 is definitely recommended from my side with the 2nd highest score I gave to any GNOME or GNOME forked (Cinnamon, Mate, Unity, etc.) distro that I reviewed during 2013-14.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Arch Family

    • Slackware Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Sets New 12-Month High at $63.33 (RHT)
      • Red Hat play bets big on earnings

        Somebody’s putting all their chips on Red Hat’s next quarterly report.

      • Red Hat play bets big on earnings
      • Scientific Linux 7 – Poorly executed

        Apart from CentOS, another distro I have really been waiting to explore is Scientific Linux. With its solid RedHat base plus extra software, it could be an excellent contender for the ultimate desktop distro. And so our quest continues.

        What will amaze you even more is my decision to try the Gnome edition. Yup, after some three years of ignoring Gnome due to its stupidity, I decided to give it another try, just for fun, to see what gives. Maybe it can redeem itself, or be redeemed by Scientific Linux. Either way, it’s an interesting test.

      • Cue The SmackTalk–Red Hat And Mirantis Face Off

        Red Hat, that long time central hub of all things good and true and open source is appearing more and more to live up to its reputation of being, as one industry commentator put it, the Oracle ORCL -0.82% of open source. And that didn’t refer to buying islands and sponsoring yacht races either. The company has had something of a recent history of, if not playing dirty, at least being a little aggressive in its commercial activities. A recently regular target of its attacks has been Mirantis, itself no stranger to controversy and storms.

      • Red Hat Calls CloudFoundry the Unix of the Cloud

        In the world of cloud Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technologies, there are now two primary open-source competitors, the Red Hat backed OpenShift and the Pivotal backed CloudFoundry.

        The CloudFoundry PaaS project was officially launched by VMware back in 2011. In 2012, then VMware CTO stated that his vision was for CloudFoundry to be, “the Linux of the cloud.”

      • Red Hat’s FeedHenry Gets A Dose Of Collaboration

        The idea of cross-team collaboration is spreading its tentacles to almost every part of the enterprise. The latest area to get a dose of the collaboration goodness is development and, in particular (at least this week) mobile development. A couple of days ago it was Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) vendor Kinvey announcing teams functionality and today it is the turn of FeedHenry, the formerly independent MBaaS vendor that is now a part of Red Hat RHT -0.44%. Red Hat is announcing a new version of FeedHenry that includes functionality aimed at helping development teams collaborate over their projects.

      • Fedora

        • The State of the Cloud Working Group and Fedora 21 Cloud

          As Fedora 21 approaches, let’s take a bit to examine the state of the Cloud Working Group (WG) — or, more importantly, the releases that are coming your way very soon! With Fedora 21 you’ll have two distinct Fedora “flavors” from the Cloud WG: ready to run images for public and private clouds, and Fedora 21 Atomic Host. And, to pique the buzzword crowd’s interest, here’s a spoiler – we’ll be talking about Docker.

        • Fedora 21 Is Doing Its Final Freeze Tomorrow
        • The Fedora Developers Plan To Switch Firefox With Epiphany, Somewhere Between The Releases Of Fedora 23 And Fedora 25
        • Fedora Infrastructure Freeze for Fedora 21

          Yesterday, Fedora Infrastructure went into “freeze”. This happens at the same time in the Fedora release cycle as the development freezes.

          First, what is a ‘freeze’? We mark all our hosts (with ansible variables) as either freezing or non freezing. Hosts are assumed to freeze unless they specifically are marked non freezing. If a host is non freezing, there’s no change for it. We could update it’s configuration in puppet or ansible, reinstall it, apply updates, reboot it, whatever we normally would like to do with it. However, if the host is frozen, we have to follow a new process to make any changes on it: A patch or description of the change has to be mailed to the fedora infrastructure list and get two people to approve it that are in the sysadmin-main or releng groups.

        • A response to Infoworld’s confusing article about Fedora

          The article dives into the productization of Fedora 21 that hopes to deliver a better experience for workstation, server, and cloud users. The article suggests that Red Hat drove Fedora development and that the goals of Red Hat and Fedora are closely aligned.

        • OPW Fedora Badges Intern… A Year Later!

          I can’t believe that my internship started almost a year ago! I participated in the seventh session of the Outreach Program for Women working on Fedora Badges. Time has gone by so quickly! Since my internship ended in March I have continued to stay active on the Fedora Badges project, creating more badge designs and helping others design their own. To date I have designed or collaborated on 97 badge designs in the Fedora Badges system.

        • There is no Substitute for #1. Fedora 21 Workstation. Linux Done Right.
        • Fedora Council Elections Start Today
    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Intel’s MICA fashion bracelet features Linux and 3G data

      Intel and Opening Ceremony unveiled a $495, Linux-based “MICA” smart bracelet with 3G data, Facebook notifications, navigation, and “intelligent reminders.”

      Intel teased its MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory) bracelet at the launch of the Edison module in September. Yet, while it is similarly based on Linux, the MICA appears to be too small to house the Edison. The MICA is co-designed by fashion design house Opening Ceremony, which along with Barneys, will begin selling the smart bracelet in early December for $495 via their retail and online venues.

    • 3 amazing Raspberry Pi gadgets we can’t wait to get our hands on

      There are some seriously cool Raspberry Pi-powered products on the way. Here are 3 that make us want to throw money at our screens…

    • Eben Upton: Google’s Eric Schmidt helped inspire Raspberry Pi Model A+ price cut

      While the Raspberry Pi has always been cheap, the Foundation didn’t rest on their laurels with the Model A+ price. In fact, Google’s Eric Schmidt had a hand in making it cheaper…

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Google’s Massive New Android Update Just Launched, But Some Users Are Already Reporting A Big Problem

          Some users are reporting that there’s an issue with Google’s new Android 5.0 Lollipop update that prevents them from sending text messages, according to a thread in Google’s official forum for tracking bugs in Android (via Phone Arena).

          In the original complaint, one user says he or she is unable to send SMS text messages. The message would appear to be sent, but the receiver would never actually get the text.

        • Run Linux on Android – part1

          If you can’t wait for the launch of the official Ubuntu smartphones (the first models are supposedly due later this year), don’t want to shell out for a new phone anyhow, or would prefer to use a different version of Linux on a portable device, there is an alternative. It’s possible to run a variety of popular Linux distros on a standard Android smartphone or tablet – everything from a simple BusyBox toolset right up to a full distribution with a desktop environment. You don’t even need to root your phone for some of the methods that we explore in this feature.

        • Run Linux on Android – part 2
        • After Divorcing Microsoft, Nokia Reveals The N1, An Android Tablet Hitting China First

          “They said Nokia is dead,” Nokia’s head of devices Sebastian Nyström, pictured below, said as he started out his presentation today. “I say, they couldn’t be more wrong.” After the N1, there will be more products to come.

        • Free of the Phone Business, Nokia Delivers a Slick Android Tablet

          What ended up happening, though, was that Nokia sold its handset business to Microsoft and has been pursuing its own Android-focused initiatives, including delivering a brand new $250 Android tablet. It’s dubbed the N1 and is seen here.

        • 15 Android Apps That Will Make Your iPhone Friends Jealous

          One of the best things about Android is that apps have a lot more freedom compared to those found on iPhones.

          Today, most apps launch on both Android and iOS, but the most interesting Android apps are exclusive to Android because they do something Apple wouldn’t allow.

        • Gallery: Android 5.0 Lollipop, before and after

          Android 5.0 Lollipop—and the app updates that were released with it—changed the look of Android quite a bit. Google’s new design style, called “Material Design,” makes the OS more colorful, more consistent, and even more of a “light OS” than before. While we covered the OS in detail in our Lollipop review, we thought it would be fun to take a look at how the apps have changed during the journey from KitKat to Lollipop. In the above gallery, we’ve rounded up before-and-after shots of the major changes.

        • 16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn’t Do In KitKat

          After what feels like a long time since we saw the L Preview first appear, Google is now rolling out the final version of Android 5.0 Lollipop to its existing Nexus devices, and it also appears on the brand new Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 gadgets. Get to know the best version of Android yet by working through this selection of tips and tricks, covering all of the new features, major and minor, that are built into the operating system.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Jolla Tablet running open-source Sailfish OS based on Linux is already a smashing hit

        The Jolla Tablet is different from any slate currently on the market, and what makes it stand out is its operating system. More specifically, Jolla aims to take on Android and iOS with its own Sailfish OS, which is an open-source platform based on Linux.

      • Can the Linux-based Jolla Tablet take on Android and iOS?

        The Jolla Tablet runs Sailfish OS. Oddly enough, Sailfish OS can apparently run Android applications too, which might make it more appealing to current Android tablet owners who want to switch to a different mobile operating system without entering the Apple ecosystem.

      • This is The Linux-based Tablet You’ve Been Dreaming Of

        Like the Ubuntu Edge campaign that spectacularly failed/spectacularly smashed funding records, Jolla has turned to the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo to help make their Android-rivalling slate a bona fide reality.

        In barely a few hours Jolla has already surpassed its $380,000 target. And while that goal may sound cheap when compared to the $32 million Canonical sought to raise, the hardware the Fins are offering is anything but:

      • Finnish Sailfish/Android tablet rivalry heats up

        Jolla quickly hit the Indiegogo goal for its first Sailfish-based tablet, with a quad-core Intel SoC, while Nokia tipped a similar Atom-based Android slate.

      • Linux Tablet Developer Crowdfunds Mobile App Tools for Ubuntu, Android, iOS

        An outfit called the Demski Group has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support development of MAGE, a platform for building mobile apps without having to write code. On its own, that would not be interesting news—there’s plenty of similar stuff out there already—but what makes it noteworthy is Demski Group is the same company is behind the UT One, the Ubuntu Linux-based tablet whose release could come as early as next month.

      • Jolla’s Open Source Tablet Gets Crazy Crowd Love

        Jolla, the company set up by former Nokia executives to keep the Meego operating system alive, raised more than US$841,000 on Wednesday, the first day of its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 open source projects making the world better you should know

    One of the strengths of the open source community has been its ability to bring concentrated effort to bear on big problems. When tragedy strikes, or a pressing need arises, there are groups of people who gather together to attempt to solve the problems as a community.

  • How SanDisk is Becoming an Open Source Player

    Earlier this year SanDisk committed to becoming an open source player, created an open source strategy office and joined the Linux Foundation. Since then, the flash storage company has begun contributing to open source projects in the three main areas of its business: mobile, enterprise and hyperscale computing, and consumer products, said Nithya Ruff, director of the open source strategy office at SanDisk in an online presentation yesterday.

  • ClusterHQ Unveils Data Storage Tools for Docker Virtualization

    ClusterHQ says it has taken a major step toward making Docker, the open source, container-based virtualization platform, viable for enterprise production use in major public clouds including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Rackspace (RAX), thanks to integration of its Flocker data-storage tool with Docker Fig.

  • Google Leverages Old Technique with New Open Source Tool

    With what is being heralded as a look back to 1960s approaches to surveys and statistics, Google has announced a new open source project that seeks to collect data about users’ computers without invading their privacy. Dubbed RAPPOR, it is available on GitHub, and has been announced at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, which is often a venue for announcements of new technologies.

  • Twitter emoji: 5 lessons for effective open source

    An emoji library may seem an unlikely source of best practices for open source. But Twitter’s careful work provides an excellent guide

  • Events

    • Join Us at Vault: The Linux Storage and Filesystem Conference

      We’re currently accepting submissions for Vault, The Linux Foundation’s Linux storage and filesystem conference, happening this March 11 and 12 in Boston, MA. The call for proposals will remain open until December 1. Submit a session proposal and register to get your space.

  • Web Browsers

    • 5 Best Open Source Web Browser Security Apps

      The Web browser acts as the gateway for myriad online services these days. Computer security problems are far from solved, and technology advances provide new ways for malware to infect our devices and enter our business networks. For example, smartphones and tablets offer fresh new fields for malware—and its malicious cousin, “malvertising”—to exploit.

    • Cisco open sources security

      Cisco this week announced the availability of an open source security framework designed to harness big data analytics to combat data loss.

    • Chrome

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • Dwight Merriman Part III: Vendor Lock, Forks & Desktop FOSS

      MongoDB’s Dwight Merriman and I were about thirty minutes into our conversation at All Things Open. Lunch time was approaching and I was definitely hungry. Merriman was getting a little antsy, ready to wrap it up, but there were a few more things I wanted to talk about first.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.1 Beta 1

      This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site just to play with the new version. To test WordPress 4.1, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the beta here (zip).

  • Education

    • Software engineering in schools

      In iterative development, the process of designing, coding, testing and evaluating becomes a cycle rather than once and for all. Most modern software development fits into this pattern or a variant of it, hence new versions of software are regularly released which fix bugs that only became apparent once the software was released, or implement new features, in response to customer suggestions, technical innovations or market pressures. Often developers will release an early ‘beta’ version of their software, perhaps to a limited number or quite openly, to get help with testing and evaluating the software before committing to an official final release. This is common practice in open source development, where the users of the software are positively encouraged to help with fixing as well as finding bugs or adding code for new features themselves.

    • The digital open source library of tomorrow

      Too many people ask, “What is the future of libraries?” and not, “What should the future be?” A book that we must read is: Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World. If we don’t expect more of libraries, we’re not going to see libraries change. We have to change the frame of mind that libraries belong the directors—they actually belong to the people and they should be serving the people.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Enterprise adoption of open source is on the rise

        It is no surprise that reducing operational IT expenditures, while simultaneously increasing the level of security and software capabilities, is a top priority for most enterprises.

        Open source software, which uses an open development process, is proliferating across the globe given the advantages it offers over traditional forms of software. Open source solutions can be modified and adapted to fit the needs of various companies – something that’s often not possible with proprietary software.

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guix 0.8 released

      We are pleased to announce the next alpha release of GNU Guix, version 0.8.

      The release comes both with a source tarball, which allows you to install it on top a running GNU/Linux system, and a USB installation image to install the standalone operating system.

    • Free Software, Free as in Beer

      Conversely, for all the talk of political freedom, the usual free cost has also encouraged the spread of free software. Corporate startups, developing nations, the impoverished, the handicapped — all have gravitated towards free software despite their doubts, because the free price was the definitive argument.

  • Licensing

    • Dispelling the myths of open source licences

      Misconceptions surrounding the rights and obligations provided by open source software in the enterprise have fueled the spread of fear, uncertainty and doubt. A better understanding of the role open source licensing will help organizations realist the full potential of open source investments.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • How to channel the spirit of farming into your open food code

      In the local food movement, open source principles are very much like the open pollinated seeds that farmers keep to grow next year’s crops. When farmers use their own seeds, they are in control of breeding and conserving for the future. In contrast, closed source and software as a service (SaaS) providers are more like the companies with patented seeds who exert control over farmers by requiring them to purchase new seeds each year, sometimes even controlling the sale of the harvested crops.

    • How do you envision better food in your neighborhood?

      As a society, we are far removed from our food sources and even further from understanding how they work. Most of us interact with the food system as unconscious consumers, wandering supermarket aisles or restaurant menus with little thought about where the food comes from, how it will affect us, or the consequences of how it was raised or produced. As such, we are in no position to make change for the better.

    • 4,100 new jobs through wildly successful NC farm grant program
  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Interview with OpenStand Advocate Tim Berners-Lee: The Internet Turns 25

      From the beginning, the Internet was built on a set of open development principles, that are now recognized as the OpenStand Principles. As the Internet turns 25 this year, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, sat down to reflect back on the first days of its existence. In the below video, he discusses how far web information has come, and how much more ground there is left to cover.

    • Too many IoT standards, or too few?

      Interoperability and the easy exchange of data is a major concern in the buildup of the Internet of Things (IoT). To ensure those attributes, a set of commonly accepted standards will be needed. So, do we need to create those standards, or do we already have enough standards and simply need to pick and choose?

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • Let’s Encrypt Effort Aims to Improve Internet Security

      Cisco, Akamai, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla and others join together in a new effort to expand cryptography use on the Web.
      In the quest for improved user security on the Internet, encryption is a key tool, though it hasn’t always been easy to use and deploy. Today, a group of organizations—including Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, Electronic Frontier Foundation, IdenTrust and researchers at the University of Michigan—joined with the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) to announce the Let’s Encrypt initiative.

    • Synchronize Your Life with ownCloud

      Like most families these days, our family is extremely busy. We have four boys who have activities and appointments. My wife and I both have our own businesses as well as outside activities. For years, we’ve been using eGroupware to help coordinate our schedules and manage contacts. The eGroupware system has served us well for a long time. However, it is starting to show its age. As a Web-based groupware system, it’s pretty well polished, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Kontact or Thunderbird. Also, my wife finds that she needs to access her calendar from her Android phone, and eGroupware just isn’t very mobile-friendly. Sure, we can set up calendar synchronization, but eGroupware seems to have added synchronization as an afterthought, and it really doesn’t work as well as we’d like.

    • Lock Down Network Security with Newly Open Sourced Tools

      In recent months, without a lot of fanfare, major technology firms have been open sourcing extremely sophisticated security tools. A number of these are flying under the radar, but they are worth knowing about. Here are some of most useful tools to be open sourced recently by Google, Facebook and Netflix.

    • Manage own CA with Debian
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • No Debate on War
    • The Weight of a Death

      At least 28 people have been killed in US drone strikes in Afghanistan in November so far. Several of those were involved in tribal fighting against the Afghan government, but at least five were small children and total non-combatants were probably in double figures. These deaths do not go reported at all in western media. Cameron and Miliband both started at Prime Minister’s Questions today by condemning the killings in Jerusalem. No chance they will ever mention the ongoing US murders in Afghanistan, let alone the three Palestinians killed by Israelis lately, including a taxi driver lynched by Israeli illegal settlers.

    • PBS to Treasury Official: ‘Why Can’t You Just Bomb Them?’

      pbs-warner-isisPBS NewsHour correspondent Margaret Warner (11/18/14) had on the US Treasury official, David Cohen, who’s in charge of trying to counter ISIS by cutting off its finances. But it seems like it’s hard to talk to an elite media host for very long before they start fantasizing about blowing things up.

    • Right-Wing Media Falsely Claim That Museums Need To Give Up Their Guns

      Conservative media outlets are misleadingly promoting the report that a Washington state museum will return some firearms on display to their owners following the passage of a new background check initiative, while ignoring statements from law enforcement that there is no legal reason to remove the guns.

      On November 4, a majority of Washington voters passed Initiative 594, a proposal to require a background check on nearly all gun sales in the state, with some exceptions for temporary transfers and transfers between family members.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Edelman TransCanada Leak: Aggressive PR for Keystone Alt

      Leaked documents expose a plan by Edelman for TransCanada to launch an “aggressive” American-style policy/politics PR campaign to persuade Canadians to support a Canada-based alternative to the stalled Keystone XL pipeline to get controversial tar sands oil to refineries in eastern Canada for export.

    • No, Tar Sands Oil Isn’t Inevitable

      With the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline heating up, pundits and editorial pages are finding it hard to figure out why on earth anyone would be opposed to a massive new fossil fuel extraction project. Keystone opponents are the “tea party of the left,” according to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank (11/17/14).

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Billionaires Push ALEC Agenda in Minneapolis School Board Election

      Calling for a “reboot” of public education in Minnesota, hundreds of thousands of dollars flowed into the Minneapolis school board elections this November to try ousting an incumbent and to usher in an education agenda that resembles that of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Ferguson Protests And Fox News’ Contempt For Free Speech

      Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Monday issued a state of emergency and activated the National Guard in anticipation of the grand jury announcement about whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will be charged with the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown.

      The unarmed teen’s controversial death sparked weeks worth of protests, many of which were met with overwhelming police force. The killing also inspired a national debate about police shootings and law enforcement’s relationship with black Americans. (The Department of Justice is currently investigating the Ferguson police department.)

    • Should Obama Use Executive Action on Immigration? Ask Ronald Reagan

      Yet, the Reagan administration nonetheless declared it would exercise its “discretion by allowing minor children to remain in the United States even though they do not qualify on their own, but whose parents (or single parent in the case of divorce or death of spouse) have qualified” for legalization under the law.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Does Commissioner Oettinger Want to Discard Net Neutrality?

      Günther Oettinger, Digital Commissioner made his first post on his blog in which he clearly introduces garanteeing internet access in rural zones as justification to give in to the demands of the Telcos to consolidate or increase their unwarranted earnings. Although the author has tried to avoid mentioning Net Neutrality, this blog post reveals his intended strategy regarding this principle.

    • Is the EU Giving Up on Net Neutrality?

      After EU Commissioner Oettinger’s outrageous blog post, the bad news keeps on coming from the front of Net Neutrality. The principle, strongly defended by the Members of the European Parliament on April 3rd is worryingly jeopardized by an agreement currently discussed within the Council of the European Union. Governments are about to give in to the demands of big telecom operators by creating Internet fast-lanes whose access will be sold to dominant online services like YouTube or Netflix. Such unacceptable move, amounting to discriminating communications of all EU citizens, must be denounced by our representatives at the EU Parliament!

    • Net Neutrality in EU Under Attack *Again*

      This gratuitous element has the fingerprints of lobbyists all over it. It looks like yet another demonstration of how destructive and selfish the copyright industry is. As we’ve seen time and again – with the UK’s Digital Economy Act, for example – it cares little what collateral damage it causes to anyone else in its blinkered obsession with protecting outdated and broken business models. The latest bad news on net neutrality is a further reason why thoroughgoing European copyright reform is urgently required, and needs to be radical enough to minimise the malign influence of the music and publishing industries in the future.

11.18.14

Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

Posted in News Roundup at 12:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • 4 ways Docker is remaking Linux

      When containers first appeared in Linux, the natural assumption was that it would be yet another of many technologies that Linux has assimilated.

      But then came Docker, a novel use of containers to make apps portable and self-contained. It’s set Linux vendors scrambling, both to to rethink the way containers are implemented in Linux and to see how Linux can be reworked around Docker’s application-centric model.

      Here’s how four major enterprise Linux distributions are readying themselves for a Docker-ized future.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.18-rc5

      Hmm. We had a very calm -rc4, and I wish I could say that things
      continued to calm down, but… Yeah, rc5 is clearly bigger than rc4
      was. Oh well.

      It’s not like it’s entirely out of line, though – rc4 was unusually
      small. And the changes aren’t particularly odd or scary: about 55%
      drivers (networking, gpu, cypto, thermal, sound), 15% arch updates
      (xtensa, x86, arm[64], parsic, sparc), and the rest is a mostly a mix
      of netwoorking, filesystem, VM, documentation and tracing updates.
      The changes tend to be fairly small and clear, and about a third are
      marked for stable.

      So we still have a few pending issues, but things look fairly normal.
      We’ve still got a few weeks to go before final, and the more you can
      test, the better off we’ll be.

      Linus

    • Linux 3.18-rc5 Is A Bit Heavy On Changes
    • Linux Kernel 3.18 RC5 Is Out, Bigger than Linus Torvalds Expected

      A fresh Release Candidate for Linux kernel 3.18 has been announced by Linus Torvalds and it looks like it’s a little bit bigger than expected. In any case, things are on track and the development powers on.

    • Linux extremists owe Debian systemd maintainer an apology

      I’ve been aware of the systemd nastiness for quite a while, but I must admit that I was shocked to read about his resignation this morning. He has apparently been a long-time Debian developer and for him to be forced to this resignation by vicious attacks is really just beyond the pale. Fortunately, he is not leaving Debian altogether but is simply resigning as a systemd maintainer.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • digiKam Software Collection 4.5.0 released…

        The digiKam Team is proud to announce the release of digiKam Software Collection 4.5.0. This release includes bugs fixes and switch as optional some dependencies as libkipi, libkface, libkgeomap dedicated respectively to support Kipi plugins, Face management, and Geo-location maps. By this way we will be able to port digiKam to KF5/Qt5 step by step.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Release Notes for Grml 2014.11

        This Grml release provides fresh software packages from Debian testing (AKA jessie). As usual it also incorporates up2date hardware support and fixes known bugs from the previous Grml release.

      • Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 Service Release 2 Available Now

        Today we are announcing the immediate availability of Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 SR2. SR2 (Service Release 2) is a collection of all security updates for October and November 2014.

    • Screenshots

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Developer Resigns From The Systemd Maintainership Team
      • Resignation from the pkg-systemd maintainer team

        I hereby resign from the systemd maintainer team in Debian. Please remove me from Uploaders on the next upload. You’ve been an awesome team to work with, but the load of the continued attacks is just becoming too much.

      • on leaving

        I left Debian. I don’t really have a lot to say about why, but I do want to clear one thing up right away. It’s not about systemd.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • LoCo stands for Local Community

            LoCo is for Local CommunityThe other day there was a trivial blog post that came across Planet Ubuntu which proclaimed that a certain LoCo in the Ubuntu Community was no longer going to use the LoCo term because they felt it was offensive in spanish.

          • Developer Creates Gorgeous New Radial Menu for Ubuntu Touch – Video

            Most of the work done by third-party developers for the Ubuntu Touch platform consists of new apps and scopes and very few tackle stuff that is much deeper embedded in the operating system, but that has now changed.

          • Ubuntu Kylin 14.10 Utopic Unicorn : Video Overview and Screenshot Tours

            Ubuntu Kylin 14.10 Utopic Unicorn is latest release of Ubuntu Kylin based on ubuntu 14.10 that used Unity desktop environment. As official ubuntu flavors it released brings with improved stability along with newly added features which provides better user experience.

            According to Official announcement of Ubuntu Kylin 14.10. In this release, Ubuntu Kylin team has improve the system stability and add more new features, which provide you a better user experience. The Linux Kernel is updated to Ubuntu Kernel 3.16.0-17.23 based on 3.16.3 upstream version and Unity is 7.3.1. This release upgrades Ubuntu Kylin Software Center to 1.1.3, Youker Assistant 1.3.1, Youker Weather 2.1.2, Youker Calendar 1.0.0, Youker Fcitx 1.0.0, Sogou IM 1.1.0, Kuaipan 2.0.0 and Wiznote 2.1.12. Meanwhile, we have done lots of optimization and enhancement for you, with new slideshow and new wallpapers from 14.10 Wallpaper Contest!

          • Ubuntu 32-Bit ISO Images Are Not Going Away Anytime Soon

            Numerous Linux distributions have stopped providing 32-bit images for their users, but most of those OSes don’t have large user bases. It’s easy to say that you don’t support 32-bit apps and that you won’t build 32-bit images when there are not too many users for your operating system, but things change when that distro is Ubuntu.

          • UbuTricks 14.11.17 Released with Support for 6 New Apps, 20 Updated Apps

            This new version adds support for six new applications and 20 apps with updated versions. The new applications are Exaile, Yarock, GNOME Commander (Trusty), SimpleAudioPlayer, Kid3 and Fotoxx (DEB).

          • Ubuntu Server 14.10 Utopic Unicorn : Released with OpenStack 2014.1
          • Flavours and Variants

            • The Ultimate Ubuntu MATE Installation Guide

              In all truth this guide will show you how to install Ubuntu MATE on a computer with a standard BIOS. If you are looking to install on an EFI based system then a future guide will cover that.

            • Ubuntu MATE VS Lubuntu On An Old Netbook

              Up until last week the netbook was running Lubuntu 14.04 and before that it was running Lubuntu 13.10 and before that Lubuntu 13.04. I have tried a number of different distributions on this netbook over the years but Lubuntu has been the go to distribution because of its performance.

              I was preparing to write about the latest Lubuntu 14.10 release but instead decided to give the new Ubuntu MATE edition a go after seeing it in action as a live distribution on my far more powerful Toshiba Satellite Pro.

            • Linux Mint 17.1 with Cinnamon 2.4 Looks Beautiful [Overview, Screenshots, What's New]

              The next Linux Mint Cinnamon edition is knocking on the door and a Release Candidate was put out yesterday. This release will bear the version number 17.1, and it is codenamed “Rebecca”. In this overview I will look at the release candidate for Mint 17.1, focusing on the main new features in Cinnamon, which ships the latest bleeding edge version in Rebecca, and will accompany it with screenshots for the desktop and the new changes that went into it.

            • Linux Mint 17 RC “Rebecca” MATE Is Out and Features Full Compiz Support – Screenshot Tour

              Linux Mint 17 RC “Rebecca” MATE has been officially announced and the ISOs have been made available for download. It’s a big improvement over the previous 17 version and it will be a very interesting update.

            • Linux Mint 17.1 RC “Rebecca” Cinnamon Officially Released – Screenshot Tour

              Clement Lefebvre has launched the first Release Candidate for Linux Mint 17.1. “Rebecca” Cinnamon is now available for download and comes accompanied by a major update for the desktop environment.

            • An Unofficial Lubuntu 14.10 Image Using LXQt Has Been Released

              As you may know, the LXDE developers have started porting their desktop environment to Qt, under the name of LXQt. It uses PCManFM-Qt, a version of PCManFM, re-written in Qt, as the default file manager and Openbox as window manager and has support for Wayland, a new display server developed by Red Hat.

              Recently, a Lubuntu image using LXQt as default has been released, to allow the users to test the new desktop environment.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Samsung Gear S now on Amazon India for Rs 27,900

          As we wait for the first Tizen based Smartphone to be released in india, the Samsung SM-Z130H, it seems like that is not the only Tizen based device to make a splash in the Indian subcontinent. The Samsung Gear S has gone on sale on Amazon India for Rs 27,200 which is about $452 USD. It is felt that this is quite a steep price for the average Indian to pay, but generally speaking this is not the cheapest of devices and is at the current cutting edge of technology.

      • Android

        • Review: Android’s ‘Lollipop’ upgrade is sweet

          Android’s sweet new “Lollipop” flavor brings security improvements and easier ways to view and respond to notifications. The new Google software for mobile devices even lets you lend out your phone without worrying about a friend circulating your naked selfies on Facebook.

          I tested Lollipop on Google’s new Nexus 6 phone, released this week. I can only hope that as other phones get the upgrade over time, it will be as good as what you get on the Nexus.

          It’s a shame many phone manufacturers that use Android believe they have to tweak it extensively to make the software theirs and not Google’s. Mucking around with it only confuses customers and steers app developers toward working on iPhone versions first, where there is more uniformity — and thus incentive to incorporate the latest features.

          Assuming your phone maker is running Lollipop in its purest form, here’s what you’ll get:

        • How to Build Awesome Android Apps

          Over the years, Android has grown from a simple mobile operating system to a highly profitable ecosystem. Among the people to benefit from this growth are Google, gadget manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, Motorola), and millions of app developers from around the world. With multiple ways to monetize applications, Android has been responsible for turning many small-time developers into the “rich geeks” who have made quite a following for themselves in the pop culture.

        • Lollipop OTAs Have Started For The Nexus 5, 6, 7 (2012 And 2013), 9, And 10

          Can you feel it? It’s in the air. Of course I’m referring to the impending arrival of Android 5.0 on Nexus devices. It’s starting now with a full jump to Lollipop for devices that are currently on KitKat, and a small bug fix update for new devices like the Nexus 9.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 14 fabulous open source gifts for the holidays

    Firefox OS for mobile runs as the backbone of the Alcatel One Touch Fire and the ZTE Open smartphone. They are the first of their kind based entirely on open web standards. Emily Price for Mashable tells us, “That means everything on the phone is running in a web browser… Mozilla is not going after the type of customers who are obsessed with the screen size and type or processing power of their device. It’s targeting customers who just need to communicate with the world around them, and it’s giving them a much more feature-rich way to do so.”

  • Can India break the pattern and do open source right?

    The government of India has recently announced a big push into open source as a part of its Digital Initiative. For a country of more than a billion people and thousands of government organizations, I see this as a long overdue move that will hopefully boost the faltering free and open source software communities in India.

    On the face of it, this initiative should not be written off as yet another bureaucratic exercise into nothingness, because the program seems to be headed by an able administrator, RS Sharma, who was a part of the massive Universal ID (UID) project executed by the government of India. That project has issued bio-metric based IDs to around 700 million Indians. Mr. Sharma and has also managed to build an impressive and tasteful attendance application based on the UID infrastructure.

    From my experience in the free and open source software industry, I think if public money could be used to either build a public or private asset, it should be used to create public assets.

  • FLOSS And Government In India

    FLOSS is the right way to do IT for everyone. Governments may feel FLOSS is unnecessary/different/unusual at their peril.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Licence fine forces town to drop move to alternative office tools

      The Dutch city of Arnhem has, for now, given up searching for alternatives for its office productivity tools, after settling a claim with a dominant software vendor for unlicensed use of its office software. To compensate for not having adequately licensed the software used by the town’s civil servant’s who were working from home, Arnhem has paid 600,000 euro for new licences. These allow the use of the ubiquitous proprietary office software for the next three years, says the city’s CIO, Simon Does.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Linux for lettuce

      What infuriates Myers, though, is that patents such as the one Seminis is seeking don’t just impede sharing; they deter others from using their own germplasm. As the examiner noted, Seminis’s patent application claims essentially all broccoli with an exserted head of a commercial size. If Myers’s plants are too similar to those grown by Seminis, he won’t be able to release his own variety for fear of patent infringement. Even if he did, no farmer or seed company would use it lest they be sued for the same violation.

    • Open Data

      • Finding the sweet spot for data between privacy and open

        Every municipality should have an open data champion. The City of Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina, is fortunate to have Jason Hare, an open data program manager and an open data consultant. Last year, Hare lead the effort to deploy a beta version of the first open data portal for Raleigh that went live earlier this year after another iteration with even more data available to the public.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Dr Matt Taylor’s shirt made me cry, too – with rage at his abusers

      Except, of course, that he wasn’t crying with relief. He wasn’t weeping with sheer excitement at this interstellar rendezvous. I am afraid he was crying because he felt he had sinned. He was overcome with guilt and shame for wearing what some people decided was an “inappropriate” shirt on television. “I have made a big mistake,” he said brokenly. “I have offended people and I am sorry about this.”

      I watched that clip of Dr Taylor’s apology – at the moment of his supreme professional triumph – and I felt the red mist come down. It was like something from the show trials of Stalin, or from the sobbing testimony of the enemies of Kim Il-sung, before they were taken away and shot. It was like a scene from Mao’s cultural revolution when weeping intellectuals were forced to confess their crimes against the people.

      Why was he forced into this humiliation? Because he was subjected to an unrelenting tweetstorm of abuse. He was bombarded across the internet with a hurtling dustcloud of hate, orchestrated by lobby groups and politically correct media organisations.

      [...]

      It’s the hypocrisy of it all that irritates me. Here is Kim Kardashian – a heroine and idol to some members of my family – deciding to bust out all over the place, and good for her. No one seeks to engulf her in a tweetstorm of rage. But why is she held to be noble and pure, while Dr Taylor is attacked for being vulgar and tasteless?

  • Hardware

    • Anti-Competitive Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X

      One of the disadvantages to buying an Apple system is that it generally means less upgradeability and flexibility than a system from a traditional PC OEM. Over the last few years, Apple has introduced features and adopted standards that made upgrading or using third-party hardware progressively more difficult. Now, with OS X 10.10 Yosemite, the company has taken another step down the path towards total vendor lock-in and effectively disabled support for third-party SSDs.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • An Embattled ALEC, Buoyed by Election Results, Lays Blueprint for 2015

      The midterm elections may have given the embattled American Legislative Exchange Council a new lease on life. ALEC has been bleeding corporate members, but with Republicans now in control of 68 out of 98 state legislative bodies, there are fewer impediments to the enactment of the corporate-friendly legislation that ALEC peddles — and in early December, ALEC and the corporations that still fund it will likely lay out the legislative blueprint for 2015 at the ALEC States & Nation Policy Summit in Washington, DC.

    • Will Bob Schieffer Move Toward the Center?

      All of this on a show that is regularly stocked full of Republican and right-leaning guests, the most popular in the show’s history being John McCain.

    • No, NPR Did Not Ask Cosby About Rape Accusations

      Now, Cosby surely knew what Simon was referring to–as did media writers who reported on the interview. But you know who likely didn’t know what Simon was talking about? Most of his audience, given that the rape allegations have received remarkably little coverage since they first emerged almost a decade ago.

  • Censorship

    • Does Twitter have a secret weapon for silencing trolls?

      In recent months, Twitter has come under fire for the proliferation of harassment on its platform—in particular, gendered harassment. (According to the Pew Center, women online are more at risk from extreme forms of harassment like “physical threats, stalking, and sexual abuse.”) Twitter first implemented the ability to report abuse in 2013, in response to the flood of harassment received by feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez. The recent surge in harassment has again resulted in calls for Twitter to “fix” its harassment problem, whether by reducing anonymity, or by creating better blocking tools that could mass-block harassing accounts or pre-emptively block recently created accounts that tweet at you. (The Blockbot, Block Together, and GG Autoblocker are all instances of third party attempts to achieve the latter.) Last week, the nonprofit Women, Action, & the Media announced a partnership with Twitter to specifically track and address gendered harassment.

    • Twitter Testing Secret Filter To Stop Abuse: Is That A Good Thing Or An Attack On Free Speech?
    • Roca Labs Issues Bogus DMCA Takedown Notices To Google To Try To Hide PissedConsumer Reviews

      Yes, we’re back again with another Roca Labs story already. Lawyer Ron Coleman alerts us to the latest ridiculous legal strategy by Roca Labs: send a DMCA notice to Google to try to hide the negative reviews of Roca Labs on PissedConsumer.com. As you know, Roca Labs is suing PissedConsumer because it hosts some negative reviews of Roca’s product (a claimed “alternative” to gastric bypass surgery). The DMCA notice in question claims that thumbnails used on the PissedConsumer reviews violate its copyright, and further, that PissedConsumer violates Roca Labs trademarks by using Roca Labs in the URL for the Roca Labs reviews.

    • Will the Great Firewall of Australia block pirate websites?

      The slippery slope to Australia becoming an authoritarian capitalist state with restricted Internet access like China is looming with the excuse being that pirate sites need blocking, even though VPNs can easily get around government enforced restrictions.

  • Privacy

    • Documents Obtained By The ACLU Show NSA’s Inability To Prevent Collection Of US Persons’ Data And Communications

      The ACLU has freed up more NSA documents — again as the result of a FOIA lawsuit. Some of what’s been obtained provides a few more details on the NSA’s reliance on Executive Order 12333 to perform its data and communications harvesting. This Executive Order is, and always has been, the go-to authority for the NSA. This allows it to bypass nearly every form of oversight. There’s no FISA court involvement or input from Congressional oversight committees. The NSA relies almost exclusively on the good graces of the Executive Branch — something that has worked out in its favor for the past two presidencies.

    • ORG calls for political parties to state their position on surveillance

      At their annual conference, ORGCon14, Open Rights Group (ORG) have called on politicians to address surveillance by the police and security services in their manifestos for May’s General Election. The digital campaigners believe that a big increase in ORG’s membership over the last year and a half shows that surveillance is becoming a key issue for voters. They are calling on political parties to state their policies so that the electorate can make an informed choice about who will protect their rights to privacy and free speech.

    • University lacks policy for preserving public records

      Of the many grievances voiced against former Athletic Director Dave Brandon before his departure Oct. 31, lack of transparency was at the forefront. Brandon’s consistent response to requests for his public records, however, was in line with University policy.

    • BND to hire hackers to check shopping carts

      Germany’s foreign intelligence agency plans to spend millions to penetrate the secure connection technologies used by social networks, banks and online shops.

    • German Spy Agency Wants To Buy Zero-Day Vulnerabilities In Order To Undermine SSL Security
    • Senator Harry Reid Going To Try To Push Through USA Freedom Act Before GOP Takes Over Senate

      There were some rumors that, with the GOP about to take over the Senate, the Democratic leadership might try to finally move forward with the USA Freedom Act. The Senate bill has been languishing, despite it being considered a “compromise” bill that was widely acceptable to both intelligence community folks and many in the civil liberties community. Over the last few months, civil liberties and consumer activists groups have been growing less pleased with the bill, as the deeper they’ve explored it, the more worried they’ve become about some of how it might be abused. However, it’s still considered by many to be a good start, if not (in any way) a perfect bill.

    • Ontario Police Inspector Says He Wants A ‘Driver’s License For The Internet’

      Naylor obviously realizes his idea will be unpopular, hence the “child sexual exploitation” lead-in. That makes his assertion binary. Either you’re for an internet driver’s license or you’re for child molestation: which is it? This is a common law enforcement affliction — seeing anything that makes the job slightly more difficult as a barrier to be eliminated.

    • Russian Law Demanding User Data Remain On Russian Soil Could Turn Into A Ban On Apple Products

      A law outlawing the use of offshore servers to store Russian internet users’ data and content goes into effect at the beginning of 2015. That means popular products like Apple’s iPhone and iPad will all be technically violating Russian law with their automatic iCloud syncing.

    • Russia to ban iCloud.. to PROTECT iPhone fiddlers’ pics ‘n’ sh*t

      Anti-data-offshoring laws will come into force on New Year’s Day 2015 that require all data generated within Russia to be stored within its borders.

    • EVERYTHING needs crypto says Internet Architecture Board

      The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) has called for encryption to become the norm for all internet traffic.

      Last Friday, the IAB issued a statement saying that since there is no single place in the Internet protocol stack that offers the chance to protect “all kinds of communication”, encryption must be adopted throughout the protocol stack.

    • Open Rights Group presses political parties on privacy policies

      UK PEOPLE BACKER the Open Rights Group (ORG) has called on the main political parties to clarify their views on privacy and surveillance, and let the electorate know how they intend to treat personal information.

    • Sir Tim Berners-Lee: we need more MPs who know how to code

      More politicians need to be able to code if they are to legislate effectively on technology, Sir Tim Berners-Lee said on Saturday.

      Berners-Lee, who invented the world wide web in 1989, said it is crucial that politicians appreciate the technical capabilities of computers and that a knowledge of coding is key.

      Speaking at the Every Second Counts Forum, the renowned computer scientist said: “Being able to code means that you understand what people can do with a computer. You need to be able to understand what people can do with a computer to make laws about it.

    • Encryption should be the norm, says internet overlord

      ENCRYPTION SHOULD BE a matter of priority and used by default. That’s the message from the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the worldwide body in charge of the internet’s technology infrastructure.

  • Civil Rights

    • Chicago School Zone Speed Cams Tag Drivers Even In The Summer, Because Chicago

      Well, this is fun. We just recently wrote about how Chicago’s speed cameras, ostensibly all to do with safety, failed to bring in as much money as Mayor Rahm Emanuel had suggested in his budget plan. Yes, tickets based on speed cameras were worked into the budget numbers, which is a strange thing to do if they’re supposed to be about safety and not money. Safe driving, in other words, should not trigger a budget crisis. But it turns out the ticketing revenue might still be inflated, even at the crisis number, as a bunch of speeding tickets were generated by cameras within school zones flagging drivers for driving over the school zone limit in the summertime.

    • A tiny town in Michigan will sell you a police badge and gun permit

      Oakley, Mi. is barely a town at 300 people, only one streetlight and, until recently, one police officer. The one cop was good at his job, reports Vocativ’s M.L. Nestel, until he was forced to step down after getting caught stalking a teenage girl.

      In 2008, new chief Robert Reznick made some changes: he hired 12 full-time officers and started an enormous volunteer officer program which allowed lawyers, doctors and football players (from other towns) to work toward upholding the law.

      One qualifies for this prestigious program simply by paying $1,200 to the police department. In return, you’ll get a uniform, bullet-proof vest and gun. For an additional donation, you’ll get a police badge and the right to carry your gun basically anywhere in the state, including stadiums, bars and daycares.

    • The FBI Is Offended That It Isn’t Allowed To Control How The Press Portrays Its Deceptive Activities

      The last few weeks have revealed a bunch of deceptive practices by law enforcement — mainly the FBI. First, there was the revelation that the FBI had impersonated an online news story to install malware in trying to track a high school bomb threat. Then, there was a story from a couple of weeks ago about the FBI turning off internet access at some luxury villas in Las Vegas, and then acting as repair technicians to get inside and search the place (while filming everything). That was a story we had hoped to cover, but hadn’t yet gotten to it. However, after the NY Times editorial board slammed that operation, FBI Director James Comey wrote a reply defending the FBI’s “use of deception.”

    • Part Of CIA Torture Report May Finally Be Released Next Week, As More Details Leak
    • The Senate Report on CIA Interrogation Is About to Reignite Debate Over the Killing of Osama Bin Laden

      “It’s irrelevant whether torture ‘worked,’” said Zeke Johnson, a spokesman for Amnesty International. “We don’t ask about the efficacy, for example, of genocide or rape. Torture is immoral and always illegal. The US government must disclose the full truth about the torture program, ensure justice for victims, and end impunity.”

    • It Is Racist To Be Worried About Immigration

      The wealthy right-winger Yvette Cooper has just been on television intoning Labour’s new mantra “It isn’t racist to be worried about immigration.” This should be challenged robustly at all times. Above all, it is very, very racist for politicians to go around saying “It isn’t racist to be worried about immigration” when they are using it nakedly and cynically to bid for the votes of racists.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Supports The President’s Net Neutrality Plan, Except For The Only Part That Does Anything Meaningful

      Most of the industry’s biggest ISPs have spent the last week either threatening to sue over the President’s surprising support of Title II, or in the case of AT&T, pouting like a child and making empty threats. Most of the biggest ISPs also spent the week insisting that the FCC should simply back away from meaningful consumer protections, leaving such heady tasks to a broken, bickering Congress awash in telecom lobbying cash.

    • Republicans And Democrats Alike Overwhelmingly Support Net Neutrality; Why Don’t GOP Officials In Congress Recognize This?

      Within hours of President Obama’s surprise call for true net neutrality rules under Title II, Republicans in Congress were in a full-fledged freakout. Beyond the nutty comparisons to Obamacare or suggesting that this will lead to greater oppression in Russia, China and Iran (no, really, that claim was made), a bunch of elected Republicans in Congress sent a letter to the FCC strongly opposing Title II, insisting that it would be “beyond the scope of the FCC’s authority.”

    • Tom Wheeler Still Wants To ‘Split The Baby’; Forgetting That The Point Of That Story Was Not To Actually Split The Baby

      The Washington Post put up an article last night claiming that FCC boss Tom Wheeler is telling tech companies that he isn’t going to follow President Obama’s net neutrality plan, following the President’s surprise announcement on Monday of his support for real net neutrality rules under Title II. We’ve heard from a few people who were at that meeting who claim that the Washington Post article isn’t entirely accurate. It is true that Wheeler is still very interested in a potential hybrid plan that almost no one likes, but that much of Wheeler’s statements at the meeting were actually more focused on delaying an official decision by the FCC, which many had expected to come in a December FCC meeting. Wheeler, it appears, wants more time to study the different options. Another FCC commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel (who seems more likely to support a plan including Title II reclassification), has apparently been pushing for the FCC to stick to the existing schedule and to make a decision “without delay.”

    • Colorado Residents Wake Up, Vote To Bypass Protectionist State Broadband Laws

      As we’ve noticed in the past, if there’s a place to start fixing U.S. broadband competition, it’s the nearly two-dozen state protectionist broadband laws written and passed by the nation’s incumbent ISPs. Said laws either hinder or outright ban towns and cities from building and/or improving their own broadband networks, even in cases where local private companies refuse to. In several instances, the laws even prohibit government collaboration with private companies in any way.

    • Net neutrality is as simple as freedom vs. monopoly

      As information services, the court ruled, ISPs were exempt from the FCC’s regulations. No sooner had the FCC’s Net neutrality rules lost their teeth, then the big ISPs began playing fast and loose with their interconnects to artificially constrain their networks in order to extort money from Netflix. In short order, the worst of my predictions quickly became reality. One prediction I definitely didn’t make: We’d be faced with the threat of Comcast and Time Warner Cable merging to form the worst company that ever existed.

    • Seven Design Firms Give ‘Net Neutrality’ a Makeover

      Net neutrality is making friends and influencing people these days: President Obama, plucky tech startups, 81 percent (PDF) of the U.S. public, even corporate giants far from Silicon Valley. Imagine how much more attractive the policy would be if it weren’t saddled with the vague and unlovable name “net neutrality.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Lawsuit Filed Against European Commission In EU’s Highest Court For Refusing To Allow Official TAFTA/TTIP Petition

      This really goes to the heart of the problem not just with TAFTA/TTIP, but also with TPP and the new TISA. The public is told that it cannot comment while the negotiations are being conducted, but that it should wait to see the final document. At that point, it is then told that there is no point in commenting, since nothing can be changed, and so the agreement must simply be accepted.

    • European Commission taken to court for ‘stifling dissent’ over EU-US trade deal
    • Copyrights

      • Giganews Not Liable for Pirating Usenet Customers, Court Rules

        A federal court in California has ruled that Usenet service provider Giganews is not guilty of copyright infringement, nor can it be held responsible for customers who do pirate content. The case in question was brought by adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 which previously lodged similar complaints against Amazon, Google and RapidShare.

      • Consumer Organizations And Internet Companies Mount Legal Challenge To Italy’s Extreme Copyright Enforcement Regulations

        Techdirt has been following for a while the saga of Italy giving its Authority for Communications Guarantees (AGCOM), which regulates broadcasting and telecommunications, wide-ranging new powers to police online copyright infringement too. That culminated in the first instances of Web sites being blocked without any kind of judicial review earlier this year. Since then, there has been an important development as civil organizations and Internet companies have mounted a legal challenge to the new regulations.

      • The Copyright Monopoly Wars Are About To Repeat, But Much Worse

        The copyright monopoly war wasn’t the war, it was the tutorial mission. The internet generation is using technology to assert its values and its place in society, and the old industrial generation is pushing back hard against irrelevance. Things are about to get much worse.

      • Dotcom Faces Jail Following Application to Revoke Bail

        Kim Dotcom’s predicament worsened today when a prosecutor revealed that a bail revocation application is underway which could put back behind bars as early as next week. In the meantime Dotcom is being restricted on land, sea and air.

      • €40k brothel bill ‘work-related’: copyright boss

        A former executive with Spain’s main copyright organization has been sentenced to prison for spending €40,000 ($50,000) in brothels using a corporate credit card, with a judge describing as “nonsense” the man’s claims that the visits were work-related.

      • Spain Copyright Executive Claims $50k Brothel Bill Was For Work-Related Activities

        When you write about as many different people, groups and organizations as we do here at Techdirt, you occasionally forget to check in on some places and people occasionally. Take SGAE, for instance. It’s the Spanish music collection group that has made a name for itself chiefly stealing money from artists, epitomizing corruption, and generally behaving like pain-in-the-butt asshats whenever given the opportunity. We haven’t checked on SGAE in about three years or so, so I assume the group has completely turned itself around and are now a shining example of above-board behavior?

11.16.14

Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe

THE trend changes for the better as blind support for the EPO is ending. People now realise just how rotten the EPO has become and there are various actions being taken by the public and even EPO staff (more on that in the coming weeks). Quite importantly, evidence is now coming to light so as to bolster the stories we have broken over the past few months.

The latest Croatian press article on this topic (of Topić), published by tjedno.hr on the 18th of October 2014, says quite a mouthful. Our sources have been working on getting an English translation which we now have. The photo in the article shows Topić on his way to attend a recent hearing at the Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb and the last paragraph contains a mention of “articles published on Internet portals across Europe during the last month,” which our sources understand to be a reference to the recent series of publications by Techrights.

For readers’ information we finally have an English translation of this most recent article from tjedno.hr [PDF]. Here it is in full, as plain text with rudimentary formatting:

ŽELJKO TOPIĆ AND HIS LIES IN MUNICH

Date: 18 October 2014

Six criminal lawsuits are pending in Croatia against the EPO Vice-President

Text: Portal Tjedno Research Team
Photography: Markus Wolf

According to publicly available information, “Master” Željko Topić, was appointed as Vice-President in charge of the EPO’s General Administration Department on 28 March 2012 with the vigorous support of the EPO President, Benoît Battistelli. At the time of his appointment, it is claimed that neither the EPO’s Administrative Council nor its President Battistelli were informed about certain interesting facts which have emerged in relation to Mr. Topić.

Nevertheless, according to an official statement by the EPO President, after the charges had become publicly known they were all clarified. Judging by the published photograph of Željko Topić accompanied by his lawyer from the Zagreb law firm Gajski – Prka – Saucha & Partners Ltd. which was taken in front of the Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb on the morning of 29 September 2014, it would appear that things are not quite so clear.

A COURT APPEARANCE IN ZAGREB

In one of his recent public statements, published in May 2014 by a Geneva-based Internet portal specializing in intellectual property matters (www.ip-watch.org), “Master” Topić officially declared that there were no legal proceedings or criminal charges pending against him in Croatia. At the same time he claimed that he had presented the EPO with the required certificate of good conduct confirming there are no criminal convictions against him. Mr. Topić’s statements are, however, misleading for his employer. From the foregoing, it can be concluded that for whatever reason Željko Topić has grossly deceived his European employer in Munich by knowingly giving false information designed to obscure the truth.

We do not know how Željko Topić justified his absence from his workplace at the EPO in Munich on the day when he was caught by the photographic lens in Zagreb. We can only speculate as to whether he decided to take annual leave, sick leave or whether he may even have misled his employer perhaps by deliberately submitting a duty travel request for an official business trip to a meeting in Zagreb financed by EPO, knowing full well that his attendance was required at the Municipal Criminal Court. Judging by his publicly expressed claims that he is not subject to any criminal proceedings in Croatia, it is difficult to avoid the impression that he may have been economical with the truth concerning the real reasons for spending time in Zagreb on the Monday in question. Or, perhaps, he relied on the concept and plot of the movie “When Father Was Away on Business” by the famous director Emir Kusturica.

AT LEAST SIX CRIMINAL OFFENCES

For the time being we have no idea what the Municipal State Attorney General in Zagreb, Željka Pokupec, thinks about all this as she has been busy dealing with another matter falling under her jurisdiction, namely bringing a final indictment for the illegal procurement of a VW Touareg V6 against the person directly responsible for the supervision of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), Mr. Dragan Primorac, one of Ministers in the then Government of Mr. Sanader. In connection with criminal charges filed with Office of the State Attorney, a reasonable suspicion was expressed in the criminal complaint to the Bureau for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK) in Zagreb that Željko Topić may have bribed the former Minister Primorac with an Audi A6 vehicle in order to secure the renewal of his mandate as Director of the SIPO. In the course of this state-funded “re-parking” of official cars, Željko Topić “re-parked” a Mercedes for his own personal use as has been previously reported on by many media. The aforementioned and third pending criminal charge against Topić in the Mercedes case, has been gathering dust for several years on the desk of Željka Pokupec’s deputy, Sunčica Blažević.

The fourth known criminal charge against “Master” Topic which has been filed with the District Attorney’s Office in Zagreb has proceeded from the stage of “pickling” into the “fermentation” phase and is currently in the hands of Sineva Vukušić. The criminal charges filed with the District Attorney’s Office in Zagreb relate to the matter of allegedly unlawful changes to the structure of the state administration in the field of Copyright and Related Rights. Under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Croatia, the charges against Željko Topić in this particular case carry a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison.

According to the latest information from the state administration of the Republic of Croatia, a preliminary investigation has been conducted into another potentially very serious criminal case dating from 2005 which concerns the “disappearance” of a significant amount of financial assets and which involves a feasibility study from a Swedish* foundation relating to the strengthening of institutions entitled “A Feasibility Study for Restructuring the SIPO as a Self-Financing Organization”. We have learnt unofficially that this appears to have been an attempt at project financing for the private advantage of the former SIPO Director with the ultimate aim of separating this institution from the Treasury of the State Administration and attaching it directly to the financial “udder” provided by the WIPO and EPO. All those who have seen the document referring to the planned privatization of the SIPO under the direction of Željko Topić have noted its similarity to the HDS-ZAMP scheme of President Ivo Josipović. This document is currently being withheld by four Ministries of the Republic of Croatia which are said to be ignoring written requests for its release [under the Freedom of Information Act].

[* Translator’s Note: The reference to a “Swedish foundation” seems to be incorrect because reliable sources have indicated that the document referred to is in fact a feasibility study carried out by the Danish Patent and Trademark Office in the context of an EU twinning project.]

Thus, along with two further criminal charges against Topić by private plaintiffs, there are at least six criminal proceedings pending against him in Croatia as our portal has already reported. However, according to other sources, the number of criminal charges which have been filed against “Master” Topić may in fact be significantly higher.

THE OUTCRY AT THE EPO IS GETTING LOUDER

As we learned from our sources in Munich, Topić’s suitability for the office of Vice-President is “a fairly contentious issue” within the EPO. Taking into account various outstanding allegations and apparently uncontested newspaper reports, the general opinion of EPO staff is that there are many unanswered questions about Topic’s appointment. As we learned unofficially, EPO employees are also extremely frustrated about the situation because they feel that there is no adequate official response and they believe that “some kind of independent investigation” is required.

The EPO’s Administrative Council has remained completely silent until now and has taken no official position with regard to Topić’s case, which is very strange because it carries direct responsibility for the appointment and it is also the sole official EPO body which is competent to carry out investigations and disciplinary proceedings against the President and Vice-Presidents.

In addition, the relationship between staff and senior management of the European Patent Office (EPO) which has already been badly strained due to conflict with the President Benoît Battstelli, has been further complicated by the continuing presence of Vice-President Topić in Munich. In the meantime the controversy about Topić’s suitability for his current position has also reached the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg and the Croatian NGO Juris Protecta (Association for the Promotion of the Rule of Law) has filed a petition with the European Parliament in Brussels.

Furthermore, it has emerged that when his first term of office as SIPO Director was due to expire in 2008, Topić had allegedly been involved in a number of unlawful actions leading to the expectation that his mandate would not be renewed.

Professional experts close to the case claim that Željko Topić should not have been reappointed because of previously observed “irregularities” in his management of the SIPO. However, the relevant information appears to have been suppressed and was not properly taken into account, because if it had been, it would have resulted in him being deemed ineligible for public office in the Republic of Croatia and beyond. Allegedly unlawful actions during his two terms of office as Director of the SIPO in Zagreb have never been fully and transparently investigated, and the Croatian Government appears not to have been duly informed in accordance with the statutory requirements. His penultimate term of office at the SIPO was renewed by the former “anti-corruption” Prime Minister of Croatia, Ms. Jadranka Kosor, despite the fact that before signing the decision of her Government to re-appoint “Master” Topić she had been warned about his allegedly corrupt practices.

Moreover, during the term of office of the convicted former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, Jadranka Kosor had served as the Minister in charge of the government department responsible for supervising the SIPO and its former Director, Željko Topić.

WAS MINISTER JOVANOVIĆ SACKED BECAUSE OF TOPIĆ?

Using the same corrupt templates as Sanader’s government, the final disputed re-appointment of “Master” Topić as Director of the SIPO was approved by the Government of Zoran Milanović [in 2012] on the recommendation of the then competent Minister, Željko Jovanović. Moreover, the official procedure relating to his final re-appointment as Director of the SIPO was tainted by a series of deliberate legal deficiencies and unlawful acts and a lack of proper institutional supervision. Based on the limited information available from government circles, there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the “Topić Affair” may have been one of the factors which contributed to the recent dismissal of the outspoken Minister Željko Jovanović. It can be concluded from the above that the HDZ and SDP have been playing the same long-standing personnel game in the civil service using the same deck of previously “marked” cards.

Whether by coincidence or not, the chef de cabinet of the Croatian Prime Minister – Tomislav Saucha – is the husband of one of the attorneys from the law firm of Gajski – Prka – Saucha and Partners Ltd. which represents Željko Topić in the pending criminal lawsuits in which he is involved. In addition to this detail, it is worth noting that an official of the Croatian Government – Mr. Milan Sentić, adviser to the Prime Minister for Co-operation with the Public – comes under the direct remit of Tomislav Saucha. Mr. Sentić would hardly have merited any attention here if it hadn’t been recently discovered that, instead of having been duly forwarded to the Prime Minister Milanović, citizens’ complaints concerning the case of Željko Topić have remained buried somewhere in the filing cabinet of this government advisor. It seems that the only person competent to determine whether or not the petitions against “Master” Željko Topić were hidden by Mr. Sentić on the orders of Tomislav Saucha (perhaps in response to verbal instructions coming from his wife – a lawyer on the team of legal “avengers” which represents the Munich-based “Master”) is the Prime Minister Zoran Milanović himself.

To conclude, the actions of Željko Topić referred to above appear to fulfil the definition of criminal acts under Croatian law. Who – and for what motive – has been successfully preventing his prosecution in Croatia for many years now? Answers to these serious and unresolved questions will hopefully be provided in the near future by some of the high-level EU institutions as has been suggested by numerous articles published on Internet portals across Europe during the last month.

Shortly after the above article we were contacted by Zagreb-based (Croatia) people who are familiar with this saga and sent us further information and some photos. These people were mentioned here before in a somewhat different context but a similar subject and they claim to be “an independent association called “No Corruption” [that] perform[s] monitoring of Croatian journalism.” These are real people with real names and they have shared their information with selected European groups, the European Commission, and journalism watchdogs. “Tracing your posts on the website techrights.org,” they said, “we are submitting you the following link [as above] from the Croatian Internet portal that talks about the same topic. However, what is more interesting than the text itself is the cover photo. On it, there is the incriminated person from your texts along with his lawyer who is from Zagreb. Why is this photo interesting? Let’s analyze this in the following order…

“Last year (2013) in June, the journalist Zeljko Peratovic published an article in English about Zeljko Topic entitled “A wrong man sitting at the EPO?” But the article has disappeared in March/April 2014 from the 45lines.com Web site.”

The reason, according to “No Corruption”, is that “Journalist Zeljko Peratović and corrupted Željko Topić was represented by attorney Mr. Janjko Grlic.

“There is a serious doubt that Mr. Željko Topić by the means of his lawyer Mr. Janjko Grlic had influence on his other client, journalist Zeljko Peratovic to delete (remove) the previously published article from the portal he is editing. There also remains a doubt with a very clear closed circle of indications that for the job of removing the article from the portal he received money, or a service of some kind in the form of past or future legal services by Mr. Janjko Grlic which were paid for by Mr. Zeljko Topic. The above-described actions can be considered corruptive, meaning it is a criminal offense.

“Given that this mentioned member of the Croatian Journalists’ Association is also a member of other international journalists’ associations, we are sending this letter to them as well because we believe that he should be dismissed from the ranks of professional journalists. At the same time we will ask for the whole of the EU and worldwide journalistic profession to be informed about this. It is interesting that Mr. Zeljko Peratovic in his work as a journalist presents himself as a great fighter for human rights and as an anti-corruption activist!?

“To conclude, the actions of Željko Topić referred to above appear to fulfil the definition of criminal acts under Croatian law.”“In addition, it is suspected that journalist Zeljko Peratovic by the means of the same lawyer for the purposes of corrupt Mr. Željko Topić “briefed”, meaning gave professional advice, on how to sue his colleague Mrs. Slavica Lukic at the Croatian Journalists’ Association Court. She is a journalist (“Jutarnji list”) who wrote very critically about Mr. Željko Topić’s criminal activity. The lawsuit was dismissed. It was observed also that on two occasions that journalist Zeljko Peratovic on his portal www.45lines.com, in a twisted and questionable manner, criticizes journalist Mrs Slavica Lukic. This negative writing by the mentioned journalist about Mrs. Slavica Lukic has a political background, and is the act of shallow and see-through retaliation against her husband, Mr. Milorad Pupovac.

“Finally, we wish to inform you about the perfidious way in which Mr. Željko Topić corrupts parts of the Croatian Justice (Commercial and High Commercial Court in Zagreb) where there are trials of high financial value within the scope of the rights of commercial property. We are enclosing photos with the names of judges. The photos were shot during the last year’s conference in EPO in Munchen. The invitation to the conference was sent by Mr. Željko Topić by means of EPO. The names of judges from the photos are associated with several lawyers and make up a sophisticated network of corruption in Croatia.

“Based on this, we believe that any further comment is superfluous.”

All the photographs are presented below for readers’ assessment.

EPO name tag

EPO name tag

EPO name tag

EPO name tag

Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

Posted in News Roundup at 5:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Japan: Train fans experience super-fast maglev speed

      One hundred passengers whizzed along a 42.8km (27 mile) route between the cities of Uenohara and Fuefuki, reaching speeds of up to 500km/h (311mph), The Asahi Shimbun website reports. The Central Japan Railway Company is running eight days of testing for the experimental maglev Shinkansen train on its test track in Yamanashi Prefecture. In total, 2,400 people will take part in the tests after winning tickets in a raffle. They represent a lucky minority – there had been more than 100 times that number of applications, the report says. “I applied for my nephew who is a big railway fan, but now I am more excited than he is,” one passenger, who was travelling with his parents and two young nephews, tells the website.

    • Stunning fossil shows pregnant mare and fetus

      Forty-seven million years ago, a pregnant mare and its unborn foal lost their lives, perhaps chased into a lake, where they drowned. Where they died, however, was a stroke of luck for 21st century paleontologists. Their fossilized remains were discovered in the Messel Pit, a former coal and oil shale mine near Frankfurt, Germany, that is famous for its exquisitely preserved fossils. The mare and her fetus are now giving scientists an unprecedented glimpse into the anatomy and reproduction of this early horse species, Eurohippus messelensis. Like other early horses, the mare was small, only about the size of a fox terrier, says Jens Franzen, a paleontologist at the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, who presented the prepared fossil for the first time yesterday at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual meeting here.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dutch authorities identify highly contagious bird flu strain

      Dutch authorities said on Sunday they had found a highly contagious strain of bird flu at a poultry farm in the central Netherlands and set about destroying 150,000 chickens.

      The strain, H5N8, has never been detected in humans, but an outbreak in South Korea meant millions of farm birds had to be slaughtered to contain the outbreak. Cases have also been reported in China and Japan, although the strain was first reported in Europe, on a German farm, in early November.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Massachusetts School Installs Military-Style Shooter-Detection System

      A technology adapted from a U.S. military “smoke alarm for gunfire” was installed recently in a Massachusetts school, a protective measure implemented weeks after a deadly high school shooting in Washington State.

    • Selling Fear: The First US School Installs A Shooting Detection System

      Congratulations, America. A defense contractor tried to sell you on the idea that our schools are war zones and you bit like a musky on a minnow. The manufacturer’s website, along with most of the accompanying news articles, are filled with statistics all about how school and mass shootings are on the rise. Obviously this serves as evidence that such shooter detection systems are needed. That way, the $100k per school systems can alert authorities when these increasingly common shootings occur. The most common figure you’ll hear from these contractors and in the news is the same one authorities used in buying this detection system: there have been 88 school shootings in America since the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012. The claim comes from Everytown.org, an organization dedicated to gun control and safety. And if that statistic sounds shocking to you, there’s a very good reason for that: it’s complete bullshit.

    • Obama administration considering ramping up CIA’s role in training Syria rebel fighters: report

      The CIA currently vets and trains about 400 fighters a month, the same number expected to be trained by the Pentagon when its program reaches capacity by late next year, The Post reported.

    • Present at the creation: ‘America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East’

      The period in question is the end of World War II until the Kennedy administration was, to say the least, formative and what happened then is clearly relevant to the circumstances in which the United States finds itself now.

      Current tensions foreshadowed in the 1950’s include the U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio, unrest in cornerstone Egypt, monarchic rule in Saudi Arabia, and perhaps most important of all, the role of Persian, Shiite Muslim Iran in the region.

    • Could relationship between CIA, military be at risk?

      He said the CIA and military started working together after 9/11. Before that, there was little partnership between the two. Because of budget cuts, both are at risk of losing the progress they have made, said Oakley (pictured), who is working on his doctorate in security studies from Kansas State University.

    • The CIA Won the Midterms

      Incoming intel committee chair Richard Burr will end any hope of holding out of control spy agencies accountable.

    • Ex-US officials criticise Obama ‘micromanagement’

      He compared the Obama administration to that of Lyndon Johnson, who personally chose military targets in the Vietnam war. “It was the micromanagement that drove me crazy,” Gates said. The former defence chief said that Obama’s administration stands in contrast to both Bush administrations, where once a decision was made, there was no micromanagement.

    • Germany regrets diplomat’s expulsion from Moscow

      A German diplomat working in Moscow has been expelled, a German government official said, shortly after a Russian diplomat working in Bonn was expelled amid media reports he was a spy.

      “We regret this unjustified action and expressed that to the Russian government,” a German official said in a statement late on Saturday after Der Spiegel magazine reported the German was expelled in retaliation for the Russian’s explusion.

    • Former navy Seal says public has right to know how he killed Osama bin Laden

      After helicoptering to the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, assaulting the house and killing three men and a woman, some of the Seals reached the third floor, where a CIA analyst had told O’Neill that Bin Laden would be. O’Neill followed an unnamed point man into Bin Laden’s bedroom, he told the AP, and the point man tackled two women, believing they had a bomb, in what O’Neill calls an incredibly selfless act.

    • Contras and drugs, three decades later

      …Reagan administration had illegally aided a stateless army known as the Contras in Central America.

    • Historic photos of dead Che Guevara resurface in Spain

      Hunted by the CIA, he was captured by the military in Bolivia on October 8, 1967, and executed the following day.

    • Looming US Ground Wars in Iraq and Syria

      Thirteen years post-9/11, out-of-control violence replaced regional stability. Prospects ahead look worse, not better.

    • THE WORLD GETS THE WARS AMERICANS DESERVE

      But the primary thing the U.S. government does is wage wars, and it wages them against other people who had no say in the matter. Of course I don’t want wars waged against Americans either, but the general impression one gets from traveling around and speaking and answering questions at public events in the United States is not so much that people are indifferent to the destruction of the globe as long as they don’t miss their favorite television show, as that people are unclear on what destruction means and can’t identify a globe when it’s placed in a lineup with six watermelons.

    • Obama Has No Good Options for Ending the War in Syria

      The US has also faced criticism from Turkey and Gulf states because of its focus on fighting Islamist militias rather than Assad.

    • What Dick Cheney’s lies on 9/11 has cost the US and impacted the world

      In a documentary The World According to Dick Cheney,” Dick Cheney then Vice-President of the USA admits that it was he and not President Bush who ordered the shooting down of the plane that fell into a field in Pennsylvania in September 2001. He also admits that he falsely linked Iraq with 9/11 and influenced Justice Department to legalize torture. He admits too that he used 9/11 to enable spying on Americans, start the Afghan and Iraq war and the ‘war on terror’ which were all planned before 9/11 which in other words has to leave us to deduce that 9/11 itself was pre-planned as well!

    • Delimiting presidential war powers

      The Constitution strongly disfavors war except in self-defense because it bloats executive power, cripples liberty, celebrates secrecy and risks blowback. Mr. Obama’s current war against IS is many things, but it is not self-defense. The tighter the limits of any new AUMF, the less the U.S. Constitution will be wrenched and challenged.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The Siege of Julian Assange is a Farce

      The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Even the British government clearly believes it must end. On 28 October, the deputy foreign minister, Hugo Swire, told Parliament he would “actively welcome” the Swedish prosecutor in London and “we would do absolutely everything to facilitate that.” The tone was impatient.

    • A guy walks into the Ecuadorian embassy … Assange inspires new BBC comedy
    • Novak in Assange-inspired comedy

      The BBC4 show, called Asylum, is described as “a satirical comedy about a government whistle-blower and a millionaire internet entrepreneur trapped together in a London embassy”.

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange inspires new comedy show

      The comedy is one of a string of shows created to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta which was one of the first attempts to limit the powers of the monarchy and develop a functioning legal system and parliamentary democracy.

    • Russell Brand, PJ Harvey, Susan Sarandon & dozens of A-listers support Snowden, Manning

      Dozens of celebrities, including musicians, filmmakers, actors and intellectuals have signed their names to a statement of support published Monday to show solidarity for Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Jeremy Hammond.

    • Brand and Žižek lead celebrity call for greater whistleblower protections

      It also comes at a moment where the US government is perceived to be taking a particularly aggressive approach to official leakers. Including Snowden and Manning, there have been a total of eight prosecutions by the Obama administration relating to leaks under the 1917 Espionage Act – more than those that were brought by all previous presidents combined.

      [...]

      The list of those who have backed the whistleblower statement also includes movie directors Alfonso Cuarón, Terry Gilliam and Ken Loach; musicians Robbie Charter of the Avalanches, PJ Harvey and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth; and writers Roddy Doyle and Hanif Kureishi.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Shale fail

      ON NOVEMBER 25th, fracking experts from across the continent will convene in Warsaw for the Shale Gas World Europe conference. The gathering is a reminder of the heady days, just a few years back, when the Polish government promised to wean the country from dependence on Russian fossil fuels by imitating America’s successful exploitation of shale. Poland would become “a second Norway”, as Radek Sikorski, the former foreign minister, put it in 2010. All that was needed was to open the country to foreign drilling firms, set up a regulatory and profit-sharing structure, open the taps, and watch the methane (and the dollars) flow.

      [...]

      Perversely, Moscow may now hold the key to galvanising the Polish shale industry. While Russian gas continues to flow cheaply, exploring for Polish shale gas is risky and expensive. But with the risk of renewed military conflict in Ukraine rising, the situation could change. “There is certainly gas in Poland, but is the current system able to extract it? I don’t think so.” says Grzegorz Pytel, an energy expert with the Sobieski Institute, a think tank. “However, if Russia cuts off gas exports that would revive shale. The hope is in Moscow.” Shale enthusiasts who once hoped to free Poland from Russian gas have been reduced to hoping that Russia will turn off the gas, or raise prices sharply, to make Polish shale viable.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • ISPs criticised over deal to filter extremist material online

      British internet service providers have been accused of rushing into an ill-thought-out attempt to block political material online, after agreeing with the government on a system of filters for websites espousing extremist views.

      The four largest ISPs have independently agreed with the government to implement a system of blocks, similar to that used to keep child abuse material off the net. But civil liberties campaigners expressed fears that the move opened up a risk of political censorship.

      Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said: “We need transparency whenever political content is blocked, even when we are talking about websites that espouse extremist views. The government must be clear about what sites they think should be blocked, why they are blocking them and whether there will be redress for site owners who believe that their website has been blocked incorrectly.”

  • Privacy

    • Justice Department Admits It Lied To Appeals Court Concerning Companies’ Ability To Talk About National Security Letters

      Back in October, we wrote about the appeal on the legality of National Security Letters (NSLs), which are secretive filings from law enforcement demanding information with a perpetual gag order. In 2013, a district court had declared that NSLs were unconstitutional, but stayed that decision pending appeal. While the appeals court judges seemed skeptical, it still wasn’t clear how they would rule. So it’s interesting to see that the Justice Department has just admitted that it misled the court on some rather important points during the oral arguments.

    • Unsealed Filing Shows DOJ Misled Appeals Court About National Security Letter Gag Orders

      A court filing unsealed late Wednesday shows that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) made a highly misleading argument to an appeals court in October during a hearing on the constitutionality of National Security Letters (NSLs).

    • Major hurdles await NSA reform bid

      Yet Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) — the two leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee — have both expressed reservations, worrying that it would go too far.

    • Data retention: Divining the metadata of the Govt’s true intention

      Data retention is a hot topic, so much so that the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has included several pages examining the proposed legislation in its fifteenth report of the 44th Parliament. Suggestions put forward are that TIA Amendment Data Retention bill invades privacy, doesn’t properly define data, goes too far and needs further amendment.

    • Facebook: You post it, we can see it, and that’s that

      Facebook lets its users control whether other people can see the information they post, but when it comes to controlling what Facebook itself gets to see, privacy-conscious users are out of luck.

    • British Spying Is Our Problem, Too

      We learned last week that GCHQ – the U.K. equivalent of the NSA – permits its employees to target the communications of journalists and lawyers. That revelation has serious implications for the work of both groups.

    • The sci-fi future of lamp-posts

      Street lighting has always been a form of social control. As ‘smart’ lamp-posts start to adapt to our needs, are we entering a brave new world of big city lights?

    • UN to investigate claims that UK spies infiltrated climate talks

      Reports that GCHQ snooped on other countries at two climate summits will be investigated, says UN secretary general

    • Ambassador thrown out of Ecuador after WikiLeaks scandal will talk about her life and times at Kirtland event

      The fascinating background of being the only U.S. ambassador expelled during the global WikiLeaks scandal will be a large part of her presentation to the Nov. 16 Millennium Salon set for East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirtland. The salon, part of the church’s social justice committee, presents topics that examine various issues and discuss their impact on society.

    • Phone and web data plan under fire for interfering with privacy

      Human rights committee finds the plan to retain data for two years could have a ‘chilling effect’ on journalists

    • USPS Bemoans Massive Data Breach But Continues Surveillance Program

      While such data breaches are lamentable, it is a bit ironic that an agency that has been carrying out an extensive secret surveillance operation for years would be so vigorous in its vendetta against the alleged hackers who exposed sensitive data of employees and customers.

    • Consciousness in the Age of Digital Dystopia

      It’s Monday morning and you’re preparing your first cup of coffee when the tanks roll into your neighborhood. Phone lines are cut, curfew is activated and doors are broken down.

      You sigh. It’s another “cleanout day” in the not-too-distant future.

      The War on Terror has infiltrated every layer of society. Internet sites track the spread of extremism like the CDC tracks a lethal virus. The threat is pandemic and online news sources agree: In order to keep you safe, weekly cleanout campaigns must ramp up all across the nation – yet again.

      Today you just happen to be in the red zone.

      The main annoyance about being in a red zone is usually the loss of your phone signal. But today is different.

    • AT&T stops adding Web tracking codes on cellphones, Verizon says it still uses ‘super cookies’

      AT&T Mobility, the nation’s second-largest cellular provider, says it’s no longer attaching hidden Internet tracking codes to data transmitted from its users’ smartphones. The practice made it nearly impossible to shield its subscribers’ identities online.

    • Amnesia: A mad Aussie dash through history, hacking and the CIA

      Never has the long shadow of America across the world been so ominous and so ephemeral as it is in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations and Wikileaks. Data surveillance and the huge US presence in the tech and internet worlds have contributed to a sense of America as the omnipresent, unseen superpower in a way that no world leading country has ever been before.

      This ownership of the web is what lets the US suggest, with no apparent sense of irony, that people like Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, are “traitors”, though what patriotism or loyalty they owe a country they have nothing to do with is unclear.

      It is this long shadow that Peter Carey takes to task in his hacker conspiracy thriller Amnesia.

    • First Snowden. Then tracking you on wheels. Now spies on a plane. Yes, surveillance is everywhere

      US government-owned airplanes that can cover most of the continental United States are covertly flying around the country, spying on tens of thousands of innocent people’s cellphones. It sounds like a movie plot, but in a remarkable report published on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal exposed that these spy planes are part of an actual mass surveillance program overseen by the Justice Department (DOJ). And it’s been kept secret from the public for years.

    • U.S. government set to use airplanes to collect information
    • Mobile Phones Data Intercepted by U.S. Marshals
  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Hey UK: Jailing File-Sharers for Years is Shameful

        Admins and uploaders know the risks, but when otherwise good citizens go to jail for sharing files it’s a horrible moment for all involved. This week two young men from the UK were locked up for years, one for his acts as a teenager several years ago. What a complete and utter waste of life.

      • Mega Terminates Kim Dotcom’s Account For Repeat Infringements

        Dotcom has been using Mega to share his first music album “Good Times” with everyone who wants to give it a spin. While he holds all the rights, several prominent music labels kept informing Mega that the album was “infringing.”

        A few weeks ago we learned that the takedown requests were all inaccurate, and triggered by a prankster. However, that apparently didn’t stop them from coming in and as a result Dotcom has now had his Mega account terminated for repeatedly violating the terms of service.

      • Anti-Piracy Firm Rightscorp On The Brink of Bankruptcy?

        Rightscorp, a prominent piracy monitoring firm that sends settlement requests for Warner Bros. and other copyright holders, may soon go out of business. The publicly listed company is losing millions of dollars per year and says it desperately needs a fresh cash injection to survive.

Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Edward Snowden

Summary: With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades

MICROSOFT IS A company of liars, centred around media manipulation. This is why not enough people know about the company’s sheer levels of malice, crimes, and disregard for people.

Microsoft keeps throwing money around for favourable publicity, so not enough criticism is published where it’s well overdue. Today we’ll tackle several stories that deserve more attention from an appropriate angle, not a promotional (marketing) angle.

A few days ago Microsoft decided to buy a military-connected (IDF/Israel) anti-whistleblowing ‘software’ company. What a lot of shallow coverage failed to mention was the real purpose of the software (not often marketed as such). To quote one report: ‘“Snowden reportedly used colleagues’ passwords to access sensitive docs,” he told me. “Even if the user activity seems legitimate, the same account would actually present suspicious or abnormal behavior behind the scenes which Aorato would detect.”’

Actually, to keep the facts in tact, the NSA leaks were made possible by GNU WGet on the leakers’ side (same as Bradley/Chelsea Manning) and that horrible Microsoft SharePoint on the leaked side (NSA). It means that Microsoft itself was the problem which it claims to be trying to solve. We mentioned the role of SharePoint several times before. The acquisition by Microsoft seems to be geared towards stopping whistleblowing and hence defending corruption (so that Microsoft, for instance, can defend the NSA). How ethical a move, eh? So much for a ‘champion’ of privacy as it purports to be.

Anyway, there is a 19-year bug door in Microsoft Windows (almost no version is exempted from remotely-invoked full capture), but the press hardly covers it. We must give some credit to the BBC for covering it (for a change) and "calling out Windows". Other British press covered other inherent issues in Windows (compromising Tor) [1] and it looks like Dan Goodin is finally covering some security problems in proprietary software [2] rather than always picking on FOSS, then hyping it up with ugly imagery and exaggeration.

A reader of ours suspects that the .NET announcement was designed to distract from horrible security-related news. The .NET announcement is nonsense because it’s false (we wrote two posts about the .NET PR nonsense) and it also predicts future events like Visual Studio going cross-platform although the latest version of Visual Studio (proprietary) already runs under GNU/Linux using Wine, i.e. the Windows build works under GNU/Linux as it’s fully compatible anyway, for those foolish enough to want it. This is not news and the same goes for Office and other well-known Microsoft software. Xamarin staff keeps trying hard to infect GNU/Linux with .NET (that’s what they do) and as this very stupid article about .NET shows, the .NET nonsense did indeed help bury the news about the bug door. This disgusting article even gives credit to Microsoft for having fixed massive 19-year-old bug (only after IBM had found it). When bash or openssl have a bug, then FOSS is all bad, apparently. When Microsoft has a bug door for 19 years, the media says well done to Microsoft (for fixing it after another company forced it to). One has to wonder if this flaw (voluntary or involuntary) is part of Microsoft’s collaboration with the NSA, which made Stuxnet and has made yet another piece of Windows malware together with Israel. Here is a new article from The Intercept:

The Digital Hunt for Duqu, a Dangerous and Cunning U.S.-Israeli Spy Virus

Boldizsár Bencsáth took a bite from his sandwich and stared at his computer screen. The software he was trying to install on his machine was taking forever to load, and he still had a dozen things to do before the Fall 2011 semester began at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, where he taught computer science. Despite the long to-do list, however, he was feeling happy and relaxed. It was the first day of September and was one of those perfect, late-summer afternoons when the warm air and clear skies made you forget that cold autumn weather was lurking around the corner.

Bencsáth, known to his friends as Boldi, was sitting at his desk in the university’s Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security, a.k.a. CrySyS Lab, when the telephone interrupted his lunch. It was Jóska Bartos, CEO of a company for which the lab sometimes did consulting work (“Jóska Bartos” is a pseudonym).

“Boldi, do you have time to do something for us?” Bartos asked.

“Is this related to what we talked about before?” Bencsáth said, referring to a previous discussion they’d had about testing new services the company planned to offer customers.

“No, something else,” Bartos said. “Can you come now? It’s important. But don’t tell anyone where you’re going.”

Bencsáth wolfed down the rest of his lunch and told his colleagues in the lab that he had a “red alert” and had to go. “Don’t ask,” he said as he ran out the door.

A while later, he was at Bartos’ office, where a triage team had been assembled to address the problem they wanted to discuss. “We think we’ve been hacked,” Bartos said.

They found a suspicious file on a developer’s machine that had been created late at night when no one was working. The file was encrypted and compressed so they had no idea what was inside, but they suspected it was data the attackers had copied from the machine and planned to retrieve later. A search of the company’s network found a few more machines that had been infected as well. The triage team felt confident they had contained the attack but wanted Bencsáth’s help determining how the intruders had broken in and what they were after. The company had all the right protections in place—firewalls, antivirus, intrusion-detection and -prevention systems—and still the attackers got in.

The ability to keep people’s rights away and keep the population down depends on passivity and conformity, including the use of Windows. Avoiding Microsoft Windows is imperative for those not wishing to be controlled remotely. As Microsoft’s collaborations with the NSA serve to show, mass surveillance on the whole world is practically contingent upon not just innovation but sabotage and social engineering with corporate buddies. Eradication of Microsoft software isn’t about competition only; it’s about justice.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Advanced persistent threats found in the TOR network

    There are suggestions that the malware code has been around for a while, and has predecessors, and F-Secure warned internet users, anonymous or otherwise, to tread carefully when they download.

    “However, it would seem that the OnionDuke family is much older, based on older compilation timestamps and on the fact that some of the embedded configuration data makes reference to an apparent version number of four, suggesting that at least three earlier versions of the family exist,” the firm added.

    “In any case, although much is still shrouded in mystery and speculation, one thing is certain: while using Tor may help you stay anonymous, it does at the same time paint a huge target on your back.

    “It’s never a good idea to download binaries via Tor (or anything else) without encryption.”

  2. For a year, gang operating rogue Tor node infected Windows executables

    Three weeks ago, a security researcher uncovered a Tor exit node that added malware to uncompressed Windows executables passing through it. Officials with the privacy service promptly shut down the Russia-based node, but according to new research, the group behind the node had likely been infecting files for more than a year by that time, causing careless users to install a backdoor that gave attackers full control of their systems.

Reaffirming Microsoft’s Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

Posted in Microsoft at 6:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper’s business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there

Microsoft is once again shown publicly for what it really is; it can be easily seen as anti-net neutrality, thanks for the most part to its longtime CEO (who is now replaced for PR purposes). Microsoft’s record of hostility towards net neutrality must not to be forgotten as we covered it several times before and provided examples.

Well, speaking of networking, a reader tells us that the person who replaced the Microsoft veteran who had run Juniper for years has just resigned. “He joined from Barclays Plc,” told us this reader, “but I have yet to find out what kind of ‘technology’ he was involved with there.

“How much ongoing damage has been caused by the influx of softers like now-gone Kevin Johnson and how many people and their legacy are still there that he brought in? Softers would not be a good match for the core technologies the company brings in its money with” because it contributed to BSD.

“The incoming CEO, Rami Rahim,” adds the reader, “has been with Juniper 17 years, so that is promising since they use FOSS (OSS) in-house at least in the devices they sell. However, that is just an uniformed guess, who knows the internal politics. The CRN article (not linked to) blathers about being on-message and sales teams rather than technology and function.

“Then there’s this:

Juniper’s decline has been linked by some industry-watchers to the management changes that have taken place in recent years, including the influx of staff who previously worked at Microsoft, but Brooks – himself a former employee with the software {sic} giant

This one has a lot of links. One thing to remember is that these boxes are going to be tap points for surveillance.”

The same has been revealed to be the case last week when it comes to Cisco routers (used against anonymity). We shared links about that yesterday.

In addition, what would be the impact of having Juniper filled with executives from a net neutrality-hostile company?

Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CAFC may finally be seen as regaining some sanity

Daniel Mortimer Friedman

Summary: After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has been by far the most zealously pro-software patents court, perhaps in the entire world. It’s where software patents originally came from.

Dennis Crouch, who is himself somewhat of a patents booster, sees the significance of a new ruling from CAFC. See his article titled “Federal Circuit: Novelty in Implementation of an Abstract Idea Insufficient to Overcome Alice”. This actually relates to a ruling from SCOTUS then (‘Alice’ to be specific), overriding a previous ruling from CAFC.

This is potentially a to-be-widely-cited decision that can be huge for software patents (or against them rather). There is lots of coverage in the press about it [1, 2, 3]. Here is one introduction to the case:

In tech, patent trolls do not settle for small victories; they tend to go big, claiming that their one vague patent gives them the rights over gigantic swaths of the digital world. One troll insists that it owns the patent that covers all podcasting. Another claims it can lord over the maker of any app that asks users to submit data. And a particularly bold troll has spent years claiming it owns the rights to the very concept of playing advertisements before a free online videos—and it has tried shaking down YouTube and Hulu for royalty payments.

As the EFF put it:

On September 9, 2009, a patent troll called Ultramercial sued a bunch of Internet companies alleging infringement of U.S. Patent 7,346,545. This patent claims a method for allowing Internet users to view copyrighted material free of charge in exchange for watching certain advertisements. Yes, you read that correctly. Ultramercial believed that it owned the idea of showing an ad before content on the Internet.

TechDirt did the best kind of coverage by being bluntly honest. “It looks like the Ultramercial saga may finally be ending,” it said. “As we’ve been covering for many years, Ultramercial held a patent (7,346,545) on watching an ad to get access to content, and it sued lots of companies. While a lower court rejected the patent, CAFC (the appeals court for the Federal Circuit, which handles all patent cases) overturned that ruling. The key issue: is something patentable if you take a common idea and just add “on the internet.” CAFC said yes. The Supreme Court asked CAFC to try again following its own ruling in the Mayo case (which said you couldn’t patent medical diagnostics). But CAFC still found the patent to be valid. Finally, earlier this year, following the Alice ruling, the Supreme Court gave CAFC a third try to get it right.”

It’s actually SCOTUS which deserves some credit here. The Ultramercial-friendly CAFC has ultimately wasted so much money of innocent people and businesses, showing the great harm of software patents. It’s only when Ultramercial faced the wrath of SCOTUS that the CAFC had to rule based on actual law, which to CAFC would be the exception (it is a very corrupt court in general, with plenty to show for it).

The GOP’s Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

Posted in Law, Microsoft, Patents at 5:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GOP

Summary: The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, a GOP-leaning News Corp-owned paper, says that “Leading GOP Senator Says More Patent Reform on the Horizon”, but as we explained before, this is not an effective reform. Being on the GOP’s agenda, one can expect it to serve large corporations rather than public interests (which GOP is neither sympathetic nor apathetic towards because public interests often conflict with business/rich people’s interests). “The bill,” says the paper, “will likely add new responsibilities on plaintiffs filing patent-infringement suits. Among the possible additions: a provision requiring plaintiffs who lose their infringement lawsuits to pay the defendants’ litigation costs.”

This would be effective in preventing poor people or small businesses from suing, irrespective of their nature (e.g. trolls, startups, individuals). It hardly deters large corporations with a large budget; for them, legal costs are typically slush funds.

“It hardly deters large corporations with a large budget; for them, legal costs are typically slush funds.”This is of course better than no amendments to existing laws, but does it go far enough? It might not be enough to discourage big trolls like Nokia, which the paper above indicates is likely to use software patents for profit (article behind paywall). Nokia is already patent-trolling, with Microsoft’s help, by proxy, e.g. through MOSAID (now renamed “Conversant” because of its bad reputation). The European authorities have already been made aware of this and they warned Nokia.

Nokia seems to be following the footsteps of companies like Qualcomm, which got the attention of some pro-software patents the other day.

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