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08.19.14

Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • European Space Operations Centre Now Runs on SUSE Linux Enterprise Servers

    The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) is now powered by SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and it’s making a firm commitment towards open source and Linux software.

    This is not exactly something completely unexpected. The European Space Agency and openSUSE have been friends for a few years, but now the level of implication manifested by both parties has gone beyond the adoption of a Linux distro.

  • Server

    • A beginners guide to Docker
    • Why the operating system matters in a containerized world

      Applications running in Linux containers are isolated within a single copy of the operating system running on a physical server. This approach stands in contrast to hypervisor-based virtualization in which each application is bound to a complete copy of a guest operating system and communicates with the hardware through the intervening hypervisor. As a result, containers consume very few system resources such as memory and impose essentially no performance overhead on the application.

    • Panamax Connects Docker Linux Containers Like Lego

      n open-source community resource for complex Docker architectures

      CenturyLink has contributed the Panamax Docker management platform to open source. Panamax is described as a tool (its makers would prefer we said “platform”) for developers to create, share, and deploy a Docker-containerized application.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.17 Release Cycle Begins as LinuxCon Opens

      Big week on the Linux Planet as a new Linux kernel release cycle begins and Kernel developers congregate in Chicago for LinuxCon.

      “I’m going to be on a plane much of tomorrow, and am not really supportive of last-minute pull requests during the merge window anyway, so I’m closing the merge window one day early, and 3.17-rc1 is out there now,” Linus Torvalds wrote in his Linux 3.17 rc1 release announcement.

    • Linux kernel source code repositories get better security

      Almost three years ago, crackers broke into the kernel.org, Linux’s most important site. While no damage was done, it was still worrisome. So, at the Linux Kernel Summit, the Linux Foundation announced that it was securing Linux’s Git source code repositories with two-factor authentication.

    • Btrfs Gets Talked Up, Googler Encourages You To Try Btrfs

      This week at LinuxCon North America in Chicago is a presentation by Google’s Marc Merlin that’s entitled “Why you should consider using btrfs, real COW snapshots and file level incremental server OS upgrades like Google does.” The presentation does a good job at looking at the state of Btrfs on Linux and comparing it to ZFS.

      Marc Merlin, a Linux admin at Google for more than one decade, is presenting on Thursday at LinuxCon Chicago about Btrfs. His slides are already available for those that can’t make it to the windy city or are looking for an overview of what he’ll be discussing.

    • Kpatch Gets Exposure This Week, kGraft Misses Out

      This week at LinuxCon Chicago are two talks about Red Hat’s Kpatch live kernel patching solution to reduce downtime. However, there aren’t any scheduled talks about SUSE’s kGraft solution with neither yet being in the mainline kernel.

      On Thursday at the Sheraton in Chicago will be the “Kpatch Without Stop Machine” presentation by Hitachi’s Masami Hiramatsu while on Friday afternoon will be “kpatch: Have Your Security And Eat It Too!” by Red Hat’s Josh Poimboeuf.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa Now Supports Another OpenGL 4.5 Extension

        While Mesa is still racing towards OpenGL 4.0 compliance, another OpenGL 4.5 extension can now be crossed off the Mesa TODO list.

        Some Mesa developers have already started tackling some of the easier OpenGL 4.5 extensions and today another can be crossed off the list. Thanks to Tobias Klausmann. GL_ARB_conditional_render_inverted is now supported by Mesa. The core work for GL_ARB_conditional_render_inverted is complete and is implemented currently by the Gallium3D-based Nouveau NVC0 (Fermi+), Softpipe, and LLVMpipe drivers. Support will surely come in time for mainline Mesa with this extension for the RadeonSI Gallium3D and Intel drivers.

      • AMD Launches Radeon R7 Series SSDs

        Not to be confused with the Radeon R7 graphics cards, AMD today officially announced the Radeon R7 SSD line-up.

  • Applications

    • Git 2.1.0 Version Control System Now Available for Download

      Git 2.1.0, a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency, has been officially released.

    • XBMC 13.2 Released, One Of The Last Before Kodi

      XBMC 13.2 has been released as one of the last “Gotham” series bug-fix releases before the project renames itself to Kodi.

    • XBMC 13.2 Gotham – Final release

      Here it is. One of the last versions ever that will be using the XBMC name, as we are renaming XBMC to Kodi. All our future releases will be using the Kodi name. You can read about that here. However lets focus on this release. After three beta releases and a release candidate, we are happy to announce the final 13.2 release. This follows a couple of months after the 13.1 release, and is considered a small bug fix release. Unfortunately we cannot fix all things reported. Below you will find a list of most important fixes included in this release.

    • BitTorrent Client Vuze 5.4 Officially Released

      Vuze, a BitTorrent client previously known as Azureus, which is built on Java, has reached version 5.4 and is now available for download.

    • Proprietary

      • Viber 4.2 For Linux Available For Download

        Quick update for Viber users: Viber for Linux was updated to version 4.2.x recently, finally catching up with the Windows version. Unfortunately, the application continues to be available for 64bit only.

      • New Massive Google Chrome 38 Dev Update Lands on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X

        The Development branch of Google Chrome, a browser built on the Blink layout engine that aims to be minimalistic and versatile at the same time, is now at version 38.0.2125.0 and is available for all supported platforms.

      • Opera 25 Dev for Linux Now Features MP3, H.264, and HiDPI Support

        The Opera developers have released a new version of their Internet browser and a new build has been made available in the 25.x branch.

      • New VM Software Claims To Be 4.5x Faster Than QEMU

        Eltechs is preparing to introduce ExaGear Desktop next month as new proprietary software for running Linux x86 software on Linux ARM using their own virtual machine technology.

        Eltechs claims that ExaGear is great for running a virtual Linux x86 container on ARMv7 hardware. From there you could also run the x86 version of Wine for running x86 Windows programs on ARM hardware. This can already be done right now (using QEMU and other open-source Linux technologies for running emulated software for another CPU architecture separate from the host platform), but Eltechs claims that their binary-only solution “It is like QEMU but 4.5 times faster!”

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Civilization-Inspired Freeciv 2.4.3 Receives Major Overhaul

        Freeciv, a free turn-based multiplayer strategy game, in which each player becomes the leader of a civilization, is now at version 2.4.3.

      • Empire: Total War Might Be Getting a Linux Release Soon

        Empire: Total War, a real-time strategy game developed by The Creative Assembly and published by Sega, might be a getting a Linux release soon.

        Empire: Total War is one of the most successful games in the entire franchise and now it shows up in the Steam database, under the Linux category. The title might have been initially developed by The Creative Assembly, but those developers only made the Windows version.

      • Alienware: Steam Machine owners will “sacrifice content” for the sake of Linux

        It’s been tough to parse Alienware’s position on the Linux-based SteamOS. At E3 they told us that the Steam Machine will increase Linux gamers by “20, 30 fold, overnight”. But with the first Steam Machines delayed into 2015, they’ve upstaged their own Linux box with a Windows-based living room PC: the Alienware Alpha.

        So who would win in a fight, Alienware? A living room PC running Windows, or the same PC running SteamOS?

        “It depends on what you’re looking for; there’s advantages to both,” said Alienware general manager Frank Azor. “[With] the Linux version I do think you’re going to sacrifice a little bit of content.”

      • Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Shafts Linux Gamers

        The Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 was just announced with “$210 worth of awesome games” that can be found on Steam, but before Linux gamers get too excited, they’re mostly left in the dust.

        Of the seven launch games part of the Humble Jumbo Bundle 2, only one of the games is currently available as a native port on Linux: Crusader Kings 2. That game has been available on Linux since early 2013.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita At Siggraph 2014

        For the first time, Krita has been present at Siggraph! Siggraph is the largest conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques and it has a big trade show as well as presentations, posters, book shops and animations. While Krita has been presented before at the Mobile World Congress, Siggraph really is where Krita belongs!

      • Randa Meetings 2014 – Impressions

        I want to thank very much to Mario Fux who organizes these meetings since 2009 and contributed a lot to my participation since I heard about this year’s meeting after the registrations had closed and he still offered to organize the accommodation for me. So, thanks once again Mario. I’d also want to thank everyone present at Randa this year for this great experience. This was my first participation in a KDE event but not the last one for sure

  • Distributions

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source forms the backbone of the most significant projects

    Companies increasingly understand that open source allows them to create faster, cheaper, and more secure products than they did by constantly reinventing the wheel in closed-source development environments. And the drivers of OSS adoption go beyond cost cutting and time savings. Participating in open source communities is a goal in itself—one that gives companies a competitive edge and helps them to attract top talent and influence project direction.

  • Beautiful Open: A compendium of beautiful open source projects

    Here’s a neat little online resource for you, courtesy of Chicago-based GroupOn developer Trek Glowacki.

    Beautiful Open is a compendium of beautifully-designed open source projects, showcasing everything from content management systems (CMS) to Javascript SVG libraries.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Is the Firefox-based Chromecast Competitor to Be Called Matchstick?

        Google has made quite a splash with its Chromecast dongle, which performs many of the tasks that set-top boxes do, but Chromecast may be headed for some competition. Android Police has reported that Firefox for Android has gained support in nightly builds for Chromecast, and GigaOM reports that Mozilla is continuing to work on a Chromecast competitor possibly called Matchstick.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Startup Platform 9 Focuses on Cloud Management Based on OpenStack

      There is quite a buzz surrounding Platform 9, which came out of stealth mode a few days ago with $4.5 million in venture funding, and interesting plans aimed at the private cloud market. Platform 9′s technology platform is based on OpenStack, and the company is run by a group of VMware veterans.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.3 (PC) review: A powerful but dated Office clone

      LibreOffice is an excellent Microsoft Office alternative that’ll do just about everything you need it to, quickly and efficiently. And in a world without WPS Office, I wouldn’t think twice about recommending it. But while LibreOffice has championed mimicking and even one-upping Microsoft’s apps, the competition was busy marching ahead, developing tools to address the new ways we get to work. The most crucial of these is cross-device support.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Why Do People Trust Wikipedia? Because An Argument Is Better Than A Lecture

        I’ve never really understood the debate about how trustworthy Wikipedia is compared with once-printed, more “official” encyclopedia volumes, like the old Encyclopedia Britannica. What rarely made sense to me was the constant assertions that an information system to which anyone could contribute was inherently unreliable because anyone could contribute to it. Sure, you get the occasional vandals making joke edits, but by and large the contributions by the community are from informed, interested parties. The results tend to be close to, if not on par, with traditional encyclopedias.

  • Programming

    • C++14 Is Complete

      The ISO C++14 draft international standard was unanimously approved and is now clear for publication.

    • We have C++14!
    • Git Tracking Relationships: Use the Full Power of Git Branches

      Branching is, undoubtedly, one of the best and most important features in Git. If you already understand the basics of Git, you can take your knowledge one step further and get the most out of the popular distributed SCM by using one of its core capabilities: tracking relationships.

Leftovers

  • Rick Perry Defends Himself Against Two Felony Charges

    On Friday, Rick Perry was indicted by a grand jury on two felony charges for abuse of power. Speaking in Austin on Saturday, his first public statement since the indictment, Perry called the allegations “outrageous” and a “farce of democracy.” Perry is the first Texas governor to be indicted since 1917.

  • Security

    • Def Con: the ‘Olympics of hacking’

      When tens of thousands of computer hackers hit Las Vegas for a weekend, a drab convention centre is transformed for a very different kind of conference. There are no monotonous PowerPoint presentations or “networking breaks” here. Instead, hackers are bent double over tables, busily dissecting hard drives and picking locks; others huddle in a dark and cavernous room showing off their skills by breaking into each other’s computers. Almost all are making mischief until dawn.

    • Security advisories for Tuesday
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Iraq crisis: Fighting resumes at Mosul dam a day after Barack Obama claims victory over Isis

      Fighting has reportedly resumed at the strategic Mosul dam in northern Iraq just a day after Barack Obama claimed victory reclaiming it from Islamist militants.

    • Judge Jails Anti-Drone Granny

      Judge David Gideon’s words refer not to the use of drones, but the activities of anti-drone activists. He has uttered this phrase from the bench repeatedly in recent months as activists have appeared before him, and the words must have been echoing through his mind as he sentenced Mary Anne Grady Flores, a 58-year-old grandmother from Ithaca, New York, to one year in prison on July 10. Her crime? Participating in a nonviolent anti-drone protest at an upstate New York military base after being ordered by the local courts to stay away from the site. The base is used to train drone pilots and technicians, and to control drone surveillance and strikes in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

    • Stossel: Libertarian fears about spying, death are real

      Drones — unmanned flying machines — will soon fill our skies. They conjure up fears, especially among some of my fellow libertarians, of spying and death from above.

    • Australian police seek to block anti-Israel protesters

      Police in Sydney are trying to block a protest at the opening of the Israeli Film Festival this week as the Gaza war continues to fuel passions in Australia.

      Members of the Palestine Action Group are listed for a hearing on Monday in the Supreme Court of New South Wales ahead of their planned protest outside the cinema on Thursday night.

    • US drone strike payout in Yemen points to civilian deaths

      New details about compensation in excess of $1m suggest that civilians with no ties to Al Qaida were among casualties

    • The Profits Behind Drone Warfare

      War is a highly profitable investment for corporations, especially in times of capitalist economic crises, therefore any examination of the illegality and immorality of imperialist military activities should start with an examination of the capitalist system itself.

    • Stigmatised Yemeni woman bakes to break barriers

      Through baking, Abeer al-Hassani has found a way to feed her family and to overcome the trauma of losing her brothers to a US drone strike

    • WASHINGTON POST FAILS TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN ‘OLD’ AND ‘NEW’ TURKEY

      A couple of days ago the Washington Post published an editorial titled “Turkey needs to turn away from Mr. Erdoğan’s repression.” It was stated in the article that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan achieved his ninth election victory and became the 12th president of Turkey. As it was outlined in the title, the article went on by providing evidence for why this strong man should not be left completely uncontrolled.

      The article also touched upon Erdoğan’s victory speech in which he said that he wanted to establish a “new” Turkey and that he would be sensitive to the desires of all the people of the country. After these statements, without changing its course, the article went on to say that the country was facing a deep polarization and some of Erdoğan’s actions in recent years raised suspicion regarding their harmony with democracy. It also raised the question of whether a new Turkey would be different from the old one.

      The article further suggested that Turkey, as a Muslim country, which keeps itself away from radical elements in the region, should have bridged the gap between the Middle East and EU and that this would be highly appreciated. However, this was hindered due to Erdoğan’s “erratic and disconcerting” behavior.

      For example, during his election rallies, Erdoğan criticized Israel with harsh words. It is highly interesting that the Washington Post associates the reason why the ideal of democratic Turkey failed with Erdoğan’s firm stance against Israel, which used brutal and disproportionate force and killed some 2,000 Palestinians. It also claimed that Turkey hosted and protected the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which held 49 Turkish people, including a consul, captive and threatened Turkey saying they would bomb the Atatürk Dam by challenging Erdoğan. It is the same ISIS that is said to be trained by the collaboration of the American CIA, British MI6 and the Israeli MOSSAD to wage war against all terror organizations in the region for the security of Israel with a strategy called “the hornet’s nest,” according to what former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden revealed.

    • US Navy conducts first joint test of unmanned stealth drone AND manned fighter jet operations from aircraft carrier
    • Navy conducts first series of drone and manned fighter jet operations

      The U.S. Navy said its jet-powered, bat-winged X-47B drone has conducted carrier deck operations and performed maneuvers alongside an F/A-18 fighter jet, marking the first time manned and unmanned aircraft have operated together on the same carrier. – See more at: http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/nation-world-news/navy-conducts-first-series-drone-and-manned-fighter-jet-operations#sthash.BynyIp9i.dpuf

    • ‘US and NATO using ISIS to re-intervene into the region’

      One of the ironies is that the US pretending to fight ISIS in Iraq, when it is in Syria, too; Washington is using the ISIS to wage new wars in the region and create new military bases, especially in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq analyst Sami Ramadani told RT.

    • U.S. to boost Kurds’ firepower

      The Obama administration and U.S. allies are preparing to rush antitank weapons and other arms to Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq who are battling Islamic militants near Irbil, officials said.

      The CIA had already rushed small shipments of arms to the Kurds in recent days as U.S. airstrikes targeted the militants’ convoys and mortars.

    • Ukraine: In The West Respect for Truth No Longer Exists
    • Why have the media and Obama administration gone silent on MH17?

      The deafening silence of the US media and government about the investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 one month ago reeks of a cover-up.

      In the hours and days immediately after the crash, without a single shred of evidence, US officials alleged that the passenger jet was shot down by an SA-11 ground-to-air missile fired from pro-Russian separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine. They launched a political campaign to obtain harsh economic sanctions against Russia and strengthen NATO’s military posture in Eastern Europe.

      Picking up on the scent, the CIA attack dogs in the US and European media blamed the crash squarely on Russian President Vladimir Putin. The cover of the July 28 print edition of German news magazine Der Spiegel showed the images of MH17 victims surrounding bold red text reading “Stoppt Putin Jetzt!” (Stop Putin Now!). A July 26 editorial in the Economist declared Putin to be the author of MH17′s destruction, while the magazine ghoulishly superimposed Putin’s face over a spider web on its front cover, denouncing Putin’s “web of lies.”

    • Cherry-picking Clinton’s words

      That’s my take-away from reading the transcript of her long interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, published Aug. 10. In total, it was Clinton’s description of the world as she sees it and hardly an attempt to highlight her differences with President Obama, as Goldberg and others have written by cherry-picking her answers to some leading questions.

      For example, Clinton does not say it was the U.S. “failure” to aid Syrian rebels that created the vacuum that led to the rise of Islamic State militants.

      Clinton said she had proposed that “if we were to carefully vet, train, and equip early on a core group of the developing Free Syrian Army, we would, number one, have some better insight into what was going on on the ground.”

    • Benghazi: When America Switched Sides In The War On Terror And Armed Al-Qaida

      Focusing on this under-reported, critical shift in American foreign policy, Clare Lopez discusses how an American ambassador and others were killed in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11 because the Obama administration decided to promote and defend their narrative that “al-Qaida was on the run,” even as we were outright arming militants affiliated with the terrorist group.

    • U.S. Empire of Death and Lie

      No mention was made that Iraq’s Christians had been safe and sound under President Saddam Hussein – even privileged – until President George Bush invaded and destroyed Iraq. We can expect the same fate for Syria’s Christians if the protection of the Assad regime is torn away by the US-engineered uprising. We will then shed crocodile tears for Syria’s Christians.

    • Armed humanitarian 2.0

      ARMED HUMANITARIANISM 2.0. That’s the new Western version of old-fashioned 19th century imperialism, now feminised by President Barack Obama’s lady advisors, painted pink and accompanied by saccharine piano music.

      The Obama administration latched onto the plight of Iraq’s Yazidis who were being persecuted by those awful ISIS folks just in time to divert attention from the massacre in Gaza.

  • Finance

    • Economists Don’t Understand The Information Age, So Their Claims About Today’s Economy Are A Joke

      On top of that, the ongoing march of technology continues to make things cheaper and better (yay, Moore’s Law), but getting a computer that’s twice as powerful for half the price shows up in GDP calculations as half the economic output, rather than 4x the value. That’s why it’s great to see economic historian Joel Mokyr take this issue on in a great Wall Street Journal piece pointing out that too many economists focus on GDP and don’t understand the information age.

    • Are bungalows really the solution to our housing crisis? The housing minister thinks so. And their design needn’t leave you feeling flat

      Over the years, more than one politician has been damned as “a bungalow” – as in “there’s nothing upstairs”. And possibly that’s what people thought of the new Tory minister for housing and planning over his suggestion that we should all be “looking to love bungalows a little bit more”. But perhaps Brandon Lewis, who reckons we need more single-storey dwellings for older people, and that this in turn would free up houses for families, has a point.

    • Kos, the IMF, the EU and the ECB

      The IMF – responsible for mass impoverishment in the developing world – is now forced to admit it got Greece wrong. Its economists admit they exacerbated the near-destruction of the Greek economy after the 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Last summer, Christine Lagarde’s organisation first blamed the “fiscal multiplier” – technocratic speak for endangering lifesaving public services. Then, the IMF, in effect, said they had got it wrong merely because they were “over optimistic”.

    • No Common Opinion on the Common Core

      But when new issues arise, important shifts can occur before opinion sorts itself into settled patterns. And, on occasion, critical events can jar opinion from settled patterns into a new equilibrium.

  • Censorship

    • EU justice commissioner slams Google and Right to be Forgotten critics

      Reicherts attacked critics of the reform during a speech in Lyon, France, arguing that anti-Right to be Forgotten groups are covertly working to poison businesses’ and citizens’ opinions with false information.

      “Just as work on the data protection reform has picked up speed and urgency, detractors are attempting to throw a new spanner in the works. They are trying to use the recent ruling by the European Court of Justice [ECJ] on the Right to be Forgotten to undermine our reform,” she said.

    • Goodbye, Facebook. Supporting anti-gay marriage, anti-human rights candidate was finally too much.

      After all Facebook has done, there’s only so much a person can take.

    • Islamic State shifts to new platform after Twitter block

      A sustained clampdown on the Twitter presence of Islamic State (IS) has forced the hardline jihadist group to explore less well-known social media platforms, setting up a string of accounts on the privacy-focused Diaspora.

    • Controversy Over Popular Game: “Psychiatric Ward — Enter if you dare, escape if you can!”

      The Toronto Transit Commission has removed billboards for a popular escape game after The Toronto Star reported on four complaints about its mental health-themed ads. Modeled on similar games in Japan, “Mystery Room” invites groups of participants to gather clues and work together to try to escape from different rooms in a large building. “Enter if you dare — Escape if you can!” read the dark billboards for the game, listing four rooms called Satan’s Lair, Prison Break, Mummy’s Curse, and Psychiatric Ward. The Mystery Room’s website description for the Psychiatric Ward explained that, “Ward 15 is the place the mentally disturbed were contained. Dr. Johansson had a passion for experimenting on the unanesthetised living…”

  • Privacy

    • Government’s Response To Snowden? Strip 100,000 Potential Whistleblowers Of Their Security Clearances

      Snowden just re-upped for three years in picturesque Russia, a land best known for not being a US military prison. Not exactly ideal, but under the circumstances, not entirely terrible. The government knows where Snowden is (more or less) and many officials have a pretty good idea what they’d like to do to him if he returns, but the NSA is still largely operating on speculation when it comes to what documents Snowden took.

    • [Old] America’s Spies Want Edward Snowden Dead
    • Meet the Man Leading the Snowden Damage Investigation

      Among the many actions the Obama administration took in the “post-Snowden” era of insider threats was to appoint a new governmentwide counterintellligence chief.

      The man filling that role, or the “NCIX,” as acronym-inclined national security feds call the National Counterintelligence Executive, is Bill Evanina, 47, a former FBI special agent with a counter-terrorism specialty.

    • Should the Entire Internet Be Encrypted?
    • How to Save the Net: Break Up the NSA

      By treating the Internet as a giant surveillance platform, the NSA has betrayed the Internet and the world. It has subverted the products, protocols, and standards that we use to protect ourselves. It has left us all vulnerable—to foreign governments, to cybercriminals, to hackers. And it has transformed the Internet into a medium that no one can trust.

      The world has changed dramatically since the NSA was founded 62 years ago. Back then, it was easy to spy on foreign governments while shielding our own from snoops. Today, the NSA’s intelligence mission has expanded from just government-on-government espionage to government-on-population surveillance. At the same time, the communications world has shifted from dedicated circuits that can be passively tapped to a single global Internet infrastructure that requires active attack to eavesdrop on. Everyone uses the same networks, and creating the capability to eavesdrop on foreign communications by engineering backdoors into US technology leaves domestic transmissions vulnerable to eavesdropping. The NSA’s aggressive data-gathering, with seemingly little regard for how that might compromise the security of everyday digital communications—and with only loose oversight (at best) by government watchdogs—has far exceeded what any modern and free society should reasonably expect. Breaking up the agency would do a lot to bring it under control.

    • Your identity at stake – Local experts reveal how to keep your privacy online

      Haass and other experts will tell you the best way to protect the information you may have stored on a computer and/or mobile device is to use multiple passwords, and change them.

    • Germany Eavesdropped on Clinton, Kerry, but It Can’t Be Considered ‘Spying’ – US Expert
    • Turkey summons German ambassador over BND spying allegations

      Turkey has summoned the German ambassador to demand a “formal and satisfactory explanation” following reports that the country was spied on by Germany’s intelligence agency (BND).

      German media reported at the weekend that the BND had not only “accidentally” listened in on phone calls made by the US secretary of state, John Kerry, and his predecessor Hillary Clinton in 2012 and 2013, but that it also – less accidentally – monitored the activities of Turkish politicians. According to news magazine Der Spiegel, the Nato member has been listed as a target for BND surveillance since 2009.

    • Opinion: The BND, a completely normal secret service

      The German intelligence service, the BND, treats its NATO partner Turkey just as America’s NSA treats Germany. Everyone mistrusts everyone else, but nobody’s prepared to admit it, says Marcel Fürstenau.

    • Germany Electronic Spying on Turkey Rankles Both Sides
    • German surveillance upsets Turkish trust
    • Germany criticised over Turkey spying allegations
    • German spying report angers Turkey
    • CHP submits parliamentary question on German spying scandal

      Main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) İzmir deputy Erdal Aksünger has submitted a parliamentary question concerning the allegations that Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) spied on Turkey.

    • Aphex Twin announces album over anonymous browser Tor

      Irish-born musician and enigmatic DJ Aphex Twin has released details of his first album in 13 years – that are only accessible through the Tor anonymous browser.

    • Tor-rorists get sneaky Aphex Twin album peek in dance guru hypegasm
    • Tweetstorm: Rupert Murdoch Says Google Is Worse Than the NSA
    • Rupert Murdoch ‘Hypocritically’ Attacks Google In Twitter Tirade
    • Rupert Murdoch says Google is a bigger threat to privacy than the NSA
    • Twitter users pour scorn on Murdoch after Google tweet
    • Rupert Murdoch redefines irony with Google privacy attack on Twitter

      Sneak loves to spend his lunch hour lurking on Twitter, scrolling through the tawdry thoughts of bored IT execs and publicity-hungry tech corporations.

      But sometimes, when the hum of the server room is getting too much, Sneak stumbles upon a wonderful gem of bile, hypocrisy, anger and opinion.

      Today’s nugget of controversy comes courtesy of Rupert Murdoch, who tweeted: “NSA privacy invasion bad, but nothing compared to Google.”

      [...]

      Given that Murdoch was all but forced to put the century-old News of the World out to pasture over phone hacking, to call out Google’s approach to privacy is so hypocritical that a new catalogue of pot and kettle-esque idioms needs to be written.

      Then again perhaps one could consider Murdoch to be an expert on such issues, given how far the News of the World went to destroy the concept of privacy for so many.

    • Hyprocrite alert: Rupert Murdoch ripped to pieces on Twitter after laughable update about Google and NSA

      Rupert Murdoch has incurred the wrath of the online community after publishing an ever-so-hypocritical tweet about privacy.

    • Rupert Murdoch stabs at Google in curious Twitter tirade
    • Clear-text must die

      The Citizen Lab “hackers” at University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs have released a report which reveals the use of network injection by law enforcement as a method to undermine internet security – and it makes for frightening reading.

    • The Truth About Executive Order 12333

      But first I want to commend Tye for raising his concerns through the processes established for that purpose. Using those processes, he has been able to review his concerns with intelligence oversight bodies as well as with the public, all while continuing to protect classified information.

    • Scientists, Not Politicians, Should Regulate NSA Surveillance

      The raging public debate over the surveillance state could actually benefit from the expertise of an unsuspecting source, a recent academic article suggests.

      Instead of relying on the myriad privacy and legal experts, congressmen, or former NSA directors chiming in on the NSA surveillance state, a new article in Science argues that we should really be asking more scientists what they think about domestic signals intelligence for American policymaking.

    • The Show That Warned Us Enemy of the State Was a Documentary

      If you watched the 2009 NOVA episode “The Spy Factory,” or the 2007 Frontline episode “Spying on the Homefront” you’ll see it all there — the phone surveillance, the internet monitoring, and even the whistleblowers from the NSA facilities who were listening to your phone calls. We knew American intelligence agencies were spying on Americans with impunity.

    • Judge critical of NSA’s ‘systemic overcollection’
    • Report: US May Take Years to Prevent Another Snowden

      U.S. intelligence officials are months or even years away from preventing classified information from being leaked in cases similar to fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden, The Daily Beast reported.

      The officials say that due to the vast number of computer systems and networks in the 70 U.S. agencies dealing with secret data, it will be a long process before they are able to keep an eye on the computers of federal employees with security clearance.

      The intelligence officials are almost a year away from being able to monitor public databases for clues that government workers have transgressed federal laws or run into financial hardship, the Beast said.

      Due to the delays in mounting a sweeping monitoring service to “watch the watchers,” the intelligence agencies are also struggling to keep an eye on its employees. The setbacks resulted in a “second Snowden,” who leaked secret files to The Intercept from the National Counterterrorism Center, the Beast said.

    • US Privacy Official Leaves the White House

      Wong previously held positions such as director of legal products at Twitter and deputy general counsel at Google, the latter of which involved making calls on censoring certain content on YouTube and in searches. She earned herself the nickname “the Decider” while in the position.

      She joined the Obama administration in June of last year in what was, at the time, considered a positive move just after the NSA revelations had rocked the administration.

    • A first step in reining in the NSA

      A little more than a year after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the federal government was collecting and storing the telephone records of millions of Americans, Congress is poised to end the program and provide significant protection for a broad range of personal information sought by government investigators.

    • Bishop latest hacking casualty in global game of phones

      Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has joined the likes of former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in a political game of phones, after her smartphone was compromised while on a two-week overseas trip.

      Australian intelligence authorities seized and replaced Bishop’s phone on her return from a two-week trip to Ukraine, the US, and Holland, in which she worked to broker a deal to get Australian police into the Ukrainian crash site of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 — shot down by a surface-to-air missile on July 17 by Russian-backed rebels.

    • A beginner’s guide to Tor: How to navigate through the underground internet

      I’ll begin with a warning. Everything you’ve heard about the deep web is probably true. Yes, it’s a hub for illegal activity. Yes, cyber criminals run loose. And yes, users can find terrifying illegal behavior–including a bitcoin funded assassination market. In short, the Deep Web has a reputation for being virtual refuge for people who have something to hide. The most popular gateway into the Deep Web is Tor, a free network which allows users to anonymously browse the Web, and has been under NSA’s microscope since its inception in 2002. Countries like Russia and the US are trying to expose Tor users. Russia has issued a bounty, offering upwards of $100,000 for anyone who can successfully deanonymize Tor.

    • All of Your Tumblr Photos Will Now Be Scanned for Branded Content

      Tumblr, it seems, is also ready to help corporations cash in on its users’ impeccably curated tastes. It just inked a deal with Ditto, a company that scans images on the web for branded products and sells the results to multinationals like Coca-Cola and Kraft, and part of the deal involves giving Ditto wholesale access to all of Tumblr’s (which is to say Tumblr users’) photos.

    • ‘Without privacy we can’t have a free democracy’ – Former MI5 officer Annie Machon
    • What You Need To Know About The FISA Court—And How It Needs To Change
    • The Internet Metadata Memo: A Summary

      In the latter category, and likely of interest to anyone seeking to know more about the larger bulk collection story, is this 2004 submission to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”). The brief sought—and evidently, for a time, won—FISC sign-off for the NSA to collect internet metadata in bulk, pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s (“FISA”) pen register and trap and trace rules. That’s consequential, considering what had happened earlier. As is well known, that year Department of Justice officials, including then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey and then-Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith (who had no role in editing this post) had protested the legality of highly secret surveillance program that President George W. Bush had authorized pursuant to his independent constitutional powers. The White House relented and agreed to changes—one being, apparently, a bid to bring the surveillance within the FISA framework.

    • Secret GCHQ system can map web connections of entire countries
    • GCHQ scanned entire countries for vulnerabilities with Hacienda programme
    • Masters of the Internet: GCHQ scanned entire countries for vulnerabilities
    • GCHQ Scans Entire Countries for Flaws to Exploit – Report

      British spy agency GCHQ has since 2009 been port scanning every available IP address in 27 countries across the globe for vulnerable systems to exploit, according to a new report.

      The HACIENDA program was exposed in secret documents obtained by reporters writing for German publisher Heise.

    • Russia and China Expand Trade in Computer Software

      As Russia’s relations with the West sour over Ukraine, the Kremlin has agreed to broaden software deliveries to China, with increased supplies of Chinese servers, storage systems and other IT products set to come the other way, Russian Communications and Mass Media Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said Monday.

      The deal is likely aimed at helping Russia replace deliveries of U.S. information technology products in light of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow for its role in the Ukraine crisis.

  • Civil Rights

    • Defense Industry Donations and the Alan Grayson Police Militarization Amendment

      With images of heavily armed police confronting protesters in Ferguson, Mo., sparking a national debate about police militarization, a campaign finance research organization has released a study showing how much defense industry money House members got before a June 19 vote that rejected Rep. Alan Grayson’s amendment to block military equipment transfers to local law enforcement. The organization, MapLight, found that those who voted against it got 73 percent more in defense industry donations than those who voted in favor.

    • How America’s police became so well armed

      Americans, at last, appear to have had enough. A Reason-Rupe poll released in December found that 58% of Americans believe police militarisation has gone “too far”. Whether their politicians heed them is another question. Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky and a likely contender for his party’s presidential nomination in 2016, just wrote an editorial arguing that it is time to “demilitarise the police”, but he has yet to introduce any legislation to back those words up. In June Alan Grayson, a liberal Democrat from Florida, sponsored an amendment that would have forbidden the Defence Department from transferring to local police “aircraft (including unmanned aerial vehicles), armoured vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxicological agents (including chemical agents, biological agents, and associated equipment), launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, mines, or nuclear weapons.” It failed: not a single House leader of either party voted for it. America’s defence industry donates millions of dollars to politicians, and spends even more on lobbyists. Those who opposed Mr Grayson’s bill received, on average, 73% more in defence-industry donations than those who voted for it.

    • If police in Ferguson treat journalists like this, imagine how they treat residents

      You don’t arrest reporters just to stifle journalism — you do it to make a statement

    • From Boston to Ferguson: Have We Reached a Tipping Point in the Police State?

      The difference between what happened in Boston in the wake of the Boston Marathon explosion and what is happening now in Ferguson, Missouri, is not in the government’s response but in the community’s response.

      [...]

      This is what happens when you fail to take alarm at the first experiment on your liberties.

    • KKK raising money for Ferguson police officer

      A Missouri chapter of the Ku Klux Klan is planning a fundraiser this weekend for the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen.

    • 25 Images From The Worst Night Of Violence In Ferguson

      olice and protesters clashed again Sunday, hours before midnight curfew went into effect.

      Armed riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a large group of protestors who marched toward a police command center in the parking lot of a shopping mall. Protesters threw back gas canisters and rocks at the police. Police responded to reports of multiple shootings, looting, and throwing of Molotov cocktails.

    • Autopsy Report Says Michael Brown Shot Twice in the Head

      An autopsy report conducted at the request of Michael Brown’s family shows that he was shot six times — four in the right arm and twice in the head — with all shots coming from the front of his body. The autopsy was the second of three that will be conducted on Brown’s body. Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a federal medical examiner to do an independent examination. State officials performed the first autopsy. This second autopsy, performed on Sunday, was conducted by Dr. Michael Baden, a former chief medical examine for New York City, at the request of Brown’s family.

    • The US War Culture Has Come Home to Roost
    • The state of emergency in Ferguson, Missouri
    • Blowback in Ferguson

      The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager and the ensuing protests in Ferguson, Missouri has rocked America. Even the mainstream media with its aversion to the truth, has been forced to address the militarization of the police in America — albeit years too late.

    • [CIA Post] I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me.

      But if you believe (or know) that the cop stopping you is violating your rights or is acting like a bully, I guarantee that the situation will not become easier if you show your anger and resentment. Worse, initiating a physical confrontation is a sure recipe for getting hurt. Police are legally permitted to use deadly force when they assess a serious threat to their or someone else’s life. Save your anger for later, and channel it appropriately. Do what the officer tells you to and it will end safely for both of you. We have a justice system in which you are presumed innocent; if a cop can do his or her job unmolested, that system can run its course. Later, you can ask for a supervisor, lodge a complaint or contact civil rights organizations if you believe your rights were violated. Feel free to sue the police! Just don’t challenge a cop during a stop.

    • German journalists arrested in Ferguson

      Ansgar Graw and Frank Hermann were cuffed and jailed for three hours the day after arriving in the beleaguered suburb of St. Louis. Graw and Hermann were there to cover the town of Ferguson, whose African-American population has clashed fiercely with local police since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer on August 9.

    • Chinese State Media Weigh In On Ferguson Riots, Citing Persistent Racism In ‘Every Aspect Of U.S. Social Lives’
    • Defense Contractors’ Funds Fuel Vote To Keep Dept. Of Defense’s Police Militarization Program Funded

      Color me unamazed. Politicians who are in favor of the government’s 1033 program — which distributes excess military gear and weapons to police departments engaged in our country’s two favorite “wars” (v. Terror, v. Drugs) — received a lot more money from defense contractors than those who oppose it.

    • The House voted not to demilitarize cops just two months ago. Will it be different after Ferguson?

      On June 19, the House voted on an amendment to a Department of Defense appropriations bill authored by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.). In short, the amendment would have prevented the military from distributing to local police forces some of heavy weapons and vehicles that the country has seen deployed in response to unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

    • Police militarization catches eye of Congress
    • The continued war on black males

      The killing of Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer is a reminder that, if you are a black man in America, you continue to be the nation’s number-one threat. There has been a long and protracted war against black men dating back to the antebellum period, where fear of plantation rebellions drove the country to enact heinous and draconian slave-revolt laws.

    • Police Militarization Escalates Even As Violence Declines — And There’s A Good Chance It’s Going To Get Worse

      We’ve been writing about the militarization of police, and why it’s problematic, for years — but the events of the last week in Ferguson, Missouri, have really shone a (rather bright) light on what happens when you militarize the police. Annie Lowrey, over at New York Magazine, highlights what may be most disturbing about all of it: all of this has happened while violence has been on a rapid decline, and, no it’s not because your local suburban police force now has a SWAT team and decommissioned military equipment from the Defense Department…

    • A Militarized Police, a Less Violent Public

      The story of Michael Brown’s death has in no small part been a story of police overreaction. The local force evidently killed an unarmed teenager, and then suited up as if going to war to police the generally peaceful protests that followed. And it’s revealed an irony: Over the past generation or so, we’ve militarized our police to protect a public that has broadly become less and less violent.

      It all starts back in 1990, a time when the country found itself with less demand for military equipment abroad and new use for it back home. Within our shores, the drug wars were escalating; gang violence was surging; and sociologists were warning of sociopathic child “superpredators.” At the same time, the military was starting to shrink as the Cold War ended. Put two and two together and you get the 1033 program, which transferred assets from the military to the police. (Here’s a capsule history.)

    • Ferguson, Missouri, and Trayvon Prove America Is No Democracy For Blacks

      The protests and riots in Ferguson, Missouri are providing proof the U.S. government sanctions racial injustice in this country while denouncing it abroad. The federal government spends trillions of dollars so we can be the world’s peacekeepers. We start wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of freedom. We help rebel groups oust dictators and oppressors like Muammar Gaddafi and the Taliban. We send drones and warplanes to bomb rebels from Islamic rebels in Iraq and Syria who are killing Christians. And we put sanctions on Iran for putting protesters in jail.

    • Ferguson Killing Exposes the Reality Of Militarized, Racist Policing directed against African Americans
    • Video: LAPD Tells Drone Operator Not To Fly Over Ezell Ford Protest

      Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old unarmed, mentally-challenged African-American man, was shot and killed by police last week in South L.A. The circumstances surrounding Ford’s death vary depending on who’s talking. The LAPD say the fatal shooting occurred only after a struggle in which Ford tried to grab an officer’s gun, while Ford’s family say there was no struggle.

    • East Turkestan: The Use of Drones in Yarkent Raises Concerns

      The Uyghur American Association urges the Chinese government to provide transparency over the use of drones in security operations in Yarkent County, fearing that deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles and militarization of the region will escalate further tensions and result in violence against Uyghur civilians.

    • China Said to Deploy Drones After Unrest in Xinjiang

      Three days after an eruption of violence in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang this summer left nearly 100 people dead, the region’s “antiterrorist command” asked the country’s biggest space and defense contractor for help. It wanted technical experts to operate drones that the authorities in Xinjiang had ordered last year in anticipation of growing unrest. The target was “terrorists,” according to the online edition of People’s Daily, a Communist Party media outlet.

    • PR workers outnumber journalists 5 to 1 in the US

      Back in 2004, public relations specialists outnumbered journalists about 3 to 1 in the United States. Today, as steady jobs in journalism disappear, it’s roughly 5 to 1. One reason more Americans are taking home a PR paycheck? It certainly pays a lot better than working in journalism.

    • The Crisis in Investigative Journalism

      Such investigative journalists are the vanguard of the so-called Fourth Estate, bearing the formidable task of watchdogging the other three estates – the Executive, Judiciary and Legislative – to ensure that they remain ‘checks and balances’ to each other in their assigned constitutional tasks of maintaining the Democratic Republic’s integrity and vibrancy. While such journalists are often associated with a ‘paper of record’, their work is so crucial that sometimes some separation even from their publisher is necessary, since publications are owned, and owners have political agendas, and those agendas may conflict with the findings of deep journalism. Recall, for instance, the New York Time’s decision to hold back, on the brink of the November 2004 presidential election, an explosive investigatory report on the Bush administration’s use of the NSA for warrantless domestic wiretapping (shocking revelations that beat Snowden’s by years) – a delay with serious repercussions for the Times’ reputation.

      Prior to Glenn Greenwald’s in-depth journalistic interpretation and analysis of Edward Snowden’s raw NSA revelations last year, undoubtedly the most significant investigative journalism in US history came with the publication and analysis of the Pentagon Papers, released to the press by ex-Rand analyst Daniel Ellsberg back in 1971. Of the three branches of government, the Executive is the one that requires the most watchdogging because it is the branch wherein a single individual – the president – has a disproportionate and unilateral power at his disposal, compared to the Judiciary and Legislative, where decisions must come as the result of conference and consensus. The president can potentially become another form of king, if not checked. What the Pentagon Papers uncovered was the history of America’s secret presidential war-mongering in Viet Nam, beginning with the Eisenhower administration down through Nixon’s utterly corrupt regime – a history of unilateral and illegal foreign policy decision-making that by-passed Congress and the people they represent.

      This is not merely academic or specious. It seems that very few people recall now that when the chips were down for Nixon, he was actively considering a military coup to stay in office. As legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote in a long-form piece for the Atlantic in 1983,

      The notion that Nixon could at any time resort to extraordinary steps to preserve his presidency was far more widespread in the government than the public perceived in the early days of Watergate or perceives today.

    • NYT reporter James Risen: Obama a ‘hypocrite,’ ‘greatest enemy to press freedom’

      It’s not a secret that the Obama administration has cracked down on whistle-blowers harder than any previous administration. Now a New York Times reporter and former Pulitzer Prize-winner has some harsh words for the president.

    • James Risen: Obama ‘greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation’
    • Embattled Reporter: Obama’s Support for Press Freedom ‘Hypocritical’
    • New York Times reporter has harsh words for Barack Obama’s view of the press
    • Obama Admin ‘Greatest Enemy to Press Freedom in a Generation’
    • 910 KINA Coffee Talk: Is President Obama one of the greatest enemies of press freedom?
    • 2. New York Times reporter calls Obama A “Press Enemy”
    • NYTimes Reporter: Obama ‘Greatest Enemy To Press Freedom In A Generation’ [VIDEO]
    • James Risen calls Obama ‘greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation’
    • Journalist James Risen denounces President Obama as the “greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation”
    • Obama denounced as ‘greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation’
    • Reporter to get Newspaper Guild award for defying subpoena
    • NY Times’ James Risen: Obama Is ‘Greatest Enemy of Press Freedom in a Generation’
    • Obama May Soon Send This Reporter to Jail. Here Are the Embarrassing Secrets He Exposed.

      The Obama administration has fought a years-long court battle to force longtime New York Times national security correspondent James Risen to reveal the source for a story in his 2006 book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. Risen may soon serve jail time for refusing to out his source. The fight has drawn attention to Obama’s less-than-stellar track record on press freedom—in a recent interview, Risen called the president “the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.” But lost in the ruckus are the details of what Risen revealed. Here’s what has the government so upset.

      In State of War, Risen revealed a secret CIA operation, code-named Merlin, that was intended to undermine the Iranian nuclear program. The plan—originally approved by president Bill Clinton, but later embraced by George W. Bush—was to pass flawed plans for a trigger system for a nuclear weapon to Iran in the hopes of derailing the country’s nuclear program. “It was one of the greatest engineering secrets in the world,” Risen wrote in State of War, “providing the solution to one of a handful of problems that separated nuclear powers such as the United States and Russia from the rogue countries like Iran that were desperate to join the nuclear club but had so far fallen short.”

    • A Tale of Two Alleged Iran Nuke Leakers

      Over a year ago, NBC reported that General Cartwright had received a target letter informing him he was under investigation as the source for one of David Sanger’s stories on US-Israeli efforts to stall Iran’s enrichment program with the StuxNet cyberattack.

    • Muslim states should learn a lesson from 1953 coup in Iran: Larijani

      Last year, the CIA publicly admitted for the first time that it was behind the notorious 1953 coup against Iran’s democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddeq, in documents that also showed how the British government tried to block the release of information about its own involvement in his overthrow.

    • BSC President and retired Gen. Charles Krulak calls for full disclosure of CIA torture program (Opinion)

      In a strongly worded commentary Birmingham Southern College President and former Marine Corps commandant, retired Gen. Charles C. Krulak, said the CIA must not be allowed to “circle the wagons” to prevent the full disclosure by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence of a report detailing the agency’s torture program during the early years of the War on Terror.

    • UK ambassador ‘lobbied’ US senators to obscure Britain’s complicity in CIA rendition program

      Records published under Britain’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Act have compounded concerns that the UK government lobbied US officials to keep Britain’s role in CIA torture and rendition out of a soon-to-be published Senate report.

      Newly-released data reveals Britain’s ambassador to the US, Peter Westmacott, engaged in at least 21 separate meetings with members of the US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) prior to its publication of this report, heightening existing allegations that the British government may be seeking to sanitize the document.

    • UK lobbied to hide role in CIA torture program: Report
    • Ackerman: CIA snooping on Senate strikes at Constitution

      CIA spying on the Senate is the constitutional equivalent of the Watergate break-in. In both cases, the executive branch attacked the very foundations of our system of checks and balances.

      President Barack Obama is not Richard Nixon. Obama hasn’t been implicated personally in organizing this constitutional assault. But he is wrong to support the limited response of his CIA director, John Brennan, who is trying to defer serious action by simply creating an “accountability panel” to consider “potential disciplinary measures” or “systemic issues.”

    • Nation’s true heroes fought to expose and end torture

      After more than a decade of denial and concealment on the part of our government, President Barack Obama’s recent acknowledgment that “we tortured some folks” felt like a milestone. Even in its spare, reductive phrasing, the president’s statement opened up the possibility, finally, of national reflection, contrition and accountability.

    • Letter: We must turn our backs on torture

      Let’s turn our backs on torture

      Editor: Torture is the intentional infliction of pain to make someone talk. President Obama used plain English to describe what the CIA did during the Bush administration. The New York Times just decided to stop sugar-coating it. It no longer uses “enhanced interrogation methods”, and now uses the word “torture” I urge The Record to tell it like it is. This helps us, as citizens, face clearly what was done in our name.

    • How Abu Zubaydah’s Torture Put CIA and FBI in NSA’s Databases

      In other words, the justification for creating a database where CIA and FBI could directly access much of NSA’s data was a mirage, one created by CIA’s own torture.

      All that’s separate from the question of whether CIA and FBI should have access directly to NSA’s data. Perhaps it makes us more responsive. Perhaps it perpetuates this process of chasing ghosts. That’s a debate we should have based on actual results, not the tortured false confessions of a decade past.

    • Women bring challenge against London police for sending undercover officers to have sex with them

      I just came across these videos while reading about the ongoing litigation in the UK against the Metropolitan police department, related to its red-squad undercover infiltration of left-wing movements in London and beyond. They look really interesting and well worth watching (full disclosure, though: I can’t vouch for them, because I haven’t yet watched them).

    • 7 Pages That Gave President Obama Cover to Kill Americans
    • Here Are the 7 Pages That Gave President Obama Cover to Kill Americans

      Before David Barron was confirmed this year to a lifetime seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, his critics objected that the cover he gave President Obama to carry out extrajudicial killings of American citizens ought to disqualify him from the bench. “I rise today to oppose the nomination of anyone who would argue that the president has the power to kill an American citizen not involved in combat and without a trial,” Senator Rand Paul declared in remarks opposing the nomination. “I rise to say that there is no legal precedent for killing citizens not involved in combat and that any nominee who rubber stamps and grants such power to a president is not worthy of being one step away from the Supreme Court.”

    • Nazi Resister Returns Holocaust Medal to Israel After Losing Relatives in Gaza

      A 91-year-old man honored by Israel for saving a Jewish life during the Nazi Holocaust has returned his medal in protest of the Gaza assault. Henk Zanoli was given Israel’s Righteous Among the Nations award for his actions under Nazi occupation in Amsterdam. In 1943, Zanoli smuggled out a Jewish boy and helped hide him in his home for two years, despite Nazi suspicion he and his family backed the resistance.

    • Israel Blocks Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch from Gaza

      The Israeli government is blocking Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch from entering the Gaza Strip, preventing researchers from investigating the assault. The Israeli journalist Amira Hass reports the groups have been told they must register as a humanitarian aid organization, only to later be informed they do not qualify. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have previously issued reports that raised allegations of potential war crimes by Israel, as well as on a smaller scale by Hamas.

    • This Week in Transparency: The Mosaic Effect

      Among the many, many issues raised by the fatal police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black kid in Ferguson, Missouri this week was police transparency. The Ferguson police initially refused to release the name of the officer who shot the victim, Michael Brown, leading to a national outcry.

      It is one of the peculiarities of police departments that officers are afforded great privacy protections when they are involved in such an incident. Officer safety is cited, which is well and good, but police departments often feel no similar compunction to protect the identity of civilian suspects.

    • Has the US Legal System Always Been Such a Joke?

      It’s easy to feel cynical about law and order in America. Just peruse the tales of paramilitary police forces exerting their will on minorities in places like Ferguson, Missouri while rich bankers routinely escape from punishment for their white-collar crimes. Now the US Sentencing Commission is considering curbing the jail terms dished out for financial crimes like fraud, figuring that since the Feds have finally started to scale back mandatory minimums for drug offenses, we might as well take it even easier on corporate execs.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Court: Usenet Provider Doesn’t Have to Filter Pirated Content

        The defunct News-Service.com, once one of the leading Usenet providers with many prominent resellers, has scored a court victory against Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. The appeals court overturned a previous verdict and ruled that the Usenet provider doesn’t have to monitor and filter pirated content.

BlackBerry — Like Microsoft Nokia — Could be the Next Patent Proxy Troll

Posted in Google, Patents at 6:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blackberry
Mike Lazaridis
Mike Lazaridis – Founder and Co-CEO of Research in Motion (Blackberry), photo by textlad

Summary: BlackBerry is restructuring for patent assertion (i.e. trolling) in the wake of some alliances with Microsoft

LAST year we warned that BlackBerry was becoming somewhat of a troll. Well, right now BlackBerry is indeed becoming a patent troll in very much the same way Nokia became a troll when Microsoft took over (decoupling patents and products), as many had alleged and all along expected last year. This is appalling. Recall what Microsoft and BlackBerry have been doing in recent years. It seems likely that BlackBerry will soon become a vector for attacks on Google and Android (through Android backers). BlackBerry recently had a war of words with Blackphone backers, who used Android of course.

Over the weekend we wrote about a CAFC ruling that stopped Vringo. We also recently covered Microsoft’s role in arming Vringo with patents that it used against Google. This shows us to what degree Microsoft is attacking Linux/Android by proxy. Here is TechDirt reporting that Vringo “Gets Stomped By CAFC, Just Months After Being Awarded A Huge Chunk Of Google’s Ad Revenue”. Vringo’s stock nosedives:

A U.S. appeals court on Friday rejected patent claims brought by a Vringo Inc subsidiary against several companies including Google, sending Vringo shares plummeting.

If BlackBerry follows the route of Nokia and Vringo, it will end up no better than either, perhaps in bankruptcy.

After Microsoft’s Soft Bribe Some Non-Technical Deputy Does Not Like Free Software, Microsoft-Linked Media Responds to This Non-News by Making Bogus Claims of Munich Leaving GNU/Linux (Updated)

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The subversive forces that have secretly been attacking Munich over its migration to GNU/Linux (Microsoft press, Gartner, and even HP) are back to doing it while China and Russia follow Munich’s lead

IT has been quite a while since we last saw such an ugly propaganda effort by Microsoft. Looking carefully at where the propaganda started or came from, we can be pretty sure that Microsoft’s disgraceful and unethical PR agencies are not passive. They are exploiting non-news and something of little significance to make it sound as though something pretty big is happening. They want the public to believe, yet again, that Munich’s migration (which saved a lot of money and was defended by officials repeatedly) is a failure. Microsoft did this many times before and even tried using bribes, bogus ‘reports’, proxy attacks etc. We covered dozens of examples over the years. Munich is dangerous to Microsoft because it sets an example; it shows how a whole city can completely abandon Microsoft and do a lot better thereafter, not just for privacy/autonomy/security reasons but also for technical reasons, not to mention all the local jobs this creates (economic gain).

Microsoft Peter played a role in the propaganda, as one ought to expect. He did, however, reveal that Microsoft bribery against Munich (just like in Norway) seems likely. Microsoft likes to offer facilities in exchange for political favours. We showed how it was done before in numerous countries which were planning too abandon Microsoft. To quote Microsoft Peter: “Microsoft announced last year that it was moving its German headquarters to Munich. This move is planned to take place in 2016. While Reiter was involved in the deal that precipitated the move and describes himself as a “Microsoft fan,” he says the criticism of LiMux is unrelated.”

Everything is related. People don’t compartmentalise their minds like this.

The above is not news; we saw that almost a month ago and reports (English) about it were numerous. “One single *opinion* is causing all the articles,” a reader told us. It was true back then and it is true this week. We must remember that this is not even a new thing, as the German press covered it almost a month ago and the only new thing is Microsoft’s amplification and distortion of the opinion. The Microsoft propaganda machine kicked off; that’s what’s “news”. As we continued to observe the news over the past 24 hours we found that the propaganda pieces came mostly from Microsoft fan sites, all cheering for Microsoft and inciting against Munich’s migration to GNU/Linux. Microsoft must be very afraid after China and Russia announced their plan to abandon Microsoft, so Microsoft ‘fan’ sites (or veiled marketing sites) do their thing, distort the facts, and then post “corrections” (after pressure from readers perhaps). Here is one Microsoft fan site that corrected its propaganda piece by stating: “While the deputy mayor of Munich seems to suggest in the article that the government will strongly consider a return to Windows, it appears a final decision to move from the Linux OS has not yet been officially determined.”

Exactly, there is no news. There’s just some old opinion of one person. But don’t let facts get in Microsoft’s way. Here is the Microsoft-bribed Ed Bott (one of the worst Microsoft boosters, but one who enjoys a platform of CBS and therefore enters “news” aggregation) disseminating the propaganda to a large audience. He has not even corrected his errors yet. The propaganda remains standing the editors let it be.

For now, we are done collecting examples of this Microsoft propaganda output. It’s not news and it’s not about Munich. A deputy mayor is not Munich and his opinion does not have so much weight. He is not a technical person.

It is rather clear that a lot the propaganda about Munich originally came to the English-speaking press from people like Ed Bott (backed by Microsoft) and brought to wider attention in the CBS propaganda network. Prior to that it was possible to find incorrect reports (probably not bad translations) which dared not say that Microsoft is bribing officials again (Microsoft already tried to pay Munich to abandon its Free software project).

The first article we saw about this (in English) came from Geek.com [1] and cited this article in German. An automated translation states: “End of 2013, the Munich City Council had to switch from Windows to Linux declared to be successfully completed and announced the regular operation of Linux systems to nearly 15,000 jobs.”

OK, so what’s the fuss? The migration is complete, people are generally happy (no nightmare stories in the press), and only shoddy marketing groups like Gartner (which recommends Windows on Microsoft's behalf) continue to badmouth the migration behind closed doors, as we covered numerous years ago. Also behind closed doors, HP attacked Munich’s migration with a report (this was uncovered a couple of years ago), reminding us that HP is only pretending to be competing with Microsoft. As this rebuttal to a piece from the chronically Linux-hostile Verge reminds us, HP too is among the factors antagonising GNU/Linux:

First of all dear, The Verge, it is *not* a Chromebook Killer, because you need to understand what a Chromebook is before calling a low-end laptop with an OS no one wants as a killer laptop.

Now coming back to the news: HP is supposedly working on a low-cost Windows 8.1 laptop which will be sold for $199. It seems like ‘netbook v2′ strategy of Microsoft to hurt Linux. This time it’s not going to happen as we have a heavyweight like Google and not smaller Canonical.

I already regret buying an HP mouse yesterday afternoon. Recalling how HP tried to derail Munich’s migration to GNU/Linux (secretly) should be another reminder of the many US-based forces aligned to destroy an escape from Microsoft, the NSA, the back doors, and PRISM. Munich would have to be insane to go back to Microsoft knowing everything it knows about Microsoft and the NSA, as well as the NSA’a attacks on Germany (espionage).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 10 years later, Munich may dump Linux for Windows

    A few years ago, Linux sites were buzzing that the city of Munich, Germany was going to kick Windows to the curb and roll out a Linux-based OS on all their government desktops. […]

Update: Munich has fired back at what it claims to be false reports:

Munich city council demonstrated to the world that an organisation employing thousands could ditch Windows and move to Linux and free software.

When the project finished late last year about 15,000 staff at the German authority had been migrated to using Limux, a custom-version of Ubuntu, and OpenOffice.

But is the council’s move to open source about to be scrapped in favour or returning to Microsoft?

No says the council, in spite of numerous reports to the contrary. Suggestions the council has decided to back away from Linux are wrong, according to council spokesman Stefan Hauf.

He said the council’s recently elected mayor Dieter Reiter has instead simply commissioned a report into the future IT system for the council.

“The new mayor has asked the administration to gather the facts so we can decide and make a proposal for the city council how to proceed in future,” he said.

“Not only for Limux but for all of IT. It’s about the organisation, the costs, performance and the useability and satisfaction of the users.”

The study, being conducted by internal IT staff at the council, will consider which operating systems and software packages – both proprietary and open source – would best satisfy this criteria. The study is not, as has been reported, solely focused around the question of whether to drop Limux and move back to Windows, he said.

Gates Foundation CFO Quits and Debate About Revolving Doors Recalled Amid Systematic and Shrewd Bribery of Public Officials

Posted in Bill Gates at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More officials step out of the Gates Foundation and their destination is not known yet; Gates continues to corrupt the public sector with his money so as to increase personal gain at taxpayers’ expense

The Gates Foundation is a nice-looking tax evasion apparatus. Gates has already used it to evade literally billions of dollars in tax payments (he is not alone, as Bush-era tax cuts made it even legal) and at the same time he glorified himself, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars paid to press organisations, blogs etc. to help launder the Gates Brand®. Gates is rapidly becoming richer and richer, so the myth of giving is a myth, that is all. It is usually taxpayers who foot the bill for his endeavours; he is there just to steal credit and collect a profit. Now we find that the financial chief of this apparatus decides to quit and along with him quits another top executive. He is yet another top official who quits on his own. Others spoke a little negatively after they had left. Some did complain about what they saw, but would not go into specifics (gag orders and conditions are often part of the departure). They did this perhaps despite the non-disparagement clauses. A Microsoft and Gates fan site said:

Two top execs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are stepping down: Dick Henriques is leaving the organization after four years as CFO, while Martha Choe is moving on after spending ten years with the foundation.

The danger (and expectation) is that Dick Henriques and Martha Choe will pick up a government job now, potentially in order to help Bill Gates from within governments and the likes of them (revolving doors). According to this:

Leigh Morgan will take over Choe’s responsibilities in the newly created role of chief operating officer. She is new to the foundation, coming from , San Francisco, where she was an associate chancellor.

Appointment of Leigh Morgan to Gates’ lobbying group after a public career reminds us how Gates bribes public officials (salaries) as a reward for their ‘services’. We gave some examples of that before. Here is another article which says:

Transition for all four leaders will begin immediately and continue through late September.

It is important to see where the departing ones go because the articles do not say. If they go into the public sector they often become like moles of Gates, as we saw very routinely in the world of education. Gates cleverly passed many bribes to officials and policymakers, under the guise of ‘charity’. Here is a new article about Gates’ lobbying in education:

Hoping to line up the support of teachers, the Gates Foundation education chief is now urging states to wait two years before using Common Core tests to make decisions about teacher performance.

Like many do-gooders, Bill Gates is obsessed with the problem of inequality. However, Common Core’s way of trying to overcome inequality is by dumbing down all U.S. students and pretending, like the Lake Wobegon kids, that all children are above average.

Reacting to the growing opposition to Common Core, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the biggest money bag for Common Core, is now urging states to have a two-year moratorium on all states and school districts about to make any high-stakes decisions based on tests aligned to the new standards.

Also see [1,2] and this article that says: “Both groups also received chunks of the almost $200 million that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invested in developing Common Core. When it came to creating the program, “development teams” were formed that had a number of consultants, or representatives of lobbying organizations or testing corporations, along with school administrators and college professors. Out of about 50 members, only two on both the English and math teams were actual classroom teachers.”

Putting Microsoft in classrooms is one of the goals and this is a timely reminder of that:

The overhaul is funded by a $450,000 grant from Next Generation Learning Challenges, a program backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Piedmont was singled out for the funding because of the changes it’s made over the past five years, through its use of laptop computers.

As always, we must watch where people who received salaries from Gates or expect to receive it in the future. Gates’ money is corrupting the whole system. This is hugely profitable.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Teaching Is Not a Business

    TODAY’S education reformers believe that schools are broken and that business can supply the remedy. Some place their faith in the idea of competition. Others embrace disruptive innovation, mainly through online learning. Both camps share the belief that the solution resides in the impersonal, whether it’s the invisible hand of the market or the transformative power of technology.

  2. Guest Column: Protect our children from Common Core

    Common Core is a federal government power grab disguised as a “revamping” of our nation’s educational system — an educational system that, with all its flaws, managed to produce people who put a man on the moon and gave the world the Internet.

    Why is it that by 2011, 45 states (blue and red) had officially adopted the Common Core State Standards, yet in 2013 62 percent of Americans said they’d never even heard of it. Why did the governors who adopted Common Core do it without discussing, disclosing or debating it with their taxpaying constituents, the very people it concerns the most?

    As with anything political, follow the money.

    Bill Gates is the major player in Common Core. In 2013 alone, he contributed over $200 million to encourage the creation and adoption of Common Core. Pure altruism on his part? No, merely an investment in Gates’ Inbloom, which stood to make $2 to $5 per student for the privilege of participating in the student data-mining scheme, despite being listed as a nonprofit entity.

    Inbloom Corp. has thankfully been shut down permanently due to the avalanche of parental objections about student privacy. There’s no force in nature more powerful than a mother’s instinct to protect her children from a perceived threat. (Common Core is quickly becoming the proverbial ‘third rail’ for the elected.)

    Other recipients of Gates’ “dollars” are the National Governor’s Association, the Fordham Institute, Achieve, Inc., the U.S. Department of Education, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Wow! Those billions are buying a lot of “reform” for our children, don’t you think?

    [...]

    The Pearson Data Solutions-Gates connection is also a matter of interest. Pearson’s role in Common Core is data-mining. Joy Pullman, Heartland Institute education research fellow, states; “The Administration has essentially rewritten federal privacy regulations without the approval of Congress — to claim that information on children can be shared without parental knowledge or consent … As part of the agreements signed between state governments and the federally backed consortia, data gathered on children at school will be provided to the organizations. As an example of the types of data being sought, is information on student behavior, their attitudes, their persistence, their discipline and so forth — a lot of non-academic things that a lot of parents aren’t comfortable with.

    “The real goal is social engineering,” Pullman said. “I don’t like to use explosive sorts of things like that, but this is very obvious — the goal is to create a workforce that responds to the needs of the 21st century, as determined by the central planners.”

    Diane Ravitch, a leading education expert who is now a research professor of education at NYU and has been writing about the controversy on her blog, states: “I’m sorry, I think this is madness. Is there a mad scientist or psychologist advising the Gates Foundation? Does Dr. Moreau work in Gates’ lab in Seattle?”

Links 19/8/2014: GNU/Linux Raves and Alternative to Proprietary Voice Chat

Posted in News Roundup at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • European Space Agency are using SUSE Linux

    Actually SUSE Linux began deployment at ESA in 2012 and has been continuing until now, the distro is used by 450 teams in the European Space Operations Centre at ESA, this includes being used by Mission Control Systems who are responsible for simulation and control of aircraft and satellites outside the atmosphere and further still.

  • Younger generation driving Linux take-up, says Canadian vendor

    A Canadian technology company has started shipping notebooks and laptops loaded with Linux due to demand from the younger generation, the owner of the company says.

    Braden Taylor of Eurocom, a company based in Ontario, said he shipped systems all over the world, including to Australia.

    “We are finding that more and more of the younger generation are moving to Linux for a variety of reasons,” he said, in response to queries.

    “We are getting more and more inquiries about Ubuntu and Mint from the younger generation all over the world. They like that it is a low-cost alternative.”

  • Loving Linux: Ain’t Nothin’ Like the 1st Time

    “My first real exposure to Linux was at a friend’s house,” said Linux Rants blogger Mike Stone. “He was trying to make a Macintosh he owned into a useful computer, so he’d dual-booted it with a version of Linux called MkLinux. I was absolutely fascinated by it and the FOSS philosophy, and after using his computer for a week or so, I looked into getting Linux [on] my own.”

  • Desktop

    • Need a Cheap Chromebook? Here’s How to Pick One

      Instead of running Windows, these lightweight, inexpensive notebooks are based entirely on Google’s Chrome web browser. So while you can’t install traditional programs such as Office and Photoshop, you can use web-based substitutes like the free Office Online and Pixlr. In exchange, you’ll get a computer that boots up quickly, is safe from viruses, doesn’t have any obnoxious bloatware and is optimized for browsing the web.

  • Server

    • Xen Virtualization Takes On Automotive

      On Aug. 18 at the Xen Project Developer Summit, the Xen Project unveiled an Embedded and Automotive initiative for its datacenter-focused Xen virtualization technology. The immediate goal is to help auto manufacturers “adopt open source virtualization” to “quickly and cost-effectively develop a flexible, robust, and customizable integrated cockpit — one that keeps drivers safe, while meeting consumers’ connected car expectations,” according to the Xen Project, a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.

    • Xen hypervisor targets automotive virtualization role

      The Xen Project’s Embedded and Automotive initiative will bring its hypervisor to a GlobalLogic IVI stack combining a fast-boot Android with Linux or QNX.

      The Xen Project Collaborative Project has launched an Embedded and Automotive initiative to expand its virtualization technology beyond the datacenter and cloud realms. Initially, the subproject will center on a collaboration with GlobalLogic on the company’s Nautilus [PDF] in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and telematics platform. An embedded version of the open source Xen Project type 1 hypervisor is integrated in Nautilus to enable sandboxed implementations of Android (for IVI) and either QNX or Linux for telematics and other back-end automotive services. The QNX/Android combination appears to be the main focus, however.

    • IBM Techies Pit Docker, KVM Against Linux Bare Metal

      IBM has only recently caught the KVM bug, and has even gone so far as to create a variant of the KVM hypervisor that runs atop its Power8 systems when they run Linux. But if new performance statistics coming out of IBM Research are any guide, it looks like Big Blue will be porting the new Docker container technology to Power-based systems sometime soon.

    • Is KVM or Docker Faster for Server Virtualization?
    • A new report from IBM stacks up Linux container against KVM virtual machine performance.

      In the traditional hypervisor Virtual Machine (VM) approach that is used by VMware’s ESX and open-source options like Xen and KVM, a host operating system runs the hypervisors, which then in turn requires an operating system of its own for VMs. The Docker model is a bit different in that only the host operating system is required and containerized apps then run on top of that OS.

  • Kernel Space

    • Systemd: Harbinger of the Linux apocalypse

      Now that Red Hat has released RHEL 7 with systemd in place of the erstwhile SysVinit, it appears that the end of the world is indeed approaching. A schism and war of egos is unfolding within the Linux community right now, and it is drawing blood on both sides. Ultimately, no matter who “wins,” Linux looks to lose this one.

    • Linux 3.17-rc1 released

      Linus Torvalds has cut short the Linux 3.17 merge window by a day and released Linux 3.17-rc1 because of his travel plans.

    • Linux Kernel Version 3.17-rc1 has been Released!

      Linux kernel version 3.17-rc1 has been released today, with updates ranging from AMD’s Radeon R9 series improvements, increased audio driver support, and Nouveau updates that dominate this kernel release.

    • Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code

      Beginning on Monday, the security of the Linux kernel source code has become a little bit tighter with the addition of two-factor authentication for the kernel’s Git code repositories.

      Contributing code changes to the Linux kernel sources at Kernel.org already required more than just a password, even before the change. Developers must use their own unique SSH public keys to login to the Git repositories. But not even this added security layer was truly failsafe – as the software’s maintainers found out in 2011 when their servers were rooted.

    • Linux Foundation Pushes Two-Factor Authentication For Git

      In particular, the Linux Foundation is pushing for more kernel developers to adopt an additional authentication method beyond just their password / SSH key. The Linux Foundation and Yubico partnered up to offer Yubikeys for kernel developers this week at the Linux events in Chicago to encourage the use of more two-factor authentication for Git repositories.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Direct3D 9 Support Stands A Chance Of Being Added To Mesa

        For several months now there’s been a Direct3D 9 state tracker under development for Mesa that’s making some headway and working out for bettering the Wine performance with D3D9 titles rather than using Wine’s translation layer to OpenGL. While no official request for pulling the code has been issued, it looks like it might stand a chance of hitting mainline Mesa.

      • Wayland 1.6 Is Under Planning For Release

        We haven’t heard much talk lately about Wayland 1.6 but Pekka Paalanen is stepping up and is trying to begin organizing work towards the Wayland/Weston 1.6 release that’s quickly due.

      • The road to Wayland/Weston 1.6 and 1.5.1
      • NIR: A New IR Developed For Mesa That’s Better Than GLSL IR

        Connor Abbott, the open-source developer that began contributing to the Lima Linux graphics driver while a high school student, was interning at Intel this summer even before starting college. Over the summer the focus of his Intel Linux internship was focusing on developing a new intermediate representation for Mesa graphics drivers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • what is “the desktop”: KDE and laptops
      • Convergence will not happen, says KDE dev Aaron Seigo
      • On Plasma5: present and future

        Finally, the artwork presented in 5.0 is only a preview of what is still to come from the Visual Design Group: more icons, more complete widget set, more and more applications will receive a makeover look-wise and most importantly usability-wise.

      • Google Summer of Code 2014: QML/Javascript language support for KDevelop 4 and 5

        Today is the end of the Google Summer of Code 2014 coding period. This year, I added support for the QML and Javascript languages in KDevelop. Both languages were added at the same time because QML is a superset of Javascript (one can embed JS snippets in QML files).

      • Choose your Look and Feel experience

        Plasma 5.1 will make way easier to fine-tune their workspace to their needs.While already very powerful, it was not always trivial, so now on one hand it will be possible choose between plasmoids that offer the same feature with a very simple UI.
        On the other hand, ever wanted to set themes, look and feel of your desktop, but was discouraged by how many places you had to change themes to make the experience as you wanted? being icon theme, widget style, plasma theme, cursors etc…
        Plasma 5.1 will support the concept of Look and Feel packages (or “mega themes” if you like) Basically an one stop place to set the look and feel of the whole desktop.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspbian explained

      That’s a little bit mind-boggling but I think I understand. So if Raspbian is a version of Debian, is there ‘pure’ Debian on Raspberry Pi?

    • Raspberry Pi was created to solve talent crisis at Cambridge: Eben Upton [Interview]

      Raspberry Pi needs no introduction. It is one of the most popular credit card sized single board computers which has become a revolution in its own right. The $25 (and $35 for B model) hardware is being used in so many fields that it’s hard to keep a tab on it.

    • Kids Are Learning to Code With a Slice of Raspberry Pi

      Raspberry Pi is a credit card-size computer that can function like a basic PC when plugged into a monitor and keyboard. It can record videos and power drones, but developer Eben Upton says his goal was to teach basic programming skills to students as young as 8.

      The small computer, sold by the nonprofit Raspberry Pi Foundation, is a small green board covered in metal ports. It’s light, delicate, and fits in the palm of your hand. Once it’s plugged into a keyboard and monitor, a user can write and tweak code as with any PC. The latest model, B+, has 10 operating systems to choose from, with varying learning curves.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Tizen Samsung NX30 awarded European Connected Camera 2014-2015

          The Samsung NX30 is a special bit of kit, with its excellent sharing smart camera features, quick focus of 0.3 seconds, but its now been confirmed again with the the Korean manufacturer being awarded European Connected Camera 2014-2015 by the European Imaging and Sound Association. See the Press Release Clip for further details.

      • Android

        • Is fragmentation a thing of the past for Android?

          I’m inclined to agree with the spirit of the article. Yes, fragmentation has been a significant problem in the past for Android. But there’s no denying that Google is working hard to move the platform past the fragmentation issues that have plagued it over the years.

          So I see fragmentation as a problem that is slowly but surely sunsetting on the Android platform. No, it’s not going to just vanish immediately but it will continue to decline as time goes by and more and more of Google’s efforts bear fruit. Google Play Services and Android Silver should both help cut down on the problem of fragmentation in Android.

        • Sharp to launch thinnest and lowest-bezel smartphone ever

          Sharp (yes folks you heard right) have announced they are launching two new handsets in Japan and there is rumors circulating one of them will eventually hit stateside. Of the two handsets the Aquos Crystal is the handset that very well make it to the US market.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Look inside building an open source map app

    Imagine yourself walking down the middle of a crowded street in a complex city like Cairo. Suddenly a protest builds ahead. A mass of people, cutting off the road. You try to evade, but then violence breaks out in mere seconds. You need help. Someone else, a car to get you out. A phone call might suffice, but wouldn’t it be easier to notify all your friends that this place is dangerous and that you need their assistance? This is where a map-based social network could come into play.

  • Mesosphere and Google Team Up on Containers and Clusters

    Recently, I covered the news that Google had released Kubernetes under an open-source license, which is essentially a version of Borg, used to harness computing power from data centers into a powerful virtual machine. It can make a difference for many cloud computing deployments, and optimizes usage of container technology. You can find the source code for Kubernetes on GitHub.

  • Coreboot Now Works On The Older MacBook 1,1 Too
  • Open Source Archive Manager PeaZip 5.4.1 Has New GUI Design

    Open source file and archive manager PeaZip 5.4.1, which can be used to extract, create, and convert multiple archives at once, has just been released.

  • ClusterHQ Flocker Aims to Simplify Data Migration for Docker Cloud

    The Docker open source containerized virtualization ecosystem has taken another important step forward with the introduction of Flocker from ClusterHQ, a platform that promises to make data as portable as applications by including databases and key-value stores inside Docker containers.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Mesosphere Comes To The Google Cloud Platform, Integrates Google’s Open Source Kubernetes Project

      Google and Mesosphere today announced a partnership that brings support for Mesos clusters to Google’s Compute Engine platform. While the Mesos project and Mesosphere aren’t quite household names yet, they are quickly becoming important tools for companies that want to be able to easily scale their applications, no matter whether that’s in their own data centers, in a public cloud service, or as a hybrid deployment.

    • Rackspace Adds Redis Open Source Data Store Support to ObjectRocket

      In a move that should help further expand Rackspace’s (RAX) appeal to next-generation app developers for the cloud, the company has integrated Redis, the open source in-memory key-value data server, into ObjectRocket, the DBaaS platform Rackspace acquired in 2013.

  • Databases

    • MongoDB tosses support lifeline to open source downloaders

      Open source NoSQL database vendor MongoDB has added a new support option for customers who want to run the Community Edition of its software in production environments.

      “Our Production Support offering is now available as a standalone service – separate from our MongoDB Enterprise software,” MongoDB marketing director Meghan Gill wrote in a blog post on Monday. “This means that Community Edition users now have access to our world-class team of support engineers.”

    • As DBMS wars continue, PostgreSQL shows most momentum

      It’s hard to tell which database management systems (DBMB)s are the most popular. DB-Engines gives it a try every month. And, by its count, Oracle is still the top DBMS, followed closed by Oracle’s open-source DBMS MySQL, which is just noses ahead of Microsoft SQL Server.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The two sides of freedom

      Throughout history, the word “freedom” has been used to mean many different things. It has been the central word for revolutions, for declarations of independence, for human rights movements, for philosophers, for theologians, for the Free Software movement. It is used in marketing slogans for phone companies, for KDE, for both cigarettes and non-smoking initiatives. The word has also been used to justify military occupations, torture and mass surveillance.

    • on gnu and on hackers

      There are many reasons for this, of course. Some people like to focus on what’s called the “pipeline problem” — that there aren’t as many women coming out of computer science programs as men. While true, the proportion of women CS graduates is much higher than the proportion of women at GHM events, so something must be happening in between. And indeed, the attrition rates of women in the tech industry are higher than that of men — often because we men make it a needlessly unpleasant place for women to be. Sometimes it’s even dangerous. The incidence of sexual harassment and assault in tech, especially at events, is something terrible. Scroll down in that linked page to June, July, and August 2014, and ask yourself whether that’s OK. (Hint: hell no.)

  • Public Services/Government

    • India is a net taker from the open source movement – Professor DB Phatak, IIT Bombay

      Introducing Professor Deepak Phatak, IIT Bombay to Indian audience is akin to introducing Sachin Tendulkar to Indians, a sacrilege one would hazard at one’s own peril. Suffice it to remind that Professor Deepak Phatak, IIT Bombay is a recipient of the Padma Shri for his contribution to Science and Technology.

      In an interview with Prabhakar Deshpande, Professor DB Phatak shares his perspective on the role of open source and how technology can transform healthcare and education.

    • 18F publishes guidelines for open source contribution

      As the General Services Administration’s 18F continues to promote open source federal IT development, the organization last week published a contributor’s guide to help those reusing and sharing its code.

      Tracing the basics along with other key topics like how users can enhance code, 18F’s Dr. Robert Read explains in his post on 18F’s tumblr the best ways anyone — federal worker or not — can take part in the team’s development process and why they should. Read uses the FBOpen.com project as a real-time example of how contributors can leverage 18F code and even offer improvements, which he argues “improves the rapidity of our coding and the quality and security of the code.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Improve your online relationships with a dose of empathy

      Humans have always formed communities. They are necessary for support both physically and, according to psychologists, emotionally as well. Until recently, though, the development of communities was constrained by geography. If you wanted to raise a barn or have a quilting circle, for example, only the folks nearby could participate. The Internet, though, has allowed communities to grow in ways that are not bounded by geography.

    • Shifting a mindset, why OpenStack is written in Python, and more
    • Open Hardware

      • 3D-printed AirEnergy3D takes open source approach to wind turbines

        The AirEnergy3D is an open source, 3D-printed, portable wind turbine prototype whose creators claim will be able to generate up to 300 W of power. Designed to be easily assembled and disassembled without tools, the device is intended to be compact enough to be transported in a backpack, allowing it to be taken camping or anywhere else that there is a breeze and no access to the electricity grid.

  • Programming

    • PHP 5.3 Hits End-of-Life

      I first wrote about PHP 5.3 back in 2009 when it first debuted. Five years later PHP 5.3 is now at its End of Life, dead and abandoned as newer versions have replaced it.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Row as horsemeat file shelved

      The official report into the causes of the horsemeat scandal has been shelved until at least the autumn, prompting criticism that the government is not doing enough on food safety.

      The inquiry by Chris Elliott, professor of food safety at Queen’s University Belfast, was announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 16 months ago and was to have been completed by the spring. It is expected to highlight the impact of spending cuts on frontline enforcement and inspection in the food industry.

  • Security

    • Monday’s security updates
    • We still believe in Linus’ law after Heartbleed bug, says Elie Auvray of Jahia

      Jahia was incepted in 2002 in Switzerland – the name comes from the contraction of Java (our core language) and Bahia (which means “bay” in Brazil). To support the international growth of the project, Jahia Solutions Group was later formed (in 2005) with offices throughout Europe and Jahia Inc. (the US subsidiary) was created in 2008. Jahia has now offices in Geneva, Paris, Toronto, Chicago, Washington, DC, Dusseldorf and Klagenfurt – and outsourced support centers in Australia and Nicaragua.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Assange to ‘soon’ leave Ecuadorian Embassy

      Julian Assange recently held a press conference at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He says he has plans to leave the Embassy soon where he has been trapped for the past two years, but gave no details on why he’d be released.

      According to Assange the UN human rights states that prisoners must have a minimum of one hours outside a day however Assange’s only access to the outside is the balcony from which he spoke from to supporters a few years ago.

      He said that he understood Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson had said “that he can confirm i am leaving the embassy soon” however Hrafnsson later responded saying Assange could leave the embassy when the UK government “calls of the siege”.

  • Finance

    • A third of people have nothing saved for retirement

      A third of people (36%) in the U.S. have nothing saved for retirement, a new survey shows.

      In fact, 14% of people ages 65 and older have no retirement savings; 26% of those 50 to 64; 33%, 30 to 49; and 69%,18 to 29, according to the survey of 1,003 adults, conducted for Bankrate.com, a personal finance website.

    • More Than One-Third of Americans Have No Savings

      More than one-third of Americans haven’t started putting away money for retirement, but those who do are making the move a bit earlier than past generations.

  • Privacy

    • Boston Police Used Facial Recognition Software To Grab Photos Of Every Person Attending Local Music Festivals

      Once again, the government is experimenting on the public with new surveillance technology and not bothering to inform them until forced to do so. Boston’s police department apparently performed a dry run of its facial recognition software on attendees of a local music festival.

    • BOSTON TROLLING (PART I): YOU PARTIED HARD AT BOSTON CALLING AND THERE’S FACIAL RECOGNITION DATA TO PROVE IT

      Nobody at either day of last year’s debut Boston Calling partied with much expectation of privacy. With an army of media photographers, selfie takers, and videographers recording every angle of the massive concert on Government Center, it was inherently clear that music fans were in the middle of a massive photo opp.

    • How Various Law Enforcement Agencies Could Hack Your Computer Via YouTube Videos

      When we recently wrote about Google starting to make use of SSL for search rankings, one of our commenters noted that not every site really “needs” HTTPS. While I used to agree, I’ve been increasingly leaning in the other direction, and I may have been pushed over the edge entirely by a new research report from the Citizen Lab by Morgan Marquis-Boire (perhaps better known as Morgan Mayhem), entitled Schrodinger’s Cat Video and the Death of Clear-Text. He’s also written about it at the Intercept (where he now works), explaining how watching a cat video on YouTube could get you hacked (though not any more).

    • Ron Wyden: It’s Time To Kill The Third Party Doctrine And Go Back To Respecting Privacy

      For years, we’ve written about the third party doctrine and its troubling implications for the 4th Amendment and your privacy — especially in the digital era. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the third party doctrine is the concept used by law enforcement (and, tragically, the courts) to say that you have no expectation of privacy or 4th Amendment rights in information you’ve given to a third party. The origins of this argument are not completely crazy, because there is a legitimate claim to the idea that if I entrust you with some private information, and you decide to disclose it, that my 4th Amendment rights haven’t been violated. But that assumes a very different world. In today’s digital world — especially with cloud computing — we “entrust” all sorts of information to third parties even though we still think of and treat that information like it’s our own personal effects. These aren’t cases in which I’m handing over a collection of journals to my neighbor to hold onto. Online services are treated as our own content — which we can access, update and modify at any time from any device.

    • From The Unsealed ‘Jewel v. NSA’ Transcript: The DOJ Has Nothing But Contempt For American Citizens

      Not that it ultimately mattered. The NSA just kept destroying relevant evidence, claiming the system was too complex to do anything with but allow to run its course. Evidence would be destroyed at the 5-year limit, no matter what preservation orders were issued. The NSA, of course, has a vested interest in destroying evidence that its 215 and 702 programs collect the data and communications of Americans. Thanks to Snowden’s leaks, it can no longer pretend it doesn’t. But despite this, the DOJ still claims Section 702 targets only foreigners and American suspects located outside of the US.

      The mock concern about compliance with court orders was a hustle. The DOJ wants as much evidence that might be useful to plaintiffs gone as swiftly as possible. Thanks to the unsealing of Jewel court documents, the EFF can now relate that the DOJ’s efforts went much further than simply letting aged-off collections expire. It also actively tried to change the historical record of the Jewel case, as Mike covered here recently.

    • NativeWrap for Android turns websites into apps to improve your privacy

      If you want to access a website or service like Facebook, Twitter or Google on your mobile device you have two options. You can either open a mobile browser and point it to the service, or install an app that provides you with access.

      Both options have privacy and security implications. With apps, it is all about permissions that you grant the app to have. While the permissions are often justified, they are not all the time so that additional information can be retrieved even though that’s not needed for the apps’ functionality.

  • Civil Rights

    • Fox’s Pinkerton Baselessly Speculates Michael Brown Could Have Been “High On Some Drug, Angel Dust Or PCP”
    • Lawmaker drafting bill to demilitarize local police

      A Democratic congressman from Georgia is drafting legislation to limit a Pentagon program that provides surplus military equipment to local law enforcement.

      Rep. Hank Johnson is pushing the legislation amid the situation in Ferguson, Mo., where an armed police presence has taken to the streets after mass protests over a police shooting.

      “Our main streets should be a place for business, families, and relaxation, not tanks and M16s,” Johnson wrote in a Dear Colleague letter sent Thursday to other members of Congress.

    • Seven pieces of military equipment the Pentagon is giving to local police
    • Seattle police chief during WTO unrest appalled by Ferguson violence

      The first thing Norm Stamper thought when he saw images of the protests in Ferguson, Mo., following the police shooting of an unarmed black man was straight out of a folk song — “When will we ever learn?”

      “My reaction was, ‘Please learn from my mistakes, from what I did and did not do during the week of WTO,’ ” said the former Seattle police chief, who presided over a law enforcement response to widespread demonstrations in 1999 that was vilified around the globe for its heavy handedness.

    • Police In Ferguson Sign Court Agreement Promising Not To Interfere With Media… Then Go Threaten And Arrest Media

      Note that the agreement was signed by Hussein and parties representing St. Louis County, the City of Ferguson and the Missouri Highway Patrol… on Friday the 15th. The threat to Hussein came on Sunday… the 17th.

    • Ferguson Cops Once Beat an Innocent Man and Then Charged Him With BLEEDING ON THEIR UNIFORMS

      As Michael Daly reports at The Daily Beast, the address where the defendant was said to have so wantonly damaged these officers’ uniforms is in fact the address of the Ferguson Police Department, which recently took over from the colon-searchers in Deming, New Mexico, as America’s favorite. Did the above-named defendant go down there voluntarily and throw blood upon their uniforms? No he did not.

      The above-named defendant was 52-year-old Henry Davis, who was a Henry Davis but not the Henry Davis they were looking for. This Henry Davis had the bad luck to be caught in a driving rainstorm on the highway, reportedly missing the exit for St. Charles and ending up in Ferguson. Having pulled over to wait out the rain, he became the prey of an officer who ran his plate and found an outstanding warrant for “Henry Davis.”

    • NYT Would Call It Torture–If It Covered Torture

      But what if the paper decides that well-documented evidence of US torture is not fit to print?

      On August 11, Amnesty International released a lengthy report about abuses in Afghanistan committed by US forces and others, including Afghan security. The report includes serious allegations about US Special Forces torturing Afghan civilians.

    • Action Alert: NYT Skips First Big Test of New Torture Policy

      FAIR’s new Action Alert (8/18/14) calls out the New York Times for not covering a major Amnesty International report on US torture–shortly after the paper announced a new policy of calling torture by its right name.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Study: Many tribal libraries lack broadband

      At least two-fifths of Native American libraries don’t have broadband Internet access, according to a study released this month, though the actual number could be as high as 89 percent.

      Additionally, just 42 percent of libraries surveyed for the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums’ annual study provided technology training, compared to 90 percent of all public libraries. Just 34 percent of the tribal libraries had a website.

  • DRM

    • Kill switches might let the government brick your smartphone

      Smartphone kill switch laws have been touted in the media a lot lately as a way to protect your phone from theft. But are they actually a good idea? If Google or Apple can brick your smartphone then what is to stop the government from ordering them to do so when it wants to stop you from using your phone? Foss Force takes a look at some of the chilling and disturbing consequences of smartphone kill switches.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. Court Grants Order to Wipe Pirate Sites from the Internet

        A U.S. federal court in Oregon has granted a broad injunction against several streaming sites that offer pirated content. Among other things, the copyright holder may order hosting companies to shut down the sites’ servers, ask registrars to take away domain names, and have all search results removed from Google and other search engines.

      • Hollywood Desperate To Blame Bad Opening Box Office Of Expendables 3 On Piracy Rather Than The Fact That It Sucked

        It’s been kind of crazy to watch movie studio Lionsgate go absolutely crazy over the fact that The Expendables 3 leaked online a few weeks ago. Within a few days, Lionsgate had filed a massive lawsuit, been granted a restraining order and followed it up with thousands of takedown notices, combined with targeting everyone from hosting providers to domain registrars, in a quixotic attempt to make the leaked files disappear.

08.18.14

Links 18/8/2014: Linux 3.17 RC1, Escalation in Ferguson

Posted in News Roundup at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Coreboot Now Has Native Graphics Initialization For Intel’s GM45

    Vladimir Serbinenko has managed to get working native VGA initialization for the GM45 graphics that’s hard-coded into Coreboot as an alternative to using the hardware’s video BIOS for starting up the GMA graphics.

  • Linux training courses to be offered at Camp Shelby

    Camp Shelby will soon offer some high-tech computer training that will set itself apart from other military facilities in the country.

  • The Time to Recommend Linux & FOSS Is Now

    When I first started using Linux twelve years ago, no one I knew, other than folks on the local LUG, were interested in giving Linux or FOSS a try whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong; my friends were nice. They supported my enthusiasm for this Linux thing I’d discovered, but were politely uninterested when I suggested they might want to give Linux a try too. That didn’t surprise me at all. Hell, I’d been trying to get people to give Star Office a try since the turn of the millennium and they wouldn’t go for that either, even though they were paying through the nose for MS Office.

  • Real People Now Ready To Accept A Real OS

    When I first taught in the North, no one I met had heard much about GNU/Linux and no one had tried GNU/Linux on a desktop, even myself. After a few years of using GNU/Linux in schools, everything changed. I met students, parents and members of the community who had used GNU/Linux before I arrived and I travelled to a new community almost every year. Students and community members also travel and several in each community had previously installed GNU/Linux or attended a school that used GNU/Linux much as I did. That was before Android/Linux and ChromeOS took off…

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.17-rc1

      I’m going to be on a plane much of tomorrow, and am not really supportive of last-minute pull requests during the merge window anyway, so I’m closing the merge window one day early, and 3.17-rc1 is out there now. Well, it’s been out for a while now, but the network was bad enough where I’m traveling that I couldn’t get this *announcement* out.

    • Linux 3.17 Will Detect If Your Toshiba Laptop Is Falling Down

      The new “Toshiba HDD Active Protection Sensor” driver is for the accelerometer found in recent Toshiba laptops (HID TOS620A). The driver receives an ACPI notify event when the sensor detects a sudden movement or harsh vibration and then another ACPI event when the movement/vibration has passed.

    • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 3.17 RC1
    • Linux 3.17-rc1 Kernel Released
    • The New Features Of The Linux 3.17 Kernel

      Now that the merge window has passed and Linux 3.17-rc1 released, here’s a rundown of the new features for the Linux 3.17 kernel.

    • BFS Scheduler Update Brings SMT Nice Support

      Con Kolivas released a new version of his BFS scheduler and besides porting it for Linux 3.16 compatibility it also contains a big new feature.

      BFS CPU scheduler v0.450 made a Saturday morning premiere and it offers support for Linux 3.16, offers various bug-fixes, and brings configurable SMT nice support.

    • Keeping Open Source Safe

      In a recent thread on lkml.org Theodore Ts’o pointed out that Krause has tried to insert non-working code into the ext4, btrfs, scsi, and usb subsystems and tried to come up with an explanation for his behavior. Among the suggestions is one from Airlie that Krause is trying to write a University Thesis on trolling the kernel development process. Other theories are that he’s a badly written AI chatbot, or just a clueless high school student with more tenacity than one usually expects at that age. Or maybe he’s trying to win a bet, or is trying to get extra credit or to complete some course assignment by getting a patch into the kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel’s Idle Driver Supports Broadwell With Linux 3.17

        The native hardware cpuidle driver for Intel CPUs now supports the upcoming Broadwell processors with Linux 3.17.

        Len Brown of Intel sent in a few basic tweaks for the idle drivers at the end of the Linux 3.17 merge window. One commit disables Bay Trail’s Core and Module C6 auto-demotion while the other main patch adds Broadwell support to the intel_idle driver.

      • Intel Starts Sending In Graphics Patches For Linux 3.18

        While Linux 3.17-rc1 isn’t even out yet, the merge window is coming to an end and Intel OTC is already starting to send in pull requests to the drm-next branch for merging into the next cycle, Linux 3.18.

        Daniel Vetter as the Intel i915 DRM maintainer sent in his first pull request to David Airlie for getting the DRM driver changes queued up early for the next cycle. More pull requests are expected for the Intel driver in Linux 3.18 with this just being the changes that are queued and ready for further testing by the community.

      • Nouveau Works On Maxwell Fan Management

        Nouveau developer Martin Peres has published a set of ten Nouveau DRM patches working towards proper fan/power management support for NVIDIA’s latest “Maxwell” GPUs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5—For those Linux users undecided on the kernel’s future

        KDE’s Plasma 5 release lacks the attention-grabbing, paradigm-shifting changes that keep Unity and GNOME in the spotlight. Instead, the KDE project has been focused on improving its core desktop experience. Plasma 5 is not perfect by any means, but, unlike Unity and GNOME, it’s easy to change the things you don’t like.

      • what is “the desktop”: convergence will not happen

        Plasma was the first big free software project to work, and deliver, on the idea of GUIs that adapt at runtime to the form factor they are run on. People were skeptical about the possibility of this, but since then this idea has been picked up by others. In the process, the concept was “tweaked” and given the buzzworthy tag of “convergence”.

        Convergence literally means the act of coming together from different directions as so to eventually meet. As it has been popular used recently, it means that different kinds of devices (e.g. a phone and a desktop; a tablet and a laptop) will “converge” into a single piece of hardware that can be used in different modes so that sometimes it has a “phone” style UI and sometimes a “desktop” one (for example).

      • Akademy 2014 needs *you*

        Akademy 2014 is just 3 weeks away.

      • KDE’s Konqueror Is In Need Of A New Maintainer
      • Konqueror is looking for a maintainer

        For quite some time now (OK, many years…) I haven’t had time for Konqueror.
        KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5 have kept me quite busy.

        It’s time to face the facts: Konqueror needs a new maintainer.

        This is a good time to publish the thoughts we had many years ago about a possible new GUI for Konqueror.

        Kévin Ottens, Nuno Pinheiro and myself had a meeting (at some Akademy, many years ago) where we thought about how Konqueror’s GUI could be improved to be cleaner and more intuitive, while keeping the idea of Konqueror being the universal navigator, i.e. the swiss-army knife that includes file management, web browsing, document viewing, and more. This is what makes it different from rekonq and dolphin, for instance.

      • The KDE Randa Meeting 2014 in retrospective

        Leaving Randa after spending a week there at the KDE Randa Meeting 2014 raises mixed feelings. I am really looking forward to coming home and seeing my family, but at the same time the week was so full of action, great collaboration and awesome people that it passed by in an instant and was over so soon. Carving a work week out of the schedule for a hackfest is not an easy feat, especially during summer school break, so the expectations were high. And they have been exceeded in all aspects. A lot of the credit for that goes to the organizer, Mario Fux, and his team of local supporters. The rest goes to the awesome family of KDE contributors that make spending a week on contributing to Free Software so much fun. And of course to the sponsors of the event.

      • Krita booth at Siggraph 2014
      • One place to collect all Qt-based libraries

        We were thinking of something like CPAN for Qt back then. Since then there was a little bit of progress here and there, but my goal for the Hack Week was to complete the data to cover all relevant Qt-based libraries out there.

      • Beautiful KDE Plasma 5 Desktop Received Its First Update

        The KDE Community has announced that the first bugfix release for Plasma 5 has been released and that it’s now available for download

        The first bugfix release for KDE Frameworks 5 has been dubbed 5.0.1, and, as the name suggests, it’s chock full of fixes for a variety of problems.

        “Today KDE releases the first bugfix update to Plasma 5. Plasma 5 was released a month ago with many feature refinements and streamlining the existing codebase of KDE’s popular desktop for developers to work on for the years to come. This release, versioned 5.0.1, adds a month’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important such as fixing text which couldn’t be translated, using the correct icons and fixing overlapping files with KDELibs 4 software,” reads the announcement.

      • Randa Report: Hacking on KDE and meeting friends

        I’m already back home and now like to you let you know what I’ve been doing the last week during the Randa Sprint in the Swiss Alps.

      • … and they pop up on your desktop

        If you like to keep your project-related files on your desktop for easy access, you might have kept links to them in different folders which you placed in a folder view.

      • Prominent KDE Developer Says Convergence Will Not Happen

        The idea of convergence has been floating around for quite some time and companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Canonical are already working towards this goal. On the other hand, there are some voices that say it will never happen. KDE developer Aaron Seigo is one of those voices.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • m23 rock 14.2 is released!
      • Release: SymphonyOS 14.1 Now Available

        We are happy to announce the release of SymphonyOS 14.1, the second release in the Phoenix series. This release includes several bugfixes over the 14.0 developer preview from earlier this year including. Update to an Ubuntu 14.04 base system Improved handling of menu generation and proper updating of the menu system when system changes occur Improvements to the logout functionality Replacement of Slim DM with LightDM Security updates to the local httpd Fixes to installation from DVD While this new release still receives a beta title and should not be considered stable it is a large step forward and we hope…

      • Robolinux Xfce 7.6.1 Will “Blow Windows Users’ Minds” – Gallery

        The Robolinux developer doesn’t hide the fact that he’s interested in the Windows audience and he is targeting those particular users with this Linux distribution. Sure enough, regular Linux users can also take advantage of the distro, but the OS features a few options that should only prove interesting if you are already running a Microsoft product.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Musings on identity management

        I’m over three months into my new gig on the identity management team at Red Hat now, so I would like to share a few thoughts about what I’ve learned about identity management.

        I was excited to come into this role because of my innate interest in security and cryptography. I had little practical experience with PKI and security protocols beyond basic X.509/TLS and OpenPGP, so I have been relishing the opportunity to broaden my knowledge and experience and solve problems in this domain.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • AppStream/DEP-11 Debian progress

        DEP-11 is Debian’s implementation of AppStream, as well as an effort to enhance the metadata available about software in Debian. While initially, AppStream was only about applications, DEP-11 was designed with a larger scope, to collect data about libraries, binaries and things like Python modules. Now, since AppStream 0.6, DEP-11 and AppStream have essentially the same scope, with the difference of DEP-11 metadata being described in YAML, while official AppStream data is XML. That was due to a request by our ftpmasters team, which doesn’t like XML (which is also not used anywhere in Debian, as opposed to YAML). But this doesn’t mean that people will have to deal with the YAML file format: The libappstream library will just take DEP-11 data as another data source for it’s Xapian database, allowing anything using libappstream to access that data just like the XML stuff. Richards libappstream-glib will also receive support for the DEP-11 format soon, filling it’s in-memory data cache and enabling the use of GNOME-Software on Debian.

      • Debian turns 21!

        Today is Debian’s 21st anniversary. Plenty of cities are celebrating Debian Day. If you are not close to any of those cities, there’s still time for you to organize a little celebration!

      • Happy 21st Birthday, Debian!

        The Debian project has just celebrated it’s 21st birthday, making it one of the oldest open source projects in existence.

        Debian is one of the most used Linux distributions in the world, even if it might not seem like it. It’s not the friendliest operating system out there, but it’s good and stable enough and many other projects use it as their base.

      • Happy 21st Birthday Debian!

        On this day August 16th, 1993 The Debian Project was officially born from its creator Ian Murdock. The Debian Project went on to become one of the highest standards in open source software, and it managed to maintain this status until even today.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch RTM Version to get Released Soon by Canonical

            Mark Shuttleworth has said on a number of occasions that the first Ubuntu-powered smartphones should be arriving this Autumn, but unfortunately, the developers yet aren’t available to ship a stable version so soon. Now, a separate branch of Ubuntu Touch that will get RTM status, and will mainly be focused on bug fixes and stability issues.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Retailer accidently leaks Samsung Note 4 specs

          Erafone, a reputable Indonesian retailer uploaded the specs of the Note 4 to a corresponding product page which seems to have gone live without the retailer realizing. There are no confirmation as of yet that the specs are correct. However as the device is expected to be launched for sale on September 3rd it is not uncommon for retailers to have the information earlier. This allows them to prepare the device pages ready for immediate sale once released. As such it is possible these really are the specs for the newest addition to the Note family.

        • Samsung To Buy IoT Startup SmartThings

          The 2-year-old SmartThings is creating an open platform for the IoT that already supports more than 1,000 devices and 8,000 apps.

          Samsung is making a stronger push into the burgeoning Internet of things space with the planned acquisition of SmartThings, a 2-year-old startup that has created an open platform for the smart home.

        • Retailer accidently leaks Samsung Note 4 specs

          Erafone, a reputable Indonesian retailer uploaded the specs of the Note 4 to a corresponding product page which seems to have gone live without the retailer realizing. There are no confirmation as of yet that the specs are correct. However as the device is expected to be launched for sale on September 3rd it is not uncommon for retailers to have the information earlier. This allows them to prepare the device pages ready for immediate sale once released. As such it is possible these really are the specs for the newest addition to the Note family.

        • Recent reports of three-sided Note 4 unlikely to be true

          Here at themukt we want to make sure are sources are credible and information passed on to you is real. With this in mind, as far as we are concerned these rumors are extremely unlikely to be true and should generally be ignored…at least for now.

      • Android

        • Moto 360 VERY likely to be shipping September 8th

          With each day that passes we are receiving more and more information about the upcoming fall releases and today is no different.

          It has only been two days since we announced Motorola had sent animated invites to their Moto Launch Experience. The event is scheduled for September 4th and we reported it was highly likely this will be when the Moto 360 is officially released.

        • Google I/O Attendees, Check Your Inboxes – Moto 360 Distribution Emails Are Out

          At this year’s Google I/O, the company behind the search engine with the most o’s promised attendees not one, but two Android Wear devices. The first was either an LG G Watch or a Samsung Gear Live. The second, a Moto 360. We haven’t heard much about the latter since then, but emails are now going out. The time has come for I/O goers to check their inboxes.

        • Adobe Flash Player Android: The Typical Software with Best Features

          Adobe was been widely known by millions ad the leading manufacturer of prestigious products, which brought the existence of the Flash Player. Adobe’s finest has truly made a mark in the global market. It can also be utilized as a browser plug in or even on mobile devices that can support the system. It is made for professional web developers and the average Joe. It is also being supported on quite a number of mobile tablets and devices that range from Samsung to Blackberry, to Sony, HTC and Dell among others.

        • Android development with Java

          Developers seeking to create apps for Google’s popular smartphone operating system needn’t bother themselves with learning complex and often obscure custom versions of C++ like the one used by the once-famous Symbian OS. Instead, Android applications tend to be written in Java, with native modules added in for convenience and speed.

        • Android Circuit: The Samsung Galaxy Alpha Challenges The iPhone 6, Asus Challenges Android Wear, and Xiaomi Challenges Everybody Else

          Taking a look back at the week in news across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit highlights a number of stories, including Samsung presenting their challenger to the iPhone 6, Motorola’s potential champion waiting in the wings, IDC’s market share numbers are good news for Android, HTC announcing their Creative Lab for creating software that will run on any Android device, Asus preparing to launch an Android Wear smartwatch, Facebook’s Android permissions, and the success of Xiaomi’s Mi3 handset in India.

        • OnePlus One unboxed – What you get and what you don’t get

          Finally received a OnePlus One a few days ago and as this is still an invite only product thought it may be worth providing readers with a bit of info on what you actually get…and don’t get.

        • Moto 360 to cost $250, Best Buy accidently released details

          What a week it has been in terms of leaks and rumors. With September rolling round and the expecting release of the Moto 360, Note 4, Moto X and Moto G we have seen a number of leaks involving product specs, leaked images and release dates.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apple’s MacBook (2,1) Now Can Boot With Coreboot

    After the Lenovo X200 support the latest laptop supporting Coreboot is Apple’s second-generation MacBook.

  • Why Your Company Needs To Write More Open Source Software
  • Alternative Open Source Hosting Control Panels

    Free and open source control panels can be just as powerful and feature-rich as proprietary ones. What they generally lack, however, is commercial support or any kind of warranty. Some developers offer additional paid commercial support, while others offers support through community forums and discussion groups.

  • Look inside building an open source map app

    Imagine yourself walking down the middle of a crowded street in a complex city like Cairo. Suddenly a protest builds ahead. A mass of people, cutting off the road. You try to evade, but then violence breaks out in mere seconds. You need help. Someone else, a car to get you out. A phone call might suffice, but wouldn’t it be easier to notify all your friends that this place is dangerous and that you need their assistance? This is where a map-based social network could come into play.

  • Events

    • LibreOffice Conference 2014 to be held in Bern this September

      LibreOffice is arguably the most popular open source office suite available today. The success has come doe to the hard work and contributions from several dedicated developers as well as contributors from community memebrs. The key to develop and grow this ecosystem is constant collaboration and having a solid strategy regarding the future of the software. The LibreOffice conference is a stage that provides this opportunity to the contributors and enthusiasts to take part in planning the future roadmap.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Adventures in Mozillaland #4

        One and Done is a brilliant idea to help people contribute to the QA Mozilla teams.
        It’s a website proposing the user a series of tasks of different difficulty and on different topics to contribute to Mozilla. Each task is self-contained and can last few minutes or be a bit more challenging. The team has worked hard on developing it and they have definitely done an awesome job! :)

      • I was at Guadec

        I was at Guadec in Strasbourg – thanks to all the volunteers who helped making this event possible.. For those who don’t know Guadec is the annual Gnome User And Developer European Conference. I hadn’t attended since 2008 — such is life — but I reconnected with people I hadn’t seen in a while, as well as met awesome people that joined the project since. Attending this year made me regain a lot of motivation on why a Free Software desktop and why Gnome are really necessary. This is even more important as to why at Mozilla I use Fedora Linux rather than MacOS X like most of my team mates —*hint* at least on Fedora I don’t have code signing break existing apps, and I have a real full screen browser to use to do presentation based on web technologies or even the risk that one day third party browser be barred like they are on iOS — and it is important to keep the alternatives alive.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • One interface, many truths

      Today I’d like to discuss a topic that is constantly recurring about LibreOffice: the overhaul of its interface. I am aware the matter has some real trolling potential, but at least if one wants to troll it is important to get some things straight first.

      Is LibreOffice’s interface outdated? It depends who you ask the question. The problem is that some part of the answer is really a matter of taste; another part of it is really about the kind of interface we could have; and yet another side of the matter is the perception of what its interface should be like. Let’s address the three issues separately.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.0 Beta 4 is out, time to test

      A major update for WordPress is due this month and fourth beta, which I assume would be the last beta has been released for testing and bug hunting. I installed it on a test machine and the changes are impressive. Since we used Drupal earlier for Muktware and then migrated to WordPress in September last year, I can say from personal experience WordPress is a more suitable choice for writing focused sites like TheMukt.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • AMD Compiler Optimization Benchmarks With GCC 4.10 (GCC 5.0)

      As a continuation to yesterday’s brief GCC 4.9 vs. GCC 4.10 (GCC 5.0) comparison with the AMD A10 A-Series “Kaveri” APU, here’s some benchmarks when using the GCC 4.10 development snapshot and trying a variety of CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS to see the current impact on their performance for a variety of Linux benchmarks.

    • GNU lightning 2.0.5 released!

      GNU lightning is a library to aid in making portable programs that compile assembly code at run time.

  • Public Services/Government

    • DemocracyOS promotes civic engagement on both sides

      Using DemocracyOS represents a challenge for any institution used to make decisions in the traditional way. It is designed for governments to open themselves up to citizen engagement, but power is usually conservative. But the biggest challenge is probably to fight against the presumption that citizens are naturally apathetic and shun commitment. Our challenge is cultural, not technological.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Git 2.1 Released

      Version 2.1 of the Git revision control system is available this weekend.

    • [ANNOUNCE] Git v2.1.0

      The following public repositories all have a copy of the ‘v2.1.0′ tag and the ‘master’ branch that the tag points at…

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Software that prevents cyber attacks

      “TCP Stealth is a free software that requires particular system and computer expertise, for example, use of the GNU/Linux operating system. In order to make broader usage possible in the future, the software will need further development,” said scientists from the Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) in Germany.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ISI, CIA aiding NE militants: Tripura CM

      Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar has alleged that Pakistani intelligence agency (ISI) and America’s (CIA) are in constant touch with anti-India militants, a section of whom are still using Bangladesh to operate.

    • US blocks Chinese-Russian backed back on weapons in space

      War is not nice and it’s understandable that countries would seek to ban weapons in space to attempt to keep conflict confined to the Earth, for this reason Russia and China have been attempting to draft a joint treaty for the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space since 2008. Since then, the United States have been repeatedly blocking consensus in the UN’s Conference on Disarmament to prevent countries moving forward on negotiating a treaty to ban weapons in space claiming that the proposal was ‘a diplomatic ploy by the two nations to gain a military advantage’.

    • Suspected al-Qaida militants killed in Yemen drone and air strikes
    • Drone Strikes In Yemen Kill 7 Suspected Al Qaeda Militants: Official

      Two separate airstrikes in Yemen’s south killed seven suspected militants Saturday, a Yemeni security official said.

    • U.S. drone strikes kill ten militants in Yemen
    • Mindless drones

      Drones have killed thousands of people in places such as Pakistan and Yemen, countries against which we have not declared war.

    • Lady Gaza comes to Melbourne

      The Melbourne Palestine Action Group, a group consisting of Whistle Blowers Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) and Renegade Activists, locked down Elbit Systems in the suburb of Port Melbourne and occupied the building’s roof for a few hours.

    • More Scots firms linked to the manufacture of parts for Israel’s Gaza bombs
    • U.S. unilateral military action is not solution to the Iraqi crisis

      I wish to condemn, in the strongest terms, the attacks by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) against Christian and other religious minorities in Iraq. Christian friends who migrated a long time ago from Iraq to the United States called my family, and were informed that our hearts were bleeding to see how the situation was worsening in Iraq.

    • Three Afghan policemen killed by US airstrike

      At least three Afghan policemen have been killed when US-led foreign forces launched an airstrike in Afghanistan’s northern province of Parwan.

      Afghan authorities said the airborne attack took place in the Ghorband district of the province, situated about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the capital, Kabul, on Friday and targeted local police forces. A fourth police officer was wounded in the raid.

    • In the West Respect for Truth No Longer Exists

      The conclusive evidence is the media story of the armored Russian column that crossed into Ukraine and was destroyed by Ukraine’s rag-tag forces that ISIS would eliminate in a few minutes. British reporters fabricated this story or were handed it by a CIA operative working to build a war narrative. The no longer reputable BBC hyped the story without investigating. The German media, including Die Welt, blared the story throughout Germany without concern at the absence of any evidence. Reuters news agency, also with no investigation, spread the story. Readers tell me that CNN has been broadcasting the fake story 24/7. Although I cannot stand to watch it, I suspect Fox “news” has also been riding this lame horse hard. Readers tell me that my former newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, which has fallen so low as to be unreadable, also spread the false story. I hope they are wrong. One hates to see the complete despoliation of one’s former habitat.

    • Cha-Ching! Tony Blair’s Wife Lands Lucrative Gig in Kazakhstan—British Paper

      At first blush, it seems Kazakhstan’s strongman President Nursultan Nazarbayev likes to keep business in the family. A daughter heads his party in the rubber-stamp parliament; his sons-in-law held various official positions and became fabulously wealthy. So why is it not surprising that Kazakhstan is paying the wife of Nazarbayev’s most distinguished advisor, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, hundreds of thousands of pounds for her legal services?

    • How Cherie Blair earns £1,000 an hour from the Kazakh taxpayer
    • Handmaiden to Africa’s Generals

      Security is a core concern of the American government’s Africa policy. This was made clear in May when President Obama proposed a $5 billion Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund to supplement programs the Pentagon already has in 35 countries. And it was made clear again at the recent U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, when Mr. Obama announced $110 million a year for an African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership, a program to train and equip six African armies for peacekeeping operations.

      Because Mr. Obama is committed to scaling back the deployment of United States troops to combat terrorism, America’s security strategy in Africa translates largely into training and equipping African armies. Although this approach rightly gives African governments the lead in tackling their own security problems, it is misguided nonetheless. It is, in effect, providing foreign tutelage to the militarization of Africa’s politics, which undermines peace and democracy throughout the continent. America’s diplomacy is becoming a handmaiden to Africa’s generals.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Julian Assange has had his human rights violated, says Ecuador foreign minister

      Ricardo Patino says British government has no will to find a solution to stalemate that has confined WikiLeaks founder to London’s Ecuadorian embassy for more than two years

    • Julian Assange ‘to leave’ Ecuador embassy

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says he will leave London’s Ecuadorean embassy “soon” after two years.

    • Two years on, Julian Assange is still a prisoner of process

      Ecuador is committed to protecting persons subject to political persecution. Two years ago, after a profound investigation and review of our legal obligations, we decided to give political asylum to Julian Assange.

      This decision followed a dramatic change in our global understanding of privacy, telecommunications and diplomacy over the past few years. Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance have uncovered grave security threats for states, violations of human rights, and have shown that the future of the internet is in danger. The millions of documents published by Wikileaks about the political, economic and military manoeuvres of powerful interests also magnified delicate matters of sovereignty and abuse of power.

      All states have secrets. And all states have the right to defend themselves. But this must not whitewash the grave violations of human rights, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, of which we have learned.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Drillers illegally using diesel fuel to frack, report says

      A new report charges that several oil and gas companies have been illegally using diesel fuel in their hydraulic fracturing operations, and then doctoring records to hide violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

      The report, published this week by the Environmental Integrity Project, found that between 2010 and July 2014 at least 351 wells were fracked by 33 different companies using diesel fuels without a permit. The Integrity Project, an environmental organization based in Washington, D.C., said it used the industry-backed database, FracFocus, to identify violations and to determine the records had been retroactively amended by the companies to erase the evidence.

  • Finance

    • Paul Ryan Shuns Conservative Media’s “Makers And Takers” Rhetoric, But His Policies Still Rely On Those Myths

      In the same Wall Street Journal opinion piece that distanced himself from the “makers and takers” phrase, Ryan went on to explain his anti-poverty plan, which in part proposes that individuals would have to sign “contracts” in order to remain eligible for social safety net benefits, such as food stamps.

    • BitXBay: The First Open Source, P2P Online Trading Platform

      Charly Clinton, the creator of BitXBay, a decentralized and anonymous Bitcoin marketplace, claims to have created the first open source, peer-to-peer online platform for trade.

    • Joe Hockey may be sorry, but that doesn’t mean he gets it

      He was a 64-year-old from somewhere near Bathurst who had been forced to give up his lifelong job as a truck driver in 2013 after a serious heart attack. He could no longer work, even casually, and was living on a disability support pension. After he had paid rent and power he had $135 a week – which also had to cover around $40 a week in medical prescription costs.

      The man had sought financial counselling and had tried to save money in many ways but he still couldn’t make ends meet and was forced to ask for help from Vinnies several times before deciding to move to a shack on a small bush block he owned, without power or running water.

    • Germany’s World Cup triumph fails to net economic rewards

      Brewers feel flat and Adidas shares fall as optimism and confidence dips in Germany amid tensions with Russia

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Hypocrisy In Action: Stingray Maker, Who Relies On Secret No Bid Contracts, Whines About Motorola Getting A No Bid Contract

      Harris Corporation, the stealthy, mostly-silent company behind the cell tower spoofer known as the Stingray, is making a few louder noises now that its financial toes are being stepped on. The company muffles law enforcement agencies with restrictive terms and conditions that include broad non-disclosure clauses and a general admonishment that as much information as possible should be withheld from the public at all times. These tactics have worked out for its core business — tower spoofers — allowing Harris to make a whole lot of money without having to deal with FOIA fallout and citizen backlash.

    • Australian Officials Pushing For Data Retention Had No Idea What A VPN Is

      If you haven’t yet, you really should watch the video we pointed to recently of Australian Attorney General George Brandis trying to explain his internet data retention plan when it’s clear he has no idea how the internet works. It’s the one where he’s asked if it will track the web pages you visit, and Brandis vehemently insists that it will not, but that it will track the web addresses you visit. Some people have said that perhaps he meant it won’t record the actual content on the pages, but just the URL (which might matter if it’s dynamic pages), but later in the conversation, he also implies (almost clearly incorrectly) that he means it will just track the top level domains, not the full URLs.

    • Centre to shield India from cyber attacks proposed

      The Narendra Modi government is preparing to set up a Rs. 950-crore cyber security centre following a rise in virtual world attacks and recent revelations that the US National Security Agency had spied on the BJP and sensitive establishments.The Narendra Modi government is preparing to set up a Rs. 950-crore cyber security centre following a rise in virtual world attacks and recent revelations that the US National Security Agency had spied on the BJP and sensitive establishments.

    • Did a U.S. defense contractor help create the next generation of spyware weapons?

      The Washington Post relates a fascinating little cloak-and-dagger story that ends with a heck of a punchline: a U.S. defense contractor was apparently working with foreign companies that create spyware and virus programs to develop new tools for spying on people, potentially both foreign and domestic.

    • U.S. firm helped the spyware industry build a potent digital weapon for sale overseas

      CloudShield Technologies, a California defense contractor, dispatched a senior engineer to Munich in the early fall of 2009. His instructions were unusually opaque.

    • Germany tapped John Kerry’s phone, spied on Turkey for years – report

      Germany’s foreign intelligence agency eavesdropped at least one telephone conversation of US Secretary of State John Kerry and spied on NATO ally Turkey since 2009, Der Spiegel newspaper revealed on Saturday.

      Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) picked up the phone call “by accident” in 2013, the weekly newspaper reported in a pre-publication citing unnamed sources. Kerry was discussing the Middle East tensions between Israelis, Palestinians and Arab states in a satellite link, according to Der Spiegel.

    • Germany Spied On Kerry and Clinton Says Der Spiegel, But It’s Not As Awkward As It Sounds

      In what many are calling a pot-and-kettle situation, German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday that German intelligence spied on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, allegedly listening into and recording their private phone calls. Though the revelations are potentially unsurprising (doesn’t it feel like everyone is spying on everyone at this point?), they still might have been embarrassing for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has publicly criticized the U.S. for its spying practices. Instead, though, the report only highlights how badly the U.S. behaved.

    • Germany intelligence spied on Kofi Annan
    • Spiegel: BND focus on Turkey nets Kerry, Clinton
    • Knocking down the HACIENDA

      “Knocking down the HACIENDA” by Julian Kirsch, produced by GNU, the GNUnet team and edited on short notice by Carlo von Lynx from #youbroketheinternet is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives 3.0 Unported License. We thank the CCC for hosting this on their CDN.

    • UK spies have scanned the internet connections of entire countries

      You may know that the UK’s GCHQ intelligence agency pokes its nose into people’s internet service accounts, but it’s now clear that the spy outfit is mapping the internet connections of whole nations, too. Heise has obtained documents showing that a GCHQ system, Hacienda, can scan every internet address in a given country to see both the connection types in use (such as web servers) as well as any associated apps. The scanning platform is looking for relevant targets and any exploitable security holes; if a target is running software with known vulnerabilities, it’s relatively easy for agents to break in and either swipe data or set up malicious websites that trick suspects into compromising their PCs. Poring over this much data would normally be time-consuming, but there’s a companion system (Olympia) that makes it easy to find useful information within minutes.

    • It’s time to delete mandatory data retention once and for all

      After five years of debate, it is time for all sides of politics to acknowledge that the Australian public will not stand for a mandatory data retention policy keeping track of every aspect of their lives. It is time to kill the mandatory data retention policy once and for all.

    • Sen. Wyden: Your data’s yours no matter on whose server it lives

      At the TechFestNW event in Portland on Friday, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden called for legal reforms that embrace an understanding that the mere act of handing over digital data doesn’t mean giving way a user’s right to privacy.

    • The Internet’s Original Sin

      The fiasco I want to talk about is the World Wide Web, specifically, the advertising-supported, “free as in beer” constellation of social networks, services, and content that represents so much of the present day web industry. I’ve been thinking of this world, one I’ve worked in for over 20 years, as a fiasco since reading a lecture by Maciej Cegłowski, delivered at the Beyond Tellerrand web design conference. Cegłowski is an important and influential programmer and an enviably talented writer. His talk is a patient explanation of how we’ve ended up with surveillance as the default, if not sole, internet business model.

    • Gyroscopes in your phone could be spying on you

      Researchers have developed software that uses a devices gyroscopes, not microphone, to listen in to your conversations. They found that the gyroscopes were so sensitive that they could be used as makeshift microphones.

    • Github tracks you by email.

      That’s right. Github tracks you by email. Each Github notification email contains in the HTML part a beacon. Beacons are usually one pixel images with a unique URL to know who did view the email or not – triggered by the HTML rendered downloading the image to display.

    • Attacking NPR As A Shill For Government Intelligence

      After doing my own research, I strongly agree with the critics that the story committed a fundamental failure in not noting that both the company, Recorded Future, and a second company that aided it, ReversingLabs, have ties to the United States intelligence community. Temple-Raston and her editor, Bruce Auster, agree, too, and say that what happened was an oversight on deadline.

    • CIA spy program actually called ‘Hydra’? Not cool.

      You know, the US government does a lot of shady and, frankly, stupid stuff in the name of “keeping us safe” from “terrorists.” They also do some smart things and completely morally unambiguous stuff. This is not one of those.

      In documents leaked to The Intercept (a site devoted to analyzing documents leaked, first and foremost, by Edward Snowden) it appears the CIA has created a monster. One of their data-collection programs is literally named “Hydra.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Patriots don’t torture: Why excusing it is an American catastrophe

      About a week ago, for the first time ever, the U.S. government, through the comments of its chief executive no less, confirmed that “folks were tortured.” Simultaneously, he observed that there ”was little need for sanctimony” given the heightened fears of the American public in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the enormous pressure that law enforcement officials were under to prevent future attacks.

    • Watchdog groups putting pressure on CIA director
    • Shane Todd’s family says noose and towel used in U.S. engineer’s hanging death DESTROYED by police

      Police in Singapore destroyed two pieces of evidence tied to the death of Shane Todd, whose body was found in his apartment there in June 2012, according to the American engineer’s family.

      The 31-year-old’s parents, Rick and Mary Todd, have for months been demanding the Singapore government return the hand-made noose and towel around their son’s neck when his body was discovered by his girlfriend hanging from his bathroom door.

    • Shane Todd’s death: AGC denies towel and noose destroyed to block DNA test
    • Singapore gov’t destroyed evidence in US engineer’s death
    • Israeli court allows protesters to picket Palestinian-Jewish wedding

      A Palestinian man and his Jewish bride-to-be are facing hostile protests in the Israeli town of Rishon Letzion after Israel’s high court refused their application to ban demonstrations outside their wedding reception.

      Mahmoud Mansour, 26, a Palestinian from Jaffa, has had to hire dozens of security guards after an anti-Arab group, Lehava, published details of his wedding reception online and called for Israelis to come and picket the wedding hall.

      The group, which campaigns against assimilation between Jews and Arabs in Israel, is angry that Mansour’s bride-to-be, Moral Malka, 23, is Jewish, although local media reported that she has already converted to Islam and the couple have had an Islamic wedding.

    • Cell Phone Guide For US Protesters, Updated 2014 Edition

      With major protests in the news again, we decided it’s time to update our cell phone guide for protestors. A lot has changed since we last published this report in 2011, for better and for worse. On the one hand, we’ve learned more about the massive volume of law enforcement requests for cell phone—ranging from location information to actual content—and widespread use of dedicated cell phone surveillance technologies. On the other hand, strong Supreme Court opinions have eliminated any ambiguity about the unconstitutionality of warrantless searches of phones incident to arrest, and a growing national consensus says location data, too, is private.

    • Petition Asks DOJ to Halt Action Against New York Times Reporter

      “The main thing that gets to me is that I realize I don’t deserve all this,” Risen said.

    • Where’s the Justice at Justice?
    • Channeling Orwell from Oval Office

      The Justice Department is trying to scuttle the reporters’ privilege — ignoring the chilling effect that is having on truth emerging in a jittery post-9/11 world prone to egregious government excesses.

    • Nixon believed CIA involved in Kennedy Assassination

      A new book, which will be released September 2, discloses a previously unknown connection between Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy and the CIA.

      In fact, author Roger Stone, a former Nixon aide, asserts that Nixon “knew the CIA was involved in JFK’s assassination” and was so pesky in his attempts to get them to disclose all their records that the CIA contemplated the assassination of Nixon as well.

      The book, “Nixon’s Secrets: The Rise, Fall, and Untold Truth about the President, Watergate, and the Pardon”, demonstrates a definitely unfriendly relationship between himself and then CIA Director Richard Helms.

    • UK ambassador ‘lobbied senators to hide Diego Garcia role in rendition’

      Logs released under the Freedom of Information Act have reinforced claims that the UK lobbied to keep its role in the CIA’s torture and interrogation programme out of what is expected to be a damning Senate report.

      They show that the UK ambassador to the US met members of the Senate select committee on intelligence 11 times between 2012 and 2014 – as they were investigating the CIA’s rendition programme. This included two meetings with the committee’s chair, Diane Feinstein, which took place as crucial decisions were being made regarding how much of its report into the programme should be made public.

    • Do police need grenade launchers, other military weapons? Officers say yes

      …under a federal program that allows police to obtain surplus gear free from the U.S. military…Local agencies must return items they don’t use.

    • Ferguson protests: National Guard sent to Missouri unrest

      The US state of Missouri is sending the National Guard to the town of Ferguson as protests escalate over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

    • Ferguson’s Police Got Free Military Gear Straight From The Pentagon

      The images coming out of Ferguson could be critical in instigating the debate. Dansky and others have noted that police militarization dates back to the 1980s. But the prevalence of social media and its ability to share the kind of images that caused TPM’s Josh Marshall to ask “Ferguson or Fallujah” have made the issue more difficult to ignore.

    • Ferguson Attacks And Web Censorship Are Parts Of Same Story

      A lot of this week in civil liberties has been about the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, USA. Police troops fired tear gas on a television crew. This mirrors the ongoing web censorship efforts.

      The governments around the world are reacting the exact same way today as they did when the printing press arrived 500 years ago. There isn’t really anything new under the sun.

    • In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest

      Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.

      “My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”

      That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.

      As they took me into custody, the officers slammed me into a soda machine, at one point setting off the Coke dispenser. They put plastic cuffs on me, then they led me out the door.

      I could see Ryan still talking to an officer. I said: “Ryan, tweet that they’re arresting me, tweet that they’re arresting me.”

      He didn’t have an opportunity, because he was arrested as well.

      The officers led us outside to a police van. Inside, there was a large man sitting on the floor between the two benches. He began screaming: “I can’t breathe! Call a paramedic! Call a paramedic!”

    • Militarized Terror Policing

      Now our police have become an occupying army in our cities.

    • Cops or Soldiers? Pentagon, DHS Helped Arm Police in Ferguson with Equipment Used in War
    • 7 Pages to Drone Kill an American Citizen
    • NUSOJ Calls for the Release of Journalists detained for the Second day without Charge

      The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) calls for the Federal Government of Somalia to release the media workers and the journalists detained in Mogadishu for second day without charges following raid of Radio Shabelle and SKY FM stations.

    • TV crews hit by bean bags, tear gas
    • Michael Brown’s death was no anomaly. We cannot stay silent
    • Turns Out When Police Act Cordial, Rather Than As An Oppressive Military Force, Things Work Out Better

      After covering the militarized police fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri the past few days, including highlighting Anil Dash’s rather simple point that the way to deal with angry protestors isn’t to make them angrier, it appears that someone finally got the message. Missouri’s governor kicked out the St. Louis County police, who were responsible for much of the previous escalation, and sent in the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who almost immediately set a very different tone — one that involved a much smaller police presence, and one that was a lot friendlier. It even involved talking with (not just to) protestors in a cordial manner. The most striking image — a complete reversal of the day before — has to be Captain Ron Johnson, who was put in charge, walking with the protestors (in ordinary police garb) rather than having militarized police aiming high powered weaponry at them.

    • Creating Controversy: No, An Upcoming EA Game About Militarized Police Doesn’t Need To React To Ferguson, MO

      As the Ferguson, MO saga continues to unfold, there are certainly lessons to be learned. An overly-militarized police force coupled with the oppression of free speech and the press aren’t good ways for managing an angry population, for instance. Conversely, a police force that actually connects and serves with the community they’re tasked with policing produces far better results. And, of course, we’re all forced to have yet another discussion about race-relations in this ostensibly free and equal country of ours. These are good conversations to have.

    • Ferguson looks like Iraq. Statements from politicians like me won’t fix that
    • California Cops Seize Recordings Of Questionable Arrest, Claim They Have The ‘Right’ To Do So
    • Police In Ferguson Back To Threatening And Arresting Reporters: Tells Them To ‘Get The Fuck Out Of Here’

      A live stream from the local radio station KARG (Argus Radio — which is a local volunteer run radio station that has been doing amazing work) caught police screaming, “Get the fuck out of here or you’re going to get shelled with this” while pointing a gun at the reporter. Many reports claimed that he was saying, “You’re going to get shot,” but it’s pretty clearly “shelled.” Not sure it really makes a huge difference.

    • Northern California Cops Beat Mentally Ill Man, Seize Phones, Claim it’s their Right

      Police in Northern California beat and tased a mentally ill man before siccing a dog on him, then turning on citizens who recorded the incident, confiscating cell phones and in one case, ordering a witness to delete his footage.

      But one video survived anyway, slightly longer than two minutes, where a cop from the Antioch Police Department can be heard saying he wants cameras confiscated right before the video stops.

    • Live From the Streets of Ferguson, Missouri
    • Israel bans national service with rights group B’Tselem in Gaza row

      Young barred from serving in organisation as alternative to military service after it is accused of ‘incitement against IDF’

    • New light on black sites

      Foreign courts crack down on US-led human rights abuses

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How Verizon lets its copper network decay to force phone customers onto fiber

      The shift from copper landlines to fiber-based voice networks is continuing apace, and no one wants it to happen faster than Verizon.

    • NY Times Says FCC Should Reclassify Broadband Under Title II
    • FCC, Writers Guild push for public feedback on net neutrality issue

      The Writers Guild of America is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to hold public hearings regarding net neutrality before it rules on changes to the Open Internet Order.

      Michael Winship, the president of the Writers Guild, highlighted the multitude of public comments that were made during an open comments period regarding net neutrality when he wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

    • FCC Extends Net Neutrality Comment Period

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Friday it would extend the net neutrality reply comment period from September 10 to September 15.

    • Redditors Propose Setting Up A ‘Consumers’ Union’ To Fight Back Against Broadband Giants

      A random factoid about my past that some people don’t know is that I have a degree in “industrial and labor relations,” which involved an awful lot of learning about the history of unions, collective bargaining and the like. While I firmly believe that most unions today are counterproductive (frequently holding back innovation and flexibility), the idea certainly made quite a lot of sense in the early days, in which you had parties (giant employers) with near total market power over employees who had absolutely no market power. Basically, many companies were market abusers, and they abused freely. Organizing workers for collective bargaining was a way to even the playing field slightly. That it later resulted in vast amounts of corruption and cronyism, let alone hindering the way in which companies could innovate and adapt, are certainly big issues to be concerned about — but there were reasons why that happened as well (driven by leadership on both sides).

    • Data Analysis Of FCC Comments Reveals Almost No Anti-Net Neutrality Comments
    • A Fascinating Look Inside Those 1.1 Million Open-Internet Comments

      So what’s in those nearly 1.1 million public comments? A lot of mentions of , according to a TechCrunch analysis. But now, we have a fuller picture. The San Francisco data analysis firm Quid looked beyond keywords to find the sentiment and arguments in those public comments.

  • DRM

    • When the Police Can Brick Your Phone

      In this age of militarized police forces, anyone who thinks the police will hesitate to use such capabilities to quell dissent and to hide their illegal behavior is in denial about political reality. The kill switch will not protect a phone from thieves much, if at all, but it will help governments work in darkness.

    • Microsoft Silent On Xbox One Sales as PlayStation 4 Wins July

      Sony says the PlayStation 4 is the fastest selling PlayStation in history, as July retail game sales turn up another net-positive month.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP Update XXXV

      According to the publication “Inside US Trade”, which tends to be pretty good when it comes to sourcing its information, the next round of TTIP talks won’t take place until the end of September – obviously the negotiators felt they needed a holiday after all the excitement of the last year. But even if TTIP news is thin on the ground, there have been a couple of big developments recently that have important implications for the negotiations.

      [...]

      The resistance to TTIP is growing, and it may be that the whole thing – not just ISDS – collapses as people become aware of the reality of what is being planned. But what this valuable new site from Kelsey makes clear is that even if we manage to keep out the worst demands of the US side from the “final” text, it may not actually be final. Assuming certification is required for TTIP as for TPP, it would give one last chance for the US to try to bully the EU into accepting its demands – and one last chance for the European Commission to capitulate.

    • Copyrights

      • WWE Asked Google to Hit Live Piracy…From the Future

        An anti-piracy company working on behalf of World Wrestling Entertainment has sent a rather unusual DMCA notice to Google. The takedown requested the removal of dozens of URLs related to a live event scheduled for two days after the notice. Which means, of course, it hadn’t even aired yet.

      • ANTI-PIRACY OUTFIT WANTS TO HIJACK BROWSERS UNTIL FINE PAID

        Piracy monetization service Rightscorp has provided investors with details of its end game with cooperative ISPs. Initially service providers are asked to forward notices to subscribers with requests for $20.00 settlements, but the eventual plan is to hijack the browsers of alleged pirates until they’ve actually paid up.

      • English Premier League Apparently Wants Fans To Hate It Even More: Threatens To Pull Down Vines And Animated GIFs

        Actually, no, you don’t “have to protect” your intellectual property. In fact, if it’s stupid to do so — pissing off fans and angering the very people who pay the bills, it seems like a bad idea. But the Premier League doesn’t seem to care about that at all. It’s just taking the “we must protect our IP” view of it all. Because.

      • I Visited Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde in Prison, Here’s What he Had to Say

        He tells me that this is par for the course in prison. “If you don’t constantly insist upon your rights, you will be denied them”. Repeatedly, he had to remind the guards that they’re not allowed to open confidential mail he receives from journalists. His alleged right to an education or occupation during his jail time in practice amounted to being given a beginners’ Spanish book.

        [...]

        Facebook alone has turned into its own little walled-garden version of the Internet that a lot of users would be content using without access to the wider Net. At the same time, services from Google to Wikipedia are working on distribution deals that make their services available to people without real Internet access.

      • Premier League to Clamp Down on GIFs and Vines

        On the eve of the new season, the UK’s Premier League has been putting fans on notice that it will no longer tolerate the unauthorized distribution of its copyright works. In addition to going after those who live stream full matches, the football giant says it now intends to tackle individuals who post short clips online.

Gartner Group Advocates Using Defective Software With Back Doors

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Despite strong evidence that Microsoft has been complicit in illegal surveillance, Gartner continues to recommend the use of Windows and other espionage-ready Microsoft software

One might think that the Gartner Group paid attention to revelations about Microsoft complicity and active collaboration with the NSA’s crimes. Apparently, however, being a rogue marketing operation (disguised PR), Gartner is seemingly unable to learn what a lot of the public (and CIOs, CTOs etc.) already know. Let’s face it. Bill Gates’ ‘investments’ in Gartner and Microsoft’s payments to this marketing (‘analyst’) firm did not fail to cloud its judgment. In world of Gartner, even though Vista 8 is a total disaster and the future of Windows is quite uncertain, the only choice one has is between versions of Windows, not between operating systems. To Gartner, anything other than Windows is not even an option. Back doors are here to stay and defects too are “necessary evil”, apparently.

Why is it that so many people continue to treat Gartner with respect? Any morsel of credibility should have been long gone, even by checking who subsidises this firm. It’s like a think tank or a collective lobbying group (for its corporate client who seek to sell, not to buy); that’s not what analysts are supposed to do.

John C. Dvorak published this column the other day, highlighting the fact that Windows is defective and remains defective even decades down the line. He wrote: “You would think that after 30 years of Windows, many of the obvious and consistent flaws would be fixed. Are they unfixable? Or are the people at Microsoft who can fix them uninterested?

“There is a belief within the tech community that Microsoft lost control of Windows years ago as the company turned over personnel—including the programmers who actually knew the base code of Windows itself. It has long since become what people call spaghetti code—a tangle impossible to unravel. Every patch has to be run through a regimen of tests to see if anything breaks. One thing is fixed and soon something else does not work right.”

Incidentally, see this new report about Microsoft bricking Windows with the latest patches. To quote:

Since Patch Tuesday this past week, Microsoft has been receiving reports of severe system errors caused by one or more of the updates.

Yes, that’s Microsoft ‘quality’. This spaghetti code is impossible to manage, apparently. Simon Phipps, the OSI’s President, also wrote quite recently for “Linux Voice. He wrote about Microsoft’s inherently defective software, inadvertently echoing some of Dvorak’s observations:

The action law enforcement services have taken against the GameOver-Zeus malware syndicate is great news for a change. In the UK, this was communicated with typical tabloid alarmism, framed as “two weeks to save the world” instead of “unusually effective action by law enforcement”. As a result, UK publications have been posting self-preservation information for their readers.

This is a Windows-only issue and since Microsoft does facilitate back doors (bug doors to be precise), Microsoft deserves at least some of the blame here. As Phipps concludes:

So actually it’s somewhat appropriate to blame Windows versions prior to Windows 8 for being vulnerable to many viruses which exploited bugs in this way. The existence of the vulnerability was a conscious choice and a marketing decision; in OS/2, which had no legacy to accommodate, the ring 0 separation was enforced.

Yes, Windows also offers a larger attack “surface” because of its wide adoption, and yes, there are other exploit mechanisms. But this tolerated technical vulnerability is the root cause of a large number of exploits. So while it’s true that malware authors are directly to blame for malware, there’s also a culpability for Microsoft that can’t be ignored.

For Gartner to be advocating the use of such rubbish spaghetti code (in binary form) is worse than incompetent; it’s utterly irresponsible. Why will any serious CIO or CTO ever listen to Gartner again?

Based on publicly-available evidence, even BIOS cracks require Windows. To give “BULLDOZER” as an example: “The technique supports any desktop PC system that contains at least one PCI connector (slot) and uses Microsoft Windows 9x, 2000, 2003 server, XP, or Vista. The PCI slot is required for the BULLDOZER hardware implant installation.”

To give “DEITYBOUNCE” as an example: “DEITYBOUNCE supports multiprocessor systems with RAID hardware and Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, and 2003 Server.”

No wonder China and Russia are banning x86 and/or Microsoft Windows. It’s not because they’re “anti-American” but because Microsoft Windows and some US-made hardware are anti-users. In Germany, for example, ‘secure’ boot was banned for similar reasons. Perhaps they have not been taking Garner’s advice then. In Munich, Gartner notably tried to derail (with words) the migration to GNU/Linux, as we demonstrated some years ago.

08.17.14

The Microsoft Patent Trolls: Android Extortion, Vringo Versus Google, and Intellectual Ventures

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 5:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Roundup of news about patent aggression by Microsoft and some of its proxies

A NEW article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols talks about patents. “Patent trolls under attack, but not dead yet” is the article’s headline. It does not necessarily speak about small trolls but also a corporation, Microsoft, which created several patent trolls, armed several patent trolls (to harass Microsoft’s competition), and is engaging in racketeering against successful producing companies, just like all patent trolls do. One glaring error in the article from Vaughan-Nichols is this bunch of numbers which are not substantiated (no link, citation, or even a source). He says: “It’s not just the trolls seeking to make a fast buck from honest companies that are abusing the broken American patent system. Microsoft has used its “Android” patents to profit from Android OEMs since 2010. Indeed, Microsoft’s most profitable mobile operating system, to the tune of approximately $3.4 billion, was Android, not Windows Phone 8.”

Where does this number come from? This may be completely bogus.

“Now,” he adds, “thanks to China, we finally know what’s in Microsoft’s Android patent portfolio. And it appears that Samsung, at least, is saying, “Wait a minute!” about paying Microsoft for these patents.

“Slowly, way too slowly, the Supreme Court is starting to rein in patent abuse. In Nautilus v. Biosig, the Court ruled that for a patent to be valid, its creators had to describe its essential elements of their invention clearly enough that an expert in in the field could understand it with “reasonable certainty.”

“Yes, that’s right, before this decision, even if an expert couldn’t figure out how the heck a patent was supposed to work, you could still patent an idea.”

Vaughan-Nichols then mentions other landmark cases and the apparent gradual-but-undeniable demise of software patents.

But where does that leave us? Even if Microsoft did not engage in all this FUD and extortion, it would still be able to do it by proxy. Vaughan-Nichols mentions SCO at the start of the article; Microsoft still uses such a strategy. In order to eliminate the threat as a whole we need to eliminate the patents.

Well, in prior years we showed how Microsoft had armed Vringo with patents which it then used against Google. According to this news, after wasting much time and money, Google is found innocent of infringement: “Google Inc. (GOOG:US) won its bid to overturn a $30.5 million patent-infringement verdict, a reversal that sent shares of Vringo Inc. (VRNG:US) down 72 percent.

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington determined that the Vringo patents in the case were invalid, according to an opinion on the court’s website toda”

Here is how a patent trolls expert put it:

Vringo’s win over Google was one of the biggest and most public jury wins for a “patent troll” in recent years. It won $30 million from a jury verdict in 2012, far less than the half-billion-dollar verdict it was seeking.

But last year, the judge overseeing the case revived Vringo’s hopes, ordering Google to pay a running royalty amounting to 1.36 percent of US AdWords sales. Those additional payments could have been more than $200 million annually, pushing Vringo investors toward the billion-dollar payday they were pining for.

These articles should outline more clearly Microsoft’s role in the lawsuit. This was, as alleged by numerous sources (not just us), somewhat of a proxy war by Microsoft. It’s reminiscent of the SCO case, which Microsoft helped fund.

Then there are the trolls who funded and armed by Bill Gates. One of these, Monsanto, is mentioned in this article about counter-action:

Today, just three companies – Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta – account for about half of all commercial seed sales. More and more, agricultural patents are used to increase the control these and similar companies wield over access to the seeds with which farmers feed the world and – especially in the Global South – themselves and their families.

Bill Gates has profited by monopolising seeds. He lobbied for the seeds monopolies while investing in them (for profit). His good friend Nathan, the world’s biggest patent trolls (who was bankrolled by Gates), has also done this for profit along with Gates, especially when it comes to the energy sector. They are profiting by lobbying politicians to adopt energy methodologies from which they would profit. There is new right now about Intellectual Ventures (Gates-backed) hoarding patents on wind power:

Analysis: Patent trolls target wind power

One of the biggest “patent trolls” is moving into American wind technology for the first time. Intellectual Ventures (IV) of Bellevue, Washington has quietly applied for at least five high-quality and widely applicable patents for reducing noise and birds strikes at utility-scale wind projects.

A response has been posted about this in TechDirt:

Wind Power Monthly (I had no idea such a thing existed) has an article about how Intellectual Ventures is apparently targeting its patent trollery towards wind power, having filed a bunch of patents on very broad and basic concepts related to wind power. Of course, IV is trying to hide its involvement here by using one of its many shell companies. For reasons that are beyond me, Wind Power Monthly declines to name the shell companies. It’s not clear why it does this — even withholding the name after it got IV to confirm that it’s an IV shell. There seems to be no journalistic reason for withholding the name, but Wind Power Monthly still does it.

The Microsoft-funded CCIA is meanwhile focusing a lot of its efforts going after trolls, urging the government to launch subpoenas. The CCIA’s Levy writes: “We’re also looking forward to seeing what the FTC learns about patent privateering. The study could be our first real chance to expose the tactics of companies who have been quietly using patent trolls to do their dirty work.

“There’s no time to waste. Patent trolls won’t stop on their own, and we need all the ammunition we can get.

“Launch subpoenas!”

Several years ago there was pressure on the FTC. It seemed too reluctant to do anything about patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures, which had heavily lobbied the government along with Bill Gates. Hopefully things are about to change.

The bottom line is, the resolution lies within patent scope. But it’s also important to comprehend how Microsoft attacks Linux by proxy, not just in secrecy by means of extortion.

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