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04.25.15

Links 25/4/2015: Debian LTS Plans, Turing Phone Runs Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 3:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Btrfs In Linux 4.1 Has Fixes For File-Systems Of 20 Terabytes & Up

      It’s nearing the end of the Linux 4.1 kernel and Chris Mason has now sent in his pull request of Btrfs file-system updates for this next kernel update.

      This pull request is coming in late in part due to him running a longer series of load tests than normal. For this cycle he changed around the free space cache writeout and wanted to ensure the code is properly conditioned. Changing the free space cache writeout should fix stalls on large file-systems. In particular, over at Facebook they were seeing 10+ second stalls during commits on file-systems with around twenty terabytes of space and greater. Should you happen to have a 20TB+ Btrfs file-system, Linux 4.1 will perform better.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • こんにちは日本! Krita Launches Japanese Site

        We are happy to announce that we have launched a Krita site in Japanese! Over the coming months, this website will be evolving to help the Japanese community stay current with all things Krita. Currently, almost everything online is in English, so it can be difficult for other countries to learn about and use Krita. With this Japanese site, we can provide specialized instructions and resources to help them get started. We are still finishing up translations, but are far enough along that we want to release it in the wild.

      • Turning the world upside down

        So what do I mean when saying that I’m running a kwin_wayland session? Does it mean that everything is already using Wayland? No, unfortunately not, rather the opposite: all running applications are still using X11, but we use a rootless Xwayland server. The only Wayland application in this setup is Xwayland and KWin itself.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat broadens programming language support

        Potentially making work easier for system administrators, Red Hat has updated its development packages to support running multiple versions of the same programming language on its flagship enterprise operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

      • Why Red Hat is tackling BPM

        In today’s business environment, as enterprises seek to do more work with limited resources, orchestrating and planning daily business operations to optimize resources can be a big challenge.

        This environment is putting new pressure on developers and IT, according to a Forrester Consulting survey commissioned by Red Hat.

      • Storage VP: Red Hat Gluster, Ceph see faster start than Linux

        Red Hat vows to improve file and database-as-a-service features for its open source storage software while also planning to tackle hyper-convergence.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Security Team’s 90-day Challenge

          Earlier this month the Fedora Security Team started a 90-day challenge to close all critical and important CVEs in Fedora that came out in 2014 and before. These bugs include packages affected in both Fedora and EPEL repositories. Since we started the process we’ve made some good progress.

        • Red Hat launches beta of Linux distro Fedora 22

          RED HAT has announced the beta availability of Fedora 22, the newest iteration of its free Linux operating system that’s so hot off the press it hasn’t been christened with a codename yet.

          The OS, which runs on an incredibly short update cycle, forms the basis of Red Hat’s own products and forks into Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Tizen, the embedded system being used in Samsung smart products.

        • Instant Messaging in Fedora Workstation 2

          Last week I wrote about the suboptimal state of instant messaging in Fedora Workstation with some thoughts how it could be improved. I also asked Fedora users on Facebook and Google+ what IM clients they use. Especially in the case of Google+, I gathered votes from a number of people which is large enough to draw some conclusions.

    • Debian Family

      • The #newinjessie game: new forensic packages in Debian/jessie

        Debian/jessie AKA Debian 8.0 includes a bunch of packages for people interested in digital forensics.

      • What to expect on Jessie release day

        Release day is a nerve-wracking time for several teams. Happily we’ve done it a few times now*, so we have a rough idea of how the process should go.

      • Debian 7 Wheezy and Debian 8 Jessie Might Become LTS Releases

        Following on the success of the Squeeze LTS project, the Debian LTS team had the pleasure of announcing that they are preparing to support the Debian 7 (Wheezy) operating system with security patches for a longer period.

      • Join the LTS project to help shape Wheezy and Jessie LTS

        Almost a year after the birth of the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) project, Squeeze LTS can be considered a success. Thanks go to the many volunteers and sponsors! Debian 6 “Squeeze” has seen more than 200 security uploads since the start of its extended support period. The most widely used packages have been fixed in a timely fashion and many organizations can thus safely rely on the continued maintenance of Squeeze LTS.

      • Release Critical Bug report for Week 17
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Five Easy Steps to Greatly Improve Your Ubuntu 15.04 Experience

            Now that Ubuntu 15.04 has been officially released, we can advise new users regarding a few extra steps that they need to take in order to get the most out of their system.

          • Hidden Options in Ubuntu 15.04 Can Make It Much Better

            Ubuntu 15.04 is a complete operating system and can be used just as Canonical has intended, but some very interesting options and features are hidden inside the OS and the not usually accessible, unless you install a couple of applications.

          • Firefox 37.0.2 Arrives in Ubuntu 15.04

            Canonical has just announced a Firefox vulnerability has been corrected and that version 37.0.2 of the browser has been integrated into Ubuntu 15.04 and all the other supported Ubuntu versions.

          • Ubuntu Kylin 15.04 Continues the Process of Conquering China

            Ubuntu Kylin 15.04 (Vivid Vervet), the Chinese Linux distribution developed in collaboration with Canonical that’s based Ubuntu, has been released and is now ready for download.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 hands-on: One giant leap for developers and the cloud, but one small step for the desktop

            If you’re running Ubuntu on the cloud, there’s a lot to like here. In this release, the distribution boasts a new light-weight snappy Ubuntu Core version for devices, micro-servers, and containers. It also includes updated developer tools and the latest frameworks, languages, databases and packages. This cloud brand of Ubuntu also comes with superior Docker support, Canonical’s own new container-based hypervisor, LXD, and built-in support for the Chef DevOps program.

          • Scientists Use Ubuntu to Interpret Hubble Telescope Data

            A new documentary about the Hubble space telescope was just released on Nova, and a Reddit user pointed out that one of the scientists was using Linux to manage the date provided by the telescope.

          • BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition review

            The BQ Aquaris e4.5 Ubuntu Edition is not the debut Canonical must have envisaged for Ubuntu Phone, in the early days of the platform’s development.

            It’s a perfectly functional smartphone for the most part, and we like the concept of scopes, but the hardware is humdrum, performance is sluggish, and the software running on it is rough and ready, and full of holes.

            We’ll be tracking the progress of Ubuntu Phone with interest – it surely must get better than this – but this first device is one to write off to experience.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Mini-PC Intel Compute Stick Launches Only with Windows, Linux Users Need to Wait

      Intel Compute Stick, the mini-PC that runs a quad-core Intel processor and that fits inside a case the size of a USB flash drive, is now available for purchase, although just with Windows.

    • World’s smallest i.MX6 module has onboard WiFi, eMMC

      Variscite unveiled a 50 x 20mm “DART-MX6″ module that runs Linux or Android on the Freescale i.MX6, with up to 64GB eMMC flash and -40 to 85°C support.

      Variscite’s claim that the 50 x 20mm DART-MX6 is the world’s smallest computer-on-module based on Freescale’s i.MX6 system-on-chip appears to be a valid one. It beats the smallest ones we’ve seen to date: TechNexion’s 40 x 36mm PICO-IMX6, and Solid-Run’s 47 x 30mm microSOM i4. It’s also just a hair larger than Variscite’s own 52 x 17mm DART-4460, which is based on a dual-core TI OMAP4460 SoC, and Gumstix’s slightly larger 58 x 17mm Overo modules, which use TI Sitara AM37xx SoCs.

    • Open-source IoT kit runs OpenWRT, mimics Arduino Yun

      A “Domino.IO” Kickstarter project offers an Atheros AR9331 module running OpenWRT Linux, plus two tiny baseboards, one of which is Arduino Yun compatible.

      To stand out from the growing number of OpenWRT Linux-based computer-on-modules and tiny, com-LIKE single board computers running Qualcomm’s WiFi-ready Atheros AR9331 system-on-chip, startups are now offering entire modular kit families based on an AR9331. Last month, we saw an Onion OmegaKickstarter project, which has since been funded, based on an AR9331 COM with stackable expansion modules. Now a Hong Kong based startup called Domino.IO has gone on Kickstarter to sell its own kit that expands on a Domino Core COM with Domino Pi and Domino Qi expansion boards, as well as smaller I/O modules that enable further customization.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Android Candy: Intercoms

          Ever since my “tiny $20 tablet” project (see my Open-Source Classroom column in the March 2015 issue), I’ve been looking for more and more cool things to do with cheap Android devices. Although the few obvious ones like XBMC or Plex remotes work well, I’ve recently found that having Android devices around the house means I can gain back an old-school ability that went out of style in the late 1980s—namely, an intercom system.

        • There’s a wild prank hidden in Google Maps that insults Apple in the most childishly inappropriate way

          Rawalpindi is a vibrant Pakistani city known for its bazaars, ancient ruins, and array of religious shrines. But if you pay it a visit on Google Maps, you’re going to notice something very unusual on the outskirts of the city — the Android “droid” mascot urinating on the Apple logo.

        • There’s an Android bot peeing on an Apple logo on Google Maps

          Sick of all the Apple Watch news today? You’re in luck, because we have something completely different for you. An image of an Android mascot, also known as an Android bot or Bugdroid, peeing on an Apple logo has been discovered on Google Maps.

        • An Android robot is peeing on an Apple logo in Google Maps
        • An Android is urinating on the Apple logo in Google Maps (update)

          Google and Apple have always had their differences, but a new Easter egg inside Google Maps has just taken their rivalry to a whole new level. As spotted by Team Android, if you head to these coordinates with the regular Map view enabled, you’ll see Google’s iconic Android mascot taking a leak on the Apple logo. At the moment, it’s unclear who created this little piece of mischief and whether Google is taking action. But if this hidden message is any indication, it was snuck through by a member of the public using Google’s Map Maker service, rather than a Google employee. Regardless, it’s a crazy (and pretty hilarious) addition that’s sure to rile some of the employees in Cupertino. Shots fired!

        • Sony’s Android TV-powered 4K televisions are ridiculously thin

          Four models from Sony’s 2015 Android TV-powered 4K television range are now available for pre-order, with shipping to begin in May.

          The Japanese electronics giant unveiled its 4K TV lineup for 2015 at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but kept pricing and release information to itself, only saying the new sets would be available sometime in the spring. Those details are finally here and the TVs themselves aren’t far off.

        • Android Wear v1.1 APK has Apple references in it, but when is iOS support coming?

          That Google is working on iOS support for Android Wear is nearly undeniable at this point, but even more evidence has surfaced in case you aren’t a believer. We peeked inside the latest Android Wear update APK to see what hidden bits were swarming about, and we came across some very interesting references.

        • 5 Things to Expect from the Nexus 5 Android 5.1.1 Release

          A few weeks ago, an Android 5.1.1 update mysteriously appeared alongside an update for Google’s Android SDK. Earlier this week, Google finally confirmed the Nexus Android 5.1.1 release with an update for its Nexus Player. With an Android 5.1.1 update now on the minds of Nexus users, particularly Nexus 5 users dealing with Android 5.0 Lollipop problems, we want to take a look at what we expect from the Nexus 5 Android 5.1 release from Google.

        • The Turing Phone Is Super Durable and Ultra Secure

          The device also sports a 13MP/8MP camera combo, 64GB / 128GB of internal storage and runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Jolla Tablet Ship Date Slips

        According to the Jolla Blog the ship date for the much anticipated Jolla Tablet has slipped: From June-ish to July-ish. (The original ship date was expected to be May).

        Jolla had one of the most successful Crowdfunded projects run by IndieGOGO. It ended up being over funded by 480%, exhibiting strong support for another tablet that isn’t IOS, isn’t Android, and isn’t Windows.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • An Incredibly Insecure Voting Machine

      If asked for a password, the administrator password is “admin” (VITA provided that).

      Download the Microsoft Access database using Windows Explorer.
      Use a free tool to extract the hardwired key (“shoup”), which VITA also did for us.

      Use Microsoft Access to add, delete, or change any of the votes in the database.

      Upload the modified copy of the Microsoft Access database back to the voting machine.

    • Bug in Wi-Fi software could open Android, Linux and BSD to wireless attacks

      A flaw in a component used to authenticate client devices on Wi-Fi networks could potentially expose devices running on Android, Linux and BSD to hackers. The security problem resides in wpa_supplicant, a widely used open-source software implementation of the IEEE 802.11i specification for Wi-Fi clients.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • DoD’s New ‘Transparent’ Policy on Cybersecurity Is Still Opaque

      When the U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter laid out the Pentagon’s new cybersecurity strategy this week, few were expecting it to break news. And, indeed, his talk at Stanford’s Hoover Institution on Thursday offered no surprises. But the secretary did set up an expectation during his speech on which he ultimately failed to deliver.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch Funding of Universities Shrouded in Secrecy

      In a recent column entitled “The Campus Climate Crusade,” The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel spent over 800 words arguing the basic conceit of UnKochMyCampus, a campaign uniting students at universities around the country who are working to increase transparency on their campuses and fight attempts by corporate donors like Charles and David Koch from influencing their education.

  • Finance

    • Newly Leaked TTIP Draft Reveals Far-Reaching Assault on US/EU Democracy

      A freshly-leaked chapter from the highly secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, currently under negotiation between the United States and European Union, reveals that the so-called “free trade” deal poses an even greater threat to environmental and human rights protections—and democracy itself—than previously known, civil society organizations warn.

      The revelation comes on the heels of global protests against the mammoth deal over the weekend and coincides with the reconvening of negotiations between the parties on Monday in New York.

      The European Commission’s latest proposed chapter (pdf) on “regulatory cooperation” was first leaked to Friends of the Earth and dates to the month of March. It follows previous leaks of the chapter, and experts say the most recent iteration is even worse.

    • Slovakia earmarks EUR 12 million for central bankruptcy portal

      Slovakia’s Ministry of Finance signed a contract worth nearly EUR 12 million in March for the creation of a portal on bankruptcies, financial restructuring and debt reduction. By creating this portal, the Ministry aims to assist citizens, companies and legal professionals, by bringing together information that is already available in the systems of public administrations.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • It’s Not the 1 Percent Controlling Politics. It’s the 0.01 Percent.

      Even before presidential candidates started lining up billionaires to kick-start their campaigns, it was clear that the 2016 election could be the biggest big-money election yet. This chart from the political data shop Crowdpac illustrates where we may be headed: Between 1980 and 2012, the share of federal campaign contributions coming from the very, very biggest political spenders—the top 0.01 percent of donors—nearly tripled…

    • Kochs, Corps, and Monsanto Trade Group Have Bankrolled Group Attacking Dr. Oz

      A group of ten doctors has called for NBC’s Dr. Oz (Dr. Mehmet Oz) to be fired from Columbia University, where he is vice chairman of the surgery department.

      The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has long tracked the group that is connected to several of the signers attacking Dr. Oz, and CMD’s Executive Director Lisa Graves spoke with the Dr. Oz show about the background of that group and some of the signers. (CMD does not receive any funding from Dr. Oz or NBC.)

  • Privacy

    • Cybersecurity Official Believes Encryption Can Be Backdoored Safely; Can’t Think Of Single Expert Who Agrees With Him

      The government continues to looks for ways to route around Apple and Google’s phone encryption. The plans range from legislated backdoors to a mythical “golden key” to split-key escrow where the user holds one key and the government shares the other with device makers.

      None of these are solutions. And there’s no consensus that this is a problem in search of one. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies will still find ways to get what they want from these phones, but it may involve more legwork/paperwork and the development of new tools and exploits. Without a doubt, encryption will not leave law enforcement unable to pursue investigations. Cellphones are a relatively recent development in the lifespan of law enforcement and no crime prior to the rise of cellphone usage went uninvestigated because suspects weren’t walking around with the entirety of their lives in their pockets.

      But still the government continues to believe there’s some way to undermine this encryption in a way that won’t allow criminals to exploit it. This belief is based on nothing tangible. One can only imagine how many deafening silent beats passed between question and answer during White House cybersecurity policy coordinator Michael Daniel’s conversation with reporters following the recent RSA conference.

    • NSA had German spies target Euro allies

      German spies targeted politicians in friendly European nations and inside Germany for surveillance on behalf of the US National Security Agency (NSA), a media report revealed on Thursday.

  • Civil Rights

    • Cop Smash & Grab: Houston Police Caught on Video Kicking in Door to Business, Stealing Cash

      Two Houston Police officers were caught on camera kicking down the door of local business owner Marcquette Jones last Wednesday.

      Jones, the 36-year-old owner of The South Side Game Room, says this isn’t the first time the officers unlawfully entered his business. According to the business owner, the two cops paid him the first visit on January 20, claiming they were there to “check building code compliance.”

    • FBI tortured US citizen in foreign prison for months for refusing to become an informant, man claims

      An Eritrean-born American citizen has filed suit against the FBI, alleging the agency was responsible for having him detained and tortured for years in an Arab country for refusing to become an informant in his mosque in Portland, Oregon.

    • A Psychedelic History of the CIA

      What went entirely unmentioned by the American press was that 37 years ago Stanley Faulder had been the unwitting victim of medical experiments partially funded by the CIA. According to Faulder’s sister, Pat Nicholl, who lives in Jaspar, Alberta, “At 15 Stanley was arrested for stealing a watch and sent to a boys’ home for six months. At 17, another theft got him six months in jail. At 22 he was caught in a stolen car and sent to jail in New Westminster, B.C. for two years. There, he asked for psychiatric help and was put in an experimental drug program which involved doses of LSD”.

    • A Residence With Locking Doors And A Working Toilet Is All That’s Needed To Justify A No-Knock Warrant

      No-knock warrants have become the strategy of first choice for many police departments. Most of these target those suspected of drug possession or sales, rather than the truly dangerous situations they should be reserved for. The rise in no-knock warrants has resulted in an increased number of deadly altercations. Cops have been shot in self-defense by residents who thought their homes were being invaded by criminals. Innocent parties have been wounded or killed because the element of surprise police feel is so essential in preventing the destruction of evidence puts cops — often duded up in military gear — into a mindset that demands violent reaction to any perceived threat. In these situations, the noise and confusion turns everything into a possible threat, even the motions of frightened people who don’t have time to grasp the reality — and severity — of the situation.

    • Former CIA head’s no-jail sentence for leaking called “gross hypocrisy”

      Yesterday, former CIA Director David Petraeus was handed two years of probation and a $100,000 fine after agreeing to a plea deal that ends in no jail time for leaking classified information to Paula Broadwell, his biographer and lover.

      “I now look forward to moving on with the next phase of my life and continuing to serve our great nation as a private citizen,” Petraeus said outside the federal courthouse in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday.

      Lower-level government leakers have not, however, been as likely to walk out of a courthouse applauding the US as Petraeus did. Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, called the Petraeus plea deal a “gross hypocrisy.”

      “At the same time as Petraeus got off virtually scot-free, the Justice Department has been bringing the hammer down upon other leakers who talk to journalists—sometimes for disclosing information much less sensitive than Petraeus did,” he said.

      The Petraeus sentencing came days after the Justice Department demanded (PDF) up to a 24-year-term for Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent who leaked information to a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer about a botched mission to sell nuclear plans to Iran in order to hinder its nuclear-weapons progress.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Plans to Drop Time Warner Cable Deal

      Fourteen months after unveiling a $45.2 billion merger that would create a new Internet and cable giant, Comcast Corp. is planning to walk away from its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said.

  • DRM

    • All about PlayReady 3.0, Microsoft’s secret plan to lock down 4K movies to your PC

      The name of the movie might as well be Digital Rights Management: The New Nightmare. It stars Microsoft, who is working with chip vendors Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and Qualcomm to protect Hollywood’s movies from piracy as they travel through your PC. The technology it’s promoting is called PlayReady 3.0.

      Microsoft is also dangling promises for consumers: Buy a Windows 10 system with PlayReady, Microsoft says, and you’ll be able to view Hollywood’s latest movies in all their 4K glory. Without Microsoft’s hardware DRM technology—pay attention, those of you with older PCs—you may only be able to view a lower-quality version of the film.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Recording Industry: Works Entering the Public Domain Are Not in the Public Interest

        On World Book and Copyright Day, it is worth noting how Graham Henderson, the President of Music Canada (formerly the Canadian Recording Industry Association) characterized the government’s decision to extend the term of copyright in sound recordings and performances:

        With each passing day, Canadian treasures like Universal Soldier by Buffy Sainte-Marie are lost to the public domain. This is not in the public interest. It does not benefit the creator or their investors and it will have an adverse impact on the Canadian economy.”

        This statement raises several issues. First, it should be noted that the song Universal Soldier by Buffy Sainte-Marie is not in the public domain nor will it be entering the public domain for decades. As the songwriter, Buffy Sainte-Marie still holds copyright in the song and will do so for her entire lifetime plus an additional 50 years (Howard Knopf further explains the issue of copyright term in songs in this post).

04.24.15

Who Kills Yahoo? It’s Microsoft, Not Yahoo!

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Search at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A quiz

Summary: The media should blame Microsoft, not Marissa Mayer, for what’s going on (and has been going on for 7 years) at Yahoo!

HAVING essentially killed Nokia and Novell by infiltrating them and taking control of them, Microsoft would like to have history rewritten. This is true also when it comes to Yahoo!, which Microsoft systematically killed from the inside and Yahoo! is now trying to push away to regain some independence.

Watch Marissa Mayer receiving heat for laying off a lot of Yahoo! staff. How about blaming those who induced this destruction in the first place? Microsoft has deliberately destroyed a lot of companies over the years, causing many people to become jobless and for their projects/work/code to be abandoned. To Microsoft, this is the strategy, which is why Microsoft layoffs are great news; they provide an opportunity for some other (law-abiding) companies to turn up and provide jobs to the unemployed engineers/programmers.

To repeat what Mayer has done, she made it possible for Yahoo! to altogether terminate the search ‘deal’ with Microsoft in 6 months. As one site put it: “The two companies have amended the terms of the Search and Advertising Sales agreement whereby the agreement could be terminated any time on or after October 1. The term of the deal was 10 years from its commencement date, February 23, 2010.”

Microsoft did to Yahoo! what it had done to Nokia, although the attack on Yahoo’s sovereignty in many ways and by several years predates the latter. The reason Mayer needs to lay off a lot of staff (no matter how she puts it or announces it, there’s no easy way!) is Microsoft’s abusive attacks on the company. As one article put it, “Yahoo! missed Wall Street’s revenue and profit forecasts as slight growth in its online advertising businesses was outweighed by higher payments to websites that send readers to the site. ”

Here is how Wall Street media put it: “Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer outlined plans to explore options for the company’s stake in its Japanese division, heartening investors dismayed by another report showing disappointing sales and profit.”

As with every ‘partnership’ in which Microsoft is involved, only one party benefits. It’s no wonder Yahoo! is going broke. The sooner it quits Microsoft and restores/bolsters its search teams, the faster it will manage to get out of this hole. Mayer inherited a total mess wherein Yahoo! is contractually committed to carry water (traffic) for Microsoft; it seems like she has been trying her best (since February) to escape this mess by all means necessary.

Appalling revisionism says that Yahoo! was failing before Microsoft attacked it and the same is being said about Nokia. This horrible case of misplaced blame is an insult to history.

EPO Management is Trying Hard to Appease Its Critics While Pushing Forth Unitary Patent Agenda

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lives of ordinary Europeans silently compromised

Canal and house

Summary: The European Patent Office and European Commission promote the agenda of large multinational corporations (at the expense or European citizens) and critics are being kept at bay

Ahead of the May 5th Unitary Patent decision we have been hoping for stronger action and a push/effort that puts the underlying issues in European media. Sadly, however, it has been quiet on this front. Secrecy plays a role in this relative calm. If Europeans knew what was going on and what was really at stake, they would be up in arms, marching in the streets everywhere (hundreds of millions of them). Ignorance — induced by silence or passivity — works in favour of the rich looters. Most people are just too lazy or too apathetic to study these issues, which tie into several other issues that do in fact have Europeans marching in the streets (many protests reported last week and this week).

For the uninitiated, the Unitary Patent can lead to software patents (and with them patent trolls) in Europe. The Unitary Patent offers a lot to large corporations and just about nothing to ordinary European citizens. It’s corporations-led and plutocrats-steered globalisation — like that which we find in TPP and similar treaties that have nothing to do with ‘freedom’ or ‘trade’, just passage of wealth from the bottom to the top (trickle-up effect).

Over in the United States, software patents continue getting weaker, but it doesn’t prevent opportunists from making self-promotional noise. Here is press releases celebrating software patents earlier this month and another couple of brags about software patents. As we shall show another day, however, the real trend is the demise of software patents, especially once they reach the court. This is why the vocation of patent courts in Europe matters so much. It’s a hugely important decision, but the public is not contacting European officials.

In the US, even automobile companies (remember where the first software patent came from, granted to Martin Goetz) acquire patents on software. As this month’s report from “Fortune” Magazine put it, “the automaker has also been getting into the software space, according to patenting data, which shows that GM filed 592 software patents over the past five years, accounting for over 15% of their patenting activity.”

Well, Europe has a large automobile industry (engines manufacturing for example) and with it there’s the risk of patents on software creeping in. Some companies sure are working on it and amid USPTO misconduct (glorifying patents by manipulating the process; see this related new propaganda from patent lawyers’ media) we should keep alert. Those who are familiar with controversial ‘trade’ treaties in the EU ought to know by now the role of automobile giants in selling out European citizens.

The EPO, whose current management is dominated by large and greedy corporations, increasingly copies the USPTO for increased private profits, introduced by poor quality patents that include software patents.

Referring to the Unitary Patent, Dr. Glyn Moody now writes that it shows “Why is EU Pushing Itself into Irrelevance” (he frames this as a question).

“Although I haven’t written about the Unitary Patent for a while now,” Moody says, “it hasn’t gone away – alas. Instead, it is still grinding through the ratification process that is necessary before it comes into force. There are many questions about how it will work in practice, and whether it will offer any real benefits to European companies. So it’s strange that the European Commission recently came out with a total puff-piece on the subject, which tries to convince people that it’s all going to be great. As you will see if you click on that link, that puff-piece also seems to have disappeared, which is rather telling (if anyone finds it again, please let me know.)”

Moody refers to text which can still be found here. He concludes as follows: “Assuming the Unitary Patent ever comes into being – and a legal challenge from Spain at the Court of Justice of the European Union is just one reason why it might not – the new Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court that will rule on disputes are both essentially outside the control of the European Commission, existing in a bizarre political limbo that is one of the most problematic aspects of the whole idea, as I’ve noted before. Leaving aside the fact that many statements on the vanished page are/were simply wrong, the larger question has to be: why on earth is the European Commission pushing an idea that will not only marginalise its own role, but make it highly likely that European companies will be forced to start paying an exorbitant patent troll tax like their American colleagues? One, moreover, that will be particularly problematic for the open source world which has few resources to fight back.”

It sure looks like the European Commission, which has been defending the EPO (and by extension software patents in Europe), is working hard to make the Unitary Patent a reality. This is really bad. The only thing worse is that SUEPO has been almost silenced and EPO staff has not been so active in fighting back as of late. Based on this April 23rd press release: “At a round table meeting jointly initiated by the Chairman of the Administrative Council, Jesper Kongstad, and EPO President Benoît Battistelli, the SUEPO and FFPE entered into a process which could eventually lead to their formal recognition as trade unions at the Office for the first time in EPO history. The meeting’s aim was to re-launch social dialogue to overcome disputes that have arisen over the inner reform agenda of the EPO.”

This does deal with some rights of staff, but it still does not deal with corruption in the EPO, appointment of criminals, expansion of patent scope, etc. The EPO’s management not only crushes EPO staff (leading many to suicide); it is crushing top people from the Enlarged Board of Appeal and on April 21st we learned from the EPO’s site about bizarre amendments that include: “In proceedings under Article 112 EPC the Board may, on its own initiative or at the written, reasoned request of the President of the European Patent Office, invite him to comment in writing or orally on questions of general interest which arise in the course of proceedings pending before it. The parties shall be entitled to submit their observations on the President’s comments.”

Why is the EPO run like a tyrannical regime where the so-called ‘President’ (with capital P) can exercise total power and intervene even in the processes of peripheral and presumably independent bodies? The EPO is corrupt and to make matters worse, it now seems as though many who are supposed to act as regulating forces are now complicit in making it more powerful — empowered to help the super-rich at the expense of everyone else.

Real Patent Reform Will Not Come From Biggest Backers of GNU/Linux, Not Even Google

Posted in Google, Patents at 10:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ChromeOS and Android (Linux) cannot coexist with software patents, or patents on mathematics

Mathematics

Summary: A look at the ‘new’ Google, the company which is hoarding patents (2,566 last year alone) instead of fighting for reform

ONE OF IBM’s biggest or most prominent proponents of software patents (and ironically one of the original promoters of GNU/Linux over there) may now be retired, but he (Irving Wladawsky-Berger) is still writing long essays, even for notoriously anti-Google and anti-Free software publications like the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal. As we have pointed out before, IBM continues to be one of the biggest lobbyists for software patents. It’s not apathetic towards them. So what about other big proponents of GNU/Linux, such as Google (with ChromeOS and Android)?

According to this recent article from “Fortune” Magazine (another magazine which targets wealth people, just like the Wall Street Journal), Google has really changed a lot in recent years. “Similarly,” it says, “Google (GOOG), a software company, is rapidly moving into manufacturing. Thirty-nine percent of its patents from 2007-2012 have been in hardware — computer hardware, yes, but also power and energy devices, as well as mechanical hardware—many originating from their ambitious autonomous car project.”

Google has hired lawyers and it increasingly turns into a big proponent of these lawyers’ business: patents. We contacted Google executives before they did this, but to no avail. The company which helps make many Android devices, Qualcomm, is itself turning into somewhat of a patent troll. Consider this Wall Street-oriented publication which titled its analysis “Qualcomm: The Enemy Of My Enemy May Not Be My FRAND”. It says that “Jana Partners, one of Qualcomm’s largest investors, has called for the company to spin-off its chip-making business from its patent-licensing business.” It also says that “Qualcomm’s patent-licensing business, which primarily licenses standard-essential patents, drives most of its profits.”

Here is where Google comes into play: “A pending decision from the Ninth Circuit in a case between Microsoft and Motorola is expected to clarify the scope of royalty rates a company can seek when licensing standard-essential.”

The Microsoft-funded Florian Müller recently wrote about what he called the “real Google”, having done a lot of Oracle lobbying (anti-Google) in his blog, especially in the month March. He published something titled “The Google that has joined Via Licensing’s LTE pool is the real Google–not the FRAND abuser”.

Well, here is the thing; there’s no doubt Google is no longer much of a resistor of patents. There were changes there several years back, regretful changes no doubt. According to another recent article from from “Fortune” Magazine, “Google even uses analytics to prioritize its patent portfolio”. It gives some numbers too: “Google’s intellectual property portfolio is relatively modest compared with the monster one managed by IBM—just 2,566 added last year compared with the 7,534 added by the older company.”

That’s a lot of patents: 2,566. Google made a lot of headlines (more than a hundred of the press alone, including [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32], about one single patent regarding spoiler prevention) and it is now facing a lawsuit, as we’ve just learned, targeting word recognition (included as standard in many Linux-based Google software such as operating systems). “Google Inc. and Motorola Mobility LLC,” says this report from Law 360, “opened fire Tuesday on two software patents covering word-recognition technology owned by Luxembourg-based Arendi S.A.R.L., telling a Patent Trial and Appeals Board panel that key claims in the patents are obvious in light of prior inventions.”

These are software patents. If Google wants things to shift in its favour, perhaps it’s time to put some effort into battling patents on software, not amassing software patents as it currently does. Since the US increasingly turns against software patents (owing to the Alice case and widely-cited SCOTUS ruling), this is not a futile battle.

Microsoft’s Troll Intellectual Ventures Loses Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 9:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Intellectual Ventures is bluffing with software patents, but this time around it doesn’t get its way

Übertroll Intellectual Ventures, a Microsoft-connected patent troll which occasionally attacks Linux and Android (even recently, as early as this month), took another patent parasite to court. That parasite is known to many as Trend Micro and it not only attacked Free software with patent lawsuits, but also with words, as we showed here before.

While we have sympathy for neither party because Intellectual Ventures acts as a Microsoft front and we called for a boycott of Trend Micro several years ago, there is a worthwhile story from Reuters that’s going around the world right now (UK, US/International, and India) and it says that “A U.S. judge has invalidated two patents owned by Intellectual Ventures just weeks before its lawsuit against Japanese security software provider Trend Micro Inc over the same patents was set to go to trial.”

“U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark in Delaware said on Wednesday the two patents were too abstract to deserve legal protection.

“The ruling likely means Intellectual Ventures’ infringement trial with Trend Micro will not proceed.”

This is significance from a legal perspective pertaining to patentability of software in the US.

There is more about this in legal (as in lawyers’) sites. This latter one says: “A Delaware federal judge on Wednesday held that two Intellectual Ventures LLC antivirus patents are invalid for claiming abstract ideas, likely slashing a $17 million infringement verdict against Symantec Corp. and shutting down an upcoming trial against Trend Micro Inc.”

Links 24/4/2015: Ubuntu and Variants in the News, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1

Posted in News Roundup at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 10 Mini-PCs With Pre-Installed Linux

    As computers shrink in size, the line between mini-PCs and small desktop PCs is getting blurrier every year. As the name suggests, however, mini-PCs, are smaller than usual, usually less than five inches square and a few inches tall, making them easier to carry and hide away on a crowded desktop or behind a signage or kiosk display. They’re also usually fanless, which means they’re quiet and have one less moving part to break, and they tend to be cheaper, with more limited I/O. That usually translates into lower prices.

  • 10 Linux Mini PCs
  • Five Important Steps Linux Job Seekers Should Take

    Linux talent is in high demand, and the evidence is in the numbers. According to the 2015 Linux Jobs Report from the Linux Foundation, 92 percent of IT managers plan to hire Linux pros within the next six months. The 2015 Linux Jobs Report includes data from hiring managers (1,010) and Linux professionals (3,446) and provides an overview of the state of the market for Linux careers and what motivates professionals in this industry. With the rise of open cloud platforms positively affecting this ever-growing market, a new generation of open-source projects like Docker and OpenStack ensure the longevity of developers who can hone the most cutting-edge skills. Yet in the same report, 88 percent of companies stated it is somewhat difficult to find qualified candidates. Organizations are willing to pay big bucks for those with the right qualifications. To glean more perspective from a company that is constantly looking to hire the best open-source talent, eWEEK spoke with Marie Louise van Deutekom, global HR director at SUSE, to uncover tips for Linux job seekers and showcase which skills will help them stand out.

  • Desktop

    • M$’s Client Division Sinks Slowly Into The West

      As expected, M$’s client division is doing poorly.

      The drop was huge, though, meaning they’ve been diversifying sufficiently rapidly just to keep some growth on the bottom line. One wonders how bad it would have been if not for support from Android/Linux…

      See? There’s a reason this is The Year Of GNU/Linux on the Desktop. That other OS has dropped out.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Calligra @ conf.kde.in
      • Kubuntu 15.04: the first major distro to ship Plasma 5

        Kubuntu is one of the best Plasma distros, along with openSUSE. Jonathan Riddell, the lead developer of the project, just announced the release of Kubuntu 15.04.

        Kubuntu 15.04 is undoubtedly one of the most impressive and important releases due to many reasons. First of all it is the first major distro to ship Plasma 5 as the default desktop environment.

      • Identities, I usually don’t stop being myself

        One of the most interesting developments I’ve seen recently inside KDE is KAccounts (or Web Accounts, as it used to be called). It’s not even a KDE project, but a project Nokia started some years ago, I’m guessing that on MeeGo days.

      • Qt Creator 3.4.0 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 3.4.0 today. I’m highlighting some of the many new features below. Please take a look at our change log for a more complete list of features and fixes.

        The C++ support in Qt Creator now has a new refactoring action that moves all function definitions out of a class declaration. We also added auto-completion for signals and slots in Qt 5 style connects. Just type the “&” and let auto-completion figure out the type of the object. Also new is a locator filter, All Included C/C++ Files, which finds all files that are used in your project by including them, even if they are not explicitly mentioned in your project. The filter is part of the default that is used when you just type in the Locator input field, and shares the shortcut string with Files in Any Project.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.17.1 unstable tarballs due

        Tarballs are due on 2015-04-27 before 23:59 UTC for the GNOME 3.17.1 unstable release, which will be delivered on Wednesday. Modules which were proposed for inclusion should try to follow the unstable schedule so everyone can test them. Please make sure that your tarballs will be uploaded before Monday 23:59 UTC: tarballs uploaded later than that will probably be too late to get in 3.17.1. If you are not able to make a tarball before this deadline or if you think you’ll be late, please send a mail to the release team and we’ll find someone to roll the tarball for you!

  • Distributions

    • Build Your Own Linux Distro

      There are hundreds of actively maintained Linux distributions. They come in all shapes, sizes and configurations. Yet there’s none like the one you’re currently running on your computer. That’s because you’ve probably customised it to the hilt – you’ve spent numerous hours adding and removing apps and tweaking aspects of the distro to suit your workflow.

      Wouldn’t it be great if you could convert your perfectly set up system into a live distro? You could carry it with you on a flash drive or even install it on other computers you use.

      Besides satisfying your personal itch, there are several other uses for a custom distro. You can spin one with apps that you use in school and pass it around to everyone in class, stuffed with class notes and other study aids. You can do something similar within a professional organisation as well that uses a defined set of apps.

      There are various tools for creating a custom distro. We’ll start with the ones that are simple to use but offer limited customisation options and move on to more complex ones that enable you to customise every aspect of your distro.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 is Available Now

        Red Hat has announced its Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1, the company’s selection of some of the latest open source C and C++ compilers and complementary development tools. Available through the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Program and related subscriptions, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 is targeted at application development for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but is also potentially useful for all kinds of developers and administrators depending on Red Hat’s cloud tools.

      • ​Red Hat gives developers more programming goodies

        Corporate IT operators love Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for its stability and support options. Developers, however, want the latest programming tools. To help settle this eternal DevOps battle, Red Hat provides the Red Hat Developer Toolset and the Red Hat Software Collections so that programmers can have up-to-date tools on the operators’ rock-steady RHEL 6 or 7 servers.

      • Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 Now Available
      • Red Hat broadens programming language support

        Potentially making work easier for system administrators, Red Hat has updated its development packages to support running multiple versions of the same programming language on its flagship enterprise operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

        Red Hat has released updates to two of its packages of third-party open source software for running programs on RHEL, Red Hat Developer Toolset and Red Hat Software Collections. Red Hat Developer Toolset is a package of compliers and related tools for the C and C++ programming languages. Red Hat Software Collections assembles a set of tools, languages and databases for building Web applications.

      • Fedora

        • Redesign of spins.fedoraproject.org; Help make your spin rock!

          We made a decision to split the desktop spins away from the functional spins. Functional spins will be housed at a new site catered specifically for them: labs.fedoraproject.org. ARM builds will also have their own one-page site with references to important documentation and the Fedora ARM community as well.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Conference explores Linux for high performance embedded systems

      Presented by an industry expert Richard Copeman of Lauterbach, the workshop will explore how to approach a Linux project from the perspective of the development environment and debug tools

    • Undo Software exhibits Linux and Android reversible debugging tools at conference

      Undo Software – which this week announced a successful new funding round – will be available to discuss and explain its Linux and Android reversible debugging tools at the UK Device Developers’ Conference next month.

    • The Intel Compute Stick is the right idea, but not the right execution

      And a $99 Ubuntu Linux version of the Compute Stick will arrive in June, albeit with slightly lower specs: 1GB RAM, 8GB storage.

    • Intel’s Compute Stick: A full PC that’s tiny in size (and performance)

      Our appreciation of mini desktop PCs is well-documented at this point. In the age of the smartphone and the two-pound laptop, the desktop PC is perhaps the least exciting of computing devices, but there are still plenty of hulking desktop towers out there, and many of them can be replaced by something you can hold in the palm of your hand.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Wear Updates: Wi-Fi, Always-On Apps and Usability

          This week Google announced the latest update to their smart watch focused operating system, Android Wear. Google did not specify the exact version number, but the previous version was 1.0.5 and each release has bumped the last digit, so best guess is this is version 1.0.6. This update adds three main features: Wi-Fi support, Always-On application support, and several welcome usability upgrades.

        • 4 iOS/Android fighting games that are times better than Mortal Kombat X

          Mortal Kombat X, the latest installment in the classic game series, is now available on both iOS and Android. Don’t pop the champagne yet – it’s nothing like the classic Mortal Kombat games we’ve once played and had fun with. This card-based “fighting” game indeed comes with fancy graphics, but the gameplay is as disappointingly out of sync with the roots of the legendary game series.

        • Mortal Kombat X lands on Android: in-app purchases, gore, swiping and tapping galore!

          A few weeks ago, the latest title in the legendary Mortal Kombat game series – Mortal Kombat X – executed a fatality and landed on iOS. Fortunately for Android fans, the game has just “somersaulted” and soft-released on Android in select regions.

        • Facebook says ‘Hello’ with new dialer app for Android phones
        • This Is Facebook’s Latest Move to Take Over Your Phone
        • Facebook Hello tells you who’s calling before you pick up
        • How to get emoji symbols on your Android phone
        • 13 Nexus Android 5.1.1 Release Date Tips

          With a Nexus Android 5.1.1 Lollipop release now confirmed for Nexus smartphones and tablets, we want to offer up some helpful tips to Nexus users poised to get the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update from Google. These tips should help make release day go a lot smoother for owners of the Nexus 5, Nexus 9, Nexus 7, Nexus Player and more.

        • LG G Watch, G Watch R and Asus ZenWatch miss big Android Wear update
        • Get the Best Apple Watch Features on Android Wear

          The long wait for the Apple Watch is almost over, but wait one second—you don’t necessarily have to rush out and spend $349 (or more) to get some of its most useful features on your wrist. You can add these tweaks and third-party apps to Android Wear to get a more Apple Watch-like experience from your wearable.

        • Confirmed: An Android 5.0 and Windows 10 dual-boot capable smartphone with 2K display to launch in June

          Chinese smartphone manufacturer Elephone is working on a feature-rich flagship smartphone which will ship in two variants — one running on Android 5.0 Lollipop, and the other one offering dual-boot capability with Windows 10 for phones, the company confirms to BetaNews. The Android counterpart will launch next month while the dual-boot capable phone will launch in June.

        • Samsung Galaxy S5 Said to Have Security Flaw That Leaks Your Fingerprint to Hackers

          The Samsung Galaxy S5 was the first device from the company’s S lineup to boast a fingerprint scanner, and people were pretty excited about it. But as it turns out, the fingerprint scanner inside Samsung’s previous flagship houses a very dangerous flaw.

        • Use Flynx to load websites in the background on Android

          Reading through your social streams probably results in a bit of link-clickage here and there. If you’re on a computer, leaving those links open in other tabs is no big deal. However, if you’re on an Android device, it starts to feel less convenient to open and read links from apps like Twitter or Facebook. Sure, you can use the in-app browser for most social apps these days, but they don’t have the same convenient features you’ll find with Flynx.

        • Android Candy: Intercoms

          Ever since my “tiny $20 tablet” project (see my Open-Source Classroom column in the March 2015 issue), I’ve been looking for more and more cool things to do with cheap Android devices. Although the few obvious ones like XBMC or Plex remotes work well, I’ve recently found that having Android devices around the house means I can gain back an old-school ability that went out of style in the late 1980s—namely, an intercom system.

        • Galaxy Zoo Android app: New Surveys

          The web-based Galaxy Zoo has switched to showing subjects from two new surveys, with new sets of questions for these surveys. So I’ve updated (see in github) the Android app too and the new version is now available in the play store. These new images are less clear, and the questions are a little harder to answer. Apparently some clearer images are on the way.

        • Twitter Launches Highlights For Android To Summarize The Day’s Tweets

          If keeping up with all those tweets is starting to feel a little overwhelming, Twitter just announced a new feature that could help — at least if you own an Android phone.

          Earlier this year, it launched “While You Were Away,” which can put older, popular tweets at the top of your feed. The theme here is helping users find relevant content even if it’s not the most recent thing posted — something that could help the service seem less intimidating to casual users.

        • How to enable Twitter’s new Highlights feature on Android

          Make sure you never miss an important tweet or conversation, by enabling Highlights.

        • Samsung begins updating Galaxy A3 with Android Lollipop

          Samsung is now seeding yet another Android Lollipop firmware update – this time around the Galaxy A3 is the lucky smartphone. Samsung previously announced the entire Galaxy A series will be treated to Lollipop, so we expect the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 to follow suit soon.

        • This free Android app is packed with more than 3,000 Material Design wallpapers

          Some people are perfectly happy to use one of the few stock wallpapers that came preinstalled on their smartphones. But you’re not “some people.” You’re a savvy Android user and you’ve gone to great lengths to personalize your device with the right apps, widgets and even launchers, in order to ensure that your device is set up exactly how you want it.

        • All Android Wear watches have Wi-Fi chips, but some won’t get Wi-Fi support

          Android Wear is getting a big update that enables a top-level app list, always-on apps, a hands-free scrolling gesture, and it’s also enabling Wi-Fi support. Wi-Fi is coming not just in the software; a lot of existing devices will have their Wi-Fi functionality enabled—but not all of them.

        • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 gets updated to Android Lollipop 5.0.2

          When it comes to updating to new versions of Android, Samsung generally isn’t the quickest OEM on the block. Thankfully, this situation has changed some with Lollipop, at least as far as many of their flagship handsets are concerned. Unfortunately, tablets have been a completely different matter, with Samsung being much slower to push out Lollipop, and has only recently started introducing 5.1 to its tablet range. With that in mind, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Wi-Fi) is the latest tablet to get Google’s sweet treat, moving from KitKat over to Android 5.0.2.

        • Samsung Galaxy Note 2, A3, A5, A7 Confirmed For Android 5.0 Lollipop Update
        • 7 Things to Expect from the Nexus 7 Android 5.1.1 Release

          Earlier this month, an Android 5.1.1 update mysteriously appeared alongside an update to Google’s Android SDK. Earlier this week, Google finally confirmed the Nexus Android 5.1.1 release with an update for the Nexus Player. With an Android 5.1.1 update now on the minds of Nexus users, particularly Nexus 7 users dealing with Android 5.0 Lollipop problems, we want to take a look at what we expect from the Nexus 7 Android 5.1 release going forward.

        • Acer’s building an Android gaming tablet to go with its Predator PCs

          It’s safe to say that Acer’s gone a little batty this morning – the company crammed announcement after announcement into a press conference overlooking the New York City skyline, but some of the most interesting stuff didn’t get much detail. Case in point: The company’s working on an Android-powered Predator tablet to go along with its series of angular, red and black gaming PCs and it’s going to launch by the end of 2015.

        • NVIDIA’s SHIELD Console Becomes SHIELD Android TV

          NVIDIA updated their SHIELD website today with a bit more information on the SHIELD Console. And while an earlier $299 device listing ended up being erroneous – NVIDIA accidentally listed the developer edition console for a time – there is one other minor update that is true and bears mentioning.

          With today’s site update, NVIDIA has updated the name of the SHIELD Console. All of their branding now refers to the device as the SHIELD Android TV, doing away with the “Console” branding. The original SHIELD Console name has been somewhat inconsistent on NVIDIA’s part – the company would call it the Console at times, and other times simply the NVIDIA SHIELD – so this slight rebranding is presumably NVIDIA settling on what should be the device’s final name for next month’s launch.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Sci-fi meets open source at annual Penguicon nerdfest

      This weekend over 1,400 nerds will convene at the Southfield Westin Hotel for the 12th annual Penguicon, a technical conference and social convention that marries sci-fi fandom with collaborative, nonprofit software development.

  • Web Browsers

    • Top 4 Browsers For Linux With Good And Bad

      Selecting a good browser for you Linux machine depends on your needs but nowadays most of us require to use browsers for surfing Internet without some special work like development or so on. Most of us use browsers to do social networking, watching lectures for hours and playing games in browser. So here I’m reviewing Top 4 Browsers for Linux with mentioning some good and bad that I’ve faced.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • What’s Next for Apache’s Open Source Office Suite, OpenOffice?

      Still, as one of the longest-standing open source productivity apps, and one that played a major role in making desktop Linux viable, OpenOffice is a venerable project. Indeed, its history stretches all the way back to 1985 (when I was still merely an idea!), and it has been open source since 2000. If it folds, it will be one of the first big-name open source apps to do so—even if few people notice as they continue happily chugging along on LibreOffice.

    • OpenOffice development is looking grim as developers flock to LibreOffice
    • Is OpenOffice on its way out?

      A recent report prepared on the state of Apache OpenOffice shows that the organization is having a difficult time. While mailing list activity remains robust, there are few mentor for would-be developers and there’s currently no release manager. We won’t quote directly from the document, as its currently listed as a work-in-progress, but interested readers can find it here.

  • Business

  • BSD

    • No Linux, no Docker, no cloud OS? Think again

      Operating systems like CoreOS and Joyent’s SmartOS/Triton have worked to redefine, in radically different ways, what an OS needs to be to run applications at scale in the cloud.

      Now another OS is set to join the ranks of those trying to do the cloud-OS thing in a maverick way: OSv, an open source, hypervisor-optimized OS “designed to run an application stack without getting in the way.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • 6th Dev Mumble – April 27th, 9pm CEST @ gnunet.org

      On the 27th we get to officially announce the results from the GSoC application process to the students, so we should probably use this opportunity to also have a first discussion with those that have been selected. So, let’s have the 6th develper Mumble on Monday, April 27th, 9pm CEST, as usual using the Mumble server on gnunet.org.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Spanish regions grappling with eInvoicing

      The open source tool is provided for three computer operating systems, two proprietary ones and Linux. According to Seres marketing manager Alberto Redondo Correas, the software is hindered by its dependency on Java, and has to deal with different versions and inconsistent updates per platform. “A web service would perhaps be better”, he says.

    • European Union Should Finance Key Open Source Projects, Says “Mass Surveillance” Study

      According to a new study that was discussed today, April 23, in a committee meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, a group of IT security experts think that the European Union should finance key open source projects that strengthen privacy and security, and configure certification schemes for fundamental open source tools.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Building Lenses: An open-source tool for mobile data viz

      The growth of mobile traffic to news sites raises the challenge of packing large amounts of information onto a small screen, a challenge even more present in stories with data visualisations.

    • Announcing CIR’s open-source Impact Tracker

      We’re excited to announce the upcoming launch of the CIR Impact Tracker, an open-source software platform for media organizations and content producers to keep track of outcomes and impact. We’ll be looking to have this new product live in early fall. Here’s a bit more about it and how it can help your newsroom.

    • Governance

      • New Bulgarian agency to focus on eGovernment

        The Bulgarian government wants to increase its eGovernment efforts. It is starting a new agency in the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, by splitting the current Information Technology and eGovernment department in two. The eGovernment agency “will focus on one of the main priorities of the government”, it announced on Wednesday.

      • All communes of Brussels use FixMyStreet app
    • Open Hardware

      • How to get involved with the Open Source Hardware Association

        Back in October of 2014, I was lucky enough to be elected to the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) board. Because the association received its nonprofit status, the board is finally able to begin increasing its reach in the community. Many new initiatives are being discussed, and we’ve been collecting a lot of community input on what is needed in the open source hardware world. One of the main objectives the board has in mind for the next year is to continue building up the community interaction and awareness of the association.

      • Conceptualization and validation of an open-source closed-loop deep brain stimulation system in rat

        We used an Arduino open-source microcontroller between input and output sources. This allowed us to use hippocampal local field potentials (LFPs) to steer electrical stimulation in the mRt. Our results showed that closed-loop DBS significantly suppressed locomotion compared to no stimulation, and required on average only 56% of the stimulation used in open-loop DBS to reach similar effects. The main advantages of open-source hardware include wide selection and availability, high customizability, and affordability. Our open-source closed-loop DBS system is effective, and warrants further research using open-source hardware for closed-loop neuromodulation.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • WikiLeaks shows Sony concerned by IDF’s use of its cameras in Gaza bombings

      Sony Pictures Entertainment executives were concerned about a news report that showed one of its cameras being used to guide Israeli rockets bombing Gaza, company correspondance.

      Correspondence about the situation from last August was part of the release by WikiLeaks last week of more than 173,000 emails and more than 30,000 company documents. The story was first reported by the Electronic Intifada.

      The correspondence among Michael Lynton, the company’s CEO; Stevan Bernard, its head of corporate security; and David Diamond, executive assistant to the company chairman, included a link to an Iranian Press TV report in which the reporter held up a part of a bomb fired by Israel on Gaza during last summer’s conflict and said it contained a camera marked Sony.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Lancet medical journal under attack for ‘extremist hate propaganda’ over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

      One of the world’s oldest and most venerable medical journals is under attack from an international group of more than 500 doctors over its coverage of the humanitarian disaster caused by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      The Lancet and its editor, Richard Horton, have been targeted over what the group claims is the “grossly irresponsible misuse of [the journal] for political purposes”. The controversy was sparked by an article deemed to be critical of Israel’s conduct in Gaza.

      The protesting doctors, including five Nobel laureates as well as Lord Winston, the broadcaster and IVF pioneer, style themselves “concerned academics”, and accuse the journal of publishing “stereotypical extremist hate propaganda”. They also accuse the journal’s owner, the publishing firm Reed Elsevier, of “profiting from the publication of dishonest and malicious material that incites hatred and violence”.

  • Civil Rights

    • Aaron’s Law Reintroduced To Try To Reform Dangerous, Broken Anti-Hacking Law

      We’ve written in the past how Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Senator Ron Wyden had introduced “Aaron’s Law” (named after Aaron Swartz) as a way to fix the very broken CFAA law, which was used to throw the book at Swartz for downloading too many JSTOR journal articles on MIT’s campus (where anyone on the network is allowed to download whatever they want from JSTOR). Swartz later committed suicide, which many blame on the aggressive prosecution against him (I hesitate to join those who do so, as you never know all the factors that went into the decision). Still, the CFAA has long needed a massive overhaul, as the law is frequently abused by law enforcement to threaten massive penalties for rather routine activities on a computer network.

    • New Jersey Cop Demands Camera From Eyewitness After Police Dog Allowed To Maul Prone Suspect

      If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to hide, right? That’s what the government tells us when it wants to erect cameras and fund domestic surveillance efforts. So, what do you tell a police officer who demands a citizen hand over their phone? Even if the officer has done something wrong, he still can at least attempt to hide it. And even if the effort fails, he still likely has nothing to fear. That’s the imbalance of power at work and it leads directly to this sort of thing.

    • WATCH: New Jersey officer takes video from witness after filming arrest of man who later died in police custody

      New Jersey police may have gone too far when they took the cell phone from an onlooker who recorded their encounter with a suspect who was mauled by a police dog and later died.

      The man, Phillip White, had dog bites all over his body last week, his lawyer said, and a jarring video shows cops struggling to pull the dog away.

    • Cops are the terrorists in our neighborhood: On Freddie Gray, another victim of police brutality

      “Freddie Black” is what GD and some of his other friends called him. His real name was Freddie Gray. Gray, 25, was minding his business near Gilmore homes when the cops tried to stop him for no apparent reason.

      He ran, like a lot of black men do when we see cops, because for our generation, police officers have been the most consistent terrorists in our neighborhoods. Plus we are currently in a culture where a cop can shoot you if you put hands up, or if you follow their directions, or if you lie down, or if you are asleep. I swear they see black skin and think bull’s-eye.

      A pack of BCPD officers pursued Gray in traditional bully fashion, caught him, found a legal pocketknife and arrested him for no reason. Who knew that running with a pocketknife is against the law in Baltimore? Once they got Gray into the van, he seems to have been taken on what we call a Nickel Ride, which is basically when cops throw you in a vehicle, drive crazy and beat you until you reach the police station.

      The cops who arrested Gray apparently took it to another level, severing his spinal chord and smashing his voice box. Police officers are responsible for following the rules provided by the Red Cross or National Institute of Health: Do not bend, twist or lift the person’s head or body, do not attempt to move the person before medical help arrives unless it is absolutely necessary and do not remove any clothing if a spinal injury is suspected. Instead these officers beat and dragged his lifeless limbs across the pavement that probably caused further damage to his spinal column.

    • Corporate Sovereignty Trumps National Laws; Here’s How The US Thinks It Can Get Around That

      For a while now, Techdirt has been writing about the extraordinary corporate sovereignty chapters in trade agreements that grant foreign companies far-reaching powers to sue a government simply for issuing regulations that impact their investments. Recently, there has been a textbook example of how the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals that adjudicate corporate sovereignty cases are literally a law unto themselves.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Cable’s Top Lobbyist Just Can’t Understand Why People Like Google Better

      Trying to justify the cable industry’s latest lawsuit over net neutrality, former FCC boss turned top cable lobbyist Michael Powell has offered up an incredibly entertaining interview in which he struggles to understand why Google tends to see higher customer satisfaction ratings than the cable industry, and tries to brush away anti-competitive concerns as the ramblings of the uninformed masses who just don’t understand what a sweetheart the cable industry truly is.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • When three is company: trilogue happy with proposed EU trade mark reforms

        The European family of trade mark owners, practitioners, consumers, judges and administrators has been waiting patiently to find out what might be the fate of the European Commission’s proposals for trade mark reform. Today we have found out: both the EU Council and the European Parliament are, at least in theory, supportive. This Kat reproduces today’s media release below, with a few comments inserted in bold red print. This is how it reads:

      • Dogged pursuit of a trade mark parody: PUMA v PUDEL in the Bundesgerichtshof

        The claimant was the leading sports article manufacturer Puma, who owns the well-known German word-device trade mark for the word element “PUMA” combined with the outline of a jumping puma. The sign is used on sports wear. The defendant was the owner of the younger German word device trade mark registration for the word element “PUDEL” (English: poodle) and the outline of a jumping poodle, which had been registered since early 2006 for clothing and t-shirts, among other goods.

    • Copyrights

      • Dice Loaded Against Public in Canada’s Copyright Term Extension

        The announcement of the Canadian Government’s plan to extend copyright terms for sound recordings came as a surprise when it was released in Canada’s federal budget yesterday. The smooth stage management of the announcement has to be admired, accompanied as it was by pre-prepared soundbites from Canada’s music A-list extolling the benefits of this handout. In fact, with all the drama and glamor of the announcement, all that was missing was any prior public consultation or debate that could give the government an actual mandate to make this sweeping change to Canadian law.

04.23.15

Links 23/4/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 is Out, Debian 8.0 Out Very Soon

Posted in News Roundup at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg talks privacy and open source

    The man behind the privacy-focused search engine talks about the benefits of privacy in web search and explains why he recently donated $125,000 to open source projects.

  • FlashRouters Celebrates Four Years of Offering Popular Routers with Open Source Firmware Enhancements for Personal & Business Users
  • Eight Ways to Use Open Source for More Effective Data Protection

    Linus’s Law, named after Linux creator Linus Torvalds, postulates that open code leads to more effective bug detection because when an entire community is scouring through code, fixes come more quickly. This is often the first thing IT pros consider when installing security inside an open-source model. Through popular code-and tool-sharing sites like GitHub, the open-source community aids other organizations in securing their own code and systems, offering a list of free security tools and frameworks for malware analysis, penetration testing and other tasks. Along these same lines, a recent report from the Ponemon Institute explored how IT professionals view commercial open-source software, data protection, and the security impact of messaging and collaboration solutions on their organizations. This slide show, based on eWEEK reporting and industry insight from Olivier Thierry, chief marketing officer of Zimbra, offers eight takeaways to help your business harness the value of open source and get serious about security.

  • Open source, IoT-ready Udoo hacker SBC starts at $49

    The open source, IoT-focused Udoo Neo SBC has won Kickstarter funding. The Neo runs Android or Linux on an i.MX6 SoloX, and has WiFi, BT, and Arduino hooks.

    Seco’s Udoo project unveiled the Udoo Neo single board computer in prototype form in early March. The project went to Kickstarter yesterday to formally launch the tiny Linux- and Android-ready hacker board and raised its modest $15,000 goal in just 80 minutes. We say modest because the Udoo project has already won a fair share of popularity in the community SBC world with open-spec SBCs like the Udoo Quad, and probably didn’t need a Kickstarter campaign to find success with the Neo. The campaign is now running in the $60,000+ range, with 43 days to go.

  • Sourcegraph: A free code search tool for open source developers

    A goldmine of open source code is available to programmers, but choosing the right library and understanding how to use it can be tricky. Sourcegraph has created a search engine and code browser to help developers find better code and build software faster.

    Sourcegraph is a code search engine and browsing tool that semantically indexes all the open source code available on the web. You can search for code by repository, package, or function and click on fully linked code to read the docs, jump to definitions, and instantly find usage examples. And you can do all of this in your web browser, without having to configure any editor plugin.

  • Events

    • Looking forward to LinuxFest Northwest 2015

      Wow, I haven’t posted anything new in a quite a while. Been working on remixing Fedora 22 since slightly before the Alpha was released. The Beta was released today. Been remixing EL6 and EL7 (CentOS, Scientific Linux and even OEL)… but enough about that.

      This post is to state what presentations I plan to attend at the upcoming LFNW in Bellingham, WA (this weekend). How many LFNWs in a row have I attended? I can’t recall.

    • LinuxFest Northwest Ready to Roll

      But what’s more important than those two items at the moment — we can deal with those later — is that LinuxFest Northwest is ramping up its 15th annual show in Bellingham, Washington, this week.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • A guide to Apache’s Spark Streaming

      Apache Spark is an open source cluster computing framework. In contrast to Hadoop’s two-stage disk-based MapReduce paradigm, Spark’s in-memory primitives provide performance up to 100 times faster for certain applications.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Is OpenOffice Dying?

      In September 2014, rumors were flying that Apache OpenOffice was floundering and might soon merge with LibreOffice. The rumors were denied, but revived in March 2015 when Jonathan Corbett used development activity statistics to show that OpenOffice was seriously short of developers, and had corporate support only from IBM. Now, OpenOffice’s most recent report to the Apache Foundation appears to reinforce these previous reports, and then some.

      To be fair, the report is listed as “a working copy and not to be quoted.” However, I am discussing it anyway for two reasons. First, much of the report was mentioned in earlier reports, which suggests that its information is accurate. Second, when I contacted Jan Iversen, the new OpenOffice Chair, three weeks ago, he gave the same warning even more strongly. Since then the contents has gone through at least one more draft, but with little change of content, which makes me suspect that the excuse is an effort to delay discussion of the content. If I am mistaken, the fact will eventually become obvious, since the report is, after all, a public document.

  • BSD

    • My switch to OpenBSD, first impressions

      So I switched to OpenBSD, and this blog post is here to talk about my first impressions. This probably won’t be my last blog post on the subject.

    • EuroBSDcon 2015: Extended deadline for submissions.

      Since there was a huge rush of submissions just on the very last day, we have decided to give a second chance for all of you that didn’t quite finish your talk or tutorial proposal in time for the deadline.

    • OpenBSD on Digital Ocean

      For OpenBSD users, it has been pretty disappointing that Digital Ocean didn’t launch other BSDs with introduction of FreeBSD, even though the technical barrier had been removed to allow it.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EP study: “EU should finance key open source tools”

      The European Union should finance initiatives that increase security and privacy of open source solutions, and set up certification schemes for essential open source tools, IT security experts recommend in two studies written for the European Parliament. They argue for EU funding of key open source tools and for the financing of bug hunts, to find and fix security issues in open source tools.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Internet forums are good for you

      Internet forums have a positive impact on life satisfaction and lead to increased involvement in communities outside the confines of the online world, according to a study published in Computers In Human Behavior. Redditors might be doing it right. The study approached users on a range of interest, lifestyle and hobby forums. The study split users into two groups: stigmatized subjects (like mental health discussion), and non-stigma related forums (sports, cooking and the rest). They were then polled about their reasons for joining the forum, how they felt about it, their life satisfaction and offline engagement with “issues raised in the forum”. Author lead Dr. Louise Pendry of the University of Exeter said that: “As well as finding answers, our study showed users often discover that forums are a source of great support, especially those seeking information about more stigmatizing conditions.”

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • McConnell bill would extend NSA surveillance

      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill Tuesday night to extend through 2020 a controversial surveillance authority under the Patriot Act.

      The move comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers is preparing legislation to scale back the government’s spying powers under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

    • Some tech firms being ‘friendly to terrorists’ says UK police chief

      Some technology and communication firms are helping militants avoid detection by developing systems that are “friendly to terrorists”, Britain’s top anti-terrorism police officer said on Tuesday.

      Mark Rowley, the national police lead for counter-terrorism, said companies needed to think about their “corporate social responsibility” in creating products that made it hard for the authorities to access material during investigations.

      “Some of the acceleration of technology, whether it’s communications or other spheres, can be set up in different ways,” Rowley told a conference in London.

    • European Rights Body Again Rejects Mass Surveillance

      Europe’s top rights body, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has crystalized its censure of mass surveillance as a threat to fundamental human rights and to democracy itself by adopting a draft resolution in which it reiterates deep concerns over the practice of intelligence agencies systematically harvesting untargeted communications data, without adequate legal regulation or technical protection.

      “Mass surveillance does not appear to have contributed to the prevention of terrorist attacks, contrary to earlier assertions made by senior intelligence officials. Instead, resources that might prevent attacks are diverted to mass surveillance, leaving potentially dangerous persons free to act,” PACE warned yesterday.

      “These powerful structures risk escaping democratic control and accountability and they threaten the free and open character of our societies,” it added.

    • How to Detect Sneaky NSA ‘Quantum Insert’ Attacks

      Among all of the NSA hacking operations exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden over the last two years, one in particular has stood out for its sophistication and stealthiness. Known as Quantum Insert, the man-on-the-side hacking technique has been used to great effect since 2005 by the NSA and its partner spy agency, Britain’s GCHQ, to hack into high-value, hard-to-reach systems and implant malware.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google may launch wireless service, all set to shake the US wireless market

      Google shook the US ISPs with their Google Fiber project which forced monopolies like Comcast to improve their own services. Google is now all set to shake another abusive market – wireless carriers.

    • Telco Trade Group USTelecom ‘Supports’ FCC Neutrality Rules, Just Not The FCC Actually Being Able To Enforce Them

      Despite the endless, breathless proclamations about “outdated, utility-style regulation” or the death of innovation, there’s really only one reason ISPs don’t want to be reclassified as common carriers by the FCC: the billions to be made by abusing the uncompetitive broadband last mile. The very threat of a regulator actually doing its job and establishing what are relatively thin consumer protections (just ask ISPs like Frontier, Cablevision, Sprint or Sonic.net) is really only a problem if you plan to make money off the backs of a captive audience that can’t vote with its wallet.

  • DRM

    • We Can’t Let John Deere Destroy the Very Idea of Ownership

      It’s official: John Deere and General Motors want to eviscerate the notion of ownership. Sure, we pay for their vehicles. But we don’t own them. Not according to their corporate lawyers, anyway.

      In a particularly spectacular display of corporate delusion, John Deere—the world’s largest agricultural machinery maker —told the Copyright Office that farmers don’t own their tractors. Because computer code snakes through the DNA of modern tractors, farmers receive “an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Hollywood Anti-Piracy Initiative Requires a VPN Outside the U.S.

        MPAA chief Chris Dodd has urged theater owners and customers alike to support WhereToWatch, a “one-stop shop” designed to quickly guide audiences to legal content. Following its launch everyone could access the resource but perhaps fittingly, users outside the U.S. now need a VPN to receive advice.

04.22.15

Links 22/4/2015: Fedora 22 Beta, Atlassian Acquires BlueJimp

Posted in News Roundup at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Can Microsoft Really Rival Linux?

    Why the high numbers for Linux? Linux is more stable. Linux servers have been known to run without failure for several years. That’s because Linux handles multitasking and process management better than Windows. That is debatable on the mobile area since many cheap Android (a Linux descendant) devices often freeze. Linux is also more secure since it’s built as a multiuser operating system from the ground up. It is better at sandboxing or containing applications and processes from the root system than Windows does. Linux servers are also minimal targets of hackers and malware, though not exactly a guarantee but it’s something to take advantage of. As for hardware requirements, Linux can be run on most computers. Depending on the distribution, Linux can run very smoothly on ten-year old computers. Lastly, all Linux distributions are free though some versions for the enterprise, like Red Hat, offer technical support for a fee.

  • Report Shows Linux Developers Are Increasingly in Demand

    A recent report show that IT departments are increasing efforts to hire Linux developers. The 2015 Linux Jobs Report, which forecasts the Linux job market based on a survey of hiring managers and Linux professionals, was commissioned by the Linux Foundation.

  • Desktop

    • 8 Linux file managers to try

      One of the most common administrative tasks that end users and administrators alike need to perform is file management. Managing files can consume a major portion of your time. Locating files, determining which files and folders (directories) are taking the most disk space, deleting files, moving files, and simply opening files for use in an application are some of the most basic—yet frequent—tasks we do as computer users. File management programs are tools that are intended to streamline and simplify those necessary chores.

    • 76 Everyday Linux User Guides For Beginners

      This article provides links to beginners guides to Linux, dual boot guides, guides for creating Linux USB drives, running Linux in a virtual machine, Linux installation guides, Linux customisation and application guides, Linux gaming guides, Raspberry PI guides, Chromebook guides and more.

  • Server

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Evolving KDE

        Paul and Lydia have blogged about how KDE should and could evolve. KDE as a whole is big, diverse, sprawling thing. It’s a house of many rooms, built on the idea that free software is important. By many, KDE is still seen as being in competition with Gnome, but Gnome still focuses on creating a desktop environment with supporting applications.

      • XPQ4 Theme Pack Provides Uncanny Resemblance with Windows OS

        XPQ4 is a funky open source theme that aims to provide Linux users with the look and feel of a Windows desktop. It might seem weird at first, but this is probably one of the most advanced solutions available right now.

      • LaKademy 2015 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

        The KDE Community in Brazil will host LaKademy 2015 June 3rd through 6th. The conference is an opportunity for KDE users and contributors to meet in person to make plans, work on software and other aspects of KDE technology. There will also be outreach to potential new contributors. The group is raising money for conference expenses and to offset travel costs for attendees.

      • Chakra: KDE Applications 15.04 , Frameworks 5.9 and linux 3.19.4 available

        KDE’s first release of its 15.04 series of Applications and Frameworks 5.9.0 are now available to all Chakra users. With this release kde-workspace has also been updated to version 4.11.18 and kdelibs to 4.14.7. Have in mind that the applications that have been ported to Frameworks 5 will not be updated but remain at their previous versions, as they are being prepared to be included in the upcoming Plasma5 switch.

      • Kubuntu 15.04 Users Can Install the Gorgeous Plasma 5.3 Beta Desktop

        Kubuntu 15.04 will be made available tomorrow as a stable release, along with all the flavors from the Ubuntu family, and it will be powered by KDE Plasma 5.2. To make things even better, developers have decided to make the latest Plasma 5.3 Beta available to willing users, as well.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Fedora 22 Beta Arrives with Plasma 5 & GNOME 3.16

        Red Hat and The Fedora Project Team today announced the release of Fedora 22 Beta, the last developmental release before Final. The default Workstation ships with GNOME 3.16 but spins are available with KDE Plasma 5, Xfce, LXDE, MATE, and Sugar in 32-bit and 64-bit. There are even spins for gaming, robotics, security, media creation, ARM, Docker, and more not counting the Server and Cloud images. If you can’t find a Fedora to fit, then you don’t need Linux.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-friendly TI SoC takes on FPGAs in DAQ apps

      TI’s Linux-ready 66AK2L06 SoC for high-speed data acquisition apps features dual Cortex-A15 cores, four DSPs, a digital front end, and a JESD204B interface.

      The 66AK2L06 system-on-chip is the latest salvo by Texas Instruments in a long-running campaign to demonstrate that DSP-based SoCs can more efficiently and easily perform tasks typically done with FPGAs and ASICs. The Linux-supported 66AK2L06 aims to replace FPGAs with what it claims is an easier, cheaper, faster, and more power efficient way to directly connect to ADCs, DACs, and AFEs for high-speed data generation and acquisition. Applications are said to include avionics, defense, medical, and test and measurement equipment.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Here are the top 20 most popular Tizen apps in March, 2015.

          Samsung have released a list of their Top 20 most popular Tizen apps in March 2015′. The company previously did a similar thing for February 2015 (I can see a tend starting now).

        • History of Samsung Smart TV to Tizen TV 2015

          There is nothing better than an Infographic to get your point across, and here we have one that shows the TV / Smart TV revolution. Samsung Introduced their Smart TV back in 2008 (seems like yesterday) with the PAVV Bordeaux TV 750, which gave consumers the option of connecting to the Internet, YouTube, access USB devices and explore the world of DLNA.

      • Android

        • Google takes aim at Apple Watch with Android Wear updates

          The company on Monday announced an upgrade to its Android Wear operating system for smart watches. Some features seem to take direct aim at the Apple Watch, including Wi-Fi support, a watch face that always shows the time, and doodles for messaging.

        • Sony’s REAL flagship could land next month

          Poor old Sony – after unveiling the Xperia Z4 earlier today, the company has faced a backlash across social media – and from myself – about how the Xperia Z4 isn’t really an upgrade, it’s just the same device with a couple of tweaks to the specifications. Except, all might not be as it seems with a new report suggesting that we’ll see Sony announce a real global flagship towards the end of next month.

        • Motorola begins testing Android 5.1 Lollipop for first-gen Moto X

          The original Motorola Moto X, released in 2013, has been in disadvantage since the official Lollipop release. Due to the dated Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset the Android updates need further tweaking before their rollout and first-gen Moto X was always the last of the Moto lineup on the update queue.

        • 10 Things to Do Before the Nexus Android 5.1.1 Update

          A Nexus Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update is confirmed and an Android 5.1.1 release could take place at any time. With that in mind, we want to take a look at some things we think Nexus users should do ahead of Google’s latest Android 5.1.1 release. These tips are geared towards non-power users and those that are thinking about installing the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the first time.

        • The LG G Watch doesn’t have WiFi, all other Android Wear smartwaches will get WiFi support

          Yesterday, Google announced that Android Wear smartwatches would be getting WiFi support in the next coming weeks, bringing most Android Wear devices in line with the upcoming Apple Watch. Having a WiFi connected Android wearable is definitely a highly sought after feature, even if you still need to have your phone powered on and connected to the Internet in one way or another for full watch functionality. The question remains, does every Android Wear smartwatch support WiFi? Sadly, no.

        • Clean Up Your Messy Android and iPhone Contacts Without Going Mad
        • Adobe updates Lightroom with facial recognition, GPU enhancements, & new Android features
        • Good Technology expands Android security options

          Mobile security provider Good Technology on Tuesday released a set of security options that puts hardware-backed security capabilities into all Good-secured Android apps.

        • Google engineers on Android ecosystem facts and myths

          Ludwig decried a number of myths surrounding the definitions of malware and spyware in general. Among these, some of the assumptions floating around include the spread of malware is always increasing, most devices aren’t protected, and all malware can compromise them.

        • Pioneer brings Android Auto to aftermarket car audio systems

          With the introduction of Pioneer’s latest aftermarket car audio systems, Android users with Apple CarPlay envy now have access to the same kind of in-car phone integration that iOS fans enjoy—as long as they’re willing to spring for an aftermarket radio to get it.

          That’s because for now, at least—like Apple CarPlay—Android Auto has yet to make an appearance in a system from a mainstream automaker. The Android Auto website does list 28 carmakers set to roll the system out soon. (Android Auto is compatible only with Andoroid OS 5.0—aka Lollipop—or later.)

        • 5 Best Android Phones [April, 2015]

          With several new Android flagships now on shelves, those in the hunt for a new Android smartphone have some more options to choose from. With that in mind, we want to help narrow things down for those that need things narrowed down as we take a look at the device’s we think represent the best Android phones for April, 2015.

Free Software/Open Source

  • VMware introduces new open source projects to accelerate enterprise adoption of cloud-native applications

    VMware has announced two new open source projects built to enable enterprise adoption of cloud-native applications – Project Lightwave, an identity and access management project that will extend enterprise-scale and security to cloud-native applications; and Project Photon, a lightweight Linux operating system optimized for cloud-native applications.

  • The Fighting Unicorns charge into robotics competition with open source edge

    Open source has a strong tie to the FIRST value of gracious professionalism. What it boils down to is sharing what you know with others. There are countless other ways that open source is used in FIRST. Teams embrace a culture of sharing and learning for the good of all—an open source culture. And, at all levels of the program, from grade school to high school, kids are being taught numerous skills—including the value of open source. The world of FIRST is full of students, mentors, and volunteers who make it all happen and worthwhile. I cannot say enough how much the mentors and volunteers do, and how important they are. I want to take a moment to thank them for their time and dedication!

  • How I use Android: Open source superstar Jean-Baptiste Quéru (JBQ)

    Few people are as known and loved among Android enthusiasts as Jean-Baptiste Quéru — or JBQ, as he’s more often called online. JBQ spent years as the maintainer and public face of Google’s Android Open Source Project (AOSP), the publicly accessible source code that makes up Android and is used by manufacturers and developers to get the software onto devices.

  • Linux in the Air: Drone systems go open-source

    Not only is spring in the air, so is Linux. But this wasn’t always the case. Early drones relied on either proprietary OSes or simple Arduino-based controllers such as the ArduPilot. While both of these approaches to drone control have been successful, they implicitly limit innovation — the former because they are closed systems, and the latter because of limited computing power. The recent introduction of Linux-based drones will stimulate the UAV (Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle) market by creating more flexible, open platforms. Here’s how Linux takes off … literally.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 42 Disables NPAPI Plugins by Default

        Google has finally disabled the NPAPI plug architecture for the Chrome browser, but the means to use that architecture will still be there for a few more months.

        The NPAPI plugin architecture has been around for quite some time, and it helped people use some services like Silverlight or Flash, but that is coming to end. Developers have been trying to move their services to alternative technologies that don’t rely on NPAPI, and they’ve done this for the most part, but it’s possible that some users will feel the loss.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Atlassian Acquires Open Source Video Conferencing Company BlueJimp To Power HipChat’s Video Chat

        Atlassian, the company behind developer and collaboration tools like JIRA, Confluence and HipChat, today announced that it has acquired the video conferencing service BlueJimp.

        BlueJimp, which is headquartered in Strasbourg, France, is the company behind Jitsi, a popular open-source chat and video conferencing tool. BlueJimp’s technology will replace the current video chat technology that powers Atlassian’s HipChat video features, both in Atlassian’s hosted and on-premise versions.

      • [jitsi-users] Big News!

        BlueJimp has just become part of the Atlassian family, and we’re really excited.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Matt Lee from The List powered by Creative Commons

      This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab’s series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.

    • The Curious History of Komongistan (Busting the term “intellectual property”)

      The purpose of this parable is to illustrate just how misguided the term “intellectual property” is. When I say that the term “intellectual property” is an incoherent overgeneralization, that it lumps together laws that have very little in common, and that its use is an obstacle to clear thinking about any of those laws, many can’t believe I really mean what I say. So sure are they that these laws are related and similar, species of the same genus as it were, that they suppose I am making a big fuss about small differences. Here I aim to show how fundamental the differences are.

      Fifty years ago everyone used to recognize the nations of Korea, Mongolia and Pakistan as separate and distinct. In truth, they have no more in common than any three randomly chosen parts of the world, since they have different geographies, different cultures, different languages, different religions, and separate histories. Today, however, their differentness is mostly buried under their joint label of “Komongistan”.

      Few today recall the marketing campaign that coined that name: companies trading with South Korea, Mongolia and Pakistan called those three countries “Komongistan” as a simple-sounding description of their “field” of activity. (They didn’t trouble themselves about the division of Korea or whether “Pakistan” should include what is now Bangladesh.) This label gave potential investors the feeling that they had a clearer picture of what these companies did, as well as tending to stick in their minds. When the public saw the ads, they took for granted that these countries formed a natural unit, that they had something important in common. First scholarly works, then popular literature, began to talk about Komongistan.

    • GCC 5.1 released

      …major release containing substantial new functionality not available in GCC 4.9.x

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source saves costs at Portugal road authority

      Open source has helped Estradas de Portugal, Portugal’s road authority, to reduce IT costs while increasing flexibility. EP is using Odoo, an open source solution for management assets. Odoo is combined with a proprietary financial reporting system, and is used for managing the government-owned company’s tangible and non-tangible assets.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Internet Security Marketing: Buyer Beware

      As security breaches increasingly make headlines, thousands of Internet security companies are chasing tens of billions of dollars in potential revenue. While we, the authors, are employees of Internet security companies and are happy for the opportunity to sell more products and services, we are alarmed at the kind of subversive untruths that vendor “spin doctors” are using to draw well-intentioned customers to their doors. Constructive criticism is sometimes necessarily harsh, and some might find the following just that, harsh. But we think it’s important that organizations take a “buyers beware” approach to securing their business.

    • Tuesday’s security updates
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A Horror We Made

      We are directly responsible for the disasters in the Mediterranean. The bombing of Libya into failed state status is now coming back to haunt us. The ludicrous idea, propounded by Blair, Robert Cooper and the Henry Jackson Society, that you could improve dictatorial states by massive bombing campaigns that targeted their basic infrastructure, is now a total bust. Sadly so are Iraq and Libya, to the permanent detriment of many millions of people. We caused both the Islamic State and the Mediterranean boat disasters, and we caused them with bombs.

      [...]

      There will be no security anywhere if the world does not address the terrible scourge of African poverty and under-development. That is a huge subject on which I have written extensively and worked much of my life, and I do not wish to open it here. But what it does show is the utter stupidity – inhumanity yes, but also stupidity – of UKIP in thinking that cutting development aid will increase the economic security of the UK.

    • WH won’t call Armenian killings ‘genocide’

      The White House again will not use the term “genocide” to describe the Ottoman Turks’ massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915.

      Senior administration officials met with leaders from the Armenian-American community Tuesday to discuss the 100th anniversary commemoration of the killings, but a statement summarizing the meeting did not contain the word “genocide.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • “A bathtub ring of oil the size of Rhode Island”: The endless horrors of the BP oil spill

      A blowout at the Macondo oil well five years ago today touched off what has since become known as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. Oil washed ashore on long stretches of the Gulf of Mexico coast, killing animals and crippling communities. Last week we asked our readers to send us photos, video and written accounts of how the spill continues to affect their lives and livelihoods—including successes and failures in restoring the environment.

      Overall, the responses indicate a few bright spots, but in many cases damage to ecosystems and fishing grounds has simply not been addressed. In large part this is because communities are still waiting for money from the government; 80 percent of the $13 billion BP paid in fines is supposed to go to states and communities most affected by the spill, but the money is still held up, waiting for a federal court to make final rulings on dispersement.

    • New Google Doodle Celebrates Earth Day 2015

      In 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to spread the message of environmental awareness, and in the process created the first ever Earth Day. To honor what has become a global observance, a new Google Doodle has been created for Earth Day 2015.

    • Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris

      There is a one-in-ten chance of the world being 6C warmer than it is today by 2100 which would lead to cataclysmic changes in the global climate with unimaginable consequences for human civilisation, leading climate researchers have warned in an “Earth Statement”.

      The risk of hitting the highest upper estimate for global warming based on current levels of carbon dioxide emissions is now so high that it is equivalent to tolerating the risk of 10,000 fatal aircraft crashes a day, according to the 17 “Earth League” scientists and economists who have signed the joint statement.

    • TV Reporters Shoot Down BP’s Misleading PR Campaign

      On the five-year anniversary of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, television reporters detailed the devastating environmental and economic impacts still facing the Gulf Coast region today, and directly rebutted BP’s misleading spin. But they should not lose sight of another equally-important part of the story: how increasingly risky and expansive offshore drilling practices, along with insufficient oversight, could lead to another major spill.

  • Finance

    • MtGox insolvent long before collapse – FT.com

      MtGox, a bitcoin trading platform that collapsed early last year, was insolvent long before it went bankrupt because thieves practically cleaned it out, the Financial Times reported Sunday, citing a report by independent investigators.

      Findings by WizSec, an independent consulting firm, showed that bitcoins were periodically being stolen from the Tokyo-based exchange two years before its collapse, the newspaper reported online.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • General Election 2015: If Rupert Murdoch can’t swing it for the Tories, he will lose his grip over Britain

      This newspaper is independent, as its name subtly hints, but its columnists are not. And so, knowing that this can be of no interest to anyone, I declare that I will be voting Labour for the first time since reluctantly overcoming my feelings about Tony Blair and his “project” to do so in 1997.

    • Hillary Clinton–Bolshevik?

      s
      So the basis for referring to Clinton as a “Bolshevik” is her healthcare reform plan–a plan that was specifically designed (not unlike Obamacare) to maintain the role of private insurance companies in the healthcare system (Extra!, 1-2/94).

  • Censorship

    • MPAA Strategized On How To ‘Tell The Positive Side’ Of Internet Censorship

      Back in December, when the Sony emails first leaked, we wrote a detailed post about the bizarre views of the MPAA on site blocking, in that it was absolutely obsessed with putting site blocking in place while admitting it didn’t understand the technical issues. That was based on the reporting done by some reporters who had seen a few of the emails. Now that Wikileaks has released the entire trove, we can discover some more details, like the fact that part of the MPAA’s plan was to figure out how to create pro-censorship propaganda.

    • Twitter announces crackdown on abuse with new filter and tighter rules

      Social network moves to ban indirect threats of violence and introduces temporary suspensions for accounts that fall foul of its policies

  • Privacy

    • French Intelligence Bill: French President Hollande to shut down public debate

      French President François Hollande announced yesterday that he would bring the Intelligence Bill before the Constitutional Council. At the same time there is growing criticism from all sides, previous support in favour of the bill crumbles. In this light, French president’s announcement look nothing more than an evasive action to avoid public debate on crucial provisions. La Quadrature du Net calls on parliamentarians to decide for themselves whether the bill complies or not with fundamental rights and citizens must then hold them accountable.

    • How Tor is building a new Dark Net with help from the U.S. military

      The Dark Net is under attack.

      Actually, it’s always under attack. That’s the smart attitude to take as the spotlight has been turned up on technology like the Tor-anonymizing network. Threats from governments and hackers around the world have pushed Tor’s decade-old hidden service technology to its limits.

      To stay ahead in the security race, Tor is building the next-generation Dark Net in part with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the U.S. military agency charged with inventing the cutting edge of new technology.

    • The FBI’s Stance on Encrypted Communications [written by FBI]
  • Civil Rights

    • Baltimore judge allows police use of Stingray phone tracking in murder case

      A city judge turned back a challenge Monday to the Baltimore Police Department’s use of a controversial cellphone surveillance tool in a murder case, ruling that a suspect can’t complain about police deploying the device to find a stolen phone.

    • Is Merely Explaining The Streisand Effect To Someone A ‘Threat’?

      Ken White, over at Popehat, has a story on the ridiculous situation concerning how lawyer/psychotherapist Jose Arcaya is going after lawyer Scott Greenfield (whose work we often mention around these parts). The history of how it got this far is a bit convoluted, and you can read the full Popehat post for the details, but here’s my shortened version: An apparently unsatisfied former client of Arcaya left a negative review of Arcaya on Yelp. Arcaya sued for defamation, arguing that being called “absolute scum” is not merely an opinion because of the use of the word “total” (which as far as I can tell is not actually used in the review — though perhaps he means “absolute” or perhaps something was edited.

    • ‘Aaron’s Law’ focuses penalties on malicious hackers

      Named for Aaron Swartz — the programmer and digital activist who took his life while facing data theft charges — the bill would ease punishments stemming from the law under which Swartz was charged, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

      Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is backing the House version; Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ron Paul (R-Ky.) are supporting the Senate’s companion bill.

      “At its very core, CFAA is an anti-hacking law,” said Lofgren in a statement. “Unfortunately, over time we have seen prosecutors broadening the intent of the act, handing out inordinately severe criminal penalties for less-than-serious violations.”

    • If It Speeds, It Leads: Daredevil’s Media Criticism Is Tough to Swallow

      Take the character Ben Urich, played by Vondie Curtis-Hall. On the show as well as in the comic, Urich is an old-school city reporter whose dogged reporting puts him on the trail of Daredevil’s secret identity. Naturally, you can’t have a journalistic hero without obstacles to overcome, so Urich has an editor who doesn’t want him to pursue the story.

      And here’s where the story gets improbable : The New York City tabloid editor’s objection is that people don’t read crime stories.

      “Another organized crime thing?” says the editor (as transcribed by Romenesko). “It’s not sexy.”

      When Urich explains that the Daredevil story may tie in to an earlier scoop of his, the editor has a memorable dismissal: “And you remember what that expose did for circulation? Dick—with a side of who-gives-a-shit.”

      The editor’s bottom line on crime: “It doesn’t sell papers, Ben! Not anymore.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Facebook’s Zuckerberg Thinks Aggressively Violating Net Neutrality Is Fine…If You Just Mean Well

      As we noted last week, India is in the midst of a heated conversation about net neutrality, as the government puts out feelers to determine how best to define an “open internet.” As part of this conversation, Facebook’s Internet.org initiative has come under particular scrutiny; the platform offering users in some countries walled gardens to a limited crop of zero rated apps and content. While Facebook consistently emphasizes the philanthropic nature of this effort, content companies have been dropping out of the project in droves, arguing that they don’t like the idea of Facebook (or an ISP) determining who does and doesn’t get cap-exempt treatment (and therefore a leg up in the market).

    • La Quadrature du Net upgrades to version 2.1

      A significant choice looms ahead of us: will we let establish societies of surveillance and mass suspicion will we build societies of freedom, collaboration and sharing? To face these historical challenges and thanks to the +6 000 supporters who donated in late 2014, La Quadrature du Net is renewing its team and getting stronger.

  • DRM

    • 4 Crappy Side Effects Of Streaming TV Nobody Saw Coming

      Streaming services are undoubtedly the future of entertainment. Never before has it been so easy and convenient to watch SeaQuest DSV, or whatever show you’re wasting your time on instead. But there’s also a dark side to this breakthrough in boob-tubery — because streaming’s ability to trump the old television system has also irrevocably damaged television in ways we didn’t see coming.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom Appeals Extradition Delay Ruling, Colleague Lawyerless

        As the battle over Kim Dotcom’s fate continues, the entrepreneur was back in court today appealing the decision not to delay a June extradition hearing. But while Dotcom enjoyed support from a reported 10-strong legal team, former Megaupload colleague Finn Batato appeared lawyerless amid an application for legal aid.

      • Court: Google Can See Emails About MPAA’s Secret ‘SOPA Revival’

        In backroom meetings the MPAA and Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood discussed a plan to bring website blocking and search engine filtering back to the table after the controversial SOPA law failed to pass.

        The plan, dubbed “Project Goliath,” became public through various emails that were released during the Sony Pictures leaks. In a response Google said that it was “deeply concerned” about the developments.

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