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Links 19/2/2013: Android Smartwatch, Canonical’s Ubuntu Tablet Effort Unveiled

Posted in News Roundup at 10:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Top 3: Steam, Sabayon and Ubuntu Phones Home
  • Top 10 Linux Networked Storage Systems Under $1,000

    Cloud storage may be on the move, but local network-attached storage (NAS) systems continue to be in hot demand, especially as they integrate cloud backup and mobile access. In the enterprise NAS, unified storage, and SAN (storage area network) world, Linux shares the pie with Unix and Windows. But in the faster-growing small and medium business (SMB), small office and home office (SoHo), and consumer NAS segments, Linux is clearly dominant.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux file permissions and chmod
    • The Kernel Panic

      If you have ever been on one of these types of calls, you know that they are always rather uncomfortable. The manager is upset because something went wrong, and on top of that it was something that they don’t fully understand. During such conversations I’ve found that it is normally best to keep explanations correct, but succinct. I explained that a kernel panic is what happens when the operating system encounters an error that it cannot recover from. That explanation seemed to be enough for him, but as I thought about it later, I found that it was not nearly enough for me.

    • What’s new in Linux 3.8

      Improved graphics drivers and a new filesystem for flash disks are two of the most important changes in Linux 3.8. Kernel developers have also made improvements to btrfs and ext4 and merged a number of new drivers.

    • The Non-Babble Intro to Cloud Computing on Linux
    • Install/Upgrade to Linux Kernel 3.8 (Stable) in Ubuntu/Linux Mint
    • umockdev: record and mock hardware for debugging and testing
    • Xen 4.3 Is Running Heavy On New Features

      Xen 4.3 is expected to be released in June of this year. While the developers working on this virtualization platform are only half-way through its development cycle, they already have an impressive number of features that are coming into this next open-source release.

    • Linux 3.8 released

      Linus Torvalds has released version 3.8 of the Linux kernel, which brings with it full support for the graphic cores in Intel’s upcoming processor generation Haswell and everything a system needs to use the 3D acceleration on all NVIDIA GeForce graphics chipsets. F2FS, a filesystem that is optimised for flash media as used in cameras, tablets, smartphones, USB flash drives and memory cards, is another innovation in Linux 3.8.

    • Linux Foundation Welcomes Members From Android, Embedded and Cloud Communities

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that BORQS, Denx, Gazzang, Genymobile, Mandriva and Seneca College are joining the organization.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Radeon 2D Performance On Linux Remains Mixed

        The results in yesterday’s article, AMD Radeon Gallium3D Starting To Out-Run Catalyst In Some Cases, were interesting but limited to OpenGL games. In this article are more test results from the same system configuration and Ubuntu Linux releases but now taking a look at the 2D performance of the open and closed-source AMD Radeon Linux graphics drivers.

      • X.Org Server 1.14 Is Being Readied For Release Soon

        The second release candidate of X.Org Server 1.14 is now available ahead of the official release in a few weeks time.

        RC1 came in mid-December while on Wednesday night was finally RC2 as tagged by Keith Packard. With RC2 being out, only critical bug-fixes will now be accepted ahead of the xorg-server 1.14 release. The final release of X.Org Server 1.14 is expected to happen on 5 March.

      • NVIDIA’s PRIME Helpers Are Ready For Linux 3.9

        Aside from a lot of other exciting DRM driver happenings for the Linux 3.9 kernel, it looks like the DRM “PRIME Helpers” that were conceived by NVIDIA to help them support DMA_BUF in their binary driver will be merged.

        NVIDIA can’t directly utilize the Linux kernel’s DMA_BUF buffer sharing mechanism — a zero-copy way to share buffers between different kernel drivers whether it be DRM or other sub-systems — due to GPL-only kernel symbols and bickering amongst kernel developers.

      • An SDK Is Being Developed For Wayland’s Weston
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Ubuntu? Fedora? Mint? Debian? We’ll find you the right Linux to swallow

      The third factor in our trio is how well the desktop of your choice is supported. In some ways this is a chicken-and-egg question for newcomers since most won’t know which desktop they want to use.

      Pretty much any Linux application can be installed on any Linux system, at least in theory. That means any desktop can be installed with any distro, but in the real world it doesn’t always work out quite that smoothly. For example, the Cinnamon desktop is a relatively new desktop interface developed by the same people who created Mint Linux, which means Cinnamon is nicely integrated with the rest of Mint. That doesn’t mean you can’t install Cinnamon on Fedora or Arch. You can and people do, but it will most likely be a bit trickier and finding solutions to your problems can be more difficult since fewer users will be using your particular setup. That’s why, to stick with the Cinnamon example, it would make more sense to use Mint if you really want to use Cinnamon.

    • First look at SparkyLinux 2.1 “Ultra” edition
    • Does Rebellin have a Cause?

      When I first test drove Rebellin for a section in an upcoming Linux Format, I reported that basically it seemed like a nice solid Debian respin, but many such are for free. It doesn’t seem that Linux users gravitate towards the projects that require payment before trying. When I explained this to the founder and, currently, the sole developer, he said that there are indeed reasons why folks should want to pay the $5.

      Is $5 too much to spend for a distro that you can’t test-drive first? Utkarsh Sevekar says, “people don’t realize that there are very small players (like me) out there who can’t wait till someone sponsors them or donate money to keep things going. Bills are a big thing.” He says the $5 fee, that will actually be used for broadband costs for the downloads, will also include “email support to all which lasts for the lifetime of the product. There is no monthly/yearly fee here. All included in the initial price. There are no limits to communication either. Customers can bug me as much a they want.”

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

      • CentOS 5.9 Gnome Desktop Review

        CentOS 5.9 leaves users with a warm fuzzy and familiar feeling offering Gnome 2.16 as the primary desktop which is featured in this review. The desktop prospects for this release are not very impressive, but the server capabilities are endless. Derived from the recently released RHEL 5.9, here is what this version has to offer.

      • Red Hat Updates OpenShift PaaS

        Red Hat is updating its cloud server application technology stack with a new release of OpenShift Enterprise.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What Does the FOSS Community Need?

    What does the FOSS community really need? We’ve tackled that question from a few different angles here on OStatic. We’ve pondered whether Linux could benefit from a united, community fund and wondered whether the FOSS community simply needs better evangelists.

    On Slashdot today, there is a lively discussion going on about what the FOSS world needs. Some of the ideas from readers are off the cuff, like this one: “Better hygiene. Less beards. More women.” Quite a few of the idea are good, though.

  • GitHub’s Boxen open sourced

    GitHub , the Git-centric project hosting and collaboration company, has announced the open sourcing of Boxen, its management and automation tool used within the company for managing Mac systems. The project, which was originally named “The Setup”, was designed to allow developers to go from a new laptop to a system ready to hack the GitHub.com source within thirty minutes with a single command. They then ditched “The Setup” and wrote Boxen to replace it, so that any company could use it.

  • Events

    • Interview: Roy Sutton

      Roy Sutton is the community manager for HP’s Open webOS. He supports developers in porting Open webOS to new platforms and is a contributor to the Enyo project. Roy too a few minutes for an interview with the SCALE Team about his presentation “From Closed to Open: The Open webOS Story,” which will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, in room Los Angeles B.

    • SCALE 11X update

      An update on events and happenings at SCALE 11x coming next weekend in Los Angeles.

    • SCALE 11X: Game on

      With more than 100 exhibitors and about 95 speakers at SCALE 11X this weekend, there’s a lot to do and see. But when the sun goes down, the sessions end and the expo hall closes, the fun really begins for the attendees.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Report on the activity of companies in the WebKit project

        Today Bitergia presents the first of a series on analytics for the WebKit project. After the preview we published some weeks ago, we finally have more detailed and accurate numbers about the evolution of the project. In this case, we’re presenting a report on the activity of the companies contributing to WebKit based on the analysis of reviewed commits.

    • Mozilla

      • Download Firefox 19 for Windows, Mac and Linux

        Firefox 19 is slated for an official release on Tuesday, it will be released in few hours. If you can’t wait to grab the download you can do so through the Mozilla FTP servers. Downloads are available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Browse the FTP folder and identify your platform file and download.

      • Mozilla Won’t Join Opera at the WebKit Party

        Last week, Opera Software announced that its browser has reached 300 million active users, and dropped the news that the browser will move away from the longstanding Presto rendering engine and moving to WebKit. As noted here, this means that the number of browsing rendering engines to take seriously moves down to only three players, and WebKit–already legendary in the open source world–gets even more momentum and community involvement. But many observers are noting that the move isolates Mozilla, which remains focused on its Gecko Web rendering engine and SpiderMonkey Javascript engine for the Firefox browser.

      • Chrome OS Was Originally Based On……Firefox?

        Former Google engineer Jeff Nelson has a blog post up that is generating lots of buzz due to the inside details it supplies about the origin of Google’s Chrome OS platform. The cloiud-focused operating system has drawn lots of headlines lately as more individual users, schools and businesses adopt Chromebooks.

        It’s well-known that the Chromium core of Chrome OS was based on Linux, and Canonical even helped Google shape the operating system. But among the details that Nelson recalls, the first versions of Chrome OS were actually based on Mozilla Firefox.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Ernst & Young: Cloud, SaaS dominating tech industry acquisitions
    • Rackspace lands Staples as cloud customer, OpenStack pilots ramp

      During Rackspace’s third quarter, the company had a bevy of high-level conversations with technology executives about OpenStack, an open source cloud operating system. Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier noted the fourth quarter turned many of those OpenStack conversations into pilots.

    • Open source education program, CanDo, handles big data

      In 2005, Arlington Career Center teacher David Welsh had an unmanagable list of 77 Video and Media Technology competencies to evaluate for each student in his classes. A Yorktown High School computer science teacher Jeff Elkner was teaching his students to program in Python and bursting with enthusiam for engaging students and teachers in open source processes. I had a new job leading the SchoolTool project with a charge from entrepreneur and philanthropist Mark Shuttleworth to create open source administrative software for schools around the world.

  • Databases

    • How the co-creator of MySQL came to love databases

      Monty Widenius, the co-creator of the MySQL database, became a multimillionaire when MySQL was sold to Sun Microsystems in 2008. But Monty subsequently left MySQL just before Sun was acquired by Oracle, and hired many of the original developers to work on his fork, MariaDB.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • How to affordably own your office software

      If you take a close look at Microsoft’s new Office licensing, it’s crystal clear: Microsoft no longer wants you to own your office software. They want you to rent it. So, why not get LibreOffice for free instead?

  • CMS

    • Webmaking with trainee teachers

      This year’s programmes now include:

      * Plenty of blogging – we’ve a Drupal powered bespoke blog/portfolio system, so trainees quickly get used to adding links, uploading images and embedding media; we also showcase The 100 Word Challenge and a few sign up for the team.

  • Education

    • Why libraries are intrinsically open and should adopt open source solutions

      Sharing is a fundamental part of the open source philosophy, and the same goes for libraries. Spreading, disseminating, and breaking down barries to gaining knowledge is a core mission of most library systems and their staff.

      That that end, libraries—which are essentially hubs of knowledge and gathering places for learning and continuing daily education—may choose to implement open source tools and software.

      An advocate for “open libraries”, Nicole Engard, is one of our new opensource.com community moderators, a long-time contributor, and a 2013 People’s Choice Award winner. She has a passion for libraries and wants libraries’ core operations to run on open source.

  • Funding


    • Gnuplot—the Grandfather of Graphing Utilities

      In these columns, I have covered several different scientific packages for doing calculations in many different areas of research. I also have looked at various packages that handle graphical representation of these calculations. But, one package that I’ve never looked at before is gnuplot (http://www.gnuplot.info). Gnuplot has been around since the mid-1980s, making it one of the oldest graphical plotting programs around. Because it has been around so long, it’s been ported to most of the operating systems that you might conceivably use. This month, I take a look at the basics of gnuplot and show different ways to use it.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Using open data for regional collaboration

        I have a regional, collaborative philosophy of open data initiatives and municipalities. In North Carolina, the cities of Cary, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill all share the economic engine that is the Research Triangle Park. They also share the innovation engine of five, top universities.

    • Open Access/Content

      • LIVE WEBCAST: Lessig discusses Aaron’s Law

        A long time friend and mentor of Swartz, who helped develop RSS as a teen, co-owned the popular website Reddit, and was a key architect of the Creative Commons, Lessig has written about Swartz on his personal blog and the Huffington Post, and he spoke about Schwartz’s life and achievements on the radio show Democracy Now. Swartz is the inspiration for “Aaron’s Law,” a draft bill, introduced by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), which would limit the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

      • Aaron Swartz files reveal how FBI tracked internet activist
    • Open Hardware


  • Reinstalling — gasp! — Windows

    I love my Compaq Presario 2170CA laptop. It has every peripheral that I use in my multifarious adventures, being one of the last laptops made with both a floppy disk drive and a “real” parallel port. But I’m preparing to travel with it, and its 40 GB hard drive was full. So rather than buy a new laptop, I decided to upgrade the hard drive. I found a new 120 GB drive on eBay, and installed it with no problems.

  • That Mitchell & Webb Crook

    he has now found a way to channel his hatred of the anti-necon movement into “comedy”, by making a sitcom poking fun at me, and making light of our government’s alliance with the Uzbek dictatorship.

    Our Men, commissioned by the BBC, is a hilarious comedy about the drunken and incompetent British Ambassador in Tazbekistan [which the BBC says does not represent Tashkent, Uzbekistan] and the jolly despot President Kairat [No relation, says the BBC, to President Karimov].

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Israeli soldier posts Instagram image of Palestinian child in crosshairs of rifle
    • Georgia Set to Execute Man with IQ of 70 Today

      Warren Hill has an IQ of 70 and placed in the third percentile on his middle-school standardized test. Doctors have found him to be “mildly mentally retarded.” But even though the US Supreme Court in 2002 ruled that executing the mentally handicapped is unconstitutional, Hill will be put to death today, barring a late intervention by the courts.

    • The Undetectable Firearms Act and 3D-printed guns (FAQ)

      They might come for your plastic gun, but they’re not coming for your 3D printer just yet.

    • Warning – Disturbing Images: The Last Hours Of The Son Of Prabhakaran

      A series of photographs taken a few hours apart and on the same camera, show Balachandran Prabhakaran, son of Villupillai Prabhakaran, head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). One of them shows the boy sitting in a bunker, alive and unharmed, apparently in the custody of Sri Lankan troops. Another, a few hours later, shows the boy’s body lying on the ground, his chest pierced by bullets.


      The photographs will place additional pressure on David Cameron to announce whether or not he will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM), e in Sri Lanka in November. A Downing Street official with Mr Cameron on his visit to India said on Monday that no decision had yet been taken.

      NGOs and organisations, among them the cross-party Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, have called on him to boycott the meeting.

    • An Attempt to Take Tools From Tyrants

      Mr. Muhafdha continues to fight for human rights even though the Bahraini government has clamped down on any opposition, intensifying its electronic surveillance. “No matter how I communicate, they know,” Mr. Muhafdha said in an interview. “The regime has sophisticated electronic surveillance equipment allowing it to spy on everything we do by social media, e-mail and phone.”

    • German Prosecutor Would Have Filed Indictments for CIA Rendition Had US Provided Information

      The German newspaper Spiegel has an interview with a German prosecutor, who ultimately decided not to file indictments in the case of Egyptian Muslim cleric Abu Omar. Omar was kidnapped in a CIA operation in Italy and rendered to Germany and then Egypt, where he was tortured.

      Last week, according to Reuters, a Milan appeals court in Italy sentenced the country’s foreign military intelligence chief, Niccolo Pollari, to 10 years in jail for his role. Pollari’s former deputy, Marco Mancini, was sentenced to 9 years. The sentencing followed a move by the court to sentence the American former CIA station chief to seven years in absentia for his involvement. And the court awarded 1 million Euros in damages to Omar along with one half a million Euros to his wife.

    • Amazon sacks ‘neo-Nazi’ security firm

      Amazon has ended its relationship with a security firm in Germany following accusations that guards in neo-Nazi uniforms were intimidating foreign workers at the online retailer’s distribution centres.

    • Amazon Fires ‘Neo-Nazi’ Guards In Germany
    • German president meets neo-Nazi victims’ families

      German President Joachim Gauck has received the families of Turks who were killed by Neo-Nazis in Germany and said he wanted societal prejudices to be tackled as well as problems within institutions.

    • Terror Tuesday: why kill list courts are not the answer

      If you were surprised to hear one particular rhetorical flourish in the President’s State of the Union address, imagine how Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) felt. For well over a year he and a handful of other Senators had been trying to obtain the government’s legal justification for its targeted killing program without getting any response from the Justice Department.

    • Don’t even think of proposing new gun-control laws, legislator says
    • Carrie Cordero on FISA Court Lessons for a “Drone Court”
    • John Kiriakou Orange Ball | Fresh Juice Party

      Disgruntled Heiress teams up with Code Pink and Fresh Juice Party to throw posh prison send-off for
      CIA Torture Whistleblower John Kiriakou

    • Is the FBI’s Community Outreach Program a Trojan Horse?

      In December 2011, the ACLU released FBI documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, which showed that San Francisco FBI agents were exploiting community outreach programs for intelligence-gathering purposes. Now it appears FBI agents in Minneapolis have adopted this ruse, and may be using it in even more sinister ways.

    • The Softball Question That Wasn’t

      During a Google+ Hangout yesterday, conservative commentator Lee Doren asked President Obama whether he claims the authority to kill a U.S. citizen suspected of being associated with al Qaeda or associated forces on U.S. soil. Notice the question was restricted to only a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil (our concerns are, of course, broader and apply to the White House’s illegitimate claim of authority to kill people it unilaterally deems a threat, even if they are far from any battlefield, abroad).

    • The Lesser Evil

      What the Obama administration isn’t telling you about drones: The standard rule is capture, not kill.

    • The Civil War and World War II: The Worst Guides in the War on Terrorism

      Obama’s defenders keep citing sui generis conflicts to justify his actions in radically different circumstances.

    • Like a Swarm of Lethal Bugs: The Most Terrifying Drone Video Yet
    • Why a `Drone Court’ Won’t Work

      President Barack Obama’s drone war is in danger of becoming an Abu Ghraib-style public-relations nightmare, drawing criticism at home from left and right (and, it seems, even many U.S. troops), spurring angry protests in Pakistan and Yemen, and becoming a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda.

    • Obama, the puppet master

      The results are transformational. With more technology, and fewer resources at many media companies, the balance of power between the White House and press has tipped unmistakably toward the government. This is an arguably dangerous development, and one that the Obama White House — fluent in digital media and no fan of the mainstream press — has exploited cleverly and ruthlessly. And future presidents from both parties will undoubtedly copy and expand on this approach.

    • As Automatic Defense Cuts Near, Defense Contractors Keep Congress At Arm’s Length

      Nearly half of the $1.2 trillion federal budget reduction would come from defense spending.

    • Hubris Isn’t the Half of It

      As our government was making a fraudulent case to attack Iraq in 2002-2003, the MSNBC television network was doing everything it could to help, including booting Phil Donahue and Jeff Cohen off the air. The Donahue Show was deemed likely to be insufficiently war-boosting and was thus removed 10 years ago next week, and 10 days after the largest antiwar (or anything else) demonstrations in the history of the world, as a preemptive strike against the voices of honest peaceful people.

    • Tomgram: Greg Grandin, Why Latin America Didn’t Join Washington’s Counterterrorism Posse

      There was a scarcely noted but classic moment in the Senate hearings on the nomination of John Brennan, the president’s counterterrorism “tsar,” to become the next CIA director. When Senator Carl Levin pressed him repeatedly on whether waterboarding was torture, he ended his reply this way: “I have a personal opinion that waterboarding is reprehensible and should not be done. And again, I am not a lawyer, senator, and I can’t address that question.”

    • Racial Profiling, Islamophobia, and Whistleblowers: Targeting the Unruly Threat
    • The AUMF Fallacy

      All of them claim the Administration is operating exclusively within the AUMF, and based on that assumption conclude certain things about what the Administration has done.

      There is abundant evidence to refute that. After all, the Administration invokes self-defense about as many times as it does AUMF in the white paper. The white paper actually situates the authority to kill an American in “constitutional responsibility to protect the country” — that is, Article II authority — and inherent right to self-defense even before it lists the AUMF.

    • BATRAVILLE AND LEW: DoD plans are shortsighted, unethical
    • Combatant Immunity and the Death of Anwar al-Awlaqi

      The importance of the combatant-civilian distinction was apparent when the Pentagon prepared the latest version of the Manual for Military Commissions [PDF], the rulebook for the trials of some of the alleged unlawful enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay. The 2007 version of the Manual for Military Commissions, which made rules implementing the Military Commissions Act of 2006, said that “[f]or the accused to have been acting in violation of the law of war, the accused must have taken acts as a combatant without having met the requirements for lawful combatancy.” It went on to add that such persons “do not enjoy combatant immunity because they have failed to meet the requirements of lawful combatancy under the law of war.” That language was removed when the current manual was drafted because of concerns among senior US government officials that the language on lawful combatancy and combatant immunity could be viewed as an acknowledgment that CIA civilian drone operators are committing war crimes.

    • UN Committee Criticizes Obama Administration’s Use Of Child Soldiers’ Waivers

      As the conflict in Mali wages on, reports from the frontlines reveal that the al-Qaeda linked Northern Mali rebels have conscripted child soldiers into their ranks. These reports reflect the persistence of a gross human rights violation in military conflict.

      And Mali is not alone. Child soldiers are used by non-state groups and government forces alike. American soldiers around the world have come under attack from forces using child soldiers, a complex challenge for the U.S. military. However, the United States has also provided military assistance to governments using child soldiers within their ranks or within government-supported armed groups. Child Soldiers International (CSI), an international NGO committed to preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers, has found evidence of child soldiers in government militaries and government supported armed groups with which the US military maintains key military-aid relationships, such as Afghanistan Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Thailand and Yemen.

    • The premises and purposes of American exceptionalism

      …insufficient to claim the mere mantle of Greatest Country on the Planet

    • Don’t Trust the Government on Drones
  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Back To Hurting Clients As Firm Is Targeted In Insider Trading Probe

      Goldman Sachs is apparently back to it’s old tricks despite the $550 million settlement with the SEC over hurting clients in the mortgage securities market. Acting on what may have been inside information (more on that later) the firm decided it wanted to heavily invest in Heinz (HNZ), which later would announce it was in talks to be bought out by Warren Buffet. So Goldman Sachs started buying up shares ahead of the merger.

    • Goldman Sachs says cooperating with Heinz probe

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc is cooperating with a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe into insider options trading in H.J. Heinz…

    • DC’s quest to silence Elizabeth Warren

      No, what’s important here is what Politico actually got right in its story: namely, that the assumption in Washington is, indeed, that silence is a virtue – that, in other words, the best thing for a newly elected liberal senator to do is shut her mouth, go along to get along, play by the club’s rules and not make any waves. Summing up that Beltway conventional wisdom, Politico writes that only by “flying under the radar” can a liberal “star” like Warren develop a “reputation as a serious legislator.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Can Police Be Trusted With Drones?

      Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern wants to buy a surveillance drone, or, as he prefers to call it, a “small Unmanned Aerial System.” At a meeting before the county’s Board of Supervisors last week, he claimed that he’d only use the drone for felony cases, not to spy on people or monitor political activists. But a few minutes later he’d seemed to change his mind, adding: “I don’t want to lock myself into just felonies.”

      Catcalls and hisses erupted from a crowd of some 100 anti-drone activists. One man later called the proposal “an assault on my community.”

    • Should drones be used to spy on Americans?

      Drones aren’t just for fighting the war on terror in the Middle East anymore – they might be watching you.

    • Ask the Expert: Is the Government Really Trying to Get Access to Websites for Surveillance Purposes?
    • Washington State Residents Say “No!” to Police Surveillance Drones

      Last February, President Obama signed a bill allowing up to 30,000 police drones to be flown by police departments and the Department of Homeland Security within the United States to keep an eye on “we the people.”

    • Logic of surveillance and problems of the enforcer class

      Ian Welsh’s piece on the “logic of surveillance” makes several good points, but this one really smacked me in the face: “The enforcer class…is paid in large part by practical immunity to many laws and a license to abuse ordinary people.”

    • The Logic of Surveillance
    • Your Own Smart Phone, Turned Against You

      My day starts out normally enough: I drop the kids at school and head to the Starbucks, where I use my Smart Phone to pay for my tall Caffé Mocha soy because that’s how I roll: I save one minute not having to reach into my wallet to physically pull out my credit card, it’s logged into the app.

      After “checking in” with Foursquare, which tells me a couple of moms from the school have already been there this morning, and then my Facebook, which tells me another “friend” is headed there now, I dash to the Safeway, where I get discounts on my feta cheese, avocados, organic yogurt and Fat Bastard chardonnay because I logged it all in the store’s Just for U program. Again, that’s how we roll.

    • First interview in 57 years for chief of Germany’s most secretive spy agency

      The head of the German military’s counterintelligence service, which is widely seen as the country’s most secretive intelligence organization, has given the first public media interview in the agency’s 57-year history. Most readers of this blog will be aware of the Federal Republic of Germany’s two best-known intelligence agencies: the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), tasked with domestic intelligence, and the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the country’s primary external intelligence agency. Relatively little is known, however, about the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD), which has historically been much smaller and quieter than its sister agencies. As part of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, the MAD is tasked with conducting counterintelligence and detecting what it terms “anti-constitutional activities” within the German armed forces. It is currently thought to consist of around 1,200 staff located throughout Germany and in at least seven countries around the world, including Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Djibouti.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 18/2/2013: SystemRescueCd 3.4.0

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

GNOME bluefish



  • The Price of Wintel

    So, for about half the capital cost and half the cost of operation giving the same performance, you should use GNU/Linux rather than that other OS. It makes sense. When you add to these obvious advantages, which alone are sufficient to make the choice, the advantages of freedom from M$’s EULA, and the freedom to run the code, examine, modify and distribute the code under a FLOSS licence, it’s a no-brainer. Use FLOSS. Use GNU/Linux. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Comparison of Linux Desktops OpenGL Performance

      With Steam officially being released for Linux I took some time out this evening to run a few benchmarks on my Ubuntu 12.04 based Bodhi system to see how a few of the different modern Linux desktops compare in terms of OpenGL performance with the source engine. Please do not take my numbers to be anything super scientific or precise. I simply recorded a short demo using Team Fortress 2, loaded TF2 from Steam under each of the Linux desktops with no other background applications running and ran the demo through a built in source engine bench marking tool.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

  • Distributions

    • Precise Puppy 5.4.3 – Linux At It’s Very Best!
    • This Week in Linux: Mageia, *Ubuntu, and Korora

      Several cool Linux items have popped up this week that deserved a mention. Someone over at Mageia is quite excited about the formation of a new documentation team. Just in case one person out there missed it, the Ubuntu family of distros released developemental versions of their upcoming 13.04s and the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS got an update. And for some strange reason, Chris Smart changed the name of Kororaa Linux to Korora Project.

    • Five Best System Rescue Discs

      When your computer starts behaving strangely, won’t boot, or you start getting strange errors that you can’t pin down, a great way to troubleshoot the problem is to boot to a rescue disc and see if you can isolate the problem. It might be your operating system, it could be hardware, but you’ll never know until you boot to some other media to take a look. That said, there are tons of great system rescue discs to check out if you want a tool to save your ailing system. This week we’re looking at five of the best, nominated by you, our readers.

    • New Releases

      • New Manjaro MATE Community Edition released!

        “Community Editions” of Manjaro Linux are released as bonus flavours in addition to those officially supported and maintained by the Manjaro Team, provided that the time and resources necessary are available to do so.

        Due to popular demand from members of the Manjaro community, this now includes a special new release of the MATE flavour for both 32 and 64-bit systems.

      • SystemRescueCd 3.4.0
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Virtualbox and USB support in Mageia 2

        For those people who use Mageia 2 and like to test other OSs or need to keep another OS for work purposes, installing Virtualbox from the Mageia repositories might lead them to a disappointment. The distro seems to only support Virtualbox OSE (as it is the only package in the repos), which does not allow one to enable USB support. Therefore, you end up with a Virtual Machine that cannot read your flash drive.

        To solve this pesky problem, you must understand that the situation springs from having installed a Virtualbox version that does not do what you need or want. You must, then uninstall it and grab the Virtualbox PUEL version package from the Oracle site here.

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Picks Up Another Graphics Driver Developer

        Red Hat has hired another well known name from the open-source Linux graphics driver community.

        Rob Clark, the graphics driver developer from Texas Instruments that was part of the OMAP team and also collaborated with Linaro, has joined Red Hat. Rob Clark was the one largely responsible for the TI OMAP DRM/KMS driver, he’s also proposed DRI2 Video, worked on Wayland video playback, and most recently began the Freedreno driver.

      • OpenShift gears up with Enterprise 1.1 release
      • Fedora

        • rawhide: 2013-02-05 to 2013-02-12

          One rough spot was the boost rebuild. Boost has a cycle similar to Fedora, so a new major version comes along about every 6 months or so and requires rebuilding all the packages that use it. In Fedora thats around 170ish packages or so. I communicated with the Boost maintainers and we decided the best way forward was to just commit the new Boost and rebuild everything in one day and then fix up the parts that broke.

        • Fedora 16 end of life, Fedora 19 coming in June

          Fedora 16 reached its official end of life at the beginning of the week. This means that the release was maintained for 16 months as opposed to the usual 13 months. In most cases, Fedora discontinues support for a release when the next version over has been released for a month. The three-month delay in the release of Fedora 18 explains the longer support cycle in this case.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Fractal Design Node 304 Review – From NAS to Mini PC Box

      Last month saw the review of the Define R4, a big ATX tower that could easily double up as a small server case, with a lot of bells and whistles. This month we’re looking at the Node 304, also from Fractal Design, a small, Mini ITX case with a very minimal aesthetic. Don’t let appearances deceive you though, the Node can do a lot more than you’d think at a cursory glance.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • ARCHOS Introduces the New Platinum Range

        ARCHOS, an award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, introduces the Platinum range, a new line of tablets that feature a sleek aluminum design combined with the best high-definition IPS displays, quad-core processors and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. There will be three tablets in the range including an 8-inch, 9.7-inch and 11.6-inch, all of which deliver true vivid colors, sharper text and amazingly fast performance.

      • What about the PengPod tablet?

        So instead of just running a pure Android tablet, you get the option to run your favorite Linux distribution and Android in dual-boot fashion, provided your Linux distribution has an edition for the hardware.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ease of Use is Key in New Zarafa WebApp Release
  • DataSift Launches Open Source Query Builder, Aims To Embed Social Monitoring In Enterprise Tools
  • PeerJS enables WebRTC browser-to-browser banter

    PeerJS is a new open source JavaScript library and associated server which is designed to allow web applications running on different systems to contact each other. The developers say that PeerJS completes WebRTC, as the video connection protocol says nothing about how WebRTC-based clients should locate users to connect with.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • DOJ To Brief Congress On Aaron Swartz Prosecution

        Justice Department officials will give a congressional briefing Friday afternoon on DOJ’s handling of the case against Aaron Swartz, the Internet activist who was facing years in prison when he took his own life, a congressional aide tells The Huffington Post.

        The aide said that Steven Reich, an associate deputy attorney general at DOJ, is expected to brief House Oversight Committee staffers, and potentially members, on Friday afternoon. A Justice Department spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

  • Programming

    • Building basic packages in GNU R
    • 9 of the Best Free R Books

      R is an open source programming language and software environment for statistical computing and visualization. The R language is frequently used by statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis. The language is mature, simple, and effective. R is an integrated suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation and graphical display. It offers a large collection of intermediate tools for data analysis. R supports procedural programming with functions and, for some functions, object-oriented programming with generic functions. It includes conditionals, loops, user-defined recursive functions and input and output facilities.

    • More Perl in Texinfo 5.0

      Version 5.0 of the Texinfo GNU documentation format is now available and is designed to be more extendable thanks to the new Perl-based converter. According to the developers’ announcement, texi2any can convert Texinfo files to any format that is supported by texi2dvi and makeinfo. To use it, Perl 5.7.3 and its standard Encode module are required.



Links 16/2/2013: New Fuduntu, Sabayon Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 10:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Ultimate Operating System

    Microsoft should use a Linux base for an OS. Right, now I’ve got the awful part of saying it out the way I’ll go into detail about how and why I think this would be such a good idea. For everyone. Yes, including Microsoft.

    OK, here goes. I’m not going to go into the ideals and fundamentals of open-source, freedom, free software and all the stuff that Linux represents, that’s everywhere else, and I really don’t have time. For this post I’m only interested in the ideals. Henceforth I present my case m’lud.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Top 10 Best Games on Steam for Linux So Far

        Steam for Linux has already garnered quite a few interesting games, but some of them will stand out due to their quality. We compiled a list of the most interesting titles that are working right now and have the most potential.

        The list is not put together in any particular order, but it does respect one condition. All the games mentioned here are working and are not in Beta, with one guilty exception.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Gnome 3.8 on Ubuntu 13.04!

        Testing and even using not-ready-yet technology of tomorrow is something that characterizes almost any Gnome user out there.

        Many of us want to see the new exciting changes that the 3.8 release will bring, test the new features and see how the new version our favorite DE is evolving in almost real time.

      • GNOME Shell 3.6.3 release fixes 4 major bugs
      • My favorite GNOME Hackers for 2012 ;)

        This post is about two months late and just one day after IGNOME Valentine’s Day ..and is pure gossip ;)

        The girl on the left, is Karen Sandler and she is my personal favorite Gnomer for 2012!

        This hasn’t to do anything about good or bad developers or how significant their contribution is in GNOME. Therefore I am not including people as Bastien Nocera, Matthias Clasen, Emmanuele Bassi, Florian Mullner and others. As a matter of fact I am including only people I have talked with. The order is totally random, with the exception of Karen and Jasper, which I place them in first position ;)

  • Distributions

    • Review: Chakra 2013.02 “Benz”

      It’s been a while since I looked at Chakra, so I was thinking now might be a good time to do that. Plus, KDE 4.10 just came out with a whole bunch of new features and fixes, so I wanted to check that out too. So this is the subject of today’s review.

      I’ve tried Chakra a number of times before. It was originally derived from Arch, but since a couple years ago it has been developed in a fully independent manner. It uses a “semi-rolling” release model, in which applications like Mozilla Firefox and other front-end features like KDE are updated on a rolling basis, while core system components are held to be more stable.

    • New Releases

      • Zorin OS 6.2 Lite is released

        The Zorin OS Team have released Zorin OS 6.2 Lite, the latest evolution of the Zorin OS Lite series of operating systems, designed specifically for Windows users utilizing old or low-powered hardware. This release is based on Lubuntu 12.04.2 and uses the LXDE desktop environment to provide one of the fastest and most feature-packed interfaces for low-spec machines. This new release includes newly updated software out-of-the-box. We also include our innovative Zorin Look Changer, Zorin Internet Browser Manager, Zorin OS Lite Extra Software and other programs from our earlier versions in Zorin OS 6.2 Lite.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Press Release: Sabayon 11
      • Sabayon 11 Review

        The 11′th iteration of Sabayon has been released, as Fabio Erculiani announced on the official Sabayon page, stating that “this is a release you cannot miss!”

        Those who don’t know, Sabayon Linux is a Gentoo-based rolling-release Linux distribution created by Fabio Erculiani that pursues the “Out of the box” thinking that’s available in both x86 and x64 architectures. It comes in many flavours and is available for users of all the leading Desktop Enviroments like KDE, GNOME, MATE, XFCE, and others.

      • Sabayon Linux 11 Released
    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Releases OpenShift 1.1

        Red Hat has announced the release of version 1.1 of OpenShift which brings a number of enhancements and updates. OpenShift Enterprise 1.1 features a fully supported developer console that enables application deployment via a web browser, in addition to OpenShift Enterprise’s CLI and Eclipse IDE interfaces.

      • Fedora

        • Steam for Fedora Now Available

          Valve gave the best Valentine Day gift to its fans (to be precise Linux fans) by launching the Steam for Linux client officially. The company is endorsing Ubuntu Linux at the moment as it finds easier to focus on one product when it is experimenting.

        • Fedora 18: Graphical Installer Horror

          I am usually quick to write an article or something on the latest Ubuntu or Fedora release. But for Red Hat’s new Fedora 18 operating system, I thought I’d hold off a little and read some other users opinions before I make my own final call of judgement. Reading others opinions and reviews prompted me to check it out for myself due to the mixed reactions that I read. To be blunt,

          Fedora 18 is a horrible release. Let me explain the issues that I encountered with the latest update.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Finally It’s Steam for Linux But Only Officially for Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Developer Preview for Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus arrives February 21st

            As was promised, enthusiasts and developers will be able to flash Ubuntu onto their Galaxy Nexus’ before the end of the month. Canonical has announced that the Developer Preview of the new operating system will be released on February 21st. The surprise, however, is that the company has added support for the Nexus 4, and users with the latest Nexus phone will be able to download and flash Ubuntu onto their devices on the 21st as well. Additionally, the source code for the operating system and the tools needed to flash phones will come out on that date.

          • What Ubuntu Phone Apps Should Look Like

            Canonical is working on creating a pleasant experience on Ubuntu Phone, which is expected to be released later this year. The company made a call for collaboration on core apps and according to Mika Meskanen of Canonical the response has been great. This response encouraged the team to help those developers and designer who are working on core apps.

          • Ubuntu for Phones Hits Developers Next Week

            Canonical — the company behind the Ubuntu project — announced that the Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu will be available for the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 4 on Feb. 21, 2013.

            Canonical says the Touch Developer Preview is designed for enthusiasts and developers — giving them a chance to “familiarize themselves with Ubuntu’s smartphone experience and develop applications on spare handsets.”

            Even better, Canonical will install the new OS on the phones of developers who want it and are attending Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona Feb. 25-28.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Fuduntu 2013.1 in my production setup!

              Remember the perfect grade that Fuduntu got in my earlier review? Well, it’s not gonna happen this time. There are three reasons for that. One, it’s too easy to enable the Testing repository and screw your system. Two, the package manager needs more rework, namely being more flexible and responsive, having fewer issues with the locking, allowing easier, friendlier and more robust search, and allowing a smooth, seamless installation of the graphics drivers without the user having to resort to any command line tricks and tweaks. Lastly, the Nvidia driver installation was not flawless.

              At the end of the day, I was having a badass distro that was fast, light, beautiful, and modern, but the cost was some pain, several hours of time lost, and the knowledge that a pristine setup is impossible. Overall, Fuduntu 2013.1 did what I needed, and I had my Nvidia drivers in place. I do not regret my decision to include this distribution in my setup, and the decision stays. But there’s more work needed, especially under the hood, to make sure that nothing goes wrong in multi-boot setups, blessed with tons of proprietary drivers. All that said, Fuduntu 2013.1 is still an awesome product.

              To conclude this review, yes, another revolution did happen. I am running a Fedora-based distribution in my setup. It’s bleeding edge, it’s fast, modern, light, elegant, and comes with a mighty punch of programs, including Steam and Netflix. That’s nothing you can sneeze at. Fuduntu 2013.1 promises to be a big player in the Linux arena, and it sure has the capability to stand alongside Ubuntu and friends without feeling antiquated or complex or anything of that sort. The ultimate question of long-term support and relevance remains, the ability to remain flexible and adapt to changes, as well as iron out all and any bugs in the user space that could lead to systems being unbootable, botched or both. If this can happen, then Fuduntu 2013.1 could very well become No.1 Linux distro. for now, with this test concluded, it gets 9/10. Almost perfect. So damn close.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Adobe Photoshop v 1.0 Source Code Published

    The Computer History Museum has made available the source code of version 1.0.1 of Photoshop for non-commercial use. Adobe Photoshop is the magic software which redefined the image manipulation. This 20 year old software which was first written for Apple’s Mac in pascal has become a verb.

  • An Open Source Prodigal Returns

    A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to spend my days working with and talking about Open Source software. It was exhilarating while it lasted, but after a few years, I had to return to product-based professional services to make a living.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The State of Open Source Office Software in 2013

      If the arrival of Windows 8 opened new doors for Linux in the world of desktop operating systems last fall, then it seems fair to say that the recent arrival of Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365 has surely done something similar for free and open source office suites.

  • Education

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Former Copyright Registers: We Must Limit Fair Use At Public Universities, For The Poor Publishers Who Are Paying Us To Say This

        We’ve written a few times now about an important case involving fair use within university libraries and their “e-reserves.” It involves some academic publishers (Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Sage Publications) suing the Georgia State University for daring to allow professors to designate content such that it can be checked out electronically, just like they would with physical content. The publishers demand to be paid extra for such things, because the key to things going digital, to them, is the ability to get paid multiple times for what used to be free. The court eventually came out with a detailed and complex ruling that found most of the e-reserves to be fair use. We had some concerns about some seemingly arbitrary “tests” that the judge came up with, but on the whole were encouraged by the strong fair use support.

    • Open Hardware

      • This Open-Source, Robotic Tentacle Will Haunt Your Dreams

        In the underground world of robotic tentacle makers, there are two rules: 1) don’t talk about underground tentacle-making and 2) don’t talk about underground tentacle-making. Both of those rules have been shattered by Matthew Borgatti, a robotics designer who has created a life-like, 3D-printed tentacle that flails around quite disturbingly using Arduino boards and a set of mini air compressors.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Multistakeholder WCIT

      The article of Klimburg overlooks that ITU-T is a multistakeholder organisation and European players embark on a cybersovereignty approach, simply because the multistakeholderism of the US does not give them a fair share, still they cannot support an expansion of power for ITU world governance: In a world with more than 200 nations “world governance” leads to hypocrite political corruption, nurtures a political class that at best trickles down the “capacity building and technical assistance” in their nation.



Links 15/2/2013: Steam’s Official Arrival and Ubuntu Phone Previews

Posted in News Roundup at 9:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Four Questions (And Answers) About Open Source Software In Finance
  • Apache snapshots hunted down

    Recovery-as-a-Service in open cloud country is on the way.

    Vision Solutions has taken its replication and disaster recovery services into sharper open computing territory by adding a Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS) option to Apache CloudStack as well as Citrix CloudPlatform.

  • Events

    • Interview: Mark Hinkle

      Mark Hinkle works for Citrix as the Senior Director of Cloud Computing and will be speaking a couple times at SCALE11X. We had some time to talk to Mark about his talk at SCALE11X, Open Source, and Cloud.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Using CryptoStick as an HSM

        Mozilla maintains a wide range of services which are secured using different solutions. For internal repositories, our Operations Security team has chosen to use the low-cost, open source and open hardware CryptoStick from the German Privacy Foundation.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Public Services/Government

    • New open-source website highlights local startups

      Local business leaders can either issue a request using Github—which is an online location where developers house their open-source code—or they can email the Nooga Startups team to be included.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • FASTR introduced in U.S. Congress to drastically expand public access to federally funded research

        Today marks an historic step forward for public access to publicly funded research in the United States. The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. FASTR requires federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to the research articles stemming from that funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

      • US Department of State unveils Open Book Project
      • New Bill Helps Expand Public Access to Scientific Knowledge

        Internet users around the world got a Valentine’s Day present yesterday in the form of new legislation that requires U.S. government agencies to improve public access to federally funded research.

        The proposed mandate, called the Fair Access to Science & Technology Research Act, or FASTR (PDF), is simple. Agencies like the National Science Foundation, which invests millions of taxpayer dollars in scientific research every year, must design and implement a plan to facilitate public access to—and robust reuse of—the results of that investment. The contours of the plans are equally simple: researchers who receive funding from most federal agencies must submit a copy of any resulting journal articles to the funding agency, which will then make that research freely available to the world within six months.

  • Programming

    • PHP 5.5 to Include Open Source Zend Optimizer+ ?

      PHP 5.5 is now in its development cycle, currently at the Alpha 4 release. According to the initial release roadmap for PHP 5.5, this is the point where the feature freeze was supposed to happen, but that’s not necessarily going to happen, as at least one key feature may yet still land.


  • Security

    • Big Brother’s Greek Tragedy: State-Deployed Malware & Trojans
    • Cypherpunks: a conversation that both articulates and challenges the case for Internet freedom

      Cypherpunks — a quick, stirring, scary read — transcribes a wide-ranging conversation between Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, Jacob Appelbaum (Wikileaks/Tor Project), Andy Müller-Maguhn (Chaos Computer Club) and Jérémie Zimmermann (La Quadrature Du Net).

      Edited together in thematic chapters (The Militarization of Cyberspace, Fighting Total Surveillance With the Laws of Physics, Private Sector Spying), Cypherpunks exceeded my expectations. I know some of the book’s protagonists personally and know how smart and principled they are. But I was afraid, going into this, that what would emerge would be a kind of preaching-to-the-choir consensus, because all four of the participants are on the same side.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Are Iranian Magnets the New Aluminum Tubes?

      In the run up to the Iraq War, the New York Times (9/8/02) famously reported on an Iraqi scheme to procure special aluminum tubes that could only have one purpose: Iraq’s secret nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein was attempting to “buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes,” and the “diameter, thickness and other technical specifications of the aluminum tubes had persuaded American intelligence experts that they were meant for Iraq’s nuclear program.” The claims were false–Iraq, as it turned out, had no nuclear program–but still hugely influential.

    • Mecca photo, FBI agent’s book, pen refill seized in Guantánamo search of 9/11 plotters’ cells

      While the 9/11 accused were in court, prison camp guards seized from their cells a banned copy of a former FBI agent’s memoirs, toilet paper with English words scrawled on it and a pen refill hidden inside the binding of a book belonging to alleged mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a prison camps lawyer testified Thursday.

      Guards also seized bins full of legal documents that will be returned shortly, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. George Massucco, the prison camps lawyer. These actions capped a week of testimony about whether the government has violated the confidentiality of the alleged terrorists’ communications with their lawyers — from the courthouse to meeting rooms and now inside the prison itself.

    • Zygier ‘close to spilling on Israel’

      An interim report to Senator Carr has reportedly advised that Australian intelligence agencies told DFAT officials about Mr Zygier’s detention shortly after his arrest in February 2010. However, officials were unclear whether then foreign minister Stephen Smith was briefed.
      Senator Carr’s office declined to respond when asked about the government’s precise knowledge of Israeli allegations about Mr Zygier.
      As no request for consular assistance was made by Mr Zygier or his family, the matter was left to be dealt with through intelligence channels. No consular contact was made with Mr Zygier. It became involved on his death in December 2010.
      Mr Zygier’s detention came at an increasingly tense time in Australian-Israeli relations.

    • Unmasking Prisoner X: Beating the censors

      Claims that suspected Australian Mossad operative Ben Zygier was secretly jailed before his death in prison have brought to a head years of resentment at the way Israel’s security services use court gag orders to suppress sensitive information from the media.

      Israeli intelligence services were aware that our Foreign Correspondent story was airing last Tuesday. The promo was going viral on social media, and airing on ABC TV in Australia. A press release had gone out the previous week, mentioning “Prisoner X”.

    • Zygier ‘planned to expose deadly use of passports’
    • Stratfor’s Colby Martin posed as fake journalist in Oaxaca, Mexico
    • DOJ: John Brennan Didn’t Officially Disclose CIA Drones Program

      John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, didn’t officially acknowledge the CIA’s role in the use of drones in the targeted killing of suspected terrorists overseas during his testimony last week, a Justice Department lawyer contended in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit this week.

    • ‘America Doesn’t Torture’—It Kills

      If the president can order the killing of
      American citizens abroad should he decide they are involved with Al Qaeda, can he assassinate suspected Al Qaeda–connected US citizens in London or Berlin? What about a suspect’s teenage son, a junior in a Canadian boarding school? If he can drop hellfire missiles on a house in northwestern Pakistan because he believes a terrorist cell is meeting inside, could he blow up a motel in Florida where supposed terrorists are staying and chalk up any dead vacationers as “collateral damage”? Of course not. Pakistan is completely different. Anwar al-Awlaki may have been a US citizen, but he was in Yemen, which is different too. As for his 16-year-old son, killed in Yemen in a drone attack some weeks later along with several other people, former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs put it well, if ungrammatically: “I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well-being of their children.” Unlike in the United States, in Yemen kids choose their parents.

    • Senate Intelligence Committee Oversight of CIA: It Would Be a Good Idea

      Different Senate committees are supposed to do oversight of different federal agencies. The Senate Judiciary Committee is supposed to oversee the Department of Justice. The Senate Armed Services committee is supposed to do oversight of the Pentagon. And the Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to do oversight of the Central Intelligence Agency. Since the CIA is conducting drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and since this is, to say the least, a controversial policy, the Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to be doing oversight of that.

    • Pentagon Creates Medal to Honor Drone Operators
    • Game of Drones
    • Army Deflates LEMV Airship; Cost And Schedule Cited

      While the service has not formally notified Capitol Hill, a congressional source was told unofficially of LEMV’s cancellation. The reason likely has to do with the program being behind schedule and over budget, the source told InsideDefense.com. The program has been funded through reprogrammings rather than through the normal budget since its inception, the source added, guessing that the funding “fell out of the fiscal year 2014 budget in order to pay other bills.”

    • The Execution of Christopher Dorner

      If the murder of Oscar Grant on an Oakland transit platform marked the dawn of the Obama era, the cold-blooded murder of former Naval reservist and Los Angeles Police officer Christopher Dorner might just mark the end of whatever optimistic hope people can muster in his administration. Whether an innocent young man just trying to get home, shot in the back after being racially profiled and slurred, or a man driven to his breaking point after being fired from a similar police force that operates according to its own warped morality and overarching objectives, the state of the union is a powder keg whose wick has gotten shorter due to decades of looking the other way.

    • Obama DOJ again refuses to tell a court whether CIA drone program even exists
    • The Benghazi Truthers and the OLC Hold-Outs

      Now, Lew’s role in Benghazi briefings really won’t affect his job as Treasury Secretary. But Brennan’s role might, particularly if the Murdoch boosted eBook alleging he was running ops in Libya out of the White House is true (I’m not saying it is).

      In any case, the persistence of the Benghazi truthers has introduced an interesting dynamic I didn’t expect. Of the Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee, only Susan Collins and possibly Tom Coburn are not full-on Benghazi truthers (and James Inhofe, who gets a vote if he wants one as Armed Services Committee Ranking member, could add another truther vote).

    • ‘Now What?’: As France Leaves Mali, the West’s New War Strategy Shows Peril
    • New medal for drone pilots outranks Bronze Star
    • Medal will honor troops engaged in cyber ops, drone strikes
    • North Korea: Missing the Forest for the Trees (Part 1/2)

      North Korea is again at the center of international attention due to assertions that its leadership is pursuing a program of enriching uranium in order to add more nuclear weapons to its current stockpile. In the context of the United States’ military’s ongoing “Asia Pivot,” and the disquiet of North Korea’s neighbors at the prospect of a nuclear arms race in East Asia, gaining a strong understanding of North Korea and its society remains a top priority for international affairs professionals and the global public alike.

    • Veterans attack ‘boneheaded’ medal for drone pilots

      Veterans have attacked a “boneheaded” new military medal for US drone pilots, arguing that it would unfairly outrank honours earned by soldiers serving on the front line.

    • Contra Costa Times editorial: Nation needs a policy on use of drone strikes

      President Barack Obama’s use of drones to kill people, including Americans, in other countries is at a minimum a failure of his often-repeated but seldom-honored commitment to government transparency. We also know that had President George W. Bush used drones to the extent Obama has done, the howling would have been deafening.

    • Checking Drone Power

      Yes, law enforcement drones are coming, but if Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, has his way they won’t leave the ground without a judge okaying it first.

    • Students and professors react to U.S. drone policy

      Kurt Piehler is an Associate Professor of History at FSU and director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience. He says that while drones are more sophisticated than air power in WWII, drones are no exception to the collateral damage that it air power creates.

      “I think there’s a larger question among historians as to the effectiveness of air power and that there’s a danger in seeing it as a panacea,” said Piehler. “You sometimes really do need boots on the ground. Airpower has rarely won a war and so you will need other covert forces.”

    • CIA Finds Some Extra Pics of bin Laden’s Corpse Lying Around the Office

      After Osama bin Laden was assassinated in 2011, there was perhaps no more hotly sought after document on the planet than a hypothetical photograph of bin Laden’s dead body, which had of course arrived at that sorry state as a result of the most tightly controlled and choreographed military operation in recent history. After some public hemming and hawing in response to an overwhelming cry for visual proof of the venture’s success, the Obama White House acknowledged the existence of such photos but refused to release them in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from various parties. So one would imagine that, given the intense interest in the images and the high-profile litigation surrounding them, the CIA would conduct a rigorous accounting of each such image, its provenance, and current location, right? No, of course not. In fact, they just found some under the couch.

    • PAUL: Who’s next on Obama’s drone hit list?

      The recent leak of a Department of Justice white paper on the legal justification for the use of drones to execute American citizens abroad accused of terrorism raises some very important constitutional and moral issues. Politicians should not decide the crime and the punishment for American citizens here or abroad. A trial by jury with a judge is a right to be prized by American citizens.

    • Drones aren’t “humane weapons”!
    • Drone Manufacturers Aim to Change Image

      The industry that supplies military robots and unmanned aerial vehicles has launched a rebranding campaign.

      Manufacturers of remotely piloted aircraft, particularly, worry that their products are known mostly for spying and killing and not for their beneficial attributes.

    • Drone Strikes and R2P

      R2P as a formal legal mechanism to justify intervention still requires the consent of the Security Council.

    • Libya needs international assistance, not drone attacks

      Two years to the day after the anti-Gadhafi uprisings began in Benghazi, the populace has again taken to the streets. This time they are protesting the new authorities failures to bring economic development and its prerequisite, security. Over the last two years, wide swathes of Libyan territory have been transformed into a non-governed space has indirectly facilitated the Islamist takeover in Mali and the attack by Al-Qaeda affiliates on Algeria’s In Amenas gas facility. If Libya is the fabled ‘gateway to Africa’, then the gate has been left wide open.

    • Is Obama’s Drone Policy Really Morally Superior to Torture?

      Here is the worst-kept secret in Washington: Instead of capturing and grilling suspected terrorists, as agents did during the 2000s, the United States now kills them from above. Yet where the morality of President Bush’s tactics chewed up years of public debate, Congress and the press seem less interested in the legitimacy of drone strikes than in the process (and secrecy) that surrounds them. Members questioned John Brennan, the CIA nominee who helped build the administration’s drone strategy, along exactly these lines. “[The debate] has really all been about the legality of targeting American citizens, not the overall moral issues raised by the drone program, or collateral casualties, or classifying any young men between a certain age-group default as terrorists,” says Bruce Hoffman, director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies. In a CBS News poll last week, 71 percent of Americans said they support the strikes.

    • Brennan Sidesteps Query on Drone Kills in U.S.

      In written answers to Senate Intelligence Committee questions released Friday, CIA director nominee John Brennan would not say whether the U.S. could conduct drone strikes inside the United States — only that it did not intend to do so.
      Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has placed a hold on Brennan’s nomination pending an answer to the question of when the government can use lethal force to target a U.S. citizen within the United States. Brennan, as the top White House counterterrorism and homeland security adviser to President Barack Obama, has guided administration policy on the use of drones on foreign battlefields.

    • Republicans threaten to block John Brennan for CIA

      Senators including John McCain, the former presidential candidate, said they would not allow the approval of John Brennan until they receive more details about Mr Obama’s response to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last September.

    • Drone Trust the Government

      But we aren’t supposed to be bothered by this policy, because we are expected to have confidence in “our leaders,” at least as long as they are members of the right political party. Surely they would not abuse this terrifying power. At this point, any self-respecting American should be quoting Jefferson: “That confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism.” It is intolerable that the president can autocratically send unpiloted aircraft into foreign countries to kill people. And it is appalling that the administration feels it owes the people no detailed explanation of where this authority comes from. (A Justice Department white paper ostensibly describing a secret legal memo was obtained by NBC News.)

  • Cablegate

    • The FBI was going to use a hacker as bait in Iceland

      The Minister of the Interior said this morning, in parliament, that he thought that the FBI wanted to use an Icelandic computer hacker as bait to get closer to Wikileaks. Ms. Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of parliament, said that the Icelandic police authorities had believed a fictional story told by two hackers.

    • Twenty-three events planned in support of Bradley Manning who has been imprisoned 1000 days!
    • Balkanleaks and Bivol insurance file

      Reaction to the release was swift. Bivol was subject to a massive smearing campaign in the media and a recurring DDoS attack on the site. In response to threats made against its journalists, Bivol is now releasing this insurance file. The key will leak automatically if something happens to our staff.

    • Legislature needs to stop anti-whistleblower legislation in its tracks

      In response to last year’s undercover videotaping of a Wheatland hog farm,which rightfully sickened and outraged the public, state Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse, drafted legislation which would outlaw the type of undercover investigation that led to arrests in the case.

    • From WikiLeaks to Senate seat? Julian Assange could make the jump
    • Julian Assange to headline WikiLeaks Party ticket, run for Australian senate from exile

      The Age reports that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has filed to run for a seat in the Australian senate as a member of the new WikiLeaks Party, which consists of a 10-member national council of Assange’s associates. Assange, a controversial international figure that has facilitated several embarrassments for the US government through whistleblower leaks, is currently in political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange has been an outspoken critic of the US in recent years, seeking to draw attention to the country’s use of drones and its justification for “targeted killings.”

    • WikiLeaks founder to stand for Senate in Victoria
    • Wikileaks: Secret Government Documentation

      And as demonstration of the truth of that statement actual documents have been posted on Wikileaks that embarrass world governments, politicians, military organizations, Intelligence Agencies, and major corporations and banking institutions. These documents have motivated any number of those embarrassed to attempt to shut down the website claiming one form of harm or another that may come from the publication of the evidence against them. Presumably the main harm is “someone told our secrets!”

    • Assange misunderstood, claims legal eagle

      Julian Assange, insists his legal confidante Jennifer Robinson, is terribly misunderstood.

      The WikiLeaks founder, holed up in a London embassy to elude Swedish prosecutors can, she concedes, be difficult. But Assange needs to be hardnosed “to achieve the things he’s done,” asserts Robinson.

    • Julian Assange and the Tilted Scales of Justice

      Justice is one of the most important virtues of a healthy society. The basic idea is that when a wrong is committed, there is a system to help right that wrong in a way that is equitably applied. Marcus Tullius Cicero, orator and statesman of Ancient Rome once said, “Justice commands us to have mercy upon all men, to consult the interests of the whole human race, to give to every one his due.” Justice is a scale that does not give favor to one side or the other, but stays in balance equally for everyone.

    • Julian Assange to run for office from an office
    • Australia: Julian Assange Has Electoral Possibilities
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Human Rights Group Lambasts Goldman Sachs Over Russia

      The Human Rights Foundation last week slammed Goldman Sachs for their ongoing relationship with the Russian government, saying the bulge bracket bank was basically aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise.

      They argued for Goldman Sachs to cease accepting payments from Russia, payments that go towards helping the bank make Russia look good to potential investors and international rating agencies. Russian officials last month announced that they will pay the Wall Street firm $500,000 over the next three years to help the Putin regime lure foreign cash.


      Goldman Sachs says that in its new role it will seek to highlight Russia’s commitment to increasing government transparency. “But the truth is transparency and corruption won’t take hold as long as the regime flouts the rule of law and uses Russia’s financial system as its personal piggy bank,” Kasparov said. “Virtually every NGO warns that the human rights situation in Russia is at its worst since the fall of the Soviet Union over two decades ago. By doing business with Putin, Goldman Sachs is acting as an enemy of free enterprise and economic freedom.”

  • Censorship

    • ‘Japan Lies,’ documentary about veteran photojournalist, wins three awards

      A documentary about a Japanese photojournalist who shed light on the plight of atomic bomb victims and the oppressed during his nearly seven-decade career, has won three accolades in cinema.

      “Japan Lies: The Photojournalism of Kikujiro Fukushima, Age 90″ has proved so popular that a Hiroshima theater is showing the film before previously scheduled screening events in the prefecture this spring.

  • Privacy

    • CISPA, the Privacy-Invading Cybersecurity Spying Bill, is Back in Congress

      It’s official: The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act was reintroduced in the House of Representatives yesterday. CISPA is the contentious bill civil liberties advocates fought last year, which would provide a poorly-defined “cybersecurity” exception to existing privacy law. CISPA offers broad immunities to companies who choose to share data with government agencies (including the private communications of users) in the name of cybersecurity. It also creates avenues for companies to share data with any federal agencies, including military intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA).

    • What’s the Difference Between an Executive Order and a Directive?

      The Obama Administration issued policy statements this week on critical infrastructure protection and cyber security, including measures to encourage information sharing with the private sector and other steps to improve policy coordination. Curiously, the Administration issued both an Executive order and a Presidential directive devoted to these topics.

    • President Obama’s Cybersecurity Executive Order Scores Much Better Than CISPA On Privacy

      With the reintroduction of the much-maligned Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act scheduled for the day after the State of the Union, the House of Representatives may have hoped the President’s own cybersecurity initiative would divert some of the attention away from the controversial legislation known as CISPA.

    • Android Play Store Privacy

      The controversy is around how Google auomatically shares detailed personal information of everyone who purchases a paid app with the app’s developer.2

    • CBS 11 Investigates: State Sells Personal Information & You Can’t Opt Out

      The State of Texas made millions of dollars selling your private information last year. We’re talking about your name, address, and even what kind of car you drive.

    • Politics: Congress Is Trying to Kill Internet Privacy Again

      House lawmakers have reintroduced a bill that civil liberties groups say would destroy the right to Internet privacy as we know it. An earlier version of the CYBER INTELLIGENCE SHARING AND PROTECTION ACT, OR CISPA (PDF), passed the House back in April 2012; it died quickly UNDER THREAT OF PRESIDENTIAL VETO and widespread PROTEST FROM INTERNET ACTIVISTS. But this week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland) brought it back. What’s going on?

    • Professor Droney
    • Consumers should be in charge of their data

      The latest Google privacy debacle comes courtesy of Dan Nolan, an Australian app-developer,who has found he’s being sent personal information – without users ever giving permission for him to have it.

      Dan spotted the issue when he logged into his ‘merchant’ section of his Google Play account and saw how for every customer who bought the app on Google play, he knew exactly who. “If you bought the app on Google Play (even if you cancelled the order) I have your email address, your suburb, and in many instances your full name.”

    • Google under fire for sending users’ information to developers
  • Civil Rights

    • “Two Years of Deaths and Detentions”: Bahraini Pro-Democracy Protesters Mark Anniversary of Uprising

      Bahraini security forces shot dead a teenager earlier today as pro-democracy activists marked the second anniversary of what has been described as the longest-running uprising of the Arab Spring. Since February 2011, at least 87 people have died at the hands of U.S.-backed security forces. We speak to Maryam Alkhawaja, daughter of imprisoned Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja. Maryam has served as the acting president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights ever since the group’s head, Nabeel Rajab, was arrested and jailed. The group has just published a new report titled “Two Years of Deaths and Detentions.” Maryam also serves as the co-director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights.

    • Under Cover of Security, Governments Jail Journalists

      Along an isolated stretch of Ethiopian desert, under a gray July sky, soldiers dragged journalist Martin Schibbye from a truck, stood him up, raised their Kalashnikovs, and fired. The shots whistled by his head. “I thought, just get it over with,” Schibbye said. “I’d given up.” By that time, he thought his colleague, photojournalist Johan Persson, was already dead. Soldiers had dragged Persson in a different direction and fired repeatedly. Those shots turned out to be near-misses as well, intended to intimidate and instill fear.

    • Radically Wrong: A Counterproductive Approach to Counterterrorism

      Governments often interpret radical ideas that challenge the existing social and political orthodoxy as threatening, which is why they often attempt to suppress them. Our country’s founders recognized that ideas considered radical – like their own ideas about self-governance – were necessary for social progress and essential to a vibrant democracy, so they sought to protect them with the First Amendment.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Python Software Foundation in trademark fight in Europe

        The Python Software Foundation (PSF) is calling for help from companies in Europe to help with a trademark problem with a UK company. The PSF is the US-based non-profit charged with protecting the intellectual property surrounding the Python language. This is the first time that the PSF has engaged in any legal action regarding the Python name.


Links 15/2/2013: PengPod Tablets Are Out, HelenOS Update

Posted in News Roundup at 9:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Palantir: An Open Source Development Success Story

    In late 2007 Palantir launched Gotham, a new geospatial and comprehensive analytics platform designed to meet the challenges of their vast array of customers. This article provides more information on Gotham that enables data integration, search and discovery, knowledge management, secure collaboration, and algorithmic analysis across a wide variety of data sources.

  • Kaltura Finds its Groove with Open Source Video Play
  • 5 Popular Open Source Test Management Tools
  • Robot Operating System heading to foundation

    ROS, the open source Robot Operating System created by Willow Garage, is now in the process of moving under the governance and ownership of the Open Source Robotics Foundation. The move comes after Willow Garage, which also manufactures the PR2 robot, announced it was pivoting into a “self-sustaining company” and looking for commercial opportunities.

  • HelenOS Micro-Kernel OS Still Marching On

    While not one of the most well known multi-server micro-kernel operating systems compared to GNU Hurd and others, HelenOS continues to move forward as a general purpose BSD-licensed operating system that dances to its own beat.

  • Events

    • Interview: Bob Reselman

      Tech documentation writer Bob Reselman will give a talk entitled “How to Make Technical Documentation Work in Your Organization” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, in the LaJolla Room. The SCALE Team caught up with Bob for a brief interview.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome stops declaring Linux systems obsolete

        Badly chosen warning messages caused some consternation with Google recently as its Chrome browser began declaring supported Linux systems such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 obsolete. The problem was brought to public attention by Red Hat evangelist Jan Wildeboer in a Google+ posting when his browser announced “Google Chrome is no longer updating because your operating system is obsolete”.

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • Database Integrity and Web Applications

      NoSQL, the catchall phrase for non-relational databases, is all the rage among Web developers. However, it’s somewhat unfair and unhelpful to use the term NoSQL to describe them, given the variety of technologies involved. Even so, there are some fundamental differences between traditional relational databases and their NoSQL counterparts. For one, as the name implies, NoSQL databases don’t use the standard SQL query language, and use either their own SQL-like language (for example, MongoDB) or an object-oriented API. Another difference is the lack of two-dimensional tables; whereas SQL databases operate solely with such tables, NoSQL databases eschew them in favor of name-value pairs or hash-like objects. And finally, NoSQL databases typically lack the features that led to the development of relational databases, namely transactions and data integrity.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Open source community heckles Oracle Linux update
    • LibreOffice 4.0 And The Power of Brands

      LibreOffice 4.0 was launched last week, and the news reports and activity on social media were massive, more than any release of LibreOffice or OpenOffice before, with better coverage than many of Microsoft’s well-funded introductions. There were numerous links sent around to the usual sites like LinuxToday.com, but also TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Time Magazine, etc. A fair amount of the chatter was people wondering what the difference is between the two versions. Some have basic questions like whether LibreOffice can import their OpenOffice documents.

    • Coming soon: Open source JavaFX for iOS, Android

      Oracle says it plans to open source the Android and iOS implementations of its JavaFX UI platform “over the next couple months,” which it says will allow Java developers to use the technology to write cross-platform smartphone apps for the first time.

    • Open source JavaFX coming for iOS and Android
  • CMS

  • Education

    • eScholar’s Mike Gargano: Nothing Can Stop Open Source

      “Even though the educational market is slow to adopt new things, I think it is inevitable that open source is going to work its way into education. There is no reason for the education field to stop it. There is really nothing wrong with it. People no longer see open source as a problem. I think as more people continue to use open source, it will work its way into the education field.”

  • Healthcare

    • ONC posts Connect 4.0 open source HIE tool

      Continuing to advance its health information exchange offerings, ONC posted Connect 4.0 on Monday and the latest iteration brings the HIE platform closer to a day when ONC might turn it over to the open source community.

      Connect is essentially gateway and adapter software designed, in conjunction with Direct and Exchange, to enable secure health information exchange.

  • Business

    • 6 Reasons to Pay for Open Source Software

      Last year, Red Hat announced that it plans to offer OpenStack on a subscription basis as a commercial, enterprise-grade product. OpenStack is an open source software project for building private and public clouds.

      Red Hat’s engineers contribute to the OpenStack project, and the company is an old-hand at productizing open source projects and offering them on a subscription basis. It is probably best known for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), a productized version of the open source Fedora Linux operating system, as well its JBoss Enterprise Middleware, based on JBoss community projects.

  • Project Releases

    • Chef 11 adds a serving of Erlang

      Opscode’s Chef, the open source, cloud-focused, configuration management framework, has received a major update in the recently announced Chef 11 and now sports a core API server written in Erlang. Erchef, as the new core API server is known, was created using the experiences Opscode had running its hosted Chef offerings. The company set out to make a server that was API-compatible with the Ruby version of the Chef server, but faster and more scalable. To that end, the developers have been working on API endpoints where they could get the most benefit from scaling and performance and have been deploying it with their private Chef customers. The Chef 11 release marks the point where the Erchef server is incorporated into Chef’s open source code base.

    • The Past, Present and Future of GIS: PostGIS 2.0 Is Here!
    • Slick 1.0 simplifies database access with Scala
    • Cairo 1.12.14 Fixes Various Issues
    • More Rails security fixes released

      The Ruby on Rails Developers have released updates to Rails 3.2, 3.1 and 2.3 and made users aware of an update to the JSON gem to close an important security flaw. Most notable of the problems is CVE-2013-0277, another problem with serialised attributes in YAML. The flaw, which only affects Rails 2.3 and 3.0, can be exploited so that a crafted request would deserialize arbitrary YAML inside the server with the risk of denial of service or remote code execution. The Rails developers have released a fix for Rails 2.3, 2.3.17, but there will be no fix for Rails 3.0 in line with maintenance policy. The advisory contains patches for various versions of Rails for use where users cannot upgrade easily.

    • Pidgin 2.10.7 Brings Numerous Fixes and Improvements

      Pidgin 2.10.7 has been released a few hours ago, February 13, and it brings numerous fixes, improvements, and a few new features, especially to MSN, Gadu-Gadu, MXit, Sametime, IRC and Yahoo! protocols.

  • Public Services/Government

    • City of Munich stands by its calculation: open source saves millions

      The City of Munich stands by its November 2012 cost estimates, which concluded that using free and open source software for desktops and office productivity for its 15,500 PCs is over 11 million euro cheaper, compared to the ubiquitous proprietary alternative. “There is no reason to correct this information”, the city’s IT department comments on 11 February to claims to the contrary.

    • Please explain prices: Parliament subpoenas Apple, Microsoft, Adobe

      Federal Parliament has issued documents formally compelling major technology vendors Apple, Microsoft and Adobe to compulsorily appear before its committee investigating price hikes on technology products sold in Australia, in a move that finally ends months of stalling by the vendors, who have proven unwilling to voluntary discuss their pricing strategies in public.

    • Bring openness to your local government with Code Across America

      Code Across America is scheduled for February 22-24. It will be a weekend of community building and moving the needle for more openness in local governments across the United States.

      Code Across America is a multi-day event that any municipality or community can join. Individuals and groups can participate through virtual and in-person activities around the country. The initiative is organized by Code for America and coincides with International Open Data Day on February 23.

    • Open Source Government & Engaged Citizens: Death Star Inspiration
  • Licensing

    • Creative Commons license liberates knowledge of ESIP community

      Erin Robinson, the Information and Virtual Community Director for the Foundation for Earth Science, the management arm of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (@ESIPFed), says that earth science matters to all of us. For example, when Hurrican Sandy devastated areas of the country, responders needed information on flood zones and what hospitals were available.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Why I Use Perl…and Will Continue to Do So

      It was alarming to read in the recent article The Rise and Fall of Languages in 2012 by Dr. Dobb’s editor, Andrew Binstock, that Perl was “continuing its long decline” and was in”an irretrievable tailspin,” based on statistics from Google searches. Nothing in the article discussed what was lacking feature-wise in the language that might be behind this decline. While I am not an authority on programming languages, I thought it was only appropriate to reflect on the strengths of Perl that I’ve relied on during my 14-year affair with the language.

    • Wine 1.6: This Year With These Interesting Features

      It’s going on two years since the release of PCC 1.0, but there hasn’t been any follow-on Portable C Compiler release nor is there much public-facing development activity happening.

      In writing recently about new GCC features, a new PathScale EKOPath compiler, and other compiler-related advancements, I was curious to see what was going on within the Portable C Compiler camp. I was also reminded of the compiler yesterday when seeing its being used within the HelenOS micro-kernel OS project.

    • Zend Server 6 puts Zend in DevOps movement

      Zend Enterprise, a company that has been among the main developers of PHP for many years, has released new versions of Zend Server and Zend Studio. New features in version 6 of Zend Server focus on handling the challenges that can arise in ensuring cooperation between developer teams and system operators.

      These new features position the company as a member of the DevOps movement, which aims to provide techniques and processes to improve communication, cooperation and integration between developers and system operators. These techniques are now more important than ever, as there is a trend towards companies having to release increasingly smaller changes more often and having to test their applications on an ongoing basis. To remain competitive, companies no longer focus on major annual releases, instead issuing updates and patches at short intervals.


  • Lawsuit: Student committed at St. Luke’s for 30 days after cursing at professor

    After cursing at a professor during a Spanish final, former Columbia-Juilliard student Oren Ungerleider was involuntarily committed to St. Luke’s Hospital and kept there against his will for 30 days, according to a lawsuit he filed against the University this month.

  • Security

    • When Security is Justice: Because the Bible Told Me So

      We humans constantly are telling ourselves stories about moral and immoral behavior. Many of the most memorable — if only because of repetition — are from the Bible. From them we learn about moral courage and cowardice, about wisdom and folly, about when to obey and when to rebel. And, of course, most Bible stories tell us to believe in God. But God — He/She/It — is so many things at once: God is Love, God is Nature, God is Truth. How can I believe in all these things at the same time? I’m more comfortable with each of those declarations about what God IS when the formula is reversed. For example, I prefer Nature is God. If that identifies me as a pagan, so be it. But the Bible stories still move me profoundly, especially when I try to apply them to the world around me.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • FAA seeks proposals to create 6 drone test sites
    • Obama: Americans need to know more about drone program
    • At Least We’re Not Measles: Rationalizing Drone Attacks Hits New Low
    • Giving president sole power to kill by drone is wrong
    • Drones of Death; Licensed to Kill With Apparent Impunity.
    • Hate Obama’s Drone War?
    • Would-Be Head of CIA Ready for War on All Fronts
    • Rand Paul threatens to hold nomination of CIA director over drone killings
    • Rand Paul Threatens To Block John Brennan’s CIA Nomination
    • Graphic: The Extraordinary Renditions – 54 Suspected Nations include Canada
    • Phuket: Panetta affirms ‘Tony Soprano’ as CIA boss
    • Unmanned killers: Details on drone strikes ‘incomplete’
    • PHC seeks details of collateral damage in drone attacks
    • Drone proponents promote blind faith in militarism

      In my years reporting on the intentional narrowing of political vernacular to guarantee specific outcomes, I have encountered no better example of Orwellian newspeak than that which now dominates the conversation about America’s drone war. Given that, it’s worth reviewing the situation because it is so illustrative of how militarist propaganda operates in the 21st century.

    • On The Execution of Christopher Dorner

      As we write, Christopher Dorner is most likely dying or dead, as the cabin in which he was trapped burns around him. A huge manhunt involving local, state and federal officials has culminated in what can only be described as an extrajudicial execution. We condemn Dorner’s murder at the hands of the state.

      People cheer Dorner because, whatever his motivations, he exposed the workings of a vicious white supremacist system that goes quietly unacknowledged most of the time. He declared war on a system that has waged an undeclared war on us, every day, for years; a system that holds millions of poor people and people of color in prisons, and guns them down in the street. He did what every young person of color in Los Angeles dreams of, when he or she comes home after getting fucked with by the cops, and starts a shootout on GTA V. He was celebrated for doing what many of us could not.

    • How Law Enforcement and Media Covered Up the Plan to Burn Christopher Dorner Alive

      At approximately 7 PM ET, I listened through a police scanner as San Bernardino Sheriffs gave the order to burn down the cabin where suspected murderer Christopher Dorner was allegedly hiding. Deputies were maneuvering a remote controlled demolition vehicle to the base of the cabin, using it to tear down the walls of the cabin where Dorner was hiding, and peering inside.

    • Israel assured Australia on prisoner’s rights, Carr says

      According to a statement on Wednesday from the Israel’s Justice Ministry, Ben Zygier’s Melbourne family was notified after he was detained. Zygier was reportedly known as ”prisoner X” in the high-security jail.

    • The Unending Gitmo Nightmare

      Conspicuously absent from Obama’s State of the Union was any mention of Guantanamo Bay or the 166 detainees still stuck there.

    • The ‘trust me’ administration

      …C.I.A., and the Joint Special Operations Command have so far killed large numbers of people.

    • State of the Union Defends Targeted Killings

      The Senate and House armed services committees also receive briefings on drone strikes conducted by the U.S. military. However, the Senate foreign relations and House foreign affairs committees—who are supposed to provide oversight of all U.S. foreign policy—have repeatedly been refused general briefings about targeted killings by the White House, even though all relevant staffers have security clearances. As these committee members point out, it is impossible to exercise oversight over a country or region without insight into how the CIA or military conducts targeted killings. If President Obama wants to “continue to engage” with Congress, agreeing to hold closed-door briefings with these committees would be a good start.

    • Obama Still Clinging to 352,000 Afghan National Security Force Size Myth

      Before the outbreak of green on blue killings that eventually led to a significant interruption in the training of Afghan security forces last September, it was impossible to read a statement from the US military or NATO regarding future plans without encountering a reference to a required 352,000 force size for combined Afghan National Security Forces. It was our training of the ANSF that was touted as our primary reason for remaining in Afghanistan because we need those trained troops available to take over security responsibility as we withdraw. I have been insisting since the interruption that it will be impossible to continue to claim that a functional ANSF force size of 352,000 can be achieved, as the known high rate of attrition continued during the training interruption. No new troop size prediction has emerged, but it was significant to me that references to the 352,000 force size claim had seemed to disappear.

    • Obama’s State of the Union: Afghanistan Drawdown & the Covert Drone War

      President Barack Obama delivered his “State of the Union” address on Tuesday night. And though he suggested there may be minimal reductions to wartime spending, he jingoistically declared, “We will maintain the best military the world has ever known.”

      The speech renewed the US government’s commitment to a permanent war on terrorism. While it signaled the country would no longer be engaging in full-scale occupations or nation-building efforts while Obama was president, there was no indication that America’s dominance in the world would be reduced. America’s global military footprint of around 1,000 bases would be preserved.

    • New Al-Qaeda Generation May Be Deadliest One

      Despite Osama of bin Laden’s death, al-Qaeda has exploited the Arab Awakening to create is largest safe havens and operational bases in more than a decade across the Arab world. This may prove to be the most deadly al-Qaeda yet. And at the center of the new al-Qaeda remains the old al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri still hiding in Pakistan and still providing strategic direction to the global jihad.

    • The Iranians Are Coming – Aaaaargggh!

      The undertow of anti-Iranian fearmongering becomes stronger.

    • Kuwaiti report: Zygier took part in Mabhouh hit

      Western sources tell Kuwait’s Al-Jarida newspaper ‘Prisoner X’ took part in 2010 mission to kill top Hamas terrorist in Dubai. Attorney who met Zygier: There were no signs he was going to commit suicide

    • Congress Considers Special Drone Court; UN Investigates Deadly Drone Strikes

      During last week’s confirmation hearing for CIA director nominee John Brennan, senators discussed the establishment of a federal court with jurisdiction over the president’s death-by-drone program.

      As proposed by lawmakers, the so-called “drone court” would be tasked with approving the targeting (and, by extension, the assassination) of people on President Obama’s or the CIA’s respective kill lists.

    • Newsic Release: Think Humanity

      Siraj is currently rallying for a young man named Ziyad Yaghi who was taken away by U.S. authorities under the dreaded anti-American legislation known as the NDAA, or ‘National Defense Authorization Act’ which allows the United States to arbitrarily arrest and detain Americans without granting them due process, the NDAA is a torch hovering near our Constitution which guarantees protection from such diabolic actions.

    • The Appalling Sir Daniel Bethlehem

      Bethlehem first came to the attention of the general public as the man who advised the Israeli government that it was legal to build their “security” wall slicing through the West Bank and disrupting Palestinian communications and access to fields and water resources. Bethlehem was then the counsel to the Israeli government at the resulting case before the International Court of Justice.

      The International Court of Justice – along with the vast majority of reputable international lawyers – disagreed with Daniel Bethlehem, and Bethlehem and the Israeli government lost the case. The Israeli government however disregarded the court’s judgement and continued its illegal activity.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Waning Commitment to Government Transparency Evident in Obama’s ‘State of the Union’ Speeches

      In President Barack Obama’s first days as president, he pledged to have his administration create an “unprecedented level of openness in government.” His chief of staff, Jack Lew, has contended the administration is the “most transparent administration ever.” At a rally in 2010, he told the public, “We have put in place the toughest ethics laws and toughest transparency rules of any administration in history.”

      Despite the stated commitments and professions on transparency, the Sunlight Foundation found talk of “government integrity, transparency, and influence” was mostly absent in his “State of the Union” speech last night.

    • Are liberals being hypocrites about Obama’s wars?

      American liberalism has always been pro-intervention

    • The ACLU’s Pizza Video: 10 Years Later

      In 2004, the ACLU produced a satiric video called “Ordering Pizza in 2015” that has become the single most-downloaded piece of content we’ve ever produced (at least we believe in the absence of complete stats). I won’t describe it—you can watch it here if you haven’t seen it—but like many successful viral products, it combined humor with a biting commentary on an all-too-real set of trends. We got the idea from a humorous email someone sent us, and the voiceovers were performed by an entry-level ACLU staffer and a friend of our then-communications director.

    • As Obama Touts Pathway to Citizenship, Record Deportations Leave Undocumented Immigrants in Fear
    • NDAA resolution introduced in San Francisco, CA
    • More Guantanamo Hijinks: First Secret Censorship, Now Eavesdropping on Atty-Client Communications
    • Do You Live In The Constitution-Free Zone Of The US?

      Earlier this week, we wrote about the latest defense by Homeland Security of their laptop search policies that (they claim) give them broad coverage to search laptops within 100 miles of the border. The latest bit of news was that an internal review found that there was minimal benefits to one’s civil liberties in not searching their laptops, so it was okay (think about that sentence for a bit).

    • NDAA – A Young Man from Virginia Takes a Stand Against Autocracy in New York City
    • States Join the Fight to Nullify Indefinite Detention Under NDAA

      President Barack Obama signed the latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law on January 2, renewing the power to apprehend and detain Americans indefinitely granted in the previous year’s version.

      In order to protect their citizens from being grabbed and imprisoned under the provisions of the NDAA, many state lawmakers are standing up to the federal government, proposing resolutions nullifying this unconstitutional power at the state borders.

    • Words Don’t Matter, Actions Do

      In the not-too-distant future, Congress passes a draconian, UK-style ban on all weapons. Or, maybe the Senate does it through an international treaty. Or, instead of Congress, maybe the president follows in the footsteps of FDR, who whipped up an executive order requiring people to turn in their gold.

      The method wouldn’t really matter. The end result would easily be one of the greatest attacks on liberty in American history.

    • San Francisco Opposes Federal Indefinite Detention Law

      A resolution introduced Tuesday at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors stands in opposition to a federal defense law that many fear undermines constitutional rights by allowing the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial.
      The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed by Congress in 2007 and renewed each year, contains provisions authorizing the U.S. military to indefinitely jail terrorist suspects and those aiding them.

    • Daniel Ellsberg: Obama committed ‘impeachable crimes’
    • Nonbinding Resolution Opposing Indefinite Detention Of Americans Introduced At Board Of Supes Meeting

      A resolution was introduced at today’s meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors opposing provisions of a federal law that allows the indefinite detention of American citizens on U.S. soil without due process.

      The National Defense Authorization Act for 2013, signed by President Barack Obama in January after its approval by Congress, includes provisions that would permit indefinite military detentions without trial.

      Board of Supervisors president David Chiu, who authored the resolution against the NDAA, joined a few dozen people who gathered for a rally about the legislation outside City Hall prior to this afternoon’s board meeting.

    • Obama Continues War On Our Civil Liberties

      President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address contained very few surprises in the realm of national security and merely marked the continuation of the Bush-era war on terror policies despite their extraordinary fiscal toll, even as the American economy faces incredible duress under the deficit and the threat of congressionally-imposed sequestration.

      Despite the fact that the U.S. spends almost as much on its military as every other country in the world combined, Obama stated that the cuts would “jeopardize our military readiness.” In fact, U.S. military spending has never been higher than in the post-9/11 era, which saw rises in spending greater than Vietnam and the entirety of the Cold War. Furthermore, the 31% in defense cuts would be less than the 43%, 36%, and 33% cuts that came with the end of the Korean, Cold, and Vietnam wars respectively. In this light, the defense sequestration cuts are perfectly reasonable, and indeed necessary to alleviate our country’s economic crisis.

    • Going too far?

      They voted for him, yet a growing number of American liberals are angry over President Barack Obama’s reliance on the use of drones and his support for the National Defense Authorization Act. They argue that the president’s embrace of these policies is even more extreme and conservative than that pursued by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

      “If Bush had done the same things as Obama, then more people would have been upset about it,” Daniel Ellsberg observed. “He is a Democrat, though, and to an extent can get away with it.”

      Ellsberg, who is famous (or notorious, depending on one’s political preferences) for having leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, is among the plaintiffs in a court case challenging the NDAA. He and others have accused the Obama administration of using the law to grant itself unconstitutional new powers.

    • Is Obama’s use of drones to kill Americans unconstitutional?

      The rationale behind the administration’s “assassination by drone” program sounds eerily reminiscent to former V.P. Dick Cheney’s “one-percent doctrine.”

    • If There’s a ‘War Against Boys,’ Why Are Men Still Winning?

      Sommers labels as “understandable but misguided” the attitude, “Isn’t it time for women and girls to enjoy the advantages?” A more pertinent question to ask Sommers, though, is what advantages are women enjoying that suggest boys deserve an extra boost?

      After all, women who work full-time still make only 81 percent of what men do. And women own only 36 percent as much wealth as men do.

      Only 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, as are 17 percent of directors on Fortune 500 boards. Women are 18 percent of U.S. representatives and 20 percent of U.S. senators.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Bizarre ‘Attribution’ Troll Bullies Twitter Users Into Compliance With Baseless Legal Threats

      This post deals with a strange copyright troll, which bullies people into properly attributing a quoted poem. The troll runs across multiple social media platforms but does a bulk of its “work” at Twitter, where it can receive instantaneous feedback. Along the way, we’ll deal with the poet himself, a company called On Press Inc. and some other connections which seem to indicate the poet himself is behind the trolling, along with a threatened lawsuit against me for copyright infringement, defamation and false claims.

    • Copyrights

      • Obama Administration Sides With Music Industry In Seeking To Uphold Draconian Award Against Minnesota Mother For Sharing Songs

        We have previously discussed how President Obama has repeatedly yielded to the “copyright hawks” who have steadily increased the penalties for copyright and trademark violations, including criminal penalties. Despite the abuse of average citizens by thuggish law firms and prosecutors, the Obama Administration continues to support draconian measures against citizens. Even after the abuse and death of Aaron Swartz by the Justice Department, the Obama Administration has decided to double down in a case of a young mother in Northern Minnesota who was hit with grotesque penalties for simply sharing 24 songs. She was told to pay $222,000 — over 100 times the actual damages for the songs. The Obama Administration has intervened before the Supreme Court to ask for it to allow the penalty to stand as lawful and correct.

      • Keep the pressure on the White House and US Copyright Office to fix anti-circumvention provisions

        When the Copyright Office announced its updated DMCA exemptions list, we were saddened to find that the office had abdicated its duty on multiple fronts. While that sad result was announced back in October, the downgraded exemptions list has just now come into effect. We need your voice in this fight.


Links 13/2/2013: Vivaldi KDE Tablet Still on Its Way

Posted in News Roundup at 9:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux-based Lernstift Smartpen Corrects Errors and Makes You Write Well

    Writing is not a thing of the past, with several technological advancements happening in this arena too. The latest development corresponds to Lernstift, a company destined to create smart-products for a better living and they have just rolled out a pen of the same name as them.

  • Linux Top 3: KDE 4.10, LibreOffice 4 and Secure Boot Loader Shim
  • Is 2013, the year of Linux gaming?

    For a long time the Linux gaming scene was stagnating, relegated to a limited number of open source games and a few popular but very old closed source games such as Doom 3, Quake 4, Unreal Tournament 2004 and whatever game you could force to run using WINE, an open source software for running Windows applications on Linux. Let’s face it, most gamers who have attempted to run games on Linux in the past probably spent more time wrestling with installers and searching for the right drivers than actually playing the game on their specific Linux configuration.

  • Seven Features I Fantasize About Seeing on the Linux Desktop
  • HP And “MultiOS”
  • Reports Emerge Regarding Chrome’s Malware Warnings
  • Perforce: Linux, Open Source Commitment High

    Should companies that produce mostly proprietary software invest in Linux development? In one sense, that seems as illogical as the artisanal-organic bread guy from the local farmers’ market buying shares in Wonder Bread. But in a move that reveals the growing influence of open source beyond its traditional space, Perforce has joined the Linux Foundation and is very committed to supporting and protecting open-source code. Here’s what Don Marti, technical marketing manager, had to say.

  • Computer whiz

    “The computer came back two days later. The computer started up in less than a minute in Ubuntu where it used to take up to five minutes in Windows Vista. It had all the software we needed – word processor, spreadsheet and more and it is all legal without licence payments,” said Mr Mullen.

  • Small Business Thrives With GNU/Linux
  • Desktop

    • Newegg

      My wife needs a new PC. Her old machine is quite competent, if dated — a 1 GHz Athlon 64, with 1 GB of RAM. Running Debian Linux with LXDE it is quite fast, and indeed she has no problem with OpenOffice or Thunderbird or any application save one: web browsing with Firefox. And I don’t think it’s Firefox’s fault. The problem is, for her work she needs to visit a lot of websites, and as I’ve commented before, too many websites are now larded up with the crappiest Javascript code you can imagine. Sure, she has NoScript installed, but she needs to enable Javascript to view these sites, and they’re sites she can’t avoid. (Like CNN.com, and several other news sites.)

      So about a month ago we decided she needs a computer fast enough to run CNN’s pig-awful Javascript. I missed a great post-Christmas deal at Staples, but I found the same deal at Newegg.ca: a refurbished HP DC5850 desktop for $209. It has a dual-core 2.3 GHz Athlon 64, and 4 GB of RAM — I always like to upgrade by a factor of 4 when I can — and a monster 750 GB hard drive. It’s capable of running Windows 7, so it should fly under Linux.

  • Server

    • Patching Servers Still An Issue

      I don’t know about your environment, but in mine, keeping up to date with available patches is hard. It is tempting to just ignore the patches and keep the server up for as long as possible, but doing so might leave your system open to attacks, or cumulative bugs in the running daemons. On the other hand, patching means an interruption in service, and introducing a change into the environment, which further means that the patches need to be tested before production. But, test for too long, and by the time the patches are applied to production, they might be an entirely new batch of patches.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Vivaldi Linux tablet gets a hardware upgrade
      • Vivaldi KDE open source Linux tablet gets new hardware, could launch this spring
      • New KDE Vivaldi Tablet May Be Announced In March

        Aaron Seigo tried to break into the tablet space with the KDE powered ‘Sparks’ tablet, which due to trademark issues was re-christened as Vivaldi. When he announced the tablet, there as a huge demand for the devices but the devices never saw the light of the day due to problems with supply chain.

        The OEM changed some hardware which made it impossible for the OS to run on those device. There was a long silence and Seigo has started talking about it. He gave me hints about some big announcement around Vivaldi when I asked him about meeting at FOSDEM and he said that he was canceling the FOSDEM trip due to Vivaldi.

      • LoFS Episode 3 .. tomorrow!

        It’s been a silly busy week for me, and I’ll be working into the night to get reasonably through my “must be done by today” list .. but I finally got to this one: blog about tomorrows Luminosity of Free Software Google Hangout. This will be the third one and hopefully the best yet.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Classic Fights to Win Users Back

        A few months ago GNOME announced that they would be dropping the fallback mode, but met with a bit of resistance. To appease the peasants, developers said they would start supporting extensions that mimicked classic GNOME 2 features. Well, Matthias Clasen announced the early results of their efforts.

      • A Quick Look At The New GNOME Classic Session (Now Available In The GNOME Testing PPA)

        As you probably know, the fallback mode will be dropped with GNOME 3.8 and instead, users will be able to use a set of GNOME Shell extensions that provide a GNOME2-like layout. Recently, these changes have landed in the GNOME Testing PPA for Ubuntu 12.10 and 13.04.

  • Distributions

    • Recent Linux Happenings: openSUSE, ROSA, and Frugalware
    • Chakra Linux 2013.02 delivers KDE 4.10

      The latest release of Chakra Linux brings the recently released KDE 4.10 to the users of the Arch Linux based distribution. Chakra Linux 2013.02, code-named “Benz”, also includes updates to the distribution’s own tools such as its installation assistant and its theme. Chakra was originally aimed at providing a live CD that allowed for easy uptake by new users but still maintained the powerful roots and extensive package selection of Arch. The distribution can be installed and provides a modern Linux desktop; although it is still based on Arch Linux, it now uses its own repositories.

    • New Releases

      • Snowlinux 4 Cinnamon & E17 non-PAE released!

        Snowlinux 4 Cinnamon & E17 non-PAE are based upon Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 “Wheezy”. There are two ISO images available, one with Cinnamon, the other with E17 non-PAE. While the Cinnamon edition is using Linux 3.5, the E17 edition is using Linux 3.2 non-PAE to support older PCs, too. The Cinnamon edition is using Cinnamon 1.6.7 and the E17 edition is using E17.1. There were introduced much new features like snowMount, the Snowlinux mount tool for drives. We changed the default color of our Snowlinux-Metal-Theme from green to blue and updated our Icon set.

      • ROSA Desktop Fresh 2012 GNOME

        Traditionally, original versions of ROSA Desktop operating system are provided with KDE desktop environment which includes a lot of design modifications and functionality enhancements. A nice-looking ROSA theme and a set of brand-name applications highly integrated with KDE (TimeFrame, StackFolder, RocketBar, KLook, KDM) have already become recognizable ROSA features and made ROSA familiar to Linux users.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia’s upgrade script vs FedUp

        If you are running a rolling-release distribution, this short article will likely be of no use to you, but if you are running an installation of Mageia 2, you’ll learn that is brings good tidings, when it comes to upgrading an existing installation of Mageia.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux (Day 6 of 20 days of SCALE)

        In today’s post in my prep for my yearly weekend at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) I’m going to cover the subject of Arch Linux.

        I’m going to have to admit to a little bias on this one. I’ve never really cared for Arch Linux. I gave it a try when I used to listen to a popular Linux podcast I liked called the Linux Link Tech Show. They loved this Linux distribution and I felt exactly the opposite. I discussed in an earlier blog post what a package manager is. Well, this one uses one called pacman. I can not show how much I don’t like this package manager. I had to struggle with a media system I had hooked to my computer that I absolutely loved. Mythtv (well actually a MythTV variant call Linhes). Don’t get me wrong. I really liked that system a lot HOWEVER, whenever I tried to go deep into the guts and update stuff it would either make it crash or break. I hated that. I had to backup often. I ended up just not trying to add features to it because I was scared to touch it. I’m not one to be scared of touching any technology.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Google Says Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Is Obsolete [Updated]

        Chrome, the browser in question here, is based on the open source project Chromium. Chromium developers seems to prefer the new C++11 for the obvious security reasons and ease of maintenance but it also means adopting a new toolchain and upgrading to GCC 4.6. This makes it hard to support those operating systems that ship with older C++ standard libraries. RHEL 6, among many others, is one such operating system.

        That’s the reason why such operating systems won’t be supported by the newer versions of Chrome. Chrome will continue to work on such distributions but it won’t get any updates for the above mentioned reasons. So, the notification WildeBoer saw was Google telling such users that their OS won’t be supported unless they are upgraded to newer toolchains and GCC.

        I think Google and Red Hat can work together to solve this issue.

      • Red Hat Prognostications Focus on Big Data and OpenStack

        Red Hat and its top officials have recently come out with some technology predictions that are worth taking note of. To begin with, the company has released its Top 10 IT Predictions for 2013, including some big possible shifts in cloud computing norms and data storage practices. And, CEO Jim Whitehurst is quoted in a widely read story predicting that Big Data won’t just transform how we yield meaningful results from data but will also shake up the way that upper management structures at many companies work.

      • RHEL 6 Is Not Obsolete: Google Chrome

        Google generated quite a lot of heat recently when its Chrome started showing “Google Chrome is no longer updating because your operating system is obsolete.” message on those GNU/Linux based systems which were using older C++ standard libraries. We covered the story in detail here.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Minecraft Now Available On Raspberry Pi For Free

      Raspberry Pi users have another reason to rejoice; the popular game Minecraft is now available for Raspberry Pi. Good news is this game is available for free to download.

    • N900 with a Slice of Raspberry Pi

      It may not come as a surprise to anyone who regularly reads my column that I tried to be first in line to order the Raspberry Pi. I mean, what’s not to like in a $35, 700MHz, 256MB of RAM computer with HDMI out that runs Linux? In the end, I didn’t make the first batch of 10,000, but I wasn’t too far behind either. So, now that I’ve had a Raspberry Pi for a week, I’ve already found a number of interesting uses for it. You can expect more Raspberry Pi columns from me in the future (possibly including an update to my beer fridge article), but to start, in this article, I talk about a combination of two of my favorite pocket-size Linux computers: the Raspberry Pi and my Nokia N900.

      At first you may wonder why combine the two computers. After all, both are around the same size and have similar initial hardware specs. Each computer has its own strengths, such as cellular networking and a touchscreen on the N900 and an Ethernet port and HDMI video output on the Raspberry Pi. In this article, I explain how to connect the N900 to the Raspberry Pi in a private USB network, share the N900′s cellular connection, and even use the N900 as a pocket-size display. In all of the examples, I use the default Debian Squeeze Raspberry Pi image linked off the main http://www.raspberrypi.org page.

    • Mojang releases Minecraft: Pi Edition for the Raspberry Pi Linux computer

      Before our sun collapses and goes supernova, Minecraft developer Mojang will probably release its brick-building games on all available platforms — and then some that aren’t available, like toasters and cats.

    • The Raspberry Pi rival has arrived; Odroid U2 available worldwide

      The main Raspberry Pi rival that was announced last year is now available! It’s called Odroid U2, and it’s powered by a 1.7GHz Exynos4412 Prime quad-core CPU and an also quad-core Mali-400 GPU that clocks at 440MHz! And the price for this baby is $89, worldwide shipping being available (so about $110 with the shipping).

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source economic model: Sell the license or charge a consulting fee?

    The kernel of the two stories is: “Software is not a manufacturing industry” and therefore, “software is not a product.” As Eric Raymond rightly pointed out a long time ago in his book, The Cathedral and the Bazaar: “Software is a service industry” and to be more precise, software itself is only a platform for delivering services. Just like highways, waterways, the power grid, the phone network, and the piping of the water supply.

    Once we understand that what matters in the software industry is simply to have robust software that supports the delivery of the services that flow through it, then it becomes clear that the economics of software cannot possibly be based on one-time payments for licenses, nor “selling software by the unit.”

    Software is built and maintained through a very labor intensive process. Therefore, to properly account for its cost, we must use an approach based on the hourly cost of professional services that developers dedicate to building and maintaining such service.

    This is nothing new. Charging an hourly rate for professional services is how lawyers, doctors, accountants, mechanics, pilots, and nurses have operated in the economic system for many decades (and some for centuries).

  • Robotic latex tentacle code open sourced, at last!

    The majority of robotic latex tentacle users have, up until this point, had to make do with locked in proprietary software code to power their mechanical rubber appendages.

    Users have had no other option than to opt for a pre-boxed heavily corporate-registered code base.

    Many who want to be able to operate a potentially mentally disturbing rubber arm on either their workplace desk… or, alternatively, as some part of a decorative piece and talking point inside a home dwelling have had to go proprietary when it comes to management code.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Opera Switches To WebKit, Chromium
    • 300 million users strong, Opera moves to WebKit

      Today, we announced that Opera has reached 300 million active users. At the same time, we made the official announcement that Opera will move from Presto to WebKit as the engine at the core of the browser.

      With this, Opera will be the first major browser to switch to a completely new rendering engine.

    • Opera commits to Chromium and WebKit
    • Opera, Until Now a Holdout, Dumps Presto and Standardizes on WebKit

      Today, Opera has announced that its browser has reached 300 million active users, but perhaps the biggest news is that the browser will be dropping the longstanding Presto rendering engine and moving to WebKit.This means that the number of browsing rendering engines to take seriously moves down to only three players, and WebKit–already legendary in the open source world–gets even more momentum and community involvement.

    • Mozilla

      • Early Apps for Mozilla’s Firefox OS Are Taking Shape

        For several weeks now, Mozilla has been aggressively sponsoring events–including a series of hack days–to woo app developers to its emerging Firefox OS for mobile devices. Called “Firefox OS App Days,” hack day events took place in more than 25 locations around the world, starting on 19 January in Mountain View, California and ending on 2 February in Berlin, Germany.

      • Interview: Brandon Burton

        Brandon Burton of Mozilla will be speaking on Simple Patterns for Scaling Websites: Some lessons learned at Mozilla with Chris Turra on Friday, Feb. 22, at 4:30 p.m. in the La Jolla room. Here is a Q-and-A from a member of the SCALE Publicity Team:

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Cloud Babble

      I have yet to meet a sysadmin who is happy about the proliferation of the marketing term known as “The Cloud”. Perhaps it is because we are too close to the metal, because we see how the sausage is made. Maybe it is because we share a common dislike for non-descriptive marketing terminology. Whatever the cause, and if we are happy about it or not, the cloud is here, and it is important to understand its implications.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenClipart – Part II
    • $21 Million per Day

      Apache OpenOffice is a project within the Apache Software Foundation, a non-profit organization. We don’t charge for Apache OpenOffice; we make it available to all for free. We don’t pay developers; we rely on volunteers.

      People need office productivity software. Among our users are students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, ministers, public servants, and business people from all industries. Perhaps 20 years ago it was only businesses that needed this kind of software. In 1992 the price of a spreadsheet application alone, not even a complete suite, was $595. Only business could afford it at that price. But today almost everyone with a computer needs a word processor, a spreadsheet and/or a presentation editor. Office productivity applications are used in the home, at school and in the office.

    • New LibreOffice turns up the heat on Microsoft
    • LibreOffice 4.0: First Take
    • Working For Yourself Or Being Enslaved By M$
  • CMS

  • Funding

  • BSD


  • Public Services/Government

    • NASA open source project back on track

      NASA’s shift to open-source content management is back on after the incumbent contractor withdrew a bid protest on Feb. 4.

      The withdrawal of the protest, filed by e-Touch Federal Systems on Dec. 28 after NASA awarded Rockville-Md.-based InfoZen a $40 million blanket purchase agreement, allows InfoZen to begin replacing NASA’s existing content management system with open source architecture to run its 140 websites and 1,600 web assets and applications.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Next Generation of Open Source Smart Grid

      Open source software — code that’s free for anyone to use, as long as they share what they’re doing with it — plays a small, but growing, role in the smart grid. Examples include OpenADR, a Berkeley Labs-California Energy Commission-backed standard for automating demand response, and OpenPDC, a Tennessee Valley Authority’s Hadoop-based data management tool for transmission grid synchrophasor data.

    • OnRamp, A Free, Open Source Ad Server From OpenX, Gets Shut Down After Getting Besieged By Hackers

      Another victory for ill-intentioned hackers and a blow for the security of open source systems: OpenX, the online and mobile advertising company that announced a $22.5 million fund raising just last month, says that it is closing down its OnRamp open source ad serving platform, after the service was hacked on February 9, and the company determined that it would be too risky and costly to continue using it securely.

    • This Open-Source, Robotic Tentacle Will Haunt Your Dreams
    • Open-source EE design tools
    • Open-source unites the innovative

      With the cost of software programs such as Photoshop and antivirus suites rising, many people turn to alternative software they can legally download from the Internet for free.

      But penny-pinching students are not the only people turning to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Many software developers use these programs to study and improve their peers’ programs, which cannot be done with licensed software.

    • Open Data

      • Europe’s ‘Database Right’ Could Throttle Open Data Moves There

        One of the more benighted moves by the European Union was the introduction of a special kind of copyright for databases in 1996: not for their contents, but for their compilation. This means that even if the contents are in the public domain, the database may not be. Thanks to a recent court judgment in France, this “database right” now threatens to become a real danger for the burgeoning open data movement in Europe (original in French).

    • Open Access/Content

      • White House Owes Response To Petition To Fire Prosecutor Of Aaron Swartz And Other Hackers

        Over the weekend, a petition on Whitehouse.gov calling for the dismissal of Heymann reached 25,000 signatures, the threshold that requires a response from the administration under the rules outlined on the site. The outcry follows the suicide of activist Aaron Swartz last month, who was being prosecuted by Heymann for allegedly violating computer crime laws in his downloading of millions of academic papers from the website JSTOR.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Google Summer of Code 2013 announced

      The annual Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is now preparing for the 2013 cycle of the program which sees Google offer student developers stipends to write code for a wide range of open source projects. Google is assisted by a number of mentoring organisations around the world who help the students achieve their goal of completing enhancements and improvements to open source projects. This will be the ninth year that GSoC has run; over the past eight years, six thousand students have completed the program.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • One Step Closer to the Open eBook Tipping Point: O’Reilly Joins the EPUB 3.0 Ecosystem

      Anyone who reads eBooks is aware that a number of content vendors are using proprietary platforms in an effort to lock you into their content libraries: most obviously, Amazon, with its Kindle line, Barnes & Noble with its Nook devices, and Apple with its iPads and iPhones. But there are many non-content vendors that would love to sell you an eReader as well, such as Kobo, and Pocketbook, not to mention the smartphone vendors that would be happy to have you use their devices as eReaders, too.


  • Why Police Lie Under Oath
  • Repairing the rungs on the ladder

    “MERITOCRACY” tends to be spoken of approvingly these days. Its ascendancy is seen as a measure of progress. In the dark ages, the dumb scions of the aristocracy inherited their seats on cabinets and on the boards of great companies. These days, people succeed through brains and hard work.

  • State of the Union: Will Obama Tell Young People He’s Screwing Them Big Time?

    For at least the next 36 hours, the political media will be talking about President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address (SOTU) as if it’s a meaningful event. Will Obama go bold or timid into this good night, will he make the case for more taxes and fewer guns, for engaging North Korea or ignoring the Hermit Kingdom, for stuffing versus potatoes? – that sort of thing. As my colleague Matt Welch pointed out yesterday, SOTUs are equal parts WTF and completely forgettable, so it’ll all be over soon except for the ardent declarations that we can make lifesaving machines more quickly in a zero-gravity environment.

  • Hardware

    • Processor Whispers: About ups and downs

      Is the PC market collapsing or is that not true at all and the ARM hype is on the retreat? In either case, the PC manufacturers have to reorientate themselves – Dell, for instance, went public 25 years ago and now intends to go private again – lots of movement in the IT scene.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • The Moral Order

      Nor will it. There is no record of a dying civilization reassessing its values (or lack of values, in our case) and altering its trajectory. Whether the type of moral order that Professor Barber has in mind actually exists, or might someday exist somewhere on the planet, is certainly worth debating. But what is not worth debating is whether such a moral order might make an appearance on American soil. History is about many things, but one thing it is not about is miracles.

    • Back-to-work scheme breached laws, says Court of Appeal

      A university graduate has won a legal challenge on appeal, claiming that a government scheme forces people to work without pay.

      Cait Reilly, 24, claimed that requiring her to work for free at a Poundland store breached laws banning slavery and forced labour.

      The University of Birmingham geology graduate lost her original case at the High Court, but has now won on appeal.

    • Ethical Markets: Transforming Finance Still Top Priority
    • Minimum Wage (Blog)

      The argument for an increase in the minimum wage ought not to rely on or focus on economics. The political, ethical, and social reasons for higher minimum wages make the case better, more clearly and more definitively.

      Economists have accumulated a vast literature on the minimum wage. That literature is divided into two opposing schools. The first, comprised of paid spokespersons for business and their various allies in politics, media and the academy, strives to establish the following sort of argument. Raising minimum wages will reduce the number of jobs available to those earning the pre-rise minimum wage. This is because of the “law” of supply and demand which holds that demand for anything fall as its price rises. Raise the price of labor power, less will be demanded. In short, raising the minimum wage will push more workers out of jobs into unemployment. It is thus bad for just those in whose name the minimum wage is to be raised.

    • The Futures of Farming

      Just off of Country Road 518 in Hopewell, New Jersey, sits Double Brook Farm. It’s run by a self-exiled New Yorker but it’s not one of those now-standard upstart farms, with roving bands of earnest college kids tending rocket and a hearty couple of ex-Brooklynites overseeing the whole grass-fed operation. Double Brook’s turn-of-the-century-barn, its grazing cattle, and its hundreds of Rhode Island Reds clucking and strutting about all belong to Jon McConaughy, a 46-year-old with an all-American face, a football player’s build, money to blow, and a beautiful wife. Last year, McConaughy exchanged a two-decade long career as a commodities trader on Wall Street for these two hundred acres.

      Double Brook, a small farm specializing in grass-fed meat, free range poultry, and various vegetables symbolizes one of the most unexpected turns the American economy has taken in recent years. For decades, banks have shied away from granting loans to farmers because, like restaurants, farms are considered risky investments. But the tides might be turning as the price of nearly every commodity on the face of the earth is on the rise.

    • Graduate’s Poundland victory leaves government work schemes in tatters

      The government’s employment strategy lies in tatters after judges declared that almost all work-for-your-benefit schemes were unlawful due to a lack of basic information given to the unemployed.

    • Students oppose university reform

      Scantily dressed male students from Kasetsart University gathered at the entrance to parliament on Wednesday to protest against a privatisation plan, demanding all parties involved first be consulted.

      Some of the students were clad in only boxer shorts, with protest banners wrapped around the lower half of their body. They also held up written messages opposing the privatisation of their university.

    • The ‘Politically Divisive’ Minimum Wage

      It’s important to step back and figure out what “divisive” means here. As Annie Lowrey reports, Republicans and corporate interests are opposed to this idea, and there is some research that suggests that raising the wage floor might hurt more than it helps (as well as research that says the opposite; I guess we call it a tie?).

    • The Pentagon’s Budget Crunch: No Dissenting Views

      We’ve noted many times that when it comes to corporate media coverage of the so-called budget “sequester”–the immediate cuts to military and social spending set to hit in a matter of weeks–what matters most is what will happen to the military. The Washington Post had a whole piece (2/13/13) devoted to yet another round of complaints from military leaders–without a single comment from anyone who might take the view that cutting military spending would not be such a disaster.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • EU Data Protection: Proposed Amendments Written by US Lobbyists

      It’s becoming clear that the lobbying around the proposed EU directive on Data Protection is some of the most intense ever seen – some activists have said it’s even worse than during ACTA, while on the US side there’s mutterings about starting a “trade war” if it’s passed in its present form.

      Given that pressure to water down protection for our privacy, a key issue is: who is fighting our corner? The obvious answer would be the MEPs, since they are our elected representatives in the European Parliament. Their job is exactly that: to represent and defend us in just these circumstances. And some, like the Green MEP Jan Albrecht, are certainly doing their best, as I noted in a previous column. But what about the rest – what exactly are they up to?

    • We Can Fix This? In SOTU, Obama Shoves Voting Reform into ‘Sock Drawer,’ Leaving Many Disappointed

      President Obama announced plans for a nonpartisan commission to “improve the Election Day experience” in his State of the Union address, a response to the long lines and heavy burdens that states imposed on voters during the 2012 elections. But his proposal — which some have called “the policy equivalent of a sock drawer” — falls short of what many had hoped.

    • PBS Goes to Israel and Palestine–Mostly Israel
  • Censorship

    • China Tightens Concert Rules After Elton John Incident

      Prominent artists touring in China may be stuck between a rock critic and a hard place: between censure from China for making “disrespectful” political gestures, and Western condemnation for failing to. Bob Dylan faced harsh criticism in 2011 for alleged self-censorship at Chinese concerts, which according to Maureen Dowd at The New York Times was “a whole new kind of sellout — even worse than […] Elton John raking in a fortune to serenade gay-bashers at Rush Limbaugh’s fourth wedding.”

    • UCC sued over sim card registration

      Journalists under the Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda – Chapter (HRNJ-U) have gone to Court to block the planned switching off of unregistered sim cards by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).

      Through Web Advocates and Legal Brain Trust (LBT), HRNJ-U on Thursday filed a civil suit seeking, among other things, a declaration that the UCC order to switch off unregistered SIM-cards by March 1, 2013 or any other deadline set without obtaining parliamentary approval is inoperative, null and void.

    • Obama keeps newspaper reporters at arm’s length

      Albuquerque radio station KOB-FM’s “Morning Mayhem” crew interviewed him in August. The last time the Wall Street Journal did so was in 2009.

      America’s newspapers have trouble enough these days, what with shrinking ad revenue and straying readers. But the daily print-and-pixel press also hasn’t gotten much love lately from the biggest newsmaker in the business: President Obama.

    • Obama Drones Memo Disclosure Could Change FOIA Cases

      Until last week, the Obama administration’s official position was that it had never technically acknowledged the existence of a memo from the Office of Legal Counsel laying out the legal framework for the targeted killing of an American citizen.

      “The very fact of the existence or nonexistence of such documents is itself classified,” the Justice Department wrote in a previous letter, despite wide discussion from members of the administration on the general principles of the targeted killing program.

      Even a broader document — a so-called “white paper” — that spelled out the less-specific legal basis for targeted killings was “protected by the deliberative process privilege” though it was turned over to select members of Congress, a Justice Department official wrote late last month to a reporter from The New York Times who had requested that document.

      But once the white paper was disclosed by Michael Isikoff of NBC News, the government had a change of heart. Jason Leopold, a reporter for Truthout who had submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the white paper in August, contacted DOJ after the leak, reminding them he was granted expedited processing. An official called to tell him it would take three months to disclose the already-public paper but wound up turning over the document in an email to Leopold late Friday as a matter of “agency discretion.” Other requestors got the same document on Friday.

  • Privacy

    • As Secretive “Stingray” Surveillance Tool Becomes More Pervasive, Questions Over Its Illegality Increase

      A few months ago, EFF warned of a secretive new surveillance tool being used by the FBI in cases around the country commonly referred to as a “Stingray.” Recently, more information on the device has come to light and it makes us even more concerned than before.

    • The intelligence establishment’s dream supercomputer will make Raytheon’s RIOT program seem like child’s play

      The US intelligence community is obsessed with data. The NSA wants it all, and is prepared to keep it for as long as 100 years. The National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) last year told us it’s now dipping into or collating every bit of information we give to federal government agencies under one roof, to mine it for ‘suspicious’ information that may be linked to terrorism. State and local law enforcement, with help from the Department of Homeland Security, have established so-called intelligence “fusion centers” in most states nationwide — little spy centers of their own, where they can view surveillance camera feeds and access intelligence databases. United States surveillance drones at home and abroad collect impossibly enormous quantities of data. Satellites do, too.

    • Here’s how governments might stalk you via social media
    • Big Brother, Big Data and you
    • CISPA Claws Back to Life

      The House cybersecurity bill that allows the National Security Agency (NSA) and the military to collect your private internet records is scheduled for an encore appearance on Wednesday. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) will reintroduce the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which news reports say will be the same bill that passed the House of Representatives last year.

    • CISPA creeps back to the House
    • Obama to ‘bypass Congress’ on CISPA with cybersecurity executive order

      Unable to reach a deal with Congress, President Obama plans to use his power to exert executive actions against the will of lawmakers. The president will issue orders addressing controversial topics including cybersecurity.

      Although President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than any president in over 100 years, he is making extensive plans to change that, Washington Post reports quoting people outside the White House involved in discussions on the issues. Due to conflicts with a Congress that too often disagrees on proposed legislation, Obama plans to act alone and is likely “to rely heavily” on his executive powers in future, according to the newspaper.

    • CISPA creeps back to the House
    • Government killing online surveillance bill

      Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says the controversial Bill C-30, known as the online surveillance or warrantless wiretapping bill, won’t go ahead due to opposition from the public.

      The bill, which was known as the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, was designed to help police combat child pornography. But civil liberties and privacy groups — even the federal privacy commissioner — said the bill violated the rights of Canadians.

      Opponents lobbied strenuously against C-30, saying it was an overly broad, “Big Brother” piece of legislation that would strip all Canadians of the right to privacy.

    • Federal government kills Internet-snooping bill
    • Leaking Classified Information to Resurrect ‘Cybersecurity Bill’ That Will Further Endanger Privacy
    • They really don’t know clouds at all

      Every new computing technology seems to bring with it a privacy flap. Cloud computing is going through that phase right now, at least outside the United States. Canadian and European elites fear that putting data in the cloud will somehow let the US government paw through it at will, a fear that usually centers on Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

    • Raytheon Riot: Defense spying is coming to social networks

      Multi-national defense company Raytheon is getting ready to ship a big data social networking spy system. But they are far from the only ones tracking you.

    • At Guantanamo, microphones hidden in attorney-client meeting rooms

      A military lawyer at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, acknowledged Tuesday that microphones are hidden inside devices that look like smoke detectors in the rooms where defense lawyers meet detainees, but he said the government does not listen in on attorney-client communications.

      Both civilian and military defense lawyers at Guantanamo Bay meet their clients at a facility known as Echo 2, a camp that has about eight meeting huts.

    • Attorney-client meeting room was bugged, Navy lawyer testifies at Guantánamo
  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Sources: White House to issue cybersecurity order Wednesday

      The White House is poised to release an executive order aimed at thwarting cyberattacks against critical infrastructure on Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter told The Hill.

    • House panel to reintroduce controversial cyber bill, setting up White House fight

      The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee plan to re-introduce on Wednesday a controversial cybersecurity bill that has faced pushback from the White House.

      House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said Friday that they plan to re-introduce the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) next week during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The bill is aimed at improving information-sharing about cyber threats between government and industry so cyberattacks can be thwarted in real time.

    • Obama signs long-awaited cybersecurity executive order

      President Obama invoked the pageantry of his State of the Union address this evening to announce a long-anticipated executive order on cybersecurity, a move that caps months of discussions with technology companies and could reduce pressure on Congress to move forward with controversial new legislation.

    • Full Show: Who’s Widening America’s Digital Divide?

      Internet scholar Susan Crawford explains how media conglomerates put profit ahead of the public interest, and author Nick Turse shares what we never knew about the Vietnam War.

    • Is your MP on the naughty list?

      The Government claims the bill is necessary to address three data types: Reconcile IP addresses, capture weblogs and to deal with third party data.

      In practice, what would this mean? Well, the first data type is required to give the police “the ability to reconcile an Internet Protocol (IP) address to an individual”

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • iPhone Brand Not Exclusive In Brazil Anymore

        Brazil’s Institute of Industrial Property has decided that Apple cannot hold exclusive rights to the “iPhone” trademark in the country. Apple lost the trademark after a long fight with Gradiente, the company that registered the iPhone trademark seven years before the Apple device came out.

    • Copyrights

        Following in the steps of other courts around Europe, Finland’s Court of Appeal has now confirmed that two ISPs previously ordered to block The Pirate Bay must continue doing so. With another ISP’s appeal to the Supreme Court just rejected it now seems likely that anti-piracy company CIAPC has succeeding in its quest to deny 80% of the country direct access to the world’s most infamous torrent site. But still the downloading continues.

      • Canadian anti-privacy bill didn’t pass

        The already controversial Bill C-30, that’s actually more known as the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, didn’t passed because of the public opposition. The bill, as its known name says, was designed to aid in solving the child pornography problem, but at what cost?

      • The Pirate Bay still banned in Finland
      • U.S. Govt: Harsh Punishments Needed to Deter File-Sharers
      • Music Publishers: We Need Strong Copyright Laws Because We Don’t Like The Consumer Electronics Association
      • Obama administration defends $222,000 file-sharing verdict

        The Obama Administration has stepped into a long-running file-sharing lawsuit in Minnesota, urging the United States Supreme Court not to get involved in a six-figure verdict against a young mother from Northern Minnesota. The feds don’t buy the woman’s argument that the massive size of the award makes it unconstitutional.

      • Bad cyber security bill CISPA heading back to the House

        Rumors of CISPA’s demise were apparently greatly exaggerated, according to various privacy rights advocates and organizations today.

        CISPA, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, initially sought to give American companies more legal breathing room (protection against lawsuits) when collecting and sharing consumer/user data for the purpose of preventing massive Internet security threats. It passed a House vote with few guarantees that it wouldn’t grossly violate a person’s privacy rights (even in the face of a presidential veto threat). The White House eventually put a stamp of approval on the bill, pending certain amendments. But the Senate vote failed, and the president resorted to other methods for the time being.

      • TPB AFK and why I started Flattr
      • Five Basic Misconceptions About The Copyright Monopoly And Sharing Of Culture

        Five erroneous assertions have kept appearing in the public debate since 1990 about file-sharing vs. the copyright monopoly. These assertions have persisted for 25 years, despite being obviously false. This is a reference article to link to and point at whenever one of them pops up the next time.

      • Getting the most from online films

        In so many areas, I see digital tools disrupt longstanding practices. That disruption brings challenges – but many opportunities, too, with new innovative ways suddenly available to meet specialised consumer needs. The overall effect is a benefit for consumers, for our economy, and our society – as long as you can adapt properly to digital developments.

        The film sector is a very good example. Currently some rules and practices in that sector restrict flexibility – like rigid ‘release windows’. (‘Release windows’ set out when films can be released in cinemas, on DVD, online and so on – so that, for example, a film can’t be shown online until a certain number of weeks after the cinema release. Such “windows” can be based on regulation, public funding conditions, industry practice or individual negotiations). For me, while such “exclusive” periods may be important to finance some films, or get the most out of them, rigid and uniform rules can make it harder for the sector to capture digital benefits.

      • European Court Of Human Rights: No, Copyright Does Not Automatically Trump Freedom Of Expression

        As many know, copyright had its origins in censorship and control. But over the last few hundred years, that fact has been obscured by the rise of the powerful publishing industry and the great works it has helped bring to the public. More recently, though, laws and treaties like SOPA and ACTA have represented a return to the roots of copyright, posing very real threats to what can be said online. That’s not because their intent was necessarily to crimp freedom of expression, but as a knock-on effect of turning risk-averse ISPs into the copyright industry’s private police force.


Links 11/2/2013: 800 Million Androids This Year, CISPA is Back

Posted in News Roundup at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Opensource.com announces 2013 community award winners
  • Asylum a new horror game

    Not satisfied with the experience on current forum software packages, Stack Exchange co-founder Jeff Atwood founded Civilized Discourse Construction Kit Inc to come up with a software package to replace them. Its open source Discourse software is built with JavaScript, Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL and, according to the developers, can be used whenever a mailing list or forum is needed. According to the team: “Discourse is a from-scratch reboot, an attempt to re-imagine what a modern, sustainable, fully open-source Internet discussion platform should be”.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 9.1: LLVM/Clang Battling GCC

      With LLVM/Clang having become the default FreeBSD x86 compiler as of last year and the recent FreeBSD 9.1 release shipping not only LLVM/Clang but also the libc++ library, new benchmarks were carried out of FreeBSD 9.1 looking at its two stock compilers.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 3D printing an open source electric car

      What excites me about ZWheelz is the potential to improve our education system, environment, energy independence, and economy—all with what I like to call, one “EZ” project.

      It all began when I built a plane from a kit, then saw the documentary, Who Killed The Electric Car?, and decided to build an electric car. Turns out, it functioned really well, and I began wondering: “Why aren’t there more electric vehicles on the road?”

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Eric Holder Memo on the “Reasoned Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion” & the Swartz Affair ~pj

        When Aaron Swartz died, I told you that I’m no expert on criminal law, and I’m not. So I couldn’t really provide a star to guide anyone. But what I could do is research and provide information so you could be fully informed. That’s what journalists are for.

        And now I’ve come across something that I think might be helpful, a May 19, 2010 memo [PDF] by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. to all federal prosecutors, letting them know that he wanted them to be fair and reasonable in exercising their prosecutorial discretion. He told them that he wanted them to be flexible, too, not necessarily bound by maximum/minimum guidelines, but to look at the individual circumstances of each case, stating that the “reasoned exercise of prosecutorial discretion is essential to the fair, effective, and even-handed administration of the federal criminal laws”. That raises a natural enough question, of course, about whether that policy was followed in the Swartz case, but that isn’t what struck me.

      • Memorials for Aaron Swartz Turn to Discussion of How to Honor His Legacy
      • Software Developer Lobbies For Free Court Documents

        A few years ago, software developer Stephen Schultze helped create a nifty piece of code called “RECAP” that makes some federal court documents free on the Internet.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open-Source Hardware Firewalls

        Open-source hardware firewalls are something of a misnomer. Though these Internet protection appliances are based on open-source operating systems, their programming is often proprietary. Furthermore, security needs have forced many of these product to go beyond mere firewalling to include anti-spam filtering, intrusion protection and more.

  • Programming


  • Sleazy Sugar Daddies offer to pay tuition fees on dating site

    HUNDREDS of cash-strapped Scots students have signed up to an internet dating site to meet wealthy men offering to pay their tuition.

  • Facebook Connect issue wreaks havoc on the Web
  • Facebook error that hijacks thousands of websites isn’t just an ‘inconvenience’

    Thousands of major — and not-so-major — websites found their traffic redirected to a Facebook error page yesterday, a phenomenon that lasted upward of an hour, according to varying accounts. Although the social networking site dismissed the event as the result of a Facebook error that was “quickly repaired,” it would be imprudent to blithely view the event as a glitch or mere inconvenience. It’s downright concerning, both from a business and a privacy perspective.
    First, here’s what happened: Starting at around 4 p.m. Pacific time Thursday, users attempting to visit an array of disparate websites and services — from CNN to The Sydney-Melboure Herald to Pinterest to Reddit to Hulu — were redirected to Facebook and a message reading, “An error occurred. Please try again later.” Sites were affected anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, according to reports.

  • Security

    • Massive search fraud botnet seized by Microsoft and Symantec

      Thakur said that the Bamital malware was initially delivered by a combination of methods, including in packages over peer-to-peer filesharing networks disguised as other content. But the majority of systems infected were the victim of “driveby downloads” from websites configured with malicious software intended to exploit browser security flaws. “We have evidence of [the botnet operators] polluting search engine results for certain search terms with links to servers with exploits,” he said.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Report: Ex-Cop Christopher Dorner Is Now a Target for Drones
    • Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front
    • Another FBI Patsy Arrested in Fake Bomb Plot to Start a Civil War

      The FBI is at it again, boasting about stopping another contrived terror plot of their own making. This time they nabbed a right-winger working with the Taliban which happen to be an FBI agent provocateur.

    • Julian Assange Bill Maher Interview: WikiLeaks Founder Slams Drones, Targeted Killings
    • Keeping Secrets

      Similarly, when the government’s only chance of keeping an inconvenient truth out of the news media is to warn of a national security threat, it’s amazing how these threats pop up.

      This has turned out to be a powerfully effective tool. News organizations, after all, don’t want to endanger the nation’s safety, or be accused of doing so, so editors often listen to government officials when they make their case for not publishing. And, after listening, editors occasionally consent.


      Keeping the government’s secrets is not the news media’s role, unless there is a clear, direct and life-threatening reason to justify it.

    • Sullivan: More Light Still Needed on Drone Strikes
    • Drone spotted hovering over West Oakland
    • Sovereignty vs. Intervention: A Review of Haiti’s New Dictatorship

      During the build up to and aftermath of the 2004 overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s popular priest-turned-president, the Haitian and international press reported two conflicting narratives. Even in the left-wing media office of ZNet, where Justin Podur was an editor, stories filed from Haiti just “didn’t add up.”

    • Push to Expand U.S. ‘Kill List’
    • What If an Assassination Court Reviewed Placement of US Citizens on the President’s Kill List?

      For months, there have been human rights or civil liberties groups sharply condemning President Barack Obama’s targeted killing program especially because he holds all the power to decide who lives and who dies, however, up until a Justice Department “white paper” on the program was leaked by NBC News, there was little discussion by US news media about the nature of the program.

    • Letters: Targeted death
    • US’ Betrayal of Truth
    • Spying on Law-Abiding Muslims

      He said his handler told him that the department considered “being a religious Muslim a terrorism indicator.”

    • NDAA Lawsuit- Hedges v. Obama -Pt. 5
    • NDAA Lawsuit- Hedges v. Obama -Pt. 6
    • In Search of Monsters

      On 11 January, seemingly out of the blue, François Hollande announced that France would ‘respond to the request of the Malian president’ and send forces to its former colony to fight ‘terrorist elements coming from the north’. ‘Today, the very existence of this friendly nation is at stake,’ he declared. ‘Military operations will last for as long as required … Terrorists must know that France will always be there when it’s a matter not of its fundamental interests but the right of a population … to live in freedom and democracy.’ In France, though ominous warnings did the rounds, the president’s approval ratings soared from a nadir of 40 per cent to 63 per cent. Hitherto seen as weak, Hollande was suddenly perceived as a strong commander-in-chief (linguistically, it’s a small step from chef d’état to chef de guerre). Abroad, despite offers from Western allies of logistical or humanitarian support (France’s plea for military support from its European allies remains unanswered), many suspected that neocolonial ghosts were haunting Paris yet again. La Françafrique, that infamous amalgam of truncated African sovereignty and French interventionism in sub-Saharan Africa, seemed to have returned.

    • Obama’s Drone Attack on Your Due Process

      The biggest problem with the recently disclosed Obama administration white paper defending the drone killing of radical clerk Anwar al-Awlaki isn’t its secrecy or its creative redefinition of the words “imminent threat.” It is the revolutionary and shocking transformation of the meaning of due process.

    • How Obama’s Drone Strike Policy Violates the Original Meaning of the Constitution

      Writing at the Originalism Blog, Michael Ramsey of the University of San Diego Law School examines the Obama administration’s drone policy in light of the original meaning of the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment, which forbids the government from depriving any person of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

    • Nick Turse Describes the Real Vietnam War

      Turse, who devoted 12 years to tracking down the true story of Vietnam, unlocked secret troves of documents, interviewed officials and veterans — including many accused of war atrocities — and traveled throughout the Vietnamese countryside talking with eyewitnesses to create his book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.

    • Article II or AUMF? “A High Level Official” (AKA John Brennan) Says CIA Can Murder You
    • Drones and Our National Religion

      The national religion of the United States of America is nationalism. Its god is the flag. Its prayer is the pledge of allegiance.

      The flag’s powers include those of life and death, powers formerly possessed by traditional religions. Its myths are built around the sacrifice of lives to protect against the evils outside the nation. Its heroes are soldiers who make such sacrifices based on unquestioning faith. A “Dream Act” that would give citizenship to those immigrants who kill or die for the flag embodies the deepest dreams of flag worship. Its high priest is the Commander in Chief. Its slaughter of infidels is not protection of a nation otherwise engaged, but an act that in itself completely constitutes the nation as it is understood by its devotees. If the nation stopped killing it would cease to be.

    • Dick Cheney blasts Obama’s ‘second-rate’ national security team
    • They Knew the Evidence against Anwar al-Awlaki Was Weak When They Killed Him

      In case you don’t want to read these two long posts, I want to point to two passages from the white paper that show, on two key points, the government wasn’t even claiming Anwar al-Awlaki was the “senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces” they keep saying he was when they killed him.

    • Bill Moyers Essay: When We Kill Without Caring
    • CIA’s Kiriakou expresses doubts about agency, Greek terrorism

      John Kiriakou, the Greek-American CIA analyst who was sentenced last month to more than two years in jail for revealing the identity of a covert operative, has revealed to Kathimerini his thoughts about the possible emergence of new terrorist activity in Greece and his concerns about the future of the US intelligence agency.

      Kiriakou told Sunday’s Kathimerini that he would differentiate the activity of urban guerrilla groups in Greece today and the actions of the November 17 terrorist organization.

    • Obama’s legacy of secrecy

      John Brennan’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday was a microcosm of the Obama administration’s approach to counterterrorism: The right assurances, with little transparency.

      Brennan said the United States should publicly disclose when American drone attacks kill civilians. He called waterboarding “reprehensible” and vowed it would never occur under his watch. And he said that countering militancy should be “comprehensive,” not just “kinetic,” and involve diplomatic and development efforts as well.

    • US Air Force Veteran, Finally Allowed to Fly Into US, Now Banned From Flying Back Home

      Secret, unaccountable no-fly lists are one of many weapons the US government uses to extra-judicially punish American Muslims

    • Three billion dollars a year for this boondoggle?

      How low must the number of Muslim-American ‘terror plots’ go before Congress thinks again about giving the FBI an annual $3 billion of our tax dollars –nearly half the FBI’s budget – just for its counterterrorism work?

      And to what lengths is the FBI prepared to go to manufacture plots and suspects in order to keep those dollars flowing?

      In his fourth annual survey of Muslim-American terrorism, Charles Kurzman, of North Carolina’s Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, found that the number of Muslim-Americans indicted as terrorists has been in steady decline over the past three years and no deaths or injuries were caused by their actions.

    • Why a “Drone Court” Won’t Work–But (Nominal) Damages Might
    • Barack Obama is pushing gun control at home, but he’s a killer abroad
    • CIA report must be declassified

      …more than 6,000 pages and 35,000 footnotes…

    • CIA contractor due in court for plea hearing

      A former CIA contractor involved in a fatal shootout in Pakistan is due in court in Colorado on Monday over a fight over a parking space.

      A judge will consider a plea agreement for Raymond Allen Davis, who is charged with felony assault and misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the fight outside a suburban Denver bagel shop.

    • Graham moves to delay defense, CIA confirmations
    • Obama And The CIA Must Come Clean On Drones, Killings

      Secret bases, targeted killings, leaked memos and elaborate cover-ups – the latest developments in an ongoing controversy involving the Obama administration and CIA with a question at its core that has been asked for generations: “How far are we willing to go to protect the citizens of the United States?”

    • The CIA Orchestrates a Pre-Election Campaign in Paraguay

      The marked increase in numbers at the US embassy in Asunción over the past year is being necessitated by the need to maintain control over the Paraguayan government. The pre-election campaign is in full swing and in order to «manage it by hand», the intelligence apparatus operating under the roof of the US embassy need staff reinforcements. Political forces potentially hostile to the interests of the United States must not be allowed to come to power. Federico Franco, the acting president of Paraguay who, in June 2012, ensured the CIA-scripted «constitutional removal» of the legally elected president, Fernando Lugo, has fulfilled his mission. His successor needs to be just as reliable and just as manageable.

    • Moscow hopes for completion of probe into CIA secret prisons

      Moscow hopes that an investigation into the CIA’s secret prisons abroad will be completed and all suspects will be brought to court, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

    • Op-ed: The slippery slope of drone warfare

      The release of a Justice Department white paper defending the legality of the targeted killing of U.S. citizens in foreign countries outside areas of active hostilities is an opportunity for every American to reflect on how our government conducts its armed conflict against al-Qaeda and associated forces, especially since the man who is at the center of such targeting decisions, John Brennan, might soon be confirmed as CIA Director.

    • Ajami: Barack Obama and the silence of the U.S. drone war
  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Night Sky Over Asia 1992-2010

      As people are coming to understand, Asian economic growth over the past two decades—despite its great adoption of oil—essentially runs on electricity, most of which is supplied by the burning of coal. Here is the night sky over Asia twenty years ago, as captured in a still photograph from a film loop provided by NOAA’s national geophysical data center.

  • Finance

    • Barclays closes controversial tax avoidance unit
    • As the Sussex Uni occupation shows, Government may see education as a market, but students do not

      The Government’s higher education policy is supposedly about cutting red tape, yet it requires a new army of six-figure-salaried bureaucrats to outsource existing jobs.

    • UK inequality rises sharply in 15 years – report

      The UK’s super-rich, the top 1% of earners, now pocket 10 pence in every pound, while the bottom half have seen their share of the nation’s wealth drop in the last 15 years. Middle earners have also seen their earning power stagnate.

    • HuffPo Attacks, then Partners with, Goldman Sachs
    • Barclays misled shareholders about source of £3bn

      Barclays misled shareholders and the public about one of the biggest investments in the bank’s history, a BBC Panorama investigation has found.

    • Austerity, US Style, Exposed

      Austerity policies include various combinations primarily of government spending cuts and secondarily of general tax increases. Republicans and Democrats have endorsed austerity since 2010. Austerity was the result of their deal on taxes last December 31: increasing the payroll tax on wages and salaries from 4.2 to 6.2 percent. Austerity is what they are negotiating now in regard to federal spending cuts.

    • Democracy Realized

      In worker self-directed enterprises (WSDEs), workers democratically run the affairs of the enterprise. They make the decisions whose consequences shape their lives. Their job descriptions require them to perform some specific tasks within the enterprise’s division of labor, but their job descriptions also obligate their participation in directing the enterprise.

      To perform their specific tasks, workers in WSDEs must learn how to do the required work, must be trained and educated, first in schools before employment and afterwards on the job as well. The same applies to the other part of their job description that concerns participation in directing their WSDE. School curricula must provide everyone with the broad-based, liberal arts education that builds flexibility and the capacity for creative enterprise adjustments to an ever-changing world. In short, establishing an economy based on widespread WSDEs will exert profound and effective pressures for educational changes. Democratizing the workplace will help democratize education.

    • Greenlight’s Einhorn sues Apple, wants bigger payout for investors

      Apple Inc on Thursday confronted its first major challenge from an activist shareholder in years as hedge fund manager David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital filed suit against the company and demanded that it dole out a bigger piece of its $137 billion cash pile to investors.

    • Apple, Big Hedge Fund Stars & The Sell Side/Vaudeville Act To Burn Your Hard Earned Money As A Punchline That’s Just Not Funny

      Einhorn is asking management to sell that call/put option straddle now, and forgo the ability to capitalize on future opportunities while running naked against margin compression at the same time that Apple’s competition has surpassed it in technical ability (product/service wise) while Apple has shown ineptitude in competing in the cloud (see the maps fiasco), the next battle ground for the end user. This option sale will be had for the one time premium of a cash distribution. Wise, eh?

  • Censorship

    • Egypt court orders YouTube blocked for a month

      A Cairo court on Saturday ordered the government to block access to the video-sharing website YouTube for 30 days for carrying an anti-Islam film that caused deadly riots across the world.

      Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered YouTube blocked for carrying the film, which he described as “offensive to Islam and the Prophet (Muhammad).” He made the ruling in the Egyptian capital where the first protests against the film erupted last September before spreading to more than 20 countries, killing more than 50 people.

      The ruling however can be appealed, and based on precedent, might not be enforced. A spokeswoman for YouTube’s parent company, Google, said in a statement that the firm had “received nothing from the judge or government related to this matter.”

    • Iran’s Press TV taken off air in N America
    • YouTube banned in Egypt for one month

      This Saturday, a Cairo court ordered to block access to the most popular video-sharing website on the Internet, Youtube, for one month(30 days to be more precise), because on this very website an anti-Islam film was posted, apparently becoming the cause for deadly riots across the globe.

    • Twitter’s dangerous lack of transparency on terrorism
  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Apple warns users against jailbreaking following evasi0n hack

      Although unlocking a phone that’s still tied to a contract was recently deemed illegal in the US, jailbreaking isn’t, according to the latest review of exceptions to the DMCA in October. But that doesn’t mean the practice isn’t frowned upon by the likes of Apple, which has issued a warning in response to the Evasi0n unthethered jailbreak for iOS 6.1 devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • In the Future, All Space Marines Will Be Warhammer 40K Space Marines

        To engage a lawyer to defend me from this spurious claim would cost more money than I have, certainly more than the book has ever earned me. Rather than earning money for my family, I’d be taking money from them, when previously my writing income paid for my daughter’s schooling. And I’d have to use the little time I have to write novels to fight a protracted legal battle instead.

    • Copyrights

      • Two Famous Journalism Institutions Shame Themselves By Not Standing Up For Basic Fair Use

        Two of the most respected and forward looking schools for journalism are the Knight Center for Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and the Poynter Institute. I’ve long been a fan of both, but I’m now quite disappointed in both of them too. Last week, we had a few stories concerning a woman named Teri Buhl, who (to put it mildly) had some “unique” (and, by that we mean “totally wrong”) legal theories concerning whether or not someone could quote her public statements on Twitter, as well as basic copyright and fair use rules. By the end of the week, she was threatening to sue us and others as well.

      • Judge denies MPAA attempt to seize profits from copyright infringement

        A high court in the United Kingdom has ruled that a copyright owner does not have the right to claim profits from copyright infringement.
        “A copyright owner does not have a proprietary claim to the fruits of an infringement of copyright. I shall not, therefore, grant proprietary injunctions,” wrote judge Guy Newey of the England and Wales High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, in a ruling published on Tuesday.

      • ‘STELA’: Hollywood’s Next Big Legislative Fight?

        An analyst suggests that the renewal of an obscure satellite-TV law could command the attention of the major broadcasters, big pay-TV distributors and giant tech companies.

      • Copyright vs Freedom of Expression Judgment

        Earlier this month, the Court issued an important judgment, Ashby Donald and others v France (judgment in French), on the tensions between copyright law and the freedom of expression. It is my great pleasure to put online a guest post about this judgment by professor Dirk Voorhoof of Ghent University and Inger Høedt-Rasmussen of Copenhagen Business School. Thanks to both!


Links 10/2/2013: Ubuntu on Phones This Month, Linux Year on Desktop

Posted in News Roundup at 12:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Shock! Horror! Some People Want To Change The Linux Console
  • Desktop

    • Chromebooks Pick Up Steam with CDW Deal
    • Winning The Desktop Wars

      Chris Hall over at Foss Force wrote an article that I’ve been mulling over writing myself for quite some time. Chris claims that Linux has won the “war for the desktop”, and on top of that, won it a long time ago with Android. However, I’m not quite as enthusiastic about his claims of open source superiority. Did open source really win, or have we been hijacked?

      Let’s take a second and think about the nature of the open source movement for a few minutes. There are several reasons why we would want the software we use to be open to examination: fewer bugs, control of the machines we own, the ability to modify and redistribute programs, the list goes on. However, I believe that the core ideal of open source is not actually freedom per se, but control. We want to be able to control when and how our machines are used, and when and how our data is used, and to ensure that control access to the source code is necessary.

  • Kernel Space

    Free Software/Open Source

    • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

      • Rethinking the office suite

        I’ve spent much of the last week exploring the recent releases of Calligra Suite and LibreOffice, and listening to the unlikely rumors of a Linux version of Microsoft Office. I haven’t concentrated on office suites so intensely for years, and, as I examined Calligra Suite’s and LibreOffice’s very different layouts and approaches to productivity, I found myself thinking: What should a modern office suite consist of?

      • If Office Suites Are Not Broken, Why Change Them?

        He has some reasonable observations but IMHO office suites work well. They are more or less perfected. There’s no reason at all for restructuring or slapping on rafts of new features. That’s M$’s business-plan to force constant updates/new licence-sales. We don’t need that with LibreOffice. Improving its efficiency, fixing bugs and making small changes to UI/features make sense. Rethinking to the extent of adding “the ribbon” or linking to clouds is not needed and not useful. We can run an office suite as a thin client already. What more do we need?

    • Funding

    • BSD

      • BSDs Struggle With Open-Source Graphics Drivers

        While there’s plenty of code pouring into the Linux world for bettering open-source graphics drivers from desktop graphics cards to ARM SoCs, in the *BSD world they are struggling with their graphics driver support. Matthieu Herrb gave a presentation on the (rather poor) state of graphics on Unix-like platforms outside of Linux.

    • Project Releases

    • Public Services/Government

    • Openness/Sharing

      • Open Access/Content

        • Aaron Swartz and the Corrupt Practice of Plea Bargaining

          If Ortiz thought Swartz only deserved to spend 6 months in jail, why did she charge him with crimes carrying a maximum penalty of 50 years? It’s a common way of gaining leverage during plea bargaining. Had Swartz chosen to plead not guilty, the offer of six months in jail would have evaporated. Upon conviction, prosecutors likely would have sought the maximum penalty available under the law. And while the judge would have been unlikely to sentence him to the full 50 years, it’s not hard to imagine him being sentenced to 10 years.

          In this hypothetical scenario, those 10 years in prison would, practically speaking, have consisted of six months for his original crime (the sentence Ortiz actually thought he deserved) plus a nine-and-a-half-year prison term for exercising his constitutional right to a trial.

        • The inside story of Aaron Swartz’s campaign to liberate court filings

          And how his allies are trying to finish the job by tearing down a big paywall.


    • Security

    • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Cablegate

    • Finance

      • Governments Save By Paying Down Their Debts

        I think this over-states the case against the US government buying equities, but the deeper problem is that it ignores the government’s $11 trillion in national debt. If a heavily indebted individual wanted to save for the future, a financial advisor would probably tell him the first step is to pay off some of his debts. And the same point applies to the United States. It will be a long, long time before we run out of bonds to retire—so long that it’s silly to worry about what we’d do if we retired the national debt and still had more money we wanted to save.

      • Goldman Sachs hedging its bets: Is more economic pain on the way?

        Investment bankers – can’t live with ‘em, and can’t live without ‘em.

        At least that’s how it seems in these tough economic times. We tend to hang on their every word, as if they truly know how big money intends to manipulate financial markets in the foreseeable future. But we also tend to blame these financial powerhouses for creating the worst recession since the Great Depression.


        …1 trillion flowed out of equities during the month of January.

    • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

      • The Gates Foundation and Coca Cola at Odds or Legitimate Bedfellows?

        Sanjay Basu, assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University, recently wrote a blog post that caught our eye about public and nonprofit leaders who sit on the corporate boards of major soda companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. Using one of the tools that make such information readily available, NNDB Mapper, he argues that there appear to be institutional conflicts of interest occurring. In particular, Basu calls out Cathleen Black, chancellor of New York City Schools, and several key Gates Foundation leaders, for sitting on Coca-Cola’s board. In addition, he notes that the former president of the Ford Foundation and the CEO of Duke Health System sit on the board of Pepsi.

    • Censorship

      • Russia blacklists site hosting blogs of prominent journalists

        The Russian government has blocked access to a blog-hosting site that publishes reports from at least two prominent independent journalists often critical of the Kremlin. The site has been added to the country’s recently established official “internet blacklist.”

        LJRossia.org, also known as InsaneJournal, is “a non-profit project created to support freedom of speech, civil society and encourage the free exchange of ideas.” The site was censored today, reportedly over two posts that contained “child pornography elements.” But instead of blocking or removing the two posts in question, the entire site is inaccessible on at least one Russian ISP, RosTelekom.

    • Civil Rights

    • DRM

      • A Brilliant Parody of DRM

        But this post, in which he defends his decision to disallow cutting and pasting from his website, brings to mind another theory: Quinn is secretly an advocate of copyright reform, and has adopted the cartoonish “IP Watchdog” persona as an act of satire. Disabling cutting and pasting is such a ludicrous idea that it can’t be a serious business decision. But it brilliantly lampoons the fallacies that have caused major content companies to employ similar (and similarly ineffective) copy protection schemes.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

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