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Links 12/8/2013: Netrunner 13.06, New Sabayon

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Finland’s Upper Secondary School Exams Going All-Linux

    “The Matriculation Examination Board of Finland has just opened an international hacking contest to find flaws and exploits in Digabi Live — the Live Debian based operating system to be used in the all-digital final exams by the year 2016. The contest ends on 1st of September, and the winners are about to scoop hefty hardware prizes, also available as cash.”

  • The state of the Linux community

    What prompted me to write this article were two things. One, the recent donation drive on Tuxmachines. Two, the announcement about the closing of The H, which you may also have known as The H: Open Source, Security and Development. What is common for both these announcement is the obvious difficulty in having a sustainable financial model when running sites dealing in Linux.

  • TLWIR: Developing a GNU/Linux-Based Quality Assurance System

    I write about GNU/Linux for a living. It always frustrates me when I make a mistake that makes it through my review process to the actual published article. Most often, it is a spelling error that I missed during my proofreading process. I recently decided that I had to find a systematic method of identifying errors BEFORE publishing my articles.

    Quality assurance is the most important aspect of any endeavor, whether its is building safety systems into a state-of-the-art hybrid vehicle at Toyota, or writing articles that present accurate information about the GNU/Linux operating system.

  • I quit using Linux because…

    Once in a while, a prominent or not so prominent member of the Linux community makes a switch – for one reason or the other – to another operating system, usually to Mac OS X. The latest is Denis Koryavov, the former GUI Development lead for ROSA Laboratory, a Linux software solutions provider based in Russia and the publisher of ROSA Linux.

  • Desktop

    • GNU/Linux and That Other OS Head-to-Head In Uruguay

      The battle for Freedom continues in Uruguay, a country of more than 3 million in South America. You can see in this chart that every up-tick in adoption corresponds to a down-tick in M$’s OS. This is the only game in town on legacy PCs. GNU/Linux is slowly but surely winning share.

  • Kernel Space

    • Those unexpected regressions…

      A while ago, I read Ken Stark’s delicious rant because of a kernel regression.


      Fortunately, my brother had won a set of CDs with a collection of programs that included some free software and demos. In one of them, there was StarOffice, which allowed me to create my presentation. When finished, I saved it both as an .sdd file and a converted .ppt file.

      That was a long time ago. I thought I had lost the presentation forever, but I found an old CD containing only the original .sdd thesis presentation. Logically, I wanted to see it.

      I had seen LibreOffice deal with .sdd files before, so, when I got the dialog asking me for a program to open the ancient presentation, I knew that something was wrong.

      There was simply no way to open it.

    • Linux 3.11-rc5 Celebrates 20 Years Since Windows 3.11

      Twenty years ago today Microsoft released Windows 3.11 while today Linus Torvalds released the Linux 3.11-rc5 kernel. He wished he could have released Linux 3.11 kernel final today, but that didn’t happen.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Receives Video Improvements

        A set of patches were published this weekend to improve the Nouveau NVIDIA Gallium3D graphics driver’s handling of video playback acceleration for certain scenarios.

      • Linux’s Common Display Framework Is Still Going

        The Common Display Framework (CDF) proposal for the Linux kernel that started last year is still being worked on. The CDF code is now up to its third revision, but this isn’t likely to be the final revision before pushing it for mainline inclusion.

      • X.Org 7.8 Isn’t Actively Being Pursued

        While there’s an X.Org 7.8 Wiki page that mentions planned features like XWayland integration and video driver hot-plugging, there isn’t active work towards putting out the X.Org 7.8 katamari nor specifically on delivering these mentioned features.

      • Precise vBlank Timing Comes For Nouveau NV50

        Precise vBlank timing support has been patched for the Nouveau DRM driver to support the NV50 through NVC0 NVIDIA GPUs (up to and through Fermi but not yet any NVD0 or Kepler hardware).

      • NVIDIA VP3/VP4 Engines Exposed On Nouveau For MPEG-2/VC-1

        The open-source and reverse-engineered Nouveau driver is now able to tap the more recent “VP3″ and “VP4″ video encode/decode engines on recent NVIDIA GPUs that make up NVIDIA’s PureVideo HD technology. With utilizing these VP3/VP4 engines, there can be MPEG-2 and VC-1 acceleration using this hardware.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Top Features Of Phoronix Test Suite 4.8

        The official release of Phoronix Test Suite 4.8 (codenamed “Sokndal”) is expected in the next week. With the imminent release of our industry-leading open-source automated benchmarking platform for Linux / BSD / OS X / Solaris, here’s a look at some of the top features coming. Aside from just those carrying out the benchmarks, many of the features also benefit those viewing the results — such as Phoronix.com readers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma Media Center 1.1 RC Release
      • Krita Lime (2.8prealpha). New features overview

        Some time have passed since I was talking about new features of the current development version of Krita. But there are lots of them actually! Let me show them to you :)

      • Recalling the days from Akademy 2013 in Bilbao, Spain

        It has been almost 3 weeks since I’ve been back from Akademy 2013 which was held in the splendid city of Bilbao this year, and it would be foolish to not write about my experiences there, since memories however bright they might be, can easily fade away with time.

      • KDE Plasma Media Center 1.1 Up To RC Stage

        The first release candidate for KDE’s Plasma Media Center 1.1 release is now available. Plasma Media Center supports viewing photographs, watching movies, and listening to music from one central KDE component.

      • KDE Lock Screen vs. Touch Input

        With respect to touch input, most parts of KDE can be handled very easily. However, one, imho, very important aspect, simply lacks all touch UI support: the lock screen (and also the login screen), right now, do not support touch UIs at all.

      • Release Party in Stuttgart this Friday

        This Friday (16th) there will be a release party in Wirtshaus Troll in Stuttgart starting at 19:00 to celebrate the awesome 4.11 release of the KDE SC. For more information (also about other release parties) check the Wiki

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 3 – Gone in 60 seconds

        I have never reviewed Mageia before and there is a reason for that. Mageia has always been my “Eleanor”.

        The “Eleanor” reference comes from the film “Gone in 60 seconds” and refers to the one car that Nicolas Cage cannot steal because something happens when he tries to do so.

        Mageia has always given me that sort of a problem. I tried Mageia 1 and 2 without success and rather than write a bad review I decided to write nothing at all.

        Mageia though appears to be one of the more popular distributions and I can’t just go on in this fashion. Therefore I have installed it, tried it and now I am going to tell you about my experience.

      • A proper alpha..

        Some of it is at least, we’ve released the live isos today which you should find on your nearest mirror.

      • Mageia 4 In Alpha, Lots Of Features Planned
    • Gentoo Family

      • Press Release: Sabayon 13.08

        Sabayon 13.08 is a modern and easy to use Linux distribution based on Gentoo, following an extreme, yet reliable, rolling release model. This is a monthly release generated, tested and published to mirrors by our build servers containing the latest and greatest collection of software available in the Entropy repositories. The ChangeLog files related to this release are available on our mirrors. Linux Kernel 3.10.4 with BFQ iosched, updated external ZFS filesystem support, GNOME 3.8.4, KDE 4.10.5, MATE 1.6.2, Xfce 4.10, LibreOffice 4.1, UEFI SecureBoot for 64 bit images (with bundled UEFI shell), systemd as default init system, Plymouth as default splash system and new high-dpi artwork are just some of the things you will find inside the box. Please read on to know where to find the images and their torrent files on our mirrors.

      • Sabayon 13.08 Brings Systemd By Default, UEFI Fixes
    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Virtualization: LXC Application Containers

        Linux containers (LXC) is a lightweight virtualization technology build into Linux kernel. Unlike other virtualization technologies, the virtual machines (VM) are driven without any overhead by the kernel already running on the computer. In VM you run only the processes you need, most of the time without even going trough the regular SysV or Linux init. This means that memory is used very conservatively. These lightweight containers are sometimes called application containers, as opposed to distribution containers where you run a full distro starting with SysV/Linux init.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Lowers Ubuntu One Price to Boost Kickstarter

            Electronista reports that Canonical has adjusted its Kickstarter campaign for the Ubuntu Edge smartphone again to generate more high-dollar pledges. The company is now offering the smartphone for $695 instead of its full $830 price as originally set when the Ubuntu Edge Kickstarter project launched on July 22. Currently, there are 12 days left, and Canonical has only managed to generate just under $9.3 million out of the project’s $32 million goal.

          • Canonical will win even if Ubuntu Edge doesn’t make its $32 million

            It looks less and less likely that Canonical will raise the $32-million it needs for the Ubuntu Edge. So what! It won’t matter in the long run.

          • Ubuntu 13.04 Enables Phased Updates – But What Are They?

            Earlier this week ‘Phased Updates’ were enabled for Ubuntu 13.04 – but what are they?

            Worry ye not: we’re here with a quick overview of what this sci-fi-sounding change is and what it will mean to you going forward.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Deepin 12.12.1 Review: Amazingly beautiful and soothing Ubuntu GNOME spin from China!

              I have used Deepin Linux earlier but never got time to actually pen down a review. It is based on Ubuntu but uses the GNOME shell rather than Unity and comes with great support for Chinese language. I am no expert in Chinese and hence, downloaded the 32-bit English version of Linux Deepin for this test.

            • Taking a look at gNewSense

              You might have noticed that posting in this space has been rather non existent for a while. That’s not because I’ve lost interest in FLOSS, nor is it because of a lack of ideas or desire to post. It’s just that things have gotten in the way.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Remotely control your Raspberry Pi

      Take control of your Raspberry Pi from your smartphone, tablet or PC, from anywhere in the world

    • Phones

      • Android

        • What Does “App” Mean?

          I think I’m going to start using the term “app” to mean “all the pieces you need to build to have a deliverable piece of software.” Because three-letter words are good, and anyhow that’s what the actual people out there who use what we build are starting to say.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Forrester: Tablets and 2017

        There it is. The world can and does accept tablets as legitimate PCs capable of doing almost everything and being portable besides.

      • Tablet PC, Tablet PC, Tablet PC

        That’s all gone now. When a retailer like Wal-mart has the temerity to use a term like “Tablet PC”, they are going off-script.

      • Acer to downplay Windows in favor of Android, Chrome OS

        Acer has told investors that it will reduce its emphasis on Windows PCs and laptops over the next few quarters in favor of devices based on operating systems from Microsoft’s archrival Google.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google open-sources 2 cool Chrome Web Lab experiments as its year-long London exhibition ends

    Google has turned to GitHub to take two of its most popular Chrome experiments to the Open Source development community.

    If you recall last July, London’s Science Museum entered into a year-long collaboration with Google called Web Lab, a collaborative project featuring a range of interactive Chrome experiments designed to bring the inner workings of the Web to life.

    Visitors to the free exhibition, which will close this Sunday, were given five separate experiments to get involved with.

  • Boffin Makes List of Open Source Youtube Downloader Software Available On Its Website
  • Open source has won, let’s look to the future

    My nearly 11 minute keynote at OSCON 2013 this year, felt long enough when I gave it, but in terms of what I have to say about the future of open source, it wasn’t even close.

    Here I expand on the lessons I’ve learned from other people working in open source, new technologies emerging in open source that haven’t come of age yet, my passion for open source not being a Zero Sum game, and bringing open source to other parts of society and industry.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • ZTE to sell ZTE Open Firefox OS phone on eBay US and UK
      • ZTE Open Firefox OS Phone to Sell in U.S. and U.K. on eBay

        In another important milestone for Mozilla’s Firefox OS mobile phone platform, the ZTE Open Firefox OS phone is set to start selling soon via eBay’s stores in the U.S. and U.K. ZTE and Mozilla officials confirmed the news on Monday, noting that unlocked phones will sell for $79.99. Thus far, phones based on Mozilla’s open mobile OS have been targeted at emerging markets, including several Latin American, countries. The phones will be orange, as seen here, and users in the U.S. and U.K. will be able to pick their carrier networks.

  • Education

    • How open source took root in one Pennsylvania school district

      I’ve been working in educational technology for more than 17 years and have spent much of my career advocating for open source in schools. For years, open source in education has gotten a bad rap. Superintendents, school boards and teachers frequently misunderstood open source software to be synonymous with dubious code birthed by mad, degenerate “hackers” who spend dark nights scheming to unleash complex and nefarious plots for social disruption.

    • Yet Another School System Thrives on FLOSS

      People still doubt my claims that GNU/Linux and FLOSS thrives in education but my experience in the bush in northern Canada is not unique.

  • Healthcare

  • Project Releases

    • OpenIndiana 151a Finally Sees An Update

      OpenIndiana, the operating system seeking to let Sun Microsystems’ OpenSolaris project live on within the open-source community, is finally out with an update. This isn’t a stable OpenIndiana release but rather is still a pre-release to 151a.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Google Reader Replacements

    The Google Reader service was launched in 2005 and built up a faithful user base of millions over the years. This aggregator of content served by web feeds offered an undeniably intuitive way for users to access a stream of updates from selected websites, enabling them to easily keep tabs on their favourite websites. Following the announcement in March 2013 that Google was to close the doors to this service – it closed July 2013 – millions of users have had to seek an alternative feed-reading service. How many made the right choice?

  • Science

    • How to: make a microscope from a webcam

      Mark Miodownik, presenter from Dara O Briain’s Science Club on BBC Two, reveals how you can perform simple science experiments at home. Try some DIY science and see the microscopic world up close by turning a webcam inside out…

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Farmers in Bicol uproot golden rice

      “We are very concerned as there are news that feed testing will start this year and that the harvest will be used in these feed experiments. In China, the people have protested against the feed trials on children, prompting proponents to compensate the affected families. We do not want our people, especially our children to be used in these experiments.” – Sikwal GMO

    • Filipino farmers destroy genetically modified ‘Golden Rice’ crops

      A group of activist farmers in the Philippines stormed a government research facility and destroyed an area of genetically modified rice crops the size of 10 football fields. According to New Scientist, the farmers say that genetically modified organism (GMO) foods have not been established to be safe for consumption and that the real solution to world hunger isn’t biologically engineered plants, but a reduction in worldwide rates of poverty.

      “The Golden Rice is a poison,” said Willy Marbella to New Scientist. Marbella is a farmer and deputy secretary general of a group of activists known as KMP — Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines.

    • The Tiniest New Technology Poses Unanswered Safety Questions

      You might use nanotechnology in the sunscreens you squirt or lather on your kids. You might like your lips and taste it in your favorite lip-gloss. You might even eat it in your Jell-O pudding. But is it safe?

      Well, that’s a tricky question.

      “Before you can do a risk assessment, you have to be able to do an exposure assessment and a toxicity assessment,” says Consumers Union senior scientist Michael Hansen. “And they really can’t be done yet with nanoparticles. So it makes doing a risk assessment really hard. And there is increasing evidence that particles at the nanoscale can have more of a toxic effect. And that shouldn’t be surprising.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • West turned blind eye to Israel’s involvement in Sabra and Shatila ‘slaughter’

      Between 800 and 3,500 people were killed – mostly older men, women and children – by Israeli-backed, far-right Christian Phalangist militias between September 16 and 18, 1982.

      The Israeli army had invaded Lebanon in June of that year in an attempt to remove the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and its leader, Yasser Arafat, and had succeeded in forcing their departure a week earlier.

      Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/west-turned-blind-eye-to-israels-involvement-in-sabra-and-shatila-slaughter#ixzz2bhbGe8SR
      Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook

    • The innocents caught under the drones: For fearful Yemenis the US and al-Qa’ida look very similar

      I have encountered two separate Yemens this past week: the one portrayed in Western media outlets and the other reality of living in Sana’a. One was rife with conflict and insecurity, the other associated with the navigation of the capital’s gridlocked traffic. Yet the two Yemens collided in a visceral way for most people.

      The al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) plot, described vaguely by President Obama as a “threat stream”, and the subsequent US embassy closure in Sana’a were far from the minds of most Yemenis. Most were more preoccupied with the approaching conclusion of Ramadan, the Eid al-Fitr celebrations and the political direction of the nation, most notably the United Nations-backed National Dialogue Conference, which aims at drafting a new constitution before elections in February.

    • Activists groups can be considered terrorists

      To better understand the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and who is considered a threat we must first ask ourselves “What is a terrorist?” By definition, a terrorist is a person or group of people that cause fear and panic in others by their words or actions. The US government would have us believe that “covered persons” refers to “terrorists” such as al-Qaida or the Taliban.

      However, that is not clearly written in the NDAA. The NDAA only mentions “covered persons.” The government, therefore, could effectively use the NDAA with its indefinite detention and lack of due process against anyone it considers a terrorist. This includes peaceful groups such as the Free State Project and the Occupy movement.

    • Q&A: Chilean author on the CIA’s role in the 1973 military coup

      The Santiago Times speaks to Carlos Busso, an investigative journalist, about his new book on the CIA in Chile, why Allende was a threat and the unofficial story of the coup.

    • How drones shatter Yemeni hopes

      Some years ago, a Western journalist described Yemen as “history’s last departure lounge.” But nobody even in their wildest imagination would have thought this Arab country would one day become the latest theater of America’s drone war and bizarre killings.

      Yes, US missile strikes and civilian casualties coupled with a near total absence of government services and deepening poverty is making Yemen the magnet of the very groups US wants to destroy as part of the war on terror.

    • Putting brakes on use of drones in N.C. right move

      The guidelines for use of drone aircraft by governmental agencies are simple and clear: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


      The people who wrote the Fourth Amendment could not foresee drones, but they were wise enough to outlaw warrantless searches without specifying how the search would be carried out.

    • Citizens for Legitimate Government: 11 August 2013

      U.S. buying even more hardware for Yemen’s military 09 Aug 2013 U.S. drones have been battering Yemen, killing at least 28 people, and American spy planes watch from overhead. And now, Yemen’s skies are looking to get even more crowded. The U.S. Navy is helping the Yemeni air force buy 12 light spy planes, adding to the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military aid the U.S. has given to the Sana’a regime. The Navy’s Light Observation Aircraft for Yemen program aims to buy 12 small planes — or maybe choppers — equipped with infrared and night vision cameras and the ability to beam the images collected by those cameras back to a ground station.[Gee, looks like arming the murderous regime in Yemen is sequester-proof. Ditto the Syrian rebels aka cannibals. This is *insane.* Start reading.]

      Yemeni Al Qaeda expert casts doubt on terror threat claims 11 Aug 2013 Yemen’s foremost Al Qaeda researcher says recent U.S. drone strikes have failed to kill senior leaders of the organization, and he dismisses claims that a plot to bomb a Canadian-owned oil facility was foiled by Yemeni authorities. Abdulrazzaq al-Jamal, a journalist and researcher who has been given exclusive access to the terrorist group’s Yemen branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), said the series of drone strikes in the past 12 days have killed 32 people, including low-level foot soldiers and civilians.

      Yemenis call U.S. drone strikes an overreaction to al Qaida threat 09 Aug 2013 The United States launching of eight drone strikes in Yemen in the span of 13 days has ignited widespread outrage in the country. The anger over the strikes, which came as an al Qaida-related threat shuttered U.S. embassies and consulates in Yemen and 15 other countries, has overwhelmed attention to the threat itself, which many here view skeptically anyway.

    • Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou: Totality of Punishment Is Not Limited to a Prison Sentence

      Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who has served five months of a thirty-month sentence in the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, has written a fourth letter from the prison.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Kaufman: Why has no banker gone to jail?

      Last week, for the first time, the Securities and Exchange Commission won a case against an individual banker for fraudulent behavior leading to the financial meltdown of 2008-09.

      Hold the applause. The banker was a mid-level executive. It was a civil case; he will face other penalties but will not be going to jail. The U.S. government’s record remains intact. It has sent no one from Wall Street to jail for playing a role in the financial crisis.

    • Americans abroad rejecting US citizenship as tax hikes loom

      The number of Americans who decided to renounce their citizenship in the second quarter of 2013 increased sixfold the same period in 2012, a number the federal government attributes to strict impending financial disclosure rules.

      The United States is the only country out of 34 in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that continues to tax citizens regardless of where they live around the world.

    • Thank You, TSA, NSA, FBI and CIA!

      The secret is that the Federal Reserve can’t really control the economy at all. It can influence it. And the influence it has is all negative; that’s the joke. Setting interest rates at any level other than that chosen by willing borrowers and lenders, the Fed distorts the price of credit. And distorting prices always leads to problems…either shortages or surpluses.

      Also, by fixing rates at ultra-low levels, the Federal Reserve is actually stealing from one group and giving to another. The middle class, savers, and working people lose wealth. Hedge fund managers, bankers, zombies…and, of course, those loveable feds themselves…gain.

    • Donald Trump On ABC’s This Week: “I Don’t Know, Nobody Knows” If Obama Was Born In The U.S.
    • WSJ’s Stephen Moore: Devastating Sequestration Cuts Are A “Success” Free Of “Negative Consequences”

      The Wall Street Journal editorial board’s Stephen Moore falsely claimed that the drastic budget cuts known as sequestration have had “none of the anticipated negative consequences,” when in reality economists have explained that the cuts have had devastating effects on economic growth, jobs, and programs for low-income Americans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • LEAKED: Intelligence Agencies Running Mass Number of Propaganda Accounts on Social Media

      If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent months it is, in the words of the New York Times, that “the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.”

      “Surveillance and deception are not just fodder for the next ‘Matrix’ movie, but a real sort of epistemic warfare,” the paper reported.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Op-Ed: Obama on NSA reform — Not giving credit where credit is due

      Without this publicity and consequent public awareness about the program, the president would probably just have let sleeping dogs lie and let the program continue without change. Snowden’s revelations and their consequent effects have forced Obama at least to go through the motions of reform to get ahead of the game. This has been combined with a huge increase in warnings of a global terror threat that can be used to convince the public that the surveillance programs are essential to their security. As a recent article put it, Snowden, Greenwald and whistle blowers were winning. A poll showed that most Americans thought of Snowden as a whistle blower rather than a traitor.

    • Indiana University law prof: NSA surveillance violates privacy

      Fred Cate penned a brief with other law professors asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s order authorizing the government to collect the data. He argues the intelligence court’s 2006 order violates the Patriot Act and “and presents a significant risk to the personal privacy of millions.”

    • Matt Welch Criticizes NSA Spying, Liberty-for-Security Swaps on Fox News

      On Thursday, Aug. 1, I appeared on Fox News’s Your World With Neil Cavuto to talk about the ongoing NSA revelations triggered by Edward Snowden, and where Americans should “draw the line” between liberty and security:

    • Impeach the President, Dismantle the NSA, and Fire the top Echelon of our Military

      Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden and others understand their obligation as honorable citizens to protect and defend the honor of those who once had the courage to dedicate their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to making truth and integrity a way of life for all peoples starting right here at home. Many lost their fortunes and their lives doing so. We are no longer being led by such people although there are many people living in the United States today who do have the courage, the honor, and the ability to do what our Founders did.

    • Robocalls: A job for NSA

      The state and federal Do-Not-Call programs are a joke.

    • Matt Damon Slams President Obama: WATCH ‘Elysium’ Actor Discuss NSA, ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law [VIDEO] Weekend Box Office Results

      Elysium actor Matt Damon has been known as a big supporter of President Obama, especially during his presidential campaign in 2008. However, it seems Damon has soured on the president, judging by a recent interview. During an interview with BET, Damon suggested that it feels like he and the President of the United States have separated. Damon told BET, “He (President Obama) broke up with me.”

    • Former adviser Van Jones calls Obama’s denial of NSA spying ‘ridiculous’ (Video)

      Van Jones, a former special adviser to President Barack Obama for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” has described the statement the president made Tuesday on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” that the government does not having a spying program as “ridiculous.”

    • Zimmermann’s Law: PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder Phil Zimmermann on the surveillance society

      Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP, in a wide-ranging interview talks about the corrupting nature of big data, the end of privacy and the rise of the surveillance society. He also shared his thoughts on Moore’s Law and its marriage to public policy, and why Silent Circle shutdown its email-service.


      Given the frenetic nature of the news, I didn’t think I would get a chance to have a measured discussion with Zimmermann. Much to my surprise, he got on the phone and we ended up discussing everything from the rise of the surveillance state; big data and its devastating impact on society; data totalitarianism; the somewhat dubious role of Google and Facebook in our lives; and why as a society we can’t fall victim to the cynicism that is starting to permeate our lives. He also talked at length about the important role of our legislators in pushing back against the unstoppable tide of the “surveillance society.”

    • Loophole Shows That, Yes, NSA Has ‘Authority’ To Spy On Americans — Directly In Contrast With Public Statements
    • NSA’s Rules Allowing Warrantless Searches On Americans Came THE SAME DAY It Was Told Searches Violated 4th Amendment

      We already wrote about the bombshell revelation from the Guardian that the NSA changed the rules in October of 2011, so that it had permission to do warrantless searches on US persons (contrary to public claims). However, Marcy Wheeler recognized the date of that update is the very same date that the FISA court supposedly smacked down the NSA for violating the 4th Amendment with some searches.

    • FBI suspected of cyber-attack on anonymous web-hosting and email services

      On August 5 malicious software (malware) in the form of a Java Script (JS) attack code was discovered embedded in multiple websites hosted by the anonymous hosting company Freedom Hosting (FH), the largest hosting company on the anonymous Tor network. Initial research into the malware by experts suggests that it originated from and returned private data back to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or other US government agencies.

    • Not only do they spy on us…

      ….but Big Brother also charges us to spy on us.

    • NSA to chop sysadmin numbers by 90 percent – or is it?

      Most likely, these people would be put on other work rather than fired.

    • Obama’s NSA ‘reforms’ won’t change anything

      While I attended President Obama’s Friday news conference, which largely dealt with surveillance and security, I couldn’t help but wonder whether one man, eight time zones away, was watching: Edward Snowden.

      Having lived in Moscow for many years, I know the Russian capital has many Friday night diversions — but what could been more interesting for Snowden than to watch the president of the United States continue to react to his bombshell revelations? Snowden probably gets a kick out of hearing the president mention his name, too — the ultimate validation of his own importance. Indeed, the president even devalued himself by taunting Snowden. If Snowden is so sure of himself and his views, Obama said, why not return home, get a lawyer, and make his case in court?

    • Don’t Insult Our Intelligence, Mr. President: This Debate Wouldn’t Be Happening Without Ed Snowden

      One of the more ridiculous claim’s during President Obama’s press conference on NSA surveillance today was the claim that he had already started this process prior to the Ed Snowden leaks and that it’s likely we would end up in the same place. While he admitted that Snowden may have “accelerated” the process, he’s also claiming that the leaks put our national security at risk.

    • Obama’s Response To NSA Was To Appease The Public, Not Reduce The Spying

      Even more to the point, his comments represent a fundamental misunderstanding of why the public doesn’t trust the government. That’s because he keeps insisting that the program isn’t being abused and that all of this collection is legal. But, really, that’s not what the concern is about. Even though we actually know that the NSA has a history of abuse (and other parts of the intelligence community before that), a major concern is that scooping up so much data is considered legal in the first place.

    • Obama says phone spying not abused, will continue

      President Barack Obama made it clear Friday he has no intention of stopping the daily collection of American phone records. And while he offered “appropriate reforms,” he blamed government leaks for creating distrust of his domestic spying program.

    • DOJ: There’s No Expectation Of Privacy In Your Phone Records Because People Don’t Like Terrorists

      Following our post on the NSA’s document defending its surveillance programs, let’s look more closely at the Justice Department’s “white paper” explaining the legal rationale for scooping up all of the metadata on every phone call under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, also known as the “business records” or “tangible things” section. This document just focuses on that one program, rather than the many other programs, and within its 23 pages there are so many ridiculous things. I’m sure we’ll come back to many of them in future posts. After going through it a few times, it seems abundantly clear that this was a rush job by the administration to defend this particular program, without realizing just how ridiculous many of its claims are. As Julian Sanchez has noted, the arguments made in this document appear to contradict the DOJ’s actions in dozens of ways, and basically invalidates a ton of previous arguments concerning other surveillance programs. And, worse, it more or less opens the door for massive surveillance on a variety of other things. Again from Sanchez, the argument in this paper could easily apply to having a local prosecutor subpoena all city phone records looking for drug dealing. Because safety!

    • Obama’s Simply Wrong: Whistleblower Protections Would Not Have Applied To Snowden

      During the Q&A portion of today’s President Obama press conference, reporter Chuck Todd asked Obama about Ed Snowden and whether he was a “patriot,” after Obama announced some reforms and even directly made clear that those who support civil liberties and greater transparency “love their country” and are “patriots.” Except, Obama said that he does not think Snowden is a patriot, in part because he had signed the Whistleblower Protection Act and extended the protections to the intelligence community. This is laughable on a variety of levels, including the Obama administration’s actions against other whistleblowers like Thomas Drake and William Binney, who did go through official channels, and then were subject to ridiculous investigations and (with Drake) totally trumped up charges on a bogus unrelated issue.

    • Obama’s Response To NSA Surveillance: Some Minor Reforms & Transparency; Still Lacking Justification
    • London’s bins are tracking your smartphone

      Smartbins use devices’ Wi-Fi connections to log their MAC address and track customer habits

    • Rep. Justin Amash: House Intelligence Committee Withheld NSA Documents From Incoming Congressmen

      Defenders of the NSA’s program always point to two things: it’s all legal and it’s all subject to oversight. Part of the “oversight” is the FISA “thumbs up” system that has approved every request for two years in a row. The other part of the “oversight” is Congress itself.

      Unfortunately, members of Congress have been lied to directly about the extent of the collections occurring under Section 215 (and 702), so that’s one strike against the “oversight.” Now, it appears that members of Congress are being selectively provided with information about the programs.

    • Assange: Obama ‘validates’ Snowden

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says President Obama’s plans to make changes in National Security Agency surveillance programs stem from a single source: Edward Snowden.

      Obama “validated Edward Snowden’s role as a whistle-blower” with his proposals to revamp NSA programs, Assange said in a written statement Saturday.

      “But rather than thank Edward Snowden, the president laughably attempted to criticize him while claiming that there was a plan all along, ‘before Edward Snowden,’” Assange said. “The simple fact is that without Snowden’s disclosures, no one would know about the programs and no reforms could take place.”

    • Michael Hayden, Former NSA Chief: After A Major Attack, U.S. Likely To Seize More Surveillance Powers
    • Julian Assange: Obama ‘validates’ Snowden by proposing NSA changes
    • Required reading: The surveillance state

      President Barack Obama says he will work with Congress to review US surveillance programmes and the powers of the National Security Agency (NSA), following the whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s revelations of a programme of mass surveillance of electronic communications, including emails and Skype calls.

    • Snowden’s father decries ‘political theater’ over son’s leaks

      The father of Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, complained Sunday about the “political theater” surrounding his son’s disclosures of secret surveillance programs and dismissed President Obama’s proposed reforms as “superficial.”

    • Surveillance debate or immigration reform?

      For President Barack Obama, August was supposed to be the time when a major immigration bill landed on his desk.

    • Obama’s NSA review vindicates Snowden, Assange says
    • EU a Key NSA Target
    • Stickonspy: sticker-reminder that the NSA likes to fool around with your webcam

      Stickonspy sells die-cut stickers that go around your laptop’s webcam to remind yourself — and others — that spooks from western governments have made a practice of using spyware that allows them to covertly switch on laptop and mobile phone cameras and microphones to spy on their owners. $3 for one, $10 for 6.

    • Crypto-currency for NSA leaker: Snowden fund accepts Bitcoin

      US fugitive Edward Snowden’s defense fund, launched recently by WikiLeaks to raise money for the legal protection of the NSA leaker, has announced it now accepts donations in virtual currency Bitcoin.

      The Journalistic Source Protection Defence Fund (JSPD) was set up on August 9 with the goal to provide legal as well as campaign aid to journalistic sources. Snowden, who is behind the biggest intelligence leak in the history of the US National Security Agency (NSA), has been selected the first such source.

    • The NSA Isn’t the Only One Spying On You — Your Phone Company is Helping

      A recent federal court ruling that sanctioned the warrantless tracking of American cellular users was deeply troubling. It revealed a disturbing expansion in the scope of power of U.S. executive bodies and has sparked a great distrust among the American people of federal and state authorities.

      In what has become, as the New York Times describes, “a routine tool” for state and federal agents, cell-phone tracking remains a topic many law enforcement officials shy away from discussing. The popularity of the practice has led to its adoption by many local police departments and has become the most prevalent invasive way government officials invade personal privacy.

    • Former NSA chief predicts surveillance programs will expand

      The former head of the National Security Agency said Sunday that not only does ending the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs seems unlikely, but he images those endeavors could expand in scope during the coming years.

    • Want to shoot some guns during recess? Spy agencies court Congress while deceiving it
    • Why won’t they tell us the truth about the NSA?

      But we soon discovered that also was not true either. We learned in another Guardian newspaper article last week that the top secret “X-Keyscore” program allows even low-level analysts to “search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.”

    • Obama Spurns NSA Spying Reform

      Huey Long once said fascism will arrive “wrapped in an American flag.” In “Friendly Fascism,” Bertram Gross (1912 – 1997) called Ronald Reagan its prototype ruler. Gross didn’t know Obama.

      He represents the worst of rogue governance. He advances America’s imperium. He heads its police state apparatus. He’s waging war on humanity. He’s doing it abroad and at home.

      He puts a smiling face on repression. He’s hardline. He’s ruthless. He’s done what supporters thought impossible. He exceeds the worst of George Bush. He says one thing. He does another. He demands it.

      His promises ring hollow. He broke every major one made. He’s a serial liar. He’s a moral coward. On August 9, he defended the indefensible. He did so disingenuously.

    • The Art of Deception: A Necessary Skill for Intelligence Officials

      As more and more becomes known about blanket spying by the National Security Agency, one thing is becoming increasingly apparent. Government officials are deliberately and repeatedly misleading Congress and the US public in a concerted effort to conceal as much as possible about what the NSA is actually doing.

    • NSA server in Ukraine as part of electronic surveillance program, Snowden revelations suggest

      Details of a top secret U.S. National Security Agency program for culling intelligence from the internet indicate that at least one computer server was or is located in Ukraine, the Guardian wrote on July 31, citing documents provided by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.

    • In light of NSA revelations, two German companies to automatically encrypt emails

      Two of Germany’s biggest Internet service providers said Friday they will start encrypting customers’ emails by default in response to user concerns about online snooping after reports that the U.S. National Security Agency monitors international electronic communications.

    • Germany ‘mid-level’ interest to NSA: Report

      Germany is considered to be of ‘mid-level’ interest to the US National Security Agency with the European Union a key priority of spying targets, reports weekly Der Spiegel, citing a document leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

    • US Snooping Programme Had One Server Located In India: Report

      A controversial US surveillance programme that sweeps Internet usage data had 700 snooping servers installed at 150 locations around the world, including one in India, according to a report.

      The XKeyscore programme, run by the National Security Agency (NSA), allowed analysts to search through vast databases containing e-mails, online chats and browsing histories of millions of individuals, the Guardian reported, citing documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • NSA Likely Houses Servers in American Embassy, Report Says

      A source in the Russian special services said with “practically 100 percent certainty” that a server supporting the NSA surveillance system XKeyscore is located in the American embassy in Moscow.

    • One of NSA servers used for XKeyscore located in US embassy in Moscow – media
    • National Security Agency Spies on Us and Pays Others to Spy

      Several stories concerning the National Security Agency spying on U.S. citizens surfaced recently.

      British newspaper The Guardian reported on a computer program called XKeyScore. This program allows civilian hackers working for the NSA to fill out a form which gives them access to our email and phone call contents. It can give them recorded files, or real-time email, chat, text or phone-call communications.

    • EU ranked as ‘key priority’ for NSA monitoring

      The European Union is ranked as a key priority by the NSA for monitoring a German newspaper reported Saturday, citing a document leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Edward Snowden’s father gets visa to visit NSA leaker in Russia

      National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s father has secured documents to visit his son in Russia and plans to discuss how he could fight espionage charges, Lon Snowden and his attorney said Sunday.

    • Snowden’s father gets visa to visit NSA leaker son in Russia
    • NSA snooping casts pall over Kerry trip

      Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Colombia and Brazil this week builds on efforts to deepen relations with Latin America, but he can expect a curt reception from the two U.S. allies after reports that an American spy program widely targeted data in emails and telephone calls across the region.

    • NSA’s Spy History Poses Daunting Challenge for President Obama

      For decades, the NSA has routinely monitored the phone calls, and before emails, the telegrams of thousands of Americans. The rationale has always been the same, and Obama has repeatedly said it in defense of the spy program, and that’s that the surveillance has done much to protect Americans from foreign threats and attacks. The NSA recently tossed out the figure of 42 terrorist acts that it supposedly nipped in the bud because of the spy program. The problem with that is the agency’s history. Its named targets in the past have not been solely alleged Muslim extremists, but Communists, peace activists, black radicals, civil rights leaders, and even drug peddlers.

    • Assange says Obama’s NSA reform vindicates Snowden
    • New search engine protects you from NSA

      The website is called Zeekly.com and founder Jeffrey Sisk explains it doesn’t retain search history, and also runs on 2048-bit SSL encryption to keep private what Internet users don’t want public.

    • Forget Transparency: Now Is The Time to End the NSA’s Surveillance

      On Friday, President Obama delivered a speech meant to answer Americans’ concerns about NSA surveillance. Like most 50-minute speeches by major politicians, it amounts to 50 minutes of life we’ll never get back, and little substance.

      The take-away from the speech is that President Obama is “comfortable” with the surveillance program exactly as it already exists, and the “reforms,” to the extent of which they will happen at all, center on his quote “how do I make the American people more comfortable.”

      In effect, this means a PR campaign to convince the public that what the NSA is doing is okay, and it is noteworthy that one of the major “reforms” announced was having the intelligence agencies make a website to sell the programs to the public.

    • King: Obama needs to speak out more in support of NSA

      Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Obama could have used his “bully pulpit” to allay fears among the public that the National Security Agency was snooping on their private telephone and Internet communications.

      “What I’m very critical of him for is basically he’s been silent for the last two months,” said King, an outspoken proponent of anti-terrorism intelligence efforts. “He has allowed the Edward Snowdens and the others of the world to dominate the media, and now we have so many people who actually think the NSA is spying on people.”

    • GOP lawmakers balk at privacy advocate in FISA Court
    • Clyburn: Obama can’t have ‘blank check’ on NSA surveillance
    • Peter King: Obama ‘silent’ on NSA
    • Republicans Warn Against NSA Changes

      Some senior Republicans in Congress on Sunday threw cold water on a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s plan to revamp the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs–his proposal to provide a new advocate for privacy concerns.

    • Edward Snowden dodges NSA traps in endless runner iOS and Android game
    • Ways To Reduce The Chances Of Being Spied On By The NSA Or Anyone Else

      One tool is Tor, a free service that is described as “virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet” by providing “the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.”

      Tor makes it possible to avoid being tracked by web sites use and to use email, chat and other services anonymously. It also allows users to access services that may be blocked by their Internet service provider (in some countries by government order).

      A new iPhonem, Android, Windows and Blackberry app called Seecrypt“allows you to make and receive unlimited, secure voice calls and text messages between Seecrypt Mobile-enabled devices, anywhere in the world.”

    • Former CIA, NSA Chief: Obama Wants Americans to Accept Surveillance

      Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden addressed President Obama’s promises of more “transparency” for the surveillance programs, saying that his goal is just to make Americans comfortable enough to accept the program.

    • Lon Snowden, NSA Leaker’s Father, Claims Russia Has Issued Him A Visa

      National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s father has secured documents to visit his son in Russia and plans to discuss how he could fight espionage charges, Lon Snowden and his attorney said Sunday.

    • Mega to run ‘cutting-edge’ encrypted email after Lavabit’s ‘privacy seppuku’

      Kim Dotcom’s Mega.co.nz is working on a highly-secure email service to run on a non-US-based server. It comes as the US squeezes email providers that offer encryption and Mega’s CEO calls Lavabit’s shutdown an “honorable act of Privacy Seppuku.”

      Mega’s Chief Executive Vikram Kumar, who is heading the development of the company’s own end-to-end encryption technology to protect the privacy of the future email’s users, has reacted to the Lavabit founder’s decision to suspend his service’s operations – an act, which was shortly followed by voluntary closing down of another secure email service, Silent Circle.

    • New Rule: Congressmen Who Thought Iraq Had WMDs Can’t Talk About NSA Effectiveness

      Senator Saxby Chambliss is either a blind war hawk or is deliberately misleading the public. Last week, after the National Security Agency had intercepted an al-Qaida conference call plotting attacks against U.S. embassies, Chambliss claimed it was proof that mass surveillance programs were effective. But the AP reports that the NSA’s controversial phone and Internet monitoring programs “played no part in detecting the initial tip.”

      The press should have known — and reported on — the fact that Chambliss had a history of hawkish interpretations of intelligence reports after he voted for the Iraq War in 2002. Indeed, the most ardent defenders of the NSA are exactly those members of Congress who wrongly believed we needed to invade Iraq after believing that there was an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    • The NSA is turning the internet into a total surveillance system

      Now we know all Americans’ international email is searched and saved, we can see how far the ‘collect it all’ mission has gone

    • Lawmakers tasked with overseeing NSA surveillance programs feel “inadequate”

      In the wake of the Obama Administration’s nod towards greater transparency for its surveillance programs, some members of Congressional intelligence and judiciary committees now say that they have not had the proper opportunity to understand, much less challenge these programs.

      “In terms of the oversight function, I feel inadequate most of the time,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the House Intelligence Committee. She spoke with The Washington Post on Saturday evening, admitting that while the programs were “approved” by Congress—”Was it approved by a fully knowing Congress? That is not the case.”

    • Russia among countries atop NSA surveillance priority list

      Russia, alongside the EU, China and Iran, are on top of the NSA’s spying priority list, according to a document leaked by fugitive Edward Snowden and published by Der Spiegel weekly.

      In the classified document, dated April 2013, countries are assigned levels of interest for NSA surveillance from 1 (the highest) to 5 (the lowest).

      Among the top surveillance targets are China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Afghanistan. The EU, as a whole is also ranking high, though individually its 28 member-states are of lesser importance to the US intelligence, with Germany and France representing mid-level interest, while countries like Finland, Croatia and Denmark are denoted as almost irrelevant in data gathering.

    • Peter King Defends NSA Against ‘Slanders’: ‘Drives Me Crazy’ To Hear ‘Snooping And Spying’

      On this Sunday’s Face the Nation, New York Congressman Peter King denounced the beating the NSA’s reputation has taken as a result of Edward Snowden’s revelations of the organization’s surveillance programs, arguing that “loose words” like “spying” and “snooping” unfairly diminished the patriotism of NSA staff and officials.

    • Snowden details how NSA can search e-mails, calls without warrant
    • Iran, Russia, China, EU atop NSA Piority List

      Russia, alongside the EU, China and Iran, are on top of the NSA’s spying priority list, according to a document leaked by fugitive Edward Snowden and published by Der Spiegel weekly.

    • Obama’s assurances miss core concerns over NSA surveillance programme

      The US president, Barack Obama, sought to reassure his country, as well as his allies, with a public review and additional oversight of US national security surveillance programmes, but observers said the steps do little to address the core issues at the heart of public concern over the practices.

    • US Govt. Employee Bravely Calls for the Total Abolition of NSA

      These programs have only one objective, and they cannot be reformed or “controlled” or otherwise fixed. Their objective is to reduce the people of the whole Earth under absolute tyranny.

    • On NSA Surveillance, Congressional Oversight Fell Short

      Much of President Obama’s defense of the NSA surveillance program yesterday came down to it being under the oversight of all three branches of the federal government, himself, the Congress, and the secret judges that signed off on the warrants.

    • Lavabit’s Ladar Levison: ‘If You Knew What I Know About Email, You Might Not Use It’

      Ladar Levison, 32, has spent ten years building encrypted email service Lavabit, attracting over 410,000 users. When NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was revealed to be one of those users in July, Dallas-based Lavabit got a surge of new customers: $12,000 worth of paid subscribers, triple his usual monthly sign-up. On Thursday, though, Levison pulled the plug on his company, posting a cryptic message about a government investigation that would force him to “become complicit in crimes against the American people” were he to stay in business. Many people have speculated that the investigation concerned the government trying to get access to the email of Edward Snowden, who has been charged with espionage. There are legal restrictions which prevent Levison from being more specific about a protest of government methods that has forced him to shutter his company, an unprecedented move.

  • Civil Rights

    • New CCTV Code of Practice comes into force

      The code is a step in the right direction towards bringing proper oversight to the millions of cameras that capture our movements every day. However, with only a small fraction of cameras covered and without any penalties for breaking the code, we hope that this is only the beginning of the process and that further steps will be taken in the future to protect people’s privacy from unjustified or excessive surveillance.

    • TSA, change the airport security mindset
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright owners group tears apart law review process

        Australia’s home entertainment industry lobby has slammed the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) over its handling of a review of the country’s copyright regime.

      • Australian Copyright Industry Says Proposal To Bring In Fair Use Is ‘Solution For Problem That Doesn’t Exist’

        A couple of months back, Techdirt wrote about Australia’s proposals to shift from the current fair dealing approach to fair use as part of wide-ranging reform of copyright there. When something similar was mooted in the UK as part of what became the Hargreaves Review, it was shouted down by the copyright maximalists on the grounds that it would lead to widespread litigation. As Mike pointed out at the time, that’s nonsense: the existence of a large body of US case law dealing with this area makes it much easier to bring in fair use without the need for its contours to be defined in the courts.


Links 11/8/2013: Fedora Flock, Qualcomm Changes Course on Blobs

Posted in News Roundup at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.1.1 RC1 Arrives with New Features

      The Document Foundation has announced that the first Release Candidate version for LibreOffice 4.1.1 is now available for the Linux platform, bringing a lot of bug fixes and improvements.

  • BSD

    • FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots, and Some Suggestions

      freenas-ixsystems-new-logoFreeNAS 9.1 has been released. We have read the blog posts, the press releases, and we probably all agree that this FreeBSD based NAS is becoming better and better with each release. FreeNAS is still ‘growing up’ and new features are added to each new version.


    • gNewSense 3.0 released

      Most notably, gNewSense 3.0, codenamed “Parkes,” is now based on Debian rather than Ubuntu. gNewSense is a fully free GNU/Linux distro and one of the growing number of GNU/Linux distributions that are endorsed by the FSF for providing and recommending only free software. gNewSense now runs on three architectures: i386, amd64 and MIPS.

    • Video: You broke the Internet. We’re making ourselves a GNU one.

      This is the video from the talks given by Christian Grothoff, Carlo von Lynx, Jacob Appelbaum and Richard Stallman in Berlin on August 1st. The talks are in English, even though the welcoming words are in German.

  • Programming

    • Open Line on GitHub

      Felix Geisendörfer recently wrote Vim Trick: Open current line on GitHub. The idea is to open a repository with GitHub in a browser for the current file and line number in Vim.


  • YouTube founders take on Vine and Instagram with MixBit video app
  • Hot Startups Tap Google’s Legal Talent

    The attorneys atop six hot tech ventures have at least one thing in common: They’ve Googled it.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Finance

    • The legal jujitsu of Goldman Sachs

      Vanity Fair has timed the publication of its latest 11,000-word Michael Lewis opus perfectly to coincide with Fabrice Tourre being found liable on six counts of misleading investors while he worked at Goldman Sachs. Lewis also profiles a former Goldman employee charged with serious misdeeds; in his case, it’s Sergei Aleynikov. And in both cases — Aleynikov and Tourre — the government ended up in a position of overstretch.

  • Privacy

    • NSA revelations remind me of Cold War Romania: Column

      For Marcel Proust, a madeleine cookie triggered a flood of childhood memories. For me, cookies usually signify less about memories of childhood and more about information collection, often surreptitious, through bits of code inserted on unsuspecting users’ computers. Recently, though, revelations about the NSA’s information-collection efforts have brought together thoughts about surveillance and memories of my childhood.

    • ‘Nobody is listening to your calls’: Obama’s evolution on NSA surveillance

      Barack Obama insisted on Friday that the NSA reforms he has proposed would have happened all along and that his views on surveillance programs had “not evolved”. But since the president first responded to Edward Snowden’s revelations in June he has rejected any suggestion that more safeguards were required.

    • Four Ways To Escape The NSA Dragnet

      Start by switching to an alternative search engine, using an alias on Facebook, and supporting allied nonprofits. This article was written by Nick Pearson, the CEO of IVPN. IVPN is a privacy platform, and Electronic Frontier Foundation member, committed to protecting online freedoms and online privacy.

    • EU among priority spy targets for NSA: report

      The European Union is ranked as a key priority in a list of spying targets for the US National Security Agency, German weekly Der Spiegel said Saturday, citing a document leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

      The classified document, dated April 2013, states that the US secret services are especially interested in gathering intelligence concerning the 28-member bloc’s foreign policy, international trade, and economic stability, the magazine reported.

    • What the Chomsky-Žižek debate tells us about Snowden’s NSA revelations

      Rather than backing one or the other thinker, why not embrace both to inform a leftist critique of the surveillance scandal?


      In light of the recent NSA surveillance scandal, Chomsky and Žižek offer us very different approaches, both of which are helpful for leftist critique. For Chomsky, the path ahead is clear. Faced with new revelations about the surveillance state, Chomsky might engage in data mining, juxtaposing our politicians’ lofty statements about freedom against their secretive actions, thereby revealing their utter hypocrisy. Indeed, Chomsky is a master at this form of argumentation, and he does it beautifully in Hegemony or Survival when he contrasts the democratic statements of Bush regime officials against their anti-democratic actions. He might also demonstrate how NSA surveillance is not a strange historical aberration but a continuation of past policies, including, most infamously, the FBI’s counter intelligence programme in the 1950s, 60s, and early 70s.

    • NSA FISA Surveillance: Attention Shifts To Email Surveillance
    • LIVE: Lavabit Closing – The Beginning of an NSA Coverup?
    • Two email providers close rather than comply with NSA data requests

      Two encrypted email providers closed down Thursday to avoid being forced to turn over user data to the federal government, The New York Times is reporting.

    • The guys that fight dodgy megacorps and surveillance-happy governments

      Our freedom to share information, speak our minds, come up with new ideas and keep our lives private is being threatened. Governments are continually seeking new ways to monitor what we’re doing, while big businesses are constantly trying to lock us into their products. Bit by bit, our freedoms are being eroded.

    • N.S.A. Said to Search Content of Messages to and From U.S.

      The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans’ e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials.

    • Edward Snowden, the Espionage Act and First Amendment Concerns

      Last month, Edward Snowden, a former government employee and contractor, disclosed to newspaper reporters information about US intelligence activities that he obtained during the course of his work. Specifically, he revealed that the NSA engaged in widespread, warrantless surveillance of domestic and international telephone and Internet communications and also engaged in cyber spying on other governments, including allies. The revelations caused a public stir, especially given the questionable constitutionality of the NSA’s domestic surveillance. But far more press, much of it hyperbolic, has focused on Snowden himself. Many officials and observers have called him a traitor while others labeled him a hero and a whistleblower who exposed massive government wrongdoing. The federal government recently brought criminal charges against him for theft of government property and violations of sections 793(d) and 798(a)(3) of the Espionage Act. These crimes carry possible prison sentences of up to thirty years and signal that the government does not view Snowden as a whistleblower. What are the implications of these particular charges for Snowden, especially in light of the First Amendment, which exists largely to protect public criticism of government and serve as a check against government wrongdoing?

    • Constitution Check: Is the Chief Justice’s power to pick judges of the secret wiretap court a bad idea?

      Lyle Denniston looks at a growing debate about Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ power to select judges who sit on a top-secret court – a power assigned to him by Congress.

    • If Bruce Schneier ran the NSA, he’d ask a basic question: “Does it do any good?”

      For the last two months, we’ve all watched the news about the National Security Agency and its friends over at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which approves secret orders on behalf of the NSA and other spy agencies. But more often than not, a lot of these articles take the same basic structure: documents provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden show X, and then privacy advocates and civil libertarians decry X for Y reason.

    • NSA Surveillance: Obama is Using Loophole to Conduct Domestic Spying

      Ever since Edward Snowden exposed the NSA’s wiretapping to the world, President Obama have been trying to assuage Americans’ fears and apprehensions over domestic spying — and much to no avail. Obama’s latest effort came on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where Obama made clear that America does not have a domestic spying program. Unfortunately, the facts show otherwise.

    • The president is wrong: The NSA debate wouldn’t have happened without Snowden

      At Friday’s news conference, President Obama was asked by Chuck Todd whether the debate that has arisen in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations made Snowden a patriot. Obama disagreed.

    • Assange blasts Obama for denying Snowden’s role in NSA reforms

      While praising US President Barack Obama’s Friday surveillance reforms as a “victory of sorts for Edward Snowden,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange delivered a written blow to the administration for its “hypocritical” treatment of the subject.

    • Snowden Who? U.S. and Russian Officials Say NSA Leaker Not Part of ‘2+2’ Meetings

      A canceled summit and the rogue NSA contractor’s asylum had some expecting fireworks at the bilateral talks with Kerry and Hagel. Somehow, it was business as usual.

  • Civil Rights

    • Why Your Cell Phone’s Location Isn’t Protected by the Fourth Amendment

      In a major decision last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the location of your cell phone when you place a call is not protected by the Fourth Amendment, which guards against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

    • FLOSS after Prism: Anonymity by default

      In my last blog post I discussed that we have to protect the user’s privacy better by giving the user the choice to decide which data gets submitted to services. In this blog post I want to share some thoughts about the case that the data is submitted and how to protect the user in such a case.

  • DRM

    • Publishers object to Department of Justice’s punishment for Apple in eBooks case

      Five publishers have filed objections with the US Department of Justice regarding the DOJ’s choice of punishment in a recent anti-trust ruling against the Cupertino company. The ruling found Apple guilty of conspiring to fix e-book prices, forcing customers to pay a higher price. The proposed punishment would require them to cut off their current agreements with the five publishers in question and avoid entering new agreements for five years that could prohibit competitiveness in the market.

    • Apple faces major day in court on patents and e-books

      It’s a big day for Apple in court today, as the Cupertino-based company remains entangled in a massive web of litigation that seems to have ensnared the entire tech sector.

      First, the company will be squaring off against the Justice Department in a hearing about possible remedies for the company’s practices in developing its e-book business, which a judge recently ruled were in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Ambry hits back at Myriad’s “bad faith enforcement” of breast cancer gene patents

      For many years, all testing of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in the US was under control of one company: Myriad Genetics of Utah. But many expected that monopoly to be over when the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Myriad can’t claim patent rights to those genes. In fact, the court ruled, such “isolated” DNA sequences can’t get patents at all—although a lab-made form of the gene called the cDNA version still can.


Links 10/8/2013: Debian Celebrates 20 Years, Android Blobs Debated

Posted in News Roundup at 5:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Server

    • NSA Responds To Insecurity By Cutting System Administrator Count By 90 %

      Chuckle. They must run a lot of GNU/Linux. There’s no way that other OS can be secure with such cuts because of the layers of cruft that M$ imposes. With GNU/Linux otoh, one guy can control an indefinite number of machines with SSH and package managers. Even in my home, I activate one script and it updates all the machines on my LAN in a few seconds.

    • IBM Opens Up POWER Architecture For Licensing

      IBM is now following in the steps of ARM Holdings and has decided to allow for licensing of their CPU architecture. IBM and a group of other companies wanting a stake in IBM’s POWER architecture have also founded the OpenPOWER Consortium group.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • TLLTS Episode 517 Aug 7
    • Opsview

      Opsview is a global IT Systems Management software business. Our flagship product, Opsview Enterprise was released in 2009, based on the original Opsview open source project launched in 2003, and is in use in over 35,000 companies in 160 countries.

  • Kernel Space

    • Reiser File System (Reiser3 and Reiser4)

      The Reiser File System (Reiser3) was created by Namesys in 2001 and added to the Linux Kernel in version 2.4.1. Reiser3 was the first Journaling file system included in the Linux Kernel.

    • Journaled File System(JFS)
    • Queueing in the Linux Network Stack
    • Linux 3.11 Power Consumption Results Are Mixed

      Separate from the important Radeon DPM support in Linux 3.11 that can sharply lower system power usage when using this forthcoming kernel update, there’s been other power-related changes in recent Linux kernel releases.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Reverse PRIME Committed To AMD X.Org Driver
      • OpenMP 4.0 Majorly Advances Parallel Programming

        The OpenMP 4.0 specification has been unveiled as a major new specification for programming of accelerators, SIMD programming, and better optimization using thread affinity.

      • NVIDIA 325.15 Driver Brings Fixes, New GPU Support
      • The What Why and How of Wayland and Weston on Linux

        Let’s start from the beginning, because even though Wayland has been in development for over five years there is still a lot of misunderstanding of what it is. Wayland is a display server protocol that is intended to replace the X Window System. We’ve had X for 27 years, and computing has changed a wee bit in that time. Back in the olden days we had text terminals and every little pixel was precious. Now we have great honking graphics cards with more processing power than the servers and workstations of yesteryear, multiple displays, smartphones and tablets, embedded devices, and users who are not going to settle for colorful ANSI displays, but want complex 3D graphics. And why shouldn’t Linux lead the way in graphics rendering? Are we not overdue for holodecks? And who would ever want to leave their holodeck? Though, as figure 1 shows, you can make some cool color images with ANSI.

      • Orbital: A New Shell For Wayland’s Weston

        Orbital is a plugin/client for Wayland’s Weston compositor that provides a custom shell for the next-generation display server. Orbital is made using Qt 5 and Qt Quick 2.

        Giulio Camuffo announced his custom Wayland/Weston shell today on the Wayland development mailing list. He’s been working on this shell for a while that’s written using the Qt 5 tool-kit with Qt Quick 2. It’s now in a comfortable state so he’s decided to publicly announce Orbital.

      • Nvidia Optimus on Linux
      • Nouveau NVC0 Fermi Compute Support Committed

        The patches published one month ago for Nouveau NVIDIA Fermi Compute Support on the open-source driver have now been committed to master for the next Mesa release. More importantly this is the base work for implementing NVIDIA performance counters.

      • AMD/ATI X.Org Driver Brings New GPU Support

        Version 7.2.0 of the xf86-video-ati DDX driver was released this morning. While the X.Org drivers aren’t too exciting these days with most of the really great work happening within the DRM or Mesa/Gallium3D drivers, there’s still an interesting number of changes to xf86-video-ati 7.2.0 for Radeon GPU hardware support.

      • Intel Linux GPU Driver Patches For 4K HDMI Support

        The set of new patches were written by Intel’s Damien Lespiau and allow for parsing a dark corner of the EDID information for being able to expose the 4K x 2K resolution modes to user-space. These ultra high-resolution modes are supported by the HDMI 1.4 specification.

      • “Mega Drivers” Being Proposed For A Faster Mesa

        Eric Anholt of Intel is currently working on some experimental Mesa code for shipping “Mega drivers”, or building all of the Mesa/Gallium3D drivers together as a single shared object library file. There’s some promise to this mega drivers concept in enhancing performance due to compiler/linker optimizations.

      • RadeonSI Gallium3D Receives MSAA Support

        Marek Olšák, the well known Radeon Gallium3D contributor and AMD’s newest open-source employee, has implemented multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA) support for the “RadeonSI” Gallium3D driver plus made other changes.

      • X.Org/Mesa Topics To Be Discussed Next Month

        The X.Org Developers’ Conference is already coming up next month and there’s a lot of interesting topics to be discussed from DRM security to Mesa to reverse-engineering NVIDIA GPUs.

      • Google Chrome OS Developers Working On DRM Code

        There doesn’t appear to be much to get excited about right now, but it appears some Google developers working on Chrome/Chromium OS have begun working on some improvements to the Linux DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) kernel graphics drivers.

      • The State Of GSoC 2013 X.Org/Mesa/DRM Projects

        For this year’s Google Summer of Code with the X.Org Foundation, three of the developers working on interesting X.Org/Mesa/DRM are on track while one student developer already dropped out.

        At this week’s X.Org Board of Directors IRC meeting there was an update on the GSoC projects. The meeting minutes in full can be found via the X.Org Wiki. Of the four projects, three are on track while one of the student developers has already quit/failed.

      • Radeon Driver On XMir Still Is Messy Experience

        Going back to June on Phoronix there have been Ubuntu Mir/XMir performance benchmarks. Up to this point these benchmarks have only been done with Intel and Nouveau graphics drivers, since the AMD Radeon driver has been rather problematic with XMir. Sadly, this still appears to be the case.

      • XMir-Based Xubuntu Images Now Available

        Xubuntu, the Xfce-based flavor of Xubuntu, is presently evaluating the use of Canonical’s Mir display server via the XMir X11 transition layer. For helping in the process and testing, the Ubuntu derivative has made public some Xubuntu XMir images.

      • Coreboot Gains Haswell Graphics Firmware Support

        Just days after the exciting news of Coreboot supporting the AMD “Kabini” APU, there’s more good news for this open-source project… There’s now Intel “Haswell” graphics firmware support!

      • Linux 3.11 Benchmarks For Nouveau Graphics

        We now know that the Linux 3.11 kernel has a heck of a lot of AMD Radeon performance potential through the new dynamic power management (DPM) support in its DRM kernel driver, but how’s the Nouveau performance? Here’s some new benchmarks.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt5, KDE Frameworks 5 Testing On OpenSUSE

        Using the openSUSE Build Servive it’s now easy to test the very latest Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5 advancements from the openSUSE Linux distribution.

        Following in the steps of Project Neon, the initiative for providing daily packages on Kubuntu of KDE Frameworks 5, a similar push is underway in the openSUSE world.

      • Curry all over the C++11
      • New in kdepim 4.12: mboximporter

        I know 4.11 is still not released (will release today), but kde master is open.

        So I started to add new feature in KDEPIM.

      • Cycling (with a few bits of KDE)

        So while y’alls were frolicking at Akademy (with Dot coverage), I was on vacation. The choice between vacationing with my family or attending Akademy was a tough one: we also spent some time looking into getting the whole family to the conference, but the price tag and “what will the kids do there” tipped the scales. Maybe next year Akademy will be somewhere that fits in my summer vacation and is amenable to cycling.

      • Meet Coyau!
      • KDE Telepathy 0.6.3 Released

        We have just released version 0.6.3 of KDE Telepathy, the instant-messaging client for KDE.

      • A Nepomuk Integration Plugin for Konqueror

        Last week, I presented an idea about indexing messages from webmails in Nepomuk. The summary of this idea is to implement a browser extension for Firefox, Chrome and Konqueror. This extension parses the DOM tree of every page visited by the user that belongs to a webmail. When e-mails are found, they are extracted and stored in a temporary file. Nepomukfileindexer then quicks in and indexes these e-mails in the Nepomuk database.

      • An information kiosk in QML

        Back in May I had to travel to Bariloche, my hometown, due to family issues. While there, I met Javier Barcenas, a local FLOSS advocate and developer.

      • Season of KDE 2013 Applications Open

        Season of KDE is a community outreach program, much like Google Summer of Code that has been hosted by the KDE community for five years straight.

      • FolderView update

        Well I think it’s time for a small update on porting the FolderView applet to QML.

        First of all, I’ve dubbed it QuickFolder for now, this is the name under which it exists in the kde-baseapps repo. The reason is that both codebases need to coexist for a while for me to carry over the old (existing) code to the new applet.

      • Organizing the next KDE PIM sprint!

        It’s that time of the year again for a new PIM sprint. I’ve been there the last two times now and it’s just one amazing bunch of people coming together and making massive progression in what they like doing most.

      • Season of KDE 2013 Applications Open
      • KDE Commit-Digest for 7th July 2013
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GeoClue rises again

        The free software world has been at risk of getting left behind. GeoClue, the location framework designed for these environments was in a state of flux for a long time with very little happening to it. But now we have GeoClue2, a rewritten implementation of the original idea.

      • GNOME Photos 3.9.x

        After being released as a preview for GNOME 3.8, Photos has seen some progress in the 3.9.x cycle. Some highlights so far:

        Flickr support.
        The ability to push to digital media renderers (or DMRs) using dLeyna.
        A new selection pattern and title bar.

      • GNOME 2 Fork MATE Desktop Aims For Wayland

        The MATE Desktop, one of the popular forks of the GNOME 2 desktop environment, is seeking to support the Wayland Display Server as well as systemd — two popular Linux technologies that have only been a focus for GNOME3.

      • Vinagre 3.9.5 Implements New APIs

        Vinagre, an open source remote desktop connection and VCN client for the GNOME desktop environment, reached development version 3.9.5 a few days ago.

        Vinagre 3.9.5 fixes credential access with libsecret, improves credential description, fixes a logic bug in utils.show_many_errors(), adds the recognize_file() API to VinagreProtocol interface, and uses the new recognize_file() API for parsing files.

      • GNOME’s GTK+ 3.10 Irons Out HiDPI, Wayland Support

        At GUADEC last week besides drafting Wayland plans for GNOME, there was a BoF session for GNOME’s toolkit. Here’s some of the stuff that’s upcoming for the GTK+ 3.10 tool-kit.

        For end-users, GTK+ 3.10 is significant in that it should have near-complete HiDPI support — the tool-kit playing nicely with retina-like displays. There’s been a lot of work in recent months by GNOME on their HiDPI support throughout the desktop. The HiDPI blocker right now is just waiting on a new Cairo release.

      • GTK+ meeting notes

        We had a GTK+ meeting during the Guadec BoF days. It was a long and good discussion touching on many issues.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • OpenMandriva Lx Release Schedule, Sort of

        Last week when I wrote about the OpenMandriva Lx Beta delay I was a bit frustrated because I couldn’t find any kind of release schedule for OpenMandriva Lx. Well, apparently I wasn’t the only one because a long time contributor asked the technical committee for one. The answer was a bit disappointing I’m sure.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Those unexpected regressions…

        A while ago, I read Ken Stark’s delicious rant because of a kernel regression.

        Ah, those regressions can be real bothersome in the world of FLOSS. Even so, I had never experienced one. Therefore, the whole thing remained pretty much an abstraction to me… until two days ago, when I found my original thesis presentation and understood the frustration of those regressions.

        Let me explain. When I was a student, computers were not as popular as they are today, let alone laptops. Thus, delivering a presentation meant that you had to borrow somebody else’s laptop.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Gluster will transform storage market, IDC analyst predicts
      • Red Hat signs distribution agreement with Avnet Embedded

        Red Hat, Inc., a provider of open source solutions, has announced that it is expanding the reach of its embedded software program through a new partnership with Avnet Embedded, a business group of Avnet Electronics Marketing, an operating group of Avnet, Inc.

      • Red Hat Doubles Down on its Cloud Focus

        Red Hat is known to many people as the only U.S.-based public company that is exclusively focused on open source, and it has proven that its Linux-focused strategy is very profitable. But as I noted in a recent post, the cloud beckons for Red Hat. June was a big month for Red Hat in terms of advancing its cloud computing strategy, which the whole company is aligning around as an engine for future growth. The company unveiled the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure. It also introduced the Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network and Red Hat Certified Solution Marketplace.

      • Fedora

        • This week in rawhide, the mass rebuild edition…
        • Fedora from Scratch

          ok so you have a shiny new Fedora 19 installation, you’ve just installed it onto your computer/laptop, what’s next. Ok well here’s what I’ve done.

        • Flock 2013 (and stuff)

          Well hi there, strangers. I’m sitting in Robyn’s keynote at Flock 2013, so obviously I need to do something other than listen to what happened to her this one time at band camp (yep, really)! Also, I need to write a blog post so Fedora Badges will pick it up. Fedora Badges is the awesome new gamification thing for Fedora which I told everyone who’d listen I was way too cool to get sucked into, so of course as soon as it went up I started refreshing the leaderboard every three seconds…

        • Fedora 19 Samba Standalone Server With tdbsam Backend

          This tutorial explains the installation of a Samba fileserver on Fedora 19 and how to configure it to share files over the SMB protocol as well as how to add users. Samba is configured as a standalone server, not as a domain controller. In the resulting setup, every user has his own home directory accessible via the SMB protocol and all users have a shared directory with read-/write access.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Let the 1st annual Open SBC Games begin!

      Scarcely a week after the Intel-backed Minnowboard.org project began shipping its $199 open-hardware single board computer, the AMD-backed GizmoSphere.org project released an unrestricted version of its $189 Gizmo SBC’s schematic and electronics distributor Digi-Key added Wandboard.org’s open, Freescale-based $83-144 boardset to its online catalog.

    • SF Muni LED Sign at Home with Raspberry Pi

      My android phone wakes me up with its stock alarm clock into a cold San Francisco summer morning. I lie around a bit, but eventually get up to enjoy yet another day. An hour later, I’m running in my dress shoes, tie waving in the wind like that of an anime superhero schoolboy, towards a light rail train stop. Twenty seconds before I get there, the train leaves, right before an unanticipated 20-minute break in the service. I eat a bagel I don’t want in a cafe nearby to sit there and work while waiting; my day, having barely started, is already ruined.

    • Building Rapiro – interview highlights with Shota Ishiwatari

      We spoke to the creator of Rapiro, the Raspberry Pi robot, about open source, Kickstarter and the future

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Amazon may be revving up its own Android game console

          Amazon could dive into the video game arena with its own Android-based gaming console, according to the folks at Game Informer.

          Citing information from sources with “knowledge of the in-development hardware,” Game Informer said on Thursday that the console could reach consumers by the end of the year, mostly likely by Black Friday. The console would come with its own dedicated controller, say the sources, and would serve as a platform for the digital games already offered by Amazon through its Web site.

        • Sony Posts Open Source Files For The Upcoming Xperia M

          It’s okay to love kernel source – you can admit it. Sony is pretty good to the open source community, and in keeping with that reputation, it has posted the open source files for the Sony Xperia M. Yay.

        • Sony Xperia Z Ultra Open Source Stock ROM Released

          Continuing its commitment to open source software, Sony has taken to its developer portal to upload version 14.1.B.0.461 of its upcoming (yes, not even released yet) Sony Xperia Z Ultra. The embracing of the open source community by Sony is very much a welcome habit of theirs, and consequently it’s little wonder that last year they were voted best OEM.

        • Samsung gains as Apple display supplier, says researcher
      • Android

        • Hey, you know Android apps can ‘access ALL’ of your Google account?

          One-click login hands over keys to Gmail, Google Drive et al, says researcher

        • BlackBerry slides crown jewels into Samsung: BBM Android app touted

          BlackBerry is sharing its crown jewels – BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) – with non-BlackBerry devices for the first time: and the lucky punters are Samsung fandroids in Africa.

        • This Watchdog Is Android’s Best Friend

          If your Android smartphone is performing at a grindingly slow pace, it could be due to apps running in the background that are chewing up available memory. Task killers aren’t really sufficient — these background apps don’t stay dead for long. However, Watchdog Task Manager lets you see exactly which apps are gumming up the works, letting you decide whether to kill — or perhaps delete them.

        • Google Android roundup: Why did JBQ leave AOSP?

          Android news/rumors: The end of an era, plus giant robots annoyed as LG removes “optimus” title from latest release, Android’s continued domination and why people think it’s doomed, and a Moto X engineer hates back on critics

        • Is Android Really Open Source?

          You see, there is Google Android, the project that Google builds and shares with its handset partners, then there is the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The two are not exactly the same. One of them includes proprietary technologies that are not available as open source (guess which one?).

          Jean-Baptiste Quéru, the maintainer of AOSP abruptly quit his post this week, throwing into question the viability of Android as an open-source effort.

          “There’s no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can’t boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support,” Queru stated in a G+ post.

          The challenge that Queru is referring to is the ability of AOSP to boot on the Nexus 4 and 7 devices. Apparently there are some proprietary bits that silicon vendor Qualcomm is not making available as open source, without which AOSP will not boot.

        • Jean-Baptiste Quéru, Post-Nexus 7 Factory Image Debacle: “I’m Quitting AOSP”
        • Acer to Expand Android, Chromebook Offerings

          Taiwanese personal computer maker Acer Inc. said it plans to offer fewer Microsoft Inc. products and more Chromebooks and Android-based mobile devices, after it posted a surprise second-quarter loss on lower sales and rising expenses.

        • The smallest and best new Android phones you can buy aren’t small at all

          You can have any kind of flagship phone, so long as it’s 4.7 inches or larger.

        • Are Android phones too large?

          Today in Open Source: Giant Android phones. Plus: Strike Suit Zero released for Linux, and is Apache the most important open source project?

        • Android AOSP Leader Quits Over Binary GPU Drivers

          Google’s maintainer of the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP), has quit the project out of being frustrated with the lack of open-source ARM GPU drivers. In particular, Google’s flagship devices not working with the Android open-source project over no vendor-backed open-source graphics drivers.

        • Open Source and Hardware Have Transformed Google

          A year ago, BusinessWeek published a story called “It’s Official: Google Is Now a Hardware Company.” And since then, Google’s involvement with hardware has been transformative. Chromebooks (portable computers running Chrome OS) are one of the few bright spots in the portable computing market, Google is spreading out with its Motorola Mobility phone strategy, and the company is getting buzz around its new Chromecast dongle for streaming video content to TVs.

        • Why Google’s Chromecast is a hit with consumers
        • NVIDIA Opens Up SHIELD Gaming Operating System

          The NVIDIA SHIELD portable gaming device/console was released at the end of July and now NVIDIA has come forward with the source-code to the whole operating system in hopes of encouraging enthusiasts to modify and improve the platform.

        • Radeon DPM Power Management Gets Fixed Up Again

          Another round of bug-fixes for the Radeon Dynamic Power Management code has been submitted for the Linux 3.11 kernel.

        • Moto X review: hands-on customization, hands-off use

          Motorola has designed a phone meant to be customized, even to your voice. It’s imperfect, but could return the company to its former glory

        • A day with Moto X: The anti-Droid made for everyone, not just geeks (hands-on)

          That the Moto X doesn’t feature the absolute fastest mobile processor doesn’t matter much. It’s all about simplicity, comfort, and some forward-thinking features. It’s a friendlier Android phone for people who would typically go for an iPhone.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Intel launches Android-powered Education Tablets in 7-inch, 10-inch sizes

        The new devices run on Atom chips, include customized educational software, and offer a number of learning accessories.

      • Asus-made Nexus 10 tablet reportedly coming soon

        Asus is responsible for both the original Nexus 7 and the refreshed edition, so it’s clear the Taiwanese manufacturer has a good working relationship with Google. The refreshed Nexus 10 will reportedly be available “in time for the holiday season” through both Google Play store and Best Buy. Although he’s unsure of the exact announce date, Holly tells us that Best Buy is already preparing for the tablet internally.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google open sources two Web Lab experiments ahead of shutdown this Sunday (video)

    Google’s Web Lab exhibition has had a decent run at London’s Science Museum, but all of that web-linked hardware is being packed up for good after the doors are closed this Sunday. Google’s hoping that at least some of it will live on, though, and has teamed up with research and design firm Tellart to open source two of its most popular experiments.

  • Boffin Releases Its First List Of Open Source Web Design Software
  • FLOSS after Prism: Privacy by Default

    The disclosures by Edward Snowden will have a huge impact on our society and by that also on free software. I do not think that we can continue as we used to do, but that we have to adjust our software to fit the new reality, to make our software a true opponent to the surveillance state we live in and to return to 1983.

  • Using Open Source Tools For Malware Detection

    I started my technology career in the late ’80s working as a bench tech at a small computer repair shop. The first major malware infection I remember was a virus called ‘stoned,’ which spread by sharing floppy disks between computers and replicating itself. It was hidden in the master boot record but not terrible difficult to find and repair. A computer infected by stoned simply displayed the message, “Your computer is now stoned, Legalise (sic) Marijuana.”

  • The Race Is Over, Open Source Has Won. Sorta.

    Philosophies on how to approach things in life, for example Open Source Versus Closed, run in cycles. In the 1970s hobbyists would be carefully typing BASIC code from there enthusiast magazine. Commodore, Apple or the highest podge of C/PM machines.

  • Events

    • Watch the Movie Trailer for LinuxCon/CloudOpen and Win VIP Gift

      What’s been your summer blockbuster favorite? Wolverine? Lone Ranger? Pacific Rim?

      You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Our favorite summer blockbuster comes out September 16 with an exclusive showing only in New Orleans: LinuxCon and CloudOpen North America taking place September 16-18, 2013 at the Hyatt New Orleans.

      This is the largest gathering of Linux and cloud professionals in North America. Deeply technical content has been produced in partnership with the Linux Plumbers Conference to extend the opportunities for learning and collaborating unlike ever before. We hope you will join us.

    • Announcing winners of the Opensource.com caption contest
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Jeff Hawkins: Where open source and machine learning meet big data

      The Palm pioneer has turned to neuroscience and big data to create a path to truly intelligent machines — a path open to the community’s contributions

    • Yes, the Open Cloud Does Matter

      Last week, I covered some comments from a couple of tech industry heavyweights having to do with the OpenStack cloud computing platform. Specifically, former Microsoftie and noted tech blogger Robert Scoble put up a Google+ post saying that OpenStack would be sidetracked by any attempt to build in API compatibility with Amazon Web Services (AWS). And, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said that his company’s strategy is to “support OpenStack” despite the fact that the platform is “immature.”

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Drupal 7.23 released

      Drupal 7.23, a maintenance release with numerous bug fixes (no security fixes) is now available for download. See the Drupal 7.23 release notes for a full listing.

    • ITX Design Announces phpBB Open Source Bulletin Board Software With All Small Business Hosting Packages

      Late Thursday afternoon, premier hosting provider and domain registrar ITX Design announced the upcoming launch of complimentary phpBB open source forum software with all new hosting and VPS accounts. The Virginia based company now guarantees the service where the customer won’t ever need to purchase an additional server or pay for web hosting.

  • Education

    • Open education ideals from the past and present

      This year Arianna Huffington delivered the commencement address at Smith College and dared the female graduates (it’s still a female college) to change how society has been defining success for women from money and power to wonder, wisdom, giving back, and community.

  • Business

  • BSD

    • ZFS Boot Environments


      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (Who will guard the guards themselves)?

      Apache THRIFT: A much needed tutorial

      A closer look at the changes in PC-BSD/TrueOS 9.2 – Part 1 – ZFS Boot Environments

      An email gateway with FreeBSD to prevent malware and undesirable messages

      The Service Spawner

      FreeBSD Programming Primer – Part 7

      PKGNG: The future of packages on FreeBSD and PC-BSD


  • Licensing

    • Open Source License Trivia

      The world of open source licenses is really quite interesting if you give it a chance. The premise of taking the restrictive presumption of copyright law and using it to do the opposite, that is, grant a broad range of rights creates some interesting license language, to say the least. Although legal concerns around may be new to many people still, some of the licenses have storied pasts. Here’s a sampler of open source license trivia to memorize for your next local pub quiz night.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • GS1 takes a look at opening product data following open source projects

        In February, CivSource reported on an effort by engineer Philippe Plagnol to open up the tracking and supply chain data contained in the barcodes on consumer products. Since then, Product Open Data (POD) has garnered the attention of the French government, private sector partners and the GS1, the organization responsible for creating and housing data on each unique barcode. In this interview, we talk to Dr. Mark Harrison, Director of the Auto-ID Lab at the University of Cambridge, who works with the GS1 and recently started looking at projects like POD in an effort to bring more openness to GS1.

    • Open Access/Content

      • 2013 University of California Open Access Policy

        The Academic Senate of the University of California passed an Open Access Policy on July 24, 2013, ensuring that future research articles authored by faculty at all 10 campuses of UC will be made available to the public at no charge.

    • Open Hardware

      • Space: ISS poised to launch open-source satellites
      • Open source ‘Cubesat’ set to soar

        Arduino-powered satellites arrive at International Space Station on Saturday

      • Weekly wrap-up: First open-source satellite goes to space, 3D-printed keys and more
      • Top open-source PCs

        Open-source PCs like the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBoard are finding interesting uses

      • Top 4 open-source PCs

        Single board or “open-source” PCs have become a hot market, with the Raspberry Pi selling in the millions and competitors getting in on the act, including Intel’s recently announced MinnowBoard (shown above).

      • Modular Laptops

        The video above shows how this laptop with a very modular design can be quickly disassembled without the use of tools. If you’ve ever taken apart a laptop, you know the pain and frustration that comes from trying to find and keep track of the nigh infinite number and variety of screws that hold these things together. As these students demonstrate, it just does not have to be this way. Interestingly, there may not be much of a need for a modular designed laptop as long as the components themselves were sufficiently modular. This is the kind of thing I’ve come to expect to be uploaded to Thingiverse.

  • Programming

    • Kids Can’t Use Computers… And This Is Why It Should Worry You

      The truth is, kids can’t use general purpose computers, and neither can most of the adults I know. There’s a narrow range of individuals whom, at school, I consider technically savvy. These are roughly the thirty to fifty year-olds that have owned a computer for much of their adult lives. There are of course exceptions amongst the staff and students. There are always one or two kids in every cohort that have already picked up programming or web development or can strip a computer down to the bare bones, replace a motherboard, and reinstall an operating system. There are usually a couple of tech-savvy teachers outside the age range I’ve stated, often from the Maths and Science departments who are only ever defeated by their school laptops because they don’t have administrator privileges, but these individuals are rare.


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Breaking: Monsanto Teams Up With US Military to Target GMO Activists
    • Obamacare Opens For Business, Shuts Out Labor

      When the Obama administration announced July 2 that it would give a breather to employers affected by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), angry unionists noticed a pattern.

      Even before this delay, “every corporate interest that’s asked for regulatory relief has gotten it,” said Mark Dudzic, chair of the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, “but the concerns of union plans have been overridden.”

    • African Food Alliance Meets in Ethiopia to Oppose GM Products

      The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) will next week meet in Ethiopia to discuss strategies for resistance against genetically modified (GM) seeds.

      AFSA is a Pan African platform comprising networks and farmer organisations working in Africa including the African Biodiversity network, Coalition for the Protection of African Genetic Heritage, Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development Africa, Friends of the Earth- Africa, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee and Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Association.

      The rest are Eastern and Southern African Small Scale Farmers Forum, La Via Campesina Africa, World Neighbours, Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organisations of West Africa, Community Knowledge Systems, Plate forme Sous Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d’Afrique Centrale and African Centre for Biosafety.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • CIA sued over top secret leakage which served to promote Obama

      Judicial Watch has filed a law suit against the CIA, claiming that during his speech at a June 2011 awards ceremony the former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed “top secret” information in the presence of Zero Dark Thirty filmmaker Mark Boal. The conservative watchdog group seeks to investigate whether the White House put the national security at risk only to provide Hollywood directors with facts to make a “pro-Obama” film.

    • Iran Has Space Program–Some See Crisis!

      But if you go and read the Jane’s report you might wonder what exactly is going on here. The report clearly puts almost no stock in the idea that this facility has anything to with a desire to launch missiles armed with nuclear warheads–that would make sense only to “those who believe Iran’s rulers are messianic fanatics who are intent on destroying Israel as soon as possible with no regard for the consequences.”

    • U.S. Drones Kill More Than 30 in Yemen; School Targeted in One Attack

      In fewer than two weeks, Hellfire missiles launched by U.S. drones have killed at least 31 people in Yemen. At least 14 of the victims were believed by President Obama — the launcher-in-chief — to be al-Qaeda militants.

    • Rohrabacher backs Obama policy on drone strikes

      A senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday praised the Obama administration’s policy of using of drones in the evolving war on terrorism, saying he has no problem with the precedent being set by the legally controversial policy and would not be bothered if other world powers — specifically Russia — began using drones to kill terrorists.

    • Israeli Drone Strike In Egypt’s Sinai Kills 5

      An Israeli drone strike killed five suspected Islamic militants and destroyed a rocket launcher in Egypt’s largely lawless Sinai Peninsula on Friday, two senior Egyptian security officials said, describing a rare Israeli operation carried out in its Arab neighbor’s territory.

    • CIA Gun-running: Qatar-Libya-Syria

      A report from CNN’s Jake Tapper has reintroduced “Benghazi-Gate” to the US media spotlight. The report claims that “dozens” of CIA operatives were on the ground in Benghazi on the night of the attack, and the CIA is going to great lengths to suppress details of them and their whereabouts being released. The report alleges that the CIA is engaged in “unprecedented” attempts to stifle employee leaks, and “intimidation” to keep the secrets of Benghazi hidden, allegedly going as far as changing the names of CIA operatives and “dispersing” them around the country.

    • Al-Qaeda replacing Assad is the biggest threat to US security – CIA deputy director

      The second-in-command of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says that the toppling of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria is the largest threat to United States national security and may help al-Qaeda acquire chemical weapons.

    • Katherine Heigl Returning To TV? ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Star Reportedly Eyeing New CIA Drama

      The online magazine speculates that the mom of two will be returning to the small screen as the lead of a new CIA drama written by Alexi Hawley, the supervising producer of Fox’s “The Following.”

    • Katherine Heigl Looking to Make TV Comeback With CIA Drama

      Heigl would reportedly take on the role of an adviser or communications liaison for the United States president, while the storylines would focus around CIA operations around the world.

    • Croats, Bosnians, Serbs, you have been manipulated, war was staged – Former CIA officer

      Baer said at the beginning of the interview he arrived in Sarajevo by helicopter with three other agents on January 12 1991. He said that their jobs had been to keep an eye on the supposed Serbian terrorists, suspected of preparing an attack on Sarajevo.

      He said that they had information about a group called “Serbian Supreme” and their plans to attack key buildings in Sarajevo with the aim to make Bosnia leave Yugoslavia.

      However, he said, such group has never existed and he and other agents were tricked by their central command. They were actually given the task to warn people and raise panic amongst the politicians in Bosnia. They, as he said, basically just filled their heads with the idea that Serbs will attack. Eventually they realized they were spreading stories and fear about a group that did not exist.

      The operation was called “Istina” (The Truth) which is exactly what it had not been, he said. He was given another task and left Sarajevo after two weeks for Slovenia on another job. The operation in Bosnia continued for another month or two.

    • Jury clears police of using excessive force against Occupy Portland protester

      A jury has cleared the city of Portland, Oregon and two police officers of using excessive force during an Occupy protest in November 2011, when a demonstrator was struck in the throat with a baton and sprayed with pepper spray into her open mouth.

      The case of Elizabeth Nichols came to an end on Friday when a lawsuit against the city and police was thrown out of court. Nichols took part in an Occupy Portland protest several years ago and ended up becoming one of the highest profile instances of alleged police brutality against the Occupy movement.

    • The Murder of Tomas Garcia by the Honduran Military

      Tomas Garcia was a father of seven who would have turned 50 this December. He was a husband, father, brother, and community leader, serving as an auxiliar and on his community’s Indigenous Council. On Monday, July 15, his life was brutally taken away by the Honduran military when a soldier shot and killed him at close range in broad daylight in front of 200-300 people. He did not have a gun, he did not hurt anyone. His crime? Opposing the construction of a hydroelectric dam being constructed in his Indigenous Lenca community’s territory against their will, in violation of ILO Convention 169 and the Honduran government’s promises to consult Indigenous communities about projects in their territory. Why Tomas? He was one of the first to arrive, leading the delegation that had come to deliver a message to the companies constructing the dam at their installations in Rio Blanco. A soldier fired at him not once, not twice, at least three times from only 6 or so feet away, according to eyewitnesses.

    • Inside the Tor exploit

      Some of the people who were most concerned about Internet privacy, and were using the Tor anonymous Internet service to protect it, may have been the most exposed.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Was George W. Bush Aiding Al Qaeda?

      So the potentially most damaging part of Manning’s disclosures was that the war kills civilians–and that U.S. enemies could use that fact to recruit others.

      If that’s the standard– that the killing of civilians might rally people behind the cause of Al Qaeda–then shouldn’t someone be talking to George W. Bush about ordering the invasion that caused all the killing? Of course not–the only person facing punishment is the person who thought the rest of the world should know about it.

      We–and certainly many others–have made the point that the prosecution of Manning should be treated seriously by journalists and press freedom advocates– especially now that the government is laying out its case about what it considers to be the harm done by WikiLeaks.

    • New York Times Dangerously Ignores Its Own Words In Calling For Extradition of Edward Snowden

      It should go without saying that Putin’s treatment of whistleblowers and journalists in his own country is deplorable, but that does not delegitimize Snowden’s asylum claim in any way. Right now, he is walking around a free man, able to contribute to the ongoing debate in the US if he so wishes. That almost certainly “feels safer” than being locked in a cage, held incommunicado, possibly surrounded by violent criminals, and facing life in prison, as he would be if he came home.

    • The Government Has Made Its Point


    • The Bradley Manning Verdict and the Dangerous “Hacker Madness” Prosecution Strategy
    • Court Rulings Blur the Line Between a Spy and a Leaker

      The federal government is prosecuting leakers at a brisk clip and on novel theories. It is collecting information from and about journalists, calling one a criminal and threatening another with jail. In its failed effort to persuade Russia to return another leaker, Edward J. Snowden, it felt compelled to say that he would not be tortured or executed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ‘Citizen Koch’ Rescued By Small Donors As Documentary Outraises Funds Pulled By PBS

      “Citizen Koch,” a highly regarded documentary about the billionaire Koch brothers and the growing influence of money in politics after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, suffered a major setback earlier this year when PBS pulled the film and the $150,000 in funding that had been promised. Scrambling to find a way to distribute their film, Academy Award-nominated filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin turned to Kickstarter in a highly successful move that recently surpassed the funds they had previously expected to receive from public television.

      As of Thursday, the “Citizen Koch” crowdfunding effort had attracted around $170,000 from nearly 3,400 donors. The average donation was just over $50, with contributions ranging from $1 to $5,000. The campaign — which catapulted past its initial $75,000 goal after just three days last month — has quickly become one of Kickstarter’s most successful.

      Producers say the funds raised on Kickstarter will be used to pay for the final sound mix, the film’s score and graphics, color correction, creating mastered elements for distribution, licensing archival footage and music rights and other post-production and distribution costs.

    • Tomgram: Michael Klare, How to Fry a Planet

      Look at it any way you want, and if you’re not a booster of fossil fuels on this overheating planet of ours, it doesn’t look good. Hardly a month passes, it seems, without news about the development of some previously unimaginable way to extract fossil fuels from some thoroughly unexpected place. The latest bit of “good” news: the Japanese government’s announcement that natural gas has been successfully extracted from undersea methane hydrates. (Yippee!) Natural gas is gleefully touted as the “clean” fossil-fuel path to a green future, but evidence is mounting that the newest process for producing it also leaks unexpected amounts of methane, a devastating greenhouse gas. The U.S. cheers and is cheered because the amount of carbon dioxide it is putting into the atmosphere is actually falling. Then Duncan Clark at the British Guardian does the figures and discovers that “there has been no decline in the amount of carbon the U.S. is taking out of the ground. In fact, the trend is upwards. The latest year for which full data is available — 2011 — is the highest level on record.” It’s just that some of it (coal, in particular) was exported abroad to be burned elsewhere.

    • ZCBlog: What would banning petrol cars actually look like?
    • PHOTOS: Oil Spill in Thailand’s Samet Island

      About 50,000 liters of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Thailand on July 27 from a pipeline operated by PTT Global Chemical Plc. The oil spill reached Samet island off Rayong province which is a popular tourist destination.

    • Legislators Are Freaking Out About Oil Companies’ Offshore Fracking: ‘We Are In The Dark’

      Oil companies have quietly brought the controversial practice of fracking to the coast of California, causing some state legislators to wig out. They’re now asking for a federal probe of an issue that hasn’t gotten the same amount of attention as the fracking that takes place on land.

  • Finance

    • How The Financial Crisis Helped Turn Big Banks Into Global Commodities Kings

      Wall Street’s biggest banks are currently under the gun for their massive role in global commodities markets. But what many don’t realize is the vast expansion of that role was, in large part, an unintended consequence of the chaos of the financial crisis.

      Should we be shocked that the ramifications of the financial crises are still reverberating years later with unexpected repercussions? Not in the slightest.

    • The Origins of the Neoliberal War on the Poor

      Where there is no social program, there’s always a violence program. For the Clinton/Gore administration welfare reform and expansion of the police state were not only means to trump the Republicans; they were also essential to economic policy. Intense competition for jobs at the lowest rungs would depress wages, pit poor and working-class people against each other and, where workfare recipients displace municipal workers, weaken labor unions. The spectre and reality of incarceration would have the traditional effect of suppressing the dangerous classes, at a time when the wage gap between the rich and the poor grew wider than at any time in recent history.

    • Court officially declares Bitcoin a real currency

      A federal judge has for the first time ruled that Bitcoin is a legitimate currency, opening up the possibility for the digital crypto-cash to soon be regulated by governmental overseers.

      United States Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant for the Eastern District of Texas ruled Tuesday that the US Securities and Exchange Commission can proceed with a lawsuit against the operator of a Bitcoin-based hedge fund because, despite existing only on the digital realm, “Bitcoin is a currency or form of money.”

    • Australia Has $16 Minimum Wage and is the Only Rich Country to Dodge the Global Recession

      Australia has twice the minimum wage as the US and Big Macs cost roughly the same.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How Technology Companies Lobby the Federal Government

      The top lobbying issue for both Apple and Amazon is reforming the tax code. Unlike Apple and Facebook, however, Amazon is playing a major role in lobbying for vendor collection of Internet sales taxes. Apple’s second and third major focus areas are telecommunications and copyright, patent, and trademark – likely because its lawsuit with Samsung, with which Google is also involved.

  • Censorship

    • Website blocking measures lead to inadvertent censorship

      A technical decision made by Sky in implementing website blocking has lead to the blocking of news site TorrentFreak

    • Sky’s Court Ordered Piracy Filter Blocks TorrentFreak

      Website blocking has become a hot topic in the UK in recent weeks. Opponents of both voluntary and court-ordered blockades have warned about the potential collateral damage these blocking systems may cause, and they have now been proven right. As it turns out blocked sites can easily exploit the system and add new IP-addresses to Sky’s blocklist. As a result TorrentFreak has been rendered inaccessible to the ISP’s four million customers.

    • DOD Slapping Fort Hood Survivors With Gag Orders

      Autumn Manning, wife of one of the survivors, Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, is claiming via Twitter that the Defense Department is “slapping victims with gag orders” along the lines of this: Don’t talk to the press following testimony in the Hasan trial.

  • Privacy

    • Your medical data – on sale for a pound

      The arbitrary resetting of people’s ‘privacy settings’ is a behaviour one might expect of Facebook, not the NHS.

    • Don’t worry, NSA says—we only “touch” 1.6% of daily global Internet traffic
    • At press conference, Obama denounces Snowden—and promises reforms

      During a Friday afternoon press conference, President Barack Obama said that he would work with Congress to declassify more information about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) secret surveillance programs.

      At the same time, Obama denied that it was disclosures by Edward Snowden that moved this issue to the forefront. The reforms were already in the works, he insisted; Snowden’s revelations were made in “the most sensationalized manner possible” and unduly scared people.

    • Obama Administration Releases Previously Secret Legal Opinion on NSA’s Associational Tracking Program

      The Administration released a White Paper on Friday that summarized its claimed legal basis for the bulk collection of telephony metadata, also known as the Associational Tracking Program under section 215 of the Patriot Act, codified as 50 U.S.C. section 1861. While we’ll certainly be saying more about this analysis in the future, the paper makes one central point clear:

    • 9/11 Commission Chairs: NSA Spying Is “Out of Control”

      The NSA’s metadata program was put into place with virtually no public debate, a worrisome precedent made worse by erecting unnecessary barriers to public understanding via denials and misleading statements from senior administration officials.

    • NSA ‘secret backdoor’ paved way to U.S. phone, e-mail snooping

      The National Security Agency created a “secret backdoor” so its massive databases could be searched for the contents of U.S. citizens’ confidential phone calls and e-mail messages without a warrant, according to the latest classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

    • NSA able to query U.S. citizens’ names in its FISA database

      The National Security Agency can search for U.S. citizens’ names and other information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according a document Edward Snowden leaked to The Guardian.

    • NSA Tries To Justify Its Surveillance Programs With Ridiculous Assertions

      As President Obama was laying out his “plan” in response to the public’s concerns over NSA spying, both the DOJ and the NSA released some documents defending the various programs. I would imagine it will surprise none of you that these documents are chock full of hilarious and misleading claims. Let’s highlight a few, starting with the NSA’s document, which is shorter, more general and covers all the various programs more broadly. It’s also a complete joke. We’ll get to the DOJ one in another post.


      The NSA has absolutely no credibility on this subject, and the claims in this document are simply laughable.

    • Obama Announces Website For NSA Transparency, 3 More Reforms

      President Obama announced a series of new reforms to increase public confidence in the National Security Agency’s controversial Internet and telephone surveillance program. The press conference (live at whitehouse.gov/live) is still on-going. Here are the 4 reforms he’s proposed.

    • Obama NSA reforms still allow metadata collection
    • Senator vows review of NSA programs

      Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Friday said the Intelligence Committee will hold a series of hearings in the fall to examine National Security Agency surveillance programs.

    • The N.S.A.’s Dirty Dishes: Obama’s Press Conference
    • Barack Obama pledges ‘reforms’ to NSA surveillance programme

      President Barack Obama says US “can and must be more transparent” about surveillance programmes and promised to work with Congress to put constraints on government spying.

    • Making You “Comfortable” with Spying Is Obama’s Big NSA Fix
    • Exposure Of NSA Spying Programmes Could Damage The US Cloud Industry
    • NSA surveillance: the long fight to close backdoor into US communications

      For more than a year, two US senators on the intelligence committee have fought a lonely, unsuccessful battle to prevent the National Security Agency from combing through its vast email and phone records databases for Americans – a battle waged almost entirely in the shadows.

    • Germany Thumbs Nose at the NSA

      The global backlash against the National Security Agency’s cyber spying picked up a notch on Friday as Germany’s leading telecom company announced that all email flowing among three of the nation’s email services will remain on German servers at all times. The move reflects powerful differences in the way that Americans and Europeans view privacy—and just happens to coincide quite nicely with the commercial interests of European Internet companies, who have yet to achieve anything close to the scale of Google Inc. or Amazon.com Inc.

    • NSA spying chronicles, umpteenth episode: ‘Metadata, schmetadata’
    • NSA funds UK’s spying operations

      Material provided to the Guardian by US whistleblower Edward Snowden and released last week includes the fact that the US National Security Agency (NSA) paid the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) at least £100 million over the past three years.

      In 2009 the NSA gave GCHQ £22.9 million, increasing that figure to £39.9 million the following year—including £4 million for GCHQ’s work for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

    • New Snowden leak shows how the NSA gets away with domestic spying

      Newly leaked National Security Agency documents published by the Guardian reveal that the NSA can scour vast databases of personal information by searching for the names, email addresses and other identifiers of United States citizens.

    • Verizon entry could allow U.S. NSA to spy on Canadians, union warns

      Canadians’ personal data could end up in the hands of U.S. intelligence agencies if American telecom giant Verizon is allowed to operate here, warns the union representing communications workers.

      The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada charged Friday that Verizon’s recently revealed co-operation with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in its clandestine collection of telephone records of millions of U.S. customers could extend north under a federal policy that eases the sector’s foreign ownership restrictions.

    • Tens of thousands virtually thank Edward Snowden for his ‘patriotism’

      A website launched to allow the public to thank Prism whistleblower Edward Snowden for his actions gained 10,000 posts within just a few hours of going live.

      The website was launched by digital rights group Fight for the Future on 7 August, shortly before it was announced President Obama would cancel a meeting with President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s approval of Snowden’s asylum. Thousands of messages poured in in those first few hours, reaching 10,000 by the time a statement was released from the White House over the Putin meeting.

    • CIA Vet: Obama Administration ‘Most Irresponsible Ever’ on Leaks
    • Will it work? German email companies adopt new encryption to foil NSA
    • Venezuela and Mercosur Meet with UN’s Ban Ki-moon to Reject US Spying

      On Monday the foreign ministers of Mercosur, including Venezuela’s Elias Jaua, met with the general secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, in New York, to express their rejection of “global spying” by the United States.

      The Mercosur ministers from Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, were referring to information about the US government’s PRISM global spying program revealed by Edward Snowden in June.

      The US government’s spying “absolutely violates international law, countries’ sovereignty, and the fundamental human rights of the citizens of the world,” Jaua said.

      He also told Ban that Mercosur countries are concerned about the “attempt to put pressure and conditions on countries who have offered asylum to Mr Snowden”.

    • Press Corps Fails To Ask Any NSA Questions At Obama’s NSA Press Conference

      The White House Press Corps just completely botched the one opportunity we had to learn details about the National Security Agency’s spying program, and the rationale for sweeping government surveillance. During the hour-long press conference President Obama held specifically to answer questions about the NSA, not a single journalist asked him details about the NSA. As a result, we learned precisely zero information from something slated to be critically informative.

    • Obama touts NSA surveillance reforms to quell growing unease over programs

      President to work with Congress to reform NSA’s Fisa court and Patriot Act but made clear that mass surveillance would continue

    • NSA Reading Content of Americans’ International Communications

      Thursday saw yet another revelation in the ongoing exposure of a cluster of unconstitutional surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies of the US government. In a front page article, theNew York Times revealed that vast quantities of emails sent and received by Americans communicating with people abroad are swept up, “cloned,” and combed through by NSA analysts, on the basis that the messages contain certain words or phrases deemed suspicious by the government.

    • Obama Promises Reform of NSA Spying, But the Devil Will Be in the Details

      Earlier today, President Obama held a press conference to address the growing public concern over the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices. We are glad to see that the Administration has been forced to address the matter publicly as a result of the sustained public pressure from concerned voters as well as the ongoing press coverage of this issue. Obama acknowledged that Americans were uncomfortable with the surveillance that has been leaked to the media (and noted that he would be as well, if he weren’t in the government). He made four commitments to transparency and reform during the press conference, and also published a whitepaper describing the legal interpretation of the PATRIOT Act that is used to attempt to justify bulk surveillance.

    • Crypto experts blast German e-mail providers’ “secure data storage” claim

      In the wake of the shutdown of two secure e-mail providers in the United States, three major German e-mail providers have banded together to say that they’re stepping forward to fill the gap. There’s just one problem: the three companies only provide security for e-mail in transit (in the form of SMTP TLS) and not actual secure data storage.

    • ‘Broad standard’ OKs NSA snooping

      ‘Relevance’ cited in surveillance of Americans’ calls

    • NSA loophole allows warrantless surveillance, targeting U.S. citizens

      The leaks continue to pour forth revealing the totalized surveillance of American communications by the National Security Agency. Now, it appears that the communications of individual U.S. citizens can be specifically targeted, not just swept up in the spy dragnet. On Friday, the Guardian published the latest revelation, based on information gleaned by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, namely that a legal loophole enables the NSA to search through the vast hoards of data it keeps on communications within and going out of the U.S., and can search for U.S. citizens’ emails and phone calls. The findings stand at odds with claims in recent weeks by government officials that Americans are not targeted by the NSA’s vast surveillance programs.

    • First Step of NSA Transparency: Come Clean About Access To Fiber Optic Cables of Telecom Companies

      Prior to President Obama’s press conference on potential surveillance reform today, two important stories were published showing National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance has gone farther than government officials have admitted publicly. Now that the President has promised transparency on NSA surveillance, it’s time for the NSA to come completely clean to the American public. They can start by explaining—in detail—how and why they are obtaining the content of communications transiting telecom networks, which then go into the databases behind NSA programs.

    • NSA Reportedly Changing Section 702 Of The FISA Amendments Act To Search US Citizens’ Communications

      Today the Guardian reported that a change to section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) appears set to allow for the searching of communication information of United States citizens. Previously, section 702 was restricted to communications of foreign individuals who were located outside of the United States at the, to quote the Guardian, “point of collection.”

      United States citizens were outside the scope of section 702 authorization. However, that appears now to be potentially changed.

    • EU among priority spy targets for NSA — Germany’s Der Spiegel

      The European Union is ranked as a key priority in a list of spying targets for the US National Security Agency, German weekly Der Spiegel said Saturday, citing a document leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

    • The NSA-DEA police state tango

      This week’s DEA bombshell shows us how the drug war and the terror war have poisoned our justice system

    • Report: EU monitoring – top priority of NSA

      According to German news magazine Der Spiegel, the American National Security Agency placed monitoring of the European Union as one of the top priorities of the organization’s activities. The report is based on documents that were allegedly leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

    • ‘Spy Rings’ in Germany: A Baker’s Ode to the NSA and Snowden
    • Spy access to NZ used as bargaining tool

      The ability for US intelligence agencies to access internet data was used as a bargaining tool by a Telecom-owned company trying to keep down the cost of the undersea cable from New Zealand.

      Lawyers acting for Southern Cross Cable quoted a former CIA and NSA director who urged the Senate to “exploit” access to data for an intelligence edge.

    • WikiLeaks founder: Obama surveillance changes vindicate Edward Snowden

      The founder of the WikiLeaks website said on Saturday that President Obama’s announcement of changes to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program this week vindicated Edward Snowden’s release of information about the program.

    • Google, Microsoft claim proposed NZ spy law threatens IT industry

      Google and Microsoft have slammed a proposed bill that would compel United States providers to assist New Zealand agencies with interception as potentially harmful to the country’s IT industry and incompatible with international privacy laws.

    • Someone Using A US Senate IP Address Edits Wiki Entry To Change Ed Snowden From ‘Dissident’ To ‘Traitor’

      Government employees editorializing entries isn’t uncommon. In fact, there’s an entire Wikipedia entry devoted to the subject. But editorializing by editors using government IP addresses rarely goes unnoticed. Now, whoever did this may feel Snowden is a traitor but the verdict is still out (quite literally) on that. He’s been charged with espionage but until there’s actual court proceedings, he’s nothing more than a “dissident” (although that term has its problems as well), albeit one the government would like to have back in the US as soon as possible.

    • Surveillance scandal rips through hacker community
    • Letter to Obama to stop the prosecution of Snowden

      We are writing to you as free speech and media freedom organisations from around the world to express our strong concern over the response of the US government to the actions of whistleblower Edward Snowden. We urge you to take immediate action to protect whistleblowers and journalists. – See more at: http://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/37194/en/letter-to-obama-to-stop-the-prosecution-of-snowden#sthash.d0xebm8X.dpuf

    • Contribution from members of international civil society to the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

      We are concerned that surveillance conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) under Section 702 of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and other legal authorities is inconsistent with international human rights norms and U.S. international commitments, as embodied in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)[1] and resolution 20/8 of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [2]. We are particularly concerned about the human rights and civil liberties of non-U.S. persons, as defined under FISA, and urge you to give full consideration to the rights of non-U.S. persons in your findings and recommendations. Human rights are universal and must be guaranteed to all persons. We strongly advocate that current and future legal provisions and practices take this principle into consideration.

    • NSA loophole allows warrantless search for US citizens’ emails and phone calls
    • U.S. openness, restraint could lessen fallout from NSA surveillance

      Clear restrictions on electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency is the best way to avoid economic damage to U.S. tech companies tainted by revelations of massive data collection on U.S. and foreign citizens, experts say.

    • No easy way to stop BREACH from plucking secrets from HTTPS pages, feds say

      Less than 24 hours after researchers disclosed a new attack that can pluck secrets from webpages protected by the widely used HTTPS encryption scheme, the US Department of Homeland Security is advising website operators to investigate whether they’re susceptible.

    • Gone in 30 seconds: New attack plucks secrets from HTTPS-protected pages
  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Department of Justice Proposes Remedy to Address Apple’s Price Fixing
    • Apple proposes new terms in e-books battle

      Hours after the Department of Justice and 33 U.S. states proposed a set of remedies for Apple following its July loss in the e-books price-fixing case, the company came back with its own set of terms and called the government’s proposals vague, overreaching, and unwarranted.


      A federal judge last month ruled that Apple violated antitrust laws, following a trial in the Southern District of New York. Judge Denise Cote said the Justice Department proved that publishers conspired together to eliminate price competition for e-books, and that Apple played a central role in that conspiracy. Apple has said it plans to appeal the decision.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • PUBPAT Asks Supreme Court to Rule Part of Leahy-Smith America Invents Act Unconstitutional

      The Public Patent Foundation today asked the Supreme Court to rule part of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 unconstitutional. Specifically, PUBPAT filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court in Public Patent Foundation v McNeil-PPC, a case brought by PUBPAT in June 2009 against the manufacturer of Tylenol for falsely marking and advertising its acetaminophen products as patented, challenging the provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, passed in September 2011, that retroactively eliminated PUBPAT’s standing to bring the case against McNeil. PUBPAT asked the Supreme Court to answer the following question, “Does the retroactive application of the AIA’s changes to the false marking statute to this case violate Petitioner’s Due Process under the Fifth Amendment?”

    • Copyrights

      • The Pirate Bay Turns 10 Years Old: The History

        Today The Pirate Bay celebrates its 10th anniversary. Founded in 2003 by a collective of hackers and activists, the small Swedish BitTorrent tracker grew to become a global icon for online piracy. We’ll take a look at how it all came to be, from a tiny community running on a 1.3GHz machine with 256MB RAM, to Hollywood’s arch rival serving millions of users from a cloud-hosted hydra.

      • Pirate Bay celebrates tenth birthday with Stockholm party
      • Are we done with copyright?

        There has been lots of talk about copyright reform in Washington over the past few months, as evidenced by the announcement from the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee that that panel would undertake a comprehensive review of the copyright law. The first hearing for that review was held back in May. As Mike Masnick from TechDirt noted, the Registrar of Copyrights is supportive of the effort but “still focused on bad ideas.” More recently, the Department of Commerce Task Force on Internet policy issued a “Green Paper” last month that helps us see what is right and what is wrong with the current attention in D.C. on copyright reform.

        The Task Force recommended three broad categories of reform: updating the balance of rights and exceptions, better enforcement of rights on the Internet, and improving the Internet as a marketplace for IP through licensing. These last two are straight out of the legacy entertainment industries’ wish list, of course, and they would do nothing at all to better realize the fundamental purpose of copyright to promote creativity and innovation. As for the first, it all depends, of course, on where one thinks the balance has gone wrong. The Task Force includes as a priority the reform of the library exception in section 108, which is a favorite goal of the Copyright Office right now, but it is not at all likely that anything the Office cooks up would be better than leaving the current 108 alone. The Green Paper also seeks “input” about digital first sale and remixes; note that input is a much weaker commitment than the task Force is willing to make to such things as online enforcement, reform of 108, or — another industry favorite — the extension of the public performance right for sound recordings.

      • Dotcom: Surveillance and Copyright Extremism Will Cost United States Dearly

        In response to growing fears of government spying, yesterday Kim Dotcom announced that parts of his company will relocate to Iceland if that means keeping customers’ data secure. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Dotcom says that continued broad surveillance will have serious financial consequences. “Mass surveillance and copyright extremism will cost the US economy more than any terrorist attack or piracy,” he predicts.

      • How the fashion industry thrives without IP protection

        High-IP industries are far smaller than those that have low copyright protection.

      • Prenda officially dissolves as Steele agrees to pay $5,400 penalty

        Records at the Illinois Secretary of State show that Prenda Law was “voluntarily dissolved” on July 26. The move isn’t surprising and is largely a formality. A key lawyer for the embattled “porn troll” had already said it was “winding down” its operations.


Links 9/8/2013: Linux/Android Share in Tablets Soars

Posted in News Roundup at 4:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Konnect: control your KDE devices from your phone

        Today we are surrounded by ‘smart’ devices all around us – smartphones, tablets, TVs, PCs and many more. These devices naturally don’t interact with each other. There are some device specific apps developed by some companies but those work within the device spectrum of that company, for example Samsung All Share comes only for Samsung Android devices and work only with Samsung smart TVs.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Maintenance Release: PCLinuxOS-KDE-FullMonty 2013.08

        PCLinuxOS KDE FullMonty 2013.08 (32/64 bit) is now available for download.

      • Porteus 2.1 final and Porteus Kiosk Edition 2.1 are out!

        The Porteus Community is pleased to announce the distribution release of Porteus 2.1 (Standard Desktop Edition), as well as Porteus Kiosk Edition 2.1! Major additions since our 2.0 release include restructuring our layout to have standalone iso’s for five desktop environments (KDE4, RazorQT, Mate, Xfce and LXDE) and adding optional prepackaged modules for Google-Chrome, Opera, Libreoffice, Abiword, print/scan support and development software, all available through a new download interface that allows users to build and download customized ISO’s at http://build.porteus.org.

    • Debian Family

      • 20 Years of Debian GNU/Linux

        Debian GNU/Linux celebrates its 20th birthday anniversary this month. I have been using Debian GNU/Linux only a few years and I regret not having known Debian earlier. The growth, vitality, and quality of the project has been amazing. With Debian GNU/Linux I have been able to do a lot with a tiny investment in IT. It is a force-multiplier for good Free Software.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Edge Passes $9 Million, Smashes Crowd-Funding Record

            Over $9 million has now been pledged to the Ubuntu Edge campaign on IndieGoGo, helping it smash yet another crowd-funding record.

            This figure, whilst $23 million short of the required $32 million goal, makes Ubuntu Edge the second largest crowd-funding campaign in history. It shunts the Ouya games console, which raised $8.5 million over a 30 day period, into 3rd place.

          • Canonical Pushes Linux to the Edge With Bloomberg Backing

            The goal is to raise $32 million in 30 days to build 40,000 Ubuntu Edge next-generation smartphones.

          • Canonical lowers Edge pricing, launches app contest

            Canonical dropped the Indiegogo price for its Ubuntu Edge phone from $775 to $695. Meanwhile, the Ubuntu project launched an Ubuntu App Showdown contest for the best Ubuntu for Phones app that can be developed between now and Sept. 15.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Mysterious countdown appears on elementary OS website

              It would appear that either yesterday, or the day before yesterday, a mysterious countdown was added to the elementary OS website. Or rather, the whole website was replaced by a countdown. So far, I haven’t found any definite indications of what exactly we’re counting down to.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • Some Xerox Scanners Can Alter Documents by Accident

    On the scale of things too horrible to contemplate, “document-altering scanner” is right up there with “flesh-eating bacteria.” This week Xerox (XRX) acknowledged that some of its scanners can, with certain settings, change the numbers in scanned documents. On Wednesday it announced a fix for the problem, which a spokesman called “really an anomaly.”

    The problem came to light when David Kriesel, a German computer scientist, scanned a construction plan on a Xerox machine and noticed that the document that came out wasn’t identical to the one that went in: Numbers for some room measurements had changed. Kriesel alerted Xerox, wrote about the problem on his blog and began to investigate how widespread the problem is.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Drone Warfare Makes Killing a Spectator Sport

      Oh, the serious news! I read it with ever-fresh incredulity. It’s written for gamers. It reduces us to gamers as it updates us on the latest bends and twists in the geopolitical scene. We’re still playing War on Terror, the aim of which is to kill as many insurgents as possible; when they’re all dead, we win (apparently). The trick is to avoid inflaming the locals, who then transition out of passive irrelevance and join the insurgency. They get inflamed when we kill civilians, such as their children.

    • Redefining Security and Intelligence in an independent Scotland

      Military and intelligence stories have been all over the news recently. Be it indiscriminate eavesdropping programs, WMD infrastructure, or our impending doom at the hands of terrorists if we vote “yes”, there is a common denominator in the statements of the high heid yins: these are issue for the big boys, the role set out for the rest of us is to cower in fear and not to hurt our wee brains trying to understand. In the independence debate, we are warned that an independent Scotland is going to be overrun by terrorists, disastrously cyber-attacked, or run out of money trying to prevent these disasters from happening. The catalyst of the recent wave of scare stories is a report by a bunch of military and intelligence insiders, the crowd treated in the mainstream media as holding an exclusive grasp of the serious issue of our national security. But this deference is exactly the type of elitist approach that led us into the intelligence SNAFU we are in at the moment – with the agencies at odds with the democratic process and public control. The independence debate is a chance for us to crack open the debate on intelligence and the military, and imagine what a security apparatus actually subservient to democracy might look like.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Finance

    • ‘We Won’t Pay’: Greek activists reconnect power to poverty-stricken homes

      With a Eurozone record of 27 percent of Greeks unemployed, people are taking a pro-active approach to the crisis. Activists from the ‘We Won’t Pay’ movement, which boasts 10,000 members, are illegally reconnecting power to hundreds of homes.

      Tough austerity measures have left many people in Greece unable to pay their electricity bills. The ‘We Don’t Pay’ movement which has over 10,000 members helps many of those by illegally reconnecting power to their homes, despite legal action against them.

    • Greece becoming new Kosovo as youth jobless hits 65pc

      Greek youth unemployment has soared to a record 64.9pc as the country’s downward spiral continues almost unchecked.

    • Watch as plutocrats mold us into a New America, a nation more pleasing to their sight

      Increasing wealth creates positive feedback, much like a hurricane moving over warm water. A more powerful 1% allows them to command the political and economic high ground of America, so that they can gain further wealth — and shape a New America more to their liking. This process has run for several generations; now the results are plain to see — for all that wish to look. Today we have first of three tales of New America.

    • Greg Palast: Why Are the Greek People Agreeing to Their Own Destruction?

      In his career as an investigative journalist, economist, and bestselling author – Vultures’ Picnic, Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy – Greg Palast has not been afraid to tackle some of the most powerful names in politics and finance. From uncovering Katherine Harris’ purge of African-American voters from Florida’s voter rolls in the year 2000 to revealing the truth behind the “assistance” provided by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to ailing economies, Palast has not held back in revealing the corruption and criminal actions of the wealthy and powerful. In a recent interview on Dialogos Radio, Palast turned his attention to Greece and to the austerity policies that have been imposed on the country by the IMF, the European Union, and the European Central Bank.

  • Censorship

    • Microsoft’s Bing Removes Several Hundred Thousand “Pirate” Search Results

      Over the past month copyright holders and Google have clashed over infringing search results and how they should be dealt with. Due to its smaller market share Microsoft’s Bing has rarely been mentioned, but the company informs TorrentFreak that they also remove hundreds of thousands of infringing URLs each month. Interestingly enough, Microsoft itself is one of the most active senders of DMCA notices to Bing.

    • Pirate Party Reports IT Minister to the Police for Copyright Infringement

      As the crackdown on copyright infringement in Sweden continues, the local Pirate Party has today held up a mirror to the politicians who support the tough enforcement regime. Marking the ten-year anniversary of The Pirate Bay, the Pirate Party have reported Sweden’s IT Minister to the police after she was spotted infringing copyright online on a number of occasions.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Feds Instruct Law Enforcement to Cover Up Investigations of Americans

      Agencies of the federal government are sharing the massive database of personal information being obtained by surveillance, and police are being taught how to hide the details from judges and lawyers, a Reuters report reveals.

    • Sen. Feinstein During ‘Shield’ Law Debate: ‘Real’ Journalists Draw Salaries

      I can see this stipulation working against whoever the government feels is worthy of the title “journalist.” News develops. It seldom has a distinct starting point. Of course, if someone is a journalist, it stands to reason that they’re always “planning” to publish their findings. But that might be a lot harder to prove when the government starts slinging subpoenas.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Cable and TV Networks Fee Fight Fallout— Who Pays? The Public

        Public Knowledge has a couple of pieces up on the fight between CBS and Time Warner Cable over TWC’s payment for the right to rebroadcast broadcasts and then charge the public link here and link here. CBS has already been amply rewarded through advertising on its over the air broadcasts free use of the public airwaves. But in the current fight, it wants still more money. Congress set this up in 1992 legislation which allowed the networks to charge for retransmission permission of its broadcasts.


Links 8/8/2013: Ubuntu Edge Gets Priced at $695, Bloomberg Backs It

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Code At Heart of Wall Street Programmer’s Bust

    Programmers and Wall Street haters alike may join together to support a convicted computer programmer from Goldman Sachs after reading the full-throated defense he receives at Vanity Fair by noted financial journalist Michael Lewis.


    During the last six weeks of his employment, Aleynikov emailed himself four times the source code he was working with. The files contained open source code, code that the programmer had tweaked and Goldman Sachs proprietary coding. The government claims the programmer sent himself 32 megabytes of code, but it was essentially the same 8 megabytes of code sent four times over. Goldman Sachs’ entire system contains more than one gigabyte of code—so what the Russian took was minuscule in comparison to the whole.

  • Boffin Provides a List of Open Source Audio Recorder Software for Its Readers
  • List of Open Source Email Software Published by Boffin Today
  • Open Source Chat Software Listing Released In SoftwareReviewBoffin.Com
  • Is This Finally the Year of Open Source…in China?

    One of the long-running jokes in the free software world is that this year will finally be the year of open source on the desktop – just like it was last year, and the year before that. Thanks to the astounding rise of Android, people now realise that the desktop is last decade’s platform, and that mobile – smartphones and tablets – are the future. But I’d argue that there is something even more important these, and that is the widespread deployment of open source in China.

  • For The Greater Good

    I often wonder about the motivations of others involved with the open source community, as I did last month. Linux.com reposted an article by Jeremy Kahn titled Open source as a civic duty that answers the question in the best way possible. Open source is not about you, it’s about us, all of us.

  • Open Source Poised for Innovation Explosion

    Open source software is now a common component in most organizations’ IT infrastructure, particularly at the server OS layer where Linux has made significant inroads. Now open source software is becoming more common in other data center realms such as storage, and is poised for significant growth.

  • Open-Source Apache Flex Finally Comes to Linux

    NEWS ANALYSIS: The Flex Framework for rich Internet application development continues its evolution beyond Adobe’s confines as adoption and interest grows.

  • Colosa Partners with OSSCube on Open Source BPM Workflow Solution

    Colosa, which develops the ProcessMaker Open Source Process Management (BPM) and Workflow Suite, has announced a channel partnership with OSSCube aimed at integrating Colosa’s Business BPM platform into enterprise application software environments.

  • Say something to the youth of America about open source

    Selena Deckelmann, a data architect and contributor to PostgreSQL, gave a keynote speech at the Computer Science Teachers Association conference this year called, What open source communities can do for teachers. At the end she encouraged the audience (of teachers) to connect with free and open source developers in their communities to work with them to schedule 15-20 minute talks about their work students.

  • Big IT comes together to open source some IBM hardware and software

    Google, IBM, Mellanox, NVIDIA and Tyan today announced plans to form the OpenPOWER Consortium — an open development alliance based on IBM’s POWER microprocessor architecture. The Consortium intends to build advanced server, networking, storage and GPU-acceleration technology aimed at delivering more choice, control and flexibility to developers of next-generation, hyperscale and cloud data centers.

  • Boffin Provides a List of Open Source Audio Recorder Software for Its Readers
  • Is Apache the Most Important Open Source Project?

    Back in the mists of time – I’m talking about 2000 here – when free software was still viewed by many as a rather exotic idea, I published a book detailing its history up to that point. Naturally, I wrote about Apache (the Web server, not the foundation) there, since even in those early days it was already the sectoral leader. As I pointed out:

  • Solari Update: Open Source Ecology with Marcin Jakubowski

    This Thursday we will post my interview with Marcin Jakubowski. Marcin is a physicist and technologist who became a farmer. After learning the economics of small farming in rural Missouri, Marcin started Open Source Ecology (OSE) to apply open source techniques to small farm and enterprise hardware. His vision of 50 open source blueprints is called the Global Village Construction Set – radically lowering the cost of machines and tools that ensure the success of small farms and communities.

  • How open source is your business / team / developer?
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 23 Adds Features, Security to Open-Source Browser

        Mozilla adds new social-sharing features, issues 13 security advisories and deploys a mixed-content security capability to limit the risk of mixing unencrypted data with secured content.
        The open-source Mozilla Foundation is out today with its Firefox 23 Web browser for multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux and Android devices. The new release comes just six weeks after the last major Firefox release, and brings a number of feature and security updates to the browser.

      • Firefox 23 Out: Comes with Social API, Network Monitor

        It’s finally up for grabs! After about one and a half months since its last stable release, Firefox is out in its new avatar, version 23. FF 23 brings in a whole lot of changes, apart from new logo; not precisely a new logo, but a retouched one (last change was made in FF 3.5). Among a myriad of changes are—Social share functionality, Network Monitor (a developer tool), and mixed content blocking (http stuff on https page).

      • Firefox 23 released for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android users

        Mozilla Corporation has released an updated Firefox – Firefox 23 – for its Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android users.

      • Firefox 23 lands with a new logo and mixed content blocking

        Firefox 23, released today, contains the usual mix of security work, standards conformance improvements, and minor bug fixes that we’ve come to expect from the regular browser releases. On top of these, it sports a trio of changes that you might actually notice.

      • End of an era as Firefox bins ‘blink’ tag
      • The blink tag is finally dead, killed off by Firefox 23

        When Mozilla released Firefox 23 on Tuesday, the updated browser put an unofficial end to one of the annoyances of the early Web—the “blink” tag.

        According to the release notes for the new browser, Firefox 23 completely drops support for the “blink” element, preventing browsers from rendering text that, well, blinks.

      • Firefox says goodbye to the blink tag
      • Mozilla and Bango Bring Phone Bill-based Payments to Firefox OS Users

        Bango PLC, a mobile payment and analytics company, has announced the integration of its Bango Payments Platform with Mozilla’s Firefox Marketplace. Among other things, the news represents an important step forward for Mozilla’s Firefox OS strategy, because it will allow users of Firefox OS-based mobile phones to pay for the apps they buy directly from their phone bills.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Why open hybrid clouds are the future

      A well-designed hybrid cloud enables organizations to take advantage of the scalability and cost efficiency of a public cloud, and retain the data governance, security and control of a private cloud

    • IBM Hardware Furloughs: Blame Cloud Computing

      IBM will furlough U.S. hardware employees to cut costs in late August and early September 2013. Employees will take a week off with one-third pay, Bloomberg reported. Ouch. The key takeaway: Cloud computing is squeezing IBM’s hardware business, and the value of IBM’s x86 server business could be falling — even more — each quarter.

    • Drilling into Big Data with Apache Drill

      Apache’s Drill goal is striving to do nothing less than answer queries from petabytes of data and trillions of records in less than a second.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Destination in sight for Flight Centre’s Drupal journey

      Brisbane-headquartered travel agency Flight Centre is undergoing a wholesale transition to the open-source Drupal Web platform for its network of websites, which collectively handle millions of page views per week.

      The shift, away from IBM Web Content Manager has been underway for about 12 months now, according to Flight Centre’s area leader of digital solutions, Jamie Glenn. The travel company is about two-thirds of the way through the transition, Glenn said. The company has around 30 brands and some 60 websites.

  • Business

  • Funding

  • BSD


    • First batch of videos from LibrePlanet 2013 published!

      The first round of videos from LibrePlanet 2013 is now available for streaming and downloading. LibrePlanet is an annual conference sponsored and organized by the Free Software Foundation, with LibrePlanet 2013 being the best one yet. All current associate members of the FSF enjoy the perk of being able to attend LibrePlanet without paying an entry fee. This year we set out to make sure LibrePlanet featured fully functioning live video streaming using only free software, and it was a great success. The videos are now available for viewing in VP8/Vorbis, both free media formats, and are hosted on an instance of GNU MediaGoblin, the social media sharing platform which many of you helped support.

    • Go Ahead and Try to Lead a Secure, Private Online Life

      E-mail is the obvious starting point and, if you don’t trust that government agencies won’t get their hands on Microsoft (MSFT) and Google’s (GOOG) master keys, you should set up your own private e-mail service. A good package is Mozilla’s Thunderbird client, combined with the Enigmail security extension and the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG). Here’s a guide to setting these up. Follow those instructions and set up a self-hosted e-mail server such as Kolab (not a trivial task), and you’re about as protected as you can get on that front.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source as a civic duty

      I occasionally get asked why I spend so much of my free time writing software and giving it away for free. There are a number of reasons for this—I like to build things and I use it as an excuse to practice and improve my skills—but one of the most driving motivators for me is that I see open source contributions as a civic duty, a moral obligation to the rest of the world.

    • Radware adds open source DDoS protection to OpenDaylight Project

      Application delivery and security vendor Radware has contributed an open source distributed denial-of-service protection application to the OpenDaylight Project.

    • The good, the bad and the ugly of NHS open source adoption

      The drive to bring open source technologies into focus for public services and the NHS in particular has been a recurring theme for more than half a decade now.

      VP of Harris Healthcare EMEA Wayne Parslow has been calling on the NHS to “embrace” open platforms, standards and software — but he also heeds that we need to take care.

      Parslow has spoken out on PublicService.co.uk highlighting the general reduction in software license fees that should be possible with any move to open technologies.

      There is also huge potential for the NHS to develop more custom built applications and IT solutions bespoke to its core needs.

    • NHS technology: Being open to open source

      An opinion piece debating the idea of implementing open source NHS technology in today’s healthcare marketplace

    • When open source and drones mix: US Navy better than Army and Air Force

      The US Navy makes more efficient use of open source technology in complex unmanned aircraft than its counterparts in the Army and Air Force.

  • Licensing

    • What motivates free software developers to choose between copyleft and permissive licences?

      Free software licenses can be divided into two broad categories: copyleft licenses (like the GPL), which require derivatives of the software to be licensed under the same terms; and permissive licenses (like the MIT/X11 license), which allow the software to be reused in any project, even closed-source projects. There are variations, of course—the LGPL, for example, is a ‘weak copyleft’, allowing licensed works to be used in closed-source works, but requiring improvements to the work itself to be released under a copyleft license.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Security

    • Network Security Remains a Blind Spot for Businesses

      Areas of blind spots within the typical enterprise are many, including applications, network traffic, network devices and user activity.

    • Fort Disco: The new brute-force botnet

      Internet security firm Arbor Networks reports that a new botnet, Fort Disco, is made up of over 25,000 Windows PCs and is targeting blog sites and content management systems (CMS)es. Once these are infected, they can then be used to spread the botnet’s malware and to attack other systems.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Ted Koppel and Terrorism

      OK–so the right way to deal with the threat of terrorism is to announce that the U.S. response to any act of terrorism anywhere will be to attack Iran.

      Who wrote this? Ted Koppel. Either his analysis is evolving, or he believes that threatening to unleash massive unprovoked military attacks on another country is not terrorism.

    • US Officials Cite Deadly Drone Strike in Yemen to Defend NSA Spying Operations

      US drones launched missiles at vehicles carrying four men, alleged to be members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, in Yemen’s Marib province early Tuesday. The attack was the latest development in the global terror alert announced by the Obama administration last Friday. On Monday, the administration indicated that the alleged terror plot was centered in Yemen.

    • Happy Gulf of Tonkin Anniversary (and Thanks, NSA, for Lying about It for 40 Years)!

      So yesterday marked an unhappy anniversary: 49 years since Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorizing the Vietnam War. (H/T Caleb Brown.)

      LBJ compared the resolution to “grandma’s nightshirt” because it “covered everything.” Like the 2002 Iraq War Resolution, it was worded broadly enough to allow the president to make the final decision about war all by himself—and vaguely enough to allow those who voted for it to deny responsibility for the war they’d authorized.

    • 3 suspected US drones kill 12 militants in Yemen

      Three U.S. drone strikes killed a total of 12 suspected al-Qaida militants Thursday, a Yemeni military official said, raising to eight the number of attacks in less than two weeks as the Arab nation is on high alert against terrorism.

    • US Drone Strikes Kill 11, Yemen Says Plot ‘Foiled’

      According to Yemeni officials, AQAP plotted to take over several cities in southeastern Yemen, including key port towns and the major cities of Hadramaut Province, blowing up pipelines in an attempt to sew confusion.

    • Double-Tap Drone Strikes In Pakistan Killed Rescuers, Report Says

      The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) published a report last week confirming that the Central Intelligence Agency appears to have briefly revived its controversial “double-tap” drone tactic in a Pakistani region in mid-2012.

    • CIA: more Libyan secrets coming out
    • CIA, FBI, and NSA taking steps to limit intelligence leaks
    • Amazon’s CIA cloud renews questions around what is a private cloud
    • Jay Carney on CNN’s big CIA/Benghazi scoop: I don’t know nothing ’bout nothing

      Via Ace, consider this post an apology to our readership. A few days ago I led you to believe that it was somehow important for the White House press corps to ask the press secretary about one of the biggest foreign policy scoops in weeks. That was obviously in error, as I suspected at the time. It wasn’t important; this guy wouldn’t give you a straight answer on what his favorite color is (“I would refer you to my kindergarten finger-paintings on that”), never mind accusations about top-secret CIA activity linked to a major terror attack. Like I said in the earlier post, the press briefing now operates not as the White House’s conduit to the public but rather as an opportunity for the media to show the public that it’s asking worthwhile questions of the president even though there’s not a whisper of a chance that they’ll get useful information from them. The Brits have question time with the prime minister in parliament, we have this travesty. Second look at monarchy?

    • CIA official terms Syria war biggest threat to US security

      The war in Syria poses the greatest threat to US security because of the risk of the government falling and the country becoming a weapons-rich haven for Al Qaeda, according to a CIA official.

    • Did the CIA Just Run an Intel Operation on the Daily Beast?

      Today the Daily Beast reported that an intercepted conference call between “more than 20 al Qaeda operatives” led nearly two dozen U.S. embassies scattered across Southwest Asia and North Africa to shut down over the weekend, a precautionary measure that American officials later extended through August 10. Based on testimony from three unnamed U.S. officials, reporters Eli Lake and Josh Rogin say al Qaeda lieutenants in Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Egypt and Islamic Maghreb discussed vague plans of attack with al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and the terrorist group’s Yemeni leader, Nasser al-Wuhayshi. One of the unnamed officers compared the call to a meeting of the “Legion of Doom.”

    • Syria war biggest threat to US security: CIA official
  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Japan says Fukushima leak worse than thought

      Highly radioactive water from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is pouring out at a rate of 300 tons a day, officials said on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the government to step in and help in the clean-up.

  • Finance

    • Group builds tiny homes for local homeless

      Madison resident Betty Ybarra has never owned a home, but that’ll soon change.

      “I was very skeptical this could even happen” she tells NBC15 about her new home she’s currently helping to build through an Occupy Madison project.

      The group is currently building small homes. It isn’t much. Each are about 100 square feet. But it’s enough to help someone get back on their feet.

    • President announces ‘Guaranteed Minimum Income’ for all citizens

      PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades on Friday announced the complete reform of social policy based on the principle of securing a Guaranteed Minimum Income for all citizens.

      It should be fully in place by June 2014, he said.

    • WSJ Pretends Public Infrastructure Spending Has No Positive Effect On Economy

      The Wall Street Journal claimed that because private investment typically precedes infrastructure projects, President Obama’s call for increased infrastructure investments is misguided. This position, however, ignores the historically positive effect of public investment on private activity and the nation’s current need for infrastructure improvements.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Covering Weiner

      A candidate running well behind in New York’s Democratic mayoral primary is not usually someone national media pay attention to. But when the candidate is a former Congressman now involved in his second sex scandal, the media’s level of interest is considerably greater.


      See, it turns out that spending so much time talking about Weiner is important– it gives corporate journalists a way to handicap the 2016 election.

    • Media Matters Founder David Brock Calls On NBC, CNN To Cancel Clinton Specials
    • ALEC’s Chicago Conference Incites Protest, Multiple Arrests

      Six people were arrested Monday when protesters descended upon the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago to push back against the impending visit of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), whose conservative agenda, activists say, promotes policies and legislation that protects corporate interests and disenfranchises workers and voters.

    • The Conservative Strategy To Defeat Wendy Davis: Sexism

      Erick Erickson doubled down on his sexist attack on Texas State Senator Wendy Davis as “Abortion Barbie,” writing on RedState that the moniker “fits perfectly” and recommending it be used on the campaign trail.

    • NSA Defenders Take to the Airwaves

      The vague-yet-apparently-very-serious intelligence about a possible Al-Qaeda attack became a big issue on the Sunday chat shows–and a chance for supporters of National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs to claim that the agency’s controversial tactics are working.

    • ALEC 2013 Agenda Harkens Back to a Bygone Era
    • ALEC at 40: Turning Back the Clock on Prosperity and Progress

      Today, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released a new report: “ALEC at 40: Turning Back the Clock on Prosperity and Progress.” The report identifies and analyzes 466 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bills introduced in 2013.

    • A Side of Climate Change Denial with Your Coffee? ALEC Dishes up Some Hard to Swallow Spin with the Heartland Institute

      This morning in Chicago hundreds of primarily Republican state legislators are getting more indoctrination against doing anything about climate change from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

      This year, ALEC has chosen its long-time partner, the Heartland Institute, to help host the session. Heartland is so extreme on the issue of climate change that it sought to equate people who believe the climate is changing with the Unabomber, through a billboard campaign that featured a mugshot of Ted Kaczynski with the line: “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” Heartland lost numerous funders in response to a citizens campaign about the ad last year.

  • Privacy

    • Tox: A Replacement for Skype and Your Privacy?

      In the era of NSA spying and the rise of widespread government monitoring programs or even just the era of Skype, if you’re looking for something new and secure alternatives then Tox Messaging is coming soon for you.

    • Won’t someone think of the students…?

      For privacy campaigners, the issue of big data has been a cause for some time, with a growing trend of governments, businesses and other institutions gathering increasing amounts of data which is then analysed, often without consent from individuals.

      It seems that universities are increasingly thinking about using the vast amount of data collected to analyse how facilities are used and identify students who may fail or drop out of their course. By doing this, universities are acting like they don’t require permission to use the data in this way and are seriously undermining student trust.

    • New Legislation To Make Smart Meters Mandatory For Entire Nation

      There is a sinister agenda underway to forcibly convert every standard electric meter in the U.S. to the “smart” variety under the guise of promoting renewable energy interests.


      Landis Gyr recently had a company voicemail message that admitted smart meter technology is part of the NSA’s “PRISM” spying and surveillance program. Since gaining national attention about this admission, Landis Gyr has apparently altered its company voicemail message to omit this indicting information.

    • NSA PRISM: provides direct access to servers of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple and others

      It is just a matter of time before unauthorised, real-time access to information about the behaviours and habits of you and your family at home are put under the microscope via Smart Meter data. Don’t give them the chance to put privacy-violating infrastructure in your home which can at any time be compromised and used against you by any number of parties – foreign and domestic. You have the right to refuse Smart Meters – use it! – See more at: http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/nsa-prism-provides-direct-access-to-servers-of-google-facebook-microsoft-yahoo-apple-and-others/#sthash.gMYZYr3G.dpuf

    • Open Source Encryption for everybody

      With an increasing importance placed on communication via social media, privacy is imperative now more than ever over the Internet. The NSA scandal has shown that there is a great demand for secure communication on the Internet. However, many people do not try to protect their privacy by any means either because encryption is difficult to implement in social media or simply because they are unaware of the resources out there for encryption. Encryption needs to be made easily available for everyone so that privacy is no longer a concern.

    • NY Times Reveals NSA Searches All Emails In & Out Of The US; Will It Offer Up Its Source For Prosecution?

      Again this is the kind of thing that many people had assumed was going on, but it hadn’t been confirmed until now. Of course, the NSA’s response was not to talk about whether or not this was true, but to claim, yet again, that everything it’s doing is “authorized,” which is a way of deflecting the fact that it’s almost certainly unconstitutional. In this case, the claim is that the NSA isn’t storing these emails, but rather: “temporarily copying and then sifting through the contents of what is apparently most e-mails and other text-based communications that cross the border,” and the whole process only takes “a small number of seconds” before the records are deleted.

    • NSA monitoring Americans’ emails for mentions of terrorists: report
    • No domestic spying? How NSA collects Americans’ cross-border emails
    • NSA captures Americans’ Internet content if it mentions overseas suspects
    • The NSA Is Collecting Emails and Texts for Just Mentioning “Targets”

      There’s a story in the New York Times today that details how the NSA hasn’t just been tracking communications to and from (potential) foreigners of interest—it’s actually tracking all emails and text messages that potentially mention these targets. That dragnet just got a lot wider. This is the actualization of the tired and at one time absurd “oops better not say bomb on email” jokes.

    • The NSA Searches US Citizens’ Cross-Border Email That Mentions Foreign Targets

      It’s difficult to keep track of what the NSA does and doesn’t do, and today, the New York Times piled on. Citing “senior intelligence officials,” the paper is reporting that, under a broad interpretation of the FISA Amendments Act, the NSA intercepts communications of U.S. citizens whose communications cross borders and mention foreign targets. You don’t have to communicate with someone being targeted directly to potentially have the NSA collect and search your email.

    • US taxmen told to hush up shadowy drug squad unit laundering NSA intel

      A manual for America’s taxmen detailing US drug squads’ access to NSA intelligence has emerged – and revealed that the controversial supply of information has been an open secret in government for years.

      Reuters reports that the handbook, which was issued to IRS tax collectors between 2005 and 2006, instructs officials to omit reference to any tip-offs supplied by the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s Special Operations Division, especially from affidavits and court proceedings.

    • U.S. officials say NSA leaks may hamper cyber policy debate

      Weeks of revelations about secret U.S. surveillance programs could stymie progress on negotiations over new laws and regulations meant to beef up the country’s defences against the growing threat of cyber attacks, cyber security experts say.

    • The N.S.A. and Its Targets: Lavabit Shuts Down

      Not every suspension-of-service notice for an e-mail company comes with a link to a legal-defense fund. Ladar Levison, the owner and operator of Lavabit, whose clients, reportedly, have included Edward Snowden, made it sound today as though he could use the help. “I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit,” Levison wrote in a note posted on his site.

    • Fears over NSA surveillance revelations endanger US cloud computing industry
    • NSA spy leaks: US, Russia to hold talks despite Snowden

      Some members of Mr Snowden’s family are applying for visas to visit him in Russia, his lawyer says.

    • If You’ve Communicated With Someone Outside Of the U.S., the NSA Has Spied On You
    • Cyberscare: Ex-NSA chief calls transparency groups, hackers next terrorists

      The cyberscare, like the redscare or the greenscare of the ’90′s, is already under way. We’ve seen it take root with the fierce federal persecution of Aaron Swartz, the hefty charges and prison sentence facing LulzSec hacktivist Jeremy Hammond and the three-year jail sentence handed down to Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer for pointing out and sharing a vulnerability in AT&T’s user information network. On Tuesday, former NSA chief Michael Hayden put it into words.

    • Carney on email: ‘It’s not being read’
    • New revelations: Germany sends ‘massive amounts’ of phone, email data to NSA

      Germany’s BND intelligence service sends “massive amounts” of intercepts to the NSA daily, according to a report based on Edward Snowden’s leaks. It suggests a tight relationship has been developed between the two agencies – which the BND claims is legal.

      Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Snowden and obtained by Der Spiegel revealed that the 500 million pieces of phone and email communications metadata collected by the NSA in Germany last December were “apparently” provided with the BND’s approval.

    • IRS gets help from DEA and NSA to collect data

      The Internal Revenue Service reportedly received incriminating information on US citizens from the Drug Enforcement Agency, with the assistance of the National Security Agency, before concealing the paper trail from defendants.

      Details of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) program that provides tips to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and then advises them to “recreate the investigative trail” were published in a manual used by IRS agents for two years, Reuters revealed.

    • NSA ‘dragnet’ wider than previously suspected, says NYT
    • NSA after superconducting supercomputers

      According to Computerworld such a low-energy system move evolve into an exascale system, which would be about 1,000 faster than today’s petaflop system.

      The US Director of National Intelligence published a notice asking for help to develop superconducting systems. Such a system can offer “an attractive low-power alternative” to current technology.

    • Spygate Will End the NSA and Invasion of Privacy by Our Government

      Thursday an NSA source informed the world of a primary and egregious lie by President Obama about the information collected by the program called PRISM. Obama’s ‘Spygate’ will force the end of the NSA operation, and end the invasion of privacy by our elected officials.

    • Opposition May Bring Change to NSA
    • Tit-for-tat in dispute over NSA data sharing

      Germany’s opposition has condemned aspects of information-sharing between the country’s intelligence services and their US counterparts. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition-leading Christian Democrats have cried foul.

    • The NSA Searches Some Americans’ Emails for Any Mention of Foreign Suspects
    • NSA examines ‘all’ cross-border text-based messages for ‘target’ keywords
    • Former NSA boss compares privacy activists to al Qaida terrorists

      Former NSA chief Michael Hayden, who ran the shady US spying bureaucracy from 1999 to 2009, responded to a question about Edward Snowden by painting privacy activists as terrorists and comparing them to al Qaida.

      “If and when our government grabs Edward Snowden, and brings him back here to the United States for trial, what does this group do?” Hayden asked, reffering to “nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twentysomethings who haven’t talked to the opposite sex in five or six years”.

      He continued: “They may want to come after the US government, but frankly, you know, the dot-mil stuff is about the hardest target in the United States”.

    • US: Snowden Leaked 20,000 Files from NSA

      There are many more revelations to come from the leaks about US spying from Edward Snowden, with journalist Glenn Greenwald testifying that he had received around 20,000 files from the American whistleblower and fugitive.

      Greenwald has been the journalist working with Snowden to release information about the US spying programmes both domestic and international that have caused such controversy around the globe. He has worked with The Guardian the UK to reveal secrets about NSA spying within US borders and on Western Europe, as well as with Brazillian newspaper O Globo, where he has focused his revelations on those affecting Brazil and South America.

    • Why believe anything the government says about the NSA?
  • Civil Rights

    • Putin opposes communist initiative for government dissolution

      Speaking at a youth camp President Vladimir Putin has hinted that he was not planning to sack the government in the foreseeable future and said that he was satisfied by its work.

    • August 2 Project Censored Show with Howard Zinn

      Mickey Huff in studio with Peter Phillips review the NEW award-winning documentary “Project Censored the Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News” AND newly released interview outtakes with Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky talking about Project Censored, war, history, and the media. These are only available to the general public here and now for the first time!

    • Latvia to extradite alleged hacker to US despite sentence concerns

      The Latvian government says it will extradite a 28-year-old man accused of creating the Web injects for the highly destructive Gozi malware, which targeted over a million computers globally, specifically aimed at bank accounts. US prosecutors say the malware was used to steal millions of dollars from its targets.

    • [Old] No shooting at protest? Police may block mobile devices via Apple

      Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information, including video and photographs, from any public gathering or venue they deem “sensitive”, and “protected from externalities.”

    • Senators ponder if bloggers deserve First Amendment protection

      As the U.S. Senate continues to debate a national law to protect journalists from protecting their sources, two Senators believe unpaid bloggers and websites like WikiLeaks shouldn’t get extended First Amendment protections.

    • NDAA opponents take fight to Coos Bay

      While local opponents of the National Defense Authorization Act won a partial victory at the county level last week, they may encounter an even tougher battle within the city limits.

      The Coos Bay City Council voted 5-2 Wednesday night to postpone further discussion of an anti-NDAA resolution until councilors had time to research the issue.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Russia Prepares to Broaden Brand New Anti-Piracy Law

        Anti-piracy legislation introduced in Russia less than a week ago is already back with legislators. The Ministry of Culture says that the law will be amended to include not only movies and TV shows as previously planned, but a wide range of other creative content. Website owners will be required to make their contact details available to rightsholders in order to speed up complaints while tech companies such as Google have until Friday to put forward their suggestions.

      • Hollywood Keeps Censoring Pirate Bay Documentary, Director Outraged

        Over the past few months several Hollywood studios have asked Google to remove links to the “free-to-share” Pirate Bay documentary TPB-AFK. The film’s director, Simon Klose, has contacted the search engine in an attempt to have the links put back online but thus far without success. Meanwhile, film studios continue to submit new DMCA requests to censor the documentary.


Links 6/8/2013: gNewSense 3.0 is Out, New NSA Scandals

Posted in News Roundup at 3:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Hacked: Samsung Smart TV is a Linux-Based Web App Ready To Spy on You

    Eke. Smart TVs may be intelligent, but they certainly aren’t invincible. A team of researchers at the Black Hat conference this week detailed and warned that Samsung’s line of Smart TVs were “rife with vulnerabilities that could leave the devices vulnerable to remote attacks.” It sounds eerie, and the potential is certainly huge. Granted, it’s important to remember that Black Hat hacks are explained to the companies ahead of time, and the specific hacking methods are kept private in order to keep this from becoming a nefarious thing.

  • Delta selects Sysgo’s ELinOS Linux product

    Sysgo announced the port of their Industrial Grade Linux ELinOS to Delta's next generation power system controller.

  • Cost, Alone, Is Sufficent Reason To Choose GNU/Linux For Your Operating System

    Think of that for a moment… If a single organization should lean to GNU/Linux because of the cost of 20 million licences for an OS, how fast should the world move to GNU/Linux on thousands of millions of computers? It’s exactly the same problem, “How do we reduce the cost of the whole system to something more affordable? . It has the same solution, “Use Free/Libre Open Source Software, the GNU/Linux OS.” . Sticking with M$’s OS is succumbing to a divide-and-conquer approach. Together we are bigger and better than M$ and GNU/Linux is our OS. Millions of programmers around the world have worked for years and pooled their resources for everyone to share.

  • Starting a Linux Branch in Srilanka

    My name is janith kashan and i am a software engneer as well as i have done CCNA (Cisco Cerificate In Network Admistartion) so i want to tell you is me and my group can promot linux OS in sril lanka so if my idea is a good one please let me know you can send me a mail to my e mail

  • Linux Top 3: Linux 3.10 Goes Long, Linux 3.11 Advances as LXDE Merges

    Big week for Linux news with major kernel news and a reshaping of the Linux desktop space.

  • When did you start?

    My vote goes to 2006-07. I started in mid-2006 and the chance meeting with Linux was purely political. I had won an uncontested primary for the Green Party’s nomination for Insurance Commissioner of California and, as a Green, I didn’t take corporate contributions. Faced with the prospect of having to buy Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to make campaign materials, the IT guy for the California Green Party asked me if I had heard of “Free/Open Source Software.” I hadn’t, but I was quickly brought up to speed: I didn’t need Adobe — there was Scribus and GIMP that would do the same thing. “Oh, and the Mac you have? It will run an operating system called Linux — try Debian and see how you like it.”

  • Desktop

    • Solar-powered Ubuntu laptop boasts 10-hour battery, 2-hour charge time
    • Sol, the $350 solar-powered rugged Ubuntu laptop that won’t be usable in the sun

      If you’re gifted with independently manipulable eyebrows, now would be the time to raise a single brow. An inventor in Canada claims to have created a solar-powered Ubuntu laptop that can run directly from power generated by its built-in solar panels, or recharge its 10-hour battery with just two hours of sunshine. If that wasn’t enough, the laptop — pretentiously dubbed Sol — is ruggedized for military and off-road use and you also get built-in GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi, and 3G/4G LTE. The best bit, though, is the price: The Sol will cost just $350 — or $400 if you want a submersible, waterproof model.

    • Quiet GNU/Linux Revolution in New Zealand

      This is what I observed in schools in Canada. Individuals fed up with holding M$’s train just installed GNU/Linux and moved on leaving “the tax”, the restrictions and phoning home all behind. This is no doubt part of the slowdown in legacy PC shipments. Older PCs are being given new life with GNU/Linux and running and running… just like the EverReady Bunny.

    • Substantial OSS Growth in New Zealand

      I decided to begin my investigations regarding The State of Linux in Asia-Pacific, here in New Zealand. This article is the first in a series. After spending some time in each of the major cities speaking with I.T. leaders and users alike, I find that New Zealand may epitomize successful Linux adoption in this region.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Burning Circle Episode 125

      In this week’s episode a Call To Arms is issued relative to testing the extra special Xubuntu Xmir live ISO image in non-virtualized environments as further discussed here. The Xubuntu team is facing a decision-making deadline of August 22nd as to what they’re going to do relative to XMir.

  • Kernel Space

    • Download Linux Kernel 3.11 Release Candidate 4

      Last evening, on August 4, Linus Torvalds announced the immediate availability for download and testing of the fourth Release Candidate version of the upcoming Linux kernel 3.11.

    • Linux 3.10 will be the longterm support release

      Sticking to his plan to select one longterm stable kernel release every years, Greg KH, the Linux Foundation fellow and a lead kernel developer, has chosen 3.10 as the stable release.

      This release will be maintained for the next two years giving enterprises, embedded players and many millions other to bake their cake on top of that.

    • Kernel prepatch 3.11-rc4
    • AMD Kabini APU Support Comes To Coreboot

      Through a series of commits today to Coreboot, initial support for AMD Kabini APUs is present, courtesy of Advanced Micro Devices and Sage Electronics Engineering. AMD Kabini is the low-power APU targeting sub-notebook/netbook/ultra-thin devices and based upon AMD’s Jaguar micro-architecture.

    • Sony Clickpad Support Comes To Wayland’s Weston

      Patches were published today that add support to Wayland’s Weston compositor for Sony Clickpad touchpads.

    • Graphics Stack

      • VDPAU Library Now Supports DRI_PRIME

        NVIDIA released version 0.7 of libvdpau, the VDPAU wrapper library for interacting with driver-specific Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) implementations.

      • Reverse PRIME Committed To AMD X.Org Driver

        For those concerned about the Reverse PRIME and multi-screen Reverse Optimus enablement for the AMD open-source X.Org driver, the support is now present in its Git tree.

      • NVIDIA’s VDPAU Implemented Over OpenGL/VA-API

        Back-ends have been implemented for VDPAU to implement the video hardware-based decoding process over OpenGL and through Intel’s VA-API interface, for those not using the NVIDIA binary blob or the VDPAU Gallium3D state tracker.

      • NVIDIA 325.15 Driver Brings Fixes, New GPU Support
      • Nouveau Benchmarks Lack Change On Mesa 9.2

        Phoronix benchmarks have already shown that Mesa 9.2 dramatically improves the Intel Haswell Linux experience and that there’s even some performance gains for other intel GPUs. On the AMD Radeon side, Mesa 9.2 also improves the performance for AMD hardware. How does Mesa 9.2 change the game for the Nouveau driver with NVIDIA graphics hardware? Here’s some new results looking at the Mesa 9.1 vs. Mesa 9.2 performance for Nouveau, the reverse-engineered open-source NVIDIA graphics driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Fusion Linux Gallium3D Performance Has Improved A Lot

        The performance of the open-source AMD Radeon Linux graphics driver for AMD Fusion APUs has improved a lot, but the Gallium3D driver performance still isn’t yet on par with the AMD Catalyst binary driver. In this article are a variety of tests from an AMD APU including with the Linux 3.11 dynamic power management support, Mesa Git, and when using the R600 SB shader optimization back-end.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Compiz vs. KWin: Which Window Manager Is Better?

      If you have never messed around with a Linux system, but have seen a YouTube video about it, there’s a high chance that you’ve seen someone show off their fancy desktop effects, most notably the “wobbly windows” effect. These effects are possible due to the window manager software that controls the windows that contain the various programs that you run. However, like most other Linux applications, there’s more than one that does the job, and the top two that offer the complete package are Compiz and KWin. While both of these solutions have their specific areas, we can still compare the objectively to see which one is more customizeable and functional.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 30th June 2013
      • KDE Connect: Fusion your devices with KDE (GSOC 2013)

        Our daily lives are becoming more gadget-assisted every day and (as we approach to the “internet of things”) we have more and more computers around us in the shape of TVs, smartphones, cameras, media centers…

      • Amarok MTP (Android) GSoC: weeks 6 & 7
      • GSoC Status Update – Week 7
      • GSoC – Week 7

        This week, I’ve been working on exposing Amarok’s playlist management and dynamic playlists.
        The playlist interface pretty much mirrors the internal Amarok hierarchy, exposing three components- the playlist manager, playlist-providers and the playlist objects themselves.
        No synced playlists for now though.

        The dynamic playlist is, however, a whole different beast. What I want for the dynamic playlists is to have a scriptable bias, besides exposing the existing biases. As far as the existing biases are concerned, I was able to expose them via a single class using some Qt meta-magic:

      • digiKam Software Collection 3.3.0 released…

        digiKam team is proud to announce the release of digiKam Software Collection 3.3.0. This version include a new core implementation to manage faces, especially face recognition feature which have never been completed with previous release. Face detection feature still always here and work as expected.

      • Calligra 2.7.1

        Packages for the release of the Calligra Suite 2.7.1 are available for Kubuntu 13.04, 12.10 and 12.04. You can get it from the Kubuntu Backports PPA. They are also in our development release.

      • Qt5 on openSUSE (including experimental KF5 packages)
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME System Monitor 3.9.5 Works in Wayland

        The GNOME developers announced a few days ago the immediate availability for download and testing of the fifth development release towards GNOME System Monitor 3.10, for the upcoming GNOME 3.10 desktop environment.

      • GNOME 3.10 to be Offered for Wayland Beside X

        The GNOME project announced plans for supporting Wayland quite a while ago and progress has been reported incrementally for months. Wayland was supported in GNOME 3.95 for the particularly crafty, but starting with 3.10, binaries will be offered for Wayland right beside X. Matthias Clasen posted of this and other decisions made today at Guadec.

  • Distributions

    • First Impressions of Porteus 2.0
    • Reviewing Kali Linux – the distro for security geeks

      When it comes to hacking, security, forensics thing like that, linux is the only and the preferred tool. Linux is very hacker friendly from ground up. But still there are distros that are more oriented towards assisting hackers. To name a few, backtrack, backbox, blackbuntu etc.

    • New Releases

      • [gNewSense-users] gNewSense 3.0 “Parkes” stable

        The stable release of gNewSense 3.0 is a fact. With the help of GNU Linux-libre and various other people helping to check and hack on freedom issues, we’ve been able to produce a new major version that aligns with the Free Software Foundation’s freedom guidelines as well as Debian’s quality standards. You’ll find that the look has changed from previous releases, marking the change from Ubuntu to Debian as a base. We also support 3 architectures now: i386, amd64 and mipsel (Lemote Yeeloong).

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • August 2013 Issue of The PCLinuxOS Magazine Released

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the August 2013 issue
        of the PCLinuxOS Magazine. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS
        community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote,
        Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the
        Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some
        rights are reserved.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Continues Global Expansion, Achieves LEED Certification

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced continued global expansion with new and expanded facilities around the world. Red Hat also announced that its facilities in Raleigh, N.C., Westford, Mass., and Beijing are expected to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, highlighting the company’s commitment to building environmentally sound offices. Today, Red Hat has more than 80 offices worldwide with more than 5,700 employees.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • The Pi Transform

      When I started this series of blogs, I asked: “Can you do signal processing on the Pi?” I think the answer is a resounding yes.

    • Open Odroid SBC steps up to Samsung Exynos Octa

      Hardkernel and its community Odroid project opened $149 pre-orders on an updated version of the open platform Odroid single board computer, featuring Samsung’s eight-core Exynos 5410 Octa SoC. The Odroid-XU runs Android, Ubuntu, and other Linux OSes, and offers features including an eMMC socket, two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI video, 100Mbit Ethernet, and more.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Sony Xperia Z Ultra Open Source Files Released

          Sony has released the open source files for the new Sony Xperia Z Ultra, and you can download the files direct from Sony’s developer website at the link below., the release is in the form of software versions 14.1.B.0.461.

        • Inside Google Ventures’ open-source product design process

          Google Ventures is blazing a new trail for venture investors, delivering advice and services to its portfolio companies with in-house teams of experts in the fields of design, marketing, recruiting and engineering. I had a fascinating discussion with Google Ventures design partner Jake Knapp about how he and his four design partners help Google Ventures portfolio companies design better products and better businesses.

        • Microsoft Office Coming to Android Was Inevitable

          Last week, the news broke that Android phone users with Office 365 subscriptions can now download Microsoft Office Mobile App, letting them create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. Office Mobile, of course, has been available for Apple devices, but it is notable that Microsoft has cozied up to Android, an open source platform.

        • PiCast Offers Chromecast Functionality for Raspberry Pi

          Much has been made about Google’s $35 Chromecast dongle, which lets users stream their desktops and video to large screen TVs, but there is now a similar application for the Raspberry Pi that offers some of the same functionality: PiCast. Its developer has an informational page up here, where he notes: “I thought what do I have that I could use w/HDMI [licensing] and wouldn’t be terribly hard to do? My Arduino? Nope BUT my Raspberry Pi can do it all, literally and [at the] same price as the Chromecast.”

        • 25 Free Intelligent Games for Android

          Admit it—all those meetings are mind-numbing. So other than slurping coffee by the gallon, what can you do to snap out of brain fog, sharpen your wits and have a little fun while you’re at it? Brainiac game apps ought to do it!

        • Pentesting with Android using dSploit

          The best way to secure your network is to try to tear it down, through penetration testing. With dSploit, you can now do it on the move

        • Cordless phone does DECT, WiFi, GPS on Android 4.0

          Panasonic announced a DECT-compatible digital cordless landline phone that runs Android 4.0 with Google Play access. The KX-PRX120 is equipped with a 3.5-inch, HVGA screen on the handset, which offers a front-facing camera for Skype calls, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS for mobile Android use, but lacks cellular technology.

        • Ink-free printers create photos and labels, run Android

          Zink Imaging announced the launch of two Android-powered, WiFi-enabled label and photo printers that don’t require ink cartridges, but instead use heat to create images on special adhesive-backed paper. The $199 Zinc hAppy and $299 hAppy+, which adds a 3.5-inch touchscreen, are designed to be controlled via Android and iOS apps.

        • Small Android tablets gain as Apple ‘buzz’ fades

          Small tablets are making big gains, while Apple is beginning to plateau, says market researcher Canalys.

        • Ouya apologizes to Kickstarter supporters, offers $13 credit

          The company offers backers who didn’t receive a console until after it was on store shelves a $13.37 credit for use in the Ouya Discovery Store.

        • Android App Development: Handling Extra Camera Capabilities
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • The World and Free/Libre Open Source Software

    I came upon a post by Ashwin Dixit, Ownlifeful: India and Open-Source Software. It’s a brief but reasonable list of advantages for India, or any other country to adopt GNU/Linux widely.

  • Open source in the era of digital marketing

    When Drupal creator Dries Buytaert addressed the inaugural DrupalCon Sydney conference earlier this year he said the open source project’s community had to move beyond seeing it purely as a content-management system. Drupal can compete with the proprietary Web experience management solutions provided by companies like Adobe and Sitecore, Buytaert said.

  • Open Source Software Cuts Costs for Startups – Expert
  • Osell Launches Marketing Campaign to Dig Up Open Source Online Retailers and Self-Created Online Retailers

    Osell, a subsidiary of DinoDirect China Limited, has recently launched a marketing campaign that will navigate through the bush of e-commerce practitioners and reach its specialized customers.

    “The purpose of this campaign is to identify our customers more accurately and reach out to them in a more efficient way. The target customers of Osell would be those who already own an e-commerce website, either created by open source software such as Magento and Zen Cart or created by their own technical teams, and intending to sell their products on their websites,” the marketing director of Osell Mingpu Su says.

  • Open Source Voting Machine Reborn After 6-Year War With IRS

    At the time, the United States was pumping nearly $4 billion into new voting machines, spurred on by Florida’s 2000 presidential election fiasco. But the shift to machines built by companies such as Election Systems & Software and Sequoia Voting Systems (now called Dominion Voting Systems) had introduced all sorts of new problems.

  • The Top 3 Open Source Platforms That Are Going Mobile

    Notice how everyone is on their smartphones these days? We’re now at the point where mobile Internet usage is poised to actually overtake desktop Internet usage. This tectonic shift is projected to happen within the next year according to many analysts. Sales of mobile devices already surpassed desktop and notebook PC sales in 2012 and we can all see, anecdotally, how people can’t imagine living without their smart phones. This presents a unique challenge to businesses that have previously relied on desktop websites to reach their target market.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • BSD


    • GnuCash 2.5.4 (Unstable) released

      The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 2.5.4, the fifth release in the 2.5.x series of the GnuCash Free Accounting Software which will eventually lead to the stable version 2.6.0. It runs on GNU/Linux, *BSD, Solaris and Mac OSX.

    • Proprietary companies ask European Commission to restrict business models

      Because Android is Free Software and gratis, the non-free software competition cannot compete with it, therefore the market has less alternatives, thus the consumer suffers from this lack of competition. In a nutshell that is the argumentation of the so-called “Fair Search” coalition. Essentially they are asking the European Commission to favour a restrictive business model over a liberal one, which is exactly the opposite of what competition regulators should do in order to achieve a fair market.

    • Hacktivist Richard Stallman takes on proprietary software, SaaS and open source

      During the lecture, held at NYU by HackNY—a nonprofit, organized by Columbia and NYU faculty, whose mission is to “federate the next generation of hackers”—Stallman advocated the benefits of truly free software.


      He also claims software as a service (SaaS) is inherently bad because your information goes through a server beyond your control and that server can add additional software when it likes.

      “The server has your data and it will probably show it to the NSA,” he said to a crowd that was all too aware of recent events with Wikileaks and “our great hero Edward Snowden.” Instead he encourages peer-to peer apps to avoid third parties.

      That’s why he takes issue with open source software. He says it’s booked as a way to have people test and improve code quality at no cost, but it doesn’t give them any control over the software.

      “Our ideals become forgotten,” he said of open source eclipsing free software, and encouraged the audience to keep talking about free software.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Anjuta IDE 3.9.5 Is Available for Download and Testing

      The development team of the Anjuta IDE (Integrated Development Environment) announced a few days ago the immediate availability for download and testing of the fifth development release towards Anjuta 3.10.

    • Python comprehensions for sysadmins
    • LLVM Working On Intel AVX-512 Support

      Intel developers working on the LLVM compiler infrastructure have been working on AVX-512 instruction set support in recent days. Intel AVX-512 instructions support 512-bit SIMD instructions with providing twice the number of data elements handled by AVX/AVX2 with a single instruction and four times that of SSE instructions.

    • OpenMP 4.0 Majorly Advances Parallel Programming

      The OpenMP 4.0 specification has been unveiled as a major new specification for programming of accelerators, SIMD programming, and better optimization using thread affinity.


  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • 9,640 Fukushima plant workers reach radiation level for leukemia compensation

      Nearly 10,000 people who worked at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are eligible for workers’ compensation if they develop leukemia, but few are aware of this and other cancer redress programs.

    • Fukushima Leak Is An ‘Emergency,’ Watchdog Official Says

      An official at Japan’s nuclear watchdog told Reuters on Monday radioactive water seeping from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant into the sea constitutes an “emergency,” an assessment far more extreme than previously stated.

      “Right now, we have an emergency,” head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) task force, Shinji Kinjo, told the news service.

    • Argentina: Millions Against Monsanto

      A dozen cities in Argentina mobilized in May to protest the multinational Monsanto. In Cordoba, where Monsanto plans to install its largest plant in Latin America, the march was massive and a survey reveals that the population rejects the company.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Robert Greenwald’s war on drones

      In Pakistan, “people are angry, upset, hurting, grieving. This is not something that makes sense either morally or from a national security point of view.”

    • Interview: ‘Ask the Wrong People About Drone Deaths and You Can be Killed’

      The US has so far killed more than 2,500 people in its ‘secret’ drone war in Pakistan. All but 22 of 372 recorded CIA strikes have taken place in Waziristan – a hostile and inaccessible area for journalists and researchers.

      In the past two years the Bureau has published three major investigations into CIA strikes in Pakistan – all based on field research in Waziristan. So how has it been able to achieve this?

    • NC Law Grounds Surveillance Drones, But Not All

      These aren’t the airplane-sized drones that the U.S. military and intelligence services have used to seek out and kill alleged terrorists with laser-guided missiles. Instead, they are oversized model planes fitted with cameras, thermal-imaging units and global-positioning systems and often launched by hand. They can be cheaper than a helicopter to operate, so law enforcement agencies are increasingly thinking about using them over U.S. soil. But privacy concerns have brought together liberals concerned about individual freedom with tea partiers suspicious about government in urging restraint when it comes to drones.


      The FBI has said drones allow the FBI to learn critical information that otherwise would be difficult to obtain without introducing serious risk to law enforcement personnel. For example, the FBI used drones at night during a six-day hostage standoff in Alabama earlier this year. It ended when members of an FBI rescue team stormed an underground bunker, killing gunman Jimmy Lee Dykes before he could harm a 5-year-old boy held hostage.

    • Kerry adopts Obama version on drone attacks

      Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, attired in English suit and shinning tie, has finally smiled—thanks to Master John Kerry from the United States of America.

    • President Obama’s disastrous counterterrorism legacy

      A president who came into office pledging to take the ‘war on terror’ out of the shadows plunged it deeper into those shadows

    • [Satire] Fake U.S. Terror Announcements Justify NSA Snooping

      “I told you so!” was the tone coming from the NSA chief today as more terror attack warnings were released all over the place.

      “Now you don’t mind being snooped on so much do you, huh, huh, huh?” the NSA chief said then he added, “We just saved your asses from fake terrorist attacks that were never going to happen by unknown terrorists and stuff.”

      A man from Devoyne, North Texas said: “Is it safe to come out from under the table now?”

      Many in the Chicago metro area were holed up in basements all night and day yesterday local news stations were reporting.

      In New York city a woman was so scared that she could not talk.

    • CIA Was Smuggling Weapons to Syrian Rebels During Benghazi Embassy Attack: “Unnamed Source”

      The CIA was smuggling weapons from Libyan weapons depots to the Syrian rebels during the 2012 attack on the US embassy in Benghazi. According to a report by CNN, an unnamed source has leaked that the alleged cover-up of the circumstances around the attack is to hide the reality of the smuggling, which occurred before the escalation of the Syrian civil war. This shows that the CIA has been arming the Syrian rebels since at least September 2012. The agents were running the operation out of the Benghazi “annex,” which has been reported as a secret safehouse of the CIA in the city, not far from the embassy.

    • Stone Wars and Drone Wars

      Stones, instead of rifles or bullets, are the weapon of Kashmir’s newest fighters.

    • Why the CIA cloud contract is worth so much more than $600M; the week in cloud

      We all knew the battle between IBM and Amazon Web Services over which gets to build the CIA cloud goes well beyond the $600 million contract itself. With the U.S. government’s “cloud-first” initiative many billions of dollars worth of business are at stake. Whichever vendor finally gets the nod from the CIA will automatically gain credibility for other government agencies wanting to build secure clouds. In short if IBM wins, no government bureaucrat will be fired for buying IBM cloud. Ditto for AWS.

    • Kass: Was police killing of 95-year-old necessary?

      Common sense tells me that cops don’t need a Taser or a shotgun to subdue a 95-year-old man.

    • Obama’s disastrous counterterrorism legacy

      A president who came into office pledging to take the war on terror out of the shadows plunged it deeper into those shadows

    • 10 ways to reduce the threat of terrorist attacks on Americans

      By grounding the drones, we will stop creating new enemies faster than we can kill them.

      2. Close the U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia. One of the reasons Osama bin Laden said he hated the United States was that the United States had military bases in the Holy Lands in Saudi Arabia. President Bush quietly closed those bases in 2003, but in 2010 President Obama secretly reopened a base there for launching drones into Yemen. It’s a national security threat ripe for blowback. So are many of the over 800 U.S. bases peppered all over the world. We can save billions of taxpayer dollars, and make ourselves safer, by closing them.

    • The Coming of Al Qaeda 3.0

      The global terror alert shows the jihadists aren’t just alive and well – they are thriving. Bruce Riedel on the birth of a new terror generation.

    • Not Another al-Qaeda Article

      Last week the LA Times and Washington Post both carried op-eds calling for an end to the so-called War on Terror

    • Hastings Death Examined

      The surveillance video captures the final moments of Hastings life and provides intriguing details of the “crash.” The video shows a flash of light appearing at the 13-14 second mark, the headlights are on at 14 seconds, but all lights are extinguished at the 16-second mark. The car then turns left and the first horizontal explosion appears just after the 16-second mark (it ejects the left front tire across northbound highland approximately 40-50 feet). The second explosion engulfs the engine compartment at the 17-second mark. The third and largest explosion consumes the passenger compartment at the 17-18-second mark.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Voices Rising Against Hedge Fund Millionaire Larry Summers to Head the Fed

      Opposition is growing to the idea of President Obama naming Larry Summers to head the Federal Reserve. As William Greider wrote in The Nation, “Summers is a toxic retread from the old boys’ network and a nettlesome egotist who offended just about everyone during his previous tours in government. More to the point, Summers was a central player in the grave governing errors that led to the financial collapse and a ruined economy.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Groups Charge ALEC With Tax Fraud Over Secretive “Scholarship” Fund That Finances Junkets for State Lawmakers

      The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is running a secretive, multi-million dollar slush fund that finances lavish trips for state legislators and has misled the Internal Revenue Service about the fund’s activity, two government watchdog groups charged today.

    • For Rush Limbaugh, The Damage Is Done

      One week after it was first reported that talk radio giant Cumulus Media might cut ties with Rush Limbaugh and pull his show from 40 of its stations nationwide, the end result of the contractual showdown remains unclear. But we do know this: The damage has been done to Limbaugh and his reputation inside the world of AM radio as an untouchable star.

    • BART Strike lessons: The media is not neutral.

      At the height of the Occupy Movement the support for these mostly young people was considerable. They were attacking the 1% and speaking out for all workers. Here in Oakland I remember being on the back of a flatbed truck about to speak on the day of the big strike that shut down three shifts at the port of Oakland and felt a tug at my ankle. It was my former boss.

      As I looked out in to the crowd, some estimates put at 30 to 40 thousand I saw co-workers and management personnel who I never see at events like these. People have had enough. Thousands of decent jobs lost, people thrown out of their homes in to the street, poor people cut off from public assistance and those protesting the shutting down of fire stations in their neighborhoods or the state parks where they took their families for the only affordable vacation around, were there looking for some solution to this crisis that is being shifted on to the shoulders of workers and the middle class. And this, after we bailed out the bankers and dragged their system from the edge of the abyss. Older people, the disabled, youth, a Lucky Stores worker earning $21 an hour after more than 40 years on the job described how powerful the feeling was to be there that day and shut down the docks.

  • Privacy

    • Privacy 2013: Why. When. How. A talk by Werner Koch
    • Metadata is in the eye of the beholder

      The intelligence community has been harping on the word “metadata” to try to underscore that the information they collected is not quite “data”, is not subject to the same limits, and is not quite as bad. I want to put an end to this charade, by way of an analogy.

    • Inside The Plot To Egg The Director Of The NSA
    • How DEA programme differs from recent NSA revelations

      Former spy-agency contractor Edward Snowden has caused a fierce debate over civil liberties and national-security needs by disclosing details of secret U.S. government surveillance programmes.

    • DEA & NSA – Exposed ! Breaking Laws to Catch Law Breakers

      Documents obtained by Reuters have revealed that the US Drug Enforcement Administration has a secretive unit assigned to conducting unconstitutional surveillance techniques and transmitting the information to agencies across the country to aid in criminal investigations.

    • Other Gov’t Agencies Seek Access to NSA Spy Tools
    • DEA Using NSA Records In Investigations
    • Leaked docs: SOD squad feeds NSA intelligence to drug enforcement plods
    • US drug agency gets intel from NSA, then lies about its origins to build cases

      On Monday, Reuters reported on previously undisclosed documents showing that a secret Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) unit uses information collected by intelligence agencies—including the National Security Agency (NSA)—to build evidence for criminal cases. The true origin of this information is usually concealed from defense lawyers—and sometimes even prosecutors and judges—to seemingly do an end-run around the normal court procedures for a criminal defendant’s right to discovery.

    • U.S. drug agents use secret NSA intercepts: report
    • The NSA is Snitching On You to the Cops

      A day after a New York Times story broke on the intense jockeying for NSA intelligence from various agencies within the federal government, Reuters has published an explosive report on the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and its collaboration with the NSA and other agencies providing intelligence.

    • NSA files show privacy does not exist

      No apocryphal levity this week. Instead, a sombre look into an almost-present future. For once, Tim Cook isn’t holding his cards close to his chest; he makes no secret of Apple’s interest in wearable technologies. Among the avenues for notable growth (in multiples of $10bn), I think wearable devices are a good fit for Apple, more than the likable but just-for-hobbyist TV, and certainly more than the cloudy automotive domain where Google Maps could be a hard obstacle.

    • GenieDB’s New Distributed Database Service Addresses Coming NSA Fallout Over Failed Data Protection

      GenieDB has launched a MySQL distributed database service to manage data across multiple regions and cloud providers, making it suited to companies with concerns about the NSA having access to their data.

    • Congress hasn’t gotten basic information on NSA activities

      Members of Congress have complained that they have been repeatedly rebuffed when trying to get the most basic information about the activities of the National Security Agency and the secret court that oversees its activities.

      Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian newspaper in the UK reported that at least two members of Congress feel that they haven’t received adequate information about the NSA’s most basic activities.

    • NSA Snooping Scandal: US Congressmen Denied Access to Basic Prism Information

      Two Congressmen, Republican Representative of Virginia Morgan Griffith and Democratic Representative of Florida Alan Grayson, have told The Guardian that despite their repeat requests for details of the NSA’s Prism programme, the US Intelligence Committee has refused to provide them with any information.

    • Sen. Dick Durbin Wants The NSA To Reveal The Scope Of Its Phone Surveillance Program

      In late July, Rep. Justin Amash proposed an amendment to the annual Defense spending bill that would prevent the NSA from targeting anybody not currently under an investigation. Unsurprisingly, the amendment was voted down. Now one Senator is trying the same thing in the Senate, but his attempt might be more successful.

    • US lawmakers say embassy closures prove need for NSA programs
    • Embassy Scares ‘Welcome For Under-Fire NSA’

      Washington moves quickly. Some 22 embassies are ‘closed’.

      Within hours senators are defending the National Security Agency’s highly controversial programmes for intercepting, that means bugging of some kind, of emails and phones across the US and the rest of the world.

    • US embassy closures used to bolster case for NSA surveillance programs
    • NSA “betrayal” means hackers less likely to work with government

      The US government’s efforts to recruit talented hackers could suffer from the recent revelations about its vast domestic surveillance programs, as many private researchers express disillusionment with the National Security Agency.

    • German minister calls on secret service to explain complicity in NSA snooping

      The German secret service must explain why it handed over metadata to the NSA, a minister has said. Germany’s government claimed it was ignorant of the activity of the secret service, which was described as being “in bed with the US” by Edward Snowden.

    • Systematic Deceit from the NSA

      When General Michael Hayden sat down to tape Fox News Sunday, he blinked quickly and acknowledged Chris Wallace’s introduction. Then, in response to Wallace’s third question, he proceeded to tell a huge whopper, without ever losing eye contact with the camera and the audience. That would be us.

    • The DEA is Using NSA Surveillance and Covering It Up

      On August 5, Reuters revealed that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is storing wiretaps and other intelligence intercepts, some of which it obtains from the NSA, in a massive database called DICE. The agency then uses DICE to launch investigations against drug and arms smugglers.

    • 1984 Day Protests Demand End To NSA Spying, Restoration Of Fourth Amendment Rights
    • “Restore the Fourth 1984 Day”: Hundreds Rally For Privacy Against NSA

      In a nationwide show that they care about their constitutional rights and are willing to take a stand for them, hundreds of Americans gathered in over a dozen US cities on Sunday, to protest against US government surveillance programs.

    • DEA Program Differs From Recent NSA Revelations

      Former spy-agency contractor Edward Snowden has caused a fierce debate over civil liberties and national security needs by disclosing details of secret U.S. government surveillance programs.

    • Researchers say Tor-targeted malware phoned home to NSA

      JavaScript attack had a hard-coded IP address that traced back to NSA address block.

    • DEA follows NSA to the dark side with covert spying on Americans (report)
    • How DEA programme differs from recent NSA revelations
    • DEA unit uses NSA-style surveillance tactics to hunt down drug perps

      The NYPD did not respond to questions regarding whether it had received intelligence from the Special Operations Division.

    • Congress members blocked from NSA oversight

      Documents reveal how two Congress members were refused requests for information on NSA dragnets

    • HOWTO reform the NSA

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Cindy Cohn and Trevor Timm have compiled an extensive list of things to demand from NSA reform legislation, from obvious things like ending bulk collection to crucial legal subtleties like fixing the problem of standing in cases regarding surveillance.

    • What Should, and Should Not, Be in NSA Surveillance Reform Legislation

      Following a wave of polls showing a remarkable turn of public opinion, Congress has finally gotten serious about bringing limits, transparency and oversight to the NSA’s mass surveillance apparatus aimed at Americans.

      While we still believe that the best first step is a modern Church Committee, an independent, public investigation and accounting of the government’s surveillance programs that affect Americans, members of Congress seem determined to try to enact fixes now. Almost a dozen bills have already been introduced or will be introduced in the coming weeks.

    • Wikipedia to block NSA spies

      Following Snowden’s release of classified data from CIA and NSA, blowing the whistle on various government programs that spied on citizens; many big Internet firms have admitted that they were helping the intelligence agencies by providing personal data and private information regarding conversations and correspondence via email or even texting.


      HTTPS is the secure version of the most popular Internet exchange protocol, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol.

    • Cloud computing industry could lose up to $35bn on NSA disclosures
    • NSA revelations could cost U.S. lead in cloud computing
    • Uproar over new details on German NSA ties

      Germany’s BND foreign intelligence service is said to have forwarded massive amounts of data to the NSA – legally, it maintains – because information on German citizens was not included. Opposition parties are outraged.

    • Why Won’t They Tell Us the Truth About NSA Spying?
    • Can the NSA wiretap your phone at will?

      The Guardian’s NSA files have awakened many a curiosity about the actual technological capacity of the government. What it does do is a most important question; what it can do is only slightly less germane.

      Still, there’s a lot we don’t know about some basic questions. For example, is it true, as Edward Snowden boasted, that an analyst can “wiretap” anyone simply because he or she chooses to do so?

      Here’s the basic gist of an answer:

      The NSA has the capability to wiretap anyone it targets. It does not have the immediate capability to target Americans at will, but it does have the capability to change capabilities — to a point — to allow it to actually wiretap any American at will.

    • Cyber Attack On Tor Could Contain A Secret Message From The NSA

      There was a big cyber attack on anonymous online network Tor over the weekend that led to the bust of an alleged child pornography “facilitator” by the FBI.

    • Former CIA terrorism expert questions need for GCSB changes

      A visiting US expert on terrorism says it is hard to imagine al Qaeda training anyone in New Zealand. Glenn Carle, who was the CIA’s former deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats, is visiting New Zealand as part of a book tour and was referring to recent justifications for the GCSB bill by the Prime Minister.

    • Former CIA terrorism expert questions need for GCSB bill
    • Sources tell CNN 22 CIA agents at Benghazi consulate during attack

      Sources told CNN more than 20 CIA agents were at or near the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, when Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed.

    • Benghazigate: CIA Whistleblowers Warned, “You Don’t Jeopardize Yourself, You Jeopardize Your Family as Well”
    • CIA administering polygraphs to operatives to keep them silent on Benghazi
    • Record shows Abbottabad Commission was penetrated by CIA

      A mind-blowing detail has emerged from the internal correspondence of NGO Save the Children disclosing its infiltration into the Abbottabad Commission to save its skin following allegations of the CIA’s penetration into the NGO in a hunt for Osama bin Laden through Dr Shakil Afridi, now under arrest in Peshawar.

      “Some of us suspected that the khakis had access to the record and receive daily updates but never realised an NGO had infiltrated too,” said an official privy to the Commission’s working.

      The leaked communication indicates that Lt Gen (retd) Nadeem Ahmed, an unofficial representative of the Army and ISI in the Commission, was allegedly cultivated by Save the Children who would offer him ‘how-to-do’ bailout advice, even sharing details about the internal politics of the Commission and classified record, something in radical contradiction to his reputation as a thorough professional and a man of integrity.

      He briefed the deputy country director of Save the Children, according to the email, about the views of different members, staunch opposition from a panel colleague, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, resulting in his dissenting note on the NGO and other institutions, and Gen (retd) Nadeem’s plan to effectively counter this note in collaboration with Justice (R) Javed Iqbal, the Chairman.

    • New evidence CIA drone strikes targeted Pakistan first responders

      A field investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has uncovered fresh evidence that the CIA briefly resumed targeting first responders to drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas with ‘double-tap’ attacks.
      The Bureau, a non-profit, non-partisan, London-based news organization, first reported that the US deliberately targeted first responders attempting to rescue drone strike victims with follow-up attacks, called ‘double-tap’ strikes, in February 2012. In addition to targeting rescuers, CIA drones also attacked people attending funerals of suspected militants killed by US forces.

    • Bay of Pigs redux: Caracas claims CIA-linked Cuban exiles planned to kill president

      Venezuelan officials warned of an alleged plot to assassinate the country’s President and launch a paramilitary invasion of the country. A former CIA agent, Cuban exiles living in the US and Latin American leaders were fingered in the conspiracy

      President Nicolas Maduro, who succeeded Hugo Chavez, first alleged that his enemies want him dead while on the campaign trail in April.

    • Former CIA agent blames Bush, Rice for kidnapping of Egyptian cleric in Italy

      The CIA inflated the case of a kidnapped Egyptian cleric in order to protect high-ranked government officials from prosecution in Italy, a former intelligence agent admits for the first time.

      Sabrina De Sousa, 55, has long denied involvement with the CIA, and even asked the United States for immunity after she was charged by Italian officials for the 2003 “extraordinary rendition” of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr. But a decade after that kidnapping, the case has reemerged in recent days upon news that her former CIA boss in Milan was captured in Panama, only to be sent back to the US in lieu of what would have likely turned into an extradition request from Italy.

    • CIA scales down Afghanistan operations amid troop pullout

      The CIA is seeking to reduce the number of its Afghanistan bases of operation from a dozen to as few as six over two years, going with the overall American withdrawal. But even after 2014, it will maintain a significant footprint.

    • Benghazi CIA personnel silenced by Obama Regime threats (Video)
    • Bombshell Report On Benghazi Attack Alleges CIA Presence, Possible Cover-Up
    • The Attack in Benghazi: Worth Investigating After All
    • CIA Activities in Libya Unmasked
    • Benghazi bombshell: Accusations CIA ‘covered-up info’ surface (Video)
    • Report: CIA frequently polygraph tests Benghazi-involved agents to prevent leaks
    • CIA Spying On Its Own Operatives
    • Report: CIA Personnel Pressured to Keep Quiet About Benghazi
    • US drones kill four in North Yemen

      Two US drone strikes killed four suspected al-Qaeda terrorists Tuesday morning in Yemen’s Mareb province.

    • US drones Kill Four in north Yemen
    • Shuttered embassies, the NSA, and the balance between fear and safety
    • Greenwald: Is U.S. Exaggerating Threat to Embassies to Silence Critics of NSA Domestic Surveillance?

      The Obama administration has announced it will keep 19 diplomatic posts in North Africa and the Middle East closed for up to a week, due to fears of a possible militant threat. On Sunday, Senator Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the decision to close the embassies was based on information collected by the National Security Agency. “If we did not have these programs, we simply would not be able to listen in on the bad guys,” Chambliss said, in a direct reference to increasing debate over widespread spying of all Americans revealed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian. “Nobody has ever questioned or disputed that the U.S. government, like all governments around the world, ought to be eavesdropping and monitoring the conversations of people who pose an actual threat to the United States in terms of plotting terrorist attacks,” Greenwald says.

    • Guess How Bribes Affected NSA Spying Votes in Congress
    • Feds Are Suspects in New Malware That Attacks Tor Anonymity

      Security researchers tonight are poring over a piece of malicious software that takes advantage of a Firefox security vulnerability to identify some users of the privacy-protecting Tor anonymity network.

    • Hacking attack on Tor allegedly linked to SAIC and NSA

      The IP address hardcoded into the 0-day Firefox javascript, used to compromise the Tor network via a version of Tor bundle has been traced back to Science Applications International Corp (a company investigated by Blue Cabinet) which has worked with former Edward Snowden employer Booz Allen Hamilton, is an NSA contractor, has supplied communications technology to the Assad regime, and also developed a tool for the NSA called – wait for it – PRISM.

    • DIGITS: Is 41 percent the ceiling for NSA support?

      All told, the poll found support ranged from a low of 16 percent (for a program collecting the content of U.S. communications without any mention of court approval or anti-terrorism efforts) to a high of 41 percent (if the government gathered metadata with court approval as part of anti-terrorism efforts).

    • Far more intrusive than NSA, U.S. drug agency tries to cover tracks over surveillance

      With concern rising high over the intrusion wrought by the National Security Agency, with the emails and telephone calls of U.S. citizens being recorded, the low-profile U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit has been up to similar tactics.

    • The NSA and Global Terror Alerts

      The greatest threats to peace of mind and security remain, not stateless agents fumbling over dirty bombs and vicious rhetoric, but States and State agencies. Being mindful of their errors, and being concerned over their infractions, should be at the forefront of our minds. Besides, the idea of a terrorist threat is like Freudian subconsciousness: almost always unprovable.

    • Intelligence does little to boost image of NSA’s database

      Even if the weekend’s intelligence warnings about the threat of terrorist attacks in the Middle East came from electronic eavesdropping abroad by the National Security Agency, that would not ease congressional opposition to the NSA’s mass collection of domestic phone records, lawmakers from both parties said Monday.

    • Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

      A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

    • Intel chips could let US spies inside: expert

      One of Silicon Valley’s most respected technology experts, Steve Blank, says he would be “surprised” if the US National Security Agency was not embedding “back doors” inside chips produced by Intel and AMD, two of the world’s largest semiconductor firms, giving them the possibility to access and control machines.

    • Are we at risk of a ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ snooping culture emerging?

      Our report on private investigators, published earlier this year, highlighted the growing use of the industry by public authorities, with particular concern being raised about the occasions that they were used without RIPA authorisation.

    • What Should Be in the NSA Surveillance Reform Legislation?

      Following a wave of polls showing a remarkable turn of public opinion, Congress has finally gotten serious about bringing limits, transparency and oversight to the NSA’s mass surveillance apparatus aimed at Americans.

    • A Business Proposal for the NSA

      …funnel me information on a daily basis about where the fish are located.

    • Former NSA chief warns of cyber-terror attacks if Snowden apprehended

      Michael Hayden, who also headed the CIA, speculates on global hacker response if Edward Snowden brought back to US

    • Long-Sleepy Privacy Board Gets New Life After NSA Disclosures

      The little-known Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, created in 2007 on a 9/11 Commission recommendation, was limping along for years with no appointees or staff leadership. All that changed with this summer’s revelations of domestic surveillance of Americans’ telephone activity by the National Security Agency.

      The board — an independent agency that consists of four part-time members and a full-time chair who advise the president and Congress on the balance between security and privacy — this month will finally welcome its first executive director, attorney Sharon Bradford Franklin. That’s after it took more than two years for President Obama to nominate and for the Senate to approve the board members—Chairman David Medine was just confirmed in May.

    • Is Google an arm of the NSA?

      Are Microsoft & Google arms of the State?

      What we’re witnessing is the revelation that big-name Corporate America (and Corporate Elsewhere as well) has been folded into the U.S. government (the State) since at least 2007, though my guess is that this has been going on slowly for a long time.

    • How Does The NSA Work The Press? – OpEd

      It’s not unusual to come across a report in the New York Times that reeks of government oversight — a report that should have some kind of reader health warning such as: “The U.S. government approves this message.”


      This is clearly such a self-serving narrative for the NSA, one has to wonder: who initiated the report? The New York Times or the NSA?

      My first response when reading this was to simply think: spare me the bullshit about the choir boys who run the NSA.

      Rather than post a clip here and bother explaining why it stank, it seemed better ignored.

      But then an exclusive report from Reuters appeared — a report revealing that in blatant disregard for the United States Constitution, the NSA does indeed provide law enforcement agencies with intelligence intercepts.

      That the Reuters report would come out within hours of the New York Times report could be a stunning coincidence, but if you believe that you probably also believe that NSA chief Keith Alexander and DNI James Clapper would never lie.

      That government officials spoon-feed stories to press stenographers is not exactly news. However, the “coincidence” of these two reports does suggest an additional and more disturbing explanation about how the NSA is able to play the media: through surveillance of journalists as they are gathering information for news reports.

      Why would the NSA not regard reporting about the NSA as raising national security concerns? Indeed, what better way could there be of tracking down leakers than by keeping a close eye on the relatively small number of journalists who are likely to be contacted by any would-be whistle-blower?

    • German Minister calls for punishment of US companies involved in NSA spying

      The revelations of mass online spying by US government agencies that involved cooperation from the British and the German governments and intelligence services, as well as the upcoming elections have forced the German government to try to match the indignation of the country’s citizens with some action.

      A few days ago they symbolically called off the Cold War-era surveillance pact with the US and Britain, and now German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger is calling for EU-wide punitive measures to be introduced for corporations that have been found participating in the US spying activities.

    • Binney Contends NSA Gathers Content: Daily Whistleblower News

      PBS Newshour recently featured an interview with NSA whistleblower/GAP client Bill Binney and a clip from the GAP conference, “Whistleblowers, Journalists, and the New War Within.” Also interviewed was fellow NSA whistleblower Russ Tice, and former NSA Inspector General Joel Brenner, who challenges both Binney and Tice. The whistleblowers discuss, among other things, how their suspicions of the agency’s data collection activities have grown to match the full­ scale operation that the American public is learning about today.

    • Government Officials Hoping Terror Threat ‘Diverts Attention’ From NSA Spying Scandal

      In a troubling vindication for the cynics, it seems government officials in Washington are celebrating the recent announcement of a terror threat to US interests around the world as a happy distraction from the NSA spying scandal.

    • New York Times Edit: “No One Has Questioned the N.S.A.’s Role in Collecting Intelligence Overseas”

      It’s outrageous, the Times suggests, that Chambliss would raise this point, because “No one has questioned the N.S.A.’s role in collecting intelligence overseas, but the debate is about domestic efforts to vacuum up large volumes of data on the phone calls of every American that are legally questionable and needlessly violate Americans’ rights.”

      I’m not making that last quotation up.

      Nobody has questioned the N.S.A.’s role in collecting intelligence overseas?

    • NYT: Other Agencies Complain that NSA and FBI Do Not Share Collected Data

      According to the NYT report, several government agencies have complained that the NSA and the FBI shut them out of any data they collect. The NSA has refused these requests from other agencies due to “legal constraints” and “privacy concerns.”

    • NSA Collects ‘Word for Word’ Every Domestic Communication – OpEd
    • Federal Agencies Want NSA Data to Help Nab Copyright Violators

      The primary defense of the necessity of the US National Security Agency’s broad spying powers—including, apparently, recording pretty much everything anyone anywhere is doing on the internet—is that its activities are necessary to protect against terrorists and violent criminals. But a report published Saturday in the New York Times indicates that federal agencies with far more mundane mandates are unable to resist the lure of the NSA’s vast trove of data.

    • The NSA is giving your phone records to the DEA. And the DEA is covering it up.

      A day after we learned of a draining turf battle between the NSA and other law enforcement agencies over bulk surveillance data, it now appears that those same agencies are working together to cover up when those data get shared.

    • Demonstrations hit US cities to protest NSA surveillance, call for privacy protections
    • Turf battles over NSA intelligence
    • U.S. extends embassy closings; warnings renew debate over NSA data collection

      The closing of U.S. embassies in 21 predominantly Muslim countries and a broad caution about travel during August that the State Department issued on Friday touched off debate Sunday over the National Security Agency’s sweeping data collection programs.

      Congressional supporters of the program, appearing on Sunday morning talk shows, said the latest rounds of warnings of unspecified threats showed that the programs were necessary, while detractors said there was no evidence linking the programs, particularly the massive collection of cell phone records of hundreds of millions of Americans, to the vague warnings of a possible terrorist attack.

    • Has the Gov’t Lied on Snooping? Let’s Go to the Videotape
    • Big Brother Is Watching: NSA Internet Surveillance Program XKeyscore Revealed

      Following the controversy stirred up by ex-intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, who leaked info about mass surveillance programs to the media, new info surfaces about a top secret NSA program called XKeyscore that monitors “nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet.”

    • Is the Secret FISA Court Constitutional?

      Americans are just beginning to discover that a secret court has been 1 to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. They are also learning that this court is made up primarily of conservative activists from the Republican Party who have no respect for the original intent of the Constitution’s framers.

    • American democracy and the NSA

      Imagine a government that spies on its citizens, often without warrants.


      This is not what a democratic government is supposed to do. Decisions about use of government authority to maintain national security should be debated in an open and transparent fashion. The government should be required in open court subject to public scrutiny to justify why it needs to monitor communications among its citizens, demonstrating that it has met the constitutional burden of particularized suspicion. This is what Americans fought a war of independence for, and it is supposedly what separates the United States from undemocratic countries. Limiting discretion to protect rights is what the law is supposed to do, it is why the law matters.

    • Open Ballot: Is the internet dead?

      The NSA, GCHQ, Frenchelon and their counterparts in other countries are spying on every detail of our online lives. Even the once-private lands of Tor are no longer safe. Here in the UK, David Cameron wants our ISPs to start filtering our web content to protect our innocent minds.

    • NSA: Keeping Us Safe From…Dope Pedddlers

      The Justice Department says it is reviewing the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “Special Operations Division”—the subject of an explosive report published by Reuters on Monday. The SOD works to funnel information collected by American intelligence agencies to ordinary narcotics cops—then instructs them to “phony up investigations,” as one former judge quoted in the story put it, in order to conceal the true source of the information. In some instances, this apparently involves not only lying to defense attorneys, but to prosecutors and judges as well.

    • Kathy Castor defends her vote against defunding the NSA, and slams Edward Snowden
    • Chats, Web Searches Added to NSA Spying Claims; Privacy4Patriots Encourages Lawmakers to Rein in Agency
    • The Big Def Con Question: Would You Work for the NSA?

      Premier hacker conference Def Con, which just wrapped up its 21st year, played host to security professionals who all had very different opinions on what the NSA is up to. In fact, the only thing everyone could agree on is that the PRISM revelations came as no surprise.

    • Malware That Took Down Freedom Hosting Could Be The Property Of NSA

      Malware used to identify Tor users contacted an IP address owned by US government agency, researchers claim

  • Civil Rights

    • Ohio Action Alert: Time to Nullify Indefinite Detention Locally

      Government bodies at the local level can step into the fray. Counties and cities can refuse to assist any federal attempts at indefinite detention in their jurisdictions. These measures will not only provide practical protections for their citizens, they will send a strong message to Columbus.

      When you build a network of support from the ground up, it will create a strong mechanism to demand that your state legislature will do the same. One step, and one community at a time, you can nullify indefinite detention.

    • The fate of half a million political prisoners

      VALENTIN CRISTEA , an 83-year-old engineer living in the tiny Romanian town of Comarnic, will never forget a day more than 55 years ago. On February 8th 1956, he was arrested by the Securitate, Romania’s notorious secret police, because he was accused of links with an anti-Communist resistance group. He was sentenced to five years in prison for disclosure of state secrets and jailed at the Râmnicu Sărat prison.

    • Rail Service Workers Go on Strike Demanding an End to Illegal Firings

      From July 26th to 29th, Management at Mobile Rail Solutions fired three workers actively engaged in unionizing efforts. The termination of these organizers is a direct attack on their Union drive and apparent retaliation for their recent OSHA filings. Management then threatened to continue firing workers showing no respect for their employees or labor law.

      In response, the workers have self-organized a strike and will be picketing at Union Pacific’s Global 1 location in Chicago, Illinois. They demand a meeting with Mobile Rail’s general manager to discuss the recent wave of Unfair Labor Practices and for the reinstatement of their three fired workers. With most workers coming to the picket line, they expect locomotive servicing will come to a halt.

    • Online abuse: The Greater Threat

      I’ll start by saying that anyone reading the awful comments made towards these people will agree that they are appalling, unacceptable and have no place at all in any sort of reasoned debate/world. I’ll also say that in respect of the issue that caused this (more females appearing on bank notes) I fully supported this campaign at the time, I think notable women from history should have been on UK bank notes years ago without the need for a campaign to get the ball rolling – And if any of these Twitter abusers want to send threatening comments to me, please do so, we can all have a laugh at your expense.

      And this is what the article is about. Laughing. Laughing at the commenter’s who made such disgusting remarks. Perhaps the one issue of this story which sticks in my throat though is the fact that this has been going on for years. I’ve had my wife threatened (via the comments section on this very blog) I’ve had accusations and insults thrown at me and even now, Microsoft Advocates that are anonymous on Usenet still abuse/insult myself and others – the reason? We support and champion an alternative to Microsoft. Want to see what these “people” get up to? Check out the last 15 or so years of posts on comp.os.linux.advocacy by posters such as “Flatfish”, “DFS”, “Cola Zealot”, “Hadron” to name a few. These people have spent around 15 years abusing regulars of that group under those and many other nyms – the “crime”? to dare to suggest that there may be better alternatives to Microsoft products. – I’ve never considered taking these issues to the police. Why? Because I am an adult and can handle it myself.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Other Government Agencies Wanted Access To NSA Surveillance Data For Other Investigations… Including Copyright Infringement

        To its credit (and I can’t believe I’m saying that), it appears that the NSA has rejected most of these requests, saying that those other issues are not high enough of a priority and they don’t want to violate privacy rights (don’t laugh). Still, given how much pressure is coming from other agencies of the government, you have to expect that sooner or later the NSA will be pressured into opening up the data to other parts of the government. In fact, part of the concern about CISPA and other cybsersecurity legislation wasn’t just that it would put the NSA in control over such information, but that it also made it clear that government agencies would be free to share that data with each other, for almost any investigative purpose.

      • Administration Can’t Let Go: Wants To Bring Back Felony Streaming Provisions Of SOPA

        We’ve been working our way through a paper released last week by the Commerce Department, concerning copyright reform, and will have a much more detailed post about it soon (there’s a lot in there), but over at the Washington Post, they’re highlighting the silly recommendation to bring back the plan to make unauthorized streaming a felony. This was a part of SOPA and was widely discussed. It wasn’t technically in PIPA, but there was something of a “companion” bill from Senator Amy Klobuchar that effectively had the same thing. This got a fair amount of attention when Justin Bieber was asked about the law, and said that Klobuchar should be locked up.

      • SOPA died in 2012, but Obama administration wants to revive part of it

        You probably remember the online outrage over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) copyright enforcement proposal. Last week, the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force released a report on digital copyright policy that endorsed one piece of the controversial proposal: making the streaming of copyrighted works a felony.

        As it stands now, streaming a copyrighted work over the Internet is considered a violation of the public performance right. The violation is only punishable as a misdemeanor, rather than the felony charges that accompany the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material.


Links 5/8/2013: GNOME 3.9.5 , OLPC Tablet Distribution Channel Expands

Posted in News Roundup at 12:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Mailpile: private, secure, open source, locally-run email service

    PRISM was a wake-up call for many even though it is still not really clear how extensive the spying, logging and wiretapping really is. One reasonable approach to the issue is to move away from products of large companies such as Google, Microsoft or Apple as they have been linked to PRISM. But that is not really enough, considering that other companies too may cooperate with the NSA or other agencies, or may do so when they are approached.

  • Type 1 Open Source Hypervisors and More
  • Introducing CONTRIBOOK

    I wan’t to introduce a small side project of me today that we needed for ownCloud but could be useful for other too. It’s call CONTRIBOOK and I planed to do this for many years. Lately I was sitting in planes and trains a lot so I have some time to finally do the version 1.0 It’s a tool that can be used for community building and showing community activity as we wanted to do on ownCloud.org but it’s very generic and can be used by other open source projects tool.

  • New phase of DocHive, open source tool for data extraction

    In February of this year, I reported that the Raleigh Public Record—a local, online news publication in Raleigh, NC—was in the process of creating an open source solution to extract data from PDFs. The problem many news journalists have is easily and quickly (which is very important given the nature of their job) converting data and images into a usable format from documents they use for their reports (see an example here).

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Telefonica Announces Launches of First Firefox OS Devices in Latin America

        Today, Telefonica announced that the ALCATEL ONE TOUCH Fire and ZTE Open devices will go on sale in Colombia and Venezuela. Both devices are now available through Movistar stores and sales channels. Telefonica also announced that Firefox OS devices will launch in Brazil in Q4.

      • GeeksPhone Taking Pre-Orders for Firefox OS Peak+ Smartphone

        Several months after GeeksPhone developed two Firefox OS-based phones for the developer community, the Spanish smartphone startup is bringing Mozilla’s OS to consumers with the new Peak+ smartphone.

        The Peak+ is now available for pre-order and follows the April debut of the Keon and Peak developer phones, both of which sold out within hours.

      • First Firefox OS phones go on sale in South America

        South American Telefonica has announced two Firefox OS powered devices going on sale in Colombia and Venezuela. Alcatel One Touch Fire and ZTE Open are now available through Movistar stores and sales channels. Firefox OS based devices will be launched in Brazil in Q4.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.0.5 RC1 Signals the Arrival of a New Stable Version

      The Document Foundation has announced that the first Release Candidate version for LibreOffice 4.0.5 is now available for the Linux platform, bringing a lot of bug fixes and improvements.

    • Understanding designers – or at least trying to

      Part of this uncertainty or this difficulty that many Free and Open Source projects have when working with creative people, be it designers, artists or both, is that each operates and thinks along completely different line. While I could grasp that quite easily it is however necessary to understand what difference there is in how designers work and create compared to a set of more or less well defined contribution process of a software development project. My questions to the designer at La Fonderie ultimately led me to realize that the difference lies in the perception of what a contribution really is and the level of priority one gives to contribution’s formality. Let me explain.

  • CMS

    • What’s New In WordPress 3.6 “Oscar”

      The latest and greatest WordPress, version 3.6, named Oscar is released with a new blog-centric theme autosave and post locking options, native support for audio and video embeds and also improved integrations with SoundCloud, Rdio and Spotify.

    • WordPress and MathJax Integration Tutorial
    • WordPress 3.6 ‘Oscar’ released

      Great news for WordPress users. The version 3.6 aka Oscar has been released and it comes with some cool features including a beautiful new blog-centric theme, bullet-proof autosave and post locking, a revamped revision browser, native support for audio and video embeds, and improved integrations with Spotify, Rdio, and SoundCloud.

  • BSD


    • GNU Awk: This is Not Your Father’s Awk

      Awk’s features have advanced considerably in the last decade — such as the addition of a debugger and a profiler — all without removing any of the elegance or terseness of the fabled little language.

  • Project Releases

    • Csync Upstream Release 0.50.0

      Last week Andreas did an upstream release of the file synchronization software csync. Frequent readers know that csync is the sync engine that is used in the ownCloud client, so this is a very important and special release for us.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Congress posts U.S. Code in XML

        The House of Representatives has published all 51 titles of the U.S. Code in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format for download, as part of the leadership’s open government agenda. For developers and government watchdogs, it provides tools for rendering taggable, machine-readable versions of U.S. law.

        Developers are already taking advantage of the release and building tools to facilitate the searching and rendering of the code. “Putting U.S. Code into XML doesn’t revolutionize the way legislators and citizens interact with the law yet, but it could,” said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Transparency Coalition.

    • Open Access/Content

      • MIT Reviews Aaron Swartz, Google’s 100 Million Takedowns & More…

        There seems to be more than enough tit-for-tat to go around in the ongoing patent battle between Apple and Samsung. If we wanted to be snarky, we’d say we haven’t seen this much legal maneuvering since the last days of the Beatles and the “sue me, sue you blues.”

        Oddly, this fight puts us American FOSSers in the position of supporting the guys on foreign soil over our homegrown boys from Cupertino because Samsung is being sued and sued again over their implementation of Android, reportedly a version of Linux. Then again, maybe it’s not so odd given the fact that Apple doesn’t really make anything here. The United States is for dreaming stuff up and Asia is for actually getting things done, or so it sometimes seems.

    • Open Hardware

      • MakerPlane is an open source airplane you could build at home

        When it comes to building vehicles, cars are relatively easy. So are boats. Heck, you can even make your own model rockets without a hitch (mostly). But putting together a plane requires some real aviation design and expertise.

      • Durham tool maker ShopBot develops open-source power tools

        You’ve heard of open-source software that makes its source code freely available. Well, get ready for open-source power tools.

        ShopBot Tools, an established Durham manufacturer of computer-driven, multi-purpose industrial tools, has developed a portable, hand-held version aimed at consumers that it touts as an “open hardware platform.”

      • Intel Starts Shipping the “Best” Open Source PC to Date

        Intel started shipping their first “open-source” personal computer. According to several sources, Intel’s open source PC may be described as the best in terms of bare-bones system related to x86 devs. It also aimed to target the growing DIY market and the chip giant is well on its way in exploring what it has to offer.

  • Programming

    • Need a collaboration tool? Try email

      Collaboration is one of the key principles of the open source way and a major topic here on opensource.com. One of our goals to highlight great collaboration stories, and when we discuss collaboration, the need for the perfect collaboration tool frequently comes up. One article, Avoid the tool trap when building communities, provides some great insights (hint: people create community, not tools).

    • LLVM Clang 3.4 Enables SLP Vectorizer By Default

      As anticipated, the LLVM Clang compiler has now enabled the use of its SLP Vectorizer by default.

      LLVM developers have been anticipating turning on SLP vectorization by default and with today’s code activity they finally have turned it on when using the -O3 compiler optimization level.

    • PyPy 2.1 – Considered ARMful

      We’re pleased to announce PyPy 2.1, which targets version 2.7.3 of the Python
      language. This is the first release with official support for ARM processors in the JIT.
      This release also contains several bugfixes and performance improvements.


  • Tech Essentials: How Cory Doctorow Gets Around

    The co-editor of Boing Boing, novelist and fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation shares his tools for circumventing censorship in airports, easing back pain and sparking the curiosity of his 5-year-old daughter

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Bradley Manning and “hacker madness” scare tactic

      US Army private Bradley Manning was convicted on 19 counts, including charges under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for leaking approximately 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks.

      While it was a relief that he was not convicted of the worst charge, “aiding the enemy”, the verdict remains deeply troubling and could potentially result in a sentence of life in prison.

    • Julian Assange: Reporter discussion

      60 Minutes reporter Liz Hayes discusses her time inside the Ecuadorian Embassy with Julian Assange, his take on current Australian politics and Julian’s concern for whistle-blowers Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning.

    • A Washington Riddle: What Is ‘Top Secret’?

      So how might the government deal with its classification problem? Herb Lin, a researcher at the National Academy of Sciences, believes that budgets must be used to change behavior.

  • Finance

    • Fumbling Through the Fog Around Too Big to Fail

      When Republicans invite a Democrat to testify at a congressional hearing and Democrats invite a Republican, we should pay attention. Such cross-partisan connections aren’t common and typically indicate that congressional leaders are trying to answer difficult questions. That was certainly the case recently, when the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on how to end “too big to fail.”

    • NoFlo Kickstarter, the hacker’s perspective
    • Chomsky: America’s Imperial Power Is Showing Real Signs of Decline

      On July 9, the Organization of American States held a special session to discuss the shocking behavior of the European states that had refused to allow the government plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales to enter their airspace.

    • The whistleblower and the national security robber barons

      National Security Administration whistleblower Edward Snowden fits the mold too well. By coming forward to journalist Glenn Greenwald and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, Snowden creates news and commands attention from Obama Administration, Congress, European Union, trading partners and citizens across the globe.

      NSA is an out-of-control monster, Snowden contends. Top brass lie to Congress. Technocrats flout congressional authorization by conducting blanket searches when Congress okayed individual ones. Massive, intrusive surveillance of phone calls, email, web searches, Facebook accounts accompanied by secret orders of a secret court compromise and transform powerful American telecommunications network operators and Internet behemoths into spy engines.

    • Two Sentences that Explain the Crisis and How Easy it Was to Avoid

      Everyone should read and understand the implications of these two sentences from the 2011 report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC).

  • Censorship

    • Unblock Torrent Sites, Blocked Proxies, & Cameron’s Porn Filter With Immunicity

      In response to many torrent sites being blocked by ISPs in the UK, dozens of proxies sprang up to ensure that users could still enjoy access. However, ISPs responded to rightsholder requests by blocking proxy sites too. Now a new service has appeared that not only unblocks torrent sites, but also unblocks proxies. It’s called Immunicity – and it’ll crack Cameron’s porn filter too.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Groups oppose proposed change to Internet content ‘safe harbor’

      Section 230 of the law broadly protects Internet publishers and service providers from responsibility for user-generated content on their sites. But in June, a group of state attorneys general proposed a change to the law that would allow prosecution of publishers in cases where user-posted content violates state law.

    • The Corporate Strategy to Win The War Against Grassroots Activists: Stratfor’s Strategies

      Divide activists into four groups: Radicals, Idealists, Realists and Opportunists. The Opportunists are in it for themselves and can be pulled away for their own self-interest. The Realists can be convinced that transformative change is not possible and we must settle for what is possible. Idealists can be convinced they have the facts wrong and pulled to the Realist camp. Radicals, who see the system as corrupt and needing transformation, need to be isolated and discredited, using false charges to assassinate their character is a common tactic.

    • What would real democracy look like?

      As representative democracy sinks into crisis, we need to go back to democracy in its original meaning as rule of the people. What could this look like?

    • Noam Chomsky | Is Edward J. Snowden Aboard This Plane?

      On July 9, the Organization of American States held a special session to discuss the shocking behavior of the European states that had refused to allow the government plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales to enter their airspace.

      Morales was flying home from a Moscow summit on July 3. In an interview there he had said he was open to offering political asylum to Edward J. Snowden, the former U.S. spy-agency contractor wanted by Washington on espionage charges, who was in the Moscow airport.

    • Dotcom says Anonymous protest hack of NZ govt websites will backfire

      Hackers disabled several websites of New Zealand’s ruling party to protest a new law that would enable the country’s spy agency to snoop on its citizens. Kim Dotcom said hacking the sites only gave PM John Key “a new excuse to pass the GCSB bill”.

    • Dotcom tells National Party hackers to back off

      Government ministers and MPs are divided on whether the hacking of National Party websites is a legitimate protest or cyber crime.

      But the hackers’ actions have drawn the ire of internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.

      The websites of 14 Government ministers, MPs and associated groups are out of order after being hacked by a group called “Anonymous” in protest at the GCSB legislation before Parliament.

    • Detroit Guild condemns police for photographer’s arrest, urges Free Press publisher ‘to take further action’

      The Detroit Guild on Thursday sent a letter to Police Chief James Craig denouncing Free Press photographer Mandi Wright’s arrest last week after filming an arrest with an iPhone.

      “The Guild demands that you issue a formal apology to Wright and that you take disciplinary action against the officers responsible for this illegal conduct against a photo journalist, who was just doing her job while witnessing a police arrest on a public street,” guild president Lou Mleczko wrote. He also sent a letter to Free Press publisher Paul Anger urging the organization “to take further action directed at the Detroit Police Department.”

    • Senators spar over definition of ‘journalist’ in seeking to protect them

      The Senate Judiciary Committee, looking to provide protections for journalists and their sources, ran into a roadblock Thursday when lawmakers couldn’t agree on the definition of “journalist.”

      Under the legislation, journalists wouldn’t have to comply with subpoenas or court orders forcing them to reveal sources or confidential information unless a judge first determines there’s reason to think that a crime has occurred and government officials have exhausted all other alternatives.

    • Spalding, Heritage: Wrong on Nullification. Again.

      But despite the impressive sounding title, Spalding doesn’t know squat about nullification, as he’s demonstrated time and again in his confused but emphatic dissertations on the subject.

    • Where are the modern day Sons of Liberty?

      But the situation is far more serious than what we thought. Yes, our Constitution is and has been under attack. And yes, the relationship between the individual and the government has been fundamentally altered. But the document that perhaps may be even more significant to us as Americans, the Declaration of Independence, is also under attack. The attack, if we want to be intellectually honest, started with the man the government touts as the greatest American president Abraham Lincoln.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google: We can ban servers on Fiber without violating net neutrality

      Tucked away in Google Fiber’s terms of service is one clause that might annoy some technically inclined users. “Unless you have a written agreement with Google Fiber permitting you to do so, you should not host any type of server using your Google Fiber connection,” Google tells subscribers to its Gigabit Internet service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Six Pro-Viacom Amicus Briefs Filed in the 2nd Appeal in Viacom v. YouTube – Yup. Hollywood Still Wants to Control the Internet

        There aren’t as many amicus briefs in this second Viacom appeal as there were in the first, less than half, but there are six die-hards supporting Viacom’s second appeal who have just filed their amicus briefs in Viacom v. YouTube-Google. They don’t understand the Internet. They hate the DMCA’s Safe Harbor provision, and they have learned absolutely nothing from history or from the rulings in this case so far.

      • Viacom Demands New Judge in YouTube Copyright Fight

        After swinging and missing twice, Viacom is telling an appeals court it needs an umpire who isn’t blind to YouTube’s alleged copyright infringement.

      • MPAA Recruits ‘Internet Analyst’ to Spy on Social Networks and Forums

        In its ongoing war against online piracy, the MPAA is currently recruiting new soldiers. One of the open positions that caught our eye recently is that of an “Internet Analyst,” tasked with manipulating media files and monitoring social networks, communities and forums. For those still in school the MPAA also has a job opening for an unpaid summer intern to assist with various “content protection” projects.

      • The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish

        A book published during the presidency of Chester A. Arthur has a greater chance of being in print today than one published during the time of Reagan.

        Last year I wrote about some very interesting research being done by Paul J. Heald at the University of Illinois, based on software that crawled Amazon for a random selection of books. At the time, his results were only preliminary, but they were nevertheless startling: There were as many books available from the 1910s as there were from the 2000s. The number of books from the 1850s was double the number available from the 1950s. Why? Copyright protections (which cover titles published in 1923 and after) had squashed the market for books from the middle of the 20th century, keeping those titles off shelves and out of the hands of the reading public.

      • U.S. Department of Commerce Produces Comprehensive Analysis Addressing Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy

        The U.S. Department of Commerce today released a green paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper) to advance discussion on a set of policy issues critical to economic growth. The Green Paper discusses the goals of maintaining an appropriate balance between rights and exceptions as the law continues to be updated; ensuring that copyright can be meaningfully enforced on the Internet; and furthering the development of an efficient online marketplace.

      • Why Do All Hollywood Movies Lose Money?

        A 2010 Planet Money podcast with “Hollywood economist” Edward Epstein explains how it’s done. For each new film, a movie “is set up as its own corporation, the entire point of which is to lose money” by paying fees to the studio producing the movie. So if Superhero Studios decides to film Spider-Man 10, they create a shell company, Spider-Man 10 Incorporated. Superhero Studios then overcharges Spider-Man 10 Inc for every aspect of making, marketing, and distributing the movie. By the time Superhero Studios finishes paying itself (through Spider-Man 10 Inc) to perform work that costs $100 million, Spider-Man 10 Inc will be on the hook for one billion dollars.

      • Congress Weighs Balance of IP Freedoms and Protections

        Companies involved in open-source code, crowdsourcing, and fair use of intellectual property on Thursday delivered a strong message to U.S. lawmakers reviewing IP laws: Don’t forget about our businesses.

      • Congress Weighs Balance of IP Freedoms and Protections

        Companies involved in open-source code, crowdsourcing, and fair use of intellectual property on Thursday delivered a strong message to U.S. lawmakers reviewing IP laws: Don’t forget about our businesses.

      • US federal agencies want NSA data to help nab copyright violators

        The primary defense of the necessity of the US National Security Agency’s broad spying powers—including, apparently, recording pretty much everything anyone anywhere is doing on the internet—is that its activities are necessary to protect against terrorists and violent criminals. But a report published Saturday in the New York Times indicates that federal agencies with far more mundane mandates are unable to resist the lure of the NSA’s vast trove of data.

      • A Tipping Point Against The Copyright Monopoly Regime Is A Lot Closer Than You Think

        When I founded the Swedish Pirate Party and decided to change the political landscape of the copyright monopoly, I frequently told reporters that the plan was to change Sweden, Europe, and the world – in that order. They usually backed away wondering whether I was serious, so I laid out the plan for them.


Links 3/8/2013: Calligra Suite 2.7, New Benghazi Leaks

Posted in News Roundup at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Microsoft Office alternative Calligra Suite 2.7 released

        There are many free and open source alternatives of Microsoft Office including LibreOffice and Calligra Suite. The Calligra team has announced the release of version 2.7 of the Calligra Suite, Calligra active and the Calligra Office Engine.

      • New KDE Media Center Inches Closer

        A new media center for KDE 5 / Plasma 2 has been in the works for a while and today Sinny Kumari posted some tangible details. With the release of a new beta, users can try it out too. Of course, it has that “smartphone” look, but it still works as a desktop application. Plasma Media Center 1.1 Beta introduces several cool new features besides a ton of bug fixes.

      • Now Open for Donations

        We’ve been asked many times how to contribute to Kubuntu financially so we are now open for donations. Your donations will help finance project expenses such as hardware, travel and cloud computing.

      • In Conversation with Andreas Raninger

        I’m living in Sweden.I’m currently working as a IT-Technician in a company called IT-Hantverkarna. Painting in my free time.

      • Calligra and Krita Release 2.7

        Maria Far today announced the release of Krita 2.7 with “a lot of cool new features, bug fixes and improvements. Soon to come to a Linux distribution near you.” The transform tool was rewritten and said to be “hugely improved.” A new line smoothing ink function was highlighted, as well as “greyscale masks and selections.”

      • Call for Recordings: American(US) English.

        Hey everyone! As we, the Artikulate team, are targeting to release Artikulate this fall, we would like to invite more and more contributors to come help us with the project (which is aimed at helping users with their language learning/pronunciation skills). :-)

      • KDAB at Qt Contributor Summit

        The program of the Qt Contributor Summit was mostly determined by who was attending and what the important topics at the time were. KDAB attended the summit with strength, and participated in many relevant discussions.

      • AudioCD. Week 6.
      • Okteta ported to Qt5/KF5
      • Project Neon 5 daily builds, Ubiquity Wireless Setup

        Project Neon is a fantastic resource for KDE developers giving daily builds for KDE software. It’s maintained by the lovely Kubuntu community on the lovely Launchpad infrastructure. KDE developers can install the various bits they need to develop their part of KDE without having to worry about compiling everything themselves. It installs everything into /opt so it doesn’t touch your normal software installation.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GUADEC 2013, Day 1

        GUADEC 2013, GNOME’s annual European Conference, kicked off today in a warm and sunny Brno (Czech Republic). This is the main GNOME event of the year, and there are hundreds of contributors here for 8 days of talks and working events.

      • New Wikis for Ubuntu GNOME!

        Ali Linx (almost Linux ;)) from Lubuntu is the new Head of QA in Ubuntu GNOME (UG) and he is asking for your help to test 13.10 release. Furthermore the cool guys from UG community have some new wikis!

  • Distributions

    • What was your first Linux distro?

      Foss Force has the results of a poll of their readers that asked about their first Linux distro. Wow. Talk about taking me back a long, long time! I haven’t thought about how I got started with Linux for ages.

    • Parted Magic 2013.08.01 Features More Than 100 Application Updates

      Parted Magic, an operating system that employs core programs of GParted and Parted to handle partitioning tasks with ease, while featuring other useful software, is now at version 2013.08.01.

      Parted Magic 2013.08.01 integrates a large number of updates, but the developers also chose to fix some old problems and add some new features.

    • And Your First Linux Distro Was…

      Back on June 23, when we asked you to name the first Linux distro you ever used, we pretty much knew that the choice “Other” would take the day.

      That’s because we wanted to be completely neutral, so the ten choices we offered besides “Other” were just the top ten distros from the Distrowatch “Page Hit Ranking,” which meant that those who started their Linux life with something other than Debian or SUSE in the pre-Ubuntu era were not represented.

    • Zorin OS 7 “Lite” Review: Beautiful and functional LXDE operating system

      Zorin has a history of creating pretty refined Ubuntu spins specifically targeted to newcomers. Their recent release Zorin OS 7 is based on Ubuntu 13.04 and it has 6 months of support. I earlier reviewed the Zorin OS 7 Core (with GNOME desktop) and found it to be very good in terms of functionality, stability and aesthetics. Zorin, as a tradition, first releases the core or GNOME distro and follows it up with “Lite” and “Educational Lite”, two lightweight Zorin OS variants with LXDE desktop. Both are actually Lubuntu 13.04 spins. I, myself, am a big fan of LXDE desktop as it is possibly the most efficient of all fully featured DEs. However, LXDE requires the users to have a little bit of expertise in Linux; simple things such as autologin, adding programs to start up, setting up compositing manager, etc. are easier in other desktop environments (DEs) like XFCE, KDE & GNOME. However, of late, I saw LXDE control center in PCLinuxOS and ROSA which actually makes these things easier for the users.

    • New Releases

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon is So Pretty and Fast

        I’ve been seriously slacking on the Sabayon stuff, but been hanging with the community on the Official Sabayon Facebook page and watched a thread on a background image erupt into a mountain. It really is amazing at how a small change to a GUI send people running for their pitchforks and torches. I’ve been guilty of this in the past myself and probably will be in the future too. The GUI is very important to us and it’s drastic unchangeable changes really ticks a guy off. Gnome and KDE both felt the feedback when they revamped their GUIs. I abandoned Gnome cause of the gnome shell. Some love the gnome-shell and brag it up and down. Gnome maybe pays them to do it….

    • Red Hat Family

      • This month (July) in Red Hat KDE

        After a couple of really hot days I’m back with a short overview of what kept us[1] busy while working on KDE in Red Hat this month.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 17 “Beefy Miracle” Is Officially Dead

          The Fedora 17 operating system, otherwise known under the name of Beefy Miracle, is now officially dead.

          It’s not uncommon for the developers to stop supporting various operating systems and now the time has come for Fedora 17 (Beefy Miracle), an OS launched a little over a year ago, on May 29, 2012.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Quadruped Linux robot feels its way over obstacles

      The Italian Institute of Technology gave its first public demonstration of a Linux-based quadruped robot for navigating rough terrain. Meanwhile, a new version of the Hydraulic Quadruped (Hyq) robot is under development that can “feel” and step over obstacles using a step reflex algorithm, letting the robot navigate more easily in low-visibility environments.

      Linux-based robots come in all shapes and sizes, from Biorob’s ankle-high Cheetah-cub Robot to the knee-high models that can be built from the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot kit to NASA’s full-scale humanoid Robonaut 2. In the heavyweight class, we’ve seen Micromagic Systems’ 2.8-meter, 1800-Kilogram Mantis Hexapod Walking Machine. Now, the Department of Advanced Robotics at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italian Institute of Technology, or IIT), has developed another heavyweight contender in the Hydrolic Quadruped (Hyq) robot.

    • Top 10 BeagleBoard Projects

      Since BeagleBoard was born five years ago, the four open-source BeagleBoard.org platforms (BeagleBoard, BeagleBoard-xM, BeagleBone, and, most recently, BeagleBone Black) have made a deep impact on the open-source world. They have enabled fun and functional projects, including superhero costumes, robots, and home automation gadgets.

    • MinnowBoard: First open-source PC with x86 processor

      The PC, called the MinnowBoard, is basically a motherboard with no casing around it. It was codeveloped by Intel and CircuitCo Electronics, a company that specializes in open-source motherboards, and went on sale this month for US$199 from a handful of retailers.

    • Tiny rugged mini-PC runs Linux on dual-core 1.6GHz Atom

      Aaeon announced the availability of a rugged, Linux-compatible embedded controller computer that measures only 4.9 x 3.0 x 0.73 inches. The AEC-6401 Compact Embedded Controller runs on a dual-core, 1.6GHz Intel Atom N2600 processor, offers an SSD bay, provides gigabit Ethernet, USB, HDMI and serial connectivity, and supports -20 to 40°C fanless operation.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Zeebox Serves as Tonto to Second-Screen Lone Rangers

          Zeebox pitches itself as a “TV sidekick” that helps you discover new shows and learn more about shows you’re already familiar with. I found the experience similar to that obtained in a Twitter session with a Twitter hashtag, where you follow based on hashtag as the show plays out. One difference with Zeebox is that it has a built-in schedule — you can see upcoming shows without leaving the app.

        • Samsung at work on dual-screen ‘Galaxy Folder’ — report

          The Folder is a flip phone that comes with a dual-sided touch screen, according to a manual discovered on Samsung’s site.

        • Android-Ubuntu Edge Superphone: What’s Canonical’s End Game?

          Is the Ubuntu Edge, the Linux-powered “superphone” that Canonical hopes to develop through a crowdsourced funding campaign, a dying prospect? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean the project hasn’t already succeeded in significantly advancing Canonical’s goals in the smartphone and mobile-device market. Here’s why.

        • Cheaper Moto X in the works says Motorola CEO, will it be Moto X Mini?

          According to the current industry trend, smartphone makers are releasing a cheaper, ‘Mini’ version of their flagship devices. We had HTC One Mini and Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, now Motorola is said to be making a cheaper version of the Moto X that was released yesterday, will it be the Moto X Mini?

        • Say hello to PiCast, the open source solution to Chromecast using a Raspberry Pi

          There is a lot to love about the Chromecast. It lets you stream your browser, your desktop, and a number of apps directly to your TV with little more than a $35 dongle that plugs into HDMI on your TV. However, lately, a few problems have arisen. For one, it’s really difficult to find one unless you’re willing to wait weeks for the next stock to come in. Additionally, the root method that was discovered over at XDA has since been patched. So Google isn’t letting everyone play fast and loose with their new dongle. It’s still a great device, but it’s not perfect and now there is an alternative called PiCast.

        • Moto X on AT&T and Verizon will have locked boot loader

          If you were planning to get a wooden phone, whole boot loader you can unlock without using an axe, you are going to get very very disappointed.

        • Nvidia Shield: shipped, praised, critiqued, dissected

          Nvidia began shipping its Nvidia Shield handheld gaming console, which runs Android 4.2.1 on a 1.9GHz Tegra 4 SoC, for $300. Early reviews praised the device on just about every level except for its weight and price, and the lack of decent Tegra-optimized Android games, while an iFixit teardown found an internal design unlike anything it had ever seen.

        • Android’s seven best new security features and one lingering security problem

          Android 4.3 added significant new security features, and Google has also added two other new security features to older versions of Android. Now, if only the carriers and OEMs would patch the Bluebox security hole every Android user would be happier.

        • Facebook Brings Home’s Lockscreen Replacement To Their Main Android App — A Bad Sign For Home?

          Four months after the launch of Facebook Home, which aimed to turn every Android phone into the long-rumored Facebook Phone, the company is starting to bring certain Home features into their primary app with an update today. In other words, bits and pieces of Home are coming to the main app… without requiring anyone to actually download Home.

        • Black Hat: Android Master Key Vulnerability Makes Us Safer

          Today at the Black Hat Security conference, Forristal delivered a talk that detailed precisely what the Android master key vulnerability is all about. As Forristal explained, Google’s Android had multiple vulnerabilities in how the operating system verifies JAR/ZIP/APK files, which run on Android devices.

        • The new Moto X is ‘always listening’ – and so is the NSA!

          New phone, new spy-software

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source


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