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Links 30/1/2016: Neptune 4.5, *buntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus Alpha 2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Digital Signage for Small Business

    If you’ve spent any time shopping for digital signs for your small business, you might be a tad discouraged at the cost and complexity. But thanks to Linux and Android, you can enjoy a whole new generation of software, services, and devices that range from free to inexpensive, and that offer all kinds of great features.

    Amazingly flexible, digital signs can display simple images, slideshows, movies, Web pages, and dynamic content pulled in from the Internet, or whatever sources you want to use. Anything you can do on a computer you can put into digital signage.

  • How to safely bet your business on open source to support apps

    Companies are building new applications everyday – whether it is to meet their own requirements or to serve their customers. Open source platforms are increasingly being used to support these applications, moving from initial development and experimentation into production.

    For example, Apache Hadoop provides support for storage of huge volumes of data and companies are now looking at how to get more from their ‘data lakes.’ Meanwhile, new stacks of tools are being developed to help developers build their applications faster.

  • NSA, GCHQ used open source software to spy on Israeli, Syrian drones

    There was no supercomputing magic involved in at least most of the video interceptions. As part of an operation codenamed “Anarchist,” NSA and GCHQ analysts used Image Magick (an open source image manipulation tool) and other open source software developed to defeat commercial satellite signal encryption. One of the tools, called antisky, was developed by Dr. Markus Kuhn of the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory. The tools could be used by anyone able to intercept satellite signal feeds then exhibit the patience and skill to sort through the pixels. However, the conversion to digital video feeds on some drones has apparently made video interception more difficult.

  • Open source plugin aims to defeat link rot

    A new open source plugin designed to prevent the creation of dead content links online – so called “link rot” – has launched.

    Amber has been designed by Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and it provides what it calls a “persistent route” to information on the internet by automatically taking and retaining a snapshot of every page on a website and storing it on the same website’s server.

  • Pentaho Expands Data Analysis with Python

    Will Gorman, VP of Pentaho Labs, explains how the new Python integration will benefit data scientists and what’s coming next.

  • How to understand your team’s irrational behavior

    In this video, Jono Bacon describes a singular passion that motivates his career in open source: “Figuring out how we can build strong, inclusive, effective communities that build really cool things.”

  • Google’s ‘Seesaw’ Load Balancer Goes Open Source

    If you’re a network or systems administrator, you’re likely familiar with the concept of a load balancer. It’s a hardware device or software stack that distributes network application load across all the machines and servers connected to it in order to help mitigate network congestion. Google’s software solution, called Seesaw, was created in 2012 in response to a lack of adequate load balancing software for Google’s own use. Coded in Google’s own Go language, the software boasted a flexible Linux backbone and was used to manage Google’s own network needs, which entailed things like automated deployment and ease of use and maintenance.

  • Google Open Sources Its Seesaw Load Balancer

    Google announced today that it is open-sourcing Seesaw — a Linux-based load balancing system. The code for the project, which is written in Google’s Go language, is now available on GitHub under the Apache license.

    As Google Site Reliability Engineer Joel Sing, who works on the company’s corporate infrastructure, writes in today’s announcement, Google used to use two different load balancing systems back in 2012. Both, however, “presented different sets of management and stability challenges.” So to fix this, he and his team set out to find a new solution and because the ones available at the time didn’t meet Google’s needs, they started writing their own.

  • SourceForge’s New Owners, Mint’s New Apps & More…

    Thank goodness this week is over. After our Larry Cafiero spent last week “putting out fires,” as he puts it, at SCALE 14x, I’ve spent the last couple of days doing the same here at FOSS Force. It seems our article on Slashdot’s sale attracted some unruly types to the comments, forcing us to put the shields up on our comments site-wide for the first time in our nearly six year history. You can still comment, but you might have to wait a while for us to notice it and approve it for publication. We’ll take the shields down as soon as we determine it’s safe to do so.

  • Events

    • Sarah Sharp talks about increasing diversity in open source

      The Southern California Linux Expo 14x (SCaLE 14x) concluded on January 24 with a keynote from open source developer Sarah Sharp, who made waves in October, 2015 with a blog post explaining why she stepped down as a Linux kernel developer. Here are some highlights from her presentation.

    • Heading Out To linux.conf.au

      I am excited to be joining the conference. The last time I made the trip was sadly way back in 2007 and I had an absolutely tremendous time. Wonderful people, great topics, and well worth the trip. Typically I have struggled to get out with my schedule, but I am delighted to be joining this year.

    • 5 ways to have a more inclusive event
    • Texas Linux Fest
    • Unikernel Profiling: Flame Graphs from dom0

      Is a unikernel an impenetrable black box, resistant to profilers, tracers, fire, and poison? At SCaLE14x this weekend there was a full day track on unikernels, after which I was asked about unikernel profiling and tracing. I’m not an expert on the topic, and wasn’t able to answer these questions at the time, however, I’ve since taken a quick look using MirageOS and Xen.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Open Source: Is it Right for Your Database?

      Today, however, MySQL in particular has evolved into a serious contender as an enterprise-capable database engine, powering many websites and commercial applications. Aided in large part by Oracle’s acquisition of the company behind MySQL, we have seen over the past several years the growth of a number of very interesting and viable MySQL derivatives.

    • Top 10 MySQL GUI Tools

      Many third parties create rich applications to facilitate database management, database development and database administration. Here are ten outstanding graphical interfaces for MySQL.

    • CenturyLink Adds MySQL-Compatible DBaaS to Managed Cloud Services

      CenturyLink’s new MySQL-compatible DBaaS platform, Relational DB Service, highlights the company’s growing investment in managed cloud solutions.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding


  • Licensing

    • The Internet Has a New Standard for Censorship

      The introduction of the new 451 HTTP Error Status Code for blocked websites is a big step forward in cataloguing online censorship, especially in a country like India where access to information is routinely restricted.

    • The real censorship in children’s books: smiling slaves is just the half of it

      It seems the definition of censorship becomes more fluid and convenient with each new use. If free speech groups feel the need to cry censorship about editorial decisions, there are many, many stories of slavery that don’t feature smiling enslaved people or white saviours in the rejected folders of the 79% white publishing industry that they could start with. They could look into the even wider array of stories about our anger, our resistance, our power, that have never made it out of the slush pile, let alone to the shelves of major bookstores.

      But the free speech advocates haven’t devoted much energy to the alarmingly un-diverse publishing industry and its very real effect on literature. (Pen American, of which I’m a relatively new and usually proud member, has been doing more recently and hosted an excellent series of panels on the subject last year.)

      What we’re left with is a palpable sense of selective outrage. Pulling a book because it’s historically inaccurate and carries on the very American tradition of whitewashing slavery is classified as “censorship”, while maintaining an ongoing majority white industry that systematically excludes narratives of color is just business as usual.

    • Driven to Tears – GPLv3 and the Automotive Industry

      The automotive industry is moving toward the use of Free and Open Source software (FOSS) in vehicles. GPLv3 is currently presenting a roadblock to greater adoption. Specifically the Installation Information requirement in GPLv3 Section 6 (sometimes called the “Anti-Tivoization” clause) is causing some car makers to fear GPLv3. These car-makers want to lock down all software installed on their cars against user modifications, but fear that using GPLv3 software will prevent them from doing so. Although there may be good reasons to lock down some software on cars, car-makers should not fear GPLv3. One solution the industry may wish to consider to allay concerns about the Installation Information requirement in GPLv3 is to adopt and advocate for use of an “Additional Permission” that excepts users from having to comply with that requirement.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming


  • Just Solutions International caused a £1.1 million loss to the Ministry of Justice

    It now can be revealed that “Just Solutions International” – the Ministry of Justice commercial venture promoted by former Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling – caused an overall £1.1 million LOSS to the MoJ.

    JSI was closed by Grayling’s successor Michael Gove last October.

  • When Sony Accidentally Launched Camcorders That Could “See Through” People’s Clothes

    It’s an outrage — I think it would outrage anyone. You go out in the street you don’t expect people to look under your clothes. It’s such a basic expectation that any court in the country would find that this violates that right.

  • Screen-saver rant

    In the 70s and 80s people used text command line interfaces at the computers and mainly black and white or green CRT monitors. This CRT monitors had a problem. If they show the same interface for a long time like for example Wordstar or Visicalc then the interface is burned into the screen and the screen is basically damaged. This was not good.

  • Sorry slacktivists: The Man is shredding your robo responses

    Last week the UK government ripped up a public consultation into the future of the BBC because almost all the responses came from one source, the pressure group 38 Degrees.

  • Replacing Windows Media Center

    If you used Windows Media Center only for playing DVD movies and music, you can find alternatives if you upgrade to Windows 10 and do not have a serious loyalty to the old software. For example, VideoLAN’s VLC media player can play many types of video and audio files. If you want more of a “media center” experience, programs like Kodi, MediaPortal or Plex may offer a range of functions similar to the old, discontinued Microsoft software.

  • Science

    • The Challenger disaster: 30 years ago I was working at mission control

      Thirty years ago I was at mission control at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for the launch of the Challenger. I was working data communications. My job was making sure all the telemetry links between the space shuttle and NASA’s ground communications system (NASCOM) were working. Everything was green on my board, the shuttle launched, and a few seconds later everything went to hell. I stared at my controls, tried to get things to reconnect, and then I finallly looked up at the TV display.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Here’s How Hard It Will Be to Unpoison Flint’s Water

      It is possible to trace every drop of toxic water spewed from Flint, Michigan back to two terrible decisions. The second was switching the city’s supply from treated Lake Huron water to the corrosive broth in the Flint River. Left untreated, that water unleashed the disaster stored in the walls of the city’s first bad decision: its lead pipes.

      In the past few weeks, the nation’s attention has increasingly focused on Flint’s public health disaster. At least 15 percent of the city’s homes have water with lead levels exceeding the safe limit established by the federal government. Several of those homes had water with lead levels 900 times above the safe limit. Poor political decisions caused the crisis, but it wouldn’t have happened at all if the lead pipes weren’t there to begin with. The current solution is a stopgap—spiking the water supply with an anticorrosive chemical. But if the powers that be want to eliminate the risk completely, they will ultimately have to replace all the lead plumbing. A September estimate, only recently released by Michigan governor Rick Snyder, puts the cost of replacing all the lead pipes in Flint at $60 million. And the project will take 15 years.

    • Flint Weighs Scope of Harm to Children Caused by Lead in Water

      Quayana Towns’s 2-month-old daughter wriggled on an exam table last week as her pediatrician ticked off questions that have become essential for every parent of young children here.

      “So what are you guys doing for water — what are you drinking?” asked the doctor, Mona Hanna-Attisha.

      “I have a whole bunch of bottled water that I picked up,” said Ms. Towns, 26, assuring the doctor that the family had been drinking it for a few months, since the gravity of Flint’s water crisis came to light.

      “And before that you were using tap water?”

    • 10 Things They Won’t Tell You About the Flint Water Tragedy. But I Will.

      News of the poisoned water crisis in Flint has reached a wide audience around the world. The basics are now known: the Republican governor, Rick Snyder, nullified the free elections in Flint, deposed the mayor and city council, then appointed his own man to run the city. To save money, they decided to unhook the people of Flint from their fresh water drinking source, Lake Huron, and instead, make the public drink from the toxic Flint River. When the governor’s office discovered just how toxic the water was, they decided to keep quiet about it and covered up the extent of the damage being done to Flint’s residents, most notably the lead affecting the children, causing irreversible and permanent brain damage. Citizen activists uncovered these actions, and the governor now faces growing cries to resign or be arrested.

    • Letter to the editor: Local media didn’t whiff on Flint coverage

      James Warren, chief media writer for Poynter, wrote a column Friday that suggests news media bears a share of the responsibility for the lead poisoning scandal that has afflicted the city of Flint and engulfed the state government that caused it to happen.

      And he quotes two sources — one of them is a former, longtime environmental writer for our company — who suggest local journalists were lax in following the story, or too inexperienced to know how to handle it, due in part to cuts in staffing in newsrooms.

    • While Flint Was Being Poisoned, State Workers “Quietly” Provided Water Coolers

      Following release of new document and emails, Gov. Snyder told he must ‘explain to the people of Flint why his administration trucked water into a state building while allowing residents to drink unsafe water’

    • We Failed in Flint. Here’s How to Avoid Making the Same Mistakes in Climate Policy

      The same four mistakes that led to tragedy in Flint are repeated in other cities and, dangerously, in the realm of global climate policy. To create a just and sustainable world we must learn to recognize and rectify each of them.

    • WHO Discusses Polio, Hepatitis C, Vaccines, Affordability

      The World Health Organization Executive Board this week noted a number of reports on communicable diseases, such as poliomyelitis, and vaccines. Developing countries underlined the affordability and accessibility of treatments. The board also agreed on the setting up of an open-ended intergovernmental meeting to come to agreement on the organisation’s governance reform.

    • Evaluation Starts On WHO Global Strategy For Public Health, Innovation, IPRs

      “Things seem very abstract,” the representative said, citing the high prices of drugs, such as cancer drugs. It is important, he said, that local generic manufacture of drug be supported.

    • TRAPping Access to Safe, Legal Abortions

      This week, a Houston grand jury returned a surprise indictment. It was tasked with investigating videos that purported to expose Planned Parenthood for selling the body parts of aborted fetuses. The grand jury found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, but instead charged the video producers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt from the anti-abortion group The Center for Medical Progress, with tampering with a government record, a felony.

    • Steffie Woolhandler on Media Attacks on Single-Payer Healthcare

      This week on CounterSpin: The consensus of Beltway media seems to be that a single-payer healthcare system, similar to those in other industrialized countries is “excellent in theory,” but “dead on arrival” in Washington, making its proponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, naive at best. Americans make life-altering healthcare choices, in which worry over cost plays a big part, every day, but serious public discussion about how to address that crisis is a sometimes thing. So we should care what media are saying about single payer—as a lesson in policing possibilities, even apart from what it means for the presidential race.

  • Security

    • Could an Open-Source Approach Make Cars Hacker-Proof?

      While organization like the Linux Foundation, through its Automotive Grade Linux platform and GENIVI, have pushed for an open-source approach to in-car infotainment, the same principles could be applied to vehicle code at large to help prevent hacking. And given the rapid pace of self-driving technology and the lines of code that will be required—100 million or more for a modern vehicle, compared to 60 million in all of Facebook or 50 million in the Large Hadron Collider—perhaps it’s time for automotive software to become more transparent and therefore more tamper-proof.

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Critical OpenSSL Patch Available. Patch Now!

      All versions of OpenSSL are vulnerable to CVE-2014-0195, but this vulnerability only affects DTLS clients or servers (look for SSL VPNs… not so much HTTPS).

    • Linux Trojan That Takes Screenshots and Records Audio Has a Windows Brother

      The Linux trojan that spied on users by taking screenshots of their desktop has now a Windows variant, as Kaspersky’s security team has found out.

      The trojan, first discovered by Dr.Web and named Linux.Ekocms, and later also identified by Sophos as Linux/Mokes-A, and then by Kaspersky as Backdoor.Linux.Mokes.a, has caused some stir in the Linux community because it was one of the first spyware threats detected in the wild on the platform.

    • Forcing out bugs with stress-ng

      I’ve also tried to make stress-ng portable, so it can build fine on GNU/Hurd and Debian kFreeBSD (with Linux specific tests not built-in of course). It also contains some architecture specific features, such as handling the data and instruction cache as well as the x86 rdrand instruction and cache line locking. If there are any ARM specific features than can be stressed I’d like to know and perhaps implement stressors for them.

    • OpenSSH and the dangers of unused code

      Unused code is untested code, which probably means that it harbors bugs—sometimes significant security bugs. That lesson has been reinforced by the recent OpenSSH “roaming” vulnerability. Leaving a half-finished feature only in the client side of the equation might seem harmless on a cursory glance but, of course, is not. Those who mean harm can run servers that “implement” the feature to tickle the unused code. Given that the OpenSSH project has a strong security focus (and track record), it is truly surprising that a blunder like this could slip through—and keep slipping through for roughly six years.

    • Why Is Usable Security Hard, and What Should We Do about it?
    • Linux-Based Botnets Accounted for More than Half of DDoS Attacks in Q4 2015
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UN Report Finds ‘Systematic’ Saudi Targeting of Yemeni Civilians

      A leaked report by a UN panel of experts is calling for a formal inquiry into Saudi human rights abuses, saying the nation is “deliberately starving” Yemeni civilians in its war, and targeting civilians in airstrikes in a “widespread and systematic manner.”

    • Yemeni-American Tells How the U.S. Separated Him from His Wife and Three Children

      Qarwash Mohsn Awad was already aboard his flight to Jordan at Chicago’s O’Hare airport in May 2015 when he was pulled off and escorted to a small room by two individuals – a man and a woman.

      The agents questioned him – asking him for his documents, how much money he had, how many bags he had. Every time Awad answered, they responded, “You are lying, you are lying.” Agitated, Awad had no idea what was going on, he says. He was accused of having fake paperwork and told he would be locked up.

    • Pentagon Wastes $800 Million On Businesses in Afghanistan

      Sopko’s office has unleashed critical reports about Pentagon spending in Afghanistan — especially TFBSO, which was finally disbanded in a mercy killing last year. Financial records show that the task force spent $43 million on a compressed natural gas filling station that has been widely mocked as the world’s most expensive. It also spent upwards of $150 million on private villas and associated security, bankrolled a multi-million dollar Afghan start-up incubator that is now defunct, and even paid to import Italian goats in order to jumpstart the country’s cashmere industry.

    • Suicide Bombers Stage Mass Attack; 200 Killed in Iraq

      In Baghdadi, five suicide bombers attacked a guesthouse belonging to a town councilman; they killed a tribal fighter acting as a guard and wounded 10 other people. Two more suicide bombers attacked first responders, killing the police chief and two policemen. In a second attack on the outskirts of twon, a dozen suicide bombers attacked a barracks and killed 25 security personnel.

    • Hillary’s West African Footprint

      To any informed observer, the motivation for the increased frequency of these attacks, and their growth into new countries, is abundantly clear. Western imperial ambitions, especially those in Islamic-majority countries, lead to a perceived lack of self determination on the part of the body politic of those people living under dictators friendly to Western governments. When attempts to resist authoritarian leaders beholden first to foreign interests fail, frustration within the social order builds among members of that nation’s populace. This, in turn, validates the narratives of the most violent groups opposing Western rule, and attracts the young, the restless, and often the jobless elements of society most hungry for change and willing to take the most dramatic steps to initiate it. This is a phenomenon that Chalmers Johnson labeled”blowback” in a now-famous article published in The Nation in late September of 2001. Its existence has become an accepted fact in the realm of military planning, and Hillary Clinton herself warned of its possibility in March of 2011. More important to her, however, were her political ambitions, a chance to grease the palms of friendly arms dealers, and a good deed done for the domestic politics of the Clinton Foundation’s gulf supporters. If there is any action an American Secretary of State ought to take in attempting to quell violence aimed at Western targets, it is to facilitate peace talks rather than engage in fruitless military escapades overseas to intervene in conflicts about which American bureaucrats understand nothing. And, even then, such enterprises carry with them the threat of backfire. In tracing the footsteps of unrest across the whole of North and West Africa, one finds that all roads lead to Hillary Clinton and her Libyan regime-change operation. The best of all solutions is the complete withdrawal of Western military forces from the foreign lands they occupy. Only under these conditions will peace in the Sahel become an achievable outcome; and until then, the peaceful citizens of the tiny nation of Burkina Faso will be asked to foot her bill.

    • Video Of Oregon Occupier’s Final Moments Contradicts Claims Police Killed Him With His Hands Up

      The FBI says Finicum appeared to be reaching for a gun in his jacket when he was killed. The video is aerial footage, and the distance and high angle of the shot make it hard to speak conclusively about what it shows. But at the very least, Finicum did raise and lower his hands repeatedly, and had his hands lowered and near his torso when he was killed.

      The agency has released both the full 26-minute aerial video of the stops, and a briefer clip showing Finicum’s attempt to run a barricade and subsequent death. Greg Bretzing, the top FBI official in Oregon, told reporters that they’re limited in discussing the encounter because of an ongoing outside review of the shooting by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s office.

    • Finland’s Patria sells armoured vehicles to UAE

      The majority state-owned company has been granted an export license despite the UAE’s involvement in the Yemeni conflict, and its own series of corruption scandals.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • US Police Organisation Hacked, Documents Posted Online

      Documents related to a US police association have been dumped online, as well as a database of personal information and member-only forum backup.

      The affected organisation is the “Fraternal Order of Police” (FOP), which describes itself as “the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 325,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges.”

      “We have learned today that our data system has been hacked by the Group known as Anonymous,” said a statement posted on Facebook by the FOP national president Chuck Canterbury on Thursday. The attack “appears to have originated outside of the United States,” the statement continued.

    • DOJ Agrees To Hand Over Document To EPIC, But Only Because The Document Has Already Been Made Public

      Two days after this announcement, EPIC filed expedited FOIA requests on both sides of the pond for the text of this agreement, arguing (logically) that the people this would affect had a right to know what their governments were agreeing to. EPIC specifically had concerns that the US would offer less protection to foreign citizens’ data than to its own citizens, given that it has historically refused to extend these niceties to those residing elsewhere on the planet.

    • Former FTC CTO Ashkan Soltani Denied Security Clearance, Perhaps Because He Helped In Reporting On Snowden Docs

      Ashkan Soltani is a well known privacy expert who (among other things) worked with Barton Gellman at the Washington Post to analyze the Snowden documents for story worthy information — an effort that won that series a Pulitzer Prize. Soltani has been hugely instrumental in reporting on other privacy-related issues as well, including being a part of the team that also a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the Wall Street Journal’s excellent What They Know series on digital privacy issues. Basically he has a long history of doing great journalism around privacy. For most of the last year, he was also the Chief Technology Officer at the FTC. Back in December, it was announced that he had moved over to work for the federal government CTO, Megan Smith, in the White House as a senior advisor. The CTO’s office has been collecting some fairly amazing tech talent recently.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • In 50-49 vote, US Senate says climate change not caused by humans

      The Senate rejected the scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change, days after NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2014 the hottest year ever recorded on Earth.

      The Republican-controlled Senate defeated a measure Wednesday stating that climate change is real and that human activity significantly contributes to it. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, offered the measure as the Senate debated the Keystone XL pipeline, which would tap the carbon-intensive oil sands in the Canadian province of Alberta.

  • Finance

    • Japan’s Top TPP Negotiator Resigns After It’s Alleged He Accepted Bribes

      Over in Japan, there’s been a big political scandal brewing over the last few days, leading the country’s economy minister Akira Amari to resign amid charges that he received significant bribes from a construction company. What makes that relevant to us here is that Amari was also Japan’s leading negotiator on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and his resignation and the bribery charges are raising additional (and fairly serious) questions about whether or not Japan really should support the TPP. So far, the bribery that’s been discussed does not appear to directly impact that TPP, but it at least raises other questions about whether or not the TPP itself was compromised by similar corruption (of course, some may argue that the entire process, in which big companies basically helped write the thing, is itself corrupt). Amari had been expected to travel to New Zealand in the next few days for the TPP signing ceremony, but obviously someone else will now have to go.

    • Japanese economy minister Akira Amari quits over bribery claims

      Japan’s Economy Minister Akira Amari has said he is resigning amid corruption allegations.

      Mr Amari unexpectedly made the announcement at a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday.

      But he again denied personally receiving bribes from a construction company, as had been alleged by a Japanese magazine.

    • Paul Krugman Doubles Down on Defense of Clinton Over Sanders—Questionably

      Krugman’s latest column suggests that such establishment media figures are leveraging this climate to launch spurious attacks against the left and progressive movements.

    • Washington Post’s Wild Swings at Sanders

      It’s not surprising that the Washington Post (owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos) would be unhappy with a presidential candidate running on a platform of taking back the country from the millionaires and billionaires. Therefore the trashing of Sen. Bernie Sanders in an editorial, “Bernie Sanders’ Fiction-Filled Campaign” (1/27/16), was about as predictable as the sun rising.

    • Even after years of TTIP talks, new study still unable to point to any major benefits

      Last year, Ars provided an extensive introduction to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and the US. This massive deal—it involves half the world’s GDP and a third of its trade—was launched back in 2013, largely on the basis that it would provide a significant fillip to both economies. The previous EU commissioner responsible for trade, Karel de Gucht, claimed it would be “the cheapest stimulus package you can imagine.” A study published in 2013 by the London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) on behalf of the European Commission predicted that the EU’s economy would be boosted by €119 billion, and the US’s by €95 billion.

    • Elizabeth Warren Challenges Clinton, Sanders to Prosecute Corporate Crime Better Than Obama

      Three days before the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has released what might have been her closing argument had she been a candidate in the presidential race.

      It’s a thorough indictment of a rigged system in Washington that allows corporate criminals to go free while those without the same power and influence get severely punished.

      The report — a 12-page booklet titled “Rigged Justice: How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy” — cites 20 well-documented civil and criminal cases from 2015 “in which the federal government failed to require meaningful accountability.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Virgin Birth of Obama’s Wonk Core

      There’s a telling paragraph in this post from Ezra Klein, one of a series of posts written lately by self-described “wonks” defending the electoral and political approach Hillary Clinton embraces.

    • Seizing on Establishment Panic, Sanders Sharpens Contrast with Clinton

      With just a few days to go until the Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders spoke to an evening rally in Burlington, Iowa on Thursday and made some of his boldest statements yet criticizing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s political track record and Wall Street ties.

      Sanders, who has faced an escalation of establishment ire in recent weeks, made a sharp contrast between his principles and his rival’s—such as his early and consistent opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Keystone XL pipeline, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton.

      “Check the record, find out where my opponent was on all of these issues,” Sanders said. “It is great to be against the war after you vote for the war. It is great to be for gay rights after you insult the entire gay community by supporting DOMA.”

    • Black lives like my father’s should matter. That’s why I’m endorsing Bernie Sanders.

      A year and a half ago, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo barbarically choked my father, Eric Garner, on a Staten Island sidewalk in broad daylight. My father died that day. His death was ruled a homicide. Despite viral video footage of the incident, international media attention and widespread protests, our justice system failed to find Officer Pantaleo guilty of any crime. In fact, until a few weeks ago, the only person indicted in relation to the case was Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed it all.

      As a daughter, I was devastated. As a citizen, I remain outraged — my father’s death was an absolute injustice, but not an uncommon one. By now, we know many of the other names all too well: Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Rekia Boyd. But it’s only thanks to the tireless work of organizers and protesters, who take to the streets and disrupt business as usual, that we know their names at all.


      I trusted establishment Democrats who claimed to represent me, only to later watch them ignore and explain away the injustice of my father’s death. I trusted the system; then I watched as politicians on both sides of the aisle — from Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder — disregard the will of the people they were elected to represent and abdicate their responsibility to protect them. I’ve watched as our system criminalizes blackness while allowing Wall Street to bilk the American people with impunity.

    • I thought Sanders was bad for black people. These women changed my mind.

      Six months ago, I was a Bernie Sanders skeptic. In July, I wrote about how Sanders had bungled his outreach to the black base. Though he spent a lot of time talking about economic inequality, his message seemed aimed at the thousands of white liberals who attended his rallies. A month later, I accused his white online supporters of condescending to black people who weren’t sold on his civil rights record.


      But now, I’m beginning to rethink my position. That’s thanks, largely, to Sanders’s black women supporters. Over the last week, I’ve spoken with people like Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, Trayvon Martin family lawyer Natalie Jackson and several black female Sanders staffers, like Tezlyn Figaro. No one shaped my thinking more than Erica Garner. She’s the daughter of Eric Garner, an unarmed African American who died after being put in a choke hold by an NYPD officer in 2014.

    • The Anti-Democratic Structure of Two Party Elections: Chomsky, Bloomberg and and the VotePact Solution

      I’ve been a critic of Sanders. I think his main problem is a lack of radicalness, especially on foreign policy.

    • “Black Americans for a Better Future” Super PAC 100% Funded by Rich White Guys

      New FEC filings show that all of the $417,250 in monetary donations to a Super PAC called “Black Americans for a Better Future” comes from conservative white businessmen — including $400,000, or 96 percent of the total, from white billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Mercer.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • The School Choice Myth and Our (Literal) Case Against It

      Parents have every right to send their children to a religious school, but not on the public dime.

      Opportunity in education. Effective education options for every child. Stimulating educational environments. Every year at the end of January, the proponents of National School Choice Week emphasize these ideals as reasons that parents, educators, and policymakers should support school voucher and tax credit programs.

      By appealing to the core aspirations for reform desired among the education community, the school choice movement masks the fact that these programs do not actually offer the benefits their supporters tout. Instead, voucher and tax credit programs typically funnel taxpayer funds into private and often religious schools that are free to discriminate against students on a variety of grounds and are exempt from meeting the same educational requirements as public schools.

    • Tibetan, Muslim Students Join in Protest For Equal Education

      In a display of cooperation across ethnic lines, Tibetan and Muslim students and their parents came together this week in a public protest to demand better funding for the education of minority groups in northwestern China’s Qinghai province, Tibetan sources said.

      Gathering on Jan. 24 outside government offices in the provincial capital Xining, protesters called especially for an investigation into the activities of the education department head of the Bayan Khar (in Chinese, Hualong) Hui Autonomous County in Qinghai’s Tsoshar (Haidong) prefecture, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

      “The protesters were parents and students of Tibetan and Muslim origin belonging to a local school called the Gangjong School,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    • Georgia Lawmaker Defends KKK: “It Made a Lot of People Straighten Up”

      A Georgia state representative has triggered anger on social media after he made several statements that appear to defend the actions of the Ku Klux Klan, a group he insists “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order.”

      “It made a lot of people straighten up,” Republican State Rep. Tommy Benton said, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.”

    • Disney’s princesses spoke more in the 1950s. So much for ‘feminist’ heroines

      In Aladdin, female characters speak only 10 per cent. While in Mulan, despite the eponymous character saving China, female characters utter 23 per cent of the dialogue.

    • Clinton emails labeled ‘top secret’

      The Obama administration will entirely withhold 22 emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server because they have been classified as “top secret,” the State Department said on Friday.

      The existence of multiple top secret emails in the Democratic presidential front-runner’s inbox will only increase public scrutiny on the former secretary of State’s unusual email arrangement, mere days before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation nominating contest on Monday.

      The 37 pages of emails are the first time the Obama administration has confirmed that messages within Clinton’s server while she was at State merit one of the highest levels of classification. Although the State Department has previously classified more than 1,300 of Clinton’s emails upon release, the vast majority of those were at lower classification levels.

    • State to release some Clinton emails on Friday; thousands still delayed

      The State Department on Friday will release roughly 2,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails but will delay the final batch of messages until after voters go to the polls in the first several primary states.

      In a court filing late on Thursday evening, the department insisted that it “regrets” its inability to publish the final 7,000 pages on Friday, as a federal court ordered it to do last year.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Nightmare

      Hillary Clinton’s nightmare is not the sudden resurgence of Bernie Sanders. It is the fidelity to the rule of law of the FBI.

      The recent revelations of the receipt by Clinton of a Special Access Program email, as well as cut and pasted summaries of state secrets on her server and on her BlackBerry nearly guarantee that the FBI will recommend that the Department of Justice convene a grand jury and seek her indictment for espionage. Here is the backstory.

    • APNewsBreak: US declares 22 Clinton emails ‘top secret’

      The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton’s home server contained closely guarded government secrets, censoring 22 emails that contained material requiring one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes three days before Clinton competes in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

    • Facebook Says It Will Ban Gun Sales Between Users

      Social networking giant Facebook announced Friday that it would ban the private sale of guns on its site, and on its photo-sharing platform Instagram.

      Although the site itself does not act as a retailer of firearms, it has allowed users to sell guns on Facebook pages or in Instagram posts. The new prohibitions will affect only private and person-to-person sales, and not licensed gun sellers.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • New Report To FCC Details How Binge On Violates Net Neutrality

      Stanford Law professor Barbara van Schewick, one of the leading scholars on net neutrality, has filed a report with the FCC detailing how T-Mobile’s Binge On clearly violates net neutrality. As we’ve been highlighting, Binge On has numerous problems when it comes to net neutrality, and appears to clearly violate some of the FCC’s rules. There’s also the fact that T-Mobile flat out lied about it and claimed that it was “optimization” when it’s really throttling.

    • The Trouble with the TPP, Day 20: Unenforceable Net Neutrality Rules

      One of President Barack Obama’s selling points for the TPP has been claims that it helps preserve “an open and free Internet.” The references to an open and free Internet, which is closely linked to net neutrality, may strike a chord with those concerned with digital issues. However, the Trouble with the TPP is that a close examination of the text and a comparison with existing net neutrality rules in many TPP countries reveals that it doesn’t advance the issue. In fact, the standards are so weak and unenforceable that at least half of the TPP countries already far exceed them.

    • Google admits to how much it paid the brief owner of its domain name

      Back in October 2015, an admin error caused the ownership of its main domain “google.com” to lapse and a lucky fellow managed to snap it up.

      Sanmay Ved, a researcher managed to buy google.com through Google domains for a brief moment, which led to Google having to buy it back for around $12,000 USD.

      Although this was seemingly done as a moment of opportunity rather than a means to get quick rich. Google paid the sum for the domain which Sanmay went onto donate to charity.

    • T-Mobile’s Binge On violates net neutrality, says Stanford report

      The debate over whether or not Binge On violates Net Neutrality has been raging ever since the service was announced in November. The latest party to weigh in is Barbara van Schewick, law professor at Stanford University.

      In a new report published today — and filed to the FCC, as well — van Schewick says that Binge on “violates key net neutrality principles” and “is likely to violate the FCC’s general conduct rule.” She goes on to make several arguments against Binge On, saying that services in Binge On distorts competition because they’re zero-rated and because video creators are more likely to use those providers for their content, as the zero-rated content is more attractive to consumers.

    • Open source optical network could create a new Internet

      Key elements for their Internet are optical white boxes and bare metal optical switches. Bare metal switches use merchant chips rather than custom silicon, and can be cheaper and easier to use. Open source software can be used.

      Data Centers are embracing these cheaper open switches that can be programmed like Linux computers, explains Computerworld in a 2015 article.

      I wrote about merchant chips in April 2015 in ‘Open source a driver for merchant chips.’


      Add to this the idea of a special network virtualization mechanism that lets multiple networks use the same infrastructure, plus the aforementioned open source elements and high-speed light-based networks, and the Internet will be able to move forward with exciting new applications a la Google and iOS, they reckon.

    • Internet may soon carry traffic at speed of light
    • Internet traffic may soon travel at the speed of light
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • When Even The Wall Street Journal Calls Out The USTR’s Misleading Propaganda About The TPP…

      Not too surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal has been a big booster of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement over the past year, repeatedly praising the deal and claiming it will save the world in all sorts of ways. Most of that is based on the faulty belief that the TPP is actually a “free trade” deal (it’s actually the opposite), with some of it just being the standard WSJ faith-based belief that “if big businesses like it, it must be good.”

    • Copyrights

      • Monkey See, Monkey Do, But Judge Says Monkey Gets No Copyright

        However, as we’ve explained time and time again (much to the chagrin of David Slater, the photographer whose camera was used to take the photo), the photo is clearly in the public domain, as it’s long been held that the Copyright Act only applies to human authors. In court a few weeks ago, the judge made it clear he didn’t believe PETA had any case at all, but Judge William Orrick has now come out with his written opinion in the case explaining his reasoning why. Not surprisingly, it more or less tracks with what he said in court: there is no evidence that the Copyright Act applies to monkeys, and thus, case dismissed — with leave to amend.

      • Be more lenient in copyright cases, US government says

        The US Copyright Act should be amended to become more favourable towards fair use and change the way that damages are awarded in cases, a report from the US Department of Commerce has argued.

        In a white paper released yesterday, January 28, the Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) at the department outlined ways judges and juries could be given more guidance when assessing damages.

      • U.S. Govt: Excessive Piracy Punishments Should Be Avoided

        The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force has released a set of copyright reform proposals. The Government recommends Congress to implement various changes to avoid excessive damages awards and stresses that copyright trolling should not be tolerated.

      • Pick A Side: Video Of Creepy Girls Singing To Donald Trump Taken Down Over Copyright On WWI Song

        Yeah, it was taken down by EMI. But why, you ask? While many of us would thank anyone or anything that could tear the existence of this horror show away from wherever unsuspecting innocents might happen across it, what stake does EMI Music have in this song sung by The USA Freedom Kids?

      • Commerce Department Wants To Fix Some Of The Worst Problems Of Copyright Law: Reform Crazy Damages

        A couple of years ago, the Commerce Department put out a somewhat problematic “Green Paper” on copyright, that at times seemed to have been pretty heavily influenced by the maximalist view of the world, without recognition of how widely copyright is abused. Lots of people responded to it with their concerns — including an excellent response from (believe it or not) Hollywood screenwriters who actually pointed out the problems of copyright maximalism, statutory damages, abusive takedowns and attacks on fair use. I don’t know if it was that letter that really influenced things, but the Commerce Department has now come out with its follow up “White Paper” and it’s really quite good. It basically says that copyright’s statutory damages are a huge mess and need to be fixed.

      • Rather a double life: 26 extra years of copyright for Beatrix Potter

        In a real-world fairytale story this week, the discovery was announced of a previously unpublished work by beloved mycologist (also children’s author) Beatrix Potter, 150 years after her birth.


Links 29/1/2016: Controversy at the Linux Foundation, Tor Browser 5.5

Posted in News Roundup at 8:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Free Pathways to Running Linux Right

    If you’re new or relatively new to Linux, you may be looking around for good educational resources and perhaps some tutorials. Whether you’re new to Linux or looking to become a more advanced user, there are a lot of free online books and tutorials that can give you guidance. In this post, you’ll find our newly updated collection of many good Linux reference guides and tools online–all available at no cost.

  • Desktop

    • 8 Ways to Make Use of Your Old PC with Linux

      Most people throw away their old computers when they get new ones. Don’t be one of those people. Instead, turn your old PC into a Linux file server, a smart TV hub, a web caching proxy, Network Attached Storage, or even your own private cloud solution. With Linux, the possibilities are endless.

      Here are 8 things you can do with an old PC and Linux. Keep in mind that these are just eight picks. It’s not the be-all-end-all list. There is no doubt that there are other things that can be done on Linux that simply didn’t make the list.

  • Server

    • IBM mainframes get open source revamp with Ubuntu Linux support

      IBM has revealed new technology features and collaborations for its LinuxONE family of Linux systems, with a particular focus on hybrid cloud capabilities.

    • ​The mainframe lives on in IBM’s LinuxONE

      IBM invested a billion dollars in Linux in 2002. Some things remain the same. Last year, IBM introduced LinuxONE, a new pair of IBM mainframes along with Linux and open-source software and services. These new systems are the LinuxONE Emperor, which built on the IBM z13 mainframe and its z13 CPU, and its little brother, Rockhopper, which is now moving from the older z12 processor to the z13.

    • Linaro provides go-to Linux-based software stack for ARM servers

      Recognizing that challenge, standards organization Linaro is pushing a new open-source software reference platform that will provide easy access to firmware and common software tools for easier integration of ARM servers in data centers.

      Linaro is a major player in the development of Linux and Android software for ARM-based devices and servers. The organization is handling the development of Android for Google’s Project Ara custom smartphone, and has adapted the Chrome browser for mobile devices.

    • Linaro announces Software Reference Platform for ARM servers
    • The History of Linux Containers from chroot to the Future

      Linux containers are an operating system level virtualization technology for providing multiple isolated Linux environments on a single Linux host. Unlike virtual machines (VMs), containers do not run dedicated guest operating systems. Rather, they share the host operating system kernel and make use of the guest operating system system libraries for providing the required OS capabilities. Since there is no dedicated operating system, containers start much faster than VMs.

    • Build a better web server – Part 1

      Up your computing power with an upgraded or brand new server that you can build yourself

      While big business and big data may be utilising mainframes more of late, the concept of servers is not going away any time soon. Servers are an integral part of any system, however large your IT infrastructure is. Whether it’s inside the data centre or tucked away in your (well-ventilated!) cupboard at home, there are still a lot of uses for servers in 2015.

      For the office you may want to save a bit of money and create something perfect for your needs that you know exactly how to maintain. For home you may just want to enhance your setup and make the entire network more efficient. For both it’s a great way to separate certain aspects of your network to control it in a more efficient way.

      There are many components of a server that you need to keep in mind, but it boils down to an appropriate hardware selection and a good distro for the task at hand. In this tutorial, we are going to concentrate on file and web servers, two base server systems that can be expanded and modified in multiple ways to best fit the situation you are in.

      As we’re teaching you how to build a better web server, we will first take a quick detour to tell you what you should know if you want to upgrade your current server so that it can compete with the new tech.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 4 Episode 02

      In this episode: Good news from Qt and bad news for 32 bit Google Chrome users. The Linux Foundation ditches individual membership and Microsoft MITs more code. Plus loads of Finds, Neurons, Voices, Competition Prizes and An Important Announcement.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.5 AMDGPU/Radeon vs. Catalyst OpenGL Performance

      With the first test release out this week for the Linux 4.5 kernel I have carried out some fresh benchmarks on different AMD Radeon graphics cards for comparing the very latest open-source driver performance against that of the proprietary AMD Linux driver. Here are how the competing AMD OpenGL Linux stacks are comparing to one another for starting off 2016.

    • Linux Kernel 3.18.26 LTS Has Btrfs Improvements, Updated Network and USB Drivers

      After the release of the Linux 4.3.4, 4.1.16 LTS, 3.14.59 LTS and 3.10.95 LTS kernels, today we would like to inform our readers about the immediate availability for download of the long-term supported Linux kernel 3.18.26.

    • The Linux Foundation and the Uneasy Alliance

      Meanwhile, the comments on Garrett’s blog suggest that, whatever else happens, Garrett has tapped into a general perception. For instance, the community site FOSS Force discussed the issue under the headline “Linux Foundation Sells Out.”

      Clearly, to many, the Linux Foundation represents the community poorly. However, the accuracy of that perception seems more mixed that either side seems willing to acknowledge.

    • ‘Unikernels will send us back to the DOS era’ – DTrace guru Bryan Cantrill speaks out

      Some heralded Docker’s acquisition of UK-based Unikernel Systems last week as the golden dawn of a post-container era. Others showed healthy skepticism.

      One person firmly in the latter camp is Bryan Cantrill, who typed up a long blog post on why he believes unikernels are “unfit” for production. Cantrill is chief technology officer of San Francisco-based Joyent, which builds software to manage containers across whole data centers.

    • Controversy at the Linux Foundation

      Linux has seen more than its fair share of controversy through the years. And, that’s not so surprising. For one thing, the operating system flies in the teeth of deeply entrenched multinational companies. The fact that it stands for users instead of vested interests has drawn more than a little ire as well.

      And, let’s be honest. Sometimes the controversy comes from within our own camp. Although the Open Source community is generally very welcoming and accepting, there always will be conflicts when a large group of people works together on a big project. It happens in offices. It happens in universities. And it has certainly happened on the Linux Kernel Mailing list.

      It shouldn’t be so surprising that tempers occasionally flare. People may come to the Open Source world with rose-tinted spectacles, expecting to join a utopia. I guess it can be disappointing to realize that we’re human after all (yes, even Linus Torvalds).

    • Jumping Bean to partner with Linux Foundation to deliver Linux Training in Southern Africa

      Jumping Bean today announced it is partnering with The Linux Foundation to deliver the nonprofit organisation’s sought after, vendor-neutral Linux training and certification courses in Southern Africa. The demand for the Linux training has seen unprecedented growth in recent years as companies scramble to move their businesses to the Linux dominated cloud.

    • Linux Kernel 3.12.53 LTS Introduces x86 and Blackfin Fixes, Updated Drivers

      Linux kernel developer Jiri Slaby informs us all about the immediate availability for download of the fifty-third maintenance version for the long-term supported Linux 3.12 kernel series.

      Linux kernel 3.12.53 LTS is an important milestone, and according to the appended shortlog, it changes a total of 45 files, with 197 insertions and 138 deletions. Among the most important improvements, we can mention bugfixes for the x86, m68k, Blackfin, m32r, and PowerPC (PPC) hardware architectures, along with updates to the networking stack, especially for things like IPv6, IPv4, and SCTP (Stream Control Transmission Protocol).

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Xeon E3-1270 v5 Skylake Linux Benchmarks

        Our latest Intel Skylake processor to benchmark is a Xeon E3-1270 v5 processor that boasts a boost speed of 4.0GHz.

        A new server was commissioned this week for the new OpenBenchmarking.org. Prior to transitioning the OpenBenchmarking.org infrastructure to it this weekend, I ran some benchmarks on it since it has a shiny new Xeon E3-1270 v5 Skylake processor. This new server has the Xeon E3-1270 v5 processor, Supermicro X11SSL-F motherboard, 64GB of memory (4 x 16GB Kingston DDR4-2133MHz), and 240GB Micron M510DC solid-state drive. Its running CentOS 7 with the Linux 3.10 kernel and XFS file-system.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Instrumenting the GLib main loop with Dunfell

        This screenshot is of a trace of the buffered-input-stream test from GIO, showing I/O callbacks being made across threads as idle source callbacks.

      • Project Templates

        Now that Builder has integrated Template-GLib, I started working on creating projects from templates. Today, this is only supported from the command line. Obviously the goal is to have it in the UI side-by-side with other project creation methods.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Home theatre distros group test

        Raspbian is really unsuited to your HTPC needs. It’s not designed to either, but it was interesting to see if the extra UX considerations that were added this year made it more suitable for the task. Unfortunately, they didn’t.

    • New Releases

      • Apricity OS Is Getting a Cinnamon Flavor Soon, Both KDE and Xfce Flavors Delayed

        The developers of the Arch Linux-based Apricity OS computer operating system announced a few minutes ago, January 28, 2016, that the first Beta build of Apricity OS for 2016 is now available for download and ready for testing.

      • OPNsense 16.1 released

        Welcome back!

        No, we would not say it was easy getting here, but booting into 16.1 for the first time sure is as relieving (and exciting) as it could get for our project growing beyond what we had ever imagined. It has been more than a year since OPNsense first came out. Back then it was FreeBSD 10.0. Not even two months after, 10.1 was introduced along with the opnsense-update utility. Today is the day for FreeBSD 10.2, the latest and greatest release currently available for broader driver support and stability improvements.

      • FreeBSD-Powered Firewall Distro OPNsense 16.1 Released

        OPNsense, the open-source firewall project powered by FreeBSD that began as a fork of pfSense, is out with a new release.

      • BackBox Linux 4.5 OS comes with pre-installed new hacking tools

        The release of BackBox Linux 4.5 has been announced by the developers of the BackBox Linux operating system, which assures to bring a new kernel and lots of upgraded packages, plus it is also immediately available for download.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Lx 2015 Finally Reaches Beta State

        The OpenMandriva Lx camp has released their 2015 Beta release in time for this weekend’s FOSDEM conference happening this weekend in Brussels.

        While we are now into 2016 and its been a number of months (April of 2015 since the alpha release, OpenMandriva Lx 2015 Beta was finally made public today. The latest stable release of OpenMandriva remains at 2014.2.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Update 2016-01-27 (stable)

        I’m happy to announce our fifth update of Manjaro 15.12 (Capella)!

        Most work went into preparations for Manjaro 16.03 (Daniella) release. Particularly we are working on some settings packages, so it would be possible to install our desktop-configurations on your already running system. This will also reduce the files the overlays of our manjaro-iso-profiles.

      • Manjaro 15.12 (Capella) Receives New Update with Important Kernel Fixes

        The Manjaro developers have pushed out the door yet another update for Manjaro 15.12 (Capella), and it brings a lot of important fixes.

        This is the fifth update for Manjaro 15.12 (Capella), and it looks like the developers will continue to provide this packs for the coming months. If the past is any indication, we’ll probably get about 5 or 6 update packages if everything goes according to plan.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Expands Partner Reach With New Insight Enterprises Deal
      • Red Hat CEO to deliver Discovery Lecture on organizational openness

        Jim Whitehurst, president and chief executive officer of Red Hat Inc., will give the talk, The Power of Openness, at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 4 in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121. A book signing will follow at 2:30 p.m. in the nearby Venture Café. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is a part of the Discovery Park Distinguished Lecture Series.

      • 3Reasons RedHat, Inc. Stock Could Fall

        And what if Oracle stopped optimizing every product for maximum revenue, instead flooding the market with affordable database tools of unbeatable quality? And maybe the remnants of that near-forgotten Sun Microsystems buyout could come up with another Solaris-branded operating system that puts Red Hat’s best efforts to shame?

      • Red Hat, Inc. See Large Inflow of Money

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) traded negative at $71.3. On an intraday basis, the price dropped -0.44 points or -0.61%. The composite uptick value was $15.81 million while the combined downtick value was $15.22. The net money flow was $0.59 million while the up/down ratio was not very comforting at 1.04. The shares on a weekly note has seen a change in share price of -1.6%.According to the trading data, the shares saw a block trade with $3.57 million in upticks and $2.86 million in downticks. The up/down ratio for the block was calculated to be 1.25. The net money flow for the block trade was 0.71.

      • Promising stocks in today’s market: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Sentiments And Ratings Alert Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)

        Zacks Research gets the recommendation of multiple brokerage firms to reach a consensus rating on the stock. Following the same methodology, which measures a stock on a scale of 1-5, the stock of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)’s has been given a mean rating of 1.5 compared to an ABR of 1.5 three months ago. A rating between 1 and 2 highlights a Buy, 3 suggests a Hold while a reading of 4 and 5 typically implies a Sell call by the analysts.

      • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) Falls 4.57% for January 27

        Red Hat Inc. is centered in Raleigh, NC, and has 7,300 employees.

      • Analyst’s Roundup: Red Hat Inc
      • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) Short Interest Update
      • Price Target Update On Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Red Hat Inc (RHT) Rating Lowered to Neutral at Bank of America

        Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) was downgraded by equities research analysts at Bank of America from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday, The Fly reports. They currently have a $80.00 target price on the open-source software company’s stock, down from their previous target price of $90.00. Bank of America’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 18.71% from the stock’s current price.

      • Fedora

        • Remote group merging for Fedora

          One of the major features of the Fedora Server Edition is the Cockpit administrative console. This web-based interface provides administrators with a powerful set of tools for controlling their system. Cockpit relies upon low-level tools like polkit and sudo to make authorization decisions to determine what a user is permitted to do. By default, most operations on a Fedora system are granted to users in the ‘wheel’ group. People granted administrator access to Cockpit (and other tools through shell access) are generally added to the wheel group in the /etc/group file.

        • Fedora looks back and ahead on Women in Computing

          This past week, the Community Operations (CommOps) team wrote a report on the Fedora Community Blog about some of Fedora’s most recent activities working towards improving outreach and increasing the diversity of the Project. Over the past year, there have been increased movements and activism towards improving the presence of women in computer science fields. Free and open source software is no exception to the rule, with FOSS being one of the areas with the least participation of women. In 2009, 28% of proprietary software development was done by women, but only 1.5% of contributions in free and open source software projects were made by women. While a lot has changed since 2009 and many great advancements have been made, the numbers are still low, and Fedora is helping give back to the world of free and open source software by working to improve its own diversity and outreach.

        • DevConf 2016: Pungi 4 and the Fedora compose / validation cycle

          Hi folks! Just a quick note for anyone who might be wondering – I’ll be at DevConf 2016 in Brno next week. (I’ll also be at the mostly-Red Hat-only-I-think QEcamp event before that). I’m expecting to spend most of the time running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to talk to people about the pending move to Pungi 4 for Fedora composes and the consequences / opportunities for release validation and so on. There will probably be quite a bit of change, hopefully for the better!

        • Mono SIG – Year in Review

          The Mono SIG (Special Interest Group) is a group of Fedora contributors that maintain Mono (and related) packages in Fedora. The goal of the Mono SIG is to provide high-quality and usable Mono software packages to Fedora users and developers and to support others in creating and maintaining Mono packages.

    • Debian Family

      • Ian Murdock to be Remembered at FOSDEM 2016

        The Debian Publicity team is planning to hold a memorial for founder Ian Murdock who tragically took his own life December 28 after altercations with police. The event will take place during FOSDEM this coming weekend. The team has been collecting pictures, stories, and video in order to compile a short video for the event in Brussels, Belgium Saturday.

      • Becoming a Debian contributor

        Over the past two months or so I have become a contributor to the Debian Project. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. Firstly, just because I’ve got so much out of Debian over the last five or six years—both as a day-to-day operating system and a place to learn about computing—and I wanted to contribute something back. And secondly, in following the work of Joey Hess for the past three or four years I’ve come to share various technical and social values with Debian. Of course, I’ve long valued the project of making it possible for people to run their computers entirely on Free Software, but more recently I’ve come to appreciate how Debian’s mature technical and social infrastructure makes it possible for a large number of people to work together to produce and maintain high quality packages. The end result is that the work of making a powerful software package work well with other packages on a Debian system is carried out by one person or a small team, and then as many users who want to make use of that software need only apt-get it. It’s hard to get the systems and processes to make this possible right, especially without a team being paid full-time to set it all up. Debian has managed it on the backs of volunteers. That’s something I want to be a part of.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 2.0 Gets GNOME Shell As Default Desktop Environment And Debian 8 “Jessy” Upgrades And More

          Tails 2.0 is one of the most popular Linux distributions based on Debian. Tails is Live CD/USB that aims to provide freedom by making its users anonymous on the web. All the applications’ traffic such as Internet browser, email client, IM etc. is sent through the Tor network that is very hard to trace. Recently Tails team released Tails 2.0 with some major changes, some security fixes and lots of other improvements.

        • The ultra-secure Tails OS beloved by Edward Snowden gets a major upgrade

          Edward Snowden’s favorite secure operating system just got a major upgrade. Version 2.0 of the Amnesic Incognito Live System, better known as Tails, rolled out recently. Tails 2.0 brings a new desktop environment, sandboxing for services via the always controversial systemd, and a new build of the Tor Browser.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 Is Officially Released

            The Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 has finally arrived, and users should start to get the new update in the next 24 hours, in a phased manner.

          • Ubuntu Phone OTA-9 Makes Available New Features, Finally Has Custom Ringtones
          • Ubuntu Phone OTA-9 Update Received Well by Users, Nexus 10 Port to Be Removed

            Canonical, through Łukasz Zemczak, today announced that the highly anticipated Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 update for Ubuntu Phone devices has been officially released and that the phased upgrades kicked in.

          • Canonical teams with Oracle to drive enterprise cloud adoption

            Canonical today announced that it is working with Oracle to provide enterprises with greater flexibility in the way they develop and deploy large-scale workloads on Oracle Cloud. Certified Ubuntu images are now available on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, providing Oracle enterprise customers with increased choice, velocity – a true “grab and go” approach – and new and innovative ways to manage and scale their enterprise workloads, using the number one cloud operating system.

          • Canonical and Oracle partner to make cloud adoption via Ubuntu even easier

            CANONICAL and Oracle have announced a joint venture aimed at speeding up cloud adoption.

            The companies have made an agreement to provide enterprises with greater flexibility in the way they develop and deploy large-scale workloads on Oracle Cloud.

          • Canonical to Provide Certified Ubuntu Images for Oracle Cloud
          • Canonical and Oracle team up to boost enterprise cloud use

            Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, has announced a collaboration with Oracle to make Ubuntu images available on Oracle Cloud.

            Under the deal, Certified Ubuntu images will be available on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, providing Oracle enterprise customers with increased choice and new and innovative ways to manage and scale their enterprise workloads, using the number one cloud operating system.

          • Canonical and Oracle bring certified Ubuntu images to Oracle Cloud customers

            Ubuntu developer Canonical has disclosed that certified Ubuntu Linux images are now available on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace for customers to access.

            The move is part of a collaboration between the two firms to provide greater flexibility for companies developing and deploying large-scale workloads on Oracle Cloud.

            Ubuntu Linux has become a popular choice for scale-out workloads in the cloud thanks to its performance, stability and regular updates, according to Canonical. The firm has in fact tied its refresh cycle to that of the OpenStack cloud computing framework, which is now included with Ubuntu as standard.

          • Watch: Mark Shuttleworth Talks Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Snappy at UbuCon Summit 2016

            Since we “failed” to show you guys a live video stream or even a recording of Mark Shuttleworth’s opening keynote at UbuCon Summit 2016 during SCALE 14x, we’re continuing our “Watch” series of articles today with an interview of Canonical and Ubuntu founder at the said event.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 Alpha 2 to Land with Very Few Participating Flavors

            The second Alpha for Ubuntu 16.04 flavors is landing tomorrow, and it looks like most of the important names are missing, with a few exceptions.

            The Ubuntu developers have been discussing for the past few days about this latest Alpha, and it took some convincing to get the thing rolling. The thing is that most of the distros chose not to participate in this Alpha release, and there is a good chance that things are going to change in the next cycle.

            Canonical dropped intermediary releases a couple of years ago for Ubuntu, and they only cover the final Beta version. They still offer daily builds for most of the six months interval between two releases, so naming something Alpha 2 is somewhat arbitrary. The only advantage for an Alpha is that developers freeze the process for a couple of days and make sure that the OS is booting and can be used.

          • Ubuntu Make Now Helps You Easily Install Apple’s Swift Language in Ubuntu Linux

            The UbuCon Summit 2016 has ended and now the Ubuntu developers have returned to their workspaces to continue working on their great projects. Didier Roche informs us today, January 28, about the release of a new version of his awesome Ubuntu Make tool.

          • Major Unity 8 Update to Land for Ubuntu Phones in OTA-9.5, Mir 0.19 Too

            We have just been informed by Łukasz Zemczak of Canonical about the latest work done by the Ubuntu Touch developers in preparation for the forthcoming OTA-9.5 hotfix update for Ubuntu Phones devices.

          • Containers Become a First Class Citizen in Ubuntu 16.04, Says Mark Shuttleworth

            It seems like a whole lot of Mark Shuttleworth interviews are starting to pile up these days, and today we would like to inform our readers about a recent one where the Ubuntu founder talks about the latest cloud technologies coming from Canonical.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint Is Getting Its Own Apps Starting with the 18.x Branch

              The Linux Mint project is about to get a lot more interesting because, with the 18.x branch, the developers are going to introduce the so-called X-Apps, which are designed to work across Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce.

            • Mint 18′s New Themes and Applications, New Mint Box

              Clement Lefebvre today added some additional tidbits from early Mint 18 planning in his monthly newsletter. A few weeks ago he’d said version 18 would finally feature a new theme and today he said they would be developing new applications as well. In addition, a new mini PC featuring Mint was introduced.

            • Monthly News – January 2016

              Hello everyone! Before I start with the news, I’d like to share a few words about the donations we received in December. You sent us an unprecedented number of donations for an all-time high total of $16,736! We had to check the stats twice to make sure this wasn’t a mistake. This follows the release of Linux Mint 17.3, so not only does it help our funding, it’s also extremely gratifying and motivating for us. Many many thanks to the 714 people who supported us, and to our partners and sponsors for being here for us.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How Google backed an open source winner

    It’s hard to fault the pedigree of Google’s Kubernetes container management tool, and it seems many of the world’s cloud-forward enterprises agree.

    Inspired by Borg – Google’s internal container management software, which manages the two billion-plus containers the web giant starts each week – Kubernetes has scale in its DNA.

  • 6 starting points for open source beginners

    To help navigate your first open source contribution, I’ve put together a list of what I think are the most beginner-friendly open source starting points, as well as, a few other helpful resources. To make sure the list contains well-maintained projects, I’ve only included projects with over 1,000 stars on GitHub (unless otherwise stated).

  • Good leaders know what economics can’t explain about open source

    Whatever the reason, economic rationality won’t illuminate it. But open leaders need to discover it. And they can turn once again to open source communities for insight. Yet again, they likely have something important to teach us about the reasons we organize today.

  • How to increase online privacy with open source tools and best practices

    Privacy on the Internet is… well, let’s just say it’s complicated. In this article, I’ll analyze a few open source tools and concepts that you might use to increase privacy on the Internet for yourself. It will not be an exhaustive list of all possible avenues, nor does it pretend to ensure complete privacy even in the fact of a concentrated, personal attack. Some of the tips you will find useful, others you will discard, and still others you might use in conjunction with other policies to construct your own privacy model.

  • 5 Top Open Source Contributions for React Native (and What’s Needed)

    Since being open sourced by creator Facebook, React Native has garnered more than 26,000 “stars” on GitHub — making it No. 23 in the all-time rankings — and has been forked more than 4,600 times. Clearly, it’s taking the mobile app dev arena by storm.

  • 4 myths about agile

    It stung—but she learned from it. Proponents of agile “have failed to deliver the message in a way the open source community understands,” she tells her audience in this video. So Krieger took to the stage to dispel four common myths about agile and “get to the truth of what it’s intended to be.”

  • 10 Open Source Vulnerability Assessment Tools

    Vulnerability assessment tools are an essential part of enterprise security strategies, as scanning applications for known vulnerabilities is a key best practice. Using open source vulnerability assessment technologies can help organizations save money and customize software to suit their needs.

    Many open source vulnerability assessment tools are conveniently bundled in security distributions such as Offensive Security’s Kali Linux. Here is a selection of 10 useful open source vulnerability assessment tools, including general vulnerability assessment tools, Web server and application vulnerability scanners, analysis tools and fuzzers.

  • How open source could save us from ad-served hacking

    Yesterday I wrote of how Adblock Plus isn’t necessarily the best, and certainly isn’t the most ethical of all possible open-source adblocking solutions; but rather that it predominates because it grew a massive user-base in a time of diversity and transition. And so it is with its opposite number – the ad-serving industry whose domains form the basis of adblockers’ blacklists and whitelists.

    It’s a rotten, but established solution. It’s just ‘what people do’.

    To boot, the ad-serving industry as it stands has billions in turnover to spend defaming or undermining any alternative system, should one arise.

  • The dangerous “UI team”

    Customers do not want to click on UI controls. Nor do they want to browse a web site, or “log in,” or “manage” anything, or for that matter interact with your product in any way. Those aren’t goals people have when they wake up in the morning. They’re more like tedious tasks they discover later.


    The “UI team” has “UI” right there in the name (sounds user-friendly doesn’t it?). But this is a bottom-up, implementation-driven way to define a team. You’ve defined the team by solution rather than by problem.

  • New framework needed for open source switching

    According to Cardenas, the development of open source switching has proved challenging given Broadcom’s dominance in the market. Obtaining the vendor’s software development kit (SDK) isn’t necessarily easy nor does receipt of it guarantee that a vendor’s subsequent product will be as full-featured as it should be, Cardenas said. He suggests that to make open source switching a reality, developers and competitors should escalate the pressure. Cardenas cites Mellanox’s Linux kernel derived project, switchdev, as an example of what can be done. Bottom line, writes Cardenas: “Without an open source framework to drive merchant silicon, we won’t truly have an open source NOS.”

  • HFOSS: The First Flight

    This past year, I enrolled as a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. For me, this is quite a distance from my hometown just outside of Atlanta, GA. Part of the motivation that led me to choose RIT as my university of choice was its participation in Free and Open Source Software education and communities. RIT is one of the few schools in the United States to offer a minor in Free and Open Source Software.

  • SourceForge and Slashdot Have Been Sold

    Slashdot Media, which owns the popular websites SourceForge and Slashdot, has been sold to SourceForge Media, LLC, a subsidiary of web publisher BIZX, LLC. Financial terms of the sale were not revealed in the press release announcing the sale, which was published today on the website EIN News.

    This afternoon I exchanged a few emails with Logan Abbott who is one of the owners of BIZX and the president of the SourceForge Media subsidiary which he said “was formed for the purposes of this transaction.”

  • Slashdot and SourceForge Sold, Now Under New Management
  • 8 non-code ways to contribute to open source

    Whether you’re a novice programmer, a seasoned veteran, or not an engineer at all, there are many ways to contribute to open source projects beyond coding.

    Compared to proprietary software, open source projects tend to be relatively short-handed when it comes to non-engineering contributions, so don’t shy away from open source just because you’re not a coder. Your blog post or design skills could be much more meaningful to the right project than just another line of code.

  • SCALE14x – and 8 million users for ownCloud!

    After covering openSUSE and KDE booths at SCALE in my previous blog, let’s talk ownCloud. Note that, despite the awesomeness of this blog post, our biggest news right now is probably the announcement that ownCloud has an estimated 8 million users!

  • Events

    • LibreOffice India First Meetup – A Big Small Step!

      It was a historical meetup of LibreOffice Community in India indeed! It was the first LibreOffice meetup in India. We ideated for starting LibreOffice activities in India during my Red Hat days. Last year, few of us participated in LibreOffice Conference, Aarhus, Denmark. We saw the level of real volunteer participation from all over the world for LibreOffice and no doubt several of us were inspired much. I discussed with Chandrakant and decided that it is already late and we should start as soon as possible on our own level. And this small meetup is the output of what we discussed. We have planned for much more in this year.

    • IndiaHacks online code sprint includes month-long open source track

      Open source software contributions often spring from passion—the passion to give back to the community, or simply the burning desire to create something new. The same passion that drives individual contributors also drives the team behind IndiaHacks to help develop the skills and networks of those individual contributors.

      From January 30 to March 2, the Open Source Track of IndiaHacks challenges contributors from all over the world to make the most of their efforts. Originally focused on algorithmic programming, IndiaHacks added eight more tracks for this year. The open source track follows the model of Hacktoberfest and other similar events: Contributions are measured by accepted pull requests and commits to open source software projects.

    • Brussels CentOS Dojo

      This Friday (2016-01-29) there will be a great CentOS dojo in Brussels Belgium. I am going mostly to help out run the cameras and announce different talks. I will also be wanting to listen to people use who use EPEL about what they use it for and what they are wanting to see in growth. This will help me prepare for the talk on Sunday at FOSDEM which I will be moderating.

      If you have questions please try and find me. I will probably be the one fellow in a tie and sports coat. [And because I am from the desert.. no rain coat which sounds like a minus currently in Belgium].

    • Whither EPEL (Talk at FOSDEM 2016)

      If you are going to FOSDEM 2016 and use CentOS, Scientific Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux or even Oracle Enterprise Linux.. you should be interested in a round-table talk we are having on Sunday to talk about the Fedora Project’s Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) . EPEL is a repository which has a curated set of Fedora packages rebuilt for EL-5, EL-6, and EL-7.

    • Linux Foundation announces 2016 events, adds OpenIoT

      The Linux Foundation announced its 2016 event calendar, and issued a CFP for the Apr. 4-6 Embedded Linux Conference, which features an OpenIoT Summit.

      It’s once again time to check your calendar to see if you can carve out a few days to network with your geeky peers — the Linux Foundation has revealed its extensive lineup of 2016 events. In 2015, LF events attracted “nearly 15,000 developers, maintainers, sysadmins, thought leaders, business executives and other industry professionals from more than 3,100 organizations across 85 countries,” says the nonprofit Linux advocacy organization.

    • BSD at SCALE 14x

      As I may have mentioned during the SCALE 14x coverage, one of the disadvantages of the glorious burden of working for a great event such as SCALE is that I don’t get out of the media room enough. The fact is, I can’t — herding the cats known as the tech media and processing various social media posts around the event keeps me in the room.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 44.0 Has Just Landed in All Supported Ubuntu Linux OSes

        If you’re reading the news lately, you would know by now that Mozilla has pushed the Firefox 44.0 web browser to the stable channel for all supported operating systems, including Linux, Mac and Windows.

      • It’s International Data Privacy Day: Help us Build a Better Internet

        Today is International Data Privacy Day. What can we all do to help ourselves and each other improve privacy on the Web? We have something for everyone:

        Users can greatly improve their own data privacy by simply updating their software.

        Companies can increase user trust in their products and user privacy by implementing Lean Data Practices that increase transparency and offer user control.

        By taking action on these two simple ideas, we can create a better Web together.

      • Firefox 44.0 Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        The official launch announcement for Firefox 44.0 has finally landed, and it details the changes and improvements that have landed in this latest release.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • A new open source cloud management tool… from Walmart

      If you want evidence of just how different Internet retail and brick-and-mortar retail are, you just have to look at what’s going on with the world’s largest retailer. In the same week that Walmart announced the closing of over 100 physical stores, the company’s e-commerce unit announced that it is releasing a piece of its cloud-management infrastructure as open source—publishing the OneOps platform on Github. The company’s internal e-commerce development unit, @Walmartlabs, has released OneOps under the Apache 2.0 license.

    • 13 frameworks for mastering machine learning

      Over the past year, machine learning has gone mainstream in an unprecedented way. The trend isn’t fueled by cheap cloud environments and ever more powerful GPU hardware alone; it’s also the explosion of frameworks now available for machine learning. All are open source, but even more important is how they are being designed to abstract away the hardest parts of machine learning, and make its techniques available to a broad class of developers.

      Here’s a baker’s dozen machine learning frameworks, either freshly minted or newly revised within the past year. All caught our attention for being a product of a major presence in IT, for attempting to bring a novel simplicity to their problem domain, or for targeting a specific challenge associated with machine learning.

    • Filling Out Your Free Web Development Toolkit

      Web site and application development is becoming in reach for nearly everyone, thanks to easier and better tools. Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are increasingly either employing open source or are built entirely on it. And all of this adds up to an increasing need for web development toolsets focused on the open source community. The good news is that there are many open source tools to help you with your web project, and given the costs of web development environments and the like, they can save you a lot of money. Here are many good examples of tools and tutorials, with a few that we’ve covered before appended at the end, in case you missed them.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Is Deprecating The Java Web-Browser Plugin With Java 9

      For anyone still relying upon Java web-plugins in their browser, they are going to be deprecated with the upcoming Java 9.

      Oracle announced today in a blog post that they will be moving to a plugin-free Java by deprecating the once common Java web plug-in in Java 9. The plug-in support will then be dropped in a later Oracle JDK/JRE release.

    • Java is going to die a slow painful death

      Java browser plugin, just like Adobe Flash has contributed heavily to making the web an insecure place. Both these technologies have compromised billions of PCs and Macs around the globe.

      The good news is that Oracle is finally pulling the plugs on Java, the browser plugin. Many people are freaking out, confusing it with Oracle’s Java language, which Linus Torvalds believes is a horrible language either way. Folks, this is about the Java browser plugin!

    • Oracle deprecates the Java browser plugin, prepares for its demise
    • Here’s Why Oracle Is Killing The Java Browser Plugin – A Good News For Plugin-free Web

      Oracle has announced that it’s removing the Java browser plugin from its future releases. In its whitepaper, the company said that the rise of web usage on mobile devices has inspired the browser vendors to look for plugin-free technologies. This plugin has been repeatedly exploited to install malware and attack users during its lifetime.

  • CMS

    • On owning blogosphere

      Then inevitable happened: my server died, so I have to rebuild my site. My colleagues from work shared rented VPS so I joined them and pointed my domain to it. However, when I started to work on installing WP, I was caught again by my suspicions about WP. Do I really want to fight with pulverized HTML, zillion upgrades, comment spam, etc., when all I want from the server is to render my posts to HTML? So, I started to look for static web generators. After a brief affair with Hexo (Server-side JavaScript looks like such a good idea, but it still so immature and unuseable!) I ended up with pelican.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Wikimedia in Google Code-in 2015

      Google Code-in 2015 is over. As a co-admin and mentor for Wikimedia (one of the 14 organizations who took part and provided mentors and tasks) I can say it’s been crazy as usual. :)

    • Wercker raises $4.5 million to open-source CLI container development tool

      When it comes to automating the containerization, configuration and deployment of services the right tools for the job go a long way, which is what Wercker BV’s business is all about. Today the company announced that it has raised $4.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Inkef Capital with participation from existing investor Notion Capital. The company also announced that it will open source its flagship command line interface (CLI) developer tool that facilitates the containerization and deployment of applications and microservices on the desktop.

      This investment led by Amsterdam-based Inkef Capital brings the company’s total funding to $7.5 million.

      “We’re excited to join the Inkef Capital portfolio and continue to bridge the gap between the innovative communities in Amsterdam and Silicon Valley,” said Micha Hernández van Leuffen, founder and CEO at wercker. “We’re fortunate to have a passionate developer community behind us: a community that will only continue to grow and improve with access to our open sourced CLI technology.”

  • BSD

    • Qt 5.5.1 has landed in FreeBSD

      The Qt5 (meta-)port and all its dependent ports have been updated to Qt 5.5.1 in FreeBSD. Special thanks to Yuri Victorovich, who did an independent Qt 5.5.1 port and whose work has been gratefully incorporated into this update. Thanks also to Ralf Nolden for pushing for better upgrade-paths and co-installability.

    • PC-BSD / FreeBSD 11.0-CURRENT Performance

      Last week I had plans to run some fresh FreeBSD vs. Linux gaming benchmarks using the FreeBSD’s Linux software binary compatibility layer.

      For those that don’t know, FreeBSD boasts a Linux binary compatibility initiative. Five years ago I did some Linux gaming tests on FreeBSD within FreeBSD: A Faster Platform For Linux Gaming Than Linux?. I wanted to do some modern tests atop the latest FreeBSD/PC-BSD code and the latest NVIDIA driver.


    • Edward Snowden will kick off LibrePlanet 2016 in Cambridge, Massachusetts

      The annual free software conference will kick off at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Stata Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts on the morning of Saturday, March 19th with “The last lighthouse: Free software in dark times”, in which Snowden (who will appear via a free software live video stream) and Daniel Kahn Gillmor will discuss free software, surveillance, power, and control of the future.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: January 29th
    • GNU Binutils 2.26: Linker Gets Experimental Garbage Collection, LLVM Plugin Support

      GNU Binutils 2.26 has been released as the first major release in more than one year since Binutils 2.25.

      This collection of binary tools was updated this week and the release announcement sent out this morning. In digging through the Git change-log and then the Bintutils NEWS, libmpx is now enabled by default, more patches from GCC mainline were imported, some new configure switches added, there is now support for the ARC EM/HS and ARC600/ARC700 architectures, objcopy improvements, and more.

    • Inside the FSFE

      Mike Saunders and Graham Morrison popped by the FSFE head office in Berlin to see how the organisation is spreading the word about FOSS.

      You’ve almost certainly heard of the Free Software Foundation before. This is a US-based non-profit organisation set up by Richard Stallman, the creator of GNU, in 1985. Originally it was established to fund programmers, but over the years it has moved into other realms, handling legal issues and promoting Free Software.

    • StreamComputing launches GEGL-OpenCL project

      This week, StreamComputing launches an educational initiative that aims to get more developers to study and use OpenCL in their projects. Within this project, up to 20 collaborators will port as many GEGL operations to OpenCL as possible.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Galicia shares training kit on open source for NGOs

      The government of Galicia (Spain) has made available conference videos, presentation slides and training material that focus on the use of free and open source software by Non-Governmental Organisations.

    • South Tyrol open source school project to spur teachers

      Three teachers and a handful of volunteers working on the decade-old project that introduces schools in the Italian province of South Tyrol (Alto Adige) to free and open source software, are starting a campaign to get new teachers involved.

    • Bernie Sanders’ campaign is right, Microsoft could hurt election — open source is needed

      When it comes to government agencies at all levels, and things like the voting process, I am a hardcore believer in open source being necessary. To truly know that votes are being counted correctly by machines, only open source would allow independent auditing. It will also help to prevent unknown backdoors in secure government computer systems.

      Closed source technologies from companies like Microsoft could, in theory, contain backdoors or vulnerabilities that hackers and evildoers could exploit. Even worse, Microsoft or its employees could purposely alter voting software to influence outcomes. Am I saying the company is doing this? Not at all. But with closed source software, there is no way to know for sure. Now, Bernie Sanders’ campaign is questioning Microsoft’s technologies being used in Iowa Caucuses. You know what? They have a point.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • European data portals implement EC’s DCAT validator

        Open data portals in Italy, Sweden and Belgium are working on validators for the EC’s DCAT-AP. Data portals that use the World Wide Web Consortium’s Data Catalog Vocabulary make it easier for others to search and use their datasets, including across borders.

        By methodologically listing where datasets can be downloaded and what formats are available, W3C’s DCAT instructions make its easier for others to discover these data collections. Instead of stockpiling data, DCAT-enabled repositories can be federated, with search results pointing to data available on other web sites.

        The DCAT-Application Profile for data portals in Europe (DCAT-AP) describes datasets created by European public administrations. Work on the DCAT-AP began in 2013. Initiated by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (DG Connect), the EU Publications Office and the EC’s ISA Programme, the creation of this specification involved representatives from 16 European Member States.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Pagure: DIY git project hosting

      Pagure is a new, full featured git repository service for the web, written in Python. It is similar to other popular git forges like Github and Gitlab, allowing open source contributors to share and collaborate on code and content. By the way, pagure is French for “hermit crab,” as reflected in the logo on the project documentation.

      Pagure is the brainchild of Pierre-Yves Chibon, a member of the Fedora Engineering team. The Fedora Engineering team focuses on Python based solutions because the language is easy to learn and thus presents less barrier to entry for contributors. Pagure is therefore a perfect fit not just for hosting projects, but for encouraging contribution to the service itself.

    • Beep Beep Yarr!

      For too long, computer programming has seemed like a secret world, sealed off from all but the geekiest of maths geniuses. Normal people never needed to know what went on inside their mysterious black boxes: it might have well as been voodoo. That’s changing now though. Because computers are essential to the way we live now, computer programmers are essential too. Kids growing up today need to have at least an idea of how computers work to make them useful (and well paid) members of the workforce of tomorrow.

    • Fortran: coding for scientists, by scientists

      FORTRAN (it dropped the caps in 1990) is the oldest high-level language still written today. It’s now over 55 years old and still in widespread use in the sciences, in high-performance computing, and in supercomputers. Its real strength is in numerical computation and complicated mathematical models (making it also popular in finance); and its position is hard to assail given the vast Fortran code library of numerical computation routines that’s available. There are even people still using fixed-format F77 (see below), although most modern users have shifted to the easier free-format. It’s probably not your language of choice for shiny Web 2.0 development, but it’s fascinating to have a look at something with such a venerable and successful history.

    • GitHub falls offline, devs worldwide declare today a snow day

      Updated Popular and widely used source-code hosting service GitHub is, for the moment, no longer a widely used source-code hosting service. It has fallen offline.

      Since 1632 PT (0032 UTC, 1132 AEDT), the website has been down. Right now, the San Francisco-headquartered upstart reports: “We’re investigating a significant network disruption affecting all github.com services.”

    • First Release Candidate Arrives For Go 1.6
  • Standards/Consortia


  • Are teenagers addicted to screens because their whole social life is online?

    There are some domestic issues on which men and women will never agree: the ideal ambient temperature of the sitting room, why it’s more important to remember the date of your wedding anniversary than the Battle of Agincourt, the pressing need for your daughter to have her phone in her bedroom after 9pm.

    In a week when parents have been told in no certain terms that “night texting” is not only A Thing, but a thing that is damaging our children’s exam performance, school grades and life chances, I must hold up my hands and admit I am drowning, not waving, or even signalling to the invigilator that I need more paper. I wish.

  • Science

    • New Drone Racing League Wants to Be the Next Nascar

      That’s the bet Nick Horbaczewski is making by starting the Drone Racing League, with the backing of investors who include Stephen Ross, owner of the National Football League team Miami Dolphins, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures, a New York venture capital firm. Horbaczewski expects most fans to watch races online, much as they do competitive gaming in the U.S., using their phones, computers—eventually even virtual-reality headsets. Ultimately, he has ambitions of becoming a digital Nascar for drones.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Berkeley’s cell phone radiation warning law can go into effect, judge rules

      After complying with a federal judge’s order on Wednesday, the city of Berkeley, California, will now be allowed to go forward with its cell phone radiation warning law, as it has cut out one controversial line. It is not clear when the new notice will go into effect.

    • I Farm Crickets, The Future Of Human Food: 7 Insane Truths

      If you’re reading this from the civilized world, most of your insect encounters boil down to emotionally scarring spider cameos and annoying flies. But in roughly 80 percent of the countries on Earth, people eat insects. Cracked sat down with one man who has made it his life’s work to get Americans to eat more bugs; Kevin Bachhuber, cricket farmer, told us …

    • Flint All Over Again? Lead Poisoning Scandal Strikes Ohio Town

      Schools in Sebring, Ohio were closed for a third day on Tuesday and pregnant women and children have been advised not to drink the water, after tests showed elevated levels of lead in the local water supply.

      Though the village of about 4,300 in northeastern Ohio is much smaller than Flint, Michigan, the drinking water crises in the neighboring states share troubling aspects.

      According to local news station WKBN: “Correspondence from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Village of Sebring show concerns with water testing, beginning in late September. Elevated lead levels were noted by the EPA in November, but customers didn’t learn of the issues until Thursday, meaning that some people could have been drinking water containing lead for months.” WKBN has a full timeline of events here.

    • VIDEO: ‘Days of Revolt’: Chris Hedges, Detroit Activists Describe the Death of the American City

      In this week’s episode of teleSUR’s “Days of Revolt,” Chris Hedges and two Detroit activists, Darryl “Waistline” Mitchell and Roshaun Harris, trace Detroit’s socio-economic apocalypse, which has taken forms specific to that city but also mirrors other communities around the country.

      In his opening comments, Hedges refers to “the sacrifice zone that Detroit has become” and calls the catastrophic changes there “a consequence of unfettered, unregulated capitalism.”

      Mitchell traces the arc of Detroit’s fate along his own life line, remembering when it was possible to make a living wage in the auto industry there. He also points to the many ways in which the systemic racism corroding the city is connected to America’s economic history.

    • Activists File Suit Asking For Lead Free Pipes As Polluted Water Corrodes The System

      Melissa Mays realized Flint’s water was toxic long before Michigan declared a state of emergency earlier this month.

      “After the water switch, I ran the kitchen tap and it came out just yellow, just disgusting yellow,” said Mays, a mother of three who is now becoming an activist and a plaintiff in lawsuits against the state.

      Her first sight of foul water happened in the summer of 2014 — some two months after the economically challenged city switched its water supply as a cost saving measure. Months of calls and inquires followed. All the while, city officials told residents like Mays that their water was safe.

    • The Flint Water Disaster: a Perfect Storm of Downplaying, Denial and Deceit

      Flint, Michigan, the city portrayed as the embodiment of a rust belt city abandoned by deindustrialization in Michael Moore’s allegorical documentary, Roger & Me, has recently become a morality play of a different sort as it captures national headlines highlighting a controversial series of decisions creating a major public health crisis that threatens the health of Flint’s children.

    • I Grew Up in Flint. Here’s Why Governor Snyder Must Resign.

      But now, if you’re a poor kid growing up in Flint today, forget economic mobility—you don’t even deserve clean water.

    • NHS campaigners say ‘No’ to NHS Commission

      Why MPs must oppose the NHS and Social Care Commission Bill.

      As grassroots campaigners, we care about the NHS and we know that our friends, families and the general public are fast becoming aware of the profit-seeking private companies operating behind the blue logo that we all trust as a standard of excellence, equality and world class care.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • A Single Comma Is All That Stands Between The Public And FOIA’ed Law Enforcement Documents

      The terrible tale of the missing comma and the damage done may soon come to an end. The EFF is calling on Congress to legislate this apparently missing punctuation back into its list of FOIA exemptions.

    • UK government retreats on plans to water down the Freedom of Information Act

      The UK government is backing away from its original plans to weaken the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Financial Times reports. Last year, the government set up a commission to review the law, composed mostly of people who had expressed scepticism or concern about the scope of the FOIA, and with a clear brief to add restrictions to its workings. It was widely expected that their report would recommend weakening the UK public’s right to access government information by imposing charges for requests, and making it easier for them to be refused.

      But according to an article in the Financial Times, strong media and political opposition has led to the changes being dropped or postponed: “Mr Cameron is likely to back off from making substantial changes to the FOI Act, settling instead for some minor technical amendments to protect government advisers, two ministers have told the Financial Times.”

    • REPORT AND ANALYSIS OF RECENT AMENDMENTS TO S. 1890 (The Defend Trade Secrets Act 2016)

      The Defend Trade Secrets Act (S. 1890) passed out of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary today, but not before it was amended to address a number of concerns that were voiced by opponents over the past two years.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Noam Chomsky Says GOP Is ‘Literally A Serious Danger To Human Survival’

      Noam Chomsky, the noted radical and MIT professor emeritus, said the Republican Party has become so extreme in its rhetoric and policies that it poses a “serious danger to human survival.”

      “Today, the Republican Party has drifted off the rails,” Chomsky, a frequent critic of both parties, said in an interview Monday with The Huffington Post. “It’s become what the respected conservative political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein call ‘a radical insurgency’ that has pretty much abandoned parliamentary politics.”

    • Do palm oil financiers care about sustainability?

      Within the sustainability sector, finance is increasingly being seen as a powerful lever to help companies “green” their operations. In response to NGO and consumer pressure, a growing number of corporate banks and investors over the past few years have begun using both positive and negative screening methods to improve the sustainability of their portfolios and client companies. Positive screening methods preferentially provide capital to sustainably-run companies, and include socially responsible investment (SRI) funds and green bonds that are dedicated to responsible companies. On the other hand, negative screening methods focus on weeding out unsustainable companies, generally by using environmental, social and governance (ESG) screens that grade companies on a number of metrics, such as carbon footprint and fair labor policy.

      Sustainable finance is still regarded as a niche market, but its share of the financial industry continues to grow. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, from 2012 to 2014, the global sustainable investment market expanded from $13.3 trillion to $21.4 trillion.[1] Reflecting this trend, consortiums such as the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are attracting an increasing number of signatories.[2] Much of this demand for sustainable investment is being driven by millennials[3] and institutional clients.[4] Some of these institutional clients, such as the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), may be ethically or religiously obligated to pay attention to such concerns when making investing decisions.[5]

    • What Happened to Jane Mayer When She Wrote About the Koch Brothers

      Out of the blue in the fall of 2010, a blogger asked Jane Mayer, a writer with The New Yorker, how she felt about the private investigator who was digging into her background. Ms. Mayer thought the idea was a joke, she said this week. At a Christmas party a few months later, she ran into a former reporter who had been asked about helping with an investigation into another reporter on behalf of two conservative billionaires.

      “The reporter had written a story they disliked,” Ms. Mayer recounts in “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right,” out this month from Doubleday. Her acquaintance told her, “‘It occurred to me afterward that the reporter they wanted to investigate might be you.’”

  • Finance

    • The Populist Revolution: Bernie and Beyond

      Today’s populist revolt mimics an earlier one that reached its peak in the US in the 1890s. Then it was all about challenging Wall Street, reclaiming the government’s power to create money, curing rampant deflation with US Notes (Greenbacks) or silver coins (then considered the money of the people), nationalizing the banks, and establishing a central bank that actually responded to the will of the people.

    • The Facebook founder’s “philanthropy” lets him stash his billions without paying taxes.

      Let us now praise “Lord Zuckerberg, The Magnificent!”

      Mark Zuckerberg, the wunderkind of Silicon Valley who co-founded Facebook and amassed roughly a gabillion dollars in personal wealth, is now being hailed as a new giant of American altruism.

      This started after the tech titan and his wife Priscilla Chan announced the birth of their first child. While delivering what could have been routine news, they announced that in honor of baby Maxima’s birth, they intend to donate $45 billion — 99 percent of their Facebook wealth — to charity.

      The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other media outlets swooned at Zuckerberg’s selfless act: “Philanthropy Pledge Sets New Giving Standard,” gushed Bloomberg. Lost in the fog of media adulation are two important facts: (1) the $45 billion didn’t actually go to charity, and (2) it wasn’t really a donation.

    • Yet More TPP Studies Predict Slim Economic Gains, Highlight Dubious Underlying Assumptions

      It’s striking that from a situation where there were very few studies of the likely effects of the TPP agreement, we’ve moved to one where they are appearing almost every week. Recently Techdirt wrote about a World Bank study, and one from Tufts University; now we have one from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which calls itself “a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution devoted to the study of international economic policy.”

    • Deadly crash kills five in Kampong Speu

      Five female garment workers, one of them pregnant, were killed and 68 others injured yesterday morning after a truck overloaded with garment workers plunged into a ditch. The accident raises questions yet again about the perilous state of the Kingdom’s transportation system for more than 700,000 labourers in its clothing industry.

      The accident happened at 6:45am on the border of the Kong Pisei and Samrong Tong districts in Kampong Speu province, according to Touch Phearith, Kong Pisei district police chief in charge of traffic.

    • Microsoft Continues to Obscure Its Real Cloud Revenue [Ed: creative accounting to hide a crisis]

      At first glance, it appears that Microsoft is making far more on its cloud services than Amazon, which made $2.41 billion last quarter from its Amazon Web Services division. The problem is that, in reporting its results, Microsoft bundles its Azure line of cloud services with Windows Server and other traditional enterprise software sales together under the label “Intelligent Cloud” without revealing what percentage of that total actually comes from Azure. That makes an apples to apples comparison with Amazon Web Services impossible.

    • Silicon Valley’s poorest workers tell government ‘we can’t live like this’

      At Intel’s corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, California, the highly paid engineers and developers directly employed by the computer chip company wear blue identification badges.

      Janitors, electricians, gardeners, security guards and cafeteria workers employed by various subcontractors wear green badges.

      It’s an important distinction for Nahima Aguiniga, 34, who works as a cashier and dishwasher at a cafe on the Intel campus. Blue badges get free coffee, soda and fruit; green badges have to pay.

      Free food is just one of the perks Intel’s blue badge employees enjoy. Like other Silicon Valley tech firms, the company competes for employees with perks like ping-pong tables, on-site spa services, dry cleaning and gyms with personal trainers.

      “The way they treat green badges, it’s like we’re second-class citizens,” said Aguiniga. A single mother of two, Aguiniga earns just $13.50 per hour. She can’t afford her own apartment in an area that has such a high cost of living that even highly paid tech employees and venture capitalists are balking. For the past 10 weeks, she and her children have been sharing a single room in her ex-mother-in-law’s house.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Dumb and Dumber: Trump, Palin and the Celebration of Stupidity in U.S. Politics

      This last election cycle has revealed an increasing divide over how segments of the population understand political issues. According to Pew, “Partisan polarization — the vast and growing gap between Republicans and Democrats — is a defining feature of politics today.” The problem is not simply connected to opposing ideologies, though. Today polarization is the defining feature of Tea Party politics. From the Bundy gang to Donald Trump’s rallies, we are witnessing a rise in aggressive and divisive politics.

    • Ha Ha: Hillary Clinton’s Top Financial Supporter Now Controls “The Onion”

      Onion staffers may think twice before they produce more stories like Hillary Clinton Tries To Woo Voters By Rescinding Candidacy, Hillary Clinton To Nation: ‘Do Not Fuck This Up For Me’, Hillary Clinton: The Merciless, Unrelenting March To The Presidency, or the signed Hillary Clinton editorial titled I’m Weighing Whether Or Not I Want To Go Through The Hell Of Appealing To You Idiotic, Uninformed Oafs.

      Many news outlets covered Univision Communications’ purchase last week of a stake in The Onion, the world’s leading news publication. According to NPR, Univision bought a 40 percent controlling interest in the company, and also acquired the option to buy the remainder of The Onion in the future.

    • WaPo’s Wemple Explains How The “Great Conservative Tradition” Of Bemoaning Media Bias Has Now Backfired On Fox

      During a January 26 press conference GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump announced that he will not participate in Thursday night’s Fox News-hosted GOP presidential primary debate, because of alleged bias against him by Fox News host and debate moderator, Megyn Kelly.

      Fox has given Trump over 24 hours of free airtime since May, significantly more than his fellow GOP candidates and has furnished several of the talking points Trump uses on the campaign trail. However, the network has stood by Kelly and several Fox News figures have attacked Trump over his decision to pull out of the debate.

    • Megyn Kelly throws love fest for Michael Moore on Fox News

      On “The Kelly File” Tuesday, host Megyn Kelly welcomed in liberal documentarian Michael Moore for what turned out to be a surprisingly cordial chat about President Barack Obama’s legacy, as well as her ongoing feud with Donald Trump — which resulted yesterday in the GOP front-runner pulling out of the Fox News/Google debate, which she will be moderating.

      Moore began by offering genuine praise for the Fox News host, asking her “What does this [Trump fiasco] feel like to you? Because you don’t want to be the story — you’re a journalist.”

    • Clinton’s New Pitch to Iowa Voters: Republicans Want Sanders to Win

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign has recently turned to a new tactic to convince Iowa Democrats that they should caucus for her over Sen. Bernie Sanders: Republicans, the campaign says, want Sanders to win.

      Clinton and her surrogates have taken to pointing out that Republican super-PACs and donors have started to air ads that appear intended to boost Sanders’ campaign. “The best evidence that I have the best plan is that the Republicans and their billionaire allies are running ads against me,” Clinton told a crowd at a middle school in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Tuesday night. Clinton was referring to the news that Joe Ricketts, a major Republican donor, is funding a super-PAC to air ads in Iowa that could serve to bolster Sanders’ caucus bid by describing him as “too liberal.”

    • Hillary Clinton Doing Back-to-Back Finance Industry Fundraisers Just Before Iowa

      Despite being dogged with questions about her ties to Wall Street, Hillary Clinton will take a detour from the campaign trail in Iowa to do back-to-back finance industry fundraisers in other states later this week.

      Clinton will appear in Philadelphia at a “gala” fund-raiser hosted by executives at Franklin Square Capital Partners, a $17 billion investment fund. Rocker Bon Jovi will reportedly play an acoustic set for “friends” who pledge $1,000 and hosts who bundle up to $27,000.

      The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that “Franklin Square employs Ivy League-educated money managers and salespeople with experience at big Wall Street firms – plus four personal trainers and a dietitian to keep staff happy and productive amid the gym, yoga and nap rooms, Sol LeWitt art installations, and fancy cafeteria.”

    • Donald Trump in 2000: “I Support the Ban on Assault Weapons”

      Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has campaigned as an ardent advocate of expanding gun rights, but in the past he called for banning assault weapons and a longer waiting period for gun purchases.

      Trump’s new gun plan calls for a national right to concealed carry and criticizes “opponents of gun rights” for coming “up with scary sounding phrases like ‘assault weapons,’ ‘military-style weapons,’ and ‘high capacity magazines’ to confuse people.” He has vowed to undo President Obama’s modest gun executive orders and even called for the elimination of all “gun-free zones” at schools.

  • Censorship

    • Singapore: Bloggers, Internet Users Increasingly Targeted

      In the 659-page World Report 2016, its 26th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that the spread of terrorist attacks beyond the Middle East and the huge flows of refugees spawned by repression and conflict led many governments to curtail rights in misguided efforts to protect their security. At the same time, authoritarian governments throughout the world, fearful of peaceful dissent that is often magnified by social media, embarked on the most intense crackdown on independent groups in recent times.

      The People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled Singapore since 1959, won 83 out of 89 parliamentary seats in the September general elections. The PAP government uses vague and overly broad legal provisions on public order, morality, security, and racial and religious harmony to sharply limit what its citizens can express and to prosecute those who earn the government’s displeasure.

    • Notable & Quotable: Campus Censorship

      ‘Yes, we should mock these little tyrants who fantasize that their feelings should trump other people’s freedom. But we must go further.’

    • ‘Green Day’ Rocker Billie Joe Armstrong Calls Out School Censorship

      Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong has spoken out about censorship after Enfield High School in Connecticut said it will no longer put on an adaptation of the Broadway hit “American Idiot.”

      Based on the band’s 2004 album, the musical apparently contains more profanity, sex and drug use than the school’s staff (and certain parents) could stomach.

    • Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong Warns of Censorship After School Drops ‘American Idiot’

      A decision by officials at a Connecticut high school to drop a student production of the Green Day rock opera American Idiot drew an online rebuke from the band’s frontman.

      Enfield High School’s drama club posted fliers at the school announcing auditions.

    • Censorship and Sensibility

      Idaho must answer for its speech-chilling statute

    • ‘Easily offended students reported me to the police’

      Last year, Oxford student Jacob Williams decided he had had enough of debate-dodging campus politicos. He founded No Offence, a student mag which would air the views that students are no longer allowed to. The campus authorities weren’t happy. Watch Jacob discuss the rise of illiberal liberals and the importance of questioning your assumptions.

    • Meet the students fighting campus censorship

      If there’s one thing that really gets on my nerves, it’s the idea that students today are uniquely intolerant. The explosion of campus censorship in recent years has made bashing campus politicos a kind of commentariat pastime, with fortysomething columnists wheeling the little blue-haired pillocks out each week to give them a good kicking. But while the students’ union censors deserve everything they get, all too often campus censorship has been painted as a generational phenomena – as if undergraduates appeared from the womb with a Safe Space policy in hand.

    • ‘Students don’t need to be taught about consent’

      Warwick student George Lawlor made international headlines when he spoke out against compulsory consent classes.

    • Watching paint dry: how artists have challenged censorship

      A team of unfortunate BBFC censors was recently forced watch paint dry for ten hours. The unusual movie, crowdfunded by filmmaker Charlie Lyne, was a protest against alleged censorship by the classification board.

    • Medium Stands Up To Malaysia’s Attempt To Take Down Investigative Reporting; Gets Entire Site Blocked In Malaysia

      We’ve seen an increasing effort by governments around the globe to censor content they don’t like. This takes many different forms, but one fairly typical one is for governments to send official looking documents to websites and webhosts demanding that certain content be taken down. Many smaller companies, often with no official policy in place on how to handle such requests, will cave and just take the content down to avoid the hassle. However, recently we’ve seen a growing number of sites reject such requests, unless they’re accompanied by a valid court order. The latest is Medium, the increasingly popular content publishing platform.

      In this case, the issue involves the government of Malaysia and the investigative journalism site Sarawak Report, which has been writing a bunch of stories, many based on apparently leaked documents, exposing corruption in Malaysia. Last summer, the website was blocked in Malaysia after a series of reports related to claims of $700 million magically appearing in the Malaysian Prime Minister’s personal bank account. After having its own website blocked, Sarawak also started republishing all its articles on Medium.

    • Medium’s Sitewide Encryption Confronts Censorship in Malaysia

      Blogging platform Medium is now blocked in Malaysia, apparently in an effort to censor an investigative news outlet critical of the government. The Sarawak Report has mirrored its articles on Medium at least since its own site was blocked in mid-2015, when it published allegations of corruption.

      Medium’s legal team has done an admirable job keeping the relevant post online in the face of government demands. It’s published an account saying the company “stand[s] by investigative journalists” and that the post will stay up until it “receive[s] an order from a court of competent jurisdiction.” But this story also demonstrates the censorship-resistant properties of online encryption like HTTPS, which Medium has enabled across its entire site.

    • Ecuador Continues To Use US Copyright Law To Censor Critics

      A few years ago, we highlighted an absolutely ridiculous claim by a pro-copyright expansion think tank, arguing that it was a myth that copyright could ever be used for censorship. In that article, we listed out a number of examples of copyright being used absolutely for reasons of censorship, including a few by government actors. But, by far, one of the worst abusers of copyright law (and US copyright law specifically) to censor critical speech is the government of Ecuador. We’ve written a few times about Ares Rights, a Spanish company that was regularly sending DMCA notices in the US to try to suppress any kind of criticism of Ecuador’s government (and also on criticism of Ares Rights).

    • Indonesian telecom provider blocks access to Netflix
    • Netflix blocked by Indonesia in censorship row
    • Indonesia Telecoms Firm Blocks Netflix Over Local Laws, Censorship
    • Indonesia’s biggest telecom operator blocks Netflix
    • Free Speech Row As Radical Islam Documentary Given ’18 And Over’ Rating
    • Documentary on radical Islam raises hackles in France
    • Jihadi film that sparked censorship row in France released with 18 certificate
    • France Restricts ‘Salafistes,’ Film on Islamic Radicals
    • France bars minors from seeing controversial documentary
    • French documentary on Salafists gets rare ’18 and over’ rating
    • France bars teens from seeing documentary on radical islam
    • “Salafists” a shocking French documentary risking censorship
    • Cartoonists are mocking Italy’s censorship of nude statues for Rouhani
    • Italian Government Censors Nude Statues in Rome for Iranian President’s Visit
    • Italians Protect Iranian President’s Virgin Eyes from Nude Art During Museum Visit
    • Pakistan Orders ISPs To Block 429,343 Websites Completely, Because There’s Porn On The Internet
    • Porn sites targeted in major crackdown by Pakistan authorities

      Pakistan is reportedly preparing to launch a major crackdown on internet pornography and the country’s telecoms regulator has ordered internet providers to block 400,000 adult websites.

      The action follows a recent order passed down by the Supreme Court in Pakistan requiring the telecom sector to “take remedial steps to quantify the nefarious phenomenon of obscenity and pornography that has an imminent role to corrupt and vitiate the youth of Pakistan”.

    • Thailand asked Google to make censorship easier – leaked document

      AS online censorship concerns mount in Thailand, activists in the country released a document Wednesday that purportedly details a meeting in which government officials urged Google staff to comply with content removal requests without waiting for court orders.

    • Thailand Asks Google to Bend Censorship Rules

      Thai officials asked Google to make an exception and remove content without a court order, according to leaked details of a meeting this past Friday with top executives from the U.S.-based search giant.

      The second meeting between Google legal reps and a junta censorship committee was detailed in a document leaked by Thai net freedom advocates hours before Anonymous-aligned hacktivists shut down 20 Department of Corrections websites Thursday morning.

    • Cecil Rhodes statue to be kept by Oxford University college

      A college at Oxford University says it has decided not to remove a statue of the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

      Campaigners want the statue torn down, arguing that Rhodes, a 19th Century businessman and politician in southern Africa, represented white supremacy.

      Oriel College began a consultation last month and said the “overwhelming” response was that Rhodes should stay.

      It said the statue was a reminder of the complexity of history and of the legacies of colonialism.

    • Supinya slams ‘self-censorship’

      Journalists must refrain from self-censorship, despite the restrictions on media freedom imposed by the ruling junta, an activist-turned-media regulator said Thursday.

      Supinya Klangnarong, a member of the state-run National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said the media was obliged to “dare to cross the line” on public interest issues, especially in a society with limited freedom of expression.

    • After Sculpture Censorship Fiasco, Italian Officials Fail to Uncover the Naked Truth

      Earlier this week, the Musei Capitolini in Rome found itself at the center of a controversy as news spread worldwide of the censorship of some of its famous nude statues in anticipation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the institution. While widely reported as a means to avoid offending the dignitary, the measure has stirred trouble of another kind in the Italian capital, with — unsurprisingly — all parties denying responsibility for it and an internal investigation now underway.

      According to The Local, both Rouhani and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi denied knowing about the seemingly Minimalism-inspired transformation, in which someone ordered that the marble sculptures be hidden beneath white boxes during Rouhani’s tour. Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini labelled the deed “incomprehensible,” and attempted to distance Renzi’s office from the matter.

  • Privacy

    • Data Privacy Day: Take Charge of Your Family’s Privacy

      Thursday, January 28, is Data Privacy Day—a day dedicated to promoting and raising awareness of privacy and data protection around the globe. It commemorates the January 28, 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. And it’s a great day to take charge of not only your own privacy, but also the privacy of any school children in your life.

      We recently launched Spying on Students—an online resource dedicated to helping students, parents, teachers, and school administrators learn more about the privacy issues surrounding school-issued devices and cloud services. The website—part of our new campaign to promote student privacy—provides useful guides for adjusting privacy settings on mobile devices. It also answers common questions about the legal and technological landscape regarding student privacy and offers suggestions on how you can connect with other concerned parents.

    • 25 Civil Liberties Organizations Call for Open Hearings on Section 702 Surveillance

      The House Judiciary Committee has plans for a “members only” meeting next week to discuss Section 702 of the FISA Amendment Acts, the law the NSA relies on to operate its notorious PRISM surveillance program and to tap into the backbone of the Internet, also known as “upstream” collection.

      While we wish that “members only” meant that Congressional watchdogs would all don vintage jackets from the 1980s while reining in the NSA, the sad truth is that our elected representatives are once again cutting out the public from an important debate over mass surveillance.

    • New Evidence of Racial Profiling on Florida Roadways

      Black motorists in Florida almost two times more likely to be ticketed for seat belt violations than white motorists.

      Sam Dubose. Walter Scott. Sandra Bland. 2015 showed in terrible and vivid detail how even routine police traffic stops carry the risk of escalating to arrest or the use of force — even lethal force. Traffic stops are not simply innocuous encounters. They can be deadly, particularly for Black people.

      When evidence suggests that certain communities are targeted for traffic stops because of their race or ethnicity, we need to take heed. Today the ACLU is releasing a report providing just that. “Racial Disparities in Florida Safety Belt Law Enforcement” is the first report to analyze publicly available seat belt citation data reported by law enforcement agencies across the state to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in 2014 and 2011.

    • Congressional Hearings on Surveillance Programs to Kick Off — in Secret

      The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing next week on two of the NSA spying programs revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden that vacuum up domestic content despite being ostensibly targeted at foreigners: PRISM and Upstream.

      But, to the great consternation of 26 government accountability groups who wrote an angry letter to committee leaders on Wednesday, the public is not invited. The entire hearing is classified, and closed.

      Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008, which has been cited as the legal authority for those two programs, lapses next year.

    • Canadian Spies Get Spanked Again For Sharing Citizens’ Data With the NSA

      They won’t tell us what it means, but the Canadian government has confirmed that its spy agencies have a real problem with mass-collecting its citizens’ metadata.

      They won’t say how many Canadians were affected, what processes led to the mass-spying, how many information was shared with international intelligence agencies like the NSA, or even how they define “metadata.” But they’re confident everything will be okay.

      After news broke that untold number of Canadians had their private information collected by a top-secret intelligence agency, Minister of National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan told reporters even he didn’t know how far it went.

    • Canada Temporarily Drops Out Of Five Eyes Spying Coalition, After Realizing It Wasn’t Properly Protecting Information

      Of course, by now you know about the “Five Eyes” coalition of the signals intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all sharing certain intelligence information between them. Some of the Snowden docs have made clear that this collaboration helps the various countries get around restrictions on “domestic” surveillance by effectively offshoring it to other “friendly” electronic spy agencies. Well, at least for now, it appears that that the Five Eyes effort has lost an Eye.

      Canada’s signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), has stopped sharing data with the other Four Eyes after realizing that it hadn’t done a particularly good job of protecting the metadata it collected on Canadians.

    • Meet the private companies that sell spy tech to the NSA and Sudan

      The multi-billion dollar private surveillance industry does some of the U.S. government’s most critical electronic snooping. From “deep packet inspection” — that includes tracking and filtering emails — to phone taps, private contractors play a key role for law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

    • Pssst, Your PGP Is Leaking

      Ever since the Snowden revelations, more and more people have been educating themselves on how to use encryption. One of the first programs people might turn to is Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP, a version of which was thrust further into the public consciousness when it was explicitly credited in Citizen Four, Laura Poitras’ documentary on the National Security Agency and her meeting with Snowden.

    • Cops Getting Free License Plate Readers In Exchange For 25% Of The ‘Take’ And All The Driver Data Vigilant Can Slurp

      As has been discussed here before, turning law enforcement agencies into revenue-focused entities is a bad idea. Case in point: asset forfeiture. Further case in point: speed trap towns. Improper incentives lead to improper behavior. Agencies may like the idea of a “free” license plate reader, but the price still has to be paid by someone — and that “someone” is going to be the general public.

      As priorities shift towards ensuring ongoing use of the “free” ALPRs, other criminal activity is likely to receive less law enforcement attention. Unpaid fines and fees are in law enforcement’s wheelhouse, but should never become its raison d’etre. Once it does, the whole community suffers. Anything that could be implemented to lower crime rates would also serve to lower revenue, making it far less likely to be implemented. Fewer infractions mean fewer opportunities to collect court fees. And while the legislators pushing the new law Vigilant is leveraging talked a good game about sending fewer people to overcrowded jails, the governments overseeing these agencies still have budgets to meet and law enforcement to lean on to ensure this happens. Actually achieving the bill’s stated aims would mean a steady reduction in court fees, which would lead to the loss of “free” plate readers. And no one wants that, at least not on the government side of things.

    • GCHQ certified course to improve cyber-attack response and recovery [Ed: Danielle Correa, “Production Editor”, is just a ghostwriter/parrot]
    • Near Inevitability of Cyber Breaches Calls for Greater Focus on Response and Recovery Through Security Training
    • This is the kind of brain we look for at GCHQ [Ed: the spies took over British media again]
    • Thousands puzzle over GCHQ’s festive test
    • No one has cracked GCHQ’s Christmas card and there are only 2 days left
    • Nobody has cracked GCHQ’s crypto Christmas Puzzle
    • With just three days left to crack GCHQ’s ‘impossible’ puzzle, will you be the first person to solve the code?
    • GCHQ’s Christmas card puzzle ‘not yet solved’
    • Nobody has managed to solve GCHQ’s cryptographic Christmas puzzle yet
    • No one has cracked GCHQ’s Christmas card and there are only 2 days left
    • Spy agency’s ‘fun’ quiz still not cracked
    • Three Days Left To Solve GCHQ Xmas Puzzle
    • GCHQ’s Christmas puzzle continues to baffle as deadline looms
    • Can you solve the world’s hardest puzzle?
    • Thousands baffled as GCHQ’s Christmas puzzle deadline looms
    • USENIX Enigma 2016 – NSA TAO Chief on Disrupting Nation State Hackers
    • NSA Hacker Chief Explains How to Keep Him Out of Your System
    • Pompeo wants to give NSA authority to collect mass info.
    • NSA’s top hacking boss explains how to protect your network from his attack squads

      The United States National Security Agency (NSA) is a notoriously secretive organization, but the head of its elite Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacking team has appeared at Usenix’s Enigma conference to tell the assembled security experts how to make his life difficult.

      Rob Joyce has spent over a quarter of a century at No Such Agency and in 2013 he became head of TAO, with responsibility for breaking into non-US computer networks run by overseas companies and governments. Joyce’s presentation on network security at the event boiled down to one piece of advice.

      “If you really want to protect your network you have to know your network, including all the devices and technology in it,” he said. “In many cases we know networks better than the people who designed and run them.”

    • NSA Hacking Chief: Internet of Things Security Keeps Me Up at Night

      The leader of the National Security Agency’s hackers says that putting industrial control systems online has made America less secure.

    • USENIX Enigma 2016 – The Golden Age of Bulk Surveillance
    • An Unprecedented Threat to Privacy

      A private company has captured 2.2 billion photos of license plates in cities throughout America. It stores them in a database, tagged with the location where they were taken. And it is selling that data.

    • Your social data is doomed, and don’t count on Facebook to save you

      Your status updates, your uploaded photos, your videos, all of it is going to be inaccessible sometime in the future. Not just by you, but by your descendants as well.

    • Facebook’s quarterly earnings surpass $5bn for first time thanks to ad sales

      Facebook signalled its increasing power and influence with an emphatic set of financial results that showed quarterly revenue passing $5bn for the first time, and putting it in a position to challenge Google’s dominance of Silicon Valley.

    • Facebook denies Belgian court privacy ruling because it used word ‘cookie’
    • Facebook appeals Belgian cookie rule because it says ‘cookie’

      The court’s ruling contained some English words — like cookie, homepage and browser — which could violate a Belgian law that says all rulings must be in the official languages of the country: French, Dutch and German. Facebook has said this means the whole ruling must be annulled.

      Privacy lawyers not associated with the case told POLITICO this is a “desperate, petty and last-ditch” attempt to avoid Belgian justice. Previously, Facebook tried to fight the verdict by claiming the Belgian data protection authority did not have jurisdiction because the company’s European headquarters is in Ireland.

    • The myth of the ISIS encrypted messaging app

      Despite widespread media reports to the contrary, an app created for Islamic State militants to send private encrypted messages does not exist, a Daily Dot investigation found.

      On Jan. 12, Defense One reported that the Islamic State allegedly built a new Android app called Alrawi for exchanging encrypted messages, based on claims from self-proclaimed online counter-terrorism outfit Ghost Security Group (GSG). The claim was quickly reprinted by Newsweek, Fortune, TechCrunch, and the Times of India—the largest English-language newspaper in the world—among many others.

      However, it seems as though hype and fear, rather than concrete evidence of a genuine tool for orchestrating terrorists attacks, played the primary role in propagating word of its existence.

    • How to Make Your Own NSA Bulk Surveillance System

      Of all the NSA surveillance documents Edward Snowden leaked, some of the most important exposed the spy agency’s so-called XKEYSCORE program, a massive system for vacuuming up and sifting through emails, chats, images, online search activity, usernames and passwords, and other private digital data from core fiber optics cables around the world.

      XKEYSCORE, which the NSA calls its “widest reaching” surveillance program, was established around 2008 and consists of more than 700 servers that store data sucked from the internet’s backbone and mine this data for patterns and connections.

      Only a well-resourced party like the NSA could deploy such a grandiose surveillance program. But if your spy needs are more modest, there are a number of existing tools available that offer similar surveillance capabilities, albeit at a smaller scale, says Nicholas Weaver.

    • Daily tests of torbrowser-launcher, and on every git commit too
    • CESG Certified Training rebranded as GCHQ Certified Training
    • GCHQ targets EM vulnerability of military systems

      GCHQ’s information security arm and the UK’s National Technical Authority for Information Assurance has appointed an accredited laboratory in the UK to perform Tempest first-of-type platform testing.

    • TÜV SÜD Product Service Appointed as UK’s Only CESG Tempest First-of-Type Platform Test Facility
    • GCHQ-developed software for secure phone calls open to ‘eavesdropping’

      MIKKEY-SAKKE is currently being promoted by GCHQ for both government and industry as the gold standard.

      In fact, they have said they will only certify encryption products that implement MIKKEY-SAKKE, and are also pushing to implement it on the public’s mobile phones.

    • NSA Chief Warns of More Hacks Like Those That Hit OPM
    • Cops hate encryption but the NSA loves it when you use PGP

      Usenix Enigma Although the cops and Feds wont stop banging on and on about encryption – the spies have a different take on the use of crypto.

      To be brutally blunt, they love it. Why? Because using detectable encryption technology like PGP, Tor, VPNs and so on, lights you up on the intelligence agencies’ dashboards. Agents and analysts don’t even have to see the contents of the communications – the metadata is enough for g-men to start making your life difficult.

    • Why Do We Expose Ourselves?

      Exposed is a welcome addition to the current spate of books about technology and surveillance. While it covers familiar ground — it opens with brief accounts of Facebook’s methods of tracking users, USAID’s establishment of ZunZuneo (a Twitter-like social network) in Cuba, and Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s PRISM program — Harcourt’s contribution is uniquely indebted to critical theory. Riffing on the work of another French philosopher, Gilles Deleuze, and his evocative 1992 fragment “Postscript on the Societies of Control,” Harcourt settles upon the phrase “Expository Society” to describe our current situation, one in which we “have become dulled to the perils of digital transparence” and enamored of exposure. This new form of expository power, Harcourt explains, “embeds punitive transparence into our hedonist indulgences and inserts the power to punish in our daily pleasures.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Obama Puts Solitary Confinement on Notice

      His reforms treat solitary as an inherently dangerous practice that should only be used as a last resort.

      The American people got a wake-up call yesterday from President Barack Obama about solitary confinement, a barbaric practice that’s routine in our country’s prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers. The White House delivered a new report on solitary from the Department of Justice and a simultaneous pledge in an op-ed by the president to sharply reduce federal prisons’ reliance on this inhumane practice.

      For state and local jails and prisons across the country, the Justice Department presents its first-ever guide to cutting back on solitary — principles the president endorsed.

      On any given day, as many as 100,000 people in U.S. prisons are held in solitary, where they are deprived of almost all human interaction, often sustaining permanent psychological damage. Many solitary survivors — like Reginald Dwayne Betts, Anthony Graves, and James Burns — left prison long ago but remain haunted by their days, months, and years in the hole.

    • Corrupt US Government Accuses Putin Of Corruption

      The most corrupt government on earth, a government so utterly corrupt that it allows former executives of a handful of corrupt mega-banks to run the economic policy of the US solely in the interest of their banks, denying tens of millions of American retirees any interest income on their savings for 7 years and denying hard-pressed Social Security recipients any cost-of-living adjustments by falsifying inflation measures, a government so totally corrupt that it has destroyed seven countries and millions of Muslims solely on the basis of lies, this irredeemably corrupt government has accused the most admired political leader on earth of corruption.

    • Guantánamo Parole Board Clears Victim of Mistaken Identity — After 13 Years

      The Guantánamo parole board approved the release of a Yemeni “forever prisoner,” dismissing intelligence that imprisoned the man for 13 years without trial. And if that level of evil and scorn for justice doesn’t radicalize a 100 people to join ISIS, then nothing can.

    • Kuwait Creating Mandatory DNA Database Of All Citizens, Residents — And Visitors

      The DNA will not be used for medical purposes, such as checking for genetic markers of disease, which will avoid issues of whether people should be told about their predisposition to possibly serious illnesses. Nor will the DNA database be used for “lineage or genealogical reasons.” That’s an important point: a complete nation’s DNA would throw up many unexpected paternity and maternity results, which could have massive negative effects on the families concerned. It’s precisely those kinds of practical and ethical issues that advocates of wider DNA sampling and testing need to address, but rarely do.

    • Lawyer: 16-Year-Old Shouldn’t Be Upset By Explicit Photos Cop Sent Her Because She’s Probably Seen Penises On The Internet

      Please note that if a classmate had sent a photo of his penis to this 16-year-old girl, he might be facing child pornography charges and a lifetime on the sex offender registry, rather than “annoying and accosting,” which would net Guzman a maximum $200 fine and 6 months in jail.

    • Courts Pretty Much OK With FBI’s Occasional Stints As Child Porn Distributors

      Law enforcement agencies commit criminal acts while conducting criminal investigations. It happens all the time. With the blessing of their handlers, confidential informants routinely engage in criminal activity. Investigators act as co-conspirators in the planning of terrorist attacks and the robbing of imaginary “stash houses.”

      But many people are taking issue with the FBI’s decision to use seized servers loaded with child pornography as honeypots rather than immediately shut them down. For some, this is the one unforgivable criminal act — the possession and distribution of child porn.

    • The FBI’s Two Weeks of Peddling Kiddie Porn and Section 702

      As you may have heard, from February 20 to March 4, 2015, the FBI was operating the world’s largest kiddie porn site, during which point it hacked the site and thereby IDed the IP address of up to 1,500 users, both in the US and abroad.

    • BPD sergeant may plead guilty, job on the line

      Sgt. Edwin Guzman is accused of sending sexually explicit Facebook messages to a minor.

      Guzman was promoted to sergeant in August 2014, around the same time he allegedly sent the messages to the teenager who says she considered Guzman a family friend and father figure.

      “It started off we regularly chat and it’s mostly about school and how life is,” the teenager who was 16 at the time told 5 Investigates’ Mike Beaudet.

    • Al Jazeera files claim for damages against Egypt

      Network registers complaint at World Bank arbitration court accusing Egypt of targeting its journalists and offices.

    • Ex-Department of Justice Lawyer Faces Penalties in Leak of NSA Program
    • Administration Pursues Charges Against Another Whistleblower

      Another whistleblower is facing charges brought by this administration — one that has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined. Thomas Tamm, a DOJ lawyer during the Bush era, exposed the NSA’s super-secret domestic surveillance program, whose authorization ran directly from the Attorney General to the Chief Judge of the FISA Court.

      His whistleblowing led to a Pulitzer for the New York Times. The information Tamm gave to NYT reporters detailed something referred to only as “the program.” The two-person approval process eliminated much of the paper trail and allowed the NSA to perform warrantless domestic surveillance. Colleagues of Tamm’s at the DOJ’s Office of Intelligence Programs and Review even told Tamm this was “probably illegal.”

    • Pre-Snowden Whistleblower Faces Misconduct Charges, 12 Years Later

      Thomas Tamm exposed the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Fellow Justice Department whistleblower Jesselyn Radack, right, waited a decade for a misconduct complaint against her to be dismissed.

    • NYPD Tells Public Record Requester It Will Cost $36,000 To Process A ‘Sampling’ Of Body Camera Footage

      The NYPD is once again in the middle of a transparency/accountability controversy. The law enforcement agency has achieved the dubious distinction of being more difficult to obtain public records from than federal three-letter agencies like the CIA and NSA. The latest news does nothing to improve its reputation.

      Some of this is due to its in-house classification system, which allows it to arbitrarily declare potentially-responsive documents “secret” — something it does quite often with no apparent oversight. Some of it is due to the department’s general antagonism towards transparency and openness, which keeps documents not marked secret out of the public’s hands just because. Its steadfast belief that the only entity truly entitled to information is the NYPD has seen this attitude carried over to discovery requests in civil lawsuits and criminal cases, much to the general disgruntlement of presiding judges.

    • E-voting won’t solve the problem of voter apathy

      As the old English proverb has it “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Such thoughts spring to mind with the launch of the report Secure Voting by campaigning group WebRoots Democracy. WebRoots are volunteers who ‘campaign for the introduction of online voting in Local and General Elections’. We know where they stand on this issue, but how informed is their argument that online voting can be secure?

    • Asylum seekers made to wear coloured wristbands in Cardiff

      Asylum seekers in Cardiff are being issued with brightly coloured wristbands that they must wear at all times, in a move which echoes the “red door” controversy in Middlesbrough and has resulted in their harassment and abuse by members of the public.

      Newly arrived asylum seekers in the Welsh capital who are housed by Clearsprings Ready Homes, a private firm contracted by the Home Office, are being told that they must wear the wristbands all the time otherwise they will not be fed. The wristbands entitle the asylum seekers, who cannot work and are not given money, to three meals a day.

    • Criminal Defendants Sue State Of Utah For Blowing Off The Sixth Amendment

      So much for those “inalienable rights.” The Sixth Amendment — among other things — guarantees representation for criminal defendants. This guarantee has been declared null and void in two states: Utah and Pennsylvania.

      The problem isn’t that these states aren’t willing to comply with both the Sixth Amendment and the Supreme Court’s Gideon v. Wainwright decision. It’s just that they’re not going to spend any of their money doing it. In these states, funding for indigent defense is left up to local governments, with no additional support coming from the state level.

    • Silencing Whistleblowers, 12 Years Later

      As reported by Zoe Tillman, Thomas Tamm, the first whistleblower to go to Eric Lichtblau with reports of Stellar Wind, is being investigated for ethical violations by the DC Bar. The complaint alleges he failed to report that people within DOJ were violating their legal obligations to superiors, up to and including the Attorney General, and that he took confidences of his client (which the complaint defines as DOJ) to the press.

      The question, of course, is why the Bar is pursuing this now, years after Tamm’s actions became public. Tillman describes the complaint as having had some kind of virgin birth, from Bar members reading the news accounts rather than someone complaining.

    • Lawrence Lessig: Why I Ran For President

      In the spring of 2015, before I decided to run for President, two things were clear to me. First, the need to focus America on the failure of its democracy was as urgent as ever. Second, no plausible candidate for President was going to do that.

    • Why I Dropped Out

      I decided to raise the money contingently. We set a target that we thought would be large enough to make the campaign credible, but not so large as to be impossible to hit in a short period. If we hit the target, I’d run. If we didn’t, we’d return the money we had raised.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • SDN Internet Router – Part 1

      This is the first part of a series of posts about a project we have been working with for a while now that we call SIR (SDN Internet Router). To give some context to this we will first introduce how the Internet route packets, what peering is and how Spotify connects to the rest of the Internet. Feel free to skip this post if you feel you know these topics already.

    • Internet in Cuba

      Unfortunately, I have been connected to the internet only through the the Varadero airport and the WiFi of a “full included” resort near Jibacoa. I have to come to assume that this network is likely to be on a segregated, uncensored internet while the rest of the country suffers the wrath of the Internet censorship in Cuba I have seen documented elsewhere.

      Through my research, I couldn’t find any sort of direct censorship. The Netalyzr tool couldn’t find anything significantly wrong with the connection, other than the obvious performance problems related both to the overloaded uplinks of the Cuban internet. I ran an incomplete OONI probe as well, and it seems there was no obvious censorship detected there as well, at least according to folks in the helpful #ooni IRC channel. Tor also works fine, and could be a great way to avoid the global surveillance system described later in this article.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WHO Board Debates Framework On Engagement With Non-State Actors

      The World Health Organization routinely works with a number of outside actors, such as non-governmental groups, philanthropic organisations, industry and academics. Member states have been trying to establish a framework to regulate such engagement and are still working to produce a consensus document. This week they are trying to extend the mandate of an intergovernmental meeting in the hope that an ultimate meeting in April can solve remaining issues.

    • The Shittiness Of IP Law Has Taught The Public That Everything Is Stealing And Everyone Is Owed Something

      In an article that’s actually a bit (but just a bit) more thoughtful than the headline applied to it (“How Corporations Profit From Black Teens’ Viral Content”), Fader writer Doreen St. Felix tackles the cultural appropriation of creative works. Sort of.

      While the article does quote from a 2008 essay about the historical cultural appropriation of black artists’ works by record labels, etc., the article does not point out any specific appropriation occurring here — at least not in terms of the two creators St. Felix has chosen to write about. And it has nothing to say about how these corporations are “profiting” from this supposed appropriation.

    • WHO Members Commit To SDGs For 2030, Despite Some Differences

      During the Executive Board meeting at the World Health Organization this week, member states agreed on committing to the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. The consensus reached by member states was that direct health development goals such as the continuous effort to rid the world of malaria, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C are at the forefront of pressing issues. But goals for health and those for related issues should be worked on together as they are mutually beneficial, they said.

    • Trademarks

      • Parody bag maker demands $400k legal fees from ‘trademark bully’ Louis Vuitton

        Louis Vuitton is facing a potential $400,000 legal bill after lawyers representing parody bag company My Other Bag filed a motion at a US court asking it to rule that the case is “exceptional”.

        Earlier this month, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected the luxury brand’s complaint that MOB infringed its intellectual property rights.

        California-based MOB sells tote bags that on one side state “My Other Bag …” and on the other have a Louis Vuitton design. The company also sells bags that have other luxury brands’ designs on them.

      • Sad Raiders Fan Tries To Keep Team In Oakland By Squatting On Trademark

        I’m not certain why people think this will work, but there seems to be an idea floating around a few of our fellow citizens that they can simply force their favorite sports teams to do what they want by filing trademarks for things they never intend to use. You may recall the story about a jackass in North Dakota who wanted to prevent the University of North Dakota from changing its name from The Fighting Sioux to, well, anything else that had been suggested by filing for trademarks on all the other things that had been suggested. Such a strategy was doomed to fail from the beginning for any number of reasons, but mostly because you actually have to be using what you’re trying to trademark in commerce in order to get it approved, and trolling isn’t a commercial enterprise as far as I know.

      • Oakland Raiders fan seeks to trademark “San Antonio Raiders”
    • Copyrights

      • “Piracy Harms” Are Now Part of U.S. Education Law

        Last month President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, making $1 billion dollars available for educational technology spending. In addition, the new law ensures that educators are aware of the piracy harms new technologies introduce.

      • Pissed Consumer Gets To Go After Roca Labs For Its Bogus DMCA Takedowns

        Remember Roca Labs? The somewhat shady manufacturer of some goop that the company claimed was an “alternative to gastric bypass surgery.” This was the company that initially sued the site PissedConsumer.com because it was hosting negative reviews of Roca’s product — and Roca claimed that because it pressured buyers into a gag clause saying they wouldn’t say anything bad about the product, that PissedConsumer was engaged in tortious interference. There was a lot more as well, including threatening to sue us at Techdirt (more than once!) for reporting on the case, suing Pissed Consumer’s lawyer Marc Randazza for defamation and a variety of other shenanigans (even including some bizarre side stories on Nevada politics, despite it being a Florida company). Anyway, late last year the FTC smacked down Roca for its misleading marketing and its non-disparagement clauses. Roca is still fighting that fight, but soon after it also lost the case against PissedConsumer.

      • Internet Policy Task Force Seeks Changes To US Copyright Statutory Damages Law

        The United States Copyright Act should be amended in a “very careful” way to change the way statutory damages are awarded to successful copyright owners against infringing individuals and online services, Shira Perlmutter, US Patent and Trademark Office chief policy officer and international affairs director, said today.

      • Cox Should Expose Pirating Subscribers, Court Hears

        After winning a $25 million judgment last month, music publisher BMG has requested a permanent injunction against Cox Communications, requiring the Internet provider to expose the personal details of pirating subscribers. For its part, Cox has asked the court to reconsider the guilty verdict or grant a new trial.

      • Writer Claims Libel, Copyright Infringement When Screencap Of Her Tweet Is Used In An Online Article

        A person can undo the damage of a particularly stupid assertion by acting quickly and contritely. Too bad far too many people opt for making the situation much, much worse.

        David Paxton included a screenshot of Forbes contributor Frances Coppola touting her own personal conspiracy theory about the rash of sexual assaults by immigrants in Cologne, Germany, in his article for Quillette.


        There’s nothing “personal” about a Twitter account. Any tweet viewable by the public can be screencapped or quoted without permission of the account owner. If a Twitter account holder doesn’t care to have their tweets quoted or posted elsewhere in any form, they can always lock their account, making it only viewable by their followers. Coppola’s account was public then and — after briefly taking it private — it is public once again.


Links 27/1/2016: Tails 2.0, GPUOpen

Posted in News Roundup at 8:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux and open source are the future

    To me, open source is the future of computing and of jobs. Programming, especially on the web, is in high demand. So, we must make sure that our youth are on the path to intersect with these jobs. Several years ago, Brazil adopted open source for use with their 50 million K-12 students, and I sometimes wonder if the United States will be playing catch-up to get students into open source.

    One of my dreams is to help unite open source enthusiasts in the Washington D.C. area. There’s so much we can learn from each other, and the time to start is now.

  • Linux through a journalist’s eyes

    How does a self-proclaimed “English and history guy” make a career writing about Linux? In this video, veteran technology journalist Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols tells us precisely how.

    Vaughan-Nichols takes listeners on a journey through his storied career, highlighting his early days translating programming languages for non-technical users. He still remembers the day he stumbled on Linux. “I discovered that Linux was actually neat—that this little Finnish graduate student with the funny name on the Minix newsgroup was on to something,” he says. And for nearly 25 years, Vaughan-Nichols says, that special “something” has propelled his career.

  • Desktop

    • The U.S. Government and Open Standards: A Tale of Personal Woe

      That was a little annoying for me because I didn’t have Acrobat — which Adobe no longer offers for Linux — on my Ubuntu Linux computer. Fortunately, I was able to download an older version of Acrobat and install it on Ubuntu easily enough. With that in place, I could fill out the document.

    • Free

      It’s been an interesting few months, getting used to this whole advertising-among-the-stories thing. But in the end, I have come to realize that everything being free might be good, but there are times when all of that free stuff can bring an end to things we’ve come to count on. It was mentioned to me just a day ago, that if a news website like FOSS Force goes under, then there are a lot more to fill that space. I asked him what sites he was speaking of and he pointed out two of the biggest, those being LXer and LinuxToday.com. I then asked him just where he thought those two website got their news. He’s probably standing just where I left him. The same deer-in-the-headlights look. Like I had explained quantum mechanics to him.

    • Why Linux is still better than Windows 10

      Microsoft’s release of Windows 10 has added a new wrinkle to the eternal “Windows versus Linux” discussions online. And recently a Linux redditor took the time to install Windows 10 and do some exploring. While he found Windows 10 to be a prettier version of Windows, it wasn’t long before he realized that Linux still beats Windows as a desktop operating system.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Architecting Next-Gen Linux Car Systems: AGL’s Michael Fabry

      The Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project is one of many independently funded software projects hosted by the Linux Foundation. For these Collaborative Projects, as they’re called, the Linux Foundation provides the essential framework so that participants can focus on innovation and results.

      To learn more, we are talking with key contributors about what they do and how they became involved. For this feature, we spoke with Michael Fabry, Project Manager Engineering at Microchip, about his work with the AGL, which is dedicated to creating open source software solutions for automotive applications and which recently added automakers Subaru, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Ford to its list of members.

    • The Linux Test Project has been released for January 2016

      Good news everyone,

      the Linux Test Project test suite stable release for *January 2016*
      has been released.

      Since the last release 191 patches by 29 authors were merged.

      Notable changes are:

      * Rewritten and new cgroup tests for cpuacct and pids controllers

      * Rewritten basic cgroup functional and stress tests

      * New userns07 test for user namespaces

      * New syscall tests for:
      - renameat2()
      - sched_getattr()
      - sched_setattr()
      - kcmp()
      - fcntl(fd, F_SETLEASE)
      - preadv()
      - pwritev()

    • Has the Linux Foundation Sold out to VMware? Probably Not

      Has the Linux Foundation, the most powerful nonprofit organization in the open source world, sold out to corporate interests? And how committed is it to defending the GPL free software license? Those are questions some critics are asking in the wake of recent changes to the Linux Foundation’s by-laws.

    • Digital Asset Holdings Discloses New Details About Its Hyperledger Platform

      Digital Asset is excited to announce that Hyperledger has become one of the most highly requested project participants in the Linux Foundation’s history.

    • Digital Asset Announces Progress Made In Hyperledger Project

      Digital Asset has recently announced the progress made in the Hyperledger project. The company describes it as an enterprise-ready blockchain server with a client API, which has a modular architecture and configurable protocol properties.

    • Digital Asset Holdings says Linux Foundation partnership boosts critical Hyperledger development

      Fresh from the completion of a major funding round, Digital Asset Holdings said its announcement last month that it was moving its Hyperledger platform to the Linux Foundation has been critical to further developing the platform. In just one month since the Linux Foundation announced a collaborative effort to advance blockchain technology, the project has become one of the efforts with the most participation requests in Linux Foundation history, according to a Digital Asset announcement.

    • Linux Kernel 3.10.95 LTS Updates USB Drivers, Improves the Networking Stack

      Renowned kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced the release of the ninty-fifth maintenance build for the long-term supported Linux 3.10 kernel series, urging all users to update as soon as possible.

      The announcement for Linux kernel 3.10.95 LTS comes right after Mr. Greg Kroah-Hartman informed us about the general availability of the Linux kernel 4.3.4, Linux kernel 4.1.16 LTS, and Linux kernel 3.14.59 LTS versions, and just by looking at the appended shortlog we can notice that it’s a small update with only 46 files changed consisting of 336 insertions and 92 deletions.

    • Voice of the Masses: Should the Linux Foundation have community representation?

      According to their own website: “The Linux Foundation protects and promotes the ideals of freedom and generous collaboration established through the development of Linux, and shares these ideals to power any endeavor aiming to make the future a better place in which to live.” This is indeed a noble goal, and to assist it in this endeavor, many of the world’s largest technology companies pay tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. All this money is first stored in a Scrooge McDuck style silo before being used to pay the salaries of some kernel developers, passed on to projects improving security in open source, and used to promote Linux in a wide variety of ways.

    • Graphics Stack

      • It’s Time to Open up the GPU

        The second is a commitment to open source software. The game and graphics development community is an active hub of enthusiastic individuals who believe in the value of sharing knowledge. Full and flexible access to the source of tools, libraries and effects is a key pillar of the GPUOpen philosophy. Only through open source access are developers able to modify, optimize, fix, port and learn from software. The goal? Encouraging innovation and the development of amazing graphics techniques and optimizations in PC games.

      • AMD emits fresh open-source GPU tools for HPC, game devs

        AMD has fleshed out its notion of an openly defined GPU architecture, GPUOpen, with the launch of a bunch of open-source tools on GitHub plus a shiny new website.

        The move has been welcomed by the gaming press, but GPUOpen is not all about blasting people in 3D death matches – AMD also has the high performance computing (HPC) community in mind. The “Professional Compute” side of the initiative brings together tools like.

      • Trying To Run The AMDGPU Driver With A Hawaii GPU On Linux 4.5

        After installing that 4.5-rc1 kernel spin and then blacklisting the Radeon DRM driver (since it will still try to auto-load by default as it matches the hardware PCI ID), I booted with AMDGPU. However, I quickly realized things weren’t working right when the R9 290 didn’t mode-set to 4K.

      • OpenGL 3.1 Core Support Lands In X.Org Server’s GLAMOR

        A number of GLAMOR commits landed today within the X.Org Server Git repository.

        Most noticeable to the GLAMOR work that landed today is the OpenGL core profile support from the patches originally posted earlier this month and since revised. With the patches, there is core profile support with GLAMOR for EGL/ephyr/XWayland. There’s also VBO support for GLAMOR X-Video vertex array objects usage, and more as part of this work.

      • RTG Announces Radeon Open Compute Platform

        Their latest post reads, “Today the Radeon Technology Group is releasing a preview version of the Radeon Open Compute Kernel driver (ROCK) and Radeon Open Compute runtime ROCR, allowing the exploration of what is possible with the open GPU computing foundation. The objective of this release is to start a dialog with the commercial and academic HPC communities that will shape the future direction of the Boltzmann Initiative, both for the coming year and beyond. We are excited to present to you our first public release of the Boltzmann driver and runtime with HCC and HIP.”

      • AMD launches GPUOpen website
      • AMD Launches GPUOpen – Refines Philosophy Into Two Tiers: CGI and Gaming and Professional Compute
      • AMD wants to open up PC graphics chips
      • AMD opens up the GPU
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.5.4 Has Fixes For Multi-Screen Users

        KDE Plasma 5.5.4 was released today as a bug-fix update to Plasma 5.5 as released in December. With this new point release there are fixes primarily for multi-screen users receiving notifications.

        The lone prominent change listed by today’s 5.5.4 release announcement is “Many improvements and refactoring to notification positioning making them appear in the right place for multi-screen use.”

      • How to integrate OpenGL code with Qt Quick 2 applications (part 2)
      • Integrating OpenGL With Qt Quick 2 Apps

        The post today covers hooking in with the Qt Quick 2 renderer, OpenGL underlays/overlays, and the other steps for integrating this OpenGL code with Qt Quick 2 applications. HOwever, at this time there is no support with the Qt Quick renderer for modifying the OpenGL state.

      • Kdenlive: Café, Sprint and More

        And for the pleasure, here is a screenshot of Kdenlive’s clip monitor where you can see several of the new features that are currently being worked on for the 16.04 release. The monitor looks a bit cluttered like this but it’s just for the demo – everything is configurable.

      • Creating a Qt 5 port to Apple tvOS

        Back in November, Apple released the latest generation of it’s Apple TV product. Besides the slightly improved hardware, the true new feature is the OS which is now officially based on iOS and comes with the dedicated SDK and App Store! So we started investigating what it would take to port Qt to tvOS and start writing some apps for the big screen.

      • App Review of GCompris: Kids’ Happiness

        If you have children, you know how hard it is to make a child happy and interested in something for a long time. But there is an easy way to do that: show them GCompris. It is a really great game set for children 2-10 years old and they surely will like it. You may ask, if GCompris is really so good, and I would answer you “Yes”. And that is not a joke. Here are some proofs of that. But, you know, nothing is ideal, so I will also mention its bad sides (unfortunately, they are present too).

      • KDE Ships Plasma 5.5.4, bugfix Release for January
      • KDE Plasma 5.5.4 Lands with Notification Improvements for Multi-Monitor Setups

        Today, January 26, 2016, KDE proudly announced that the fourth maintenance release for the Plasma 5 desktop environment is now available for GNU/Linux distribution vendors to compile and push to their default repositories for users to update.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Yosembiance A Smooth and Sleek Theme Based On Ambiance

        Do you like Ambiance theme but also like flat themes? Yosembiance is smoothed and slightly flattened version of Ubuntu default theme Ambiance and it is modified by Brain Sundman, he tried to make this theme more beautiful and he succeeded, the Ubuntu’s default theme Ambiance is also beautiful there is no doubt about it. The initial release of this theme was in 2014 and with the passage of time Brain also made this theme available for newer Ubuntu versions. There is blue version too, if you don’t want to stick with orange one then you can choose blue for your desktop. I added this theme to PPA for Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial/15.10 Wily/15.04 Vivid/14.04 Trusty, and this theme is not tested on Linux Mint but hopefully it will work just fine, you can give it a shot and let us know in the comment below. You can use Unity Tweak Tool, Gnome-tweak-tool or Ubuntu-Tweak to change themes/icons.

  • Distributions

    • Which Linux Is Secure? The Analysis Of Top Popular Distributions

      So, can I be sure that web site of my lovely Linux Distribution is real and hackers doesn’t replace it with infected software? Can I get a backdoor in my operating system from installed updates? No, but only with these conditions:

    • Linux Top 3: Kali Rolls, Gparted partions and Android x86 Mobilizes Linux

      As always there is no shortage of activity in the Linux distribution space and this week is no exception as multiple types of Linux distributions are out with updates.

    • Reviews

      • Fast Times With Nelum OS

        Nelum OS is a light and fast live-installable Linux distribution family offering three separate releases.

        “Nelum” means “lotus” in Sinhalese, the language of Sri Lanka, according to developer Ostro Leka.

        The distro is a brand-new entry to the land of Linux, with its initial release posted earlier this month. It is an unusual twist on what you usually see with a Linux release.

    • New Releases

      • Lakka Is A Linux OS That Converts Any Computer Into A Gaming Console

        It’s time to go to your basement, clean your dusty old PC and make it ready for something fun. Using the lightweight Linux distro Lakka, you can turn that old pal into a retro gaming machine. This ready-to-install system is derived from OpenELEC, a version of Kodi home theater software. The OS also acts as a DIY retro emulation console based upon the RetroArch emulator software.

        The strength of Lakka lies in the wide range of hardware it supports and useful feature like Braid-like rewinding, video streaming, and joypad hotplug. Once installed on your SD card, it is easy to set up and runs all your favorite vintage games.

      • BackBox Linux 4.5 Security-Oriented OS Comes Preinstalled with New Hacking Tools

        The developers of the BackBox Linux operating system have announced the release and immediate availability for download of the BackBox Linux 4.5 release, which promises to bring a new kernel and lots of updated packages.

        According to the release notes, BackBox Linux 4.5 comes preinstalled with Linux kernel 4.2 and adds various new and special tools, such as Automotive Analysis and OpenVAS, which promise to make a big difference when talking about the overall performance of the system.

      • BOSS – Barath Operating System Solutions

        Our meetings with BOSS developers have been very pleasant. Even those working at the top of cloud or big data stacks – furthest away from our mindset of tightly “locking down” all parts as packages – were patient with us.

        Thanks in particular to Prema S and Prathibha B, working on packaging of BOSS for the past 5+ years, and both likely to enter the Debian New Maintainer Queue before long :-)

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Arch Family

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • All About Folder Sharing on OpenSUSE 42.1

        This is not the Brazilian dance guys. Samba is a free software licensed under the GNU General Public License and a re-implementation of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol which was originally developed by Andrew Tridgell. Samba is used for sharing files & folders between UNIX & Linux like system towards a Windows OS driven PC. Samba allows a non-Windows server to communicate with the same networking protocol as the Windows products and that’s the interesting part of it. Samba was originally developed for UNIX but now a days it can run on Linux, FreeBSD and other UNIX variants.The name Samba comes from SMB (Server Message Block). Samba works on the majority of modern operating systems available today.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OpenAMP heterogeneous multicore standard targets Linux

      The MCA announced its Open Asymmetric Multi Processing Framework (OpenAMP) for Linux multicore development, with support from Mentor Graphics and Xilinx.

      The Multicore Association (MCA) formally unveiled its open source “Open Asymmetric Multi Processing Framework” (OpenAMP), and announced a working group to establish standardization of the multicore development framework. The working group will expand and document the specification for Linux, and collaborate with the OpenAMP open source community.

    • ARM-based “Colibri” COMs hatch a hardware ecosystem

      Toradex launched a partner program aimed at supporting its Linux-ready, ARM based “Colibri” COMs with carrier boards, displays, enclosures, and more.

      Toradex has structured a new third party hardware partner ecosystem for its Linux-ready Colibri family of ARM-based computer-on-modules. The Swiss embedded vendor is also actively recruiting partners to make third-party, general purpose and application specific carrier boards for Colibri COMs.

    • Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

      We chatted for a while and it became apparent that they had been holding themselves back from actually making something because they were afraid the result would be wrong. I went to my box and retrieved the failures from my most recent case design for a Raspberry Pi model B to put alongside the successful end product to try and encourage them.

    • A Cheap WiFi Memory Card Reader Hacked To Run OpenWRT

      The ZSun WiFi Memory Card Reader isn’t intended for running OpenWRT, but has been modified to do so. There is this detailed Wiki page explaining how to adapt this cheap WiFI SD card reader into running OpenWRT for WiFi networking purposes, possible use-cases around IoT, play around with mesh networking, or really any other interesting scenarios along those lines. The Zsun device is powered by an AR9331 SoC with 64MB of RAM and 16MB of flash storage.

    • Raspberry Pi Zero Cluster Packs a Punch

      If you could actually buy 16 Raspberry Pi Zeros, you might be able to build your very own Raspberry Pi Cluster for only $80! Well… minus the cost of the board to tie them all together…

    • Enea AB: Enea Linux 5 is CGL 5.0 registered for leading telecom companies to rely on when building their NFV applications, equipment, and networks
    • The Pine A64 is about to become the cheapest ARM 64-bit platform to run Docker

      Last Saturday one of the more promising Kickstarter campaigns that piqued our curiosity ended after 44 days and was able to raise 1.7 million dollars. It was a campaign to fund the cheapest 64-bit ARM board that can currently be bought for money.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Even Microsoft’s Windows Phone chief is using an iPhone

          Funny things happen when you’re no longer championing the least popular phone platform out there: you stop using it.

          Joe Belfiore is technically the Corporate Vice President, Operating Systems Group at Microsoft, but he took a year off starting in October 2015 for a worldwide trip.

        • Smartphone Wars 2015: Now Apple. iPhone sold 231.4 million units for roughly 15% market share

          Apple announced its Q4 (Christmas quarter) results and reports it sold 74.8 million iPhones. which is a preliminary market share of 15.4% for the quarter. The unit sales is up 56% compared to Q3 but as our readers remember, Apple cannot be analyzed on quarter-to-quarter unit sales because of the once-per-year new model launch cycle, so that is not comparable to the other companies and performance vs last quarter. Nor should one quarter of Apple be compared to the same quarter last year (which would suggest the growth rate of under one half of one percent, also totally not true). The way to compare Apple is to see growth in the past 12 month moving average. And conveniently, now at the end of the year, we have that number so its easy to do. Apple sold 231.4 million iPhones which is up 20% compared to 2014 when they sold 192.7 million iPhones. Thats the real growth rate for Apple’s iPhone. Now what is Apple’s market share for the year? I have been using the 1.55 Billion total smartphone shipment estimate, at which level Apple’s smartphone market share would be 14.9% ie flat compared to 2014 when it was also 14.9%. With this number, however, I would warn that several signs suggest a slow-down of year-end smartphone sales globally, if the year ends up less than 1.55B then the market share(s for all brands) will be a bit better than my preliminary estimates. So in rough terms if you round it up to even percentages, iPhones is at about 15%, same as last year. Apple is certain to finish 2015 again as second largest smartphone maker behind Samsung and ahead of Huawei.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Tech Dominates Top Paying Skills

    Beyond that, though, the top 10 list is chock full of open source technologies, ranging from OpenStack and CloudStack in the “Cloud” category to a bevy of Big Data-related skills, such as MapReduce, Pig, Cassandra and Cloudera.

  • Show us the code! You should be able to peek inside the gadgets you buy – FTC commish

    FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny supports the idea of giving people access to the source code to stuff to ensure better security and privacy in the era of the internet of things.

    The idea is that obvious bad bugs and poor security mechanisms can be quickly spotted and either fixed or the item stays on the store shelf.

    Speaking at the State of the Net conference in Washington DC on Monday, McSweeny noted that US consumer watchdog the FTC was looking closely at the proliferation of connected devices that gather and store highly personal information.

  • Recent Discussion on Unfairness in FLOSS

    I include above some pieces that, on the surface, are adjacent to this conversation rather than in it: on open data, on emotional burnout, on GitHub’s tooling, on license compliance, on setting expectations about unmaintained projects. But I see these frustrations as — like the injustice driving volunteer maintainers to step away — coming from a fundamental perception of unfairness. Free and open source software makers will notice if there is no measure of reciprocity in an environment that pays lip service to gift culture.

  • Project Calico Now Fully Supports Kubernetes

    On Friday, Project Calico, an open source virtual networking stack, released its 1.0 version plugin for Kubernetes – a signal that the plugin been well-tested and ready for production, according to Andy Randall, the project’s lead evangelist.

  • Events

    • Vault linux storage and filesystems CFP is open

      The Linux Foundation promotes, protects and advances Linux by marshalling the resources of its members and the open source development community to ensure Linux remains free and technically advanced.

    • Kohei Yoshida: LibreOffice mini-Conference 2016 in Osaka

      First off, let me just say that it was such an honor and pleasure to have had the opportunity to present a keynote at the LibreOffice mini-Conference in Osaka. It was a bit surreal to be given such an opportunity almost one year after my involvement with LibreOffice as a paid full-time engineer ended, but I’m grateful that I can still give some tales that some people find interesting. I must admit that I haven’t been that active since I left Collabora in terms of the number of git commits to the LibreOffice core repository, but that doesn’t mean that my passion for that project has faded. In reality it is far from it.

    • LinuxFest NorthWest

      Fedora will have a presence at LinuxFest NorthWest, April 23-24 in Bellingham, Washington, and can use your help. If you would like to help out with a few hours in the booth or at the Friday game night, add your name to the list on the Fedora Wiki page. You can earn a LFNW shirt or lunch for a few hours of service.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox v44 Rolling out to Android with Improved Tabs Screen

        On Tuesday, Mozilla rolled out a new update to their Firefox web browser that’s available on Android. Effectively bringing it to version 44. The update has a few new features, as well as fixing some other bugs and such. The update is available in the Google Play Store now, for those of you that don’t use Chrome. Included in the update is an improved tab screen. The reasoning behind this improved tab screen, Mozilla says is for uniformity with tablets using the same browser. The company also says that the thumbnails shown on the tab screen should also be a bit more accurate this time around.

      • Firefox 44 released

        Firefox 44.0 has been released.

      • Perfect storm: GTK+3.x behaviour under KDE and Firefox’s move to GTK+3.x

        At Mageia, various people suddenly started complaining about the scrollbar behaviour of GTK+3.x. Not always in the most constructive manner.


        Loads of people use Firefox. These people don’t like their Firefox behaving different from what they’re used to and expect.

      • Firefox Can Now Get Push Notifications From Your Favorite Sites

        Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux now lets you choose to receive push notifications from websites if you give them permission. This is similar to Web notifications, except now you can receive notifications for websites even when they’re not loaded in a tab. This is super useful for websites like email, weather, social networks and shopping, which you might check frequently for updates.

      • Mozilla Now Has Push Notifications for Websites That Are Not Loaded Yet

        Mozilla is trying to inform users on their new “Push Notification” feature that makes it easier for websites to send notifications even when the tab is not loaded.

      • Mozilla “Push”es Firefox 44, Most Secure Linux Projects

        Firefox 44 was released today with Mozilla touting new Push technology. Push allows websites to push content to users without their having to visit the site directly. Elsewhere, The Linux Homefront Project researched which Linux distributions take user security seriously and some of the results are surprising. Jack M. Germain reviewed Nelum OS and Neil Rickert shared his multi-boot techniques.

      • Web Push Arrives in Firefox 44
      • Firefox 44 Debuts With Improved Security

        Mozilla adds push notification support and provides 11 security advisories with its latest open-source browser release.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • EnterpriseDB talks up shift to open source databases as it unveils Postgres Advanced Server 9.5

      Database firm EnterpriseDB has delivered the latest version of Postgres Advanced Server, the firm’s commercially supported distribution based on the open source PostgreSQL code, claiming that it is increasingly finding favour among Fortune 500 firms for its scalability and cost-effectiveness.

      Available now, Postgres Advanced Server 9.5 is based on PostgreSQL 9.5, which was released by its developer community earlier this month. EnterpriseDB provides this to organisations under a Postgres Enterprise subscription along with the Postgres Enterprise Manager tool and other value-add enhancements.

      Like the community release, Postgres Advanced Server 9.5 features enhancements to increase performance and scalability when operating business-critical workloads, including a claimed 96 percent performance boost when handling 64 concurrent connections, compared with the previous release of the platform.

  • CMS

    • Lean WordPress: A guide to optimizing your CMS

      The first thing to do with plugins on an existing WordPress site is to deactivate any that aren’t being used. Active plugins load resources (and make HTTP requests), adding overhead to every page that loads. If a plugin is not being used, shut it down.

  • Healthcare

    • Open source healthcare system adds 3 more hospitals

      OpenMaxims, an electronic patient record system developed in the United Kingdom and made available as open source software, is now used by three more UK hospitals. The software solution is implemented for the Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Clifton Hospital and Fleetwood Hospital, all three in England’s northwest coast.

    • Open-source laser fabrication lowers costs for cancer research

      In a move that slashes 90 percent of the cost of mass-producing metastatic microtumors and therapeutic microtissues for screening and research, Rice University bioengineers have adapted techniques from the “maker” movement to reprogram a commercial laser cutter to etch up to 50,000 tiny “microwells” per hour into sheets of silicone.

      The fabrication technique, which was developed with open-source software and hardware, is described in a new study published in the journal RSC Advances.

    • Laser cut microwells could lower the cost of cancer research

      The fabrication technique, which was developed with open-source software and hardware, could slash 90% of the cost of mass-producing metastatic microtumours and therapeutic microtissues for screening and research.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Changes Start Heading Into AMDGPU For LLVM 3.9

      A number of AMDGPU LLVM back-end changes have been hitting the mainline LLVM SVN/Git code-base in recent days.

      However, all of this activity won’t be found in next month’s LLVM 3.8 release since it’s already branched but rather is new work going into LLVM 3.9. This latest LLVM 3.9 code drops compatibility for the Mesa 11.0 series, adds some new intrinsics, some new tests were added, and more.


    • Key charities that advance software freedom are worthy of your urgent support

      Conservancy and the FSF show in concrete terms that two charities can work together to increase their impact. Last year, our organizations collaborated on many projects, such as the proposed FCC rule changes for wireless devices, jointly handled a GPL enforcement action against Canonical, Ltd., published the principles of community-oriented GPL enforcement, and continued our collaboration on copyleft.org. We’re already discussing lots of ways that the two organizations can work together in 2016!

  • Public Services/Government

    • Oviedo reuses Madrids citizens participation tool

      The city of Oviedo, capital of Spain’s Principality of Asturias, in December unveiled Oviedoparticipa.es. This citizen participation and open government platform is based on Madrid’s decide.madrid.es platform, which is available as open source software.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Stop Driving Laser Cutters with 3D Printer Software!

        Laser cutters are fantastic pieces of equipment, and thanks to open-source improvements in recent years, are getting even cheaper to make. It can be as simple as throwing a high-powered laser diode onto the head of your 3D printer! With so many home-brew designs out there, wouldn’t it be nice if there was some all-encompassing open-source, laser-cutter controller software? Well, as it turns out — there is, and it’s called LaserWeb.

  • Programming

    • 5 keys to project success on GitHub

      Open source is more than a license and software development model; it’s also largely about the people. Encourage both users and maintainers to collaborate to promote a surge in new ideas. You’ll find that most prominent projects incorporate a community of contributors with a mailing list, GitHub project, and/or IRC/Slack channel.

    • LLVM Drops Its Autoconf Build System

      LLVM/Clang is the latest high-profile project to abandon its Autoconf build system.

      As of today in the latest LLVM development code it removes the Autoconf build system for LLVM and Clang.


  • Science

    • The caste system has left its mark on Indians’ genomes

      A group of researchers has identified exactly when Indians stopped intermarrying.

    • Chess endgame tablebases

      A very short post: This link contains an interesting exposition of the 50-move rule in chess, and what it means for various endings. You can probably stop halfway, though; most of it is only interest for people deeply into endgame theory.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Paul Krugman: The Flint Water Disaster Was No Accident

      The poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water and the irreversible harm to the city’s children, was no accident, Paul Krugman argues in his Monday column. The nightmare stems from a disturbing trend in which hardline right-wingers are rejecting their most basic responsibilities to safeguard public health and safety, particularly where the public is low-income and majority African American.

    • Flint water crisis: AG hopes to avoid conflict of interest with ‘conflict wall’

      Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Monday he is appointing an ex-prosecutor and Detroit’s former FBI chief to join the investigation into Flint’s water crisis, creating a “conflict wall” between the state’s probe and the lawsuits targeting the state.

      The previously announced investigation will determine “whether any Michigan laws were violated in the process that created a major public health crisis for Flint residents.”

    • Flint, Michigan’s water crisis has still left the city with fewer poisoned children than Detroit

      The Flint water crisis has captured national attention, but, paradoxically, one benefit of city services failing as egregiously as they have in Flint is that many families have been able to largely avoid the toxic water that was pumping into the city’s homes. Urban soil lead, by contrast, is a problem that slips past people unnoticed. So unnoticed, in fact, that there is actually a higher incidence of lead-poisoned children in nearby Detroit, where the water is fine, than there is in Flint.

    • It’s not just a Flint problem: Other U.S. cities are suffering from toxic water

      In the wake of the Flint, Michigan water crisis, residents in other U.S. cities are following suit by turning to social media to condemn government inaction on toxic drinking water and call for federal help.

      A photo of what appears to be polluted water surfaced on Twitter over the weekend showing brown-colored running water coming from a tap in Lousiana. The caption reads “If you think the #flintwatercrisis was an isolated event, you’d better think again. This is water from St. Joseph, Louisisana.”

    • Flint is part of a pattern: 7 toxic assaults on communities of color

      From Pennsylvania to California and across the South, black families are most vulnerable to environmental disaster

    • A Toxic Timeline of Flint’s Water Fiasco

      New twists emerge almost daily in the story of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where residents were left to drink, cook, and bathe in lead-contaminated water for 17 months as city and state officials insisted the water was safe. Here’s a timeline of how things unfolded, which we’ll update as significant new details come to light.

    • Governor Snyder: You Were Not Hired to Be Jerry Lewis

      First of all, Rick Snyder is worth something like $200 million, and while he returns his gubernatorial salary, he brings in around $1.9 million a year. So this is a guy making making $36,500 a week asking people who (using the Michigan average household, not individual, income) $48,500 a year to donate to help Flint. Your average Michigan household is doing almost twice as well as your average Flint household (average $25,000 a year) — so it is certainly within their charitable ability to help their fellow Michigander. But clearly the kinds of donations that Rick Snyder could afford would go much further to helping Flint than the kind of donations most Michiganders could afford.

    • Livestock Diversity Is Crucial For Future Food Security On A Harsher Planet

      Our livestock is increasingly being raised indoors and fed on concentrate feed that is often imported. Intensive production of chickens, pigs and dairy cows is based on a few breeds worldwide. These developments are risky, as we and future generations are losing the potential to adapt livestock production systems to increasingly harsh conditions such as those associated with higher temperatures and shortages of nutritious feeds.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Uncle Sam’s Suicide Squads

      For years now, the U.S. has been employing extremist jihadi assets, brothers in arms with Al Qaeda, to destabilize and attempt to overthrow the Syrian government. Al Qaeda allies played a similar role in the U.S.-backed overthrow of the Libyan government. And Al Qaeda itself is an outgrowth of the CIA’s Mujahideen assets that the U.S. unleashed against the Soviets in the Afghan Jihad of the 80s as part of Operation Cyclone.

    • Freedom! 19,000 Iraqi Civilians Killed in Less Than Two Years

      It is also an estimate, given that many areas of the country are not readily accessible, and because the death toll from the siege of Ramadi is not accounted for in the figures. More than 3.2 million Iraqis are internally displaced and/or homeless.

    • Failed States and States of Failure

      “We Destroyed the Cities to Save Them” and Other Future Headlines


      Let’s start with an event that occurred in Iraq as 2015 ended and generated headlines that included “victory,” a word Americans haven’t often seen in the twenty-first century — except, of course, in Trumpian patter. (“We’re going to win so much — win after win after win — that you’re going to be begging me: ‘Please, Mr. President, let us lose once or twice. We can’t stand it any more.’ And I’m going to say: ‘No way. We’re going to keep winning. We’re never going to lose. We’re never, ever going to lose.’”) I’m talking about the “victory” achieved at Ramadi, a city in al-Anbar Province that Islamic State (IS or ISIL) militants seized from the Iraqi army in May 2015. With the backing of the U.S. Air Force — there were more than 600 American air strikes in and around Ramadi in the months leading up to that victory — and with U.S.-trained and U.S.-financed local special ops units leading the way, the Iraqi military did indeed largely take back that intricately booby-trapped and mined city from heavily entrenched IS militants in late December. The news was clearly a relief for the Obama administration and those headlines followed.

    • Egypt Is Covering Up A Police Brutality Crisis With Talk Of Terrorism

      Police brutality in Egypt is still rampant even five years after protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square toppled the brutal Mubarak regime, according to Amnesty International.

      “Five years since the uprising that ousted Mubarak, Egypt is once more a police state,” Nicholas Piachaud, Egypt Researcher at Amnesty International, wrote.

      “We are in a worse off position than we were in Mubarak years,” human rights lawyer Ragia Omran told CNN.

    • The Republican myth of Ronald Reagan and the Iran hostages, debunked

      Some stories are too good to check, and some myths are too perfect to bust. We’ve seen that dynamic in action all month, as GOP presidential candidates trot out their favorite foreign policy anecdote: the Parable of the Hostages.

      The story goes that on the day of his inauguration, in January 1981, President Reagan convinced the Iranian regime to free the American Embassy hostages more or less just by glaring harshly in the direction of Tehran, which quailed in the face of his unyielding toughness and released the Americans immediately.

    • Lara Marlowe: France has a fatal attraction to the Middle East

      The French writer and statesman André Malraux allegedly predicted that “the 21st century will be a century of religion or it will not be at all.”

    • Documentary Featuring Jihadists Confronts Censorship in France

      Speaking on French radio yesterday, filmmakers François Margolin and Lemine Ould Salem defended their documentary. Margolin said, “We are not advocating terrorism, we are just showing a discourse that exists.”

    • Top 5 Ways Putin has won big in Syria and why Europe is embracing him

      Russia is so far winning big in Syria, and making Moscow’s projection of force in the Middle East a reality that the other great powers have to recognize. As Russia has emerged as a major combatant against Syrian al-Qaeda and against Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), it is being accepted back into a Europe traumatized by two major attacks on Paris. France is signalling that it hopes to end sanctions on Russia over Ukraine by this summer. While the Minsk peace process is going all right, the motivation here is to ally more closely with Moscow against Muslim radicals in the wake of Russia’s successes against them in Syria.

    • Saudi Arabia Is Killing Civilians With US Bombs

      Saudi Arabia has engaged in war crimes, and the United States is aiding and abetting them by providing the Saudis with military assistance. In September 2015, Saudi aircraft killed 135 wedding celebrants in Yemen. The air strikes have killed 2,800 civilians, including 500 children. Human Rights Watch charges that these bombings “have indiscriminately killed and injured civilians.”

    • The Iraq War’s Known Unknowns

      There is a lot more than meets the eye in the newly revealed Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence briefing of Sept. 5, 2002, which showed there was a lack of evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – just as President George W. Bush’s administration was launching its sales job for the Iraq War.

      The briefing report and its quick demise amount to an indictment not only of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld but also of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Richard Myers, who is exposed once again as a Rumsfeld patsy who put politics ahead of his responsibility to American soldiers and to the nation as a whole.

      In a Jan. 24 report at Politico entitled “What Donald Rumsfeld Knew We Didn’t Know About Iraq,” journalist John Walcott presents a wealth of detail about the JCS intelligence report of Sept. 5, 2002, offering additional corroboration that the Bush administration lied to the American people about the evidence of WMD in Iraq.


      On Sept. 8, 2002, a New York Times front-pager – headlined “US Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts” by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon – got the juggernaut rolling downhill to war. Their piece featured some aluminum tubes that they mistakenly thought could be used only for nuclear centrifuges (when they were actually for conventional artillery). Iraq’s provocative behavior, wrote the Times, has “brought Iraq and the United States to the brink of war.”

    • Iran Is Guilty of ‘Contempt of Empire,’ Nothing More

      Case in point: Iran, a relatively modern country (far more tolerant than Saudi Arabia, considering the number of synagogues within its border) that has never attacked the United States and has in no way threatened the US, is nevertheless the target of a never-ending campaign of threats, warmongering, and acts of war by those with decision-making power over US foreign policy (I really hate saying “we” when discussing the actions of the political elite). The Iranians, while never having threatened the US with attack, have nevertheless committed the unforgivable sin of refusing to bend to the will of DC, a severe crime as seen from the warped capitol of the papier-mâché Empire, a crime that many within the political class are bristling to watch Iran burn under the “false sun” of nuclear fire.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The Case of the Missing Comma: Why Congress Must Fix FOIA’s Law Enforcement Exemption

      As Congress considers big changes to the Freedom of Information Act, a court’s decision on Monday underscores how some of the best ways to fix the ailing transparency statute are really small—like adding a comma.

      Last fall in Naji Hamdan v. U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit read the lack of a comma in FOIA’s law enforcement exemption to limit public access to investigatory techniques and procedures.

      EFF thought that decision was wrong, both because it misread FOIA’s text and legislative history and because it emphasized technical form over the statute’s goal of ensuring robust access to government records. We filed a brief asking the court to reconsider its decision, but the court denied the effort in a summary opinion on Monday.

      For Mr. Hamdan, the denial means that an American citizen may never learn the extent to which law enforcement and national security agencies knew about or were otherwise complicit in his detention and torture abroad. For the broader public, however, the decision could result in greater secrecy surrounding law enforcement’s use of controversial investigatory techniques and procedures.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Can’t Hide From Reality: Florida Mayors Request Climate Change Meeting With Senator Marco Rubio

      Fifteen South Florida mayors released a letter Tuesday that was sent to Senator Marco Rubio requesting a meeting with the presidential candidate to talk about the climate change risk facing the state’s communities. The mayors underscore the economic burden of climate change in South Florida, urging Rubio to “acknowledge the reality and urgency of climate change and to address the crisis it presents our communities.”

      “Anyone who thinks that the topic of climate change is a partisan issue is not focused on the reality which we as public officials and citizens are dealing with. This is a crisis that grows day by day,” said Tomas Regalado, mayor of Miami, asking Rubio to “help us face and tackle this urgent issue — and the risks associated with it — so we may deal with it head-on.”

    • Noam Chomsky: Why the Republican Party Is a Threat to Human Survival

      Speaking with The Huffington Post on Monday, Chomsky cited the Republican Party’s refusal to tackle—or even acknowledge—the “looming environmental catastrophe” of climate change, thereby “dooming our grandchildren.”

  • Finance

    • Doha may be dead. Long live free trade

      This weekend, trade ministers from some 30 countries will meet in Davos for their first discussion since the World Trade Organization’s Nairobi ministerial conference in December. Given the importance of trade for achieving growth and development, the continuing uncertainty in the global economy and the fact that protectionist measures have been on the rise — as the 2015 Global Trade Alert report showed — ministers should use the meeting to reflect on how to revitalize negotiations in the WTO.

    • Techdirt Podcast Episode 58: Just How Bad Is The TPP?
    • America’s dangerous “self-made” mythology: Why our ideas about upward mobility are seriously misinformed

      Inequality, President Obama has claimed, “is the defining challenge of our time.” And yet, though many of his reforms are positive, he has done far too little to actually alleviate inequality. But that’s not entirely his fault; presidents, like all other humans, are confined by their circumstances, both material and ideological. Although there are a number of factors that prevent action on inequality (including racial resentment and political information), one is ideological: our society’s commitment to the mythology of upward mobility. To see how ideology functions to halt legislative action on inequality, we should examine how a bipartisan commitment to upward mobility has obfuscated the true debate.

    • Part 2: Oxfam Says Privatization, Tax Havens Drive Global Inequality to Staggering Levels

      Extended web-only interview with Raymond Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. The group just issued the report, “An Economy for the 1%: How Privilege and Power in the Economy Drive Extreme Inequality and How This Can Be Stopped.”

    • Slouching Toward Hillary?

      Will 2016 be the year when a new representative of elite wealth assumes the mantle of power, reading to fulfill the Davos claim that seven million jobs will soon be replaced by wageless robots? Or will a political insurgency—be it left or right—finally unseat the standard neoliberal program? Will a faux socialist or a bombastic billionaire be swept into office by the popular tide? If recent history is any guide, Hillary is a lock. If the Great Depression is the better barometer, beware the man who would save capitalism from itself by mitigating its indifference to surplus humanity (i.e., FDR-styled Bernie Sanders). In any event, the new president will encounter a dire state of affairs on entering the Oval Office. As a kind of parting gesture, Wall Street’s “black mascot” Barack Obama recently treated the soporific millionaires of Congress—as well the lumpen proletariat—to one last textbook example of elite deceit about nearly everything that matters. Obama, a superb crafter of bold fictions, has been “polishing the brass on the Titanic” for some time now. Breathtakingly oblivious to the gash in the hull of the ship of state and to the icebergs in its immediate path, Obama used his final State of the Union (SOTU) address to fine-tune the rhetorical constructs he will soon slip into the brisk and heartfelt memoir of another purblind one-percenter. False optimism never sounded so good.

    • As Sanders Slams Wall Street Elite, Clinton Ditches Iowa To Fetch Their Checks

      Seemingly undeterred by the consistent critique that her close ties to the financial industry are hurting her campaign, The Intercept on Tuesday reports that with less than a week until the Iowa caucus, Hillary Clinton will soon leave the hotly-contested state to attend a pair of Wall Street-sponsored fundraising events.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wonks and Trump

      The elite pundits are still operating — on the election itself, but also on health care and economic policy — on the assumption that no one will or is holding them responsible for their undelivered promises.

    • Trump Touts Endorsement From ‘Reverend Jerry Fallwell Jr.,’ Who Is Not A Reverend

      While Falwell is certainly a prominent figure in the evangelical community, he is not actually a reverend, a title specific to members of the clergy who have completed religious training.

    • Sanders to Press: Stop Trying to Get Me to Attack Clinton

      Sen. Bernie Sanders is sick of the media’s attempts to get him to attack Hillary Clinton. “I’m not going to be engaged in personal attacks on Secretary Clinton, or anybody else,” he said after repeated questioning from reporters outside an event Tuesday morning in Des Moines. But whatever distaste he has for going negative doesn’t seem to be enough to keep him from getting in a few digs at his leading Democratic opponent in the caucuses that will take place here in Iowa in less than a week.

    • Chicago Tribune Warns Voters Away From ‘Socialism’ Cliff

      The idea that you can’t be president if you believe in socialism—which Sanders defines as “a government that works for the many, not the few”—rests heavily on that Gallup poll, which found that 50 percent of respondents said they would not vote for “a socialist.”

      It also found that 38 percent said they would not vote for a Muslim—though clearly the Tribune would not be bringing that up as the sole reason a Muslim politician should not be running for president. Nor does it mention that 40 percent said they wouldn’t vote for an atheist, even though Sanders is widely (though apparently wrongly) believed to be an atheist. How come? Because corporate media in general treat religious prejudice as a shameful thing, whereas capitalist institutions like giant media conglomerates tend to see an aversion to socialism as normal and healthy.

    • Howard Dean Says He’s Not a Lobbyist But He Sure Acts Like One

      Last week, we reported that Howard Dean, former presidential candidate and current supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, had attacked Bernie Sanders for supporting a single-payer health plan, claiming that having the government pay for everyone’s health care would “undo people’s health care” and result in “chaos.” In our story, we noted that Dean, once a proponent of single-payer, now works for the lobbying practice of Dentons, a law firm retained to lobby on behalf of a number of pharmaceutical and for-profit health care interests.

    • Bernie Sanders Gets Group Endorsements When Members Decide; Hillary Clinton When Leaders Decide

      In the war for endorsements in the Democratic presidential primary, there is a clear trend.

      Every major union or progressive organization that let its members have a vote endorsed Bernie Sanders.

      Meanwhile, all of Hillary Clinton’s major group endorsements come from organizations where the leaders decide. And several of those endorsements were accompanied by criticisms from members about the lack of a democratic process.

      It’s perhaps the clearest example yet of Clinton’s powerful appeal to the Democratic Party’s elite, even as support for Sanders explodes among the rank and file.

    • Holding a ‘Go Donald!’ Media Accountable for ‘Normalizing Extremism’

      Great Britain won’t actually ban Donald Trump from the country but Parliament did spend time taking seriously what was called Trump’s “poisonous, corrosive” effect on public discourse. At the same time, actors, writers and others, including Harry Belafonte, Eve Ensler and Noam Chomsky, launched a Stop Hate Dump Trump campaign, that included serving notice to media that they “are accountable for normalizing Trump’s extremism by treating it as entertainment, by giving it inordinate and unequal air time and by refusing to investigate, interrogate or condemn it appropriately.”

    • The Seven Stages of Establishment Backlash: Corbyn/Sanders Edition

      The British political and media establishment incrementally lost its collective mind over the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the country’s Labour Party, and its unraveling and implosion show no signs of receding yet. Bernie Sanders is nowhere near as radical as Corbyn; they are not even in the same universe. But, especially on economic issues, Sanders is a more fundamental, systemic critic than the oligarchical power centers are willing to tolerate, and his rejection of corporate dominance over politics, and corporate support for his campaigns, is particularly menacing. He is thus regarded as America’s version of a far-left extremist, threatening establishment power.

    • Donald Trump will skip Fox News’s debate because of Megyn Kelly

      Donald Trump reignited his feud with Fox News over Thursday’s scheduled debate by threatening to pull the ultimate trump card: not show up.

      In a telephone interview with Good Morning America, he said he was considering this move because of the scheduled moderators: Megyn Kelly, longtime Fox News anchor and Kelly File host, who has rankled Trump in the past.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Nest Thermostat Goes From ‘Internet Of Things’ Darling To Cautionary Tale

      Again, that’s the poster child of the so-called “smart” device revolution failing utterly to complete a task thermostats have been successfully accomplishing for a generation. Other tech reporters like Stacey Higginbotham reported the exact opposite. As in, her Nest device began trying to cook her family in the middle of the night, something Nest first tried to blame on her smart garage door opener, then tried to blame on her Jawbone fitness tracker (Nest never did seem to pinpoint the cause).


      And fast-forward to last week, when researchers putting various internet of thing devices through tests found that the Nest thermostat was one of many IOT devices happily leaking subscriber location data in cleartext (with Nest, it’s only the zip code, something the company quickly fixed in a patch). Granted Nest’s not alone in being an inadvertent advertisement for a product’s “dumb” alternatives. In 2016, smart tea kettles, refrigerators, televisions and automobiles are all busy leaking your private information and exposing you to malicious intrusion (or worse).

    • FinFisher spyware: Indonesian government ‘using Sydney server for surveillance program’

      A proxy server inside the Global Switch data centre in Ultimo, Sydney is being used to obscure the real user of the spyware, in this case an Indonesian government agency, according to a group of technology researchers.

    • Canadian Supreme Court Tightens Up Rules On Law Enforcement’s Use Of Cell Tower Dumps

      Matthew Braga at Motherboard reports the Canadian Supreme Court has laid down some guidelines for law enforcement’s access to “tower dumps” — call records containing every phone that accessed towers during a specified period of time. While it doesn’t direct law enforcement to seek warrants, it does at least provide more restrictive guidance for collection of these data dumps, which the court originally found to be so broad as to be unconstitutional.

    • Ethics charges filed against DOJ lawyer who exposed Bush-era surveillance

      A former Justice Department lawyer is facing legal ethics charges for exposing the President George W. Bush-era surveillance tactics—a leak that earned The New York Times a Pulitzer and opened the debate about warrantless surveillance that continues today.

      The lawyer, Thomas Tamm, now a Maryland state public defender, is accused of breaching Washington ethics rules for going to The New York Times instead of his superiors about his concerns about what was described as “the program.”

      Tamm was a member of the Justice Department’s Office of Intelligence Policy and Review and, among other things, was charged with requesting electronic surveillance warrants from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

      The District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board of Professional Responsibility said Tamm became aware in 2004 that certain applications to the FISA Court for national security surveillance authority “were given special treatment.”

    • “No Cost” License Plate Readers Are Turning Texas Police into Mobile Debt Collectors and Data Miners

      Vigilant Solutions, one of the country’s largest brokers of vehicle surveillance technology, is offering a hell of a deal to law enforcement agencies in Texas: a whole suite of automated license plate reader (ALPR) equipment and access to the company’s massive databases and analytical tools—and it won’t cost the agency a dime.

      Even though the technology is marketed as budget neutral, that doesn’t mean no one has to pay. Instead, Texas police fund it by gouging people who have outstanding court fines and handing Vigilant all of the data they gather on drivers for nearly unlimited commercial use.

    • So What About those Phone Records Now? EFF Writes to FISA Court

      Now that the mass collection of telephone records by the NSA under Section 215 of the Patriot Act has ended due to the passage of USA Freedom, the question has arisen: what should the NSA do with the big mass of records that it already has? The secret FISA Court recently asked the government what it thinks should happen, and EFF sent a letter to the FISA Court (by way of the Department of Justice, asking that it be conveyed to the Court) giving our perspective.

      EFF, and our clients, are in the thick of these questions because of our two pending cases, Jewel v. NSA and First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA. In both cases, we sought not only the end of the mass telephone records program, but also a remedy for the past 14 years that the records were illegally collected. In both cases, we have orders from the court requiring the government to preserve relevant evidence, including our clients’ call records.

      We sued to stop the government from collecting the records in the first place, so we would obviously like to see those records destroyed as soon as possible, even as our lawsuits continue.

    • If You Use An Adblocker You Hate Free Speech, Says Internet Ads Guy

      Mother of God. You may recall that we recently discussed the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) unfortunate decision to refuse Adblock Plus’ registration for its annual conference. At a time when adblocking software is seeing its greatest use, it seemed to us that the IAB and its members might have a great deal to learn from Adblock Plus and that, rather than walling off its conference to them, the IAB could instead try to learn why so many people are using that software and software like it. That is because I had thought at the time that the IAB’s refusal had mostly to do with it seeing such software as a threat to its members’ business. Well, the conference has begun and in the keynote speech delivered by IAB chief, Randall Rothenberg, we learn that barring Adblock Plus from the conference wasn’t about ad revenue at all. It was about freedom of speech, an appreciation of diversity, pushing back on racist Republican presidential candidates, and good old apple pie America.

    • AT&T CEO Thinks You’re A Forgetful Idiot, Hilariously Gives Apple Encryption Advice

      You really can’t find a pair of cozier bosom buddies than AT&T and the NSA. Long before Snowden, whistleblowers like 22-year AT&T employee Mark Klein highlighted (pdf) how AT&T was duplicating fiber streams, effectively providing the NSA with its own mirror copy of every shred of data that touched the AT&T network. More recent documents have also highlighted AT&T’s “extreme willingness” to help, whether that involves having its employees act as intelligence analysts themselves, or giving advice to the government on the best ways to skirt, dance around, or smash directly through privacy and surveillance law.

    • NSA Water, Electricity Supply Safe as ‘Off Now’ Push Ends in Failure

      An effort in state legislatures across the country to pull the plug – literally – on the National Security Agency has ended in failure, with mass surveillance opponents lamenting over spineless colleagues and the national group behind the push looking to support more bite-size reforms.

      The almost completely abandoned effort aimed to deny water and electricity to the spy agency following Edward Snowden’s 2013 disclosures about the NSA’s bulk collection of U.S. phone records and Internet surveillance programs.

      Through legislation, state politicians sought to ban state and local governments from providing “material support” to the NSA, including services from public utilities. Bills in Maryland, home to the agency’s Fort Meade headquarters, and Utah, location of a massive NSA data storage facility, threatened water deals with local governments that are essential to agency operations.

      The ambitious legislative campaign attracted wide media coverage, but failed to achieve victory.

    • GCHQ looking for a CISO, chief data scientist and deputy CTO

      GCHQ, the UK’s intelligence agency, is on the hunt for several new IT leaders to join its senior technology leadership team.

  • Civil Rights

    • Missouri Court To Chuck Johnson: WTF Are You Doing In A Missouri Court?!? Go Away

      Back in June, we had a post about an absolutely ridiculous lawsuit filed by noted internet news troll Chuck C. Johnson against Gawker, basically because they said some mean things about him, and mocked Johnson’s own style of publishing bullshit articles that attempt to imply something awful about someone by asking a question about them. In this case, Gawker, mockingly seized upon some joking claims about Johnson supposedly shitting on the floor of a dormroom, which no one believed, but which Gawker used to mock Johnson. Johnson, for months and months and months, used to threaten libel lawsuits against basically anyone who mocked him, so it was interesting to see one actually get filed. But that was about the extent of the interest. Because the lawsuit was nuts. Almost nothing in it made even the slightest bit of sense,

    • Daniel Holtzclaw Sentenced to 263 Consecutive Years in Prison for Raping Black Women

      In December, an all-white jury convicted Holtzclaw of rape and other crimes against eight of the 13 women who accused him. All 13 victims testified during the trial, each with similar stories of rape, sexual assault, and threats if they did not comply with Holtzclaw’s demands. Holtzclaw targeted them during traffic stops and interrogations, forcing them into sexual acts in his police car or in their homes. Prosecutors say Holtzclaw deliberately preyed on vulnerable black women from low-income neighborhoods. He was reportedly under investigation by the Oklahoma City police sex crimes unit six weeks before his final crime. That means Holtzclaw assaulted half of the women he was convicted of attacking while under investigation.

    • Breaking: Daniel Holtzclaw Sentenced to 263 Consecutive Years in Prison for Raping Black Women

      Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw has just been sentenced to 263 consecutive years in prison for the serial rapes of African-American women. Judge Timothy Henderson also denied his request for a new trial.

    • John Pilger on the Indigenous struggle: ‘There is no alternative now’

      Why are we here? Why are we doing this every 26th January – year after year? Of course, we know why – Indigenous people are saying to Australia: ‘Look, we are still here. We have survived the massacres and the cynicism. We have survived.’

      But is that enough, I wonder? Is survival without action ever enough?

      The sources of power in Australia – especially political and media power — draw both comfort and delusion from the very idea of Survival Day.

    • Daniel Holtzclaw and the Limits of “Community Policing”

      AT THE SENTENCING last week of Daniel Holtzclaw — the 29-year-old former Oklahoma City police officer convicted on 18 counts of rape and sexual assault of African-American women in the neighborhood he was assigned to patrol — District Attorney David Prater told the media: “I think people need to realize that this is not a law enforcement officer that committed these crimes. This is a rapist who masqueraded as a law enforcement officer. If he was a true law enforcement officer, he would have upheld his duty to protect these citizens rather than victimize them.”

      Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison for his crimes. From December 2013 to June 2014, while working the night shift in a low-income neighborhood on Oklahoma City’s northeast side, Holtzclaw developed a modus operandi: By design, he targeted black women, and among them, women who had a history of drug abuse or an existing criminal record. By framing his unsolicited sexual advances as an exchange for reprieve from warrants or jail time, he used his badge to leverage the women’s backgrounds as blackmail.

    • What role can civil disobedience play in the stuggle for social change?

      What role can civil disobedience play in the stuggle for social change? Peter explores this question with two guests: first, environmental organizer Tim DeChristopher recounts his experience interfering with a federal oil and gas lease auction, and how the legal doctrine of “necessity” can be used in environmental campaigns. Then Sunsara Taylor discusses the right-wing effort to supress womens’ option of abortion, and the countercampaign to protect reproductive choice.

    • Pursuing critics, China reaches across borders. And nobody is stopping it.

      Amid extraordinary moves to rein in criticism at home, Chinese security personnel are reaching confidently across borders, targeting Chinese and foreign citizens who dare to challenge the Communist Party line, in what one Western diplomat has called the “worst crackdown since Tiananmen Square.”

      A string of incidents, including abductions from Thailand and Hong Kong, forced repatriations and the televised “confessions” of two Swedish citizens, has crossed a new red line, according to diplomats in Beijing. Yet many foreign governments seem unwilling or unable to intervene, their public response limited to mild protests.

    • Ex-Disney IT workers sue after being asked to train their own H-1B replacements

      Two former IT workers at Disney have sued, saying that Disney broke the law when it hired cheaper foreign replacements, then fired its current IT department. Disney IT employees were told they would be kept on for 90 days in order to train their replacements, who were H-1B visa holders, according to the complaints. The workers were told “if they did not stay and train they would not get a bonus and severance, which most employees reluctantly accepted.”

      Both lawsuits are proposed class-actions, filed in federal court in Florida. The suit filed by Dena Moore (PDF) names Disney and labor contractor Cognizant Technology Solutions, while a complaint filed by Leo Perrero (PDF) names Disney and HCL, another labor contractor.

      They make a novel claim, saying that Disney violated the anti-racketeering RICO statute by engaging in a “conspiracy to displace US workers.” The plaintiffs allege that Disney and the contractors weren’t truthful when they filled out immigration documents, thus violating a section of the RICO law that bars “fraud and misuse of visas, passports, and other documents.”

    • Russian border guard to STT: Russian security service behind northeast asylum traffic

      Finnish news agency STT reports a Russian border guard’s confession that the transport of asylum seekers to Finland’s two northeast border crossings is being orchestrated by the Russian Federation’s Federal Security Service, the FSB. Families with children are given priority, the source said. Finnish authorities have suspected for some time that the transfer of asylum seekers from Russia to Finland has been part of a carefully organised operation.

    • Crimea’s bright future

      In the 15 months since Crimea was annexed by Russia, Ukraine’s former resort-cum-military base has undergone severe changes. Extremism investigations, kidnapping, intimidation and harassment are all features of working in politically sensitive professions in Crimea. The central bureaucracy and government has been mired in scandal over indecision and incompetence.

    • Documents confirm rendition flight used Copenhagen Airport for mission to capture Edward Snowden

      The online media source Denfri.dk reports that, after gaining access to documents from the Justice Ministry, it has confirmed that in June 2013 Copenhagen Airport was used to hold an American rendition plane that was sent to capture Edward Snowden from Moscow Airport and return him to the USA.

      Snowden, who shot into the international limelight after making extensive revelations about the USA’s intelligence activities at home and abroad, was confined to the airport in Russia before he was offered asylum in the country.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WHO To Study Effect Of Nagoya Protocol On Sharing Of Genetic Materials

      The implementation of a protocol ensuring access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable benefit-sharing of commercial benefits might affect the sharing of pathogens samples between countries, said the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, who asked the World Health Organization to study possible implications of the protocol’s implementation.

    • Copyrights

      • No One Owns The Law. Everyone Owns The Law.

        Last week, as part of EFF’s annual Copyright Week, we wrote about the need for transparency in creating copyright restrictions in the international arena. As a current legal battle shows, however, it is equally important that copyright restrictions not interfere with transparency and open access to the law itself.

        In a democracy, no one owns the law—or to put it another way, everyone owns the law. If a judge claimed that she should be paid a toll every time someone copied a passage from one of her decisions, we would find it absurd. If the lobbyist who wrote sections of your city’s business code announced he could decide, at any time, to sharply limit public access to those sections, he would be run out of town. The right to read the law—and just as important, the right to copy, discuss, and share the law—is essential to the rule of law itself.

        But six huge industry associations are trying to undermine that principle, insisting that it doesn’t apply to a growing category of law: laws that began as private standards but are later incorporated into federal and state regulations. Insisting that they own a copyright in these laws, they’ve joined forces to stop a tiny non-profit, Public.Resource.Org, from posting them online.

      • Copyright Troll Malibu Media’s ‘Expert’ Witness Appears To Be Totally And Completely Clueless

        It’s from those guys that I first caught wind of Malibu Media v. Jesse Raleigh based initially on a bizarre lashing out by Malibu Media’s lawyer Jessica Fernandez (who works for Keith Lipscomb, the lawyer who appears to be the “John Steele” of the Malibu Media trolling operation) in the form of a Motion for Sanctions against Raleigh. The motion was oddly aggressive in arguing that Raleigh had misled Malibu Media in discovery and failed to produce certain items. The thing that caught my eye was specifically Malibu Media claiming that Raleigh had lied to them about not owning an “all-in-one computer.” While searching through his Dropbox account photos they found some photos that they insisted proved that Raleigh did own an “all in one computer” that he had failed to produce during discovery…

      • “My Little Pony” Sued For Using a Pirated Font

        Typeface company Font Brothers has filed a lawsuit against Hasbro claiming that My Little Pony uses one of its fonts without permission. According to the complaint, Harbro refuses to pay the required licenses while it continues to use the font in its My Little Pony merchandise and products.

      • Guitar Hero YouTuber Sings Acapella Version To Get Around ContentID Takedowns… Probably Is Still Violating Copyright Law

        So, Vice’s Motherboard has an amusing article about how the misleadingly named GuitarHeroFailure (misleading, because the guy’s actually good at the game) tried to get around YouTube ContentID takedowns on one of his Guitar Hero videos (of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark at the Moon”) by singing an acapella version of the song over it. The overall effect is really quite amazing. Watch the video (and don’t miss his, um, “variation” at the very end) below:

      • NY Times Files Ridiculous Copyright Lawsuit Over Book That Mocks NYT For Glamorizing War

        Well, this is disappointing in the extreme. The NY Times is a famous defender of free speech, and has been a key player in many important free speech battles. And now it’s filed a ridiculously petty lawsuit claiming copyright infringement over some thumbnail images of NYT’s covers in a book (ht Rebecca Tushnet for blogging about this). The book in question is War Is Beautiful: The New York Times Pictorial Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict*. The asterisk then reads *(in which the author explains why he no longer reads The New York Times).


Links 26/1/2016: MPlayer 1.2.1, Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



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  • Desktop

    • Which is More Important: Distro, Desktop…or Something Else?

      A couple of weeks back when we ran our two part GNU/Linux distro poll, a couple of commenters made a single point that, at first glance, seemed valid.

      It’s not the distro that’s important to most users, they said, because most users don’t interact with the distro itself as they work and play on their Linux machines. Instead, the average user’s direct interaction with a computer is primarily through the desktop environment, whether that be KDE, GNOME, Unity or something they rolled on their own on a Friday night instead of having a boys’ or girls’ night out.

      In other words, they opined, it’s the desktop, and not the distro, which represents the operating system — or even the entire computer — to most users.

      That’s probably a truth without being the truth.

    • Saying Linux Is Fragmented Is Wrong, This Is Why

      One of the things that some people say about the Linux platform is that it’s fragmented, just like Android. The truth is that fragmentation doesn’t really apply to the Linux platform, and the fact that there are too many distros to count is actually a good thing.

      Android is a broken system that works. If we take a look at the Android slice right now, we’ll see that most people are still using KitKat 4.4, about 40%, and about 15% have just moved on to Lollipop 5.0. The rest up to 100% are split in even older versions of the operating system.

    • My Linux Story: The Big Switch

      It recently occurred to me that I’ve been running Linux on my computers for about thirteen years. I’ll be the first to admit, it doesn’t seem all that long ago. But as I reflected upon my switch over to Linux, I began to realize that there wasn’t a single event that pushed me over to the Linux desktop. In reality, it was a series of events and discoveries. This article will explain how my switch to Linux came to pass.

    • Artist using Linux – INTRODUCTION

      I am an artist (mainly musician) from Croatia. I learned to play the Trombone, and had a classical education at the Music school in Varaždin, after which I went on and studied Business & Economics in Zagreb. Music performance has always been my passion but I also enjoy song writing, music production, photography, photo editing, DJ-ing and the likes. I fell in love with the Linux philosophy of openness back in 2006. and being a sort of a rebel I thought “This is for me!”. I downloaded my first Linux distribution (Ubuntu 6.10) and burned it to a CD, booted the thing, and felt like a REAL HACKER. Back then there were a lot of hardware issues, you had to know your stuff to make things work, and I was a total noob, lost in the totally new world with endless possibilities – TOTAL FREEDOM. But as a professional musician I still needed to use commercial software to make it (so I thought). The Mac was my dream (all the cool artists use Mac), but it was way out my budget… Long story short, I was dual-booting with Windows up till 2011 on my Dell Inspiron, then went total Linux on my laptop and had a dedicated Windows machine for my music. Bought a Mac Mini in 2012, got disappointed, swapped it for a MacBook Pro in 2013, got totally disappointed, then gave it to my wife, installed Ubuntu on the MacBook Pro (BTW. today she is the happiest computer user in the world), and stuck with my Dell using only Linux and compensating with standalone HARDWARE options, like the ZOOM R8, analogue photography, and the recently bought Roland JD-Xi. But, things got complicated when I wanted to create a polished product I can sell without spending millions of dollars, so I need to use a computer that can take the workload, and I need to use software to make it cheap (I learned that the expensive way with analogue photography).

    • Ghosts in the Linux Machine

      Not me. I’m a Linux user.

      And then we took the huge one-two punch from Shellshock and Heartbleed. Wow. While I do not run servers of any flavor, the fact that a Linux server or code could be infected by either of these nasty brothers….

    • Student-run help desk introduces teens to Linux

      Every student at Penn Manor receives a laptop at the beginning of the school year, and I first learned about the help desk program when I visited the tech room because mine wasn’t charging properly. The small room was crowded with computer stations, and student helpers were huddled around a table working on a project.

  • Kernel Space

    • Last Minute Linux 4.5 Updates For Ceph, Thermal & MIPS

      While Linus Torvalds tends to get angry about last-minute pull requests by subsystem maintainers at the end of a kernel cycle’s merge window, he ended up honoring a few of them today for Linux 4.5

      Within the Ceph updates are AIO (Asynchronous I/O) support as well as a number of fixes regarding authentication key timeout/renewal code.

    • Linux 3.5 To Linux 4.5-rc1 Kernel Benchmarks

      Last week I carried out tests of the Linux 3.5 through Linux 4.4 kernels. Those benchmarks were fairly interesting in looking at the evolution of the Linux kernel performance over the past three and a half years. With Linux 4.5-rc1 now out, here are benchmarks with this latest kernel version that’s currently under development.

    • A Linux 4.5-rc1 Kernel With AMDGPU PowerPlay Enabled For Ubuntu Systems
    • Linux Kernel 4.1.16 LTS Released with Updated USB and Networking Drivers, More

      After announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.3.4, kernel maintainer and developer Greg Kroah-Hartman has proudly informed users about the immediate availability for download of Linux kernel 4.1.16 LTS.

      Looking at the diff from Linux kernel 4.1.15 LTS, we can notice that Linux kernel 4.1.16 LTS is almost identical in changes to Linux kernel 4.3.4, and according to the appended shortlog, it changes 51 files, with 390 insertions and 164 deletions. Therefore, it looks like it is even smaller than the previous maintenance release, which was announced in mid-December 2015.

    • Linux 4.5-rc1 Kernel Released
    • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 4.5 RC1 with a Little Something for Anybody
    • Linux Foundation Responds to Accusations About Community Representation

      The Linux Foundation made some changes to by-laws, and that stirred things in the Linux community. The organization has issued a statement now addressing the concerns.

      The modifications made to the by-laws of The Linux Foundations were underlined by Matthew Garrett, in an article that also touched on possible motives for the changes. He pointed towards Karen Sandler, who is the Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. We chose not to take that part of the Matthew’s article since they are conjecture and can’t be verified.

    • Linux Kernel 4.3.4 Is Out, Has Updated Drivers and Network Stack Improvements

      After the release of Linux kernel 3.2.76 LTS, the kernel developers have announced the immediate availability for download of the fourth maintenance release of Linux kernel 4.3.

    • Linux Foundation quietly scraps individual memberships

      “Much of the code in Linux is written by employees paid to do this work, but significant parts of both Linux and the huge range of software that it depends on are written by community members who now have no representation in the Linux Foundation. Ignoring them makes it look like the Linux Foundation is interested only in ‘promoting, protecting and standardising Linux and open source software’ if doing so benefits their corporate membership rather than the community as a whole. This isn’t a positive step,” says Garrett in his post.

      The Register has again contacted the Linux Foundation for comment and will update this story if we hear back from them.

    • The Linux Foundation’s Response To Leadership Controversy Is Plain Disappointment

      In response to the recent leadership controversy, the Linux Foundation has come up with an unsatisfactory response. Linux Foundation chief executive Jim Zemlin has written a blog post on the Foundation’s website and talked about irrelevant aspects of the issue.

      In our last article on this issue, fossBytes listed clear points telling why the latest change in community representation is a bad news for Linux and open source. Up until recently, the organization allowed the individual community members to elect two board members and ensure that the voice of Linux users is present at the board decisions — now this clause has been erased from the bylaws.

      Zemlin chose to ignore the concerns and started his response with an irrelevant line: “First, The Linux Foundation Board structure has not changed. The same individuals remain as directors, and the same ratio of corporate to community directors continues as well.”

      His reply ignores facts and lacks some gravity. How can the ratio remain same when Linux community is now not allowed to choose its directors?


      I support every word Zemlin has to say against trolling and unacceptable online behavior of the community members. But, Zemlin chooses to drift from the central point of discussion — Is Karen still eligible to run for the board? What about the current situation of the community representation in the Linux Foundation board?

      Over the past years, Linux and other big names in the open source world have embraced the support of corporate executives. This recent step is another move away from the community of many individual bright programmers. I hope the Foundation makes room for common Linux users and restores their voting rights and faith.

    • Are Codes of Conduct dangerous to open source software development?

      Codes of Conduct have often been pushed to create “safer” environments, while opponents sometimes find such codes repressive and suffocating. But are Codes of Conduct a real danger to the development of open source software?

      One developer, fearing for the loss of his job, posted his anonymous response to what he thinks are dangerous Codes of Conduct.

    • Major Linux Kernel 4.5 Update Released For Testing

      The new kernel, version 4.5, includes major driver improvements, including better 3D graphics support for the Raspberry Pi

      Developer Linus Torvalds on Sunday released the first release candidate (RC) for the upcoming Linux 4.5 kernel, including expanded driver and architecture support as well as other updates.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14.59 LTS Is Out, Brings Btrfs, EXT4, and IPv6 Improvements

      After releasing the Linux 4.3.4 and Linux 4.1.16 LTS kernels, renowned kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman informs the world about the release of the fifty-ninth maintenance build of the long-term supported Linux 3.14 kernel series.

    • Was Linus Behind LF Membership Changes?

      Writer journalist Vox Day speculated the other day that Linus Torvalds himself may have been behind the Linux Foundation’s elimination of individual memberships from their organization. FOSS Force is back with another poll and quiz today and Eric Hameleers released an updated Slackware Live. Debian update 8.3 was announced Saturday and several reviews warrant a mention.

    • Stop whatever you’re doing and pay attention: Linux kernel 4.5rc1 is here

      ANY MINUTE now we should see the first release candidate for Linux kernel 4.5, and there’s a lot to look forward to.

      It seems like only a fortnight ago that we talked about the final release of Linux 4.4 (it was) but a lot has happened.

      Most notable is that the kernel is now ready for Kaby Lake, the next generation of Intel processors due later this year. This was expected to start in 4.4 but the method of the Linux release schedule meant it was dropped.

    • No SJWs allowed
    • An anonymous response to dangerous FOSS Codes of Conduct
    • Graphics Stack

      • Libinput 1.1.5 Released, Still Dealing With Multi-Touch Woes

        Peter Hutterer this weekend announced the release of libinput 1.1.5 as the newest version of this input handling library used by Wayland, X.Org Server (if using xf86-input-libinput), and Mir systems.

      • Core Compute Shader Support Under Review For Gallium3D

        Samuel Pitoiset sent out a set of 17 patches today that add the core of the compute shaders support to the Mesa state tracker as needed by Gallium3D drivers.

        This is almost one thousand lines of code for providing the core changes needed for handling OpenGL 4.3′s important ARB_compute_shader extension. There still are changes needed to Gallium3D drivers in getting the compute shader support going, but this is a major piece of the puzzle.

      • Intel Is Still Maintaining A Proprietary OpenCL Driver For Linux
      • Understanding Intel’s GEN Assembly For OpenCL Kernels
      • libinput and semi-mt touchpads

        libinput 1.1.5 has a change in how we deal with semi-mt touchpads, in particular: interpretation of touch points will cease and we will rely on the single touch position and the BTN_TOOL_* flags instead to detect multi-finger interaction. For most of you this will have little effect, even if you have a semi-mt touchpad. As a reminder: semi-mt touchpads are those that can detect the bounding box of two-finger interactions but cannot identify which finger is which. This provides some ambiguity, a pair of touch points at x1/y1 and x2/y2 could be a physical pair of touches at x1/y2 and x2/y1. More importantly, we found issues with semi-mt touchpads that go beyond the ambiguity and reduce the usability of the touchpoints.

    • Benchmarks

      • PV vs PVHVM on next XenServer

        That’s not really surprising: new hardware tends to include more and more instructions to assist virtualization. So in fact, the “cost” of virtualization (in terms of performances) is reduced.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Best Linux Desktop Environments for 2016

      Linux creates a friendly environment for choices and options. For example, there are many Linux-based distributions out there that use different desktop environments for you to choose from. I have picked some of the best desktop environments that you will see in the Linux world.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Interview with Cremuss

        I grew a bit tired of it during high school so I stopped for a time and it’s only after finishing high school that I wanted to start digging into CG software again. I was fully converted to open-source projects and GNU/Linux at this moment so in my mind I obviously had to give Blender a try. I learned it, loved it and fall in love with video game art while helping with the development of an open source video game/engine, SpringRTS.

      • Plasma tricks: custom title bars for apps and some consistency

        Plasma 5 comes with a very cool feature: KWin can set a different colour scheme for title bar of each app (basing on app identity or title of the window).

      • In the Mansion House

        Here is deepest Padania a 4 story mansion provides winter cover to KDE developers working to free your computers.

      • Goin’ to FOSDEM

        I’ve skipped a few years, but I’m looking forward to seeing some of the familiar KDE faces there, as well as finally meeting a couple of the KDE-FreeBSD folks. There’s a long list of familiar faces at the Legal Devroom. For once, I have a plan of talks that I want to see, even some that I can claim are work-work related (yay!). Whether I’ll be useful at the KDE booth, I don’t know: last time I was there there was Plasma-desktop to be demonstrated and me with still KDE4 on my laptop. I’m not a good poster child for the modern generation.

      • Seasons of KDE (2)

        As mentioned in my earlier post, the KIOSK framework changed a lot between KDE3 and Plasma. So using the old code and simply port it to kf5 was not an option. My Mentor suggested, I start implementing profile support, which is one of the key feature of KIOSK.

      • Next Kdenlive Cafés

        This is an opportunity for Kdenlive developers and users to exchange ideas, talk about how we want to see the Kdenlive project evolve and also discuss how you can help us on that way!

      • Plasma tricks: start a torrent from another device

        Are you browsing the web with your Android smart-phone/tablet and suddenly you see that your favourite distro just release the ISO you are waiting? Do you want to tap on “download” and start the torrent but… do you want to use your PC instead of the current device? OK here KDE Connect and KTorrent are your heroes. Let’s see how to setup all.

      • Wrapping up the Google Code-In
      • Kicking off 2016 — the first Krita Sprint

        This weekend, we had our place full of hackers again. The Calligra Text Layout Sprint coincided with the Krita 2016 Kick-Off Sprint. Over the course of the sprint, which started on Wednesday, we had two newcomers to KDE-related hacking sprints, and during the weekend, we had an unusual situation for free software: actual gender parity.

      • New Year Calligra Words Sprint

        When the streets are covered with snow and ice in many parts of Europe, it’s a good time to sit inside in front of our computers and to improve that software we are sharing here with each other.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Settings To Get a Major Design Overhaul

        The GNOME settings app is to get a major design overhaul, GNOME designers and developers have revealed.

        The new design proposals will see the utility switch from a grid layout with fixed window size to one using a sidebar list and resizeable window frame.

  • Distributions

    • This Week in Solus – Install #19

      Alongside our crunch and focus for 1.1, we’ve also been continuing our campaign of bug crushing. We’ve crushed 22 bugs over the last week, ranging from long sitting bugs that have been resolved since the Budgie rewrite to recent ones that are related to inclusion of git-based patches for new software in the repo.

    • Reviews

      • Hands-On: Kali Linux Light (Xfce) and Mini distributions

        In my previous post, I looked at the Full version of the new Kali Linux 2016.1 Rolling release. That version uses the Gnome 3 desktop and includes a large number of security, forensic, and penetration-testing utilities. In this post I am going to look at the Light version, which uses the Xfce desktop and includes only a few security utilities in the base installation, and the Mini version, which lets you choose your desktop, but includes no additional utilities in the base installation.

        It seems to me that there are two reasons for the Kali Light distribution. First, a lot of people don’t like using Gnome 3 — especially a lot of experienced Linux users — so this offers a popular alternative desktop. Second, by including very few additional security packages, it lets you build up the distribution with just the tools you want and need.

      • Linux Mint 17.3 “Xfce”

        Linux Mint Linux Mint is arguably one of the more popular distributions in the open source ecosystem. The project takes packages from the Ubuntu repositories and uses them, along with custom Mint utilities, to build a user friendly operating system. The Mint project has gained a reputation over the years for delivering a practical desktop operating system that offers users a familiar desktop environment with multimedia support.

      • Apricity OS 12.2015 review – Apre Trouble

        Linux, the final frontier. A fellow named Mehdi emailed me the name of this Linux distro for sampling, testing and review. Having already recommended a bunch of software in the past, with pretty good results, I thought this could be another enjoyable exercise.

        To make everything all the more mindboggling, Apricity OS tell us it is based on Arch Linux, which means goats and blood and the essence of virgin nerds. Archy Arch and the Funky Byte. But maybe the dreadful can be abstracted into a nice and friendly product. Anyhow, version 12.2015 Beta, underway!

      • Enter the Void! First impressions of Void Linux

        While Gentoo is a great way to spin your own flavour of Linux, after a year I’ve found that recompiling packages every time you do an update becomes a bit of a drag. With that in mind I decided to look around for an alternative distribution, and while nothing is 100% perfect I have to say I really am very happy with Void Linux. There are a number of “live” iso images which will happily boot from a USB stick, I only looked at two of the images Cinnamon and Xfce, while Cinnamon was all very pretty and all that, I couldn’t get the audio volume widget to show itself and besides I didn’t see any real advantage. I’ve long been a fan of Xfce basically because of what it doesn’t try to do, you don’t get the kitchen sink (thankfully) but what you do get works solidly.

        Now its entirely possible that I missed something obvious with the void_installer script but it has two distinct behaviours depending on what installation source you choose. If you choose to install from the internet what you get is a bare minimum of packages (command line only) and you’ll be left with a fair bit of configuration to do for yourself – this isn’t always a bad thing if for example you have some specific use maybe an embedded kiosk for example. For more usual desktop use, its better to choose the installation media itself as the source, this basically copies and configures the “live” image onto your machine. I did find that after an update I had to manually delete the old kernel, but once I did that and a few more of the usual chores one normally expects when installing a new system – (eventually after correctly using the installer!) I found myself in possession of a really nice system.

    • New Releases

      • Antivirus LiveCD 16.0-0.99 Promises to Clean Your PC of Viruses with ClamAV 0.99

        Today, 4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs us about the release and immediate availability for download of Antivirus Live CD 16.0-0.99.

        If you don’t know what Antivirus Live CD is, we will take this opportunity to remind you that it is a small, free and easy-to-use Live ISO image built around the open-source Clam AntiVirus (ClamAV) antivirus software and designed for cleaning your PC of viruses, no matter if you’re using Linux, Mac or Windows.

        The new release, Antivirus Live CD 16.0-0.99, brings support for the recently announced ClamAV 0.99.0, which has all the latest virus definition updates and bugfixes for protecting your computer from malware. Besides that, Antivirus Live CD 16.0-0.99 is now based on the 4MLinux 16.0 operating system.

      • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 (Atticus) Gets Linux Kernel 4.1.16 in the Third Test Build

        The Parsix GNU/Linux developers have announced the release and immediate availability for download of the third TEST build for the upcoming Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” operating system.

        According to the release notes, Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 (Atticus) TEST3 is powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.1.16 kernel, which has been patched with BFS and TuxOnIce 3.3 and has been built around the latest stable and most advanced GNOME 3.18 desktop environment. It also comes with updates for many of the pre-installed apps and core components.

      • Solus 1.1 to Land Really Soon, Users Needed to Test AMD GPU Drivers

        The Solus operating system is now available in a stable form, and its developers are preparing to release the first point release.

        Since Solus is going to be supported for the next couple of years, the developers need to work on the problems that have been reported by the community. They have already promised that they will squash all the bugs in a little over a month, but they are also preparing for the first point release.

      • Zenwalk 8.0 Linux OS Enters Beta, Replaces Mozilla Firefox with Chromium

        The developers of the Slackware-based Zenwalk Linux operating system have announced the release and immediate availability for download and testing of the first Beta build of the upcoming Zenwalk 8.0 computer operating system.

      • Zenwalk 8.0 Linux Distribution Now In Beta
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • ROSA Desktop Fresh KDE R7 Linux OS Ships with KDE Plasma 5, Linux Kernel 4.1.15

        The developers of the ROSA Desktop Fresh operating system announced today, January 26, the release and immediate availability for download of the ROSA Desktop Fresh KDE R7 Linux operating system.

        Being based on the long-term supported ROSA 2014.1 platform, which will receive security fixes and patches until Autumn 2016, ROSA Desktop Fresh KDE R7 updates the default set of KDE4 applications with the addition of the Kamoso and Kup applications, and the removal of the KWallet utility. Support for H.265 encoded videos is now available for new installations, along with numerous other multimedia codecs.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Meet exGENT Linux, a Rolling Gentoo Live DVD Powered by Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS

        Softpedia has been informed today, January 25, 2016, by GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton about the immediate availability for download of a new build of his excellent exGENT Live DVD Linux operating system.

        As this is the first time we’re writing a news story about exGENT Linux, we would like to introduce you guys to it first. So, as its name might suggest, exGENT is a rolling-release Gentoo-based Live Linux distribution built around the lightweight Xfce desktop environment and based on the latest GNU/Linux technologies.

    • Arch Family

      • BlackArch Linux Expands Its Roster of Tools for Security Research

        If having more tools is better for security, then the latest release of the BlackArch Linux distribution will be warmly received by security researchers. Version 2016.01.10 of BlackArch Linux, which was released on Jan. 10, boasts more than 30 new security tools, bringing the total number of security tools to 1,330. BlackArch is a security-focused operating system that is based on the Arch Linux distribution. Arch Linux is what is known as a rolling release Linux distribution because it is constantly being updated. BlackArch builds on top of Arch and includes anti-forensic, automation, backdoor, crypto, honeypot, networking, scanner, spoofer and wireless security tools for security research. Among the new tools is a utility to conduct attacks against IBM Lotus Domino servers. The new Jooforce tool, meanwhile, enables security researchers to attack the open-source Joomla content management system. Another interesting addition is the credential mapper (credmap) tool that aims to show researchers when user and account credentials have been reused. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at some of the features in the BlackArch 2016.01.10 milestone release.

      • Manjaro Deepin 15.12
      • Arch just works, Ubuntu is customizable

        Ever actually treid to make a package for Ubuntu? Understanding .deb takes a good couple of days of documentation until you get it down, every idiot can make a Pacman package because it’s simpler, it “just works”. The AUR’s success is probably tied to that any idiot can make a Pacman package.

    • Slackware Family

      • SlackWare 14.1 on Pandora: Everything is Awesome!

        I hope that line is not trademarked by LEGO… anyway, the point is that Slackware 14.1 on the Pandora is a great distro. I had tested it in the past but I had not given it enough of my attention then, and I now realize my mistake. Don’t get me wrong: Super Zaxxon is great and all, but if you want to enhance the utility factor of your Pandora, Slackware is one of the best ways to do it, without losing much of SZ either.

      • Slackware Live Edition, updated

        During the past weeks I have been working on my “liveslak” scripts for the Slackware Live Edition. Check out my previous articles about Beta1 Beta2 and Beta3 releases for these scripts, they contain a lot of background about the reasons for creating yet another Slackware Live, as well as instructions on the use of the Live ISO images and their boot parameters.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Will 2016 Be Red Hat Inc.’s Best Year Yet?

        This year may not be spectacular, but the merciless march toward market-beating sales and cash flows will continue. Hint: The company doesn’t mind market weakness.

      • Google Integrating Cloud Platform With Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated

        The goal is to enable Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated managed container application platform customers to build and host their apps on Google’s Cloud Platform.

      • Red Hat Boosts Hybrid Clouds

        Red Hat, Inc., a provider of open source solutions, has begun shipping an update to its open source IT automation framework, designed to bring increased stability, new automation capabilities, and new integrations with a variety of services and providers. The solution, Ansible 2.0, is intended to better support public, private, and hybrid cloud deployments, as well as Microsoft Windows environments and network management.

      • Brokerages Set Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) PT at $89.73

        Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) has received a consensus rating of “Buy” from the thirty-four analysts that are currently covering the stock, ARN reports. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and twenty-five have assigned a buy rating to the company. The average 12 month price target among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $89.73.

      • The CentOS CI Infrastructure: A Getting Started Guide

        The CentOS community is trying to build an ecosystem that fosters and encourages upstream communities to continuously perform integration testing of their code running on the the CentOS platform. The CentOS community has built out an infrastructure that (currently) contains 256 servers (“bare metal” servers”) that are pooled together to run tests that are orchestrated by a frontend Jenkins instance located at ci.centos.org.

      • Mackay Shields Acquires New Stake in Red Hat Inc (RHT)

        Mackay Shields acquired a new stake in Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The hedge fund acquired 18,481,000 shares of the open-source software company’s stock, valued at approximately $24,132,000.

      • Promising stocks in today’s market: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Red Hat, Inc. Analyst Rating Update

        As many as 16 brokerage firms have rated Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) at 1.5. Research Analysts at Zacks Investment Research have ranked the company at 3, suggesting the traders with a rating of hold for the short term. The stock garnered a place in the hold list of 3 stock Analysts. 2 analysts suggested buying the company. 11 analysts rated the company as a strong buy.

      • Brokerages Set Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) PT at $89.73

        Shares of Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) have been given a consensus rating of “Buy” by the thirty-four research firms that are covering the company, AnalystRatings.NET reports. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, six have given a hold recommendation and twenty-five have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average twelve-month target price among brokers that have covered the stock in the last year is $89.73.

      • Fedora

        • GPG: a Fedora primer

          GPG, or GnuPG, refers to the Gnu Privacy Guard utility. GPG is a freely available implementation of the OpenPGP standard that was released by Werner Koch in 1999. The security and privacy of data and individuals is an important topic in modern culture. The OpenPGP standard allows GPG and other applications to work together to secure and protect your data.

          This series will explain the basic fundamentals of GPG and take you step by step through using it. The OpenPGP standard includes the basic features of confidentiality, integrity, and non-repudiation. By supporting this standard, GPG provides all three features.

        • How is systemd doing on github?

          Blue and green lines are the total number of issues and the number of closed issues, number of the left y-axis. Red line is the difference, number on the right axis. The number of issues is growing linearly. Overall, we aren’t doing too bad, 85% of issues have been closed.

        • 6 months with Fedora Design
        • IBus-Anthy 1.5.8
        • IBus 1.5.12
        • Fedora23 – First Impressions

          When you read my blog posts you know that I switched not that long ago from Manjaro, an Arch-based distribution to Arch. And now I switched again – this time to [Fedora]. Even so I was really satisified with Arch. It worked, it was fast and the Arch User Repositories are awesome. I rarely had to google how to install a software. I just had to use a wrapper to search them. And when I googled the first hit was often the Arch Wiki. Right now the Arch Wiki is probably the best documentation for Linux-related software.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux 8.3 “Jessie” Now Available for Download, Live DVDs Coming Soon

        We reported earlier on the official release of the third stable update in the Debian GNU/Linux 8 “Jessie” series of Linux kernel-based operating systems, Debian 8.3.

        At the moment of writing the respective article, there were no installation mediums or Live DVD ISO images available for download. This is because Debian GNU/Linux 8.3 is not a new version of the acclaimed operating system, but a collection of updates that can be easily applied by existing Debian GNU/Linux 8.2 “Jessie” users through the official channels.

      • Reproducible builds: week 39 in Stretch cycle

        The switch made in binutils/2.25-6 to use deterministic archives by default had the unfortunate effect of breaking a seldom used feature of make. Manoj Srivastava asked on debian-devel the best way to communicate the changes to Debian users. Lunar quickly came up with a patch that displays a warning when Make encounters “deterministic” archives. Manoj made it available in make/4.1-2 together with a NEWS file advertising the change.

      • QNAP TS-x09 installer available again

        Debian 8.3 came out today. As part of this update, Debian installer images for QNAP TS-109, TS-209 and TS-409 are available again. These devices are pretty old but there are still some users. We dropped installer support several years ago because the installer ramdisk was too large to fit in flash. Since then, users had to install Debian 6.0 (squeeze) and upgrade from there. When squeeze was removed from the Debian mirrors recently, I received mail from a number of users.

      • neovim-coming-to-debian

        Almost 9 months after I took ownership of the Neovim RFP, I finally tagged & uploaded Neovim to Debian. It still has to go through the NEW queue, but it will soon be in an experimental release near you.

      • Derivatives

        • HandyLinux 2.3 Is Based on Debian 8.3, Dedicated to the Memory of Ian Murdock

          The developers of the HandyLinux computer operating system have been proud to inform Softpedia earlier about the immediate availability for download of the HandyLinux 2.3 release.

          Being based on the well-known and powerful Debian GNU/Linux 8.3 (Jessie) operating system created by Ian Murdock, who sadly passed away on December 30, 2015, today’s HandyLinux 2.3 release is dedicated to his memory, and because of that, it has been dubbed by its developers “Ian.”

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu for TV Possibly Still in the Works

            Ubuntu for TV was briefly a thing for Canonical, but it never really took off, and it slowly faded away, but it seems that they haven’t given up on that idea, and we might still get it.

            Ubuntu for TV was a really different operating system that was initially showcased back in January 2012, at CES. It’ s been four years since then and Ubuntu for TV is no more. The previous Ubuntu community manager, Jono Bacon, said that the project didn’t actually die, it was just folded back into the main distro.

          • Bq’s Ubuntu tablet could showcase long-awaited desktop-mobile convergence

            The rumors are true: An Ubuntu-powered tablet blessed by Canonical is coming—from Spanish device maker Bq, which plans to unveil it at Mobile World Congress in February.

            Linux fans have waited a long time for the realization of Canonical’s long-promised vision of “convergence,” an OS that seamlessly transitions between mobile and desktop environments. Ubuntu blog OMGUbuntu first reported the tablet on January 14, but Canonical refused to comment. In a recent interview with Spanish website Xataka, however, Bq (which has partnered with Canonical on phones) confirmed the rumor.

          • What you missed in tech last week: Ubuntu’s big win, iOS battery bug, iPhone 6C leak
          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-10 for Ubuntu Phones Launches on March 3, 2016

            We have just been informed by Łukasz Zemczak of Canonical about a preliminary release schedule for the next OTA software updates for the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system.

            According to Mr. Zemczak, the Ubuntu Touch developers have decided that it will be appropriate to release a post OTA-9 hotfix update after all, OTA-9.5, which will be the next thing they prepare for. The OTA-9.5 update will enter final freeze on January 29, two days after the launch on OTA-9 on January 27, and will be released for all supported Ubuntu Phone devices on February 10, 2016.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 to Land This Week Without Delays, OTA-9.5 Hotfix Coming Soon

            The Ubuntu Touch team at Canonical announced earlier the release schedule for the upcoming OTA software updates for Ubuntu Phone devices, and we promised to give you guys more info on the whereabouts of the OTA-9 update.

          • Here’s What’s New in the Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 Update for Ubuntu Phones
          • Canonical “Secretly” Changed the Ubuntu Orange Color to Another Orange

            Canonical has made some changes to the famous orange color and has changed it, in secret, to a different kind of orange.

            The famous color that’s been used in Ubuntu for a long time serves two purposes. One is to make the operating system easily recognizable, and the other one is to drive people who don’t like orange crazy. Most of the community doesn’t really care about the color being used, and people either let it be or change it; the rest of the users are always asking Canonical to replace it.

          • Uniform Icons Are Unshaped But Looks Great on Ubuntu/Linux Mint Desktop

            There are many icon themes available for Linux and you already know that in one icon set all icons have same pattern, but this is not the case here. The guy (0rax0) who designed this icon theme could have tested every shape on the planet to get a unique and good looking icon set for Linux, and he followed totally unshaped pattern for his icon set but can’t we see these icons still looks awesome, I would say great contribution to eyecandy for the Linux. We all have tested many of the icon theme and none of them have icons for every application, there is always something missing, so don’t expect this set to be complete but good news is that it is in development mode by another guy (ZMA) who is now constantly working on it and adding icons to this icon set. If you encounter any issue or see any missing icon then you should ask ZMA to create and add that icon. You can use Unity Tweak Tool, Gnome-tweak-tool or Ubuntu-Tweak to change icons.

          • Open Source in the World of App Stores
          • Bq Confirm Ubuntu Tablet with Convergence is Coming
          • Ubuntu Scope Showdown Is Back, And The Prizes Are Better Than Ever

            The competition, which runs from today and closes February 29, 2016, gives participants just six weeks to create an all-new original Scope for the Ubuntu Phone and publish it to the store.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu-Based Black Lab Linux 7.0.3 Distro Arrives with Updated Kernel, More

              Black Lab Software, through Roberto J. Dohnert, has informed Softpedia earlier today, January 26, 2016, about the immediate availability for download and update of the Black Lab Linux 7.0.3 operating system.

              According to the developers, Black Lab Linux 7.0.3 is the third maintenance release in the Black Lab Linux 7.0 series of operating system, bringing the latest software updates, bugfixes, under-the-hood improvements, and security patches.

            • You Can Now Have a Single Live ISO Image with All the Linux Mint 17.3 Flavors

              Softpedia has been informed today, January 26, 2016, by the Linux AIO team about the immediate availability for download of an updated version of their Linux AIO Linux Mint project, which is now based on Linux Mint 17.3.

              Many of our readers know what the Linux AIO project does, and we bet that they were waiting impatiently for them to release a new Live ISO image that would consist of all the flavors of the recently released Linux Mint 17.3 (Rosa) operating system, including Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon, Linux Mint 17.3 MATE, Linux Mint 17.3 Xfce, and Linux Mint 17.3 KDE.

            • Deepin 15 – See What’s New
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Many People Ignore Open Source Software

    Since its advent, Open Source Software or OSS has grown significantly over the years. This is due in part to the advances made in its development. A few of these advances include: “user-friendliness”, functional capabilities, and their low cost. But despite these achievements, OSS has not achieved the type of pervasive adoption that we have envisaged. And this, in my opinion, is a result of a variety of reasons in different regions. In Liberia for example, I have come to learn of two cardinal reasons: lack of OSS knowledge and the unwillingness by some individuals to ignore common myth held against OSS.

    The lack of OSS knowledge in Liberia echoes one thing: Our unarticulated unwillingness to remove ourselves from that which we are comfortable with –proprietary software. Across the Liberian ICT spectrum, Open Source Software is a mundane topic. Yet, it is rare to see ICT professionals in Liberia proffer Open Source Software solutions, even though their ICT budgets face serious strangulations. One can inarguably surmise therefore, that the option for perfunctory proprietary solutions is sought only because it aligns with the skills of their choosers. But how does this benefit a struggling organization?

  • Why we made Mattermost an open source Slack-alternative

    We had several requests to blog about why we created Mattermost as an open-source alternative to Slack and proprietary communications software and we wanted to share our story:

  • 5 Open Source Predictive Analytics Tools

    Launching a predictive analytics initiative can be quite costly. Fortunately, companies can use open source predictive analytics tools to keep costs low while exploring the possibilities of predictive analytics. Building a kit of open source predictive analytics tools enables data scientists to take advantage of each tool’s strengths and add new tools when ready to widen the scope of prediction types.

  • Events

    • SCALE 14X Is One for the Record Books

      Whew. It had over 140 exhibitors, and over 185 sessions. It had just north of 3,600 people registered for the event. It had four days of peace, love and FOSS.

      That was SCALE 14X.

      But we’re getting ahead of Sunday’s story.

      After the cacophony of Saturday night’s Weakest Geek — Ruth Suehle won her third, with talk of a dynasty in the air for that particular game — and the fun and games of, well, Game Night, Sunday rolled into Pasadena on a more quiet, thoughtful note.

    • Lightning talk: Rewiring Generation Z

      Busting the myth that the generation after millennials are digital natives, that they are really good at computers. But they’re not. Charlie Reisinger tells us how closed software and hardware plays a role. And, how open source software and hardware is the answer.

    • Visit Brussels and learn about open source at FOSDEM 2016

      Every January, more than 5,000 free and open source enthusiasts from around the world flock to a humble university campus in Brussels, Belgium, for a weekend of talks, discussions, and open source projects. FOSDEM stands for Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting, and it’s one of the largest community-organized events in Europe.

    • DevConf.cz 2016 is coming

      DevConf.cz 2016 is just around the corner (starts on Feb 5th). If you’re going to attend the conference, the organizers have prepared useful information for you. Check devconf.cz and especially the transportation page.

    • Pasadena welcomes Linux Scale 14X and its tribe of developers

      Pasadena City Councilmember Andy Wilson proudly welcomed Linux 14X, the 14th Annual Southern California Linux Expo, to the Pasadena Convention Center Saturday morning.

      Wilson, who himself comes from the software industry, was thrilled to call himself a “geek” among the packed ballroom, filled with software developers and aficionados. He described his own excitement at having the growing event move from its former location near LAX to Pasadena. The event will draw more than 3500 Linux fans to the convention center over this weekend.

  • Web Browsers

    • Ex Firefox Boss Releases Open Source Ad-Blocking Web Browser In Brave Move.
    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 44.0 Primed For Release

        Firefox 44 continues allowing unsigned extensions thanks to a last minute change by Mozilla. Firefox 44 also has an option that can be enabled for moving WebGL off the main thread. Firefox 44 additionally presents Brotli compression algorithm support, support for VP9/WebM video support for systems lacking MP4/H.264, WebRTC improvements, Firefox For Android updates, H.264 system decoder support, the new Service Workers API, a WebSocket Debugging API, and other developer enhancements.

      • Mozilla Firefox 44.0 Is Now Available for Download for Linux, Mac and Windows

        Just a few minutes ago, January 26, 2016, Mozilla pushed the final Firefox 44.0 web browser to the FTP channels of the project, for anyone to download and install on their personal computers.

      • Add-on Signing Update

        In Firefox 43, we made it a default requirement for add-ons to be signed. This requirement can be disabled by toggling a preference that was originally scheduled to be removed in Firefox 44 for release and beta versions (this preference will continue to be available in the Nightly, Developer, and ESR Editions of Firefox for the foreseeable future).

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Google Wants Apache’s Attention to Evolve Cloud Dataflow Tool

      The Apache Software Foundation, which incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, has elevated a slew of big data and cloud computing projects to Top-Level status recently. With that designation, projects get more attention from the development community and other perks.

      Now, Google is making a big open source-focused move by offering its Dataflow technology to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) as an incubator project. Cloudera, Data Artisans GmbH, PayPal Holdings and Talend are all backing the move.

    • New Outreachy interns, NFV deployment growth, and more OpenStack news

      Interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

    • Forrester Names Top Five Hadoop Distributions

      Analysts at Forrester Research have been tracking the upward trajectory of the open source Hadoop big data project for years, and have now pronounced that the platform is “mandatory” for companies in pursuit of advanced analytics that leverage their data stores.

    • NFV Deployment Growing Thanks to OpenStack

      While the open-source OpenStack cloud platform got its start as a platform for compute and storage, networking efforts are now leading the way forward. In particular, the adoption of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) by global carriers is now being accelerated in part by adoption of OpenStack.

  • Databases

    • Getting dirty with open source databases

      A decade ago, most enterprises building a database had only two or three choices: Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and – to a lesser extent – IBM DB2. Open source systems such as MySQL and PostgreSQL existed, but they were not on the radar of most commercial organisations.

      But as proprietary licensing has become more complex and costly, and businesses’ needs have changed, so open source systems have emerged to meet evolving demands.

    • 9 Million for Open Source Database

      MariaDB announced $9 million in venture funding to support its open-source relational database solutions. The company also named Michael Howard as its CEO and Michael “Monty” Widenius as chief technology officer.

  • CMS

    • 5 Best (and Easy) Open Source Website Builders

      A website is essential for every small business, even if it’s just a simple information page. Forget phone books or newspapers; prospective customers look websites. You can publish and maintain your own site, and these five open source website builders make it easy and affordable.

  • Education

    • Using Git in the classroom

      In my advanced programming classes I’ve discovered that middle school students are capable of far more complex operations than we often suspect. In many cases, they’re wholly capable of using industry-standard tools to produce remarkable work.

    • Indiana University Joins Open Source Initiative

      The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) announced today the Affiliate Membership of Indiana University (IU), a long time champion for the use of open source software as a means for greater efficiency in higher education. The partnership highlights the OSI’s recent efforts to extend support to higher education: helping colleges and universities across the globe realize the benefits of open source software, develpoment models and communities.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • Key Charities That Advance Software Freedom Are Worthy of Your Urgent Support

      I’ve had the pleasure and the privilege, for the last 20 years, to be either a volunteer or employee of the two most important organizations for the advance of software freedom and users’ rights to copy, share, modify and redistribute software. In 1996, I began volunteering for the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and worked as its Executive Director from 2001–2005. I continued as a volunteer for the FSF since then, and now serve as a volunteer on FSF’s Board of Directors. I was also one of the first volunteers for Software Freedom Conservancy when we founded it in 2006, and I was the primary person doing the work of the organization as a volunteer from 2006–2010. I’ve enjoyed having a day job as a Conservancy employee since 2011.

    • Andreas Enge: Novena board set-up for the GNU Guix build farm, part 1
  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Dawn of Open Source Insulin

      Based on WHO (World Health Organization) reports on diabetes, in 2012, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes and it is projected to be one of the leading causes of death in 2030. More than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Programming


  • ZeMarmot in 2015: research, script finalization and character design

    As a side note, we are also now in contact with a scientist, specialist on marmots (yes it does exist!). Not that ZeMarmot is any kind of scientifically-accurate film, but it is always nice to get some scientific background as a basis, even if it means later breaking the rules of nature (which is ok when done on purpose). We’ll tell more about this if the contact evolves into a real cooperation.

  • Microsoft Surface blamed for NFL football playoffs meltdown

    “They’re having some trouble with their Microsoft Surface tablets,” announced CBS reporter Evan Washburn. “That last defensive possession the Patriots’ coaches did not have access to those tablets to show pictures to their players. NFL officials have been working at it. Some of those tablets are back in use but not all of them. A lot of frustration that they didn’t have them on that last possession.”

  • Why the Sun 2 has the message “Love your country, but never trust its government”

    Alec figured that message was never supposed to be seen and suggested it was a kind of silent protest of someone in Sun against the US Government. I replied, saying I was pretty sure such a message anywhere in the Sun bootprom code must have originated by John Gilmore. So I asked John, and he did not disappoint. This is what I wrote me back…

  • So you think offline systems need no updates?

    So, yes, security issues are harmful. They must be taken serious, and a solid and well designed security concept should be applied. Multiple layers, different zones, role based access, update often, etc.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Virginia Tech expert helped expose Flint water crisis

      Four months after Flint switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River, Lee-Anne Walters’ family began to experience strange health issues.

      It started in August 2014 when Walters’ four children and her husband got rashes on their skin and started losing hair. Then, her 15-year-old son became so nauseated, dizzy and in pain that he couldn’t go to school for three weeks.

      The worst of it came when one of her toddler twin sons fell behind his brother in weight and developed a bright red rash with scaly patches on his body after bathing. He was diagnosed with lead poisoning.

    • Watch Bill Clinton Defend Bernie Sanders’ Health Care Plan (in 2009)

      Former president Bill Clinton joined his wife and daughter in assailing Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health care plan last week, saying that it would lead to “overcharging and inflation.”

      But in 2009, he defended the single-payer approach, in which the government pays for everyone’s health care. During an appearance on CNN, host Sanjay Gupta asked the former president whether single-payer was “politically unpalatable, or is it a bad idea?”

      “Well, I think it’s more politically unpalatable than it is a bad idea,” responded Clinton. “Because single-payer is not socialized medicine. Canada has a single-payer system, and a private health care system. Our single-payer systems are Medicare and Medicaid and Medicare is quite popular. The good thing about single-payer is the administrative costs are quite low. We probably waste $200 billion a year between the insurance administrative costs, the doctors’ and other health care providers’ administrative costs, and employers’ administrative costs in health care that we would not waste if we had any other country’s system.”

  • Security

    • LeChiffre Ransomware Hits Three Indian Banks, Causes Millions in Damages

      An unknown hacker has breached the computer systems of three banks and a pharmaceutical company and infected most of their computers with crypto-ransomware.

      The incident took place at the start of January, all companies were located in India, and the hacker(s) used the LeChiffre ransomware family to encrypt files on the infected computers.

    • LeChiffre, Ransomware Ran Manually

      It encrypts files and appends to their names an extension “.LeChiffre”.

    • when preloads go sideways

      One solution would be to install an alternative operating system, like OpenBSD. Sorry, I meant to say ARCH LINUX.

      I note that a fair bit of the above foolishness revolves around adding some amount of pollution to the OS’s cabal store. Maybe we can use an OS that comes with a store we trust? For example, there’s several ways a user can install OpenBSD and verify that cert.pem has only the 4943 lines it’s supposed to have. That only pushes the question back a step, however. What lines are supposed to be in this file?


      The trials and tribulations of bundleware mirror those of the government. For as long as most traffic was unencrypted, it was easy to inject value. But as sites started moving to full time https, the well of value started to dry up, requiring workarounds to stay in the game. Governments are facing much the same challenge, hence the large number of proposals to build a socialized, universal AV software, so that all citizens can enjoy its benefits on both desktop and mobile. How else will TrendMicro keep us safe from Let’s Encrypt?

      When asked to comment, Hillary Clinton responded with a statement. “I clearly specified that the problem was to be solved by Silicon Valley’s best and brightest, not bumbling mediocrity.” Donald Trump promised to build a wall around malware and make the neckbeards pay for it. Carly Fiorina simply tweeted, “Go Iowa!”

    • Microsoft putting users at risk by forcing Windows 10 upgrade

      Microsoft is forcing Windows users to upgrade to Windows 10 by quietly slipping in code through its regular updates. This has been confirmed by multiple sources.

      But what of those Windows users who want to stick with a known devil — in this case, their own versions of Windows, be they 7, 8 or 8.1 — until a little more is known by the public at large about the strengths and weaknesses of Windows 10?

    • Playing with Letsencrypt

      While I’m not convinced that encrypting everything by default is necessarily a good idea, it is certainly true that encryption has its uses. Unfortunately, for the longest time getting an SSL certificate from a CA was quite a hassle — and then I’m not even mentioning the fact that it would cost money, too. In that light, the letsencrypt project is a useful alternative: rather than having to dabble with emails or webforms, letsencrypt does everything by way of a few scripts. Also, the letsencrypt CA is free to use, in contrast to many other certificate authorities.

    • Linux’s Latest Security Vulnerability: Hype vs. Reality

      In the latest bout of alarmist frenzy to sweep the security world, researchers disclosed a vulnerability in the Linux kernel’s open source code last week. It turns out to pose little real threat.

      The flaw, which has existed in Linux since 2012 but remained unknown, was reported by the Israeli security company Perception Point. It allows attackers to gain root access to computers running affected versions of the kernel. With root access, they can do anything they want to the system.

    • Important OpenSSL Update Announced for January 28

      A new OpenSSL release has been announced for January 28, and it’s going to cover a couple of problems, one of which it’s going to be very important.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • New Linux malware spotted [Ed: Stuff that the user must actually INSTALL]

      A new backdoor for Linux has been spotted by security researchers, one which can download malicious files to an infected system, log keystrokes and take screenshots.

    • Simple Yet Efficient Linux Backdoor Trojan Discovered

      Threats to Linux computers are now appearing on a regular basis, and what was once dubbed a “no-virus zone” has started being targeted by malware authors.

    • Exploiting a Linux Kernel Infoleak to bypass Linux kASLR
    • Thousands of gamers’ passwords easily cracked in 3 minutes
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • You Won’t Like It, But Here’s the Answer to ISIS

      You’d need to start with a persuasive review of what hasn’t worked over the past 14-plus years. American actions against terrorism — the Islamic State being just the latest flavor — have flopped on a remarkable scale, yet remain remarkably attractive to our present crew of candidates. (Bernie Sanders might be the only exception, though he supports forming yet another coalition to defeat ISIS.)

      Why are the failed options still so attractive? In part, because bombing and drones are believed by the majority of Americans to be surgical procedures that kill lots of bad guys, not too many innocents, and no Americans at all. As Washington regularly imagines it, once air power is in play, someone else’s boots will eventually hit the ground (after the U.S. military provides the necessary training and weapons). A handful of Special Forces troops, boots-sorta-on-the-ground, will also help turn the tide. By carrot or stick, Washington will collect and hold together some now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t “coalition” of “allies” to aid and abet the task at hand. And success will be ours, even though versions of this formula have fallen flat time and again in the Greater Middle East.

    • Winston Churchill: Britain’s “Greatest Briton” Left a Legacy of Global Conflict and Crimes Against Humanity

      Churchill’s legacy in Sub-Saharan Africa and Kenya in particular is also one of deep physical and physiological scars that endure to this day.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • City Of Chicago ‘Embraces’ Transparency By Releasing Shooting Video To Draw Attention Away From Attorney Misconduct

      The city of Chicago has decided it’s not going to wait for a judge to order it to release video footage depicting another unarmed person being shot by one of its police officers. It has released surveillance video showing Cedric Chatman being killed by Officer Kevin Fry. Fry claimed Chatman was carrying a gun. It turned out to be an iPhone box, allegedly taken from the victim of a carjacking.

    • Video of 2013 Police Shooting Is Released as Chicago Relents

      For the second time in recent months, Chicago officials released video of police officers chasing and fatally shooting an African-American teenager, bowing to public and legal pressure amid calls for greater scrutiny of officers’ use of deadly force.

      The latest set of videos — with views from at least four surveillance cameras — provides a distant, and somewhat incomplete, view of the brief moments on Jan. 7, 2013, after the police confronted Cedrick Chatman, a 17-year-old black youth, in a car at a busy South Side intersection.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • From Antarctica to Africa, penguins are facing extinction

      January 20 is Penguin Awareness Day. No need to wear a fish-shaped ribbon or dress in black and white, but sadly these dapper flightless birds are facing bigger problems than Benedict Cumberbatch not being able to pronounce their name correctly.

  • Finance

    • Clinton Calls for Small Donor Matching Funds on Citizens United Anniversary

      Hillary Clinton declared on the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that as president she would “fight to create a robust small-donor matching system.”

      Clinton previously endorsed such a system for congressional and presidential candidates as part of her campaign’s platform. While Clinton hasn’t laid out any specifics, almost all House Democrats have co-sponsored the Government by the People Act, which would match political donations up to $150 at a six-to-one ratio with public money. For example, a donation of $100 to a candidate would be matched with $600, so the candidate would actually receive $700 total.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The BBC, Savile and investigations

      In a week when the BBC has been hit by yet more scandal as a result of suppressing an investigation into the notorious paedophile Jimmy Savile, we ask: does the BBC need an investigations unit?

    • Does British TV have a problem with independent documentary?

      he Unorthodocs season at Somerset House features acclaimed documentaries never seen on British TV. Are UK broadcasters denying audiences access to a golden age of independent film-making?

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Power Wars: How Obama justified, expanded Bush-era surveillance

      By going through various deliberative processes, including the secret interrogation of Abdulmutallab, the end result was the acceleration of the process to hunt down and kill Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Muslim cleric living in Yemen. It was al-Awlaki who helped guide the young Nigerian would-be terrorist. Al-Awlaki himself was killed in a drone strike in September 2011.

      This key event is one of the stark reminders that in some ways the Obama White House took policy decisions that even Bush did not.

      “Even Bush had not signed off on the deliberate killing of a United States citizen without a trial,” Savage writes. “And notwithstanding the extraordinary precedent this established for state power and individual rights, the Obama administration would fight for years to keep the basic facts and legal analysis about its action secret from the public.”

      Indeed, it wasn’t until 2014 that the legal rationale was finally published, after a federal appeals court ordered that it be released.

      Many groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, would argue that the extrajudicial killing is in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property…without due process of law.” However, the Obama administration argued that the killing of terror suspects like al-Awlaki is justified as they pose a “continuous and imminent” threat to the national security of the United States.

    • For an immediate end to the French state of emergency: call for a mass mobilisation!

      On the 5th February, the French National Assembly1 will consider the law on the constitutionalisation of the state of emergency. Prime Minister Manuel Valls has already announced that he wanted an extension to the state of emergency “until we can get rid of Daesh (fr)”, that is to say, for months or years. Together with numerous organisations, La Quadrature du Net calls for the rejection of trivialisation of the state of emergency and for a mass mobilisation against interference with civil liberties and with the rule of law, notably by demonstrating on 30 January and more specifically by calling MPs.

    • EFF wants the NSA to destroy the phone records it collected over 14 years of mass surveillance

      When the USA Freedom Act passed last June, it put an end to the country’s National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance program in which it collected millions of phone records of citizens’ calls over 14 years.

      But the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) believes that isn’t enough to protect people’s privacy, because those records still exist in various NSA databases. The non-profit is calling on a secret court to consider ways to delete this trove of data without destroying evidence that proves the NSA snooped on citizens.

    • EFF Letter to DOJ Counsel re FISC Order BR-15-99
    • So What About those Phone Records Now? EFF Writes to FISA Court

      Now that the mass collection of telephone records by the NSA under Section 215 of the Patriot Act has ended due to the passage of USA Freedom, the question has arisen: what should the NSA do with the big mass of records that it already has? The secret FISA Court recently asked the government what it thinks should happen, and EFF sent a letter to the FISA Court (by way of the Department of Justice, asking that it be conveyed to the Court) giving our perspective.

    • GCHQ crypto flaws, Dridex strikes and Ukraine malware attacks: The week in security
    • Latest Tech News: GCHQ-developed phone security ‘open to surveillance’
    • EFF to Court: Accessing Cell Phone Location Records Without A Warrant Violates the Constitution

      Citizens Rightfully Expect Privacy in Data That Reveals Their Whereabouts

      Chicago—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging a federal appeals court in Chicago to rule that police need a warrant to access cell phone location records that can reveal our everyday travels—when we leave home, where we go and whom we visit.

      In an amicus brief filed Friday in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, EFF, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and ACLU of Wisconsin said cell phone location information—data that show where our phones are at a given time and date—generates a comprehensive picture of a person’s movements. Because we carry our phones with us wherever we go, these data can reveal intensely personal information like when we see the doctor, attend a political meeting, or visit friends. Americans have the right to expect that this information remain private and beyond the reach of law enforcement officers unless they first obtain a search warrant.

    • Prosecutors Say Cops Don’t Need Warrants For Stingrays Because ‘Everyone Knows’ Cell Phones Generate Location Data

      Up in Baltimore, where law enforcement Stingray device use hit critical mass faster and more furiously than anywhere else in the country (to date…) with the exposure of 4,300 deployments in seven years, the government is still arguing there’s no reason to bring search warrants into this.

    • Algorithm Might Protect Non-Targets Caught In Surveillance, But Only If The Government Cares What Happens To Non-Targets

      Ashkat Rathi at Quartz points to an interesting algorithm developed by Michael Kearns of the University of Pennsylvania — one that might give the government something to consider when conducting surveillance. It gauges the possibility of non-targets inadvertently being exposed during investigations, providing intelligence/investigative agencies with warnings that perhaps other tactics should be deployed.

    • Documents Uncover NYPD’s Vast License Plate Reader Database

      The police department’s contract with Vigilant Solutions gives it the ability to track people across the country.

    • This TorFlow Map Shows How TOR’s Data Looks As It Flows All Around The World

      Using the publicly available data, data visualization software firm Uncharted has prepared TorFlow — a map for visualizing how TOR’s data looks as it flows all across the world. It shows TOR network’s node and data movements based on the IP addresses of relays bouncing around the connections of users to avoid spying.

    • When You Crack Open The Surveillance Door, The Food Police Will Want Your Metadata

      But those concerns are all about the practical utility of such a law, not the larger concerns over whether this kind of data collection ought to be happening to begin with. To see an example of why a free people shouldn’t allow the government to crack open this door, however, one needs only look again at the law in Australia. What was supposed to be collection chiefly to combat major criminal actions is now a collection that even the food police are trying to get in on. And, yes, I really do mean the food police.

    • Despite rhetoric, DoJ, NSA still seek backdoors

      The U.S. took its encryption argument international last week, with Attorney General Loretta Lynch telling the World Economic forum that it doesn’t want to put security backdoors into encrypted communications, it just wants to vendors and service providers to decrypt when ordered to by a court.

      That ignores that facts that vendors and providers can’t decrypt unless there is a backdoor of some sort, and that any backdoor undermines the security and therefore the value of encryption.

      It’s a case of the Department of Justice – via Lynch and FBI Director James Comey – trying to steer clear, at least technically, of demanding backdoors, but it’s all a semantic game. Earlier, Comey stopped using the term backdoor and asked for front-door access to decryption instead. Backdoor had become too much of a flashpoint, even though a front-door is exactly the same as a backdoor from a technology standpoint.

      So the department is changing the spoken terms of its demand even though it is still seeking backdoors. Now it just describes its needs, not how vendors and providers should fulfill them. They want these entities to come up with decrypted communications when they present a court order telling them to do so. It’s up to the vendors and providers to figure out how to do that.

    • Expert claims GCHQ-designed secure communications system ‘vulnerable to hacking’
    • NSA Director Rogers Talks About the Future of Encryption [Ed: People who break encryption pretend to be for it:]
    • NSA director: ‘Encryption is foundational to the future’
    • US faces technological ‘peer competitors’ in cyberspace, says USCYBERCOM
    • Released Documents Show NSA Actually Surprised To Find Itself Portrayed Negatively In Popular Culture

      The NSA may know lots of stuff about lots of people, but it’s still fairly clueless about how the world works. Documents obtained by Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski show the NSA was shocked to find it hadn’t been portrayed more favorably in a major motion picture.

  • Civil Rights

    • MI5 officer has evidence of torture?

      Well, this story is interesting me extremely, and for the obvious as well as the perhaps more arcanely legal reasons.

      Apparently a former senior MI5 officer is asking permission to give evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee in Parliament about the Security Service’s collusion in the US torture programme that was the pyroclastic flow from the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

      I have long speculated about how people with whom I used to work, socialise with, have dinner with in the 1990s might have evolved from idealistic young officers into people who could condone or even participate in the torture of other human beings once the war on terror was unleashed in the last decade.

      During the 1990s MI5 absolutely did not condone the use of torture – not only for ethical reasons, but also because an older generation was still knocking around and they had seen in the civil war in Northern Ireland quite how counter-productive such practices were. Internment, secret courts, stress positions, sleep deprivation – all these policies acted as a recruiting sergeant for the Provisional IRA.

    • ‘New form of criminality’: Sex attacks on NYE in 12 German states, says leaked police report

      Cologne-style sex attacks and thefts happened on New Year’s Eve in 12 other German states, according to a leaked federal police report cited by media. German investigators said the assaults represented a “new form of criminality.”

      Local broadcasters WDR and NDR, and the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, reported that the attacks were much more widespread than earlier thought, citing a confidential document prepared for the Interior Ministry by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).

    • On this Invasion Day, I am angry. Australia has a long way to go

      I am an Aboriginal women, born in 1987 into a staunch family who were ready to teach me and my siblings the truth from birth. They had walked the walk and had earned their right to talk the talk, to educate.

      But before I had even left my mother’s womb, I was a statistic, another Aboriginal person to be counted on the census to add to the 3% or so of other Aboriginal people that made up our population in 1987 on a continent where only 199 years prior to my birth, we made up 100% of it. By 1900, it was estimated that the Aboriginal population had decreased by 87%.

      Many Australians today will tell you that what happened was not their fault, that they can’t change what their ancestors and other “colonisers” did. In order to truly understand, this country needs to accept a lot of truths that are otherwise conveniently ignored.

    • Judge Tosses Out Criminal Case In Canada Over Twitter Fight

      Last summer, we wrote about a troubling criminal case up in Canada, exploring whether or not a Twitter fight constituted criminal harassment. The details are long and complex and I tried to summarize them in the last post so if you want more details go there.

    • A Tale of Two Grandmothers

      Two months after the Ash Wednesday protest where Grady Flores was charged with violating the order, on May 23, 2013, President Barack Obama delivered a speech at the National Defense University defending his drone program: “Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured—the highest standard we can set.” Despite his pledges, the civilian death toll from U.S. drone strikes continues to climb.

    • We Accept Assembly-Line Justice for the Poor. But We Shouldn’t.

      When a person stands accused of a crime without a competent lawyer, there can be no justice.

    • DOJ’s New Restrictions On Surveilling Journalists Contain Exception For National Security Letters

      In 2013, it was revealed the DOJ had added First Amendment-trampling to its always-cavalier treatment of the Fourth Amendment by gathering journalists’ phone records. Under the guise of investigating leaks, the DOJ crossed over into totalitarian territory. Following the backlash, the DOJ “revised” its rules on surveilling the press.

      How much revision actually took place is still a secret. The Freedom of the Press Foundation sued the DOJ last year for its refusal to release its secret rules on surveilling journalists. The DOJ released some documents but they were redacted into near-complete opacity, prompting the Foundation’s FOIA litigation.

    • Presidential Crimes Then And Now

      Americans have become a small-minded divided people, ruled by petty hatreds, who are easily set against one another and against other peoples by their rulers.

    • Video of Denver inmate dying at hands of deputies raises calls for federal investigation

      Restraining practices have been called into question since Denver released a video showing the last moments a homeless man who died face-down while being restrained by five deputies. His family is now calling for a federal investigation into the incident.

      The release of the video, which runs for more than 45 minutes, comes after Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said last week that he would not bring charges against the officers responsible for Michael Marshall’s death while in custody in a jail.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Senators Whine About FCC’s 25 Mbps Broadband Standard, Insist Nobody Needs That Much Bandwidth

      Just about a year ago, the FCC voted to raise the base definition of broadband from 4 Mbps downstream, 1 Mbps upstream — to 25 Mbps downstream, 3 Mbps upstream. This, of course, annoyed the nation’s mega providers, since the higher standard highlights the lack of competition and next-generation upgrades in countless markets. It especially annoyed the nation’s phone companies, given that the expensive, sub-6 Mbps DSL foisted upon millions of customers can no longer even technically be called broadband.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Big Pharma’s worst nightmare

      Jamie Love has spent years battling global drug companies, unshakable in his belief that even the world’s poorest people should have access to life-saving medicines. Is it time that our own government listened to him?

    • Copyrights

      • Transparent and Participatory Processes Are Vital to Creating Copyright Rules that Work for Everyone

        If copyright is to succeed in promoting the creation and dissemination of culture, then it needs to address the diverse needs of creators, fans, and critics. Copyright law achieves this in some jurisdictions through policies such as fair use, but more often than not it fails to address the concerns of anyone who isn’t a copyright holder. Much of the blame for why copyright grows increasingly out of touch with how people experience culture lies with a lack of transparency in, and industry capture of, copyright policymaking.

        Nowhere is this problem more apparent than in international trade agreements. For years, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and other copyright industry groups have taken advantage of trade venues to pass copyright rules that would not otherwise survive public scrutiny. Trade negotiations have historically been closed in order to allow negotiators to discuss import tariffs and other market barriers to the trade of goods without political interference. However, the scope of issues covered by these deals have broadened significantly over the years. They have come to include policies on copyright, data transfers, telecommunications, and more. Even as trade agreements now cover all kinds of digital regulations that can affect how lawmakers can set domestic policy, the negotiations have remained entirely closed off from the public.

      • Viral Video Creator Sues Over ‘Honey Badger Doesn’t Give a Shit’ Merchandise

        Remember that viral video from 2011 where a honey badger trots around, aggressively not caring about things? Well, the guy who made it—Christopher Gordon, who goes by the pseudonym “Randall”—is suing Papyrus and design company Drape Creative over some greeting cards that use the phrase HONEY BADGER DON’T GIVE A SHIT.

      • ‘Honey Badger’ Narrator Sues Greeting Card Company For Selling Products Featuring An Apathetic Honey Badger
      • Nigerian Copyright Reform Becomes Less Transparent As Comments Roll In

        The Nigerian government has continued to make progress toward new copyright legislation in recent weeks, but efforts appear to have become less transparent, as the results of a public comment period that ended weeks ago have not been made available and as of press time the draft copy of the bill was no longer available on the Copyright Commission website.

      • World’s Oldest Torrent Is Still Being Downloaded By Users After 12 Years
      • World’s Oldest Torrent Is Still Being Shared After 4,419 Days

        A fan-created ASCII version of the 1999 sci-fi classic The Matrix is the oldest known torrent that’s still active. Created more than 12 years ago, the file has outlived many blockbuster movies and is still downloaded a few times a week, even though the site from where it originated has disappeared.


Links 24/1/2016: Linux 4.5 RC1, Debian 8.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Nginx Plus R8 Improves HTTP2, Adds OAuth2

    Nginx Inc is out this week with a new release of its flagship product platform, Nginx Plus R8. Among the highlights of the new web server platform are improved HTTP2 capabilities, OAuth authentication and HTML5 video caching features.

  • Events

    • POSSCON Cancelled Until 2017

      POSSCON has been cancelled. The surprise announcement was made Thursday by way of an email from IT-oLogy, the nonprofit organization which hosts the event. The conference, which focuses on the enterprise and is targeted at IT professionals who develop or use open source software, was scheduled to be held in Columbia, S.C. on April 12-13.

    • SCALE 14X Saturday in Pictures

      Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls — that covers most of you: From a press standpoint, to say that SCALE 14X was busy would be a clear understatement. While the event has pretty much ratcheted itself up to the next level, staying atop the show in my capacity as the publicity chair is somewhat daunting.

      So rather than tell you what happened today, I’m just going to show you. You’ll thank me for it later, trust me.

    • SCALE 14X Gets Rolling for the Weekend

      One of the fears — one of the many in having an established conference at a brand spanking new venue — is this: Suppose they gave an outstanding Friday keynote, and nobody came? All those sleepless nights worrying about it were essentially for naught, since Cory Doctorow’s keynote at SCALE 14X Friday was a standing room only success.

  • Web Browsers

    • Brave Browser Promises to Defend Users’ Privacy
    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • The final act for Mozilla’s Persona

        Mozilla has announced that it will close down its Persona.org identity service in November 2016. The browser maker stopped developing the Persona software in 2014, citing low adoption, but has maintained Persona.org as a public service. With the announcement that the service will be discontinued, the question arose as to whether or not the software could survive as an independent, community-driven project. Questions also arose as to why Persona failed to take off, and whether Mozilla should have managed the project differently.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Why I love hacking at LibreOffice

      The LibreOffice codebase is, to be frank, messy. This isn’t a criticism of previous developers – it’s still an amazing product and an amazing feat of programming given the number of platforms it runs on. The StarView guys, and later OpenOffice.org development team, did a great job. For instance, I was reading up on the font mapping code and I often saw Herbert Duerr’s name, and I’ve got nothing but respect for the work that he did and his dedication to the project.

    • Way Down In The Libreoffice Menus

      With the release of LibreOffice 4.4 last year, we began making incremental updates to the main menus, with the major overhaul happening in the upcoming 5.1 release. The work is guided by LibreOffice’s new Human Interface Guideline (HIG), which has given us the core framework, however some questions have arisen challenging the reasoning of our work. So this post is a summary of what we changed, primarily focused on why we’ve done it – and a little outlook of what is planned for the future.

    • Update on Libreoffice and GNOME integration

      It’s been a long time I have talked about the project that I started with GSoC 2015 some time back. We reached at pretty much exciting results by the end of the summer where we could see the integration working pretty well with LibreOffice. We finished and merged all the major work on the Libreoffice side alongwith just-made-it-work integration with gnome-documents. Things were still in the development stage for gnome-documents, and we needed good amount of effort to get it merged upstream.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • EMC, Pivotal Launch New Program For Open-Source Development

      With an eye on the changing IT landscape, EMC and Pivotal launched a new program in Cambridge, Mass., focused on the development of open-source software and applications for the cloud.

      In Japanese, “dojo” means “the place of the way,” and EMC and Pivotal have named the center the Cloud Foundry dojo. Cloud Foundry is a Platform-as-a-Service offering centered around cloud-native application development.

    • Facebook open-sources Transform, a tool that cuts 360-degree video file size by 25%

      At its Video @Scale conference at company headquarters today, Facebook is announcing that it’s open-sourcing Transform, a piece of software it uses to stream users’ 360-degree videos in an efficient way.

  • BSD

    • Basis Of The Lumina Desktop Environment by Ken Moore

      The Lumina Desktop Environment is a new, BSD-licensed, graphical system environment which is designed primarily for BSD and UNIX-based operating systems. This focus on BSD systems results in a number of distinct differences in from the current collection of Linux-focused desktop environments, only one of which is independence from all the Linux-based system management frameworks.

    • Skylake x86 Target Finally Added To LLVM

      For whatever reason it didn’t come for many months until after Skylake CPUs shipped, but LLVM Git/SVN now has Skylake and its features added to the x86 target list.

      Elena Demikhovsky of Intel landed this weekend the Skylake x86 target in LLVM that exposes all of the various CPU instruction set extensions supported by these latest-generation processors. There is also the Skylake server processor class for those with AVX-512 support.

    • DragonFlyBSD Intel Graphics Driver Caught Up To Linux 4.1

      The DragonFlyBSD Intel DRM graphics driver sure is getting close to catching up against the upstream Intel Linux graphics driver with the mainline kernel.

    • The Imaginary Linux Interview from Hell Part 1 [Ed: garbled mess]

  • Public Services/Government

    • Denmark evaluates eHealth solutions

      Denmark’s Digital Welfare Strategy 2013 – 2020 is managed by the Danish government, Local Government Denmark (LGDK) and Danish Regions. The aim is to increase the uptake of eHealth solutions, and increase the use of technology to improve welfare.

    • Spain expands its electronic Judicial network
    • Latvia’s authorities meet open technologists

      The smart city activities of Riga and the intelligent transport systems devised by Latvia’s state road department are two of the many topics in next week’s “Open Technologies and Smart Solutions” conference. The meeting on 28 January is organised by Latvia’s Open Technology Association (LATA).

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Space Agency Releases First Set of Files for the Open Source, 3D Printed Ultrascope Explorer Plus

      If there’s one field you wouldn’t expect to utilize crowdsourcing, it would be space exploration. However, that’s pretty much what the Open Space Agency (OSA) does. Founded by entrepreneur James Parr, OSA has created a network of amateur citizen scientists to supplement the work of the professional space agencies – or even create their own space programs – right from their backyards. At the heart of the collective is the Ultrascope, a robotic telescope, or automated robotic observatory, controlled by a smartphone.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open source textbooks should be the future

        Like many businesses, there are economies of scale in publishing. A book that only sells 1000 copies a year will necessarily be expensive. But how many people are going to take a class in introductory calculus this year? What about psychology or health? They have to number in the tens of thousands, if not higher. There are also some fields where knowledge or convention changes so rapidly that books must be constantly updated. But the state of the art in introductory calculus hasn’t changed a whole lot since Isaac Newton. There’s no defensible reason that most books, especially ones for introductory classes, should be so expensive. It seems to me, that purchasing textbooks is a classic principal-agent problem. Professors select their classes’ book and students are essentially obliged to purchase them. Value for money is usually not a central concern, and this lets publishers set essentially whatever prices they so desire.

  • Programming

    • An open letter to GitHub, the new Brave browser, and more news

      Many developers working on open source projects choose to put their code on GitHub. By doing so, they use—and depend on—many of this platform’s features, including support. According to The Register, more than 1,100 developers recently sent an open letter to GitHub about the lack of support. In response, GitLab, another code repository unrelated to GitHub, wrote a letter to developers about how they strive to help large and small open source projects use GitLab.


  • More Indians Died Taking Selfies Than Anywhere Else In The World

    Until now, at least, 27 “selfie-related” deaths have been reported around the world last year, out of which around half of the deaths occurred in India.

  • Science

    • History of Computer: From First Generation Of Computer To Third Generation

      Story of the history of computer from a mechanical device to smartphones in modern days computing — how the history of computer saw the replacement of different mechanical parts with electrical ones and then eventually with electronic ICs and Microprocessors — everything in detail.

    • New prime number discovery breaks record at 22 million digits

      Prime numbers, which can only be divisible by themselves, are presumably infinite. However, the higher you count, the fewer and farther between prime numbers are.

      The previous highest known prime number held the record for nearly three years. On January 25, 2013, 2 to the power of 57,885,161 minus 1, a figure 17,425,170 digits long, was announced by Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Flint hospital reports finding Legionnaires’ bacteria in water

      A hospital in Flint, Michigan, reported Friday that low levels of Legionnaires’ disease bacteria were discovered in its water system.

      The discovery came after the city switched its water supply and the medical staff noticed an increase in people coming in for treatment who were diagnosed with Legionnaires,’ McLaren Hospital said.

      Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory bacterial infection usually spread through mist that comes from a water source.

    • Michigan’s top environmental officer has pledged to work with the US Environmental Protection Agency to ensure the safety of Flint’s drinking water, but is challenging the legality and scope of some federal demands
    • Anger in Michigan Over Appointing Emergency Managers

      In the spring of 2013, Detroit was groaning under the weight of its troubles. It had accumulated billions in debt, was riddled with crime and had seen much of its affluent tax base disappear. A former mayor, Kwame M. Kilpatrick, was convicted of racketeering and fraud.

      Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, swept in with a rescue plan: the appointment of an emergency manager, Kevyn D. Orr, who was charged with saving a city in fiscal despair. Many Detroiters were furious that Mr. Orr, then a high-profile bankruptcy lawyer from Chevy Chase, Md., had been given a role with extraordinary power, usurping control from local elected officials.

      That anger has been revived in Michigan this week. Public outrage over the tainted water in Flint and the decrepit schools in Detroit has led many people to question whether the state has overreached in imposing too many emergency managers in largely black jurisdictions.

    • The Contempt That Poisoned Flint’s Water

      Even before the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, was found to be tainted with lead—before water from some areas tested at more than twice the level considered to be toxic waste, and public-health officials said that every last child in the city should be treated as if the child had been poisoned—the governor’s office knew that the water was discolored, tasted bad, smelled strange, and was rife with “organic matter.” They knew, as one memo sent to Governor Rick Snyder in February, 2015, noted, that “residents have attended meetings with jugs of brownish water.” Officials figured that a reason it looked that way was the presence of rust. And they thought that was just fine. They wished, in fact, that the residents would realize how good they had it, when it came to the water’s substance, and stop complaining about its style. Various safe-water laws, the February memo said, “ensure that water is safe to drink. The act does not regulate aesthetic values of water.” The “aesthetics” (the word comes up several times in e-mails about Flint, which the governor released Tuesday night under pressure) were bad because “it’s the Flint River”; “the system is old”; “Flint is old”—the water, in a word, fit their picture of the city, in which about forty per cent of its hundred thousand people lived below the poverty line (and more than half are black). Until April, 2014, Flint had been part of Detroit’s water system, which had Lake Huron as its source. It was scheduled to be connected to a new pipeline in 2016 or 2017, which would save money; Flint is in such desperate financial straits that it was under the oversight of an Emergency Manager. When that manager felt he couldn’t negotiate a low enough price for Detroit water in the interim, the city was left with the option of drinking from the river that ran by it, and past its active and derelict factories, and had been last regularly used decades before. The city would treat the water itself. All the city had to do was pass a few tests; as long as it did, it didn’t matter if the residents were, in effect, drinking dirt. But then, almost immediately, the water began to fail the tests. In August, 2014, and again that September, the water was found to have unacceptably high levels of fecal coliform bacteria, and specifically E. coli. Certain neighborhoods were instructed to boil their water, while the city added chlorine to the supply to disinfect it. It took a lot of chlorine—and that may be where Flint’s troubles really began. (NBC has a timeline of the crisis.) The city’s water managers, unaccountably, seem not to have added any anti-corrosion agents to the water. Nor did they check for corrosion issues in a way they ought to have for a city Flint’s size. (In a remarkable memo a year later, Brad Wurfel, the spokesman of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, said that the staff had “made a mistake,” and followed the wrong protocol.) By October, 2014, General Motors had announced that it would no longer use the water, because it was corroding its equipment. It was also—and this should have been entirely predictable—eating into the lead pipes that delivered the water to people’s homes, causing them to crumble into the water. Flint is old, and its water system took decades to build. It took only months of cheap, corrosive water to mangle and perhaps permanently destroy it.

    • GCHQ-developed Phone Security Contains Backdoor
    • How can Indonesia extinguish its forest fires for good?

      In recent months, Indonesia has again come under the international spotlight for a problem that has dogged the country for more than two decades – haze resulting from uncontrolled and sometimes uncontrollable land fires.

      The last two major El Niño seasons – in 1997 and 2015 – elevated haze into a regional issue. Politicians struggled to find a balance between soothing domestic outrage and risking foreign relations fallout with Indonesia.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Canada shootings: Four killed in Saskatchewan

      Four people have been killed and several injured in shootings in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan, police say.

    • If you’re so tough, “go fight ISIS”: Bill Maher blasts Bundy siege’s “wackadoodle militiamen”

      The armed right-wing extremists who’ve taken over a federal building at a wildlife refuge in Oregon just keep digging themselves into an even deeper hole with their past unlawful indiscretions coming home to roost. It seems the government’s idea to wait them out has turned them into an even bigger joke than they already are. So, of course, Bill Maher took them to task on Friday’s “Real Time: New Rules.”

      “They keep on promising to ‘occupy that building until… well, we’re not really sure,’” Maher mocked the disorganized cult of stupidity. “And they’re not sure, something about ‘redneck lives matter.’”

  • Finance

    • Hillary Clinton Laughs When Asked if She Will Release Transcripts of Her Goldman Sachs Speeches

      After Hillary Clinton spoke at a town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday, I asked her if she would release the transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. She laughed and turned away.

      Clinton has recently been on the defensive about the speaking fees she and her husband have collected. Those fees total over $125 million since 2001.

      Her rival Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, has raised concerns in particular over the $675,000 she made from Goldman Sachs, an investment bank that has regularly used its influence with government officials to win favorable policies.

    • How bitcoin tech could spark a revolution in government services

      The bitcoin digital currency is underpinned by a distributed ledger based on block chain technology: in this case the distributed bitcoin ledger ensures that the bitcoins are authentic. But the basic block chain approach can also be modified to incorporate rules, smart contracts, and digital signatures, which could make it a handy tool for government services.

    • Here is how TTIP threatens small businesses in the UK

      As an entrepreneur, I know how difficult it can be to set up and run a successful business. To do this against a backdrop of the biggest companies in the world having an unfair advantage is a sure-fire way to threaten our vibrant business sector.

      This is just one of the many reasons why the EU-US trade deal TTIP is a major threat to small and medium-sized business in the UK and Europe. And that’s why I’ve joined with other British business owners to launch the initiative, Business Against TTIP.

  • Censorship

    • The art of self-censorship

      There is a passage in Milan Kundera’s novel, The Joke, in which a young man sends a card to his girlfriend, and adds a funny comment about the communist regime of Czechoslovakia. The authorities intercept the letter, search for the sender and put him behind the bar. The author uses this fictitious incident to denote how the state with its all seriousness cannot take a joke.

  • Privacy

    • New tools for teaching and learning Email Self-Defense

      For starters, we’ve added a page to help you teach your friends and community what you’ve learned. We’ve also made a number of improvements in the guide itself, including clarifying many technical points and updating it to reflect changes in the software. We’ve expanded the troubleshooting sections by adding links to external resources, so that you can get alternative explanations of the steps, if you find that helpful. There are also new, advanced sections so that skilled users, as well as beginners, can learn something new.

    • What is Privacy?

      Privacy is a basic human emotion like love, aspiration, empathy, and understanding. It’s what we feel when we lock the restroom door, it’s what we feel when we lay back on the couch with a good book, it’s what we feel when we close our eyes on the warm beach and just have a little moment completely to ourselves.

    • Should Intelligence Whistleblowers Be Protected?

      Employees seeking to report wrongdoing are safeguarded across all federal agencies—but the process for doing so in the classified intelligence community can be dangerous.

    • John McAfee: “Obama Administration Doesn’t Know The Meaning Of Privacy”

      The maker of McAfee antivirus and privacy advocate John McAfee is again in the headlines. In his latest op-ed, he stresses upon the need of encryption, calling it a necessity. Bashing the governments who demand restrictions on encryption measures, he says that Obama administration lacks the real understanding of privacy.

    • The NSA Can Spy On You With Or Without Encryption

      The leaders controlling the US surveillance apparatus can’t agree on encryption. FBI Director Comey has hysterically characterised it as a safe haven for evil-doers. A high-ranking Department of Justice official insisted that encryption could cause a child to die. Meanwhile, the National Security Agency’s leaders are extremely chill about encryption — which is terrifying.

      “Encryption is foundational to the future,” NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers said in a speech today. “So spending time arguing about ‘hey, encryption is bad and we ought to do away with it’ … that’s a waste of time to me,” he continued.

      That sounds nice and reasonable, right? Rogers isn’t going on a rogue stand for privacy, though. He’s maintaining a status quo. NSA Directors haven’t really given a shit about encryption for a while. And while it’s less annoying than Comey’s fear-mongering, the NSA’s relaxed attitude is worth treating with suspicion.

    • No, NSA Has Not Changed Stance on Encryption

      If you tuned into a talk by Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C., this week, you might think the NSA had begun to change its tune about encryption—the technology favored by Apple and its Silicon Valley brethren to scramble users’ data and communications (much to criminal investigators’ chagrin), making them unintelligible to spies and hackers alike.

    • Interactive Advertising Bureau Bars Adblock Plus From Conference, When It Should Be Listening To Them

      Ad blocking and the software that powers it seems to be in the news lately, and for all the wrong reasons. Recently, several prominent sites have attacked ad blockers in several different ways, ranging from lawsuits on the extreme end down to simply withholding content. These attempts are all misguided in the same way, however, in that they attack the software that readers find useful rather than attacking the core problem that makes users turn to ad blockers in the first place: incredibly crappy and occasionally downright dangerous advertising inventory.

      One would think that websites and online advertisers would have much to learn from the providers of ad blockers. It seems there is little appetite for education amongst them, however, as we’ve recently learned that the Interactive Advertising Bureau has flat out barred Adblock Plus from its annual conference.

    • NSA Takes Pro-Encryption Stance: Can It Spy On Your Encrypted Data?

      The National Security Agency (NSA) is easing its stance on encrypted data. The agency’s director Mike Rogers shared his thoughts on the ongoing debate surrounding encryption and revealed that the NSA is now in favor of encrypted data.

    • GCHQ to stage a cyber careers event for women in Birmingham [Ed: GCHQ femmewashing]
  • Civil Rights

    • Senate Intelligence Committee Members Ask White House For Official Apology From CIA For Hacking Senate Computers

      The White House and CIA have yet to comment on the letter and there’s nothing in the history of the incident that suggests either will move forward on this. Obama’s on short time and the CIA already cleared itself of all wrongdoing with an in-house “investigation” and further showed its disdain for independent oversight by throwing its Inspector General and his report on the spying efforts under the bus.

      Jason Leopold and Vice obtained hundreds of documents through FOIA requests that appeared to show the opposite of what the CIA’s internal investigation claimed. But it was the CIA that had the last word, proclaiming itself innocent and simultaneously accusing Senate staffers of improperly accessing restricted documents.

      But the most damning document — at least in the context of a demand for an official apology from the CIA — was the apology the agency unofficially disavowed when it cleared itself of hacking allegations.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • TRAI Open House on Net Neutrality

      By some miracle, I was in Delhi, and was able to attend the open house. The telcos made a huge pitch for differential pricing at the TRAI Open House on Net Neutrality, but civil society and the Save The Internet coalition and others argued that the Internet cannot be regulated like telecom networks because users on the Internet are both content creators and consumers.

    • The FCC Should Ensure Digital Rights for Prisoners and Their Families

      But from the perspective of inmates and their friends and family, these new technologies often do not result in stronger lines of communication at all. Some prison officials use the technology to justify restricting in-person visitation or traditional mail. Many communications services are offered under unfair terms and with artificially inflated fees that are only possible because the services operate monopolies at each prison or jail. In addition, users of these systems face potential privacy violations, as illustrated by the recent Securus data breach of more than 70-million prisoner phone calls.

    • Facebook and India: Introducing a digital caste system

      All societies share rich commons, the cultural and material resources shared by all, and owned equally by either everyone or no one. The air we can freely breathe, the sun that shines on us all. We once shared land too, but the development of small landholding enclosures created private property.

      Now there’s a looming enclosure of the digital commons, with Facebook threatening to capture the future of India’s internet. Its ‘Free Basics’ service threatens to limit free access to the digital sphere.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • The Academy Bullied CNN Into Including Trademark Icon For ‘Oscars’ On Its Crawl For Some Reason

        Usually when we talk about the Oscars behaving badly about intellectual property, it has to do with either its combat against film piracy or its rather stunning tradition of facilitating it. What’s clear in most of those stories, though, is that when the Motion Picture Academy decides to sink its collective teeth into something, it is bulldog-ish in its unwillingness to let it go. It seems that this is the case on matters of trademark, as well. Unimaginably petty trademark matters.

    • Copyrights

      • Creative Kids Turn MIT Website Into a ‘Piracy’ Haven

        In recent weeks the music industry has started to target the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) website over tens of thousands of copyright infringements. The deviant behavior doesn’t come from typical pirates though, but from children using the Scratch project to share ‘their’ creative expressions.

      • Fair Use Economics: How Fair Use Makes Innovation Possible and Profitable

        Just over 30 years ago, the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Sony v. Universal City Studios (usually referred to as the Sony/Betamax case), clearing the way for a technology company to sells its products (Betamaxes, and by extension, VCRs) even though they could potentially be used for infringing purposes. After all, the court reasoned, customers also deployed their VCRs to engage in non-infringing fair uses, such as recording soap operas to watch after work. If a product was capable of “substantial noninfringing uses,” the fact that it could also be used for unlawful purposes shouldn’t be enough to force it off the market (and/or require its maker to pay millions in damages).

      • “Notice-and-Stay-Down” Is Really “Filter-Everything”

        There’s a debate happening right now over copyright bots, programs that social media websites use to scan users’ uploads for potential copyright infringement. A few powerful lobbyists want copyright law to require platforms that host third-party content to employ copyright bots, and require them to be stricter about what they take down. Big content companies call this nebulous proposal “notice-and-stay-down,” but it would really keep all users down, not just alleged infringers. In the process, it could give major content platforms like YouTube and Facebook an unfair advantage over competitors and startups (as if they needed any more advantages). “Notice-and-stay-down” is really “filter-everything.”

      • Digital Freedom Depends on the Right to Tinker

        One of the most crucial issues in the fight for digital freedom is the question of who will control the hardware that you have in your home, in your pocket, or in your own body.

        Have you ever been frustrated when a beloved feature was taken away in an update? Or felt helpless to prevent the apps on your phone from oversharing your personal data with advertisers? Or had to pay through the nose for proprietary cartridges of ink or 3D printing material? Or found that your independent repair shop wasn’t allowed to fix your car or appliance? If so, then you’ve experienced a small—but accumulating—frustration of losing of control over your stuff.

      • We’ll Probably Never Free Mickey, But That’s Beside the Point

        Mickey Mouse is synonymous with copyright term extension, and with good reason. Every time the first Mickey cartoons creep towards the public domain, Disney’s powerful lobbyists spring into action, lobbying Congress for a retrospective term-extension on copyright, which means that works that have already been created are awarded longer copyright terms. In the USA, copyright law is supposed to serve an incentive to make new works, and there’s no sensible way that getting a longer copyright on something you’ve already made can provide an incentive to do anything except lobby for more copyright, and sue people who want to make something new out of your creation.

      • Singer Sues Google For Not Asking Her Permission To Use A Licensed Song In Its Cell Phone Commercial

        Darlene Love, the voice on the Phil Spector-produced hit “He’s A Rebel,” is suing Google and its ad producer, 72 & Sunny, for violating her publicity rights by using a song she recorded in one of its ads without her permission.

        The lawsuit seems to revolve around California’s much-maligned “right of publicity” law, which allows plaintiffs to sue entities for using pretty much anything about them, rather than just for bog standard copyright infringement.


Links 23/1/2016: New Kali Linux, Google Teams with Red Hat

Posted in News Roundup at 12:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Opinion: Open source for all mankind

    Thankfully there’s a better way. Whether in reference to technology or a political ideology, open source is about self-determination. It’s about individuals developing products and projects, taking responsibility and being open to criticism and change. It fosters a healthy, meritocratic ecosystem of shared, mutually improving ideas. Crucially, the open-source attitude manifests a level of respect and equality between developer and user, government and citizen.

  • Verizon Joins ONOS Open-Source SDN Project

    Verizon is the latest major service provider to join the ONOS open-source network virtualization initiative, joining other carriers like AT&T, NTT Communications, China Unicom and SK Telecom in the effort.

    Verizon officials said Jan. 21 that they joined the ONOS (Open Network Operating System) in hopes of accelerating the development of open-source software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) offerings that their company and other carriers can use.

  • How getting started in open source can help your career

    When contributing to open source projects and communities, one of the many benefits is that you can improve your tech skills. In this article, hear from three contributors on how their open source helped them get a job or improved their career.

  • Verizon Joins the ONOS Project Partnership
  • Verizon Looks to ONOS for Faster Transformation
  • NFV/SDN Reality Check: ONOS project updates open source SDN progress – Episode 44
  • Verizon Becomes Newest Telecom to Join ONOS Open Source SDN Project
  • Verizon Joins ONOS SDN Partnership
  • ONOS Delivers Astounding Adoption and Momentum among its Community of Service Providers and Innovators
  • Verizon joins ONOS project partnership
  • Verizon hooks up with ONOS project, joining AT&T, SK Telecom
  • Verizon signs up for ONOS Project
  • Verizon joins AT&T, others at ONOS project in boost to open source SDN
  • Verizon Joins ONOS
  • Telecom Providers Worldwide Are Flocking to NFV Plus OpenStack

    As this year began, we spotted a lot of action from telecom players and the open source community surrounding Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technology. Red Hat and NEC Corporation said that they formed a partnership to develop NFV features in he OpenStack cloud computing platform, with the goal of delivering carrier-grade solutions based on Red Hat’s OpenStack build.

    Telecom companies have traditionally had a lot of proprietary tools in the middle and at the basis of their technology stacks. NFV is an effort to combat that, and to help the parallel trends of virtualization and cloud computing stay as open as possible. Now, The OpenStack Foundation has released a comprehensive report on the adoption and business cases driving NFV deployment among the world’s leading telecom providers. Titled “OpenStack Foundation Report: Accelerating NFV Delivery with OpenStack,” the report paints a bright future for NFV with close ties to the OpenStack cloud platform.

  • Google Open Sources Dataflow Analytics Code through Apache Incubator

    Google is open-sourcing more code by contributing Cloud Dataflow to the Apache Software Foundation. The move, a first for Google, opens new cloud-based data analytics options and integration opportunities for big data companies.

    Cloud Dataflow is a platform for processing large amounts of data in the cloud. It features an open source, Java-based SDK, which makes it easy to integrate with other cloud-centric analytics and Big Data tools.

  • ONOS project updates open source SDN progress on 1-year anniversary
  • Plerd: A Dropbox-friendly Markdown blog platform

    Jason McIntosh had a problem: He’d gotten out of the habit of writing long-form blog posts. A decade before, he’d been a regular on LiveJournal, but that platform is getting a little long in the tooth, and he wanted something that was more in line with his current writing habits. As a fan of Markdown, he wanted something where he could just drop Markdown files in a spot, and the blog would be built from those.

  • Events

    • 11 steps to running an online community meeting

      Open organizations explicitly invite participation from external communities, because these organizations know their products and programs are world class only if they include a variety of perspectives at all phases of development. Liaising with and assisting those communities is critical. And community calls are my favorite method for interacting with stakeholders both inside and outside an organization. In this article, I’ll share best practices for community calls and talk a little about how they can spur growth.

    • SCALE 14X Thursday: New Morning in Pasadena

      A SCALE staple is PostgreSQL Days, which have taken place for years at the Southern California event. This year it’s a two-day, two-track event of sessions designed for a general audience of web developers, sysadmins, DBAs and open source users. As usual, talks will have significant technical content. For those of you keeping score at home, PostgreSQL is a powerful, open source object-relational database system, with more than 30 years of active development and a proven architecture that has earned it a strong reputation for reliability, data integrity, and correctness.

      The cherry atop the SCALE 14X sundae on Thursday, as you might expect, comes in the evening when FOSS raconteur Bryan Lunduke brings his humorous “Linux Sucks” presentation, this time accompanied by a live broadcast and a book, to SCALE. Give him an hour, he says, and he’ll prove it.

    • IoT Summit: An Opportunity to Learn What Open Source Can Offer IoT

      The Eclipse IoT community has grown significantly over the last 1-2 years. There are now 20+ Eclipse IoT projects building open source technology for IoT solutions. We are well on our way to providing the key building blocks developers need to build IoT solutions.

    • Drupal Higher-Ed Summit

      We are pleased to announce that we are bringing the First Drupal Higher-Ed Summit to Mumbai this 18th Feb 2016. The event focuses on the Drupal and Open Source in Education.

    • Meet Guix at FOSDEM!

      One week to FOSDEM! This year, there will be no less than six Guix-related talks. This and the fact that we are addressing different communities is exciting.

    • SCaLE 14x, day 1: Shuttleworth delivers the grand vision for Ubuntu

      Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE) 14x in kicked off yesterday, January 21. The highlight of the was a keynote by Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth at UbuCon Summit, a co-hosted event at SCaLE 14x.

      Some technical issues with the projector at the beginning of Shuttleworth’s presentation led him to quip that Ubuntu is “moving so fast that we have warped the colors on the screen.”

    • SCALE 14X: Making the Mark and Getting Ready for Doctorow

      One of the drawbacks of having to work a show like SCALE is that I don’t get to go to enough sessions while I’m here. As the traffic cop at the intersection of old and new media, it’s my job to marshal the publicity team’s forces into taking the information happening at the show and then processing it for the wider public consumption.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox OS

        Firefox OS has demonstrated that it’s a very flexible platform. It has the potential to run on a wide range of devices, such as TVs and IoT gadgets. As long as Mozilla can find some persuasive use cases for manufacturers, it has a good chance of making an impact in these emerging fields.

      • Announcing Rust 1.6

        Hello 2016! We’re happy to announce the first Rust release of the year, 1.6. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

        As always, you can install Rust 1.6 from the appropriate page on our website, and check out the detailed release notes for 1.6 on GitHub. About 1100 patches were landed in this release.

      • Rust Lang 1.6 Stabilizes Libraries

        The Mozilla-backed crew working on the Rust programming language announced the release today of Rust v1.6 as their first new version of 2016.

      • Former Mozilla CEO reveals Brave, a browser that speeds up the Web by blocking all ads

        Brendan Eich, co-founder of Mozilla and for an 11-day stint, its CEO, yesterday announced a new browser called “Brave,” that blocks outside online ads and ad tracking.

        Brave, which was at version 0.7—denoting its under-construction and fit-for-developers-and-other-strong-hearts-only status—is for Windows and OS X on the desktop, iOS and Android on mobile. The browser does not have a final code launch date or one for a public preview. Users may sign up for notification when betas become available.

        In a post to the browser’s website, Eich, Brave’s CEO and president, touted the new browser’s model, which rests on blocking ads and all other tracking techniques used by websites to pinpoint their visitors and show them online advertisements.

      • WebGL Can Be Moved Off The Main Thread With Latest Firefox

        With Firefox 44 and newer it will be possible to move the WebGL rendering work off the main processing thread.

        With Firefox 44 when setting the gfx.offscreencanvas.enabled option, it’s possible to move the WebGL rendering work off the main thread and to allow for the alternative thread(s) to change what is displayed to the user. “This API is the first that allows a thread other than the main thread to change what is displayed to the user. This allows rendering to progress no matter what is going on in the main thread…Developers will now be able to render to the screen without blocking on the main thread, thanks to the new OffscreenCanvas API. There’s still more work to do with getting requestAnimationFrame on Workers. I was able to port existing WebGL code to run in a worker in a few minutes. For comparison, see animation.html vs. animation-worker.html and worker.js.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Why open source is the ‘new normal’ for big data

      As a provider of integration technologies for that platform, Talend has placed a significant bet of its own on Hadoop, Spark, and open source in general, so Tuchen’s enthusiasm isn’t exactly surprising. Talend offers products focused on big data, cloud and application integration, among others, and all are based on open-source software.

      Still, Talend’s bet seems to be paying off. The company will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, and it claims big-name customers like GE, Citi, Lufthansa, Orange and Virgin Mobile. It’s also in the middle of a major expansion. At the end of 2015, it was selling its products in five countries; by end of this year, it will be selling in 15, Tuchen said. Making that happen will mean hiring about 200 new people, he said, bringing the company’s total head count to about 750.

  • Databases

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • And So It Begins! Microsoft Asks Node.js to Allow ChakraCore (Edge) Alongside Google’s V8 Engine

      Microsoft has submitted an official “pull request” (term used on GitHub for merging two pieces of code) to the Node.js project, through which it’s asking the project’s maintainers to enable support for ChakraCore, the JavaScript engine packed inside Microsoft’s Edge browser.

    • EMC reinvigorated: Automation, open-source and versatile integration

      As the calendar rolls on into 2016, the buzz around the Dell-EMC merger has slightly diminished, but EMC’s activity behind the media relations has in no way cut its workload. With its presence in dozens of countries continuing to grow and a wide array of IT development opening up new avenues for it each day, the merger seems to have EMC’s activity reinvigorated.

    • Bloomberg releases API and online tools to boost open source FIGI [Ed: no source code AFAICT]

      Bloomberg is adding new features to increase the accessibility of its FIGI open source financial instrument identification system. The new online tools are intended to make it easier for instrument issuers to request identifiers and for exchanges, data providers, custodians and others to map other third-party identifiers to FIGI.


  • Licensing

    • No single license to success

      OSI (Open Source Initiative) has tracked many licenses and approved some as well, maintaining a list of the nine most widely used and popular. Each license has its unique requirements and benefits from the reciprocity of GPL (GNU General Public License) to the permissive MIT. Each has its strong proponents and opponents. Some feel that without GPL’s compulsion human greed will end open source as we know it. Others feel that freedom is the key to success and such compulsion hinders creative use.

      The reality is that the strength of open source is in its diversity, including a diversity of licenses. No single license has been nor will be the pivotal point to open source success. License diversity is very evident from the data gathered by the Black Duck Knowledgebase. A quick view of the top 20 licenses used in open source projects today shows an even spread.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Idealist: Aaron Swartz And The Rise Of Free Culture On The Internet

      Two weeks ago, our book of choice was a collection of Aaron Swartz’s writings. And this week, it’s a new book by Justin Peters not only about Swartz, but also about the rise of free culture online, putting Swartz’s ideas and actions into context, called The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet. I have to admit that I had no idea this book had even come out until I heard a wonderful interview with Peters over on On the Media (and, for what it’s worth, in a separate podcast, OTM’s Brooke Gladstone said that the interview was so good that they struggled to figure out how to edit it down — so I wonder if they’ll release an even longer version as a “podcast extra.”)


  • How this blogger became one of the most influential voices in tech policy

    In May 2003, the legal website The Smoking Gun posted a short item titled “Barbra Sues Over Aerial Photos.” Kenneth Adelman, an environmentalist who takes aerial photographs of California’s coastline for the benefit of scientists and researchers, had inadvertently captured an image of singer and actress Barbra Streisand’s home. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleged that by posting the image to his website, Adelman had provided a “road map into her residence” and “clearly [identified] those routes that could be used to enter her property.” On page 9 of the lawsuit it states that “there is no telling how many people have downloaded the photograph of [Streisand’s] property and residence on their computer.”

    In the coming weeks it would emerge that, up until the lawsuit was filed, the image of Streisand’s house had only been accessed six times, two of which were by her lawyers. And because of the engendered press from the lawsuit, it was then visited more than 420,000 times in just the first month after it was filed. Not only did Streisand later lose the lawsuit, but it had produced the very result her lawyers had set out to avoid: drawing attention to her property.

  • Call Of Duty Again Sued Over Another Historical Figure… Who Is A Good Guy In The Game

    You may recall that Activision’s Call of Duty games have already been the subject of a lawsuit by a historical figure. Previously, notorious figure Manuel Noriega brought a publicity rights case against the game company in the United States, claiming that the game depicted him without his permission. Pretty much everyone agreed that Activision was on solid First Amendment grounds in depicting a historical figure, including Rudy Giuliani, who galloped in to represent Activision and quickly got the case summarily dismissed.

  • Happy Bier-thday: German beer purity law celebrates 500yrs

    Raise a stein to Germany’s famous beer purity law known as “das Reinheitsgebot” as it celebrates its 500th birthday this year.

    What started out as an order in the duchy of Munich became Bavaria’s law of the land on April 23, 1516, after reunification.

    In 1871 Bavaria insisted on national acceptance before unification with Germany, ending the market for beer from Northern Germany which contained spices and cherries.

  • How new money has ruined Sesame Street

    Over on Showtime, a new show called Billions just got going in which Damian Lewis plays hedge-fund manager Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, with Paul Giamatti as the US attorney eyeing Axelrod for insider trading. The obvious characterisation would have been to make Axelrod a villain, the embodiment of the world’s intolerance for financiers. Instead, he is a sympathetic version of an Alan Sugar type, a kid from the wrong side of the tracks made good. Perhaps his psychopathy will emerge, but for now the show has pulled off a very tough feat and made one root for the billionaire.

  • How I ended up paying $150 for a single 60GB download from Amazon Glacier

    In late 2012, I decided that it was time for my last remaining music CDs to go. Between MacBook Airs and the just-introduced MacBook Pro with Retina Display, ours had suddenly become a CD-player-free household.

  • Science

    • BLOG: Embracing foreign investment in homegrown high-tech may help Japan build an IP value creation culture

      We learned yesterday that Taiwan’s Foxconn (otherwise known as Hon Hai) has offered to pay as much as $5.3 billion to take over Japan’s struggling Sharp, potentially trumping a possible rescue package being put together by public-private technology-focused investment fund Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ). This is the latest in a series of actual and rumoured attempts made by Foxconn to gain a foothold in the ailing Japanese company – underlining just how valuable Sharp’s IP assets and other intangibles are considered to be, not just to for the wellbeing of Japanese industry, but for foreign players too.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • They Tell Us Nothing But Lies — Paul Craig Roberts

      Litvinenko’s brother and father say that they “are sure that the Russian authorities are not involved. It’s all a set-up to put pressure on the Russian government.” Maksim Litvinenko dismisses the British report as a smear on Putin.

    • Petraeus: ‘It’s Time to Unleash America’s Airpower in Afghanistan’

      To begin, Petraeus’ statement that airpower in 2001 “ousted the Taliban,” a statement made without apparent irony, would be hilarious if it was not utterly tragic. Petraeus seems to have missed a few meetings, at which he would have learned that since those victories in 2001 the Taliban has been doing just fine, thanks. The U.S. has remained inside the Afghan quagmire for more than 14 more years, and currently has no end game planned for the war. Air power, with or without “a motivated and competent ground force” (as if such a thing can ever exist in Afghanistan, we’ve been training and equipping there for 14 years), never is enough. There are examples to draw from going back into WWI.

    • Afghanistan Bans Toy Guns to Curb Culture of Violence

      This one’s so funny that it must be some kind of U.S.-led initiative; I can’t believe the Afghans have this kind of a sense of humor.

      But whatever the origin, Afghanistan banned the sale of imitation Kalashnikovs and other toy guns after they caused injuries to more than 100 people during the last Eid celebrations. Children toting toy guns that fire rubber or plastic pellets are a common sight in the country during Eid al-Fitr, with sales surging every year amid festivities marking the end of Ramadan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • CMD Submits Evidence of ExxonMobil Funding ALEC’s Climate Change Denial to California Attorney General

      The Center for Media and Democracy, a national watchdog group exposing corporate influence on democracy, has submitted evidence to California Attorney General Kamala Harris showing how ExxonMobil has promoted climate change denial through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). CMD believes this information is relevant to her office’s investigation into whether ExxonMobil deceived its shareholders and the public about the impact that burning fossil fuels has on climate change.

      “ExxonMobil has bankrolled ALEC for decades and has a seat on ALEC’s corporate board, as ALEC has plied legislators with disinformation and denial about climate change and pushed legislation and resolutions to block crucial federal and state efforts to address the climate crisis,” said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice under both Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Janet Reno.

    • Haze crisis cost Indonesia almost 2% of GDP, World Bank says

      Forest fires in Indonesia last year cost the country at least $16 billion in economic losses, equivalent to 1.9 percent of its gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.

    • Indonesia’s Fires Blamed For Potent Greenhouse Gases

      Indonesian fires that are expected to flare up again in the coming months may affect temperatures far away from the nation’s watery borders.

      Carbon dioxide and methane from the fires is already known to be accelerating global warming, and new research is linking high levels of another potent greenhouse gas with forest and peat fires in Indonesia and elsewhere.

    • Land-clearing fires cost Indonesia lives and $16 billion last year—and they’re starting again

      This week Indonesian president Joko Widodo warned that forest fires are once again starting to appear in the country, and called upon citizens to avoid a repeat of last year’s haze crisis, described by some as a “crime against humanity.” During that months-long disaster, large areas of Southeast Asia were smothered in toxic smoke, forcing school closures, flight cancellations, and respiratory problems (even deaths in some cases). The haze was caused by fires sparked to cheaply clear land for agricultural uses, especially palm oil.

  • Finance

    • Canada may “scrub” CETA rule allowing corporations to sue governments but we’ll keep it in the TPP?

      Remind us why this is supposed to be a good idea?

      The Government of Canada appears to be tiptoeing away from a controversial provision in a new trade deal with the European Union at the same time as they’re plowing ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes a similarly controversial provision.

      According to CBC News, Canada and the EU are quietly discussing how to “scrub” a clause from CETA (the “Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement” between Canada and the EU) that would allow multinational corporations to sue governments for passing laws that get in the way of their business interests.

    • Dangerous Regulatory Duet

      How transatlantic regulatory cooperation under TTIP will allow bureaucrats and big business to attack the public interest

    • Graft allegations hit ally of Japan PM

      A Japanese minister who was the country’s top negotiator for a huge trans-Pacific trade deal was accused of corruption on Thursday, piling pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of parliamentary elections this year.

      Weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun claimed that Economy and Fiscal Policy Minister Akira Amari, who also serves as Japan’s chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and his staff accepted a 12 million yen ($102,000) “bribe” from a construction firm.

      The allegations against a key ally of the prime minister come ahead of upper house elections in July and as the government looks to ratify the TPP, a massive multi-nation deal of which Japan has been a key player.

    • 10 textbook firms rewarded 4,000 officials

      Ten textbook publishing companies showed a total of about 4,000 teachers and other officials textbooks under screening, and gave cash or book vouchers — or both — to each of them after fiscal 2009, with the cash worth ¥3,000 to ¥50,000, according to a survey by the education ministry, details of which were announced Friday.

    • Google to pay UK £130m in back taxes
    • Google agrees £130m UK tax deal with HMRC

      Google has agreed to pay £130m in back taxes after an “open audit” of its accounts by the UK tax authorities.

      The company had been accused of “not paying its fair share” of tax, and criticised for complex tax structures.

      Senior figures at the technology company have said that they want to draw a line under the issue.

    • Poverty may alter the wiring of kids’ brains

      Growing up poor is known to leave lasting impressions, from squashing IQ potential to increasing risks of depression. Now, as part of an effort to connect the dots between those outcomes and identify the developmental differences behind them, researchers have found that poverty actually seems to change the way the brain wires up.

      Compared to kids in higher socioeconomic brackets, impoverished little ones were more likely to have altered functional connections between parts of the brain. Specifically, the changes affected the connections from areas involved in memory and stress responses to those linked to emotional control. The finding, appearing in The American Journal of Psychiatry, suggests that poor kids may have trouble regulating their own emotional responses, which may help explain poverty’s well-established link to depression and other negative mood disorders.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • US experts gird Finnish officials for information war

      Behind closed doors, about 100 Finnish state officials have this week been undergoing training in American-style management of public information. The most concrete advice they’ve received from US lecturers? Avoid repeating false claims.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Leaked Savile report: Paedophile ‘could be lurking undiscovered in the BBC’

      A PAEDOPHILE could still be lurking undiscovered at the BBC according to a leaked report which also claims the whistle blowing culture at the BBC is now “worse” than in sick Jimmy Savile’s time.

    • Another Lawmaker Is Trying To Create A Photography-Free Zone For Police Officers

      A former cop is trying to legislate some First Amendment-violating protection for his blue-clad brothers. Everyone’s carrying a camera these days and Arizona Senator John Kavanaugh wants them to be as far away as possible from police officers performing their public duties. Ken White (aka Popehat) summarizes the proposed legislation for FaultLines.

    • Body Cam Footage Leads To Federal Indictment Of Abusive Las Vegas Cop

      Body cameras are working as intended. Of course, this is a very limited sampling and the fact that anything happened at all to the abusive cop was reliant on him being either too stupid or too arrogant to shut his body-worn camera off.

    • How The UK’s Counter-Terrorism And Security Act Has Made Law Enforcement Into The Literal Grammar Police

      We’ve already talked a couple of times about the intersection with the UK’s disastrous Counter-Terrorism and Security Act and its intersection with the country’s educational system. As part of its effort to weed out terrorists, the UK tasked teachers with keeping a watchful eye on their students to try to identify those that would be radicalized in the future, a concept that sounds like something out of Airstrip One rather than England. Shortly thereafter it was discovered that a software package that teachers had been given to help with this was exploitable in the typically laughable ways. But the tech isn’t the only shortfall here. As one would expect when you take a group of people whose profession has in absolutely no way prepared them to act as counter-terrorism psychologists and ask them to be just that, it turns out that the human intelligence portion of this insane equation is off by several integers as well.

    • After FBI briefly ran Tor-hidden child-porn site, investigations went global

      In 2015, the FBI seized a Tor-hidden child-porn website known as Playpen and allowed it to run for 13 days so that the FBI could deploy malware in order to identify and prosecute the website’s users. That malware, known in FBI-speak as a “network investigative technique,” was authorized by a federal court in Virginia in February 2015.

      In a new revelation, Vice Motherboard has now determined that this operation had much wider berth. The FBI’s Playpen operation was effectively transformed into a global one, reaching Turkey, Colombia, and Greece, among others.

    • FBI “took over world’s biggest child porn website”

      The FBI took over the world biggest child pornography website in a sting operation intended to catch viewers of sexual images of children sometimes “barely old enough for kindergarten”, it has been revealed.

    • FBI ran website sharing thousands of child porn images

      For nearly two weeks last year, the FBI operated what it described as one of the Internet’s largest child pornography websites, allowing users to download thousands of illicit images and videos from a government site in the Washington suburbs.

      The operation — whose details remain largely secret — was at least the third time in recent years that FBI agents took control of a child pornography site but left it online in an attempt to catch users who officials said would otherwise remain hidden behind an encrypted and anonymous computer network. In each case, the FBI infected the sites with software that punctured that security, allowing agents to identify hundreds of users.

    • FBI May Have Hacked Innocent TorMail Users

      Back in 2013, the FBI seized TorMail, one of the most popular dark web email services, and shortly after started to rifle through the server’s contents.

      At the time, researchers suspected the agency had also deployed a network investigative technique (NIT)—the FBI’s term for a hacking tool—to infect users of the site. Now, confirmation of that hacking campaign has come about buried in a Washington Post report on the FBI’s recent NIT usage.

      Even more questions have now been raised, however. In particular, it’s unclear whether the hacking was carried out on a much larger scale than the FBI is letting on, possibly sweeping up innocent users of the privacy-focused email service.

    • Administration Says Child Porn Provides A ‘Model’ For Hunting Terrorists Online

      The administration is trying to draft tech companies into the War on Terror. Encryption — despite being given an unofficial “hands-off” by President Obama — is still being debated, with FBI Director James Comey and a few law enforcement officials leading the charge up the hill they apparently want to die on.

      One of the aspects discussed was how to deter online communications involving terrorists. Trying to deputize tech companies is a non-starter, considering the potential for collateral damage. But that’s not stopping the administration from trying to do exactly that, and it’s willing to deploy the most terrible participant in its parade of horrors.

    • Australia’s day for secrets, flags and cowards

      On 26 January, one of the saddest days in human history will be celebrated in Australia. It will be “a day for families”, say the newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch. Flags will be dispensed at street corners and displayed on funny hats. People will say incessantly how proud they are.

      For many, there is relief and gratitude. In my lifetime, non-indigenous Australia has changed from an Anglo-Irish society to one of the most ethnically diverse on earth. Those we used to call “New Australians” often choose 26 January, “Australia Day”, to be sworn in as citizens. The ceremonies can be touching. Watch the faces from the Middle East and understand why they clench their new flag.

    • UK Police Deny Misspelling Led To Investigation, Say It Was Other Schoolwork Instead

      We had just relayed a story via the BBC about an elementary school kid in the UK earning a visit to his home from the authorities after writing in an English assignment that he lived in a “terrorist house”, when he reportedly was trying to say he lived in a “terraced house.” The crux of this story was that the UK’s Anti-Terrorism law, which requires that school teachers act as surveillance agents for the state in an attempt to weed out future-radicalized will-be-terrorists is a policy built for unintended chaos, given that teachers are neither trained nor properly equipped to fulfill this role. The resulting visit to the boy’s home by the authorities from a misspelled word was billed as an example of this overreach by government.

    • Royal pair’s ‘scandalous’ Saudi Arabia plans slammed

      But controversy surrounding Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and recent political developments in the country, which applies a strict interpretation of Islamic law, has caused a number of participants to reconsider their involvement, according to the TV2 report.

      Spokesperson Nikolaj Villumsen of the left-wing Enhedslisten party was harshly critical of the proposed official visit.

      “I think it is completely scandalous, if it’s true that the royal family and industry representatives are on their way to Saudi Arabia,” Villumsen told TV2.

      “[Saudi Arabia] is a brutal dictatorship where supporters of democracy are whipped, dissidents are beheaded and princes throw millions at Isis and other extremists. This is not a country that should be receiving official visits from Denmark,” he continued.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Platform Loyalty

      The concept of “Neutrality of the platforms”, or “Loyalty of the platforms”, emerged among editors and web hosts that suffer or question the commanding position of major players of the Web, particularly in the USA and in other English speaking countries.

      These notions of “loyalty” and “neutrality” of the platforms may have been used to divert MPs from the debate on Net Neutrality.

      Platform loyalty should be envisaged in an environment where questions of the user’s control of its digital terminals (computer, tablet, mobile phone, other connected objects such as the ones referred to when talking about the “quantified self”, etc.), monopoly positions of some companies, problematics of tax system and revenue sharing are more and more intricate.

    • BT should be forced to sell Openreach service, report says

      BT should be forced to sell the country’s leading broadband provider because of poor performance, a report backed by 121 cross-party MPs has said.

      The report, commissioned by ex-Tory chairman Grant Shapps, said BT’s Openreach service had only partially extended superfast broadband despite £1.7bn of government money.

      It should be sold off to increase competition, the report added. BT should be forced to sell the country’s leading broadband provider because of poor performance, a report backed by 121 cross-party MPs has said.

      The report, commissioned by ex-Tory chairman Grant Shapps, said BT’s Openreach service had only partially extended superfast broadband despite £1.7bn of government money.

      It should be sold off to increase competition, the report added.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Pirate Party politics

      Each Pirate Party, whether in the UK or Sweden, operates independently rather than as one organisation and has seen varying degrees of success. Iceland’s Pirate Party is now the largest political party in the country, with high hopes for the 2017 general election. In the UK the Pirate Party is looking to increase its supporters and active members over the next year as well as contesting a number of seats in the May 2016 local elections.

    • WIPO Conference on IP and Development Provisional Programme Is Out
    • Copyrights

      • They put a Pirate Party MEP in charge of EU copyright reform: you won’t believe awesomesauce that followed

        Julia Reda, the sharp-as-a-tack Member of the European Parliament for the German Pirate Party, has just tendered her draft report on copyright reform in the EU. It is full of amazingly sensible suggestions.

        Among them: harmonizing EU exceptions to copyright (what would be called “fair use” in the USA), so that things that are permitted in one EU state are permitted in the others. This is very important because as it stands, a work that is legal in one EU country can be a copyright infringement next door, meaning that by crossing a border, you commit an offense, and meaning that artists who make transformative uses in one EU member state can be held liable for punishing fines next door.

        Another good ‘un: shortening the term of copyright to the term set out in the Berne Convention (life of the creator plus 50 years), ending the trend of extending EU copyright every time the Beatles and Elvis near the public domain.

      • EFF Warns Against Broad “Stay Down” Anti-Piracy Filters

        Copyright holders want websites to implement strict filters to guarantee that content stays down after a DMCA notice is received. The EFF warns against these demands, arguing that they will lead to a “filter everything” approach. According to the EFF this will result in more abuse and mistakes from often automated takedown bots.

      • UK Gov Opens Consultation on Netflix-Style Geo-Blocking

        The UK government has launched a public consultation on the EU’s proposals to ban Netflix-style geo-blocking. The government says it wants its citizens to be able to access legally purchased content wherever they travel in the European Union and is now seeking input from copyright owners, ISPs and consumers.

      • Piracy Can Boost Digital Music Sales, Research Shows

        A new academic paper published by the Economics Department of Queen’s University examines the link between BitTorrent downloads and music album sales. The study shows that depending on the circumstances, piracy can hurt sales or give it a boost through free promotion.


Benoît Battistelli es Repréndido por Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, Quien Ha Iniciado Acciones Políticas en Su Contra

Posted in Europe, News Roundup at 8:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Publicado in Europe, Patents at 7:35 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“La justicia, señor, es de gran interés para hombre en la tierra. Es el ligamento que une seres civilizados y naciones civilizadas juntos.”

Daniel Webster

Pierre-Yves Le Borgn'
Photo via Wikipedia

Sumario: ¨He apelado al gobierno francés inmediatamente,¨ escribió Pierre-Yves Le Borgn´ ayer, habiendo sigo testigo del engaño de Pinocho Battistelli así como de la manera como ignoró las decisiones del comite disciplinario.

Días despues que Pierre-Yves Le Borgn´ arremetió contra el presidente de la OEP Benoit Battistelli (vealo en Ingles o Español) recibimos una traddución de otra carta del señor Le Borgn´. En ella a pesar de amenazantes cartas del tirano Battistelli, Pierre-Yves Le Borgn´ señala correctamente que el presidente Battistelli ¨impuso estas sanciones más allá de las recomendaciones dadas a él por el comite disciplinario de la OEP,¨ como cubrimos hace unos días. ¿Qué clase de TIRANO es Battistelli y porqué MINTIÓ a sus empleados (mentiras diseminadas por los ¨periodistas¨ quienes han probablemente difamado y acusado a favor de los chacales de Battistelli)? Aquí esta una traducción de lo que el señor Le Borgn´ escribió:

Me he enterado con asombro la decisión anunciada esta mañana por el presidente de la Oficina Europea de Patentes (OEP), Benoit Battistelli, al castigar 3 empleados de la OEP, lideres de la SUEPO en Munich. Estoy profundamente consternado. Dos de esos representantes, el primer la presidenta de la unión en Munich, la otra el anterior presidente, fueron despedidos. La presidenta incluso fue deprivada de parte de sus derechos de pensión. Un degradamiento de quince años de trabajo para el tercero.

Noté que el presidente Battistelli puso estas sanciones más allá de las recomendaciones que les fueron dadas por el comite disciplinario de la OEP. La VOLUNTAD DE HACER MALDAD, de ASUSTAR, para ERRADICAR TODO CRITICISMO asi como cualquier poder intermediario lo caracteriza. Incluso lo asume Noté que el presidente Battistelli puso estas sanciones más allá de las recomendaciones que les fueron dadas por el comite disciplinario de la OEP. La VOLUNTAD DE HACER MALDAD, de ASUSTAR, para ERRADICAR TODO CRITICISMO asi como cualquier poder intermediario lo caracteriza. Incluso lo asume.

He apelado al gobierno francés immediatamente. Lo que esta pasando es una VERGUENZA e INJUSTICIA TREMENDA. Espero que los estados miembros de la OEP, comenzando con Francia, intervengan urgentemente para poner punto final a la arbitrariedad y este movimento que arruina vidas, destruye familias y socava el trabajo de toda la organización. No puede ser aceptado que la immunidad que goza esta organización lleve a tantas desviaciones del gobierno de ley en que esta basado, entre otras cosas, con respecto por los derechos de los representantes de uniones y empleados, independencia de los comites disciplinarios en relación a la gerencia, y la proporcionalidad de las sanciones: estas son tantas preguntas que fueron completamente ignoradas aquí.

Una organización sólo tiene futuro cuando sus empleados son reconocidos en su projecto, en su gobernalidad y su gerencia. Esto no es el caso de la OEP. Es urgente por los estados miembros reflejar en las razones que llevaron a esto. Y claramente considerar la renovación de la gobernacia de la OEP asi como de su gerencia.

Nos gustaría citar algunos nuevos comentarios de IP Kat por que ayudan a mostrar como la gente se siente acerca del régimen de Battistelli, qu el señor Le Borgn´ debe haber estado estudiando recientemente.

George Brock-Nannestad, no se preocupa por anonimato (tiene huevos para sosterner sus palabras sin temer por futuras retribuciones), escribió: ¨parece como si todas las iniciativas de la OEP estan dirigidas a reducir su competencia al respecto de decidir a costo bajo quien tiene el mejor derecho a una innovación. La OEP esta dirigiendo majormente sus esfuerzos para aumentar la resolución de conflictos a costos altísimos, por instancia por realizar busquedas que resultan en listing de patentes que tienen que haber sido analizadas en privado. Los resultados de estos análisis son usados en evaluacion de ganar casos en corte, y los prospectos de costos se estan convirtiéndo prohibitivos que un arreglo es preferible. La parte de la industria que más la necesita es incapaz de predecir un resultado de una inversión en tecnologías nuevas. El propósito del sistema de patentes era incentivar la innovación, no crear estorbo y estancamiento.

¨Uno de los intentos de estimular las tecnicas y legales competencias de la OEP es la propuesta re-organización del Jurado de Apelaciones. La más directa y bien sustentada oposición a las propuestas oficiales ha venido de UNION-IP, a NGO que tiene muchos EPI miembros. Su propuesta fué publicada en epi-Information No. 4 of 2015, pp. 120-22 (available en http://patentepi.com/assets/uploads/documents/epi-information/epi_Information_4_2015.pdf — do your own copy-and-paste). La expresión ¨casi con las justas en linea con una independencia judicial¨ es usada en relación con la reposición de leyes como estan, incluso antes de una revisión. Es de gran crédito de EPI que hayan publicado texto tan incisivo.

¨En differente pero igualmente detrimente materia un contribuyente al jornal, Sr. A Hards, expresa sus puntos de vista en la reorganización de la EQE. (haciendo papeles A y B combinados por ambos mecánica y química; mismo número pp. 142-43). Leo su contribución como si el considera que la reorganización como una diluición de la profesión total. Exclama su sorpresa: ¨No puedo entender, porque el sistema candidato aleman apoy unos 6 meses de entrenamiento en la Corte Alemana de Patentes con lecturas, participacion en el juzgado, y cursos de experimentados jueces, mientras que la OEP no tiene nada comparable. ¿Donde están los miembros del Jurado de Apelaciónes? ¿Dónde están los expertos legales de la OEP y sus examinadores veteranos? Estos son los guardianes de la OEP caso de patentes leyes y juicios y como tales son las mejores fuentes de conocimiento para entrenamiento desde abajo.¨

¨Es mi impresión que el sistema de la OEP este desarrollándose hacia un menos interes en ´OEP caso de ley´.

¨La supresión de profesionalismo de los examinadores de la OEP que esta expuesto a luz contribuye al mismo fin: Una reducción de la capacidad oficial de evitar conflictos. Esos profesionales quienes han actuado como reporteros encubieros de la tendencia (que descubrieron antes que nadie) están considerados soplones en el estilo de las compañías farmáceuticas y tabacaleras. Las infracciones de los derechos humanos de estas personas son escandalosas pero no hay culpable ante ninguna ley aplicable.

¨Es incomprehensible que la UE es capaz de prohibir el etiquetamiento de productos del Banco Oeste ocupado por Israel originandose en Israel o instituir observaciones contra Polonia cada vez de cualquier supresión de la libertad por hablar, pero la UE es todavía capaz de contratar un subproveedor para patentes con efectos unitarios por una entidad que suprime los derechos humanos peormente. Considero que cualquier contrato hecho sea anulado y renegociado, tomando en consideración completo respeto a los derechos humanos dentro de la OEP. Cualquier violacion a los derechos humanos que hayan ocurrido deben ser revertidas con una compensación p or daños. El respeto por la UE esta viniéndose abajo por la compañía que tiene.¨

He mencionado en respuesta a George en una no halagadora manera, sin aludir lo dicho que considero espectaculativo o insuficientemente sustanciado/exacto. Otra persona (anonima) escribió: Sólo puedo estar de acuerdo con George que todo en la OEP esta en la pared. La pregunta es simplemente ¿por el benefico de quien? No me gustan las teorías conspiratorias del Sr. Schestowitz, pero a pesar de la exageración mostrada, hay algo verdadero en ellas.¨

He estado escribiendo acerca de patentes por más de una decada y a diferencia de aquellos que siguen la materia por que tienen ganancias de ella, soy voluntariamente crítico y expreso mis observaciones personales incluso cuando estas son negativas y potencialmente ofenvas. No hay ¨ẗeorías conspirativas¨ [sic] a menos que alguien de ejemplos de ellas. George me llamó ¨estidente¨ (o la palabra danesa por ella), pero eso no es un término desacreditador. El comentador sigue en: ¨me pregunto si BB tuvo una agenda escondida. Esta descubierta. Lo discernible es: YO SOY EL JEFE Y HAGO LO QUE QUIERO, IRRESPECTIVAMENTE DE CUALQUIER PROPOSICIÓN O DECISIÓN de cualquier comite, empleados/gerencia. Es PERVERSIÓN de la ley. La OEP necesita una reforma como fue sustentada en muchas maneras, no se puede negar, pero no por ser drástico como cayó. No simplemente para satisfacer el ego de such a persona despreciable como BB. Tal vez es tiempo de una unidad investigadora, pero nadie, sólo el y sus chacales, adivinó como podía ser malusada.

La presión de los examinadores se han convertido en tal que a pesar de su orgullo y profesionalismo no tienen alternativa pero tratar rapidamente con busquedas y la siguiente examinación. Incluso no tienen la elección de archivar lo que puedan. Tienen que seguir lo que el ordenador dice! Es entendible que sucede como en una cadena de fábrica, incluso no cuando proviene de un trabajo intelectual. La ente que dirige la OEP no son incluso gerentes, son IDIOTAS pensando que lo son. En cualquier organización privada hubieran sido despedidos hace tiempo, pero los miembros de la AC son inmovibles por lo menos la mayoría.¨

¨Podría aumentar la producción tratar casos fáciles, pero serán difíciles las que tendrán que ser tratadas.¨

¨Lo que esta pasando con el Jurado de Apelaciones es un escandalo. Hacer una propuesta en la que el Jurado no tenga que dictar sus propias reglas de procedimiento es increíble. Como un alumno de una de las ¨mejores¨ escuelas de Francia, BB debería saber lo que significa separación de poderes. Convenientemente lo ha olvidado. Por lo menos ha mostrado profundo desprecio que tiene hacia aquellos que no bailen con su música.¨

Aquí viene la parte acerca del rol/envolvimiento frances: ¨Ese BB esta en contra de las actuales autoridades francesas es para verse on otra situación. BB organizó en Lyon una reunión para celebrar 30 años de cooperacion con la SIPO. Las autoridades francesas no fueron invitadas, incluso informadas. Miren en http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/7E1A61AB656965E2C1257E8F004CD6F8/$File/epo-sipo_symposium_programme_en.pdf

¨Esto tiene que ser analizado con las instrucciones dadas a los empleados de la OEP cuando visitan otros miembros estados para informar a la oficina de patentes nacionales. Haz lo que digo, pero no te atrevas a hacer lo que hago…¨

De nuevo otro ejemple de Battistelli ejerciendo autoridad sin supervisión.

¨Mejor paro ahora. Estoy hirviendo de rabia,¨ concluyo este comentador.


Links 21/1/2016: Linux Foundation, Gates Foundation Under Fire; OpenStack Foundation Event Coverage

Posted in News Roundup at 12:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • The State Of Meteor Part 1: Growing Pains

    The result of all this is that Meteor has ended up in an awkward place.

    New developers love how easy it is to get started with it, but can get discouraged when they start struggling with more complex apps. And purely from a financial standpoint, it’s hard to build a sustainable business on the back of new developers hacking on smaller apps.

  • Hardware

    • Can We Now Finally Agree that Smart Watches Were a Dumb Idea? – This is Apple’s Revenge on the Nerds

      Quick note to discuss the silly brief fad that was around smart watches. I said before they came that there was no real economy in it, and I said when the iToy sorry iWatch sorry Apple Watch was introduced, that it won’t set the world on fire, and that it will be a rare iFlop like the Newton and Lisa, not anything like total reinvention of tech such as the Mac was to PCs, iPod was to musicplayers and iPhone was to mobile phones (the last two, that I also predicted and discussed in my writing, including this, considered by many the best forecast about iPhone’s impact, by anyone who wrote about the iPhone before it launched). And when the Apple Watch was launched for sale, I wrote one more piece warning that there was nothing there. So now, the facts are slowly emerging. So lets take stock.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Michael Moore: Dear President Obama, please visit Flint

      I am writing this to you from the place where I was born—Flint, Michigan. Please consider this personal appeal from me and the 102,000 citizens of the city of Flint who have been poisoned, not by mistake or a natural disaster, but by a governor and his administration who, to cut costs, took over the city of Flint from its duly elected leaders, unhooked the city from its fresh water supply of Lake Huron, and then made the people drink toxic water from the Flint River. This was nearly two years ago.

      This week it was revealed that at least 10 people in Flint have been killed by these premeditated actions of the governor of Michigan. This governor, Rick Snyder, nullified the democratic election of this mostly African-American city—where 41% of the people live below the official poverty line—and replaced the elected mayor and city council with a crony who was instructed to take all his orders from the governor’s office.

    • Meet the Mom Who Helped Expose Flint’s Toxic Water Nightmare

      On a chilly evening last March in Flint, Michigan, LeeAnne Walters was getting ready for bed when she heard her daughter shriek from the bathroom of the family’s two-story clapboard house. She ran upstairs to find 18-year-old Kaylie standing in the shower, staring at a clump of long brown hair that had fallen from her head.

      Walters, a 37-year-old mother of four, was alarmed but not surprised—the entire family was losing hair. There had been other strange maladies over the previous few months: The twins, three-year-old Gavin and Garrett, kept breaking out in rashes. Gavin had stopped growing. On several occasions, 14-year-old JD had suffered abdominal pains so severe that Walters took him to the hospital. At one point, all of LeeAnne’s own eyelashes fell out.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Why Won’t Iran Act Like Our Enemy?

      What a bad week for the war party. Darn you, Iran! The country that the armchair warriors most love to hate refuses to play the villain’s role assigned by the neoconservatives, “humanitarian” interventionists, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the establishment media.

    • The Story You Aren’t Being Told About Iran Capturing Two American Vessels

      The burning question now relates to whether or not Iran’s actions constitute an attack on the U.S. It’s not a simple question. Electronic warfare and cyber warfare have become common place. It is also worth noting the two US vessels were within just a few miles of Farsi Island. Farsi Island is the home of the Revolutionary Guards’ Navy (RGN). The RGN is Iran’s maritime unconventional warfare force. For comparison, imagine a scenario in which a nation that has attacked a US civilian airliner and whose political leaders have constantly threatened war sent two boats to pass extraordinarily close to the home base of a U.S. Seal Team. The reader can decide if Iran’s actions were appropriate.

      The most important takeaway from this incident is to remember the high-tech military of the United States has an exposed vulnerability. It’s a vulnerability that was exploited by Iran. Iran is not a nation many in military circles would see as technologically advanced. The drone warfare system has a fatal flaw. If Iran can exploit it, China and Russia certainly can. Even North Korea has been able to successfully disrupt the GPS system. Beyond simple navigation, the U.S. employs the GPS system to guide missiles. If the Iranians can jam and spoof their way into controlling a drone, it isn’t a huge leap to believe have the ability, or will soon have the ability, to do the same thing with guided missiles.

      It should be noted that GPS jammers are available on the civilian market and have been detected in use inside the United Kingdom. This revelation may also be the reasoning behind the U.S. decision to require drone operators to register their aircraft.

    • How Iraqis Remember The First Gulf War

      Twenty-five years after the first Iraq War, Operation Desert Storm is widely seen as a resounding American victory.

      “Desert Storm was probably the single most successful military campaign in the history of warfare,” retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey told Stars and Stripes. “It was an astonishing display by the country.”

      While the U.S. military successfully drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait, the plight of Iraqi civilians — many of whom suffered under then-dictator Saddam Hussein before, during, and after Desert Storm — is often overlooked.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • What’s Being Done to Stop Palm Oil Plantations from Destroying Indonesia’s Rainforests?

      Palm oil is everywhere. The cheap substitute for trans fats can be found in products ranging from soap to processed foods, butter to lipstick to detergent. It’s primarily produced on plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, and that’s the problem—for years, the palm oil industry has been destroying the rainforests in the region, sometimes breaking Indonesian laws in the process and committing acts of violence against the indigenous people who live in these places.

    • Oil Rout Threatens to Scupper Demand for Palm Oil in Biofuel

      Crude oil’s slump has been so severe that it’s now threatening the government-aided biodiesel programs in the world’s top producers of palm oil.

      Indonesia may miss its target of raising blending to 20 percent if crude stays below $30 a barrel, according to Fadhil Hasan, executive director at the country’s palm oil association. The slump in crude will impact the implementation of the biodiesel program in Malaysia, the nation’s Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Douglas Uggah Embas told an industry conference in Kuala Lumpur. The two nations account for 86 percent of the global palm oil supply.

      Oil is down about 21 percent this year amid volatility in Chinese markets and speculation the removal of restrictions that capped Iran’s crude sales will help to prolong a global glut. That’s sent the premium of crude palm oil over low sulphur gasoil futures to almost $290 a metric ton from the five-year average of a $13 discount. That’s clouded the outlook for palm oil prices, according to Thomas Mielke, executive director of Oil World, an industry researcher.

    • African elephants could be extinct ‘within a decade’

      African elephants could be extinct in the wild within the next decade, a major conservation conference in Botswana has been told.

      The Africa Elephant Summit, attended by delegates from around 20 countries including China – which is accused of fuelling the poaching trade – heard new figures from the International Union for Conservation of Nature that showed the African elephant population fell from 550,000 to 470,000 between 2006 and 2013.

    • 2015 smashes record for hottest year, final figures confirm

      Experts warn that global warming is tipping climate into ‘uncharted territory’, as Met Office, Nasa and Noaa data all confirm record global temperatures for second year running

    • Pakistan turns to coal to keep factories running

      Till now, Pakistan has not used the bulk of its coal reserves – some of the largest in the world – for power generation. Not any more.

      Within the last month the government in Islamabad has signed a number of financial and technological agreements with China aimed at exploiting massive coal reserves at the Tharparkar mine in Sindh province, in the south of the country.

  • Finance

    • Domino’s delivery driver forced out for signing ‘minimum wage’ Change.org petition

      DOMINO’S is once again in hot water over its treatment of young employees after a delivery driver was forced to resign for sharing a link on Facebook.

      The 18-year-old driver, who did not wish to use his name, signed and shared a Change.org petition calling for better pay for Domino’s drivers.

      His regional manager, alerted to the post by a mutual friend, then shared the link to her own Facebook page, tagging the young driver.

      “What’s the go, mate?” she wrote, going on to single out another employee who had also signed the petition.

    • Gates Foundation accused of ‘dangerously skewing’ aid priorities by promoting ‘corporate globalisation’

      They are among the richest people on earth, have won plaudits for their fight to eradicate some of the world’s deadliest and prolific killers, and donated billions to better educate and feed the poorest on the planet.

      Despite this, Bill and Melinda Gates are facing calls for their philanthropic Foundation, through which they have donated billions worldwide, to be subject to an international investigation, according to a controversial new report.

      Far from a “neutral charitable strategy”, the Gates Foundation is about benefiting big business, especially in agriculture and health, through its “ideological commitment to promote neoliberal economic policies and corporate globalisation,” according to the report published by the campaign group Global Justice. Its influence is “dangerously skewing” aid priorities, the group says.


      The group accuse the Gates Foundation of using its massive financial clout to silence international development experts and groups which would criticise its practices.

      Bill Gates, the report claims, “who has regular access to world leaders and is in effect personally bankrolling hundreds of universities, international organisations, NGOs and media outlets, has become the single most influential voice in international development.”


      It accuses the Gates Foundation of promoting specific priorities through agriculture grants, some of which undermine the interests of small farmers. These include promoting industrial agriculture, use of chemical fertilisers and expensive, patented seeds, and a focus on genetically modified seeds. “Much of the Foundation’s work appears to bypass local knowledge,” the report claims.

      The criticism echoes the accusations made by the Indian scientist Vandana Shiva who called the Gates Foundation the “greatest threat to farmers in the developing world.”

    • TransCanada Corporation’s Arbitration Against the U.S. is Worrying for Democracy

      Each year companies lodge dozens of legal cases against governments under a little-known mechanism called investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). Few make headlines. But occasionally these cases do break through to the public’s attention, given the money at stake and the public interest involved.

      The latest case to fit that bill is by TransCanada Corporation—the Calgary-based energy firm—against the United States. The company seeks US$ 15 billion in damages over President Barack Obama’s decision to deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

    • CK*wirtschaftsfacts in conversation with Michael Hudson

      It meant that if other governments do not pay the United States they are outcasts.

    • Martin Luther King — Paul Craig Roberts

      Martin Luther King, like John F. Kennedy, was a victim of the paranoia of the Washington national security establishment. Kennedy rejected General Lyman Lemnitzer’s Northwoods Project for regime change in Cuba, opposed the CIA’s invasion plan for Cuba, nixed Lemnitzer’s plans for conflict with the Soviet Union over the Cuban missile crisis, removed Lemnitzer as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and negotiated behind the scenes with Khrushchev to tone down the Cold War. Consequently, members of the military/security complex had it in for Kennedy and convinced themselves that Kennedy’s softness toward communism made him a security threat to the United States. The Secret Service itself was drawn into the plot. The films of the assassination show that the protective Secret Service personnel were ordered away from the President’s car just before the fatal shots.

    • An Oligarchy Has Broken Our Democracy. It Must Be Dislodged

      The concept of a ‘Deep State’ has been around for a while, but rarely to describe the United States.The term, used in Kemalist Turkey by the political class, referred to an informal grouping of oligarchs, senior military and intelligence operatives and organized crime, who ran the state along anti-democratic lines regardless of who was formally in power.

      I define the American Deep State as a hybrid association of elements of government and top-level finance and industry that is able, through campaign financing of elected officials, influence networks and co-option via the promise of lucrative post-government careers, to govern the United States in spite of elections and without reference to the consent of the governed.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Bowie and the Beeb [2016]

      To me this is his last great gift, he couldn’t give everything away but he did give us an idea of what it would mean to be popular, accessible and weird, angelic and liberated. The infrastructure of a public service broadcaster such as the BBC had a role in making David Bowie’s world, our world. This is the light by which it could navigate its future.

    • CMD Submits Testimony to U.S. Senate on Koch Self-Interest in Criminal Justice Reform

      The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has submitted testimony to the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee about the Koch-backed push to undermine corporate criminal accountability under the guise of “mens rea” reform. The testimony was submitted for the Committee’s January 20 hearing titled “The Adequacy of Criminal Intent Standards in Federal Prosecutions.”

      “Nobody should be above the law, no matter how rich, but the billionaire Koch Brothers have fueled a campaign through myriad groups they fund that would make it harder to prosecute corporate criminals for violating laws intended to protect American families from products or industrial practices that poison our water or air or that violate other environmental and financial laws,” said Lisa Graves, CMD’s Executive Director, who was previously served as the Chief Counsel for Nominations for Chairman Patrick Leahy of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice where she worked on criminal and civil justice policy.

    • VIDEO: Trevor Noah: British Debate on Barring Donald Trump Was Mostly an Excuse to Ridicule the Guy

      “The greatest part about this whole debate is that it actually wasn’t a debate,” says the “Daily Show” host about the U.K.’s recent discussion regarding a petition to bar Donald Trump from entering the U.K. “It turns out Parliament didn’t even hold a vote. They were all just there to sit around and make fun of Donald Trump.”

  • Censorship

    • After Auction House Censorship, Reporters Without Borders Cancels Benefit Art Sale

      An art auction intended to benefit the organization Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has been canceled after the Israeli embassy in Paris complained about one of the featured works. The piece in question, by French street artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest, included a drawing of the Palestinian politician Marwan Barghouti in handcuffs and a brief handwritten note comparing him to Nelson Mandela. (Barghouti, whom some have called “the Palestinian Mandela,” is currently serving five life sentences in Israel.)

    • Science and Censorship

      These acts represent an erosion of our constitutional rights to freedom of speech, inquiry and exchange of ideas. They create a “chilling effect” for scientists, textbook and other publishers who fear repercussions for producing data or advocating positions that are inconsistent with current political agendas or powerful corporate interests.

    • Fighting censorship with circumvention tools: Tor + Psiphon

      The censoring of information online is one of the greatest dangers to free speech on the Internet today. Many countries filter a wide variety of information of social and political significance, sometimes under the guise of ‘national secur