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12.21.16

Links 21/12/2016: New BlackArch Linux and BusyBox 1.26 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Merry Linux to you!

    Get ready to start caroling around the office with these Linux-centric lyrics to popular Christmas carols.

  • 5% Market Share, Linus Upset, Wonderful Bluestar

    Monday was a busy day in the Linux world, there were way too many good headlines to cover. One of the more interesting was a prediction from Jack Wallen who said that Linux should reach 5% market share in 2017. Bad news is, vulnerability discoveries are liable to increase as well. Elsewhere, Mr. Wallen reviewed Bluestar Linux, an Arch derivative featuring a customized Plasma desktop, making it sound so good it will be my next experiment. The Register spotted another scolding from Linus Torvalds and blogger Dedoimedo said Fedora 25 GNOME is “an interesting distro.” Bryan Lunduke revived old 1992 BBS gaming and Adobe released an update for Flash.

  • Desktop

    • How can Linux get 5 percent desktop market share?

      Many people have been predicting the “year of the Linux desktop” for quite a while now, but it’s never happened. A redditor recently asked what it will take for Linux to actually achieve 5% desktop market share, and he got some interesting answers in the Linux subreddit.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • ‘Upset’ Linus Torvalds gets sweary and gets results

      Linus Torvalds has unleashed a little ripe language on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, and quickly got results for having done so.

      “This piece-of-shit branch has obviously never been even compile-tested”, Torvalds wrote after receiving a pull request for some fixes to the KVM hypervisor that it was hoped might make it into Linux 4.10.

      Torvalds’ ire looks justifiable, as the code he was asked to review included errors that the contributors added to their own branch.

      “Am I upset?” Torvalds asked on the list, answering “You bet I am. Get your act together. You can’t just randomly revert things without checking the end result.”

    • Towards Enterprise Storage Interoperability

      With Dell EMC’s contribution of the CoprHD SouthBound SDK (SB SDK) we’re staking a claim for better interoperability. The SB SDK will help customers, developers and every day users be able to take some control over their storage interoperability, with an assist from the OpenSDS community. Right now, you can create block storage drivers pretty easily, with the ability to create filesystem and object storage drivers coming up later next year. The reference implementation you see in the GitHub code repository is designed to work with CoprHD and ViPR Controller, but over time we hope to see other implementations in widespread use across the industry.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA 375 vs. RADV+RadeonSI Mesa 13.1-dev Vulkan Benchmarks For Ending 2016

        The latest installment of our year-end benchmarks is focusing upon the performance of the NVIDIA Linux driver against the open-source Radeon Vulkan (RADV) driver found within Mesa 13.1-dev. This comparison is particularly interesting given the continuous flow of improvements into Mesa Git, the NVIDIA 375.26 driver release from last week, the big Dota 2 7.00 update debuted earlier this month, and Croteam’s Vulkan improvements have rolled into TTP stable.

        Tested on the AMD side were the followign graphics cards that are supported (non-experimental) by AMDGPU DRM for RADV compatibility include the R9 285, RX 460, RX 480, and R9 Fury. Experimental GCN 1.0/1.1 benchmarks with RADV to come in its own article. For those curious about AMDGPU-PRO 16.50 fresh benchmarks on that front, I’ll post some more soon albeit there obviously is no changes over my earlier 16.50 benchmarks given the infrequent hybrid driver releases.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Icon Widget Properties

        A feature that went missing in the transition from Plasma 4 to Plasma 5 was the ability to configure the icon widget. The upcoming Plasma 5.9 release is where this dialog will finally make its entry into the 5.x series.

      • How input works – pointer input

        In the last blog post I discussed keyboard input. This blog post will be all about pointer devices – mostly known as “mouse”. Like my other posts in this series, this post only discusses the situation on KWin/Wayland.

      • QtCon Talks here

        Many KDABians attended QtCon and contributed to the unique new Qt event we co-created in Berlin, the summer of 2016, along with Qt Contributors, KDE Akademi, VideoLan and FSFE.

      • Embedded Devices with Qt and the INTEGRITY RTOS

        Qt 4.8 support has been available for a long time on the INTEGRITY RTOS. We are now pleased to announce that a proof-of-concept port of Qt 5.7 to INTEGRITY has been completed by Green Hills engineers. During the work, we tested the port on all major embedded HW platforms, including ones that have OpenGL ES support available. Work continues together with The Qt Company and the Qt ecosystem and thanks to this initial prototype, the upcoming Qt 5.9 is expected to contain INTEGRITY support.

      • What I’ve been upto

        Yup, this project has been in the pipeline for months. While it (mostly) works on a clean install of KDE, it has some bugs with copying with mtp:/ device slaves and isn’t very well integrated with Dolphin yet. It is in my best interest to have this shipped with KDE Frameworks as soon as possible, so I’m looking into patching Dolphin with better, more specific action support for my project.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Bodhi Linux 4.0.0 review

        For users with older computers, some of the modern Linux distributions can be too resource intensive. Bodhi Linux 4.0.0 is a lightweight distribution designed for those users. The minimum system requirements are a 500MHz processor, 128MB of RAM, and 4GB of disk space. The recommended requirements are a 1.0GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and 10GB of disk space. Available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, as well as a “Legacy” release for really old 32-bit systems, Bodhi Linux 4.0.0 can easily bring new life to older computers.

        Bodhi Linux offers a couple of download options beyond the 32-bit/64-bit choice. There is a Standard release and an AppPack version. The Standard release is very bare-bones with only a minimal set of pre-installed options, while the AppPack version comes with a larger number of bundled applications. The ISO for the 64-bit Standard version is 647MB and the 64-bit AppPack version is 1.21GB (about twice the size). For the purposes of this review, I opted for the Standard version, so I could customize my system as I wished. However, I will be mentioning some of the AppPack version’s additional software throughout this review.

      • Everything you wanted to know about Zorin OS 12

        Windows XP along with Windows 7 is one of the most favored operating system for millions of users around the world as of today, even though Microsoft has washed their hands off these operating system. No support for these platforms means, you will not get any security updates anymore and your data may be at risk. But there’s always a solution for all you Windows users, Linux is there for your rescue. And Zorin OS is one of the best desktop distribution for Linux desktops and with the new release Zorin OS 12, it only got better.

    • New Releases

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 for Raspberry Pi: An intriguing option for data centers

        SUSE announced recently that it managed to take its enterprise-grade platform, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), and marry it with the Raspberry Pi. Fancy that—a platform created to support massive workloads and mission-critical services running on a $35 computer.

        You can download a 60-day evaluation of SUSE Enterprise Server 12 SP2 for Pi (login required). Be sure to check out the quick start guide. If you have trouble with subscription codes for SUSE Enterprise Server 12 SP2 for Pi, check out this forum thread.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Linux Kernel 4.9 Now Available in the Unstable Repos of Debian-Based SparkyLinux

          On December 20, 2016, the developers of the Debian-based SparkyLinux operating system announced the availability of the latest stable Linux 4.9 kernel series in the unstable repos of the GNU/Linux distribution.

          If you’re reading the news lately, you should be aware of the fact that Linux kernel 4.9 was officially released more than a weeks ago, on December 11, 2016, as announced by Linus Torvalds himself. This means that most Linux OS vendors should soon start preparing to migrate to the latest Linux 4.9 kernel branch.

          It might take some time for the new Linux kernel 4.9 packages to land in the stable repositories of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions available today, including Arch Linux, Solus, Ubuntu, etc., but it looks like it landed earlier on the unstable repository of SparkyLinux.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • This Intel board computer can be a powerful Ubuntu 16.04 Linux PC

            If you want a PC with Ubuntu Linux, you can turn to Intel’s Joule single-board computer instead of buying an expensive machine.

            Support for Ubuntu 16.04 desktop OS has been added to the Joule board, according to developer notes for Intel IoT Developer Kit 5.0 released late last week.

          • Where Does Ubuntu Fit Into the Internet of Things?

            Ubuntu Linux started off as a desktop focused Linux distribution, but has expanded to multiple areas of the years. Ubuntu Linux is today a leading Linux server and cloud vendor and has aspirations to move into the embedded world, known today as the Internet of Things (IoT).

            In a video interview, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical Inc., details some of the progress his firm has made in 2016 in the IoT world.

            Ubuntu has made past announcements about phone and TV efforts. While multiple Ubuntu phones exist, the standalone Ubuntu TV effort has evolved somewhat. Shuttleworth explained that Ubuntu Core, which is an optimized distribution of Ubuntu for embedded systems, is making some headway with TVs.

          • Ubuntu Budgie 17.04 Daily Builds Coming Soon, Budgie Desktop 10.2.9 Has Landed

            The development team behind the newest Ubuntu Linux flavor build around the lightweight Budgie desktop environment produced by the Solus Project, Ubuntu Budgie, published an informative newsletter about the latest news of the project.

          • Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) Linux OS to Use Swapfiles Instead of Swap Partitions

            Canonical’s Dimitri John Ledkov announced recently plans to drop Swap partitions for new installations of upcoming Ubuntu Linux operating system releases, and replace them with so-called Swapfiles.

            Not that this is big news for most of us who own computers with SSD or NVMe flash drives and a lot of RAM (system memory), but we thought it might be of interested to those who will attempt to install future versions of Ubuntu on PCs from ten years ago. If you’re not aware, Swap partitions or space is used when the amount of RAM) is full.

          • Canonical Patches 15 Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities in All Supported Ubuntu OSes

            On December 20, 2016, Canonical published several new USN (Ubuntu Security Notice) advisories to inform users of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution about the general availability of kernel updates for their operating systems.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Happy Holidays: Linux Mint get a major upgrade

              With this long-term support Linux desktop, which is based on Ubuntu 16.04, Linux Mint is better than ever. Since I’ve already found Linux Mint 18 to be the best desktop out there of any sort, that’s saying something.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source challenger takes on Google Translate

    Researchers have released an open source neural network system for performing language translations that could be an alternative to proprietary, black-box translation services.

    Open Source Neural Machine Translation (OpenNMT) merges work from researchers at Harvard with contributions from long-time machine-translation software creator Systran. It runs on the Torch scientific computing framework, which is also used by Facebook for its machine learning projects.

  • Op-ed: Why I’m not giving up on PGP

    Every once in a while, a prominent member of the security community publishes an article about how horrible OpenPGP is. Matthew Green wrote one in 2014 and Moxie Marlinspike wrote one in 2015. The most recent was written by Filippo Valsorda, here on the pages of Ars Technica, which Matthew Green says “sums up the main reason I think PGP is so bad and dangerous.”

    In this article I want to respond to the points that Filippo raises. In short, Filippo is right about some of the details, but wrong about the big picture. For the record, I work on GnuPG, the most popular OpenPGP implementation.

  • Coopetition: All’s fair in love and open source

    PostgreSQL vs. MySQL. MongoDB vs. Cassandra. Solr vs. Elasticsearch. ReactJS vs. AngularJS. If you have an open source project that you are passionate about, chances are a competing project exists and is doing similar things, with users as passionate as yours. Despite the “we’re all happily sharing our code” vibe that many individuals in open source love to project, open source business, like any other, is filled with competition. Unlike other business models, however, open source presents unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to competition.

  • Illinois Turns Its Eye Toward Blockchain for Statewide Innovation

    Blockchain technology is the poster child for innovation in the financial tech space, but Illinois is taking an ambitious step forward by attempting to boldly adopt distributed ledger technology into several of its state agencies.

    The state announced last month at the Blockchain Conference Chicago that it was forming the Illinois Blockchain Initiative, a private-public partnership dedicated to exploring and utilizing blockchain in real-world and compelling ways, reports StateScoop.

    Blockchain technology “is a shared digital ledger, or a continually updated list of all transactions. This decentralized ledger keeps a record of each transaction that occurs across a fully distributed or peer-to-peer network, either public or private,” according to an article from international auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

  • Blockchain and the public sector – What happened in 2016

    Blockchain, also known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), was the technology buzzword of 2016. The technology has been around since 2008. It underpins the digital cryptocurrency, Bitcoin and was conceptualised as a solution to the problem of making a database both secure and not requiring a trusted administrator.

  • Kickstarter Apps Go Open Source on iOS and Android Apps to Help Startups

    Kickstarter is known for giving startups the boost they need to get going. And independent developers will now get similar help by getting access to the functional programming used to create the app.

    Kickstarter announced recently the company had released open source iOS and Android. The announcement was made on the company’s official company blog.

    Kickstarter launched in 2009, but an official mobile app didn’t come around for some time. The site now has an Android and iOS version, and the company is doing one better by open sourcing the code for these native apps.

  • Open Source, Free Riders and Crowdfunding

    Until about ten years ago, “free as in speech, not as in beer,” was an often repeated expression heard in open source circles. These days, the same sentiment is usually phrased as “free as in freedom.” Even though it’s fallen out of favor, I prefer the former. I think it more clearly explains the philosophy behind the open source development model. At the same time, it explains a problem that many essential open source projects face finding funding.

    Open source software is free to use, but as another old expression points out, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Open source or not, software doesn’t get written for free — nor can it be maintained without cash flow. Another old saying that fits here: If you’re going to dance, you have to pay the piper.

  • Coreboot

    • Google “Poppy” Kabylake Board Added To Coreboot

      While Chromebook / ChromeOS fans have been looking forward to the Kabylake-based “Eve” device, it looks like another device is possibly forthcoming making use of these latest-generation Intel CPUs.

      A new board for “Poppy” was added yesterday to Coreboot Git. This Google Poppy board is indeed making use of an Intel Kabylake processor.

    • 100% Of The 289 Coreboot Images Are Now Built Reproducible

      Reproducible builds have been a big theme in particularly the last year or two with being able to verify the binaries offered by open-source projects are bit-for-bit the same against the same set of sources. With the latest Coreboot work, all of their generated images are now reproducible from source.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • 5 Essential LibreOffice Writer Tips to Improve Your Productivity

      LibreOffice is the frugal (or Linux) person’s choice of office suite, offering all the robustness of Microsoft’s dominant software while being fully open-source and not costing you a penny.

      While even the latest version of the word-processing part of LibreOffice, Writer, looks a little old-hat without the fancy ribboned interface of Microsoft office or WPS, don’t be fooled. It has all the tools you need to create quality documents quickly. Here are a bunch of tips to hone your LibreOffice craft.

  • Funding

    • Databricks $60 Million in New Funding to Advance its Spark Efforts

      People in the Big Data and Hadoop communities have been becoming increasingly interested in Apache Spark, an open source data analytics cluster computing framework originally developed in the AMPLab at UC Berkeley. IBM has made a huge financial commitment to advancing Spark, and companies like Databricks are focused on it as well.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source core to Greek govt procedure documentation

      The use of open source technology is a core part of a project to document Greek government procedures. The project, involving 200 public administration staff and university researchers, is creating or completing the documentation for Greece’s public sector procedures. Started in 2015, the Diadikasies project has so far completed documentation for 1652 procedures.

    • France, Germany promote open source in industry

      Industry in France and Germany should embrace open source, the governments of both countries say in the closing statement of the German-French digital conference in Berlin on 13 December. Open source is a key driver for digital innovation, the countries say.

    • France And Germany Get Free/Libre Open Source Software
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Seeking Open Access Deal, 60 German Academic Institutions Ditch All Subscriptions With Elsevier

        In the struggle to provide open access to academic research, one company name keeps cropping up as a problem: Elsevier. Techdirt has written numerous stories about efforts to rein in the considerable — and vastly profitable — power that Elsevier wields in the world of academic publishing. These include boycotts of various kinds, mass resignations of journal editors, as well as access to millions of publicly-funded papers in ways that bypass Elsevier altogether.

Leftovers

  • 2017 predictions from IT leaders on the future of technology

    As we approach 2017, we asked IT leaders what they see on the horizon for the future of technology. We intentionally left the question open-ended, and as a result, the answers represent a broad range of what IT professionals may expect to face in the new year.

  • Science

    • Brexit will damage world-class science in the UK; throwing money at it won’t help

      The UK gets more money for research from the EU—£8.8 billion between 2007 and 2013—than it contributes (£5.4 billion for the same period). Fortunately, that shortfall is a relatively easy problem to solve by throwing money around, and the UK government has done that, as a new report from the House of Lords titled A time for boldness: EU membership and UK science after the referendum notes. Importantly, this boldness comes in the form of new money: “It is an additional commitment from the Treasury to underwrite EU research funding.”

      However, the report also points out that “Reassurances on funding are welcome but if they were to expire, and are not replaced, this would undermine some of the benefit of the major increase announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.” In other words, the UK government’s commitment to make up the shortfall needs to be long-term if it is to be effective.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • After Two Unconstitutional Anti-Abortion Bills Pass, We Have to Ask: What’s the Matter With Ohio’s Lame Duck Legislature?

      It’s lame duck season in the state of Ohio and this year seems like the “super special” version. During the lame duck session, the legislature has just a few short weeks to pass laws before all bills have to start over from scratch in the new year.

      In a matter of 72 hours, Ohio’s super-majority party has managed to attach, pass, and push through a nearly unbelievable amount of legislation.

    • Former Flint emergency managers, others charged in water crisis

      Michigan prosecutors on Tuesday charged four former government officials in Flint, including two city emergency managers, with conspiring to violate safety rules in connection with the city’s water crisis that exposed residents to dangerous levels of lead.

      Former state-appointed emergency managers Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose and former city employees Howard Croft, a public works superintendent, and Daugherty Johnson, a utilities manager, were the latest to be charged in the case, Attorney General Bill Schuette said.

      The defendants conspired to operate the city’s water treatment plant when it was not safe to do so, he told a news conference in Flint.

      “Flint was a casualty of arrogance, disdain and failure of management, an absence of accountability,” Schuette said.

    • ‘The Trump Administration Looks Like Bad News for Almost Every Element of Drug Policy Reform’ – CounterSpin interview with Ethan Nadelmann on John Kelly

      They were hard-won and a long time coming, but there were clear signs of hope that the punitive, racist, violent and ineffective war on drugs was not just fading away, but maybe being consciously reconsidered. And however cynical you want to be about motives, nascent bipartisan moves around over-incarceration and sentencing disparities looked set to change the lives of real people.

    • Media Legitimizing GOP’s ‘Universal’ Health Plan That Doesn’t Exist

      Members of the GOP leadership were likely jubilant when they read the New York Times (12/15/16) and saw the following headline: “GOP Plans to Repeal Health Law with ‘Universal Access.’”

      The Times’ decision to include the words “universal,” “health” and “plan” in the headline was extremely misleading and irresponsible. It gave readers the distinct—and deceptive—impression that Republicans have something resembling a “universal” health plan, and will use it to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

      It appears that the same corporate media who misled us into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Extra!, 4/10) are now misleading us out of it—and the Times’ reporting on the GOP’s health care agenda is a particularly egregious example of this.

    • Exxon Mobil Is Fighting to Keep Its Dangerous Chemicals in Children’s Toys

      Most of us know Exxon Mobil Corp. as an energy giant, which makes sense given that it is the world’s largest publicly held oil and gas company. Rex Tillerson, the company’s CEO, has spent his entire professional life prioritizing Exxon Mobil’s corporate interests over human rights, the environment, and the diplomatic interests of the U.S., all of which has prompted many journalists and commentators to point out that his appointment as secretary of state is not just a terrible idea but a joke seemingly ripped from the pages of a Marxist comic book.

      What’s less well known is that Exxon Mobil is also one of the world’s biggest chemical companies, and that its chemical interests also sometimes run counter to those of people in the U.S. and beyond. Petrochemicals accounted for more than a quarter of Exxon Mobil’s $16 billion in net profits last year and wound up in wide range of consumer products such as plastics, tires, batteries, detergents, adhesives, synthetic fibers, and household detergents.

      Among Exxon Mobil’s chemical products are phthalates, a family of chemicals widely used to make plastic pliable. Phthalates are in everything from food containers and plastic wrap to rattles, pacifiers, bottle nipples, and teething toys for babies. More than 75 percent of Americans have at least five of the chemicals in their body, according to a 2000 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    • ‘We’ve Seen Exxon Leading the Charge to Go After Groups That Criticized Them’

      A widely circulated news article on the appointment of Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of State opens with the note that “the brash Texas oilman…helped forge or supervise exploration, production, and refinery projects in 50 countries on six continents.” But corporate media really only appear interested in one country, and that’s Russia.

  • Security

    • ADUPS Android Malware Infects Barnes & Noble

      ADUPS is an Android “firmware provisioning” company based out of Shanghai, China. The software specializes both in Big Data collection of Android usage, and hostile app installation and/or firmware control. Google has blacklisted the ADUPS agent in its Android Compatibility Test Suite (CTS).

      ADUPS recently compromised many BLU-phone models and was found to be directly transmitting call logs, SMS, contacts, location info, nd more from handsets within the US to Chinese servers using DES (weak) encryption.

    • New Linux/Rakos threat: devices and servers under SSH scan (again) [Ed: No, it’s not a “Linux” problem that some people or developers use a crappy and predictable password]

      Apparently, frustrated users complain more often recently on various forums about their embedded devices being overloaded with computing and network tasks. What these particular posts have in common is the name of the process causing the problem. It is executed from a temporary directory and disguised as a part of the Java framework, namely “.javaxxx”. Additional names like “.swap” or “kworker” are also used. A few weeks ago, we discussed the recent Mirai incidents and Mirai-connected IoT security problems in The Hive Mind: When IoT devices go rogue and all that was written then still holds true.

    • Security advisories for Tuesday
    • OpenSSL After Heartbleed by Rich Salz & Tim Hudson, OpenSSL

      In this video from LinuxCon Europe, Rich Salz and Tim Hudson from the OpenSSL team take a deep dive into what happened with Heartbleed and the steps the OpenSSL team are taking to improve the project.

    • OpenSSL after Heartbleed
    • Container Security: Your Questions Answered

      To help you better understand containers, container security, and the role they can play in your enterprise, The Linux Foundation recently produced a free webinar hosted by John Kinsella, Founder and CTO of Layered Insight. Kinsella covered several topics, including container orchestration, the security advantages and disadvantages of containers and microservices, and some common security concerns, such as image and host security, vulnerability management, and container isolation.

    • Google scales tiny mountain to hunt down crypto bugs

      Google’s Project Wycheproof is a new effort by Google to improve the security of widely used cryptography code.

      Many of the algorithms used in cryptography for encryption, decryption, and authentication are complicated, especially when asymmetric, public key cryptography is being used. Over the years, these complexities have resulted in a wide range of bugs in real crypto libraries and the software that uses them.

    • Mysterious Rakos Botnet Rises in the Shadows by Targeting Linux Servers, IoT Devices

      Somebody is building a botnet by infecting Linux servers and Linux-based IoT devices with a new malware strain named Rakos.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Marine Le Pen denies cash-for-support deal with Russia

      French far-right leader Marine Le Pen may have received funding from Russian-backed banks as thanks for supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea, French investigative news site Mediapart reported Tuesday, citing text messages exchanged between two Russian officials.

      In the messages, which Mediapart said it had obtained thanks to a hacking group called “Anonymous International,” Kremlin official Timur Prokopenko mentioned Le Pen dozens of times in exchanges with a person identified as Kostia. Anonymous International identified Kostia as Konstantin Rykov, a former pro-Putin MP who has a house in France and is known to have met with Le Pen.

      A few days before Crimea was due to hold a referendum on Russia’s annexation, in March 2014, Prokopenko wrote to Kostia asking to bring Le Pen to Crimea as an “observer” during the referendum. “We really need it. I told my boss you were in contact with her???”

    • Berlin terror suspect released

      The man arrested by Berlin police in connection with Monday’s deadly attack on a Christmas market in Berlin has been released, the federal prosecutor said in a statement Tuesday.

      “The investigations thus far have not produced urgent suspicion against the suspect,” the statement said.

      The man who was released is believed to be a Pakistani asylum seeker who had evaded immigration authorities’ attempts to question him after he arrived in the country a year ago, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said at a press conference earlier on Tuesday. The man had not been identified as a suspected terrorist prior to Monday’s events.

    • ISIS claims responsibility for Berlin attack, says driver was ‘soldier of the Islamic State’

      The German capital was on high alert Tuesday with one or more suspects still at large in the deadly truck assault on a Christmas market, even as the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an act that struck at the heart of Europe’s Christian traditions.

      Chancellor Angela Merkel decried the assault — which left 12 dead and 52 injured after a truck carrying a payload of steel careened into festive stalls and fairgoers in Berlin — as a presumed “terror attack,” even as German police scrambled to find the culprit. The only suspect to date — a Pakistani asylum seeker taken into custody shortly after Monday’s bloodshed — was released by police late Tuesday because of insufficient evidence.

    • Families Of Orlando Shooting Victims Sue Twitter, Facebook, And Google For ‘Supporting Terrorism’

      Remember that time when Google, Twitter, and Facebook helped shoot up a nightclub in Orlando, Florida? Me neither. But attorney Keith Altman does. He’s representing the families of three of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in a lawsuit alleging [sigh] that these tech companies are somehow responsible for this act of terrorism.

    • Eva Bartlett and Joey Johnson

      For the first half of the program, Peter and Mickey discuss the conflict in Syria; their guest is independent journalist Eva Bartlett, who recently returned from Aleppo and is now on a US speaking tour. She explains why most corporate media coverage of Syria, and even some progressive coverage, doesn’t depict the actual situation there. In the second half of the program, the guest is Joey Johnson, whose burning of an American flag in 1984 became a US Supreme Court free-speech case, where they ruled in his favor in 1989. Johnson is facing charges again over the burning of a flag outside the 2016 Republican National Convention.

    • The Terrifying Executive We Need for the Wrong Reasons

      I understand why all of the often false, usually bombastic, reporting on Trump is angering me.

      You know the stuff — take a “fact,” real or fully made up, and conflate it with some apocalyptic prediction. Watch: Trump alternates between wearing boxers and briefs. Will his indecisiveness cause him to pull back when America is attacked by the Russians?

      The other story everyone writes now is based on the journalist’s apparent post-November 9 discovery of an element of fascism, racism and/or parts of the Constitution and presidential practice. And so someone is shocked that Trump will be able to choose drone kill targets, or have access to everything the NSA sweeps up about his enemies.

    • Trump’s Pick for Interior Secretary Was Caught in “Pattern of Fraud” at SEAL Team 6

      A Montana lawmaker tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to be secretary of the interior committed travel fraud when he was a member of the elite Navy SEAL Team 6, according to three former unit leaders and a military consultant.

      In announcing the nomination of Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, a retired Navy SEAL commander, Trump praised his military background. “As a former Navy SEAL, he has incredible leadership skills and an attitude of doing whatever it takes to win,” Trump said last week.

      But when Zinke was a mid-career officer at SEAL Team 6, he was caught traveling multiple times to Montana in 1998 and 1999 to renovate his home. Zinke claimed that the travel was for official duties, according to the sources.

      He submitted travel vouchers and was compensated for the travel costs.

    • How Many Children Were Shot Dead Today? An Interview with Gary Younge

      Every day, on average, seven children and teenagers are shot dead in the United States. November 23, 2013 — the day Gary Younge chose randomly as the setting for his book Another Day in the Death of America — was “just another day in America.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Former church member launches ‘Mormon Wikileaks’ for anonymous tips and whistleblowers

      A former member of the Mormon church has launched a “Wikileaks”-inspired website in an effort to make the famously private Latter Day Saints more transparent.

      MormonWikiLeaks went live on Tuesday after two-and-a-half months of planning and, like the original WikiLeaks, will seek to expose validated documents or videos anonymous tipsters choose to send in. The group also plans to have social media pages.

      Founder Ryan McKnight, a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, conceived of the idea for the site after he helped an anonymous source leak videos of senior church members at a twice-yearly conference in October. He has been “bombarded” with people looking to share information since.

    • Every month a whistleblower wants to report misconduct

      Since going public in June 2013, Commonwealth Bank whistleblower Jeff Morris is contacted at least once a month by company insiders asking for advice about reporting corporate misconduct.

      “When I explain the potential cost to them: the loss of not just their job but also their career, due to vindictive back channel smear campaigns; the lack of any effective protection or compensation, let alone rewards; most walk away,” he says.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate scientists are launching an anonymous hotline for government workers to report Trump meddling

      Climate scientists are predicting rough weather for their profession in 2017. US president-elect Donald Trump’s statements on climate change, his appointments to head environmental agencies, and the threatening actions of his transition team all have the nation’s weather professionals on alert and preparing for the worst.

      The Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has established a hotline for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employees to report political meddling. There’s currently concern among NOAA scientists about who Trump’s pick to head the agency will be. “I am hearing a lot of worry,” union director Andrew Rosenberg told Bloomberg. “The worry is that they will be putting another ideologue in place.”

    • 70,000 Demand Obama Protect Climate from Trump Denialism

      ust one month from inauguration and with confirmation hearings looming for President-elect Trump’s climate-denier cabinet, an international coalition of human rights and environmental groups is appealing to President Obama to take one final action to advance justice and action on climate change in spite of Trump.

    • Collapse of West Antarctic Ice Sheet Reveals Inadequacy of Current Climate Strategies

      With president-elect Donald Trump and his army of climate deniers preparing to take office, it could be a hard battle to get the US to adhere to any sort of climate policy anytime soon. This is hard news because today’s suggested but nowhere-implemented climate policy was already much less restrictive than the climate policy from the mid-1990s. In a world where we have emitted as much carbon dioxide since 1987 as was emitted in the previous 230 years, why has policy not become more stringent? This outdated emissions reductions policy has earned the title “legacy,” not because it is worthy of recognition, or something we want to pass on to future generations, but because it is like “legacy software,” in that “it is difficult to replace because of its wide usage.”

      The climate policy strategy that we are attempting to implement in the face of Trump’s intransigence is conceptually similar to what we were supposed to adopt with the Kyoto Protocol back in the 1990s. That is, it involves a reduction of annual greenhouse gas emissions. The two relevant actions that we are now struggling to implement are the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and Obama’s Paris Climate Conference commitment. The CPP is still not implemented and has been sent back to District Court for further litigation. On paper, its emissions reductions are a fraction more restrictive than the initial Kyoto targets but overall, the CPP is significantly less restrictive than Kyoto because Kyoto targets were supposed to have been achieved in 2012. The CPP pushed the deadline back 18 years to 2030.

  • Finance

    • I make $2.35 an hour in coal country. I don’t want handouts. I want a living wage.

      I grew up in Dickenson County, Va. Like many who were raised in the heart of Appalachia, I come from a long line of coal miners. My great-grandfathers, grandfathers, uncles and cousins all went underground to dig the coal that kept the lights on for communities across our country.

      My family members, like thousands throughout coal country, took pride in their work. We stuck together and fought to make our jobs good jobs. In April 1989, the Pittston Coal Co. cut health care for mineworkers, and 2,000 miners walked out on strike. My pawpaw was one of them. When Pittston brought scabs in to work at lower wages and called on state troopers to break up the strike, the mineworkers, with their community behind them, didn’t back down — they fought harder. Through months of civil disobedience, blocking roads and mine entrances and holding public demonstrations, the United Mine Workers of America won the wages and benefits our families deserved in February 1990.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Teaching Civics in the Time of Trump

      Do we need a new Schoolhouse Rock! to remind us how to run a democracy?

    • Can We Fire the Electoral College? Probably Not, but We Can Put It Under New Management

      The electors of the Electoral College met this afternoon in their respective states and anointed as president the candidate who won the popular vote in a larger number of states — Donald Trump — regardless of the fact that another candidate — Hillary Clinton — won the larger number of votes by several million.

      The ACLU has opposed the Electoral College since 1969 for non-partisan reasons. By now — everyone, Republicans, Democrats, and none-of-the-aboves — should be fed up with its undemocratic and unpredictable nature.

      Unfortunately, amending the Constitution to eliminate this atavistic system is a practical impossibility for the same reason the Electoral College is a problem: The less populous states have a disproportionate share of voting power. Constitutional amendments require approval by three-quarters of the states, not a national majority or even super-majority of voters. Most states are currently Republican-dominated, and Republicans may believe at the moment that the peculiarities of the Electoral College will help to serve their partisan goals in future elections.

    • Republicans Will Review Recount Process

      But some Republicans say the recount surfaced issues that must be researched, and maybe fixed.

      “While the recount was more of a publicity stunt than anything else, at the very least it proved that our state has a fair and trustworthy system because of our efforts to reduce fraud with the implementation of voter ID,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

      “Moving forward, we will investigate additional ways to reform our election laws to reduce any chance of fraud,” Vos added. “The Assembly Republican caucus will also discuss changes to the recount statute to insure Wisconsin taxpayers don’t bear any of the costs of future recounts.”

    • Why US liberals are now buying guns too

      Gun ownership has traditionally been associated with the right wing in America but the election of Donald Trump has prompted some left-wingers to join gun clubs – and even start preparing for the collapse of society.

      “I really didn’t expect to be thinking about purchasing a gun. It was something that my father did and I rolled my eyes at him.”

    • Green Party Activist: No, Jill Stein’s Recount Was Not A ‘Front’ For The Clinton Campaign

      By now, it is clear that the two main corporate-backed political parties will never allow ballots to be re-counted in any U.S. Presidential election.

      I am writing on the morning that the electoral college will be voting on who will become the next president of the United States. Even at this late date the evidence mounts that hundreds of thousands of voters cast legitimate ballots in the 2016 elections that were never counted. Yet the Democratic Party and its candidate, Hillary Clinton, have refused to file any court challenges to the elections machinery, oversight, or illegitimate processes.

      And the Republican Party continues to go all-out to block Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s attempt to force three states to count every ballot by hand.

      One would think: “Who could be opposed to counting every ballot?”

      Both the Democrat and Republican parties and their candidates each twist rationalizations like pretzels to prevent a re-count.

    • The Electoral College Desecrates Democracy—Especially This Time

      The Electoral College was created 229 years ago as a check and balance against popular sovereignty. And, with its formal endorsement of Donald Trump for the presidency, this absurd anachronism has once again completed its mission of desecrating democracy.

      As of Monday afternoon, the actual vote count in the race for the presidency was: Democrat Hillary Clinton 65,844,594, Republican Donald Trump 62,979,616. That’s a 2,864,978 popular-vote victory. Yet, when the last of the electors from the 50 states and the District of Columbia had completed their quadrennial mission early Monday evening, the Electoral College vote was: Trump 304, Clinton 227.

      So-called “faithless” electors split from Trump and Clinton, casting votes for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Ohio Governor John Kasich, former Congressman Ron Paul and Native American elder (and Dakota Access Pipeline critic) Faith Spotted Eagle.

    • What Trump’s Cabinet of ‘best people’ lacks

      You’re hired. That’s what President-elect Donald Trump has been telling the select group of individuals whom he has chosen for his Cabinet. On Thursday he named Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana, to lead the Department of the Interior. “America is the most beautiful country in the world and he is going to help keep it that way with smart management of our federal lands,” Trump said in a statement. Now, with only the slots for secretary of agriculture and veteran’s affairs still open, it seems highly unlikely that any Latinos will have a spot in Trump’s Cabinet.

    • Detroit’s election woes: 782 more votes than voters

      Whether the result of machine malfunction, human error or even fraud, the unexplained voting discrepancies in Detroit last month were not sizable enough to affect the outcome in Michigan of the presidential election, according to a new Free Press analysis of voting precinct records.

      In 248 precincts, there were a total of 782 more votes tabulated by voting machines than the number of voters listed as picking up ballots in the precincts’ poll books. That makes up just three-tenths of 1% of the total 248,211 votes that were logged in Detroit for the presidential election. That number was far too small to swing the statewide election results, even in this year’s especially tight race that saw a Republican win Michigan for the first time since George Bush in 1988.

    • My President Was Black

      Obama’s ties to the South Side tradition that Washington represented were complicated. Like Washington, Obama attempted to forge a coalition between black South Siders and the broader community. But Obama, despite his adherence to black cultural mores, was, with his roots in Kansas and Hawaii, his Ivy League pedigree, and his ties to the University of Chicago, still an exotic out-of-towner. “They were a bit skeptical of him,” says Salim Muwakkil, a journalist who has covered Obama since before his days in the Illinois state Senate. “Chicago is a very insular community, and he came from nowhere, seemingly.”

    • Only one-third of Americans say Russia influenced 2016 election

      Just one-third of Americans say they believe Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

      Forty-four percent of the 2,000 voters polled Dec. 15 through Dec. 17 said they do not think Russia influenced November’s election, while a quarter are still unsure.

    • Trump on Free Speech and Freedom of the Press

      No one can know for sure what the incoming Trump administration will do, but President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized and threatened the media in the United States. In lieu of attempting the impossible and predicting the future, we’ve gathered all of Trump’s stated positions on free speech and freedom of the press. If you are aware of any additional statements that we have not included, please email kate@eff.org with a link to your source material, and we will consider it for inclusion.

      While running for president, Trump made his general feelings about the press very clear. He has called the media “dishonest” and described reporters as “scum,” “sleaze,” and “horrible people.” At a rally last February, he famously said, “I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.”

    • Why Hillary Lost, According to Hillary

      It wasn’t her fault.

      The Clinton campaign, and Hillary herself, summed up her loss by blaming FBI Director Comey as an individual, the FBI as an organization, and of course the Russians and the Russians and the Russians and Putin himself for the loss. “Angry white men” got tagged as well. Nobody likes Huma Abedin anymore, either. That’s pretty much it.

    • Clinton’s Defeat and the Fake News Conspiracy

      There is an astounding double standard being applied to the US presidential election result.

      A few weeks ago the corporate media were appalled that Donald Trump demurred on whether he would accept the vote if it went against him. It was proof of his anti-democratic, authoritarian instincts.

      But now he has won, the same media outlets are cheerleading the establishment’s full-frontal assault on the legitimacy of a Trump presidency. That campaign is being headed by the failed candidate, Hillary Clinton, after a lengthy softening-up operation by US intelligence agencies, led by the CIA.

      According to the prevailing claim, Russian president Vladimir Putin stole the election on behalf of Trump (apparently by resorting to the US playbook on psy-ops). Trump is not truly a US president, it seems. He’s Russia’s placeman in the White House – a Moscovian candidate.

    • The Left’s Risk in Blaming Russia

      This week began with a mass email from the head of the Democratic National Committee, who declared: “By now, Americans know beyond any reasonable doubt that the Russian government orchestrated a series of cyberattacks on political campaigns and organizations over the past two years and used stolen information to influence the presidential campaign and congressional races.” DNC chair Donna Brazile went on: “The integrity of our elections is too important for Congress to refuse to take these attacks seriously.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • How Tech Companies Can Fight for Their Users in the Courts

      There are a lot of political uncertainties around the incoming Trump administration, but the threats to civil liberties are potentially greater than ever. President Obama failed to rein in the surveillance state, and Mr. Trump has nominated cabinet members like Mike Pompeo who are big fans of bulk surveillance. Now, given Mr. Trump’s campaign posture of being a “law and order” candidate who has openly criticized Apple for standing up for strong encryption, tech companies need to be even more vigilant in fighting for their users in the courts.

      EFF stands ready to support those who will be pioneers in these efforts. Below, we highlight a few ways companies can stand up for their users, along with some prominent examples of from the past. In addition, for the last six years EFF has produced an annual “Who Has Your Back?” report evaluating the practices of technology companies in categories such as insisting on a warrant for user content and issuing transparency reports. Companies can look at these reports to get a sense of best practices in the industry.

    • Trump and His Advisors on Surveillance, Encryption, Cybersecurity

      On encryption, Trump said in early 2016 that Apple should have to make available data stored on an iPhone linked to the shooter in last year’s attack in San Bernardino, California. Apple repeatedly challenged the FBI’s demands that the company build a tool to access the secure data on the encrypted device.

      “But to think that Apple won’t allow us to get into her cell phone,” Trump said in an interview. “Who do they think they are? No, we have to open it up.”

      Trump also famously called for a boycott of Apple until the company helped to unlock the device, criticizing Apple CEO Tim Cook for “looking to do a big number, probably to show how liberal he is.”

    • ORG’s first take on the leaked e-Privacy Regulations

      The leaked e-Privacy Regulation (ePR) brings many improved protections to our communications data, which are now extended to communications devices and internet services, not just traditional telecom providers. At the same time this modernisation has brought other fundamental changes that could have less welcome consequences.

      Here we focus on the basic changes to electronic communications. Most other analyses of the leaked ePR will probably focus on cookies and the impact on online advertising, and rightly so as this is really important. We don’t have the space here for a proper take on both here, but in the coming months we will also engage with those other areas: cookies, marketing, nuisance calls, as well as the enforcement aspects.

    • Court Says Abandoned Phone Locked With A Passcode Still Has Expectation Of Privacy

      A Florida Court of Appeals has handed down a somewhat surprising ruling [PDF] in a case centering on evidence obtained from a teen’s cellphone. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      Two juveniles fled their vehicle during a traffic stop, with one of them (referred to as “K.C.” in the ruling) leaving behind his cellphone on the car’s seat. This phone — whose lockscreen featured a photo of someone who “looked similar” to “K.C.” — was taken by the officer.

      Several months later, the PD’s forensic lab was asked to determine ownership of the phone. The phone was locked with a passcode, but the lab was able to unlock and retrieve this information. No warrant was obtained and the search apparently wasn’t limited to determining ownership. The use of evidence obtained from the phone was challenged, but the state felt it had plenty of warrant exceptions to save its search.

    • EFF urges companies to prepare for more surveillance and censorship

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation – a group of tech pioneers trying to keep the Internet open and free – have published an open letter to tech companies pleading them to prepare for an era of increased Internet surveillance and censorship. The EFF is citing statements by Trump and his advisors regarding Internet control, net neutrality, and freedom of speech and the press.

    • Donald Trump’s future NSA director met with Austrian party founded by Nazis

      The leader of Austria’s Nazi-founded Freedom Party has signed a cooperation agreement with Russia’s ruling party — only weeks after meeting with Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who will soon be national security adviser to President-elect Donald Trump. This muddies the waters as to the United States’ place in a geopolitical world that could be dominated by Russia in the near term.

      Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the Freedom Party, announced that he had signed the agreement with Putin’s own United Russia party on his Facebook page, The New York Times reported on Monday. The announcement also mentioned that Strache had visited Flynn a few weeks earlier in Trump Tower. The cooperation agreement itself includes plans for collaboration between United Russia and the Freedom Party on economic, business, and political projects over the next five years.

      Founded in the 1950s by former Nazis, the Freedom Party nearly captured the Austrian presidency (which is largely ceremonial) in May but lost a runoff election on Dec. 4. It nevertheless remains a potent force in Austrian politics, where it leads all opinions polls ahead of the two mainstream parties, and is best known for its hardline stance against immigration and its defensiveness toward Russia. Indeed, Russia’s signatory Sergei Zheleznyak identified Europe’s “migration crisis” as one of the key areas where the two parties could work together.

    • Report: Shadow Brokers Leaks Trace to NSA Insider
    • Report: ShadowBrokers Obtained Stolen NSA Info Via Rogue Insider
    • ShadowBrokers got NSA spy tools from rogue insider

      The ShadowBrokers didn’t break into the United States National Security Agency after all. The latest research into the group of cybercriminals selling alleged NSA spy tools reinforced the idea that they’d received the classified materials from an insider within the intelligence agency, security company Flashpoint said.

      Analysis of the latest ShadowBrokers dump, which was announced earlier in the month on the blogging platform Medium by “Boceffus Cleetus,” suggests the spy tools were initially taken directly from an NSA code repository by a rogue insider, Flashpoint said. The company’s researchers analyzed the sample file containing implants and exploits and various screenshots provided in the post and have “medium confidence” that an NSA employee or contractor initially leaked the tools, said Ronnie Tokazowski, senior malware analyst with Flashpoint. However, they were still “uncertain of how these documents were exfiltrated,” he said.

    • Shadow Brokers are back with ‘stolen NSA cyberweapons’, now 99.9% off

      That’s the self-styled, pseudo-semi-literate but surely satirical hacker group that claimed in August 2016 to have penetrated the NSA, or some other organisation of that sort, and made off with “cyberweapons” worth more than $500 million.

      They dumped a few files as tasters, with the claim that the files they were keeping back to sell were “better than Stuxnet.”

      That’s a bold claim, given that Stuxnet was the airgap-jumping USB virus that was allegedly written to sneak right into the heart of Iran’s uranium enrichment programme.

    • Facebook charged with misleading EU on $22 billion WhatsApp merger

      Brussels’ competition officials issued a charge sheet against Facebook on Tuesday, in which it is alleged that the free content ad network failed to disclose that “the technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook users’ IDs with WhatsApp users’ IDs already existed” at the time of the merger.

      Antitrust chief Margerthe Vestager said that companies must provide “accurate information” during routine competition probes into planned acquisitions.

      “They must take this obligation seriously,” she said. “In this specific case, the commission’s preliminary view is that Facebook gave us incorrect or misleading information during the investigation into its acquisition of WhatsApp. Facebook now has the opportunity to respond.”

    • James Clapper’s Office To Finally Reveal NSA’s ‘Incidental Collection’ Numbers

      Prior to the Snowden leaks making it unignorable, the NSA denied the incidental collection of Americans’ communications was much of a problem. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall were two of the few members of the NSA’s oversight willing to ask tough questions. One of the questions they asked — all the way back in 2011 — was how many Americans were spied on by the NSA’s programs. The answer may shock you/cause uncontrollable eyerolling.

    • EFF’s full-page Wired ad: Dear tech, delete your logs before it’s too late

      EFF has run a full-page ad in this month’s Wired, addressed to the technology industry, under the banner “Your threat model just changed,” warning them that the incoming administration has vowed to spy on and deport millions of their fellow Americans on the basis of religion and race, and that they are in grave risk of having their services conscripted to help with this effort. (Trump is also an avowed opponent of net neutrality)

    • GCHQ should do more to guard against financial cyber crime, Tory MP urges
    • NCSC boss asked to detail efforts to protect financial services sector against cyberattacks
    • GCHQ must do more to protect banks against cyber attacks, Tory MP urges
    • Notable Analyst Coverage Update: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT), Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE)
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Unequal Sentences for Blacks and Whites

      In Flagler County, Fla., blacks convicted of robbery were given prison sentences nearly triple those of whites, even though the circumstances of the crimes were the same.

    • Malcolm Gladwell Likes Leaks When They Bolster Government Power

      But maybe more surprising than the class bias of the New Yorker’s resident deep-thinker is his take on the role of anonymous leaks. In a properly functioning media system, Gladwell argues, the purpose of leaks is to fool people into accepting government indoctrination—and it would be a shame if that system were to break down.

      Gladwell borrows (of course) this argument from Columbia law professor David Pozen (Harvard Law Review, 12/20/13), writing, “Pozen argues that governments look the other way when it comes to leaks because it is in their interest to do so.” Pozen makes a distinction between unauthorized “leaks” and “plants”—the latter being “a leak made with the full authorization of the White House.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T, Verizon Laugh At The FCC’s Last-Minute Attempt To Crack Down On Zero Rating

      So we’ve noted several times how the FCC’s decision to avoid banning zero rating when crafting net neutrality rules was a bad idea, as it opened the door wide to all manner of net neutrality violations — provided incumbent ISPs were just creative about it. And like clockwork, companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast quickly got to work exempting their own content from usage caps, while penalizing competitors (and non-profits or educational services). Meanwhile companies like Sprint and T-Mobile began charging users a steep premium unless they wanted games, video and music throttled by default.

      Unlike many other countries (Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, India), the FCC decided to avoid banning these kinds of practices as part of neutrality rules, instead saying they’d step in and act on a “cases by case” basis should ISP behaviors prove anti-competitive. But as ISPs increasingly made it very clear they were using arbitrary usage caps as anti-competitive weapons against competing streaming video services, the FCC did nothing. That is, until the agency reached out to AT&T and Verizon last month, formally accusing both companies of violating net neutrality.

      It’s a strange, belated decision by an FCC that, by most analyst accounts, is about to be defunded and defanged. Both the GOP and incoming Trump administration have clear they see no role for the agency as a consumer or competition watchdog. With FCC boss Tom Wheeler having just stepped down, both AT&T and Verizon are well aware the current FCC is a lame duck. As such both companies responded to the FCC’s inquiries this week with the legal equivalent of laughter.

    • Trump and His Advisors on Net Neutrality

      Through the combined efforts of EFF and a coalition of public interest groups — and four million of you who wrote in to the FCC — we won carefully tailored and essential net neutrality protections in 2015 and defended them in court in 2016. But how will the incoming Trump administration impact net neutrality in 2017? We’ve collected a range of statements on the positions of Trump, his transition team, and those who are likely to guide the new administration on this issue.

      Trump took a swipe at net neutrality in a November 2014 tweet, stating, “Obama’s Attack on the Internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target Conservative Media.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • How The DMCA And The CFAA Are Preventing People From Saving Their Soon-To-Be-Broken Pebble Watches

        I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think smartwatches are really wonderful, even as lots of people scoff at the concept (and sales have been disappointing across the board). The first device that clued me in to the possible power of the smartwatch was the original Pebble smartwatch, which I (and many, many others) backed on Kickstarter. I ended up backing their second Kickstarter campaign as well — but was disappointed in the end product and ended up moving on to another smartwatch instead (the Moto 360, though now it looks like Motorola is dumping that business as well). I didn’t end up backing Pebble’s latest Kickstarter campaign, which turned out to be a good thing, because as you may have heard, the company announced last week that it had sold its assets to Fitbit, and no more work would be done on Pebble watches (and people who backed the latest project would eventually get refunds, but no watches).

12.20.16

Links 20/12/2016: OpenSDS Project Grows, OpenSSH 7.4 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 9:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • An Open Source Driving Agent from comma.ai

    Last week, we open sourced an advanced driver assistance system in order to help accelerate the future of self driving cars and provide a platform anyone can build on top of. We released both openpilot, driving agent research software, and NEO, a robotics platform capable of running openpilot, under the MIT license.

  • How Praekelt.org and Open Source Provide Critical Services to Enable Social Change

    Praekelt.org runs exclusively on open source software, and the majority of their services are deployed on Ubuntu Linux servers. Recently, they launched a few services on the latest stable Debian release.

    The organization uses Apache Mesos to manage large clusters for their maternal health applications. “All applications on these clusters are distributed in Docker containers and are managed by Mesophere’s Marathon. To provision the machines we use Puppet. Our language of choice for all of our services is Python,” according to Simon de Haan, chief engineer atPraekelt.org and Ambika Samarthya-Howard, head of communications.

  • Five open source skills you’ll need in 2017 | Top skills IT pros will need to conquer the open source platform

    With more organisations opting to either use open source software or open up their platforms, most IT pros will be versed in basic open source practices. However, like most things in tech, the required skills can be subject to change.

    According to The Linux Foundation, a huge 87 percent of managers say it’s difficult to find open source talent, with 79 percent of mangers increasing incentives to retain their current open source employees.

    Computerworld UK spoke with CBT Nuggets trainer and open source expert Shawn Powers to discuss skills IT pros will need to conquer the open source platform in 2017.

  • Give back this holiday: Language input needed for literacy project

    Educational software programs like gCompis, Tux Math, Childsplay and KDE Edu may be familiar to free desktop users. This software is used by organizations such as Reglue, Partimus and KidsOnComputers who are bring educational opportunities to underprivileged children the world over. Even what you might consider to be business-focused software can make the world a better place, as we see with CouchDB who played a crucial role in the fight against the Ebola outbreak two years ago.

  • Kickstarter’s Engineering Team Begins to Open Source Crowdfunding Platform’s Android & iOS Apps
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Upstreams Chrome on iOS Source Code In Chromium

        Google developers today pushed a bunch of their Chrome on iOS code into the upstream Chromium Git repository.

        Over the course of 11 commits, Google appears to have upstreamed much of their Chrome iOS source-code into Chromium.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Survey Reveals Big Data Reaching Maturity, But Governance Fears Loom

      During its formative stage, the Big Data trend–sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information–remained an enterprise-only story, but now businesses of all sizes are evaluating tools that can help them glean meaningful insights from the data they store. As we’ve noted, the open source Hadoop project has been one of the big drivers of this trend, and has given rise to commercial companies that offer custom Hadoop distributions, support, training and more.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD-Based OPNsense 17.1 Operating System for Firewalls & Routers Enters Beta

      The OPNsense project had the great pleasure of announcing the release of the first Beta images of the upcoming OPNsense 17.1 operating system developed for firewalls and routers.

    • OpenSSH 7.4 released

      OpenSSH 7.4 has just been released. It will be available from the
      mirrors listed at http://www.openssh.com/ shortly.

      OpenSSH is a 100% complete SSH protocol 2.0 implementation and
      includes sftp client and server support. OpenSSH also includes
      transitional support for the legacy SSH 1.3 and 1.5 protocols
      that may be enabled at compile-time.

      Once again, we would like to thank the OpenSSH community for their
      continued support of the project, especially those who contributed
      code or patches, reported bugs, tested snapshots or donated to the
      project. More information on donations may be found at:

      http://www.openssh.com/donations.html

    • OpenSSH 7.4 released!
    • OpenSSH 7.4 Removes Server Support for the SSH-1 Protocol, Adds New Features

      OpenSSH 7.4 has been released today, December 19, 2016, as the latest and most advanced stable release of the open-source and portable 100% complete SSH protocol 2.0 implementation used on Linux, BSD, and other Unix-like platforms.

      OpenSSH 7.4 is here four and a half months after the release of OpenSSH 7.3, and it promises to be primarily a bugfix release that addresses many of the security issues discovered since OpenSSH 7.3. But first, it looks like this version includes various under-the-hood changes that may affect existing configurations.

      For example, it removes support for the the SSH version 1 protocol as SSH2 is a more secure, efficient, and portable version of SSH (Secure Shell), which delivers SSH-encrypted SFTP functionality. It also removes 3des-cbc from the client’s default proposal, as well as support for pre-authentication compression.

  • Public Services/Government

    • DISA looks to open source to squash cyber bugs, reorganizes its data centers

      As part of the response to two massive data breaches involving systems at the Office of Personnel Management, the federal government decided to put the Defense Department in charge of building a new information technology backbone to house and process all of the data involved in security clearance investigations, one that would be safer from foreign attacks.

      As one way to achieve that goal, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the lead agency in charge of the IT development, is considering opening up the National Background Investigation System’s underlying source code to the general public as soon as it’s fully baked. The theory is that it’s far better for white-hat hackers to find and help squash security bugs before the new system comes online than for bad-guy hackers to discover and make use of them to steal yet another batch of data.

      Maj. Gen. Sarah Zabel, DISA’s vice director, said the idea was first proposed to her agency by the Defense Digital Service.

    • Smart Citizens roll out sensor network in Barcelona

      The roll out of the sensor network is part of a “beta pilot” marking the start of the Making Sense project. This project is partly funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 programme and runs from 2015 till 2017. It aims to “explore how open source software, open source hardware, digital maker practices and open design can be effectively used by local communities to fabricate their own sensing tools, make sense of their environments, and address pressing environmental problems in air, water, soil and sound pollution.”

    • GDS says its open source code guidance needs to be more joined up

      Writing in a blogpost, Anna Shipman, a technical architect and open source lead at GDS, said that making code open – all new code written in government must be open by default – was “vital” to government’s plans to change the way it works.

      “By making our code open and reusable we increase collaboration across teams, helping make departments more joined up, and can work together to reduce duplication of effort and make commonly used code more robust,” she said.

      However, she acknowledged that the service’s guidance on open source code “is not as joined up as it could be” and that more work needed to be done to encourage good practice and make it easy for teams to collaborate.

      Shipman said she would be working to clarify the guidance and fill in any gaps, as well as addressing other barriers identified in user research.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • 3 Common Open Source IP Compliance Failures and How to Avoid Them

      Companies or organizations that don’t have a strong open source compliance program often suffer from errors and limitations in processes throughout the software development cycle that can lead to open source compliance failures.

      In part 3 of this series, we covered some of the risks that a company can face from license failures, including an injunction that prevents a company from shipping a product; support or customer service headaches; significant re-engineering; and more.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • OECD STI Outlook 2016: open science is next frontier

      Beyond open data, open science is now the next frontier. This is one of the main conclusions of the ‘Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2016′, published earlier this month by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

      “Open data access practices are increasingly widespread,” the authors of the report claim. “Encouraging the sharing and re-use of research data could generate more value for public money. Science is also becoming a less institutionalised endeavour, with citizens conducting their own research alongside the scientific community. However, deep changes in academic culture will be necessary to realise the full potential of a more open science.”

    • Open education is about improving lives, not taking tests

      Early in the book Couros says, “Sometimes it scares me to think that we have taken the most human profession, teaching, and have reduced it to simply letters and numbers,” Couros says early in the book. “We place such an emphasis on these scores, because of political mandates and the way teachers and schools are evaluated today, that it seems we’ve forgotten why our profession exists: to change—improve—lives.”

      In other words education has lost it’s “Why?”—and that is central to its mission.

      Immediately I saw the parallels to The Open Organization. Central to the open organization is a completely different model of organization. Conventional organizations are top-down, while open organizations are bottom-up. In conventional “What we do” and “How we do it” are most important. But in the bottom-up open organization “Why we do it” is most important, and this emotional connection between and among the members of the open organization motivates the community and drives innovation.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • SiFive Is Setting Silicon Free with Open-Source Chips

        Moore’s Law is dead…just not in the way everyone thinks. Technological advances keep allowing chips to scale, but the economics are another story – particularly for smaller companies that can’t afford chips in the volumes that the big chipmakers would like from their customers.

        The solution, according to San Francisco-based startup, SiFive, is open-source hardware, specifically an architecture developed by the company’s founders called RISC-V (pronounced “risk-five”). Done right SiFive, which was awarded Startup of the Year at the 2016 Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Awards, believes that RISC-V will do for the hardware industry what Linux has done for software.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Apple’s not very good, really quite poor 2016

    As they drift off for their one- or two-day vacations shortly, will Apple’s senior executives be patting themselves on the back? Or will they be slapping themselves on the forehead?

    Apple’s 2016 was garlanded with the usual hype, but not somehow with the usual excitement.

    Perhaps you’re excited by profits. Most real people, however, simply want to witness, feel and enjoy something that, to them, feels both new and exciting.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Superbacteria seep through Finland’s borders

      The last few years have seen more cases of antibiotic-resistant superbacteria infections in Finland. Even special strains of antibiotics that are saved for difficult cases may not necessarily have an effect on the so-called superbugs.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • [Older] Why Is Sweden Giving the “Alternative Nobel Prize” to Syria’s ‘White Helmets’?

      Sweden did not succeed in getting Bob Dylan to come to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. Nevertheless as a consolation the “White Helmets” did arrive to get the Right Livelihood Award.

      This article examines a likely geopolitical rationale that the Swedish elites had for selecting that organization. Facts suggest a congruence between the stances of those elites on Syria and the declared political aims of the organization White Helmets. The reviewing of the institutions involved in the award-decision and process can also result relevant in pondering the reason for the event. Finally, to inquire into the role of Carl Bildt, as member of the board of directors in the institution ultimately deciding, is interesting against the backdrop of his opposition regarding the participation of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden in previous international events organized by the same institutions –all of them under the umbrella of the Swedish Foreign Office.

    • Truck hits Berlin Christmas market, one dead: reports

      German media reported on Monday that a truck had ploughed into a Christmas market in central Berlin, killing at least one person and injuring several others, according to local media.

      Reports said the truck drove into the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in central Berlin’s main shopping district. There was no immediate word on who was responsible, but the newspaper Berliner Morgenpost — whose offices are located on the square — said police suspected it was a terrorist attack.

    • Berlin Crash Is Suspected to Be a Terror Attack, Police Say

      The Berlin police said early Tuesday that the killing of at least 12 people and the wounding of dozens more when a truck plowed through a Christmas market on Monday night was “a suspected terrorist attack.”

      In a statement, the police added that they were working swiftly and with “necessary care” in the investigation.

      The truck jumped the sidewalk about 8 p.m. near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, whose jagged spire, a reminder of the bombings during World War II, is one of the most symbolic sites in Berlin.

    • Russian official found dead from gunshot wounds in Moscow

      THE head of a Russian foreign ministry department has been shot dead in Moscow, according to local media.

      The government has not yet confirmed the reports.

      A man’s body was found in an apartment with a gunshot wound to the head, REN TV reported.

      Two shells were found along with a gun under the sink in the kitchen, a source told the news outlet. They claimed the wife of the man was also in the apartment.

      Paramedics were filmed carrying a man wearing a white shirt into an ambulance.

      The news comes on a dramatic day after nine were killed by a truck driving into a Berlin Christmas market and a Turkish off-duty police officer pulled out a gun at an art exhibition in Ankara and killed Russia’s ambassador to the country, shouting: “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!”

    • ISIS claims responsibility for Berlin Christmas market attack

      ISIS has claimed responsibility for the deadly Christmas market truck crash in Berlin, a report says.

      The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force tweeted that the terror group was taking credit for the incident, which left at least 12 people dead and more than 50 injured at major public market Monday.

      Using encrypted technology, the group said they found several jihadist Twitter accounts that had been claiming responsibility for the alleged attack, according to the Washington Times.

    • Three more charged over Nice truck attack

      Six people have already been charged so far over alleged links to the 31-year-old killer

      A French anti-terrorist judge has charged three more men suspected of helping to arm the Islamist radical who crushed 86 people to death with a truck in Nice, a judicial source said Saturday.

      The three, who were among 11 arrested on Monday in Nice and the western city of Nantes, were remanded into custody on Friday, said the source. The other eight have been released.

      The three, aged 24, 31 and 36, were charged in relation to a terrorist plot.

      The arrests come five months after Tunisian extremist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed a 19-tonne truck into a crowd on the Nice seafront, further traumatising a country reeling from a series of jihadist attacks.

    • Police escort FPI members during raid on Santa hats in Surabaya malls

      The Surabaya Police escorted Islam Defenders Front (FPI) members on Sunday as they raided shopping malls in the East Java capital to check whether outlets had ordered employees to wear Christmas attire such as Santa hats.

      For promotional purposes, many companies ask their employees to wear holiday season paraphernalia, including Santa hats, when serving customers ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations. Recently, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued an edict banning companies from forcing staff to wear such items, deeming it haram.

    • Russian ambassador dead: Video shows assassin shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ after shooting Andrey Karlov

      Video has emerged of the moments after a gunman shot dead the Russian ambassador to Turkey in Ankara.

      Andrey Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted “Allahu akbar” and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.

      It was reported that the gunman shouted in Turkish: “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The dirty deplorables: Who’s who on Donald Trump’s team and how they’ll destroy the environment

      What do Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees and advisers think about climate change and other sustainability issues? As you would expect, it’s not looking good for those of us concerned about a habitable climate and livable cities. Trump is putting together a climate-denying cabal of extreme right-wingers and corporate sympathizers likely to roll back environmental protections, halt smart-growth efforts and undo progress toward environmental justice.

      We’ll keep tabs on the most relevant nominees and appointees here, continuing as they make their way through the confirmation process, so check back for updates.

    • The United States of Climate Change Denial

      Donald Trump has promised to unleash an energy revolution by extracting billions of dollars in untapped fossil fuels and gutting incentives to invest in renewable energy. With the nominations of Rex Tillerson, Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, and Rick Perry to his Cabinet, the President-elect is poised to do more damage to America’s environmental legacy—and future—than any other leader in recent memory.

      Despite Trump’s untraditional approach to choosing Cabinet officials, nothing about their nomination is accidental. Each of them offers a range of qualifications and connections that, together, form a unified front against climate progress, human health, and energy security.

    • Finland’s future – Even darker winters with temperatures like Hungary?

      Hot summers, warm winters and plenty of rain, this is the future Finland may face if unbridled climate change continues, says a study by the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI. If the emissions of greenhouse gases continue unchecked, by the end of the century the climate of central Finland could be as warm as it is today in Hungary.

    • Indonesia’s forestry ministry takes Greenpeace to court over freedom of information request

      The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry is going to court over a successful freedom of information request by Greenpeace, setting the stage for a protracted legal battle over a form of data NGOs say they need if they are to play a monitoring role in the world’s third-largest democracy.

      Greenpeace Indonesia on Oct. 24 won its yearlong suit submitted to the Central Information Commission (KIP) against the ministry demanding access to seven different geospatial maps of Indonesia, including those showing oil palm, timber, and mining concessions as well as the archipelago country’s land cover.

      The group argued its case under the 2008 Freedom of Public Information Law, which established the KIP. “This is exciting news for us,” Greenpeace’s Kiki Taufik said immediately after the ruling came down. “The commission has made the right decision.”

  • Finance

    • IMF chief Lagarde found guilty of negligence by French court over payout to businessman

      The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, has been found guilty of negligence by a Paris court over a huge payout she approved to a business tycoon while serving as French finance minister in 2008.

      Despite the guilty finding, the Court of Justice of the Republic did not issue any sentence for the IMF chief.

      The official denies the negligence charges, and her lawyers will now look into appealing the court ruling, Reuters reported.

      The decision not to hand down a punishment was made considering Lagarde’s good reputation and international standing, Reuters reported, citing the main judge, Martine Ract Madoux. She added that “the context of the global financial crisis in which Madame Lagarde found herself” was “taken into account.”

    • When you thought trade deals could not get any worse — enter Wall Street

      What connects two proposed gold mines, one in the high-altitude wetlands of Colombia and one in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania?

      Both mines would require huge quantities of cyanide and threaten watersheds used by millions of people for drinking water. One would damage a unique, legally protected ecosystem and the other would destroy an ancient, UNESCO-nominated settlement. Both have been opposed by scientific bodies, protested by tens of thousands of people, and restricted by domestic courts.

      And in both cases, the Canadian mining corporations behind the projects (Eco Oro in Colombia and Gabriel Resources in Romania) have responded to the mining denials by using trade and investment deals to sue the governments in private tribunals. In fact, Eco Oro just launched its case last week. Using this backdoor process called “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS), the corporations can demand up to billions of dollars from the taxpayers in both countries. These ISDS claims are possible due to far-reaching rights that trade and investment deals grant to corporations.

      But there is another common element driving both cases: big money from Wall Street.

    • Brazil passes the mother of all austerity plans

      Imagine setting your budget today for every year through 2036. This week, the world’s ninth-largest economy made just such a decision.

      The Brazilian Senate on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment to freeze social spending by the Brazilian government for 20 years — allowing it to rise only in tandem with inflation. The government says such a dramatic measure is necessary to get the country’s recession-bound economy back on track and gain control over public debt, which has grown sharply in recent years.

      With tough fiscal measures such as the amendment, “everyone will be able to project the numbers,” Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said in an interview in June with the Financial Times. “A lot of the uncertainty is coming down.”

    • We’re about to sign a deal with Canada that’s just as bad as TTIP and could increase inequality across the whole of Europe

      CETA is an EU-Canada trade deal just like the controversial EU-US deal TTIP. It was secretly negotiated over five years, locks in the privatisation of public services and will permit corporations across the North America to sue European governments in a private justice system. Brexit may not happen for at least two years, but CETA will be voted on in February – if it passes, it will immediately apply to the UK.

      Inequality is grist to the mill for far-right populists, yet the European Commission and members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are failing to learn the lessons of Brexit and the rise of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. Instead, it’s big business as usual, and continued support for policies that generate inequality and, in turn, fuel the xenophobic right.

    • Apple given favorable treatment on tax? No way, insists Ireland

      On Monday, the Irish government said in its challenge against the European Commission—which ruled that Apple should pay Ireland €13 billion (£11.1 billion) in back taxes—that it “does not do deals with taxpayers,” adding that the country “did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple.”

      The commission’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, said in August: “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies—this is illegal under EU state aid rules.” But Ireland’s finance ministry countered that “the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no state aid was provided.”

    • If the U.S. Won’t Pay Its Teachers, China Will

      Cindy Mi leans forward on a couch in her sun-filled Beijing office to explain how she first got interested in education. She loved English so much as a child that she spent her lunch money on books and magazines to practice. By 15, she was good enough that she began to tutor other students. At 17, she dropped out of high school to start a language-instruction company with her uncle.

      Today, Mi is 33 and founder of a startup that aims to give Chinese kids the kind of education American children receive in top U.S. schools. Called VIPKid, the company matches Chinese students aged five to 12 with predominantly North American instructors to study English, math, science and other subjects. Classes take place online, typically for two or three 25-minute sessions each week.

    • Trump’s anti-education Education Secretary owes millions in election fraud fines

      Betsy DeVos is the self-described neo-Calvinist and wife of the heir to the Amway fortune who’s devoted her life to fighting against public education through a system of vouchers that allow for public funding of religious schools; in accord with the trumpian maxim of “a fox for every henhouse,” she has been selected to serve as Trump’s Education Secretary.

      In 2006, All Children Matter, DeVos’s anti-education PAC asked the Ohio Elections Commission whether it could transfer unlimited funds to its Ohio subsidiary, and were firmly told that the most they could transfer was $10,000 — a ruling DeVos ignored, transfering $870,000 to the Ohio affiliate. This resulted in the bipartisan commission fining DeVos $5.2m, a ruling upheld by an Ohio court.

      DeVos ducked out of the fines by shutting down the Ohio subsidiary and claiming that neither she nor her PAC were liable for its debts, including the whopping $5.2M fine.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Five reasons why we don’t have a free and independent press in the UK and what we can do about it

      While most of us don’t trust journalists, many of us are still under the illusion that we have a free and independent press. The truth is we don’t. Here’s five reasons why we should be very sceptical of the information we read in the corporate media and why there is hope for the future.
      1) The billionaires that own the press set the agenda

      Who owns the media shapes what stories are covered and how they are written about. The UK media has a very concentrated ownership structure, with six billionaires owning and/or having a majority of voting shares in most of the national newspapers.

    • BREAKING: FBI Ordered to Unseal Warrant Used to Get Clinton Emails During Weiner Probe

      A federal judge has ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to unseal at least a portion of search warrant it obtained after finding emails pertinent to the Hillary Clinton investigation during the Bureau’s Anthony Weiner probe.

      The FBI’s planned disclosure is directly related to an effort by well-known attorney Los Angeles attorney E. Randol Schoenberg, who filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Justice that sought the “immediate disclosure of the FBI search warrant for the e-mails of Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.”

    • Fact-checking the integrity of the vote in 2016

      Faith in elections goes to the core of the American idea of democracy. That faith has been challenged before, but this year, the attacks came from many directions.

      There were repeated allegations of voter fraud, which for the most part turned out to be false. The government warned that Russia tried to influence the election through hacking and strategic document dumps. And fake news reports about the presidential candidates circulated on the Internet and via Facebook.

    • Kent County to profit $10K from halted Michigan recount

      Kent County could profit as much as $10,000 from a halted recount of ballots cast in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

      The recount was halted by a federal judge after Kent County had completed two full days of reviewing thousands of paper ballots by hand.

    • Pennsylvania’s voting system is one of the worst

      In May 2006, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Ohio, launched an e-voting system, producing a nationally notorious election disaster in which every technical and management system failed. One of the largest election jurisdictions in the nation, the county used DRE touchscreens similar to Allegheny County’s.

      When the election tabulation database grew beyond what it was designed to handle — a flaw concealed by the manufacturer — it silently began dropping votes and other data, without notifying officials. An accurate recount was possible, however, because Ohio had required paper printouts of voters’ e-ballots. Recounts showed that some previously announced winners actually had lost. The hidden software problem did not extinguish anyone’s voting rights only because there was a paper trail.

      Experts in election technology have pointed out that most Pennsylvania counties — including Allegheny — use e-voting systems that have been outlawed by most states. The chief reason? The omission of voter-approved paper printouts that can be recounted and that allow for audits to check on the accuracy of the electronic machines. Even when voting systems are aged and vulnerable to hacking or tampering, durable paper ballots combined with quality-assurance audits can ensure trustworthy results.

    • Trump private security force ‘playing with fire’

      President-elect Donald Trump has continued employing a private security and intelligence team at his victory rallies, and he is expected to keep at least some members of the team after he becomes president, according to people familiar with the plans.

      The arrangement represents a major break from tradition. All modern presidents and presidents-elect have entrusted their personal security entirely to the Secret Service, and their event security mostly to local law enforcement, according to presidential security experts and Secret Service sources.

      But Trump — who puts a premium on loyalty and has demonstrated great interest in having forceful security at his events — has opted to maintain an aggressive and unprecedented private security force, led by Keith Schiller, a retired New York City cop and Navy veteran who started working for Trump in 1999 as a part-time bodyguard, eventually rising to become his head of security.

    • IBM workers protest against co-operation with Trump

      Employees of IBM have launched a petition against the statement made by the company’s chief executive Ginni Rometty to US president-elect Donald Trump in which she detailed various services the company could sell to the government.

      According to the Intercept, IBM had also initially refused to rule out creating a registry of Muslims in the US, something that it has ruled out now.

      The IBM protest is being led by cybersecurity engineer Daniel Hanley. He said he was shocked after reading Rometty’s letter which was published on an internal IBM blog along with a personal note from the chief executive to the company’s global staff.

    • Trump wins electoral college amid nationwide protests

      The US electoral college has certified Donald Trump as the 45th president, despite a last-ditch effort to deny him the White House.

      Six weeks after winning the polls, the Republican cruised past the 270 votes needed to formalise his victory.

      After the result, Mr Trump promised to “work hard to unite our country and be the president of all Americans”.

      Electors had been flooded with emails and phone calls urging them not to support the billionaire.

      But despite longshot liberal hopes of a revolt by Republican electors, only two – from Texas – ended up voting against him.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Turkey blocks Tor’s anonymity network

      Turkey’s President Erdogan and the ruling AKP party are increasingly bent on silencing online dissent, and that now affects you even if you’re smart enough to evade typical censorship methods. Watchdog group Turkey Blocks has confirmed that Turkey is blocking the Tor anonymity network’s direct access mode for most users. You can still use a bridge mode for now, but there are hints that internet providers might be hurting performance even then. The restrictions come alongside a recent government ban on virtual private network services.

    • Tor blocked in Turkey as government cracks down on VPN use

      The Turkey Blocks internet censorship watchdog has identified and verified that restrictions on the Tor anonymity network and Tor Browser are now in effect throughout Turkey. Our study indicates that service providers have successfully complied with a government order to ban VPN services.

    • Facebook patent hints at an automated solution for fake news

      Facebook may have said that it’s stepping up its fight against fake news in the past few weeks, but there are signs that it might have had a way to tackle this problem sooner. A recently published USPTO filing from 2015 reveals that Facebook has applied for a patent on technology that would automate the process of removing “objectionable content.” It’s ostensibly for eliminating hate speech, porn and other material that Facebook has objected to for years, but the system could easily be applied to bogus stories as well.

      The approach would supplement user-based content flagging with machine learning. The automatic system would generate a score for content based on the likelihood that it’s objectionable, helping human moderators decide which material to cut. It’d look at the number of users objecting to content, for example, as well as the age of the account making a complaint (to discourage harassment and trolling). The AI-like code would study valid flags and learn to make more informed decisions about objectionable content.

    • Google is threatening to throw me off Google+, but won’t tell me why

      Naturally, I assumed this was just the Russians trying to gain access to my hugely valuable store of e-mails, and ignored the message. However, the next time I logged on to my Google+ account, there was a further warning that Google was seriously thinking about throwing me off the service, and so I had better watch my step.

      Since I am not in the habit of posting “unwanted promotional or commercial content, or engaging in unwanted or mass solicitation” on Google+, this left me somewhat perplexed. I searched everywhere for some way of contacting the Google+ violation department, or whatever it’s called, but could find nothing other than a couple of pages offering “Tips for creating Google+ content” and one about “Limited access and profile suspensions.” The absence of any way to contact Google seemed strange: after all, before I could stop doing what I shouldn’t be doing, I needed to know what exactly that was.

      Although I was unable to find any official way of obtaining information on alleged violations, I did find a Google+ Help community. After I joined, I asked how I could find out what I had done to incur the wrath of the great god Google, and this led to a useful thread.

    • Facebook fake news: Germany threatens new law with €500,000 fine attached

      Germany’s coalition government is threatening to bring in legislation early next year that would see Facebook and other social media firms fined up to €500,000 (£420,000) for “publishing” fake news.

      “Market dominating platforms like Facebook will be legally required to build a legal protection office in Germany that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” parliamentary chair of the Social Democratic Party Thomas Oppermann told Der Spiegel, which was translated on Deutsche Welle.

      “If, after appropriate examination, Facebook does not delete the offending message within 24 hours, it should expect individual fines of up to 500,000 euros,” Oppermann said. The subject of a fake news story would be able to demand a correction published with similar prominence, he added.

    • MPs suggest introducing web blocking to tackle suicide rates in UK

      MPs have suggested restricting access to sites which encourage self-harm or give detailed advice on methods for committing suicide as a means of tackling the “unacceptable” level of suicide in the nation.

      MPs have warned government that it has failed to do enough to tackle the UK’s suicide rates. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 49, and also the leading cause of death for people aged between 16 and 24.

      Over 6,100 deaths in the UK in 2015 were registered as suicides, though the actual number may be higher. While MPs placed much blame at the feet of government, they claimed there was also much to be done by internet providers and social media companies too.

    • France plans internet ombudsman to safeguard free speech

      France is considering appointing an official internet ombudsman to regulate complaints about online material in order to prevent excessive censorship and preserve free speech.

      A bill establishing a “content qualification assessment procedure” has been tabled in the French senate and the initiative was debated last week at a high level meeting attended by senators and judges as well as policy officers from Google and Twitter.

      The aim is to provide a simple procedure that will support firms operating online who are uncertain of their legal liabilities and to prevent over-zealous removal or censorship of material merely because it is the subject of a complaint. It could be copied by other European jurisdictions.

      Dan Shefets, a Danish lawyer who works in Paris has developed the proposal with the French senator Nathalie Goulet, said: “The problem which an internet ombudsman addresses applies to all countries in Europe [because] member states have to work with the e-commerce directive.

    • Proposed bill would block porn from computers sold in South Carolina, somehow

      South Carolina representative Bill Chumley has proposed a bill that would make it slightly more difficult for people in his state to watch porn. The bill would require manufacturers to install “digital blocking capabilities” on their computers that would ban access to internet porn, The Charlotte Observer reports.

    • South Carolina will debate bill to block porn on new computers

      A South Carolina politician is hoping to stop computer owners in his state from viewing pornography.

      State Rep. Bill Chumley, a Republican from Spartanburg, told his hometown newspaper that his Human Trafficking Prevention Act would require manufacturers or sellers of computers or other devices that access the Internet to install digital blocks to prevent the viewing of obscene content. Blocking websites that facilitate prostitution would also be required, he said.

      If a purchaser wants the filter lifted, he or she has to pay $20 to have it taken out—provided the person is over the age of 18.

    • The Call To Censor Bad News Isn’t New, Doesn’t Make Sense, And Should Frighten You A Great Deal

      The American citizen currently enjoys greater access to information than any average person in human history. But you wouldn’t know that from reading The New York Times, Buzzfeed or any other of the many outlets busying themselves calling for the administration, in concert with corporations, to censor fake news stories.

    • Arts Academy Under Attack: Police Questionings, Censorship and a Blow to Academic Freedom
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Cuts to open source monitoring tool could impact MoD intelligence, warn MPs

      BBC Monitoring is one of the few open source information gathering agencies, which has a global reach through its partnership with its US counterpart, Open Source Enterprise (OSE). BBC Monitoring covers 25% of the world and OSE the remaining 75%.

    • How to check if your VPN is leaking private data

      A virtual private network is a great way to keep your internet usage secure and private whether at home or on public Wi-Fi. But just how private is your activity over a VPN? How do you know if the VPN is doing its job or if you’re unwittingly leaking information to those trying to pry into your activities?

      One simple way to see if the VPN is working is to search for what is my IP on Google. At the top of the search results, Google will report back your current public Internet Protocol (IP) address. If you’re on a VPN, it should show the VPN’s IP. If it doesn’t, you know you have a problem.

    • U.S. Investigators Blame Autopilot in Facebook’s Big Drone Crash

      The wing on Facebook Inc.’s experimental high-altitude drone broke last summer in Arizona after the massive aircraft hit an updraft and its autopilot overcompensated seconds before touchdown on its maiden flight, a U.S. investigation has concluded.

      The end section of the right wing snapped off as the plane’s computerized flight controls made abrupt maneuvers to keep it on course, breaking the carbon-fiber structure, the National Transportation Safety Board said in conclusions posted online Friday.

      There were no injuries or damage other than to the drone.

    • Twitter Cuts Off Firehose Access To DHS Fusion Centers

      Earlier this year, Twitter pulled the plug on some of Dataminr’s customers, specifically the intelligence agencies it was selling its firehose access to. Twitter made it clear Dataminr’s access to every public tweet wasn’t to be repurposed into a government surveillance tool.

      That being said, everything swept up by Dataminr was public. There was no access to direct messages or tweets sent from private accounts. And Twitter seemingly is doing nothing to prevent Dataminr from selling this same access to the FBI, an agency that’s far more an intelligence agency than a law enforcement agency these days — one that thinks it should be allowed to do everything the CIA does, if not more.

    • Britain urged to increase cyber security in financial services

      Britain’s intelligence agencies need to do more to help regulators to protect the financial services industry from cyber crime, the head of an influential parliamentary committee said on Monday.

      Andrew Tyrie, a lawmaker in the ruling Conservative Party, said parliament’s Treasury Committee was concerned about the “opaque lines of accountability”, particularly between regulators and intelligence agencies.

    • GCHQ urged to ramp up security to protect Britain’s financial industry from escalating cybercrime
    • GCHQ must do more to protect UK banks from hack attacks, say MPs
    • Tyrie demands clarity on cybercrime
    • GCHQ asked to step up action against cyber-attack threat to financial services

      More action may be needed to protect the financial services industry from a devastating cyber-attack, the head of the Treasure select committee has suggested.

    • Edward Snowden, The NSA And Civil Liberties: Is Our Privacy Still Being Violated By The Federal Government And Its Intelligence agencies?

      Thanks to Edward Snowden, the ongoing debate between those who want to ensure the United States can gather any intelligence it needs to protect itself from terrorism and those who are concerned about civil liberties exploded into the public arena three years ago. As reported by NBC News, Snowden released a vast treasure trove of highly classified documents regarding the surveillance activities then being carried out by the NSA. But have these revelations really changed anything regarding privacy issues?

      In the immediate aftermath of Snowden’s release of these documents, many politicians and legal experts came forward to demand that the NSA be reformed. Following the leaks, President Obama assembled experts to evaluate the situation. In December of that year, the group published a report in which they recommended a number of significant reforms – such as halting the U.S. government’s gathering of bulk telephone data and limiting the extent of surveillance carried out on foreign leaders.

    • In Trump, beleaguered intelligence community faces a new challenge: A disparaging boss

      It’s been a bruising few years for America’s spies.

      Revelations about torture by the CIA and sweeping electronic spying on the part of the NSA have hurt their public image, casting them as aggressive or nosy rather than — as they tend to see themselves — quiet patriots forced to work in obscurity to protect the nation.

      Officials say falling morale has affected the agencies’ ability to hold on to employees — often highly skilled analysts and technicians who could earn many times as much money in the private sector.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Why General Motors is asking the Supreme Court to say it’s only 7 years old — not 108

      When a company reorganizes itself through a bankruptcy, is it the same company? And if so, is it liable for alleged wrongdoing committed by the previous version of itself?

      These are questions raised by General Motors’ efforts to dodge hundreds of lawsuits related to a potentially fatal ignition-switch flaw in millions of its older sedans. After receiving a stinging defeat in a federal appellate court this past summer, the automaker is now making a Hail Mary pass to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to convince judges that it has reincarnated into a seven-year-old car company free of liabilities from its previous life.

      With potentially billions of dollars’ worth of personal and financial injury claims at stake, the Detroit automaker’s lawyers argue that allowing these lawsuits to go through would undermine an important aspect of corporate bankruptcy: giving assurance to the buyers of troubled companies that they aren’t also buying a whole bunch of unexpected legal headaches.

    • Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable

      Lawmakers in South Carolina are mulling over banning the sale of computers, tablets and phones unless they have a device that automatically blocks pornography from popping up on-screen.

      The Human Trafficking Prevention Act amendment, introduced by State Representative Bill Chumley (R‑Spartanburg), calls for manufacturers and resellers to be fined if they sell an internet-connected product in the US state without a filter capable of stopping smut from appearing by default. The proposed stiff rules, drawn up late last week, follow a crackdown in the state on human trafficking in 2015.

    • Disgusted by White Land Theft, Millionaire Gives Home to Tribe

      The $4 million property will turn into a prayer house for Indigenous youth to have a ‘safe space’ where they can get in touch with their roots, history and language.

      Expressing “disgust” for the historic land-theft perpetrated on Indigenous peoples in the United States, an eccentric Manhattan millionaire has decided to transfer his $4 million home back to the Lenape Tribe, the original inhabitants of Mannahatta – or land of many hills.

      Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, 76, the son of late sculptor Louise Bourgeois, is currently in the process of transferring the deed of his West Village home to Anthony Jay Van Dunk, the chief of the 5,000-member Ramapough Indians, who are part of the Lenape Nation. They met in 2011, introduced by a common acquaintance after Bourgeois had expressed his desire to return the land.

    • ‘This isn’t Paris. It’s only men here’ – Inside the French Muslim no-go zones where women aren’t welcome

      A quiet Paris bar where men play cards and bet on horses has become the unlikely focus of a national row over alleged no-go zones for women in predominantly Muslim areas.

      The bar in the impoverished north-eastern suburb of Sevran is accused of being one of many in France where women are effectively banned.

      The neighbourhood, near Charles de Gaulle airport, is notorious as one of France’s leading exporters of jihadists.

      “Au Jockey Club” is clearly a male preserve — there were no women when The Telegraph visited — but it serves alcohol and feels more akin to a high street bookmaker than a den of Islamists. Licensed as a betting shop, its mainly French Arab patrons gazed intently at giant screens showing the races at Deauville.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • European authorities crack down on zero-rating ISPs, defending net neutrality

      Telecom authority PTS is cracking down on the European ISP Telia for having unmetered traffic to Facebook and Spotify while metering other traffic, in violation of net neutrality. Earlier this year, the ISP launched a marketing scheme where accessing Facebook and Spotify didn’t count against your Internet traffic cap, causing net neutrality concerns. While the authority hasn’t made a final decision, sources say it will tell Telia to end the practice in no uncertain terms.

      In May this year, Swedish ISP Telia attracted global attention by blatantly violating Net Neutrality in zero-rating Facebook, later adding a selection of music streaming services (Spotify among them) to its zero-rating offer.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Groundless threats – Nvidia v Hardware Labs

      This judgment concerned the Defendant’s application for strike out/summary judgment of the Claimant’s claim to groundless threats, the Claimant’s application to stay their groundless threats claim pending an EU IPO decision, and the Defendant’s application for transfer to IPEC or the Shorter Trials Scheme.

      The groundless threats question turned on the location of a threat to sue. More specifically, can a letter sent in English from a Germany company to a US parent company regarding infringement of an EU trade mark constitute a threat to bring trade mark infringement proceedings in England and Wales?

    • Trademarks

      • Dunks And Drunks: Jagermeister Blocks Milwaukee Bucks Logo Trademark Application

        Just when you think you’ve seen it all in silly trademark filings, along comes a liquor company to block the trademark application for the logo of an NBA basketball team. Jagermeister, a liquor I haven’t thought about since my college days because I’m a grownup that drinks grownup drinks, has decided that the logo for the Milwaukee Bucks is too similar to its own logo and must be stopped.

      • Lee v. Tam and A Basket of Deplorable People

        In the case, the Department of Justice and USPTO are appealing the Federal Circuit’s determination that the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(a) is facially invalid as in conflict with the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The provision at issue provides for the PTO’s refusal to register marks that consist of “matter which may disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.” Mr. Tam’s band name – THE SLANTS – was refused under this provision.

12.19.16

Links 19/12/2016: NetworkManager 1.4.4, GNU Hurd 0.9

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • ​The best Linux laptop: The 2016 Dell XPS 13

      This is a really, sweet design. The display bezel is only a quarter of an inch thick. This is as close to a real “edge-to-edge” display than I’ve ever seen. The 13.3 inch display itself is also sweet. It’s a 3,200×1,800 touchscreen. For those playing along at home that’s 280 pixels per inch. That’s 40 more than my prized 2015 Chromebook Pixel and 60 more than a MacBook Pro with Retina.

      The display is powered by Intel’s Iris 540 GPU. It looks, in a word, great. At 13.3 inches, the screen is a bit small for my taste, but I’m not complaining.

    • Why I *Still* Use Linux

      We talk a lot about why people should switch to linux. It got me thinking about why, after 10 years, am I still using linux and how the reasons are so different from why we tell people to switch.

    • Lenovo Yoga Book 2-in-1 PC With Chrome OS Coming In 2017

      Now this Chrome OS is a straightaway competition for Microsoft Windows PC. The primary user interface is Linux and the Chrome browser. It is dependent on the internet web based applications. So you won’t have to store anything locally on the hard drive of the device. Google recently updated the Chrome OS for supporting the Google Play station in September. It enables users to download and install the Android apps along with native Chrome apps.

    • Chrome OS Yoga Book Is Bad News For Android Tablets

      Just the other day, Lenovo made it official: a Chrome OS version of the Lenovo Yoga Book is coming in 2017.

      What Jeff Meredith said in addition to that confirmations is just as interesting, though.

  • Kernel Space

    • PCI Updates For The Linux 4.10 Kernel

      The PCI subsystem updates for the Linux 4.10 merge window were sent in a few days ago.

    • Hearing The Sound Updates For Linux 4.10

      Takashi Iwai submitted all of the sound driver updates on Wednesday for the Linux 4.10 kernel. Intel Skylake audio continues to be refined but there is also a lot of other hardware driver work.

    • Linux Kernel 3.12.69 LTS Has Many Networking Improvements, Updated Drivers

      Today, December 18, 2016, Linux kernel maintainer Jiri Slaby announced the release of the sixth-ninth maintenance update of the long-term supported Linux 3.12 kernel series, which will be maintained until 2017.

      The Linux 3.12 kernel branch was supposed to reach end-of-life in spring this year, but it’s used in the SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 12 Service Pack 1 (SP1) operating system, which is supported with security and software updates until 2017. As such, Jiri Slaby decided to move the EOL status of Linux kernel 3.12 to 2017 too, and the latest release, Linux kernel 3.12.69 LTS, changes a total of 48 files, with 414 insertions and 162 deletions.

    • Linux Kernel, tested by the Linux-version of PVS-Studio

      Since the release of the publicly available Linux-version of PVS-Studio, it was just a matter of time until we would recheck the Linux kernel. It is quite a challenge for any static code analyzer to check a project written by professionals from all around the world, used by people in various fields, which is regularly checked and tested by different tools. So, what errors did we manage to find in such conditions?

    • Linux 4.10 To Better Support Microsoft’s Surface 3 Device

      A few days ago I wrote about HID improvements for Microsoft’s Surface 3/4 tablets coming with Linux 4.10 while now there is additional driver work landing to benefit the Microsoft Surface 3 2-in-1 computer.

    • Graphics Stack

      • 3D-Accelerated Remote Wayland Displays Are Being Discussed Again

        The subject of remote Wayland displays with hardware-acceleration is again back to being talked about, this time initiated by the developer of VirtualGL.

        VirtualGL is one of the open-source projects working on remote Linux display support with the ability to run OpenGL applications with full 3D hardware acceleration via a GLX interposer and a high-speed X proxy. The lead developer of VirtualGL is wanting to go beyond just supporting X11 but also to handling Wayland/Weston.

      • The Strange Behavior Of My Radeon R9 290 Is Still There

        In recent days there have been a few Phoronix readers inquiring why I am not testing with my Radeon R9 290 graphics card in all our frequent comparisons and driver benchmarks. The short story is that the regression since Linux 4.7 remains and for my Radeon R9 290 and others with select Hawaii graphics cards, there still is a performance regression. Though over Christmas I hope to finally find the time to bisect it.

        So for those wondering but haven’t asked why the R9 290 hasn’t been used, it’s since there is still that pesky regression… While there was a fix for some, my HIS Radeon R9 290 and that of other select users still are having issues, likely due to differing video BIOS. AMD, meanwhile, reportedly hasn’t been able to reproduce this issue with their hardware.

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Patches To Support Compute Queues
      • AMD MxGPU Virtualization For The AMDGPU Driver

        The patches by AMD’s Xiangliang Yu work to implement CSA and KIQ along with mailbox communication with the GPU hypervisor. CSA is the Context Save Area. KIQ in this context is the Kernel Interface Queue, as described in one of the patches, “KIQ is queue-memory based initialization method: setup KIQ queue firstly, then send command to KIQ to setup other queues, without accessing registers. For virtualization, need KIQ to access virtual function registers when running on guest mode.”

      • VK9, the open source project to implement d3d9 over Vulkan reaches another milestone
    • Benchmarks

      • 2016 End-of-Year Open-Source Radeon Benchmarks With Linux 4.9, Mesa 13.1-dev On Many Different GPUs

        With 2016 soon drawing to an end, it’s time for all of my year-end recaps now of Linux drivers that I have been doing for the past 12 years. Today are benchmarks of a wide assortment of AMD graphics cards on both R600g and RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers when using Mesa 13.1-dev + LLVM 4.0 SVN and the Linux 4.9 kernel for providing a bleeding-edge look at the open-source AMD Linux graphics performance across hardware going from the Radeon HD 4890 series all the way up through the RX 480 and R9 Fury hardware. Here’s a fun look at the OpenGL driver performance across this range of GPUs.

  • Applications

    • Best Clock And Weather Widgets For Linux

      So there are a couple of handy desktop widgets that are available for your Linux desktop. Today we’ll take a look at a few Clock and Weather widgets that easily set up on your Linux desktop.

    • NetworkManager 1.4.4
    • NetworkManager 1.4.4 Supports Restart Without Connection Disruption, Fixes Bugs

      Lubomir Rintel, one of the developers working on the widely-used open-source network management solution for GNU/Linux distributions NetworkManager, announced the release of NetworkManager 1.4.4.

      NetworkManager 1.4.4 is the latest stable and most advanced build of the software, which should be used by all Linux-based operating systems that prefer this graphical solution for helping users to easily connect to Wi-Fi and wired networks, as well as Point To Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE) or VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections.

    • Top 16 best network monitoring tools for 2016

      Towards the end of 2016 we made a short introduction to network monitoring and we told you about the main characteristics to keep in mind when selecting a network monitoring tool. This was meant for users whose installation couldn’t conform with standard syslog monitoring or standard bandwidths.

    • 4 Essential Tools to Search the Filesystem

      Desktop search is a software application which searches the contents of computer files, rather than searching the internet. The purpose of this software is to enable the user to locate information on their computer that they just cannot seem to find. Typically, this data includes emails, chat logs, documents, contact lists, graphics files, as well as multimedia files including video and audio.

      Searching a hard disk can be slow, especially bearing in mind the large storage capacities of modern hard disks. To ensure considerably better performance, desktop search engines build and maintain an index database. Populating this database is a system intensive activity. Consequently, desktop search engines can carry out indexing when the computer is not being used.

      One of the key benefits of this type of software is that it allows the user to locate data stored on their hard disk almost instantaneously. They are designed to be fast. They are not integrated with a different application, such as a file manager.

    • Don Libes’ Expect: A Surprisingly Underappreciated Unix Automation Tool

      In this article, I will attempt to convince you that Expect is an extremely underappreciated tool for automating terminal applications in Unix.

      Why do I feel so strongly about this? Well, if you’re like me you know that the best way to make a great impression at a party is to boast about your excellent understanding of the Unix command-line. However, if you really want to be the life of the party, you not only need to show that you know the commands, you must also demonstrate that you can automate everything.

    • Proprietary

      • After ignoring Linux for years, Adobe releases Flash 24 for Linux

        Adobe has just released the first final Adobe Flash Player stable release, Flash Player 24, for GNU/Linux in years.

        The company announced back in September 2016 that it would bring back Flash for Linux from the dead. This came as a surprise as it had ignored Linux for the most part when it comes to Flash.

      • Adobe Brings Flash For Linux Back From The Dead (How Cute)

        After years of neglecting to do so, Adobe has now released Flash Player 24 for GNU/Linux. Now Windows, Mac and Linux are being offered the same version of Flash Player for the first time in ages. But considering Flash is already dying a slow and painful death, this might be too little too late.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • The Out-of-Tree Wine Code To Run DOOM On Linux

        It’s sad that DOOM hasn’t seen a native Linux port with id Software having a falling out with Linux in recent years, particularly after they were acquired by ZeniMax. But fortunately there is now a patch for being able to run DOOM with Wine.

      • Second Wine 2.0 Release Candidate Fixes Hitman: Blood Money Crashes, 20 Bugs

        The second Release Candidate (RC) build of the upcoming major Wine 2.0 open-source implementation of Microsoft Windows on Unix-like operating systems arrived for testing.

        Wine 2.0 RC2 comes only one week after the release of the first RC build, and it looks like it’s here to patch even more of the remaining blockers before the final version hits the streets, which might happen just in time for the Christmas holidays if we’re lucky. If not, it will hit the streets in early 2017, as the project is now in code freeze.

      • PlayOnLinux Updated to 4.2.10, Install in Ubuntu/Linux Mint via PPA

        PlayOnLinux is a piece of software which allows you to easily install and use numerous apps and games designed to run with Microsoft Windows. Few apps and games are compatible with GNU/Linux at the moment and it certainly is a factor preventing the migration to this system. PlayOnLinux brings a cost-free, accessible and efficient solution to this problem.

      • World Wine News

        This is the 404th issue of the World Wine News publication. Its main goal is to inform you of what’s going on around Wine. Wine is an open source implementation of the Windows API on top of X and Unix. Think of it as a Windows compatibility layer. Wine does not require Microsoft Windows, as it is a completely alternative implementation consisting of 100% Microsoft-free code, but it can optionally use native system DLLs if they are available.

    • Games

      • Orwell, the surveillance simulation game is now on Linux

        Not long after requesting Linux testers for Orwell [Steam, Official Site], the surveillance simulation game, it’s now officially available on Linux.

      • The open source itch games client has been updated yet again
      • Dota 2 7.00 Benchmarks – Intel Vulkan vs. OpenGL On Linux – Mesa 13.1 + Linux 4.9

        In addition to big end-of-year AMD Radeon Linux benchmarks and the forthcoming NVIDIA data points among other interesting EOY comparisons, there is also ongoing fresh Intel Linux benchmarks as we end out 2016. For your viewing pleasure today are the latest Intel OpenGL vs. Vulkan Linux benchmark results using last week’s Dota 2 7.00 game release.

        Last week were some fresh AMD Dota 2 benchmarks while here are the numbers from Dota 2 with Intel Skylake HD Graphics 530 as of this weekend. Testing was done with the Linux 4.9 kernel and Mesa 13.1-devel as of this past week from the Padoka PPA on Ubuntu 16.10.

      • It Looks Like CryENGINE’s Sandbox Editor Could Eventually Work On Linux

        While the CryENGINE 5.x game engine is supported on Linux, to date their sandbox editor isn’t compatible with Linux but it looks like eventually there could be said support.

        CryENGINE developer David Kaye has been commenting in our forums pertaining to the discussion around CryENGINE 5.3, which sadly didn’t ship with the Vulkan API support as planned. About the lack of Vulkan support in CryENGINE 5.3, the Crytek developer commented, “we looked at the state of Vulkan prior to branching for the stabilisation of 5.3 and decided that we weren’t happy with its level of stability, so we delayed it. This is also the reason the release as a whole was delayed. This prioritisation of stability over new features is something our community have requested.”

      • Political Animals Launches Linux version!

        We’re happy to finally be able to release the game on Linux! Thanks so much to the folks on r/linux_gaming/ for their help in testing the game on multiple distros. We hope you enjoy the game.

        There are a few known issues with Linux which we have shared in our community page. Please let us know if you find any issues and we’ll do our best to sort them out.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • ​XFCE Desktop Environment – A Linux Desktop Environment For Everyone

      One of the strong advantages of Linux over Windows or Mac is freedom. You find freedom in every corner of the Linux operating systems. You have freedom of choosing one out of hundreds of distros. Most new users of Linux are introduced to either Ubuntu or Mint. This helps in reducing the choices users have in terms of the number of distros. But here, we have one more choice to make within the distro itself. As you are already guessing, It is the DE (Desktop Environment).

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Gets A Systemd Genie; KDE Partition Manager 3.0 Released

        There are two noteworthy pieces of KDE news as the weekend comes to an end.

        First up, KDE developer Ragnar Thomsen has shifted his focus from systemd-kcm as the KDE configuration module for managing systemd into its own application: SystemdGenie. SystemdGenie is systemd-kcm turned into its own full-fledged Qt application. With morphing it into its own application, SystemdGenie offers more functionality and more UI options than being a KDE KCM module.

      • Killing the redundancy with automation

        In the past three weeks, the openSUSE community KDE team has been pretty busy to package the latest release of Applications from KDE, 16.12. It was a pretty large task, due to the number of programs involved, and the fact that several monolithic projects were split (in particular KDE PIM). This post goes through what we did, and how we improved our packaging workflow.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • GoboLinux 016 Arrives After 2 Years with Its Own Filesystem Virtualization Tool

        GoboLinux developer Lucas Correia Villa Real has had the great pleasure of announcing the release of the final GoboLinux 016 operating system, an independently-developed GNU/Linux distribution that uses a custom file system hierarchy.

      • 4MRecover 21.0 Beta Ships with PhotoRec and TestDisk 7.0, Based on 4MLinux 21.0

        Polish developer Zbigniew Konojacki, the creator of the independently-developed 4MLinux computer operating system, informed Softpedia today about the release of 4MRecover 21.0 Beta.

        Based on the upcoming 4MLinux 21.0 distribution, which should be out in spring 2017, this Beta release of the 4MRecover 21.0 Live CD ships with the latest TestDisk 7.0 and QPhotoRec 7.0 software, which can be used for recovering lost partitions or photos from damaged disk drives or SD cards of all types and sizes.

        “4MRecover is a small Live CD designed for data recovery. It’s a part of 4MRescueKit, which in turn is one of the three main 4MLinux releases available for download,” said Zbigniew Konojacki in the release announcement. “This version includes TestDisk 7.0 and it uses 4MLinux 21.0 as the base system.”

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • GeckoLinux Static Editions Get Calamares Installer, Based on openSUSE Leap 42.2

        The developers of the openSUSE-based GeckoLinux computer operating system have announced the release of a new set of respined live ISO images of their GNU/Linux distribution, which is now rebased on openSUSE Leap 42.2.

      • openSUSE on ownCloud

        It is Chrismas time and I have got cookie cutters by openSUSE and ownCloud. What can you create as a happy Working Student at ownCloud and an openSUSE Contributor?

        Normally you deploy ownCloud on openSUSE. But do you know the idiom „to be in seventh heaven“ (auf Wolke 7 schweben)?

        I want to show you openSUSE Leap 42.2 on ownCloud 9.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based SparkyLinux 4.5.2 Ships Budgie Desktop 10.2.9, Linux Kernel 4.8.15

          The development team behind the Debian-based SparkyLinux GNU/Linux distribution announced today, December 18, 2016, the release and general availability of a new ISO respin, versioned 4.5.2.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Snapcraft 2.24 Snap Creator Tool for Ubuntu 16.04 and 16.10

            Canonical’s Sergio Schvezov had the great pleasure of announcing the release of Snapcraft 2.24, the latest stable version of the tool application developers can use for packaging their apps as Snaps, a universal binary format for Linux OSes.

          • Serious Ubuntu Linux desktop bugs found and fixed

            The good news is that the problems have been patched. So, now that you’re almost done reading this, patch your system already.

            The bad news is there still aren’t enough eyes looking at older open-source code for overlooked security vulnerabilities.

          • Snapd 2.20 Snappy Daemon Brings Support for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Many Other Goodies

            Canonical’s Michael Vogt happily announced the release of the Snapd 2.20 stable build of the Snappy daemon used on Ubuntu Linux operating systems for providing out-of-the-box support for installing and running Snap universal packages.

            Snapd 2.20 was released on the same day with Snapcraft 2.24, the tool app developers can use to package their applications as Snaps for cross-distro distribution. Snapd 2.20 is an important milestone that, for the first time, introduced support for the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating system. It’s also available in the repositories of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak).

          • Never Miss a Desktop Notification Again With This Indicator

            Hate missing desktop notifications on Ubuntu? Well, with the Recent Notifications indicator you don’t need to. This handy tool collects and collates all desktop notifications you receive, regardless of whether you see them or not. Then, with one click, you can see and action them.

          • These Unity 8 Desktop Designs Show a Striking New Feature

            New Unity 8 desktop mock-ups shared by the Canonical design team show an interesting new approach to presenting Scopes to desktop users.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • How to upgrade to Linux Mint 18.1

              It is now possible to upgrade the Cinnamon and MATE editions of Linux Mint 18 to version 18.1.

              If you’ve been waiting for this I’d like to thank you for your patience.

            • You Can Now Upgrade From Linux Mint 18 to Linux Mint 18.1, Here’s How to Do It

              After announcing the final release of the highly anticipated Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” operating system, which shipped with Cinnamon and MATE editions, project leader Clement Lefebvre published an in-depth tutorial on how to upgrade from Linux Mint 18.

              As expected, the release of Linux Mint 18.1 also opened the upgrade path for those who are currently using the Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” operating system on their personal computer, allowing them to upgrade to the latest release without to much hassle. But first, the developer urges users to think twice before attempting an upgrade.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Smart Projector With Built-in Raspberry Pi Zero

      You’ve heard of smartphones but have you heard of smart projectors? They’ve actually been around for a few years and are sort of like a TV set top box and projector combined, leaving no need for a TV. Features can include things like streaming Netflix, browsing in Chrome, and Skyping. However, they can cost from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars.

      [Novaspirit] instead made his own cheap smart projector. He first got a $70 portable projector (800×480 native resolution, decent for that price) and opened it up. He soldered an old USB hub that he already had to a Raspberry Pi Zero so that he could plug in a WiFi dongle and a dongle for a Bluetooth keyboard. That all went into the projector.

    • Pi Palette- Hacker’s Cosmetics Case

      A Raspberry Pi 3 running Kali Linux in a 3D printed enclosure to disguise it as as a (somewhat chunky) makeup palette.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Workload reference architectures address requirements for deploying OpenStack clouds
    • OpenStack, HPC and public clouds: What’s on the horizon

      Many outsiders probably think that in the world of science and HPC (high performance computing) there’s only room for supercomputers and the magicians who operate them.

      However, while that’s partially true, this area is much closer to the technology as we all know it than one would expect. And nothing proves this better than the fact that the earliest and most prevalent use cases for OpenStack are research and science. (To learn more about them, check out our OpenStack in Science web page.)

      Bringing together a group of technical specialists and researchers to solve the conundrums of how to efficiently use cloud computing technology for workloads, the RCUK Cloud Working Group recently held its second annual workshop in London. The event is an amazing opportunity to bridge the gap between the magicians of science and the magicians of technology to produce better and more efficient solutions by sharing expertise.

    • Pushing the boundaries of OpenStack – Wait, what are they again?

      As a Production Support engineer for many years, I love providing operational support for front- and back-end systems. That love of operations drives me to share knowledge on how you can push the boundaries of OpenStack. To do that, you must first know the boundaries.

    • 11 benefits to running your containers on OpenStack

      Enterprises today must keep up with increasing internal and external customer demand, or die trying.

    • Running containers, reducing complexity, and more OpenStack news
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Difference Between Linux And BSD | Open Source Operating Systems

      When you start to get out of the Windows ecosystem, the very first thing you see is macOS. But, chances are less that you may go for it, mostly because of the price tag. Moving further, you come across Linux flaunting its open source badge. Most people confuse Linux as an operating system and it has been a topic of controversy for a long time. Thus, some people refer a Linux operating system as GNU/Linux.

      Soon, you start realizing how diverse is the Linux ecosystem with numerous Linux distributions and their derivatives. You almost believe that Linux and its family is the representative of the open source community. But there is a lesser-known family of operating systems known as the BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution), which also counts as one of the major names in the open source community.

    • The Current State Of OpenMP Offloading In LLVM’s Clang, Try It Today With Clang-YKT

      During last month’s SuperComputing 2016 conference in Salt Lake City was the LLVM Compiler Infrastructure in HPC workshop being hosted for its third year. The slides from that event were recently made available and one of the talks interesting me the most was about the state of Clang OpenMP offloading, including for GPUs.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Hurd 0.9 & Mach 1.8 Released: Adds Ethernet Multiplexer, Mach Drops ACPI

      There is an early GNU Christmas with the release of GNU Hurd 0.9 joined by GNU Mach 1.8. Yep, another rare released update to Hurd.

      GNU Hurd 0.9 supports its boot program running as an unprivileged user, an Ethernet multiplexer has been merged to support better virtual interfaces, the addition of the Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) library, and many bug fixes.

      GNU Mach meanwhile as the microkernel upon which GNU Hurd systems are based, has seen many changes with version 1.8. Mach 1.8 has significantly reworked its memory management system, the virtual memory system now uses a red-black tree for allocations, and improved debugging / error reporting. There are also many bug fixes in Mach and GNU Mach has dropped its partial ACPI support.

  • Public Services/Government

    • 5 initiatives that pushed the free software envelope in Europe in 2016

      The public sector tends to lag—some would say drag—behind the private sector when it comes to adopting new technologies. This is also true when it comes to adopting free software: Although companies widely see free technologies as a boon, government organizations often are still locked into proprietary software and work with closed standards.

      That said, some countries are making progress moving toward open source technologies.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Ushering in a bold new era for open science

        Earlier this year, the Montreal Neurological Institute announced an ambitious – and, in many ways, unprecedented – commitment to the principles of open science.

        The Neuro will be eschewing patents for its discoveries and doing all it can to make its research findings – and all the data associated with that research – widely available. While there have been other large-scale open science initiatives – usually involving several partners collaborating in a specific area – the Neuro is the first major research institute of its kind to make such a wide-ranging commitment to open science.

        That commitment just received a huge boost, thanks to a $20-million gift from the Larry and Judy Tanenbaum family. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (BA’94) was on hand at a press conference on Dec. 16 to announce the launch of the Neuro’s new Tanenbaum Open Science Institute. “This is a catalyst,” says Neuro director Guy Rouleau of the Tanenbaum gift. “This is really going to allow us to get things done.”

      • McGill Neurology will no longer patent researchers’ findings, instead everything will be open access

        The Neurological Institute at Montreal’s McGill University is host to the “Tanenbaum Open Science Institute,” endowed by a $20M contribution; since last spring, the unit has pursued an ambitious open science agenda that includes open access publication of all research data and findings, and an end to the practice of patenting the university’s findings. Instead, they will all be patent-free and usable by anyone.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Using Blender and Python to 3D print a dress

        The opening ceremony at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio featured snowboarder Amy Purdy wearing a 3D printed dress, wearing prosthetics printed from the same material as the dress, and dancing with a Kuka robotic arm.

        The dance was a statement about the merging of the human spirit and technology. “The backstory, which mainstream media passed over, was the critical role open source software played in the making of the dress: it was created using Blender and Python.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • Printer fun

      The current cartridges were running low for a while, but I didn’t need to change them yet. As I printed a user manual at the beginning of the week (~300+ pages in total), I ran out of the black half-way through. Bought a new cartridge, installed it, and the first strange thing was that it still showed “Black empty – please replace”.

      I powered the printer off and turned it on again (the miracle cure for all IT-related things), and things seemed OK, so I restarted printing. However, this time, the printer was going through 20-30 pages, and then was getting stuck in “Printing document” with green led blinking. Waited for 20 minutes, nothing. So cancel the job (from the printer), restart printing, all fine.

      The next day I wanted to print a single page, and didn’t manage to. Checked that the PDF is normal, checked an older PDF which I printed successfully before, nothing worked. Changed drivers, unseated & re-seated the extra memory, changed operating systems, nothing. Not even the built-in printer diagnostic pages were printing.

      The internet was all over with “HP formatter issues”; apparently some HP printers had “green” (i.e. low-quality) soldering, and were failing after a while. But people were complaining about 1-2-4 years, not 9 that my printer worked, and it was very suspicious that all troubles started after my cartridge replacement. Or, more likely, due to the recent sudden increase in printing.

    • That Didn’t Last Long: Samsung 960 EVO NVMe Already Fails

      I now have my first dead NVM Express SSD and it only lasted one week… It’s already time to RMA the Samsung 960 EVO and unfortunately lost a number of benchmarks that I was working on this weekend.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Lidl issues health warning after paint thinner chemical discovered in gravy granules

      Unsafe levels of a paint thinner chemical have been discovered in batches of gravy from Lidl.

      The discount supermarket has recalled two batches of Kania Gravy Granules after they were found to be contaminated with xylene, which occurs naturally in petroleum and crude oil, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said.

      Exposure to the “harmful” chemical poses a health risk, causing irritation of the mouth, throat, nose and lungs and in severe cases leading to heart problems, liver and kidney damage and coma, according to Public Health England.

      An alert posted on the FSA website said: “Exposure to xylene in food products represents a health risk as it can cause adverse effects such as headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

    • Paint thinner chemical found in Lidl gravy by Food Standards Agency

      Unsafe levels of a paint thinner chemical have been found in gravy granules sold at Lidl, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed.

      The contamination affected two batches of Kania Gravy Granules, which were found to contain xylene.

    • Oklahoma Just Passed a Law Requiring Private Businesses to Turn Their Bathrooms Into Billboards for Anti-Abortion Propaganda

      The Oklahoma Legislature has outdone itself this time. In the latest of their absurd and callous efforts to shame and stigmatize women, Oklahoma legislators from both parties have passed into law a requirement that commands thousands of private businesses to turn their bathroom walls into billboards for anti-abortion propaganda.

      As part of a misguided effort to reduce the number of abortions in Oklahoma, Rep. Ann Coody and Sen. AJ Griffin introduced HB 2797 — the “Humanity of the Unborn Child Act.” Among other troubling provisions, the new law requires public schools, hospitals, restaurants, and nursing homes to post signs in their restrooms directing women to services aimed at discouraging abortion.

    • Can sub-Saharan Africa produce enough food to meet growing demand?

      Each year, the planet has to feed more hungry, hungry humans. Right now, projections suggest that we might just be able to meet the challenge of feeding our growing population in 2050, but only if we make better use of the land that we use for agriculture.

      For sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), though, the question gets a little more complicated. Even if there’s enough food globally to go around by 2050, will SSA be able to produce enough to be self-sufficient? A paper in this week’s PNAS suggests that the region might be stuck relying on imports unless it massively expands its croplands. This would be bad news for the environment, and it wouldn’t be easy.

      Every region on Earth relies on food imports to some extent, but importing large amounts of food is only really feasible in countries that are economically developed. For developing countries, affording large quantities of food imports can stifle economic development. Right now, SSA produces around 80 percent of the staple grains that it needs. By contrast, North and South America, Europe, and Australia all produce well above 100 percent of their own needs. And the population of SSA is projected to increase more than that of other regions.

  • Security

    • SELinux, Seccomp, Falco, and You: A Technical Discussion

      One of the questions we often get when we talk about Sysdig Falco is “How does it compare to other tools like SELinux, AppArmor, Auditd, etc. that also have security policies?” To help answer some of those questions, we thought we’d present a summary of other related security products and how they compare to Sysdig Falco.

    • PGP Never Gonna Give You Up

      Seeing that I was planning on carrying my long-term private keys around on my telephone (BlackBerry PRIV, FDE encryption active FWIW), I had to double-check the security of the secret key encryption.

      It turns out that PGP encrypts each of your secret keys with a hash of the passphrase you supply. My passphrase is significantly longer than the average, and consists of random characters (uppercase, lowercase, numbers, symbols). Passphrase length and complexity is by far the most important factor determining the safety of your encrypted secret key.

    • McAfee Virus Scan for Linux

      A system running Intel’s McAfee VirusScan Enterprise for Linux can be compromised by remote attackers due to a number of security vulnerabilities. Some of these vulnerabilities can be chained together to allow remote code execution as root.

    • The Coolest Hacks Of 2016

      No 400-pound hacker here: Lightbulb and ‘do-gooder’ worms, machines replacing humans to hack other machines, and high-speed car hacking were among the most innovative white-hat hacks this year.

      In a year when ransomware became the new malware and cyber espionage became a powerful political propaganda tool for Russia, it’s easy to forget that not all hacking in 2016 was so ugly and destructive.

      Sure, cybercrime and cyber espionage this past year turned the corner into more manipulative and painful territory for victims. But 2016 also had its share of game-changing “good” hacks by security researchers, with some creative yet unsettling ways to break the already thin-to-no defenses of Internet of Things things, as well as crack locked-down computers and hijack computer mice. Hackers even took a back seat to machines in the first-ever machine-on-machine hacking contest this summer at DEF CON.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Right and Wrong in the South China Sea

      John Pilger’s tremendous new documentary The Coming War With China explains Chinese motivations. China is ringed by 200 US military bases and installations, far from any State of the USA, in an unabashed display of American Imperial power. China by contrast has very few military outposts outside China at all and shows remarkably little interest in territorial ambition, given China’s current economic power. The stories of US exploitation and duplicity recounted in the Pilger documentary are overwhelming, and of course the entire venture is a massive transfer of money from struggling US taxpayers to the arms industry. One is left with a feeling of surprise that the Chinese reaction to naked US threat is so calm and not paranoid.

    • China Flexes Military Might After Trump Pokes Taiwan Policy with Stick

      Fears that President-elect Donald Trump’s questioning of the “one China” policy and recent phone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen would amplify military tensions with China were seemingly confirmed on Thursday after an editorial in the government mouthpiece, The Global Times, called for “use of force” to deter Taiwanese independence.

      “Time will tell after Trump’s team takes over the U.S., whether it will willfully utilize the one-China policy as leverage to blackmail Beijing or restrain itself in actual practice,” the editorial stated, referring to the diplomatic agreement that allows “the U.S. to do business with both China and Taiwan while only recognizing Beijing,” the Guardian explains.

      “In any case,” the editorial continued, “the current farce has made China vigilant.”

      Underscoring the threat, the Chinese navy announced late Thursday that it had, on an “undisclosed date,” carried out large-scale war exercises, using live ammunition, with the nation’s first aircraft carrier.

    • The Cold War, Continued: Post-Election Russophobia

      Mainstream TV news anchors including MSNBC’s Chris Hayes are reporting as fact—with fuming indignation—that Russia (and specifically Vladimir Putin) not only sought to influence the U.S. election (and—gosh!—promote “doubt” about the whole legitimacy of the U.S. electoral system) but to throw the vote to Donald Trump.

      The main accusation is that the DNC and Podesta emails leaked through Wikileaks were provided by state-backed Russian hackers (while they did not leak material hacked from the Republicans). I have my doubts on this. Former U.S. ambassador to Uzbekistan and torture whistle-blower Craig Murray, a friend of Julian Assange, has stated that the DNC emails were leaked by a DNC insider whose identity he knows. The person, Murray contends, handed the material over to him, in a D.C. park. I have met Murray, admire and am inclined to believe him. (I just heard now that John Bolton, of all people, has also opined this was an inside job.)

    • ‘Castro Was a Living Reminder of the Limits of American Power’

      Fidel Castro, who died November 25 at age 90, will be remembered as someone whose work changed, not just Cuba, but the wider world. With US media ringing with denunciation—with some left over to denunciate those who aren’t denunciating enough—there’s little oxygen left for discussion of that work, and what it meant and still means.

      We’re joined now for some context on Castro and Cuba by Louis Pérez. He’s professor of history at the University of North Carolina and editor of Cuban Journal, and author of, among other titles, Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution. He joins us now by phone from North Carolina.

    • CIA apologises to Turkey over ‘false claims’ of links to Daesh

      Diplomatic sources said that the United States main intelligence service, the CIA, had apologised to Turkey in a written statement for making “false claims” about alleged oil trading between Turkey and Daesh, Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported yesterday.

      The Turkish newspaper said that high-level Turkish diplomatic sources said that the CIA and the US Secretary of State John Kerry had apologised to Turkey following a report provided by the Turkish intelligence service which proved that the US claims were wrong in early 2015.

      According to Daily Sabaha, Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIT) officials revealed that the geographic locations in the document that allegedly showed where Daesh’s oil trade was conducted in Turkey in fact showed an asphalt plant in Kilis in southeast Turkey.

      Following the MIT investigation of the CIA’s documents, the CIA apologised for the mistaken allegations at the end of 2015. “We have seen no evidence to support such an accusation. Turkey plays a vital role in the counter-ISIL coalition,” a statement by the CIA said, using another acronym for Daesh.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • How the Trump Administration Could Change the American Landscape, Literally

      With the election of Donald Trump, the management of America’s public lands could shift, altering the landscape in southern Utah and across the Western United States. Extractive projects like the Coal Hollow expansion that have stalled or been rejected under the Obama administration could be given new life. They include drilling in the Arctic, in the North Atlantic, in the forests of Colorado, and around Glacier National Park; uranium mining at the edges of the Grand Canyon; and ramped-up logging in the national forests of the Pacific Northwest.

      The federal government—we, the taxpayers—owns some 640 million acres, and about half of the land in Western states. Those lands are the source of roughly 20 percent of the oil and gas produced in the United States, and 40 percent of coal. Once burned, fossil fuels extracted from public lands account for more than a fifth of America’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Given the amount of carbon still locked in public ground—between 319 and 450 gigatons of potential carbon dioxide, according to a 2015 analysis by Ecoshift Consulting, more than half of the entire world’s carbon budget—increased development there has implications not only for local ecosystems and communities but also for the entire planet.

    • If GOP Gets Climate ‘Science’ From Breitbart, God Help the Planet

      The US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology recently tweeted an article by Breitbart, stating “@BreitbartNews: Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence From Climate Alarmists.”

      [...]

      Breitbart makes much of the fact that El Niño, a cyclic Pacific Ocean weather phenomenon, has contributed to record temperatures this year and last year—as though the observation that El Niño years are warmer than usual were not a reality understood and acknowledged by every climate scientist.

      [...]

      These people don’t have any independent expertise in climate science; Smith is a lawyer, Walker has a master’s in political science and Shank’s degree is in aerospace engineering. If they’re getting their information about climate disruption from sites like Breitbart, a fraudulent degree from Trump University would probably be a better education.

    • ‘We Don’t Need to Get to Standing Rock to Be Part of the Front Line’

      The struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux against the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline rivets the attention of people around the world, not only as an environmental story, an emblem of what the fight to address climate change actually looks like, but also as a historic story, a chapter in the resistance of indigenous people to the violent power of state and corporate actors. The announcement that the Army Corps of Engineers would withhold an easement permit for the last part of the Dakota Access Pipeline, pending an environmental impact study, is a significant moment that should nonetheless not be mistaken for the end of either that environmental or that historical story.

    • Investigating Law Enforcement’s Possible Use of Surveillance Technology at Standing Rock

      One of the biggest protests of 2016 is still underway at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, where Water Protectors and their allies are fighting Energy Transfer Partners’ plans to drill beneath contested Treaty land to finish the Dakota Access Pipeline. While the world has been watching law enforcement’s growing use of force to disrupt the protests, EFF has been tracking the effects of its surveillance technologies on water protectors’ communications and movement.

      Following several reports of potentially unlawful surveillance, EFF sent technologists and lawyers to North Dakota to investigate. We collected anecdotal evidence from water protectors about suspicious cell phone behavior, including uncharacteristically fast battery drainage, applications freezing, and phones crashing completely. Some water protectors also saw suspicious login attempts to their Google accounts from IP addresses originating from North Dakota’s Information & Technology Department. On social media, many reported Facebook posts and messenger threads disappearing, as well as Facebook Live uploads failing to upload or, once uploaded, disappearing completely.

    • This Just Became the World’s Cheapest Form of Electricity Out of Nowhere

      Solar power is becoming the world’s cheapest form of new electricity generation, data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) suggests.

      According to Bloomberg’s analysis, the cost of solar power in China, India, Brazil and 55 other emerging market economies has dropped to about one third of its price in 2010. This means solar now pips wind as the cheapest form of renewable energy—but is also outperforming coal and gas.

      In a note to clients this week, BNEF chairman Michael Liebreich said that solar power had entered “the era of undercutting” fossil fuels.

  • Finance

    • Wells Fargo Is on a Losing Streak, But Still Has Some Trump Cards

      The embattled Wells Fargo Bank, famously accused of signing up its customers to multiple accounts without their knowledge, was discovered last week to be doing the same thing with a life insurance product sold in their branches by Prudential. This could prove even more damaging than the original fake account scandal, as bankers are not allowed to sell insurance, much less secretly sign people up for it.

      Then on Tuesday, the bank was suspended from doing any work for the city of San Francisco, its home town. Plus, Wells was the only U.S. bank to have their “living will” — a government-mandated roadmap for how to dismantle the firm in the event of a failure — rejected by federal regulators. This is the third time since 2014 Wells Fargo had its living will denied as not credible, and for the first time, that will lead to sanctions: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve announced they will prohibit Wells Fargo from establishing any international subsidiaries or purchasing any nonbank companies.

    • Whistleblower Vindicated: Massive Trading Firm Knight Capital Charged With Abusing “Naked Shorts”

      Back in September, I wrote a seven-part series at The Intercept chronicling how former Wall Street trader Chris DiIorio, determined to figure out how he lost a small fortune on a penny stock, came to the conclusion that gigantic market-making firm Knight Capital, now known as KCG, repeatedly violated federal regulations meant to prevent abuse in what are known as “naked short sales.”

      It was an explosive allegation. Naked short sales are when you sell a stock you don’t have. That’s illegal most of the time, for obvious reasons. DiIorio found evidence that KCG had illegally conducted nearly two billion dollars’ worth of them.

      It was a bit of a mystery story, with two unanswered questions at the end: Was DiIorio right? And if so, why hadn’t any regulatory authority done anything about it?

      One regulatory authority finally has, and its action would seem to confirm DiIorio’s suspicions.

    • Trump Transition Team Picks Up Yet Another Promoter of Cheap Foreign Labor

      Donald Trump the candidate campaigned on protecting the wages of American workers. In announcing his agenda for the first 100 days, he said he would task his Department of Labor to “investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker.”

      But his transition team doesn’t reflect that perspective. Veronica Birkenstock, who runs a recruitment firm that secures visas for cheap temporary foreign workers, was named to Trump’s Department of Labor landing team — before being mysteriously disappeared after The Intercept reported on it.

      Next, the Trump team chose fast food executive Andy Puzder — an outspoken proponent of legalizing undocumented workers so they can provide cheap, low-skilled labor — to be the administration’s Labor Secretary.

    • 100 CEOs Have as Much Retirement Savings as 116 Million Americans

      While many Americans are facing a “frightening retirement reality,” 100 CEOs are looking at “colossal nest eggs” and can look forward to monthly retirement checks of over $250,000 for the rest of their lives.

      The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) puts a spotlight on this massive savings gap in its new report (pdf), “A Tale of Two Retirements.”

      “While slashing jobs and benefits for ordinary workers, CEOs of large companies have been feathering their own nests,” stated Sarah Anderson, report co-author and director of the IPS Global Economy Project. “It’s no wonder so many American workers are concerned about whether their golden years will be tarnished by financial stress.”

      In fact, these 100 CEOs have retirement funds that total $4.7 billion. That’s as much as the retirement savings of the 41 percent of U.S. families with the smallest nest eggs—that’s 116 million people. The report also notes that 37 percent of U.S. families have no retirement wealth at all.

    • Are we stuck with inequality?

      The latesT study of deepening inequality by three of the most careful scholars of the subject, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saens, and Gabriel Zucman, has prompted another round of shrugs from economists that inequality is just in the nature of the advanced economy.

      Supposedly, these inexorable trends reflect technology, globalization, and increasing rewards to more advanced skills. The poor are paid in correct proportion to their contribution to the national product, which, alas, isn’t much.

      A close look at political history suggests that this widespread inference is convenient nonsense — convenient to economic elites. In fact, the distribution of income and wealth has bounced around a lot in the past century and a half. It was extreme in the first Gilded Age of the late 19th century, a little less so in the Progressive Era, extreme again in the 1920s, and remarkably egalitarian in the period between the New Deal and the early 1970s — and now extreme again.

    • EU Commission ‘exceeded its powers’ in Apple tax case

      The Government has moved to pre-empt the expected publication of the full EU Commission ruling on the controversial €13 billion Apple tax case .

      In a statement early today, it said the commission had misinterpreted Ireland’s tax laws and wrongly ruled that profits not attributable to activity in Ireland should have been taxed here.

      The commission has found that Ireland deliberately decided to forego tax due from the US multinational over many years by giving it favourable tax treatment. But the Government says the commission has misinterpreted Ireland’s tax laws.

    • Apple appeals EU tax ruling, says it was a ‘convenient target’

      Apple (AAPL.O) has launched a legal challenge to a record $14 billion EU tax demand, arguing that EU regulators ignored tax experts and corporate law and deliberately picked a method to maximize the penalty, senior executives said.

      Apple’s combative stand underlines its anger with the European Commission, which said on Aug. 30 the company’s Irish tax deal was illegal state aid and ordered it to repay up to 13 billion euros ($13.8 billion) to Ireland, where Apple has its European headquarters.

    • Apple CFO: “What the [EU] Commission is doing here is a disgrace for European citizens, it should be ashamed”
    • An Analysis of Long-Term U.S. Productivity Decline

      This report from Gallup and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, “An Analysis of Long-Term U.S. Productivity Decline” was released last week as a 120 page pdf. Here is the table of contents:

      01. THE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM
      02. WHY IS GROWTH DOWN?
      03. UNDERSTANDING GDP GROWTH
      04. THE KEY SECTORS DRAGGING DOWN GROWTH
      05. HEALTHCARE
      06. HOUSING
      07. EDUCATION
      08. POSSIBLE INDIRECT CONSEQUENCES OF ECONOMIC DETERIORATION
      09. WHAT IS CAUSING ECONOMIC DETERIORATION?
      10. REVIVING GROWTH WILL REQUIRE A NEW STRATEGY
      ENDNOTES

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Zorka Milin on Rex Tillerson, Ethan Nadelmann on Trump’s Drug War

      This week on CounterSpin: More Trump appointments mean more work cut out for public interest advocates. There’s no need to pick which is most worrisome, but a strong contender would be making Rex Tillerson, longtime CEO of Exxon Mobil, secretary of State. We’ll hear about Tillerson from Zorka Milin, senior legal adviser at Global Witness.

    • Trump, Choices, and Qualifications

      Now that some of Donald Trump’s choices for important positions in his administration have been made, it is time to examine the reasons for some of those appointments. An early appointment was that of General Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor. He was selected for two reasons: his tenuous relationship with the truth, as shown by his promulgation of fake news over the years, a trait admired by Mr. Trump; and his former status as a general.

    • The Republican Sabotage of the Vote Recounts in Michigan and Wisconsin

      Michigan officials declared in late November that Trump won the state’s count by 10,704 votes. But hold on — a record 75,355 ballots were not counted.

      The uncounted ballots came mostly from Detroit and Flint, majority-Black cities that vote Democratic.

      According to the machines that read their ballots, these voters waited in line, sometimes for hours, yet did not choose a president. Really?

    • Blaming Trump’s Win on the Age Group Least Responsible for It

      “Yes, You Can Blame Millennials for Hillary Clinton’s Loss” was the headline over a piece by the Post‘s Aaron Blake (12/2/16). “Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Thursday that one particular group is especially to blame: Millennials.” Blake quoted another Post story citing Mook’s claim that “younger voters, perhaps assuming that Clinton was going to win, migrated to third-party candidates in the final days of the race.” “That’s why we lost,” Mook said.

      [...]

      Whoa, wait—”Clinton’s 55–36 margin among those ages 18 to 29″? Yep, Clinton won among voters under 30—the Millennials, basically—by 19 percentage points. Blake doesn’t spell it out, but this is the age group that delivered by far the biggest margin for Clinton. The next-best cohort for Clinton was those aged 39–44, who picked her by a 10-point margin. This is in sharp contrast to the 45–64 and 65+ age groups, who voted for Trump by margins of 8 and 7 percentage points, respectively.

      So who do we blame for Trump—the age group that voted for Clinton by the widest margin, or the ones that voted for Trump? If you’re the Washington Post, the biggest Clinton backers are responsible for Trump, naturally.

      You can play the same statistical games with race, by the way. For example, exit polls suggest that Trump did only 1 percentage point better than Romney among white voters, who went for Trump 58–37 percent. Among African-Americans, he only got 8 percent, but his losing margin was “only” 80 percentage points, as opposed to 87 points for Romney; Trump “overperformed” with black voters by 7 points.

    • No to the Sky deal. The Murdochs can’t be trusted

      Five years ago, after the phone-hacking revelations, the House of Commons unanimously rejected Rupert Murdoch’s bid for 100% of Sky. A year later, Sky was only passed by Ofcom as being fit and proper to hold a communications licence on the basis that there was not full Murdoch ownership and control. Today, the Murdochs want to turn the view of parliament and the regulator on its head. But what’s really changed?

    • North Carolinians Revolt Over Republicans’ Brazen Post-Election Coup

      Refusing to accept Republican lawmakers’ brazen power grab, hundreds of North Carolinians flooded the halls of the General Assembly building in Raleigh Thursday evening to shame the officials as they passed a series of measures aimed at stripping power from Governor-elect Roy Cooper.
      Tweets about #RespectOurVote OR #ncga OR #ncpol

      Twenty people, including one journalist, were reportedly arrested for disrupting the special session, during which the GOP-led legislature passed a number of bills that would limit the ability of the incoming Democratic administration to make appointments and control elections.

    • CNN Praises ‘Diverse Viewpoints’ of Trump’s ‘Bipartisan CEOs’

      On CNN (12/2/16), anchor Carol Costello introduced a story about how Donald Trump is convening a panel of prominent CEOs to consult with on a monthly basis on issues including job growth and taxes.

      CNN reporter Christina Alesci reported excitedly that the panel, assembled by the Blackstone Group’s CEO Stephen Schwartzman, will be made up of a “who’s who” of “bipartisan CEOs,” including GM’s Mary Barra, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, Disney‘s Bob Iger, Doug McMillon of Walmart and Jack Welch, former GE CEO.

    • Rick Luttmann, Greg Palast, Nadya Tannous, and Damanjit Singh

      In the first half of the program, mathematician Rick Luttmann discusses ranked-choice voting and why it is superior to the prevalent “plurality voting” system. Also, investigative journalist Greg Palast returns to Project Censored to explain how GOP voter supression tactics may have helped manipulate the outcome of the 2016 presidential election (he calls it a “Jim Crow election”). In the second half of the program, two activists recently returned from Standing Rock describe the violence police there are inflicting on the water protectors and their allies. Nadya Tannous and Damanjit Singh also explain why the Standing Rock confrontation is an anti-colonial struggle.

    • Voting with Risk-Limiting Audits: Better, Faster, Cheaper

      After extensive ups and downs, the election recount efforts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania have concluded. The main lesson: ballot audits should be less exciting and less expensive. Specifically, we need to make audits an ordinary, non-partisan part of every election, done efficiently and quickly, so they are not subject to emergency fundraising and last-minute debates over their legitimacy. The way to do that is clear: make risk-limiting audits part of standard election procedure.

      After this year’s election, EFF joined many election security researchers in calling for a recount of votes in three key states. This was partly because of evidence that hackers affected other parts of the election (not directly related to voting machines). But more than that, it was based long-standing research showing that electronic voting machines and optical scanners are subject to errors and manipulation that could sway an election. In response to that call, Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s campaign raised more than $7 million to fund the recounts.

    • From Reagan to Trump: Reflecting on Three Disastrous Elections

      Like millions of Americans, I am alarmed that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. While Barack Obama’s record as president is mixed, Trump has peddled hatred and suspicion, threatening to reverse everything positive that Obama has accomplished. But along with worrying about what is to come, I’ve been reflecting on some past elections that were also shocking or wrong, elections that brought great harm — but not quite the end of civilization as we know it. The chances are that’s what will happen this time too.

    • The First Amendment requires the Pennsylvania recount

      Jill Stein and a handful of voters might succeed in forcing a recount that would make Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States.

      I say that on the basis of my experience testifying before the Florida Legislature’s Select Joint Committee on the Manner of Appointment of Presidential Electors in the 2000 Florida recount. I had been asked by Committee to provide advice on whether the many lawsuits filed by Democrats around the state could come to a conclusion in time for the Electoral College’s meeting and vote on December 18, 2000.

      If the lawsuits could not be timely concluded, a serious risk existed that Florida’s 25 electoral votes would not be counted. That would leave George w. Bush with just 246 electoral votes to Al Gore’s 266. The Committee asked for my view because I had handled hundreds of lawsuits, including many that involved expedited matters.

    • GOP electors cite rural voice in Electoral College

      When the Constitution was written, some signers wanted direct election of the president. Others wanted state legislatures or Congress to choose the executive. The Electoral College was the end result: Each state got a slate of electors numbering the same as its delegation in Congress. Electors vote, with rare exception, for whichever candidate won the most votes in their state — effectively meaning the presidential election is 51 separate popular votes.

    • Yes, Trump can lose the Electoral College — but then what?

      The Electoral College has remained a topic of hot conversation since Nov. 8.

      There has been much discussion about faithless electors abandoning their traditional role, Hamilton Electors and what happened in the past when electors have been thrown out during ballot counting by the House and Senate, such as in 1872, when Louisiana and Arkansas’ electors were thrown out.

      How could this happen again?

    • Rex Tillerson revealed as former director of US-Russian oil company in Bahamas

      Leaked documents show Donald Trump’s appointed secretary of state was a director of a Bahamas-based US-Russian oil company.

      Rex Tillerson, whose suitability for the top government position was already under question due to his potential conflicts of interest with the energy industry and his ties to Russia, is now revealed to have been the former director of ExxonMobil’s Russian subsidiary.

      Mr Tillerson was named director of Exxon Neftegas in 1998. His name on company filings – RW Tillerson – appears next to other directors based in Texas, Moscow and in far eastern Russia. The company is incorporated in the Bahamas, thousands of miles away from their most important Russian Arctic exploration projects and where the corporation tax rate is zero.

    • Trump anger smashes Vanity Fair’s subscription record

      Vanity Fair has had the last laugh after President-elect Donald Trump blasted the magazine over a snooty review of one of his restaurants: its subscription numbers have broken a company record.

      “Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine?” the incoming Republican commander-in-chief asked his 17.4 million followers on Twitter bright and early Thursday.

      “Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!” he added for good measure in reference to the magazine’s editor, with whom he has a feud dating back decades.

      Only it seems that offending the 70-year-old billionaire real estate tycoon is good for business — at least in the news industry.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Trump Promised To Help Tech Companies. What Does He Want in Return?

      Apple CEO Tim Cook, Alphabet CEO Larry Page, and 10 other technology company leaders trooped to Trump Tower in New York this week, where the President-elect told them they were “amazing” and said, “I’m here to make you folks do well.” He pledged to do “anything we can do to help.” We’re glad to hear it, and we have a few ideas for steps the new administration can take to fulfill that commitment.

      If Mr. Trump wants to help technology thrive, he should start by protecting users and innovation from policies and practices that threaten privacy, civil liberties, and a free Internet. Users are beset by overreaching digital collection and the tracking of personal information on all fronts. We exist in an era of unprecedented government invasions into our private lives, made easier by the digital devices we carry and the servers and cloud storage that hold information about every aspect of our lives—where we go, what we say, what we buy, and with whom who we associate.

    • Trump to Inherit Vast Surveillance Powers

      Many Democrats trusted President Obama with the vast surveillance powers inherited from President George W. Bush, but now the failure to curtail those powers means they pass on to Donald Trump, notes Nat Parry.

    • Facebook Finally Says It Will Not Help Build Muslim Registry [Ed: Nonsense. Facebook ALREADY has a “Muslim Registry”]

      At the beginning of December, The Intercept reported on eight major American technology firms unwilling to state on the record that they would not help the Trump administration create a national Muslim registry. Since then, 22 different advocacy groups petitioned those companies to respond —today, Facebook breaks its silence.

      The following statement was issued to The Intercept by a Facebook spokesperson:

      “No one has asked us to build a Muslim registry, and of course we would not do so.”

    • The New and Improved Privacy Badger 2.0 Is Here

      EFF is excited to announce that today we are releasing Privacy Badger 2.0 for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Privacy Badger is a browser extension that automatically blocks hidden third-party trackers that would otherwise follow you around the web and spy on your browsing habits. Privacy Badger now has approximately 900,000 daily users and counting.

      Third-party tracking—that is, when advertisers and websites track your browsing activity across the web without your knowledge, control, or consent—is an alarmingly widespread practice in online advertising. Privacy Badger spots and then blocks third-party domains that seem to be tracking your browsing habits (e.g. by setting cookies that could be used for tracking, or by fingerprinting your browser). If the same third-party domain appears to be tracking you on three or more different websites, Privacy Badger will conclude that the third party domain is a tracker and block future connections to it.

      Privacy Badger always tells how many third-party domains it has detected and whether or not they seem to be trackers. Further, users have control over how Privacy Badger treats these domains, with options to block a domain entirely, block just cookies, or allow a domain.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Lies at the Heart of Our Dying Order

      One should understand why people have lost trust in experts, the media, and politicians.

      It is not difficult, it is the same reason people lost faith in Soviet Communism: Promises were made that turned out to be lies, those promises were not kept.

      Soviet Communism was supposed to lead to a cornucopia and a withering away of the state. Instead it lead to a police state and a huge drought of consumer goods, and often enough, even food. Communism failed to meet its core promises.

      [...]

      Lying is bad policy. It may get you what you want in the short run, or even the medium run, but it destroys the very basis of your power and legitimacy. Lying is what neoliberal politicians, journalists (yes, yes they are neoliberal), and their experts have done to themselves and they destroyed both their own power and legitimacy and that of the order they supported. No one with sense trusts them: If you trust these people, you have no sense, it is definitional. I always laugh when some idiot says, “But 90 percent of economists think X is bad.”

    • Seth Rogen and Six More White Men Discuss Race, Gender in Animation

      If you’re planning to be asking questions like, “How do you approach different ethnicities and cultures in animation? Are you conscious of running the risk that some group could take offense?” or “Several of your movies have female protagonists. But they’re not looking for a prince,” you’d think that you’d try to get to get some kind of diversity in your panel of animation directors. Failing that, you might point out the monoculture in the room, and what it says about the animation business.

    • Widespread ethnic profiling by police: a call for EU action

      If you have never been stopped and search by the police, you might not see how it can affect those who are systematically stopped and searched, sometimes several times a week, for no apparent reason. Even if you have nothing to be blamed for, it is humiliating and frustrating to be targeted, singled out very often, just because of your perceived race, ethnicity or religion, rather than on the basis of individual behaviour or objective evidence.

      With the tightened border controls over migration concerns and the threat of terrorism, the increased perception of use of ethnic profiling has been reported by anti-racism organisations across Europe.

    • The Rise of White Racial Nationalism

      There is little doubt that white racism played a role in the U.S. presidential election of 2016. As Zach Beauchamp demonstrates in a Nov. 10 article at Vox.com, enthusiastic support for Donald Trump – 10 on a scale of 10 – among white voters in mostly white geographic areas was about 25 percent. However, in areas of growing ethnic and racial diversity, the percentage of all-in Trump support goes way up.

      Beauchamp quotes the research of the University of London scholar Eric Kaufmann, who surveyed Trump’s white supporters. Kaufmann’s original findings are reported in the policy blog of the London School of Economics. One result was that in areas that had experienced a 30 percent rise in Latino population, the number of whites who enthusiastically supported Trump rose to 70 percent.

    • Obama Can Stop the Trump Administration From Targeting and Discriminating Against Muslim and Arab Immigrants

      This Monday, December 12, the ACLU will be joining Color of Change, 18 Million Rising, MomsRising.org, MoveOn, DRUM — Desis Rising Up and Moving, and others to deliver over 280,000 petition signatures calling on President Obama to repeal the special registration system targeting Muslim and Arab immigrants before Donald Trump takes office.

    • The State of Alabama Last Night Tortured a Man While Slowly Snuffing Out His Life

      Alabama cruelly and excessively violated the bounds of human decency last night when it knowingly inflicted torturous pain during Ronald Smith’s botched execution.

      And it should never have come to this.

      Ronald Smith’s jury had voted to spare his life, but the trial judge in the case overrode the jury’s verdict and sentenced him to death under Alabama’s outlier practice. A divided Supreme Court then denied Smith’s request to postpone his execution to review the issue of judicial override, and Alabama moved forward with his execution.

      The execution of Ronald Smith last night took far longer than it should have, 34 minutes, during which time his body heaved as he struggled. He was almost certainly awake when the prison administered the agonizing drugs, whose administration without sedation is an open and shut violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

    • The California Transportation Department Is Cruelly and Unconstitutionally Destroying Homeless People’s Belongings

      Sometimes the trucks arrive early. Sometimes they come with no notice at all. Sometimes, while workers from the California Department of Transportation make their way down the row of tents—seizing property and cherished belongings—people have mere seconds to grab everything they can. Then they stand and watch as their bedding, clothes, tools, bikes, medicine, food, and other things are tossed into a trash compactor and destroyed.

      I’ve heard this story countless times from homeless people in the Bay Area and beyond. My colleagues who work on issues of poverty and inequality have too. For decades, save a few years where good practices and policies were followed because of lawsuit settlements, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and other government agencies in California have been conducting illegal sweeps of homeless encampments, cruelly and unconstitutionally seizing and destroying property.

    • The Dark Side of Christmas: The Impact on Sweatshops

      Television screens are filled with Christmas advertising, propagating the apparent need to buy something, and above all electronics, apparel, toys — the most popular Christmas gifts. The festive countdown is well underway.

      Three points specifically define the ‘festive’ season: advertisements and commercialisation, shopping and spending, and increased revenue for the Western economy. Data from Capgemini and new in the UK’s industry association for e-retail, the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), reveal that in 2015, British retailers took in over £24 billion (roughly $30 billion) during the Christmas period alone, more than the entire GDP of countries like Nepal or Honduras. This spending craze is linked with advertisement and the increasing consumerism promoted by mass-, and now social media.

    • Why Obama should pardon Chelsea Manning

      Today, Saturday 17th December, is Chelsea Manning’s 29th birthday. How will she mark the day? At Fort Leavenworth, the austere military prison in Kansas where she is serving out her 35-year sentence, time passes according to a strict and tedious regime: unlock, work detail, prisoner counts, security checks. There’s little scope for celebrations, and rules against “trafficking” mean other inmates are unlikely to be allowed to shower her with gifts.

      Post is probably as good as it gets, and one hopes the small desk in her cell is overflowing with cards and letters from friends and supporters. Letters might not seem like much but there’s one message, from one man, that could truly make her day. What, after all, would be a better birthday gift for an imprisoned whistle-blower than for Obama, presidential pen in hand, to sign off on her release?

    • Muslim chaplain of Canada’s army explains Quranic verse on wife beating

      Dr. Iqbal Al-Nadvi (Mohammad Iqbal Masood Al-Nadvi) is the Muslim Chaplain of the Canadian army, the Chairperson of Canadian Council of Imams (Canada’s top imam) and the Amir (President) of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Canada, a nation-wide Islamic organization that is striving “to build an Exemplary Canadian Muslim Community” by “total submission to Him [Allah] and through the propagation of true and universal message of Islam.”

      His previous positions include the following: Director of Al-Falah Islamic School in Oakville, Ontario from 2004 to 2011, Imam of Muslim Association of Calgary Islamic Center from 1998-2004 and as a member of the University of Calgary chaplaincy team.

    • Muslim cleric banned in Pakistan is preaching in UK mosques

      A Pakistani Muslim cleric who celebrated the murder of a popular politician is in Britain on a speaking tour of mosques. The news has alarmed social cohesion experts who fear such tours are promoting divisions in the Muslim community.

      Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri has been banned from preaching in Pakistan because his sermons are considered too incendiary. However, he is due to visit a number of English mosques, in heavily promoted events where he is given star billing.

    • ‘They speak against it by day and cut girls at night’: fighting FGM in southern Kenya

      When Rampei Wuantai and his wife, Angela, decided not to make their daughters undergo female genital mutilation, they were not prepared for the backlash.

      The family live on a small homestead surrounding by acacia trees in the village of Illmotiok, in Kenya’s Kajiado county. Though outlawed in 2011, FGM is still widely practised in the area. The Wuantais were the first to reject the tradition.

      “Our first motivation to go against this culture was religion. We are Christians and the Bible does not tell us to cut our girls,” says Rampei, 53, a pastor and driver. He and his wife have 10 children: four girls and six boys.

      “Here, even chiefs and pastors still cut their daughters,” says Angela. “They speak against it during the day and cut their girls at night.”

      In Kenya, chiefs work under the provincial administration and are in charge of locations and sub-locations, the smallest administrative areas. Their role is to maintain law and order; constitutionally, they have power to arrest anyone breaking the law in their jurisdiction. As Angela points out, however, some turn a blind eye to the continued practise of FGM.

    • In Pakistan, five girls were killed for having fun. Then the story took an even darker twist.

      It was just a few seconds, a video clip of several young women laughing and clapping to music, dressed for a party or a wedding in orange headscarves and robes with floral patterns. Then a few more seconds of a young man dancing alone, apparently in the same room.

      The cellphone video was made six years ago, in a village deep in Kohistan, a rugged area of northwest Pakistan. It was the last time the young women, known only as Bazeegha, Sareen Jan, Begum Jan, Amina and Shaheen, have ever been definitively seen alive.

      What happened to them remains a mystery. Their fates have been shrouded by cultural taboos, official inertia, implacable resistance from elders and religious leaders suspected of ordering their deaths, and elaborate subterfuges by the families who reportedly carried out those orders.

    • Dutch government prepares to ratify EU-Ukraine deal

      The Netherlands’ government moved swiftly Friday to prepare legislation clearing the way for Parliament to vote on ratifying an EU-Ukraine free trade pact, despite Dutch voters rejecting the deal in a non-binding referendum.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • EFF to Supreme Court: Trademarks are Not Government Speech

        Today, together with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Freedom of Expression, EFF submitted an amicus brief in Lee v. Tam. Our brief discusses an unusual but important question: are registered trademarks government expression? It is important to get the dividing line between government and private speech correct. This is because, while the government doesn’t get to control what you say, it does get to control what it says. As we argue in our brief, categorizing registered trademarks as government expression would threaten speech in many other areas.

        The case involves a rock band from California called The Slants. The band, like Dykes on Bikes®, intentionally chose a name containing a slur to reappropriate the term. The band attempted to register its name as a trademark but United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) refused the registration. The PTO concluded that the mark was not eligible under a statute prohibiting registration of any marks that “disparage” people. The PTO did not care how The Slants, an Asian-American band, intended for its mark to be understood. Rather, the fact that the term, standing alone, could be a slur was sufficient for it to deny registration.

12.18.16

Links 18/12/2016: Lenovo Embraces Chrome OS, Now Dock 0.5 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 7:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Linux 2016 – The Year of the Hard Shift

      I’m just going to come out and say it. This thing is being rushed because my thoughts are not exactly careening from stream-to-stream. I am so burned out waiting for the moment when Linux finally catches up with the rest of the tech industry.

      I know there are a lot of you out there right now, don’t deny it, who are saying “Well, welcome to Linux! You’ve finally got your citizenship!” That’s not good enough, nor will it ever be good enough for me–not even close. I apologize right away if it offends anyone’s sensibilities. But there are days when I feel like I’m the only one who sees what’s happening.

    • Lenovo’s funky Yoga Book laptop will get a Chrome OS option next year

      The Yoga Book is definitely one of the most interesting and divisive laptop designs to come out in a while – users either love or hate its touchscreen/keyboard deck hook. To a digital artist its integrated “Create Pad” is a godsend, but a mechanical keyboard fan probably sees its integrated haptic key layout as sacrilege. Either way, you’ll soon have more options if you want to check out that unique hardware: a Lenovo executive told a Tom’s guide reporter that the Yoga Book would be sold in a Chrome OS model in 2017.

  • Server

    • Diversity Scholarship Series: My Programming Journey – Becoming a Kubernetes Maintainer

      On December 14, 2015, I got my first Pull Request merged. What a great feeling! I admit it was really small (a removal of 6 chars from a Makefile), but it was a big step personally to realize that the Kubernetes maintainers wanted my contributions. From January-March, I focused on getting the Kubernetes source code to cross-compile ARM binaries and release them automatically. Kubernetes v1.2.0 was the first release that shipped with “official” Google-built ARM binaries.

    • Docker Move Brings Universal Container Operations A Step Closer

      Docker has contributed a component of Docker Engine, Containerd, to the community; it will provide a key element of a universal runtime.

      Getting to a standard, shared runtime environment in which containers from different suppliers run predictably took a step closer to reality this week as Docker opened up a key feature of its Docker Engine, containerd.

    • Why Native Docker Orchestration is the Best Orchestration

      Why is this going to be an interesting talk and why should you care? asks Mike Goelzer of Docker in his LinuxCon North America presentation. The answer is that simple, robust, integrated container orchestration is key to successful containers management, and Goelzer believes that the native Docker orchestration, called Swarm, is the best orchestration. Goelzer gives a high-level overview of Swarm, and his colleague Victor Vieux goes into detail on the internals.

    • From 1 to N Docker Hosts: Getting Started with Docker Clustering
  • Kernel Space

    • Synaptics Input Being Better Enhanced With Linux 4.10

      The input driver updates for Linux 4.10 are most exciting for those with laptops having newer Synaptics technology.

      With Linux 4.6 came the Synaptics RMI4 support while in 4.10 it’s being much improved. The Synaptics RMI4 with Linux 4.10 now has support for SMBus controllers, firmware update support, sensor tuning, and PS/2 guest support. Synaptics RMI4 is used by many newer touchpads and touch-screens.

    • Thwarting Unknown Bugs: Hardening Features in the Mainline Linux Kernel
    • Hardening the Kernel to Protect Against Attackers

      The task of securing Linux systems is so mind-bogglingly complex and involves so many layers of technology that it can easily overwhelm developers. However, there are some fairly straightforward protections you can use at the very core: the kernel. These hardening techniques help developers guard against the bugs that haven’t yet been detected.

      “Hardening is about making bugs more difficult to exploit,” explained Mark Rutland, a kernel developer at ARM Ltd, at the recent Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2016 in Berlin. There will always be dangerous bugs that manage to evade the notice of kernel developers, he added. “We do not yet know which particular bugs exist in the next kernel, and we probably won’t for five years,” he said, referring to Kees Cook’s recent analysis of kernel bug lifetimes.

    • The KVM & Xen Changes For Linux 4.10: Includes Intel GVT Work

      Earlier in the week the KVM and Xen updates were sent in for the Linux 4.10 kernel to add to the list of changes so far for Linux 4.10.

      On the KVM front within the x86 space there is now support for hiding nested VMX features from guest, nested VMX can now run Microsoft Hyper-V in a guest, there is support for more AVX512 extensions, and there is infrastructure support for virtual Intel GPUs.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • 10-Way AMD GPU Comparison For Team Fortress 2 With RadeonSI Mesa 13.1-dev

        In case you didn’t hear, last week a nine year old Mesa bug was fixed that ended up causing stability issues for RadeonSI and was one of the reasons Valve’s Team Fortress 2 game wasn’t running stable on the open-source AMD driver in quite a while. With Mesa Git now running Team Fortress 2 on RadeonSI without any stability problems, here are fresh benchmarks of that game when using Mesa 13.1-dev and Linux 4.9.

        As mentioned in a few other articles already, a big year-end RadeonSI OpenGL performance comparison on many different graphics cards will be published in the days ahead. But given Team Fortress 2 back to running nicely on RadeonSI without stability concerns, I decided to run fresh benchmarks on ten different GCN graphics cards to show the performance difference.

      • EXT4, Btrfs, XFS & F2FS On Linux 4.6 Through 4.9

        For those curious how various Linux file-systems have evolved since Linux 4.6, here are some fresh benchmarks of the Btrfs, EXT4, F2FS, and XFS file-systems being tested on Linux 4.6 vs. 4.7 vs. 4.8 vs. 4.9 with a solid-state drive for looking at any performance changes.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • What’s the Best Lightweight Linux Desktop Environment for you ?

      If you have old Windows XP PC or a netbook? Don’t throw away your old PC just yet and you can revive it with a lightweight Linux Desktop Environments.

      How ? Distributions are consuming more resources majorly on GUI (Graphical User Interface), when you are having old hardware first you have to decide the desktop environment then distribution. Some Linux users would prefer a more lean & slim environment.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kdenlive 16.12 released
      • Plasma 5.9 Wallpaper “Canopee”

        It’s that time of the release cycle! Plasma 5.9 is getting a new wallpaper, “Canopee”, French for canopy. Like the last wallpaper, Bismuth, we are again shipping with a 4K version.

      • Looking Forward

        We have just released Krita 3.1, but we are already deep into coding again! We will continue releasing bug fix versions of Krita 3.1.x until it’s time to release 3.2 (or maybe 4.0…). And, as with 2.9, some bug fix releases might even contain new features, if they’re small and safe enough. But we’ll also start making development builds soon, and there’s also the daily build for Windows.

      • Made with Krita 2016 — the Krita Artbook
      • [Krita] Interview with Jabari Dumisani

        Actually I was looking for some GIMP update news online, ended up on a Blender 3D forum and heard about Krita from one of the posts, never hearing of it before. I nosed around, followed the trail to the .org website, and the rest was history. Krita and I have been buddies ever since.

      • Cutelyst 1.1.2 released

        Cutelyst the C++/Qt Web Framework just got a new release.

        Yesterday I was going to do the 1.1.0 release, after running tests, and being happy with current state I wrote this blog post, but before I publish I went to http://www.cutelyst.org CMS (CMlyst) to paste the same post, and I got hit by a bug I had on 1.0.0, which at time I thought it was a bug in CMlyst, so decided to investigate and found a few other bugs with our WSGI not properly changing the current directory and not replacing the + sign with an ‘ ‘ space when parsing formdata, which was the main bug. So did the fixes tagged as 1.1.1 and today found that automatically setting Content-Length wasn’t working when the View rendered nothing.

      • KDE Applications 16.12.0 just out!
      • Marble in your CMake or qmake based project, now more easy
      • How input works – Keyboard input
      • Now Dock v0.5
      • Comparing Krita packaging size

        Every time a new version of Krita is released I see somewhere a post where someone lists the output of their distribtion package manager and complains about the number of dependencies and the installation size. In the past dependencies used to be a huge problem where the connections between the packages causes a chains of dependencies at which end you e.g. needed install a MySQL server.

  • Distributions

    • Bluestar Linux: A Beautiful Take on KDE and a User-Friendly Arch-Based Distribution

      Have you ever wanted a combination of Arch Linux and KDE but always seemed to get stumped at the Arch Linux portion of the combination? If that’s you, your days of being left out in the Arch Linux/KDE cold are over. Why? Bluestar Linux.

      This new(ish) kid on the block allows you to enjoy Arch Linux without having to jump through all the usual hoops of setting the distribution up manually, plus it offers a rather unique take on KDE, one that had me instantly nodding my head in agreement with their layout. In fact, what Bluestar did with KDE makes so much sense, it has me wondering why this isn’t the default layout of the “K” Desktop Environment (more on this in a bit).

    • Budgie 10.2.9 Released

      We’re happy to announce the release of Budgie 10.2.9. This is solely a bug fix release, tackling some niggling issues before our focus shifts to development of Budgie 11.

    • This Week In Solus – Install #40

      On the last This Week in Solus, I highlighted our roadmap, which includes our upcoming ISO snapshot. This ISO snapshot will feature the latest kernel, which at the time of this writing, is looking like 4.9. Additionally, since the writing of TWIS #39, we have landed an upgraded libinput and xorg libinput driver, thus those will see inclusion in the ISO as well.

    • I’m extremely pleased that +Solus​ and Ubuntu MATE are deepening our collaboration
    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 – Forrest Gimp

        I do have to admit I’ve been waiting for openSUSE to release 42.2. Even though the much anticipated Leap version did not stun me, I still have a secret love for openSUSE, deep deep down, as it was my first proper distro, and it has always shown that level of professionalism you don’t get elsewhere. Lately, it’s been flaking, but still.

        Anyhow, let’s try to rekindle the emotion. OpenSUSE 42.2, also named Leap, is here, and currently, it comes as a mighty DVD-size ISO. Live editions ought to follow soon, but for me, it was time to bleed the network bandwidth. Testbed? The notorious if recently somewhat redeemed Lenovo G50 machine.

    • Slackware Family

      • New Slackware-current Live ISOs with latest Plasma

        I am ready with a new batch of packages for Plasma 5 and to showcase that in a Slackware Live Edition, I stamped a new version on ‘liveslak‘.
        Version 1.1.5 is ready, again containing only minor tweaks compared to the previous release. I made a set of ISO images for several variants of the 64bit and 32bit versions of Slackware Live Edition based on liveslak 1.1.5 and using Slackware-current dated “Thu Dec 1 08:49:20 UTC 2016“. These ISO images have been uploaded and are available on the primary server ‘bear‘. You will find ISO images for a full Slackware, Plasma5, MATE and Cinnamon (yes, I did one this time!) variants and the 700MB small XFCE variant.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 targets private cloud

        Red Hat just announced that it is making Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 available. This release is based upon the OpenStack ‘Newton’ release and is designed to increase system-wide scalability, simplify management and improve workload orchestration. It will also enhance both network performance and security.

        Additionally, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 introduces a new software life cycle, with optional support up to 5 years.

      • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 Extends Cloud Support

        While new releases of OpenStack debut every six months, organizations tend to want to run stable cloud deployments for longer period of time. As such, Red Hat is now providing its users with up to five years of support for its OpenStack Cloud Platform.
        Red Hat announced the official release of its OpenStack Platform 10 on December 15, providing users with the option for up to five years of support. The new Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 release is based on the upstream open-source OpenStack Newton milestone that debuted on October 6.

      • Red Hat Pursues Microsoft SQL Server on Linux Partners, Customers

        Red Hat (RHT) is opening its arms to Microsoft SQL Server partners and customers, inviting those ecosystems to test the database on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The move comes roughly one month after Microsoft launched a SQL Server on Linux public preview. General availability is expected in mid-2017.

      • [CentOS-announce] Release for CentOS Linux 7 (1611) on x86_64
      • systemd 231 in Centos 7 thx to Facebook

        So Centos7 currently has systemd version 219 installed which was released on 2015-02-16 (see NEWS).

        This is a huge problem, as we miss a lot of very important functions related to journald, networkd, machinectl, systemd-nspawn and so on.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 25 Gnome review – A way to land

          All right. Brace yourselves. It’s Fedora time. Throughout 2016, a gloomy year for the likes of us, Linux users, Fedora has been a friendly companion. It made me like and use Gnome again, plus it offered a pleasant, vibrant, practical desktop experience that nicely filled the gap left by Ubuntu. Almost like a dental crown.

          We also learned how to pimp it, and I have a whole bunch of surprises laid out ahead of us, including yet more elegant tweaking and taming, reviews on other hardware, some revolutionary usability tricks, and still more. But all that will happen in the future. Now, we should focus on Fedora 25, and see how it stacks against its predecessor, as well as the entire Linux ecosystem. No pressure.

        • Fedora 25 Release Party Beijing Report

          Last week we hold the Fedora 25 Release Party Beijing. As I am a little busy, Tonghui volunteered to be the event owner. I co-organise as coordinator and logistics.

          Since it’s near winter vacation of schools, as soon as Fedora 25 released, we decide to make this happen early December. Otherwise there will hardly any student attending. So I insists to hold in the university no later than Dec 17th. So this finally happened on Dec 10th.

        • Linux-modder’s Tech Corner

          Attending Ambassadors, Fedora Contributors included: Corey Sheldon (linuxmodder), Nick Bebout (nb), Mike DePaulo (mikedep333), Beth Lynn (bethlynn), Matthew Miller (mattdm), Stephen Gallagher (sgallagh). Having a rather nice spread of the Fedora Community among us made for a very productive display and sidebar chats amongst ourselves and the Redhat / Centos Table folks we were with. Among us were several conference talk attendees and even a GPG Signing Party (as a BoF).

    • Debian Family

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, November 2016

        Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu spotted during AMD Instinct announcement
          • Ubuntu Unity 8 snap – edge r283
          • Ubuntu Unity 8 update
          • Get 50% off Linux Foundation training and certification

            It’s been a great year for Ubuntu. More and more cloud users are turning to Ubuntu for their needs on public clouds. On the private cloud side you can find us on most production deployments of OpenStack, and we’re bringing you the latest bits of Kubernetes and other exciting cloud technologies, like fresh Docker packages. That’s a ton of new technology, it can be challenging to keep on top of things!

          • Flavours and Variants

            • SemiCode OS takes Ubuntu to next level

              While Canonical is keeping on expanding its presence in the world of open source, SemiCode OS has just emerged to take its Ubuntu to the next level. The platform uses Ubuntu 14.04 to deliver an advanced computing experience.

              SemiCode OS is designed as the Linux for programmers and web developers. As a replacement for Windows and macOS, the new operating system includes GNOME desktop environment. It also comes preloaded with IDEs of some popular programming languages.

              To nurture non-coders with some primary coding skills, the initial beta version of SemiCode OS has Scratch IDE. There are tools such as Slack and Git to support development teams.

            • Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon and MATE Released

              Clement Lefebvre today released Linux Mint 18.1 LTS in the Cinnamon and MATE flavors for 32 and 64-bit machines. Beta users can upgrade through the Update Manager, but 18.0 users will have to wait for until the end of the month. Today’s release brought several updated components as well as new features.

              Linux Mint 18.1 features MATE 1.16 bringing additional GTK3 ports including the notification daemon, session manager, and MATE terminal. The Cinnamon version got a new screensaver application that looks and works much better. One can control multimedia from the screensaver screen without unlocking it, it can display the battery power level, and any missed notifications. Notifications can now have an accompanying sound if desired and panels can be set on the vertical. The sound applet can now control more than one device at a time and the keyboard applet can support more than one layout for the same language.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Christmas-music-carousel-snap – with the Raspberry PiGlow!

      As part of our festive competition to build a seasonal snap on your RaspberryPi…we made an attempt ourselves!

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Vimeo coming soon to Samsung’s Tizen-powered TVs.

          Vimeo, a long-time competitor to YouTube, has today made the transition from small screen touchscreen to the big screen with new apps that have been developed for all the major viewing platforms Apple TV, Android TV, and also an HTML5 app for Samsung’s Tizen-based Smart TVs.

          This hasn’t been a simple case of up-scaling the smartphone app, but instead performing a complete “rebuild of the Vimeo TV experience”, that offers you the ability to customise it to your specific needs.

        • Smartphone Game: Little Birds Match is now Available Tizen Store
      • Android

        • The apparent end of CyanogenMod [Ed: Behind paywall until this week]

          The world is full of successful corporations built with free software and, as a general rule, the free-software community has benefited from the existence of those companies. But the intersection of corporate interest and free software can be a risky place where economic interests may be pursued to the detriment of the underlying software and its community. Arguably, that is what has happened with the CyanogenMod project, which is now faced with finding a new home and, probably, a new name.

          CyanogenMod is an alternative build of the Android operating system; it got its start in 2009. It quickly grew to become the most popular of the Android “mods”, with a substantial community of contributors and support for a wide range of devices. Early users appreciated its extensive configurability, user-interface improvements, lack of dubious vendor add-on software, and occasionally, privacy improvements. For many users, CyanogenMod was a clear upgrade from whatever version of Android originally shipped on their devices.

          In 2013, CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik obtained some venture capital and started Cyanogen Inc. as a vehicle to further develop the CyanogenMod distribution. The initial focus was on providing a better Android to handset manufacturers, who would choose to ship it instead of stock Android from Google. There was a scattering of initial successes, including the OnePlus One handset, but the list of devices shipping with CyanogenMod never did get that long.

          Recently there have been signs of trouble at Cyanogen; these include layoffs in July and, most recently, the news that Steve Kondik has left the company. Cyanogen Inc. will now proceed without its founder and, seemingly, with relatively little interest in the CyanogenMod distribution, which, arguably, has lost much of the prominence it once had. Devices running CyanogenMod were once easily found at free-software gatherings; now they are somewhat scarce. Anecdotally, it would seem that far fewer people care about the continued existence of CyanogenMod than did a few years ago.

        • Qualcomm To Bolster Android Things Efforts

          When Google announced that they planned to leverage the open and adaptable nature of Android to bring some much-needed order and unity to the wild west that is the internet of things, it didn’t take a genius, or even an insider, to know that nobody, not even Google, could do something like that alone. Thus, the wait began to see who all would come out of the woodwork to help bring Android Things into mainstream success. Industry watchers didn’t have to wait very long; the day after the official announcement of the Android Things IoT platform, processor maker and longtime Android platform Qualcomm has come forward as the first partner for Android Things.

        • 12 Android Apps You Should Have (But Probably Don’t)

          The Google Play store has more than 2.4 million apps available, but most of us have a lot of the same apps on our smartphones or tablets. That is, after all, how those apps end up on the “most popular apps” lists.

          For this slideshow, we went looking for hidden gems. It highlights 12 great Android apps that you won’t find on any “10 most popular apps” list. However, many of these apps have won awards, received rave reviews and earned excellent ratings from users. These are apps you might have otherwise overlooked, but that you should really consider downloading.

        • Google’s search-savvy keyboard comes to Android
        • Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge Android 7.1.1 Nougat Update Imminent, S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge Plus And Note 5 To Follow
        • Google Launches Android Chrome WebVR Support
        • Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus Android 7 Nougat Update Now Available in US; Moto G5, Moto G5 Plus 2017 Launching?
        • 10 Things To Know About Android Things – Google’s Latest IoT Device OS
        • Android Pay supports 31 new banks and credit unions
        • Curve comes to Android

          Today we’re delighted to announce the release of Curve 1.0 on Android! We’ve launched on Android with a brand new interface and a host of great features that current Curve users have been enjoying since we launched on iOS earlier this year, and we’re excited to bring it to Android users.

        • Capcom to bring entire Mega Man NES series to Android

          Capcom has announced that it will bring its entire collection of 8-bit Mega Man games to Android. Mega Man 1 through to Mega Man 6 will be launched in Japan on January 6, however there’s no news on whether Capcom will give them a wider release.

        • BlackBerry stops making phones, licenses the BlackBerry name to TCL for Android phones

          The BlackBerry smartphone is dead: Long live the BlackBerry smartphone.

          A week after it officially pulled out of the smartphone market, BlackBerry has agreed to license its brand to handset manufacturer TCL.

          The Chinese company will make and market future BlackBerry handsets worldwide except for India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, where BlackBerry has already struck local licensing deals.

          This is hardly new territory for TCL, which manufactured BlackBerry’s last two handsets, the Android-based DTEK50 and DTEK60.

          BlackBerry has taken a more direct route out of the handset manufacturing business than Nokia, another of the marquee phone brands of the early years of this century. When Nokia sold its smartphone business to Microsoft, it also gave that company the right to use the Nokia brand for a transitional period. When Nokia got its name back earlier this year, it promptly granted a 10-year license to HMD Global, a Finnish company, to use its name on new phones.

        • ‘Ok Google’ now works in Android Auto
        • Android Auto listens for your ‘OK Google’
        • 16 Android tips and tricks you shouldn’t miss from 2016
        • Android device updates: OnePlus pushes out updates, Samsung tries to kill off the Note7
        • Amazon’s $50 Android Smartphone Is Back Following Malware Scare

Free Software/Open Source

  • Haiku OS Makes Progress In Booting With UEFI

    The BeOS-compatible Haiku operating system continues working on a big feature not present during the original BeOS days: UEFI.

    A few weeks back we wrote about Haiku OS working on UEFI support and in the time since they’ve made steady progress on supporting this standard. Haiku with QEMU can now boot all the way to the desktop using UEFI. But when it comes to using real hardware, such as a MacBook Air, Haiku can boot with UEFI but then freezes when hitting the desktop. But before they can figure out that situation, they need to add serial debugging support to be able to figure out what’s happening.

    In addition to serial debugging support, they are also planning to expand the disk system support and other enhancements to its UEFI support. They are optimistic they may have UEFI booting in working shape for their upcoming OS beta release.

  • Events

    • OpenSource 101 Coming to Raleigh, N.C.

      There’s a new open source conference coming to Silicon Valley East. OpenSource 101 will be a single day event held Saturday February 4, 2017 on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The event is being hosted by All Things Open, the organization behind the four-year-old All Things Open conference that’s held every October in downtown Raleigh.

      While All Things Open is one of the largest open source conferences in the country — this year’s event was attended by 2,400 — OpenSource 101 will be downsized by design, with attendance precapped at 500. That’s probably due to seating limitations at the university’s McKimmon Center where the event will take place. According to an email sent Wednesday, OpenSource 101 grew out of “the incredible demand we’ve seen for 101/Introductory level open source education” at this year’s ATO, where an introductory track was called “101.”

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Top 7 Videos from ApacheCon and Apache Big Data 2016

      It’s been two years since The Linux Foundation forged a partnership with the Apache Software Foundation to become the producer of their official ASF events. This year, ApacheCon and Apache Big Data continued to grow and gain momentum as the place to share knowledge, ideas, best practices and creativity with the rest of the Apache open source community.

  • Databases

    • MariaDB Releases an Open Source Columnar Storage Engine

      MariaDB Corporation, is launching MariaDB ColumnStore 1.0, an open source columnar storage engine that unites transaction and analytic processing to deliver seamless big data analytics.

      “Providing a single SQL front end for both your OLTP and analytics is valuable and important,” said David Thompson, VP of engineering at MariaDB.

    • MariaDB ColumnStore Adds Simultaneous Analytics, Transactional Processing

      MariaDB has released into general availability ColumnStore 1.0, a storage engine allows users to run analytics and transactional processes simultaneously with a single front end on the MariaDB 10.1 database.

      While the open source community pushed back against the licensing model of MariaDB’s MaxScale database proxy, ColumnStore is open source, licensed under GPLv2.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.3 to Launch with a Microsoft Office-like Ribbon UI

      “LibreOffice is working on a pretty significant overhaul of its interface that would have the productivity suite adopt a new toolbar design similar to the Microsoft Office Ribbon UI.”

      At this point, LibreOffice’s new Ribbon-inspired UI is still in the works, but it’s already available in experimental version 5.3 and anyone can see how it looks using the steps below.

  • Funding

    • Databricks Sparks Growth with $60M Series C

      Apache Spark has become a core element of the modern data analytics stack

      Databricks announced on December 15 that it has raised $60 million in Series C funding to help grow it commercial aspirations in support of the open-source Apache Spark project. To date, Databricks has raised a total of $107.5 million in funding since the company was first created in 2013.

  • BSD

    • watt time is left

      So Apple no longer knows how to make a battery meter. The good news is OpenBSD is still here for all your desktop needs. How does its battery meter work?

      The simplest interface to get battery status info is to run apm. This gives us both percentage and an estimate of time remaining.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Oracle finally targets Java non-payers – six years after plucking Sun

      Oracle is massively ramping up audits of Java customers it claims are in breach of its licences – six years after it bought Sun Microsystems.

      A growing number of Oracle customers and partners have been approached by Larry Ellison’s firm, which claims they are out of compliance on Java.

      Oracle bought Java with Sun Microsystems in 2010 but only now is its License Management Services (LMS) division chasing down people for payment, we are told by people familiar with the matter.

      The database giant is understood to have hired 20 individuals globally this year, whose sole job is the pursuit of businesses in breach of their Java licences.

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenID for authentication

      I’ve just registered on “yet another web site”, which meant another scramble for a username that’s not already in use, another randomly-generated and highly-unmemorable password, and another email address provided for account recovery in the event that it all goes wrong. Along with my flying car and jetpack, I’d rather hoped the 21st century would bring a better way of managing my identity on the internet; in 2005 it did just that with the release of the OpenID standard for distributed authentication. Sadly, OpenID has remained a fringe player in this field.

Leftovers

  • The Guardian view on Moomintroll: a hero for our time

    Few authors have managed to convey an open-hearted domesticity as well as Tove Jansson – Moominmamma is patron spirit of Christmas hospitality – but the idyll of Moomin Valley is surrounded by wilderness and constantly threatened by flood and fire, comet and the wandering Groke. Moomintroll wakes alone from hibernation and wanders in a sunless world of snow. “If only there was anyone here I knew from before!” he thinks, “someone who wasn’t full of secrets, but was altogether ordinary…”. But he must make his way through a strange, enchanted world without his old friends.

  • Science

    • Are we cleared to land?

      Airport runways play a major role in safe navigation. Pilots and air traffic controllers use the runway to guide planes for safe departures and arrivals, but few people realize how much work and preparation it takes to ensure passenger safety.

      The Aeronautical Survey Program administered through NOAA provides the highly accurate position, height, and orientation information needed for safe air navigation. NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey has performed aeronautical surveys since the 1920s. The surveys provide critical information about airport features, obstructions, and aids to navigation.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • End of federal Flint water investigation brings more questions than answers

      The closure of Congress’ year-long Flint water investigation has drawn very different reactions from both sides of the issue.

      Letters dated Friday, Dec. 16, from U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, indicated that the investigation had closed. Letters blamed both state officials and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for not detecting Flint water problems soon enough or taking proper action once problems were identified.

      Some Republicans, such as Gov. Rick Snyder, believe the investigation was thorough and resulted in proposed policy change.

    • House panel closes probe into Flint water crisis

      The House Oversight Committee Friday closed its investigation into the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis, concluding that a “failure of government at all levels” caused and exacerbated the catastrophe.

      Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) closed the 11-month probe with a pair of letters to the chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Appropriations Committee, summarizing the findings that pertain to each of their jurisdictions.

      “The documents and testimony show a series of failures at all levels of government caused, and then exacerbated, the water crisis. The committee found significant problems at Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and unacceptable delays in the Environmental Protection Agency’s response to the crisis,” Chaffetz wrote to Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.).

    • Antibiotic resistance will hit a terrible tipping point in 2017

      A major menace looms over us. In 2017, many more people could begin dying from common bacterial infections. As resistance to antibiotics booms, diseases from gonorrhoea to urinary tract infections are becoming untreatable – a situation that looks set to get worse as the world reaches a new tipping point next year.

      “We are about to reach the point where more antibiotics will be consumed by farm animals worldwide than by humans,” says Mark Woolhouse, at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

      This will mean more resistant bacteria, which could be a big threat. The livestock industry has long played down any risk to human health caused by using antibiotics in farming, but the danger is now accepted, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

    • The US plans to ban smoking in public housing — but will it work?

      April Simpson has been living in the Queensbridge Houses, a public housing development in Queens, New York, her whole life. “From day one. I was born here,” she says, proudly.

      When she walks among the iconic six-story, red-brick buildings, passersby say hi to her and kiss her on the cheek. Everyone seems to know her. Simpson, a charismatic 54-year-old with buzzed short hair and a broad smile, is the Queensbridge tenants’ association president. She’s also a smoker. But come 2017, under a new federal rule, she won’t be allowed to light up one of her Newport cigarettes inside the housing development where she lives.

      Simpson is in favor of the smoking ban, but she also thinks it will be “extremely hard” to enforce. “You just can’t say, ‘You can’t smoke anymore’ to a person who’s been smoking for 20 years or even 10 years,” she says. “It’s like putting a lollipop in front of child and saying, ‘You can’t have it’ without giving them alternatives.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • China Makes New Move in South China Sea Fight

      China has placed weapons on all seven artificial islands it built in the South China Sea, a new report Thursday indicates.

      Images from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, a U.S. think tank, show the apparent “significant” military buildup.

      “China appears to have built significant point-defense capabilities, in the form of large anti-aircraft guns and probable close-in weapons systems (CIWS), at each of its outposts in the Spratly Islands,” according to the report from AMTI, a subsidiary of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

      The reports adds that these “emplacements show that Beijing is serious about defense of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea. … They would be the last line of defense against cruise missiles launched by the United States or others.”

    • War In The South China Sea

      Seizing a vessel on the high seas is an act of war. If China does not promptly return the vessel, USA can take punitive actions including attacking Chinese naval vessels in the area. This could rapidly escalate. China has been claiming most of the South China Sea as their territory. How far will they push this?

    • Pentagon: Chinese ship captures U.S. underwater drone from sea

      A U.S. Navy underwater drone operating in international waters was captured by a Chinese warship in the South China Sea, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement on Friday.

      The drone is not armed and is used for gathering weather and temperature data. The incident occurred Thursday.

    • Chinese warship seizes US underwater drone in international waters

      The Chinese navy has seized an underwater drone in plain sight of the American sailors who had deployed it in international waters, in a seemingly brazen message to the incoming Trump administration.

      According to a US defence official, the unmanned glider had come to the surface of the water in the South China Sea and was about to be retrieved by the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic and surveillance ship, when a Chinese naval vessel that had been shadowing the Bowditch put a small boat in the water.

      Chinese sailors in the small boat came alongside the drone and grabbed it despite the radioed protests from the Bowditch that it was US property in international waters. The incident happened about 100 miles north-west of the Philippines’ port of Subic Bay.

    • Theresa May refuses to follow US in ending bomb sales to Saudi Arabia despite schools, hospitals and wedding parties being hit in Yemen

      Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected a call for the UK to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia – following the US’s decision to restrict arms sales to the autocracy.

      The US announced it would stop a shipment of precision-guided munitions to the country following evidence of “systematic, endemic problems in Saudi Arabia’s targeting”.

    • Aleppo

      The Morning Star has today come under massive criticism for hailing the near total recapture of Aleppo by pro-Government forces as a “liberation.” I would agree that the situation calls for more nuance. However a feeling of relief that the fighting that has ravaged Aleppo for four years is coming to a close, must form part of any sane reaction. If we are not allowed to feel relief at that, presumably it means that we must have wanted al-Nusra and various other jihadist militias to win the hot war. What do we think Syria would look like after that?

      I am no fan of the Assad regime. It is not a genuine democracy and it has a very poor human rights record. If Assad had been toppled by his own people in the Arab spring and replaced by something more akin to a liberal democracy, which kept the Assad regime’s religious toleration, protection of minorities and comparatively good record on women’s rights, and added to it political freedom, a functioning justice system and end to human rights abuse, nobody would have been happier than I. Indeed I strongly suspect I have in the past done much more to campaign against human rights abuse in Syria than the mainstream media stenographers who all decry the fall of rebel Aleppo now.

      But sadly liberal democracy, human rights and women’s rights are not in any sense what the jihadist militias the West is backing are fighting for.

    • Russian gas project splits Swedish politicians in Gotland

      Local parties in Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea, are split over renting harbour facilities for the Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

      Representatives from Gotland and from Karlhamn, a municipality in southern Sweden that is also considering to rent port facilities, are to meet Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstroem and defence minister Peter Hultqvist on Tuesday (13 December).

    • Swedish towns told to ‘make preparations regarding the threat of war and conflict’ with Russia

      Sweden’s towns and villages have been ordered to make preparations for a possible military attack in the latest sign of the country’s growing anxiety at its newly belligerent Russian neighbour.

      The country’s Civil Contingency Agency (MSB) last week sent a letter to local authorities across the country asking them to maintain operations centres in underground bunkers, ensure that a system of emergency sirens is in place, and to be open to cooperating on war exercises with the Swedish Armed Forces.

    • UK ‘secretly selling arms to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere under opaque licencing system’

      The UK is secretly selling arms to Saudi Arabia and other countries under an opaque type of export licence, it has been reported.

      The military and defence industry is a major player in the UK economy, worth about £7.7bn a year.

      But many of the countries buying British arms are run by governments with dubious human rights records, even though the destinations of such exports are supposed to meet human rights standards.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Bianca Jagger

      Masoud Golsorkhi How did you first come across WikiLeaks?
      Bianca Jagger I first read about WikiLeaks about two years ago. I was shocked and revolted when I watched the “Collateral Murder” video, which was released to the world last April. It shows the killing of innocent civilians, including two Reuters journalists, by US soldiers in Iraq in the July 2007 attack of Baghdad. The video is shot from a US helicopter, and the soldiers are laughing while shooting at the people on the ground, as though it is a computer game. When a van drives up to pick up the wounded and the dead, the soldiers laugh and continue to shoot, gravely wounding two children in the van. Before WikiLeaks released the video, Reuters had been trying to obtain the footage under the Freedom of Information Act, but the US military refused to release it, claiming that the journalists were killed in crossfire between the army and militants.

      [...]

      MG What led you to get involved in Julian Assange’s prosecution?
      BJ Having grown up under a dictatorship in Nicaragua, I am very sensitive to any attempts to weaken our democracies. Although I do not agree with everything WikiLeaks has done, I feel compelled to defend freedom of speech, freedom of the press and due process. I have voiced my support for Julian Assange because I suspect that what is on trial here is not just him, but freedom of speech itself. I fear that Mr. Assange is being punished for releasing information that reveals the misuse of power by the US and other governments. He is on trial for holding governments to account.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Study Finds Oil Palm Certification Plays Limited Role in Curbing Fires

      Oil palm is in everything. From food to cosmetics to fuel, oil palm plays an integral role in our lives as the most popular and versatile vegetable oil product on the market. It is consumed and used by most people without giving it a second thought. Yet, oil palm cultivation is a large contributor to environmental and social problems, especially in places like Indonesia, where the business of oil palm cultivation has become the second largest export over the last decade.

      Oil palm agriculture comes with other problems as well, including malpractice issues such as oil plantations not consulting local communities before using land, people being displaced, and unsafe working conditions. Better regulation for the palm oil industry could help promote sustainable oil palm and agricultural practices. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is currently the only organization able to certify that palm oil has been harvested and prepared in a sustainable manner.

    • WWF and Greenpeace break with Indonesia’s pulp and paper giant

      The construction of a 3km canal in Indonesia has led Greenpeace and WWF to suspend its partnership with one of Indonesia’s biggest pulp and paper companies.

      Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (Rapp), a subsidiary of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (April), dug the canal through thick peat forest on the island of Pedang, just off the east coast of Sumatra.

      In doing so, April not only flouted its own sustainability standards but went against government regulations and a letter of instruction issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry last year asking companies to block existing canals.

    • The Oil Mystery Behind Saudi Arabia’s Production Cut

      Saudi Arabia surprised the world by helping to engineer an unexpectedly strong agreement from OPEC members to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day, followed by additional cuts from non-OPEC members. While the two agreements incorporate cuts from a wide range of oil producers, Saudi Arabia will do much of the heavy lifting, cutting nearly 500,000 barrels per day and even promising to go further than that should the markets warrant steeper reductions.

    • We Need to Accept That Oil Is a Dying Industry

      The future is not good for oil, no matter which way you look at it.

      A new OPEC deal designed to return the global oil industry to profitability will fail to prevent its ongoing march toward trillion dollar debt defaults, according to a new report published by a Washington group of senior global banking executives.

      But the report also warns that the rise of renewable energy and climate policy agreements will rapidly make oil obsolete, whatever OPEC does in efforts to prolong its market share.

      The six-month supply deal brokered with non-OPEC members, including Russia, could slash global oil stockpiles by 139 million barrels. The move is a transparent effort to kick prices back up in a weakening oil market where low prices have led industry profits to haemorrhage.

      The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), whose members include major producers from Saudi Arabia to Venezuela, have been hit particularly badly by the weak oil market. In 2014, OPEC had a collective surplus of $238 billion. By 2015, as prices continued to plummet, so did profits, and OPEC faced a deficit of $100 billion.

    • World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That’s Cheaper Than Wind

      A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity.

      This has happened in isolated projects in the past: an especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

      The chart below shows the average cost of new wind and solar from 58 emerging-market economies, including China, India, and Brazil. While solar was bound to fall below wind eventually, given its steeper price declines, few predicted it would happen this soon.

    • High Tide Bulletin: Winter 2016

      When you may experience higher than normal tides from December 2016 through February 2017.

    • Please Write to Your MPs Asking Them To Support Fossil Fuel Divestment

      We must do everything in our power to accelerate that move away from fossil fuels. Once the business world gets the message that investing in fossil fuels is not just a bad idea, but potentially disastrous, the shift to renewable energy will happen rapidly, regardless of what Trump does.

      Here in the UK, there’s an opportunity to encourage a key group of decision makers to tell their pension fund to divest from fossil fuels: MPs. In fact, there’s an entire campaign to encourage them. If you are a UK citizen, I would like to urge you to contact your MP asking them to support this campaign.

    • Oil company withdraws application for New Mexico pipeline

      The Bureau of Land Management says an oil company with plans to build a pipeline in New Mexico capable of moving 50,000 barrels of crude oil a day has withdrawn its application for the project.

  • Finance

    • The Inside Story of Apple’s $14 Billion Tax Bill

      “The Maxforce” is the European Union team that ordered Ireland to collect billions of euros in back taxes from Apple Inc., rattled the Irish government, and spurred changes to international tax law. You’d think it might have earned the name by applying maximum force while investigating alleged financial shenanigans. It didn’t. It’s just led by a guy named Max.

      A European Commission official gave the nickname to the Task Force on Tax Planning Practices in honor of its chief, Max Lienemeyer, a lanky, laid-back German attorney who rose to prominence vetting plans to shore up struggling banks during Europe’s debt crisis. Since its launch in 2013, the Maxforce has looked at the tax status of hundreds of companies across Europe, including a deal Starbucks Corp. had in the Netherlands, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s agreement with Luxembourg, and — its largest case — Apple in Ireland.

    • ‘For Whites, Fewer Jobs’: NYT Chart Divides and Deceives

      Eduardo Porter used his column (New York Times, 12/13/16) to point out that Donald Trump got support from many whites who felt that they were being left behind. While there is evidence to support this view, one item in the piece may have misled readers.

      The column includes a table showing the change in employment since the start of the recession for white, African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans. While the latter three groups all had increases in employment of at least 2 million, employment for whites fell by almost 1 million.

      This can be misleading, since the main reason for the difference is that the number of working-age whites actually fell during this period, while the number of working-age people in these other groups rose. The Census Bureau reported that there were 125.2 million non-Hispanic whites between the ages of 18 and 64 in 2010. In 2015, this number was down to 122.9 million.

    • Daily Kos Founder Gleefully Celebrates Coal Miners Losing Health Insurance

      Daily Kos publisher and Vox Media co-founder Markos “Kos” Moulitsas, an influential voice in liberal politics, published a blog post (Daily Kos, 12/12/16) that captures just how terribly leading Democratic pundits are taking Hillary Clinton’s unexpected defeat. In the wake of this loss, some of the more hardcore Clinton partisans have chosen, in lieu of self-examination and internal criticism, to simply lash out at the voters they failed to win over.

      [...]

      Missing from this equation is that US democracy, and working people’s relationship to it, are not pristine and incorruptible. The influence of money in politics, especially post–Citizens United, is tremendous. As The Intercept’s Lee Fang warned nine months before the election, the billionaire Koch brothers have spent years working from the grassroots up to turn the Rust Belt red.

      Billionaire-backed Rust Belt Republican governors, as The Atlantic notes, worked for decades to undermine the Democratic Party’s primary voter turnout mechanism—unions. In addition to their evergreen exploitation of white racism, billionaire-backed Fox News fed voters misleading stories about Clinton wanting to “put coal miners out of work.” (Clinton announcing at a West Virginia town meeting, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” didn’t help.)

    • NPR Guest Warns Against Living Wages With Fantasies of $16 Apples

      To comment on Donald Trump’s naming retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as his Department of Homeland Security secretary, NPR‘s Morning Edition (12/9/16) brought on George W. Bush’s Homeland Security chief, Michael Chertoff.

      A more independent observer might have brought up Kelly’s oversight of the US’s Guantánamo internment camp, where he has defended the force-feeding of hunger-strikers, a procedure condemned by human rights groups as torture.

    • Fast Food Automation, an Old Idea, Gets New Life to Bash Fight for 15

      But there’s no reason to think these experiments wouldn’t have happened without Fight for 15. Indeed, as mentioned above, these announcements predate Fight for 15, and have been “announced” in some form or another several times.

      Does this mean McDonald’s isn’t rolling out kiosk technology in earnest? Of course not; corporations are always looking for new technologies to reduce labor costs. But would this roll-out somehow not occur if workers struggling to stay above the poverty line hadn’t taken to the streets to demand a living wage? Predictably, this is not a question Lee feels a need to explore, much less answer.

    • Demonetisation, Indian state and world

      I dunno if people heard or didn’t hear about the demonetisation of INR 500 and INR 1000 which happened in India on 8th November 2016 with new currency designed in India of INR 2000 and INR 500.

      [...]

      Each of these theories/myths/facts has been contested. Every day we are seeing and reading reports of people being caught with new currency in absurd numbers while RBI , our central bank and Lender of Last Resort has had to play multiple roles such as policing along with the country’s Income Tax Department as well as pumping in new notes of the NEW INR 2000/- and INR 500/- into ATM’s and Bank branches around the country.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Detroit to get new voting machines as city clerk blames state, human error

      Five weeks after a national scandal involving broken Detroit voting machines and ineffective poll workers, state Elections Director Chris Thomas said Wednesday evening that the city will get all new voting machines in time for the 2017 mayoral and City Council elections.

      But broken machines were not the biggest problem Detroit endured election night. Citing a memo he just received, Thomas said there were dozens of other problems that occurred Nov. 8.

      “I got an e-mail yesterday from Wayne County showing me what the issues were on (Detroit) polling places and precincts, and quite frankly, it was somewhat shocking,” he said.

    • Supervisor says some Detroit poll workers not capable of doing the job

      Janice Winfrey should have called a news conference last January and said Detroit could not run its 2016 elections effectively without people stepping up to replace aging, incapable poll workers.

      Had she done that, the Detroit city clerk, who was widely praised for transforming the department when she ousted former Clerk Jackie Currie in 2005, would not be facing a firestorm of criticism over mishandled voter ballots and malfunctioning machines.

      She also wouldn’t have had some precincts where capable veterans worked alongside some people who could not read, weren’t properly trained, weren’t mobile and didn’t know how to use new electronic polling books that long ago replaced paper sheets, one veteran polling supervisor who has worked the polls for 30 years asserted Thursday.

    • Coup: North Carolina Republicans convene a special session to strip incoming Democratic governor of executive powers

      Thomas writes, “Shortly after closing a post-election special session to fund relief for counties afflicted by flooding from Hurricane Matthew or mountain wildfires, North Carolina GOP legislative leaders announced a second special session to begin the same day with an open agenda. The docket was filled with 21 House bills, some of which stripped Democratic Governor Elect Roy Cooper of substantial control over the executive branch. This is a coup attempt, an effort to undermine the results of a highly scrutinized election.”

    • Special Session Part II: “This Is as Serious as It Gets in North Carolina”

      The House and Senate convened for the second special session of the day, and the fourth of the year, at 2 p.m. The House rules set a filing deadline of 7 p.m. for new bills to be filed (later amended to 7:30), while the Senate set a deadline of 3 p.m.

      Here is the running list of bills filed. They include: a dog breeding bills, a bunch of education bills, a (very good) anti-racial profiling bill, and a few bills taking aim at the controversial I-77 toll.

      Here’s a big one: HB 17 requires Senate confirmation of Cooper cabinet appointees, among other UNC-related issues.

    • My Priorities for the Next Four Years

      Like many, I was surprised and shocked by the election of Donald Trump as president. I believe his ideas, temperament, and inexperience represent a grave threat to our country and world. Suddenly, all the things I had planned to work on seemed trivial in comparison. Although Internet security and privacy are not the most important policy areas at risk, I believe he — and, more importantly, his cabinet, administration, and Congress — will have devastating effects in that area, both in the US and around the world.

    • Trump adviser says science gets “a lot of things wrong”

      The term “anti-science” gets thrown around too loosely. Even though people are generally not opposed to the institution of science, most of us will stick to the positions of our cultural team when politics rub up against science. While science may be an effort to objectively evaluate the workings of the cosmos, human behavior is not.

      Some arguments, however, come pretty close to a general antipathy toward science. On Wednesday, Trump transition team advisor Anthony Scaramucci made one of those arguments in a CNN appearance.

      Scaramucci runs an investment firm, hosts Fox Business News’ “Wall Street Week” program, and has written books like The Little Book of Hedge Funds: What You Need to Know About Hedge Funds but the Managers Won’t Tell You. He is part of the Executive Committee for President-elect Trump’s transition—a group that includes Peter Thiel and Trump’s children, among others.

    • Electors won’t get intelligence briefing: report

      Voters in the Electoral College will not receive an intelligence briefing about Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, according to a new report.

      Sources told NPR the electors would not receive any national intelligence before they cast ballots this Monday.

      Fifty-four of the 232 Democratic electors had signed a letter asking for a briefing before the Electoral College’s vote, according to reports.

      The letter asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for information on what role, if any, Russia had in helping elect Donald Trump.

    • FBI and CIA now agree that Russia hacked to help Trump win [Ed: they don’t need evidence, only agenda]
    • Washington Post automatically inserts Trump fact-checks into Twitter

      In an apparent first for any American news outlet, the Washington Post released a Chrome plug-in on Friday designed to fact-check posts from a single Twitter account. Can you guess which one?

      The new “RealDonaldContext” plug-in for the Google Chrome browser, released by WaPo reporter Philip Bump, adds fact-check summaries to selected posts by President-elect Donald Trump. Users will need to click a post in The Donald’s Twitter feed to see any fact-check information from the Washington Post, which appears as a gray text box beneath the tweet.

    • {Older] Foreign Donors Begin Pulling Out From Clinton Foundation

      Clinton Foundation scandals emerged as a major blow to Hillary Clinton’s campaign this past election, as emails released by WikiLeaks and from FOIA requests revealed pay-to-play schemes and overt conflicts of interest between the Foundation and Clinton’s State Department. Though the Clintons and their supporters staunchly defended the Foundation, pointing to the charitable work it produced to defend any criticisms, such claims of corruption were proven correct.

    • Detroit vote: 95 poll books late, 5 still missing

      Detroit’s election paperwork was in such disarray that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers almost missed its two-week deadline to certify the presidential election.

      Ninty-five poll books, lists of people who cast ballots, were delivered late to the board. Five of those precincts never did turn in a poll book, according to a memo from the Wayne County Clerk’s Office to state election officials.

      “We had to delay the start of the meeting,” said Krista Hartounian, chairwoman of the Board of Canvassers. “Staff was still working as we called the meeting to order.”

    • You Opened the Box…

      Attempts to overturn the results of our election, or to delegitimize a president before he even takes office, are attempts to overturn the system of transfer of power that has served America since its earliest days. There is no measure of exaggeration here; Americans are questioning the results of the election because roughly half don’t like the guy who won.

      Somehow things are… special this year. In most elections, a good-sized group of us see our candidate lose, grumble, and move on to some degree. I don’t think Trump will be a good president, but I also do not think he will burn civil rights to the ground, destroy life on the planet, sell Alaska back to Russia, or invade China with Omarosa some drunk weekend.

    • NYT’s False Choice for Democrats: Move to the Right or Divide by Race

      So what are the two sides of this debate heatedly suggesting we do? On the one hand, we have Democrats who say the party has to focus on “winning back white voters of modest means.” How do you do that? “Focusing more on rural America,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Be more open to pursuing moderate and conservative voters,” suggests Rep. Gwen Graham (D.-Fla.). Not “ceding too much territory to Republicans in whiter, more conservative areas,” say “some Democrats”—exemplified by Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, who notes that “we got our ass kicked in a lot of these rural pockets.”

      Vice President Joe Biden is said to be in camp that wants Democrats to do more “to reach white working-class voters,” telling CNN (12/11/16): “I mean, these are good people, man! These aren’t racists. These aren’t sexists.”

      On the other hand, you have Democrats who argue that “the party must tailor a platform and strategy that explicitly appealed to younger and nonwhite voters on issues like policing, climate change and immigration.” Pollster Cornell Belcher says “this mythical unicorn white swing voter” is “a shrinking, increasingly resistant market.” “Demographically, the Electoral College is heading in the right direction,” insists former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer.

      So a strategy that goes after rural, whiter, more conservative voters—presumably by being more conservative—vs. a strategy of counting on demographics to deliver victory to a party focused on social and environmental issues.

    • The Electoral College: A Civics Lesson

      We have and have had for 224 years an Electoral College system. The popular vote is not and has never been how we elect a president.

      This is the 6th time in U.S. history the candidate chosen has lost the popular vote, nothing new. The country has muddled on, with some of those presidents being better than others.

      In addition, because of the electoral college system, candidates campaign for electoral votes, not the popular vote. That is the basis for their strategizing how to allot their limited time and resources.

      So, for example, knowing he had little chance to win Democratic strongholds California and New York, Trump did not campaign extensively there even though they are big states. That’s how Clinton won the popular vote, because her campaign aimed at those (big) states where she thought she would win the electoral vote. The size of the popular vote garnered is more a reflection of the way the system works than it is a gauge of popularity.

    • Pirate Party UK now hosts two councillors

      Pirate Party UK now hosts two councillors. Kev Young, an Independent councillor on the Parton Parish council in Cumbria has joined the Pirate Party UK and was successful in being immediately co-opted back on to the council after standing down.

    • Venezuela Brings Toys to Poor Kids, Gets Called ‘Grinch’ on CNN

      Turning facts on their head, CNN transformed the Venezuelan government’s act of helping the poor into the complete opposite.

      In the article “Venezuelan President Called a ‘Grinch’ After Government Toy Seizure” (12/11/16), CNN reporters Rafael Romo and Jorge Luis Pérez liken President Nicolás Maduro to a dastardly Grinch who is stealing toys from under children’s Christmas trees — while he is doing precisely the contrary.

      On Sunday, December 11, the Venezuelan government confiscated nearly 4 million toys from the country’s largest toy company. Venezuela’s consumer protection agency said the company was hoarding the toys and planning to sell them at inflated prices in order to maximize profits during the Christmas season. The head of the consumer protection agency charged that executives at the toy company, Kreisel-Venezuela, “don’t care about our children’s right to have a merry Christmas.”

    • Rather Than Exposing Propaganda, WaPo Shows How It’s Done

      As the Hillary Clinton campaign slogged toward victory in the long primary campaign against Sen. Bernie Sanders, word came from WikiLeaks that it had scored a trove of hacked emails to and from the Democratic National Committee. Among other things, they proved that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, along with their organizations, had been working hand-in-glove to skew the primaries in Clinton’s favor.

      The day before the party’s convention opened in Philadelphia on July 24, Wasserman-Schultz had to resign her post or face a floor revolt. Sanders delegates were so angry at what they were learning from WikiLeaks about the sabotage of their candidate that hundreds walked out on the second day of the convention, tossing away their delegate credentials over the security fence and vowing never to support Clinton.

      In short order, the DNC and the Obama administration-led intelligence establishment began claiming, with no hard evidence, that the source of WikiLeaks’ explosive emails was “the Russians.” While denied by WikiLeaks, it was a charge that Clinton made ad nauseum on the campaign trail and in her three televised debates with Trump, using it as an all-purpose excuse for tough questions about her self-dealing as secretary of State, her lucrative off-the-record speeches to Wall Street bankers, or the DNC’s thumb on the scale in the primaries.

    • Credibility Tips for Journalists

      The working journalists of America sh*t the bed with their election coverage this year.

      For the most part, the media as a whole fetishized the Clinton candidacy (first woman ever! most experienced candidate ever! dynasty!) and treated Trump as an oaf when they weren’t calling him Hitler and parading any person who wished to accuse him of something before the cameras. That pattern continues now, though the accusations have changed from sexual harassment to near-treason on behalf of Putin.

      Alongside this circus were scum stories on all facets of the campaign attributed to… no one. “Sources close to the campaign said,” or “Officials who could not be identified” and so forth. It almost gave the impression reporters were just making stuff up. Alongside that were many media outlets that simply reprinted others’ stories, so that a piece of journalistic garbage flew around the Internet without anyone asking any questions or verifying the contents.

    • Campuses Don’t Need Affirmative Action for Trumpism

      Nicholas Kristof comes off as a decent man, self-effacing, earnest. But when he’s not engaging in high-brow poverty tourism, or calling for the US to bomb Libya and Syria in the name of saving lives, he’s browbeating the excesses of perceived liberal bias on college campuses, pushing back against what he views as “liberal intolerance” in academia.

      His latest iteration, “The Dangers of Echo Chambers on Campus” (New York Times, 12/10/16), dropped on Sunday and, like the version from last May (New York Times, 5/28/16), it evoked the specter of political correctness run amok…

    • Trump and Social Media: Welcome to the New World

      The latest online thrust by Trump has been a series of tweets directed personally against a reporter who said the president-elect claimed without evidence his popular vote total suffered because of extensive voter fraud. Jeff Zeleny, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent, said Trump was a “sore winner,” adding the president-elect had “zero evidence” to back his claim he won the popular vote. Commentators agreed with Zeleny, saying Trump’s ego couldn’t accept the insult of losing the popular vote.

      Trump responded with a series of tweets and retweets condemning Zeleny. All of the tweets saw “likes” in the tens of thousands, and endless websites excerpted and embedded them out to an even larger audience. Just another episode in the Trump reality show, right?

    • Hypocrisy of Russia-Did-It Stories Is Hard to Stomach

      It is, of course, worth knowing what involvement any other country might have had in the US election, but elite media’s consumption with the Russia-did-it storyline so far is discouraging to say the least.

      The Intercept‘s Sam Biddle (12/14/16) has a breakdown of what public evidence there is that Russia was behind hacks of DNC email accounts. He concludes that while it’s plausible that Russians or even Russia was involved, it’s a very long way from proven, different agencies dispute it, all the sources we’re reading are anonymous and the assessments themselves are secret.

    • Michael Moore: NC offers ‘a coming attraction’ of how GOP will govern

      Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore says this week’s power grab by North Carolina Republicans is a preview of how the GOP will exercise power nationally in the coming weeks.

      In an interview with MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes” on Friday night, Moore said the developments in North Carolina demonstrate that the GOP no longer feels restrained by longstanding political customs.

      “It’s a good coming attraction to how the Republicans are going to use power in the next — not few years — few weeks and months,” he said.

    • Trump Chooses Hard-Liner as Ambassador to Israel

      President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday named David M. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer aligned with the Israeli far right, as his nominee for ambassador to Israel, elevating a campaign adviser who has questioned the need for a two-state solution and has likened left-leaning Jews in America to the Jews who aided the Nazis in the Holocaust.

      Mr. Friedman, whose outspoken views stand in stark contrast to decades of American policy toward Israel, did not wait long on Thursday to signal his intention to upend the American approach. In a statement from the Trump transition team announcing his nomination, he said he looked forward to doing the job “from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Will Europe stand for freedom or submission? Ask Wilders

      The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book “A New Shoah”, that researched the personal stories of Israel’s terror victims, published by Encounter and of “J’Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel” published by Mantua Books.. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary.
      More from the author ►

      The lowest point in Geert Wilders’ life in hiding was when he was forced to live in a state prison, the Zeist, after the killing of Theo van Gogh. Wilders lost his freedom and since then, for ten years, he lives under police protection 24/7. Wilders could go to a restaurant with his wife, but the police would check it first. When they go to the cinema, they enter through the back door. Now a Dutch court has found him guilty of “discrimination” for having called to close the Netherlands to Muslim migrants.

      [...]

      If he had criticized Christianity or Judaism, they would not have banned him in the UK.

    • Clinton mega donor George Soros leads line-up of liberal billionaires who are funding Facebook’s fake news fact checker

      Billionaire Clinton donor George Soros is among a line-up of wealthy liberal figures who will fund Facebook’s fake news fact checker.

      The 86-year-old Hungarian financier’s Open Society Foundation is listed among organizations which are backing The International Fact Checking Network, the body tasked with flagging bogus news stories to social media users, on its website.

      Soros, a staunch Democrat who tried to block George W. Bush’s campaign in 2004, has given $25million to Clinton and causes dear to her.

      Other donors involved in the new fact checking feature include eBay founder Pierre Omidyar who has committed more than $30million to the Clintons and their charities.

    • Facebook Announces Its Pilot Plans To ‘Deal’ With Fake News — Not With Censorship, But With More Info

      Facebook is now taking clear steps to try to address what some are calling its “fake news” problem. As someone who has argued that the fuss over this is massively overhyped and misleading, I actually find Facebook’s steps here to be fairly sensible, and not a cause for concern — but let’s dig into the details.

      We’ve made it clear that we think that people freaking out about fake news on Facebook are overreacting, when they try to “blame” the results of the election, or even how people feel about certain candidates on Facebook. And, we’ve also warned that the end result of much of the complaining is inevitable calls for censorship, which is dangerous. In fact, we’ve already seen that both China and Iran are using the hubbub over “fake news” to justify their own draconian censorship and surveillance efforts.

      But, that doesn’t mean that Facebook should do nothing about it. “Fake news” is unlikely to be influencing the election, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a nuisance — though, if we’re going to talk about “fake news” at the very least we should divide it into more accurate subgroupings: there’s outright made up false news, there’s propaganda (those first two can overlap, admittedly), there’s erroneous (but well-intentioned) reporting and then there’s actually good reporting that people dislike. That last one some may argue is not fake news, but trust me when I say that some people are using this “fake news” storm to lump in those kinds of articles too — which does a good job of showing why the label “fake news” is a real risk of being abused for censorship.

    • Western countries cling on to censorship to save ‘democracy’

      Some Western leaders, alongside their media allies, take a peculiar approach toward free speech and democracy, one seemingly predicated on how these reconcile with their own foreign policy objectives and who is affected – friend or foe.We see how the US and its allies avoid criticising the Saudi regime’s lack of democracy and free speech, alongside what is arguably the worst human rights record of any nation in the 21st century. Saudi Arabia’s leaders also escape judgement for their role in permitting the spread of the reactionary Wahhabi/Salafist doctrine that forms the bedrock of Jihadi terror.

    • Support grows for fight to reverse censorship of ‘Militant’ at Attica

      More than one month after the Militant appealed the impoundment of its Oct. 3 issue by Attica prison authorities, the New York State Department of Corrections has still not responded. Attica officials banned a second issue, the Oct. 31 Militant, claiming that allowing an article reporting on the appeal to get into the prison “could incite disobedience.”

      The Militant subscriber, Jalil Muntaqim (formerly Anthony Bottom), has faced other arbitrary acts of censorship and violation of his constitutional rights by Attica prison authorities.

      Last year Attica officials banned four books sent to him, including one of poems that he wrote, and have been interfering with his mail.

    • Professor Watch List: A Racist Violation of Free Speech

      Turning Point USA is biased against black faculty and freedom of speech. Turning Point is 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded on June 5, 2012. They sponsor Professor Watch List http://www.professorwatchlist.org a website meant to expose and document college professors who allegedly discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom. Listed on this watch list are 147 US college professors who have supposedly expressed leftist perspectives. Turning Point accept tips for new additions to the Professor Watch List, but claims to only publish profiles on incidents that have already been reported somewhere else.

    • Twitter and Facebook Censorship and Mainstream Media Denial

      I had never heard of ghost banning until I was ghost banned by twitter. That of course is the idea – they censor you without realising you are censored. People no longer get notifications when I post, and the tweet only turns up in the twitter line of followers who happen to be logged in at the time my tweet goes out. Those logging in later will no longer see tweets I issued while they were away. Most of my tweets no longer show up on twitter searches, and further restrictions are applied when people retweet my tweets.

      Since ghost banning, traffic to this website from twitter has fallen 90%.

      As twitter do not inform you that you have been ghost banned, it is hard to know exactly what prompted it, but I believe it immediately followed this tweet.

    • A brief history of film censorship in Egypt

      In 1986, a police officer filed a case to demand the ban of the film Lil-hub Qissa Ukhra (Love Has Another Story, by Raafat al-Mihi), because he believed a sex scene it contained showed actual intercourse and not just acting. Actors Yahia al-Fakharany and Maaly Zayed were interrogated by the vice crimes prosecution, as was Mihi, but they were all released. The officer had probably been troubled as an adolescent by a difficult existential question: are kisses in films real or simulations? The conviction that all kisses must be real saved him from an existential labyrinth. And it seems that he wasn’t the only troubled mind: the prosecution, which followed up on the case, shared his conviction. Indeed, so do all censorship officials in Egypt.

    • UK’s Ridiculous Internet Porn Crackdown Can Be Used To Kill Social Media Accounts

      Last month, the UK moved forward with the latest version of its ridiculous “Digital Economy Bill” which will put in place mandatory porn filtering at the ISP level — requiring service providers to block access to sites that don’t do an age verification check. But it was at least somewhat vague as to which “ISPs” this covered. The bill has moved from the House of Commons over to the House of Lords, and apparently we now have at least something of an answer — and it’s that social media sites like Twitter and Facebook will be covered by this regulation.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The importance of cryptography for the digital society

      Following the Council meeting on 8th and 9th December 2016 in Brussels, ENISA’s paper gives an overview into aspects around the current debate on encryption, while highlighting the Agency’s key messages and views on the topic.

    • Berlin whistleblower behind German-NSA secret data leak, not Russian hackers – sources

      Russian hackers are not the source behind the recent WikiLeaks release of leaked secret data on German-US intelligence cooperation and a parliamentary inquiry into it, Der Spiegel reports, citing unnamed security officials who have indicated it’s an inside job.

    • Letters: tech companies must take responsibility for algorithms

      Carole Cadwalladr is absolutely right to highlight how Google’s autocomplete and algorithmic search results can reinforce hate speech and stereotypes (“Google is not ‘just’ a platform”, Comment).

      But she is less right to claim I tried to absolve Google of responsibility by tweeting: “I’m sure @google will argue they aren’t responsible for the results” in support. What I actually tweeted was that plus – “but they reap advertising revenue from the search. Is that ethical?”

      Google and others argue their results are a mirror to society, not their responsibility. As a chartered engineer, I strongly agree with Ms Cadwalladr that companies such as Google, Facebook and Uber need to take responsibility for the unintended consequences of the algorithms and machine learning that drive their profits. They can bring huge benefits and great apps but we need a tech-savvy government to minimise the downside by opening up algorithms to regulation as well as legislating for greater consumer ownership of data and control of the advertising revenue it generates.

    • Live by the Cloud, Die by the Cloud 1

      Longtime readers know that I’m not a fan of most cloudy services. Not just about the privacy sucking aspects, but also about the inability to control your own data.

      This week, we’ve seen two huge cloud providers do dumb things.
      Dropbox disabled public folders. Seems they didn’t like people transferring files? I dunno. The other was a change in ToS for Evernote. They wanted to clarify that their people could read your notes. Gee – put stuff on someone else’s server and wonder if they can read it? Duh.

      Remember Google Reader? They weren’t able to make money off it, so after years of happy users, they shut it down.

      I’m not including links for these things because I’ve learned those will disappear quickly.

    • FBI, NSA staff among Yahoo hack victims: Report

      The personal data stolen from one billion accounts run by US internet giant Yahoo in 2013 included personal data belonging to the employees of government agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

      The data also included sensitive information like phone numbers, passwords, security questions and backup email addresses of White House officials as well as some British authorities, the CNN reported Friday, citing Andrew Komarov, chief intelligence officer at InfoArmor.

    • ‘Furious’ German spies frozen out by UK intelligence after ‘leaking to WikiLeaks’

      German requests for Britain to release details of the secret operations to a committee investigating the NSA’s activities were refused, in part because the UK fears a debate in the Reichstag that would publicise the country’s spycraft.

      The Daily Mail reports there are claims in Germany that a tranche of 500,000 sides of files published by WikiLeaks this month were secret GCHQ documents on covert cell phone policy for British spies from 2010.

    • Anti-Snowden NSA official could lose job for hypocritical retaliation against another whistleblower

      An NSA inspector general who strongly criticised Edward Snowden in 2014 for not coming to him with his concerns about NSA’s domestic eavesdropping practices is facing termination for having retaliated at another whistleblower who followed protocol.

      Dr George Ellard, a Yale-trained lawyer and former prosecutor, was tasked with overseeing the NSA for nine years.

      During a panel discussion at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington in 2014, Ellard argued if Snowden had come to him with his concerns – instead of leaking thousands of classified documents – he would have received the same protections as other NSA employees. The NSA has a special complaints hotline which receives about a thousand reports annually from employees.

    • Your wearable-tracked health data is for sale, according to a new study

      If you sport a Fitbit or Apple Watch on the regular, you probably love the health insights you get from your wearable. You know how much you move, how well you sleep and have likely started tracking patterns and trends as soon as you have enough time logged.

      But you’re not alone. There are tons of advertisers and big pharma companies interested in your personal health data almost as much as you are — and, according to researchers, they can get it almost as easily as you can.

    • Hello, this is 33C3 „works for me“

      Feeling isolated and threatened, we turn further against each other, take less care of each other and worry even more about ourselves. And yet, we are never alone: Excessive surveillance is now politically normalized, if not for all then at least for those who are different, intractable, foreign.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Cops shoot and kill someone about 1,000 times a year. Few are prosecuted. What can be done?

      Millions of people have seen the video from North Charleston, S.C. Walter Scott was running away from police Officer Michael Slager when the officer shot him in the back, killing him instantly. Yet after watching the video many times, a jury was unable to reach a verdict in the officer’s recent murder trial. This is a story that has become all too familiar.

      I’ve been keeping track of these incidents, and my best estimate is that on-duty police officers across the country shoot and kill someone about 1,000 times each year. Almost all the cases end with a determination by a prosecutor that the police shooting was legally justified. Since 2005, only 78 police officers across the country have been charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty shooting. To date, just 26 of those officers have been convicted of manslaughter or a lesser offense, and only one was convicted of murder. (It was an extraordinary situation: James Ashby, a police officer in Rocky Ford, Colo., saw a man skateboarding on a highway, followed the man into his home, shot him in the back in front of his mother, and then pepper-sprayed him as he lay dying. Ashby was convicted of second-degree murder.)

    • Tunisian child rapist who impregnated his cousin is ordered to MARRY her by judge

      The 20-year-old depraved sex fiend, from Tunisia, was not given a custodial sentence by the judge, who instead decided the best course of action would be to trap the tragic victim with her attacker forever.

      The judge justified his decision by claiming it complies with Article 227 of a law initiated in 1958 which states a man who rapes a child younger than 15 will receive either six years in prison or “may resort to marrying her to commute the sentence”.

      He said the girl as “mature enough” to have consented to sexual intercourse with her cousin.

    • Victim Shaming, Yasmin Seweid, and the Critical Need for Skepticism in a Volatile Time

      Police now say Yasmin made the whole thing up. Everyone who wrote hate mail to me and posted hateful things on my Twitter and Facebook can apologize now.

    • Ilhan Omar’s Hate Crime

      The pattern is near-identical: a Muslim woman who has very publicly made defeating Islamophobia part of her political work suffers a hate crime after Trump’s election.

      She reports the crime only through the media, who sends what she says viral without asking any critical questions, despite some issues that might be worth questioning. The story is added to the tally of such crimes, as another example of what people want to believe.

      At issue? If a hate crime is real, it must be prosecuted publicly and aggressively. We live in a vulnerable, volatile time. Anyone who would commit a hate crime needs, within the law, to be made an example of, lest the next one be the spark that starts a larger fire. At the same time, if a hate crime did not occur, that too must be prosecuted fully. Every false or exaggerated report adds to the arsenal of false reports that negate real reports.

    • Obama Loses His War on Whistleblowers

      Obama has waged a vicious War on Whistleblowers, the details of which are insufficiently known to the public. High level security officials, true American patriots like Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou have been handcuffed, dragged through the courts and jailed. William Binney had guns pointed at himself and his wife in their home. Chelsea Manning endures constant persecution and humiliation which meets the bar of cruel and degrading punishment. Edward Snowden pines in exile. These are just the highest profile examples. Hillary Clinton was the driving force behind Obama’s hard line attacks on whistleblowers.

      Under Obama, whistleblowers face a total of 751 months behind bars — compared to 24 months for all other whistleblowers combined since the American Revolution. The protection of free speech and truth-telling has been wrenched away under Obama.

      I am proud to be a whistleblower myself, and like Drake, Kiriakou, Binney, Manning and Snowden a recipient of the annual Sam Adams award. We have another recipient – Julian Assange – who is a most useful ally indeed.

      Whistleblowers seemed a soft target. Indeed seven years into his Presidency Obama seemed to be winning the War on Whistleblowers hands down, leaving them serving time or marginalised and cast out from society.

    • Opposing Apartheid, or When I Was Clever

      If you live long enough, your past catches up with you and this year for the first time highly classified papers I wrote in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are starting to be released under the 30 year declassification rule.

      My first FCO job was in the South Africa Section as the South Africa (political) officer, at a time when Apartheid was in full sway in South Africa. It was the official policy of Her Majesty’s Government to oppose international sanctions efforts, and the Thatcher government’s official line was that Mandela was a terrorist properly in jail after a fair trial. There was a huge tension between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and 10 Downing Street.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Australia’s Pirate Site Blockade Boosts Demand For VPNs

        The Pirate Bay and other sites must be blocked by local Internet providers, an Australian court ruled this week. While the measures have yet to be implemented, many pirates are already trying to find ways around them. Data from Google shows a big surge in “VPN” searches and VPN services also report a significant increase in Aussie interest.

      • The Music Industry Shouldn’t Be Able To Cut Off Your Internet Access

        EFF, Public Knowledge, and the Center for Democracy and Technology Urge The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to Protect Internet Subscribers in BMG v. Cox.

        No one should have to fear losing their internet connection because of unfounded accusations. But some rights holders want to use copyright law to force your Internet service provider (ISP) to cut off your access whenever they say so, and in a case the Washington Post called “the copyright case that should worry all Internet providers,” they’re hoping the courts will help them.

      • Fair Use Is Essential to a Free Press

        When copyright law and the First Amendment come into conflict, the First Amendment must win. The fair use doctrine—the idea that there are certain ways that you can use a piece of copyrighted work regardless of whether you have the rightsholder’s permission—was written into copyright law to help ensure that copyright holders’ wishes are never elevated above free speech. As such, it’s been an essential tool for defending a free press: without fair use protections, people and companies in the public eye could use copyright law to ban coverage that’s critical of them. It’s alarming, then, to see an association that represents news companies asking the Trump transition team (and presumably Congress) to change the law and weaken fair use.

        The News Media Alliance (formerly the Newspaper Association of America) recently released a whitepaper addressed to the Trump transition team (PDF). NMA asks for “strong copyright protection” that will “[allow] for a return on [the news media industry’s] massive investment.” In essence, it claims that Google News and similar aggregators steal newspapers’ profits.

        It’s unclear exactly how NMA wants news aggregators regulated. A copyright law that would bar websites from linking to and posting short excerpts of news articles? When similar laws have been proposed and passed in Europe, they’ve been shown to hurt newspaper revenues and keep new voices out of the journalism market.

      • KickassTorrents Brought Back to Life by Original Staffers (Updated)

        A large group of original KickassTorrent staffers has launched a reincarnation of the infamous torrent site, hoping to restore it to its former glory. The new site uses a fresh and secure database, but the look and feel of the platform remains the same.

      • Team Prenda Finally Goes To Jail: Hansmeier & Steele Indicted & Arrested

        For many, many, many years, we’ve been saga of Prenda Law — a legal operation set up to file tons of shakedown copyright infringement lawsuits in an effort to get as many people as possible to just pay up and settle. The scam got deeper and deeper the more you looked, including forged signatures, clear evidence that the main actors behind Prenda — John Steele and Paul Hansmeier — were uploading their own works as a honeypot, while pretending to represent clients that they themselves owned through various shell companies — which they denied owning. It went on and on and on. And on and on and on. Things really went sideways almost four years ago when Judge Otis Wright in California was the first judge to put much of this together, and called all of them to court, where everyone pleaded the fifth (yes, lawyers were pleading the fifth in a case they themselves brought). In response, Judge Wright referrred the case to law enforcement, leading many people to ask over the past four years how it was these guys weren’t in jail (and, in fact, they continued to file lawsuits, reprising the same scheme but with ADA shakedowns.

        Court after court after court has slammed Prenda, and ordered Hansmeier and Steele (partner 3, Paul Duffy, died in the middle of all of this) to pay up lots of money. Of course, in response to that, there were further accusations of illegally hiding money, bogus trusts, a questionable bankruptcy claim and more. And, yet, they still were not in jail. Oh, and we didn’t even mention the various ethics investigations that recently suspended Hansmeier’s license.

      • Prenda Copyright Trolls Arrested and Charged With Fraud and Extortion

        For years Prenda Law extracted millions of dollars in cash settlements from alleged BitTorrent pirates, leaving misery in its wake. While the firm no longer exists, two of its principals have now been arrested. The duo hafe been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, money laundering, and perjury. Interestingly, The Pirate Bay plays a key role in the case.

12.16.16

Links 16/12/2016: New Linux Mint Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 8:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Q4OS – Part 4 – Life Without Windows

      The point of this series is to work out whether I can truly ditch Windows and use Q4OS as my sole operating system.

      All of the office features I need are available in LibreOffice so for the most part I don’t need Microsoft Office at all.

      The only thing I need Microsoft Office, or should I say Microsoft Word for is to make sure the formatting of my CV is correct and I can use the online version of Microsoft Word for that.

      The mission of living life without Windows is still very much on the go. Q4OS is extremely stable. As well as working out the Office stuff I have also used it to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix and for researching and writing the articles at Lifewire.com.

      There is only one more snag. I am a software developer and I develop Windows software. I will show you how I am overcoming that snag next week.

    • Technology needs to get out of its own way

      For all of its perceived complexity, when it comes to “set-it-and-forget-it” operating system distributions, OSs like Ubuntu Mate 16.04.1 LTS should receive greater consideration for long-term application.

  • Server

    • [Older] Containers Are The Future But The Future Isn’t Finished

      Containers are a big deal, and they’re only going to get bigger. That’s my view after attending the latest KubeCon (and CloudNativeCon) in Seattle last week.

      A year ago, I was confused about what containers mean for IT, because the name ‘container’ had me thinking it was about the little box that code was stored in: the container image. I’m here to tell you that the container image format itself (Docker, rkt, whatever you like) is not the point.

  • Kernel Space

    • Cloud Foundry Launches Open Service Broker API Project

      The Cloud Foundry Foundation is spearheading an effort to create APIs for connecting applications to cloud-platform services. This involves getting collaborators to work on a piece of not-so-special software that each of them would otherwise have to develop.

      The aptly named Open Service Broker API project launched Tuesday with members including Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Pivotal, Red Hat, and SAP.

    • Eleven Collabora Developers Have Contributed 37 Patches to Linux Kernel 4.9

      Linux kernel developer Gustavo Padovan working for Collabora reports on the latest contributions he and ten other developers have contributed to the recently released Linux 4.9 kernel, which appears to be the biggest kernel release ever.

      Collabora’s developers are known to contribute a lot of great work to various open-source projects, including Linux kernel, Mesa 3D Graphics Library, GStreamer, or Collabora Online, and for the Linux 4.9 kernel they pushed no less than 37 patches contributed by a total of eleven devs, which is another important milestone for them and their project.

    • Linux 4.10 Gets Early Support For NVIDIA Tegra Parker, Other New ARM Support

      The big batch of ARM changes for the Linux 4.10 kernel have been submitted, including some new ARM platform support and early code for NVIDIA’s next-generation Tegra SoC.

    • x86 Platform Updates For The Linux 4.10 Kernel

      The latest pull request to talk about for the Linux 4.10 kernel merge window are the x86 platform driver updates.

    • Linux Kernels 4.8.15 and 4.4.39 LTS Are Out with PowerPC and SPARC Improvements

      Renowned Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced today, December 15, 2016, the availability of the Linux kernel 4.8.15 and Linux kernel 4.4.39 LTS maintenance releases.

      Arriving only five days after the previous point releases, namely Linux kernel 4.4.38 LTS and 4.8.14, the new maintenance updates bring various improvements and bug fixes across most of the components. However, they appear to be quite small, as Linux kernel 4.8.15 changes a total of 37 files, with 240 insertions and 139 deletions, and only 20 files have been changed in Linux kernel 4.4.39 LTS, with 129 insertions and 59 deletions.

    • SCST 3.2 – Alternative SCSI Subsystem For Linux – Released

      A new release of SCST, the out-of-tree, alternative SCSI subsystem for the Linux kernel, is now out with its version 3.2 update.

    • Btrfs File-System Changes Submitted For Linux 4.10
    • The New Linux 4.10 Kernel Features So Far: AMD Zen, TBM3, More ARM
    • HDMI CEC Promoted Out Of Staging For Linux 4.10
    • Linux Developers Look At Upping The GCC Requirements For Building The Kernel

      Kernel developer Arnd Bergmann has started a discussion over upping the minimum GCC version that’s supported for building the Linux kernel. He’s been testing every GCC compiler release from 4.0 through GCC 7 to see the results when building the Linux kernel.

    • Midlayers, Once More With Feelings!

      Discussing midlayers seems to be one of the recuring topics in the linux kernel. There’s the original midlayer-mistake article from Neil Brown that seems to have started it all. But LWN gained more articles in the years since, covering the iscsi driver as a study in avoiding OS abstraction layers, or a similar case in wireless with the Broadcom driver. The dismissal of midlayers and hailing of helper libraries has become so prevalent that calling your shiny new subsystem libfoo (viz. libnvdimm) seems to be a powerful trick to speed up its acceptance.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Float64 Support For Intel’s Vulkan Driver Is Almost Here

        While it took a long time for Intel’s Mesa driver to begin supporting the ARB_gpu_shader_fp64 extension for double-precision floating-point data types in shaders, fortunately it looks like Intel should soon land the Float64 support in their Vulkan driver soon.

        The latest patches from Igalia this morning are their revised set of 25 patches for supporting the Float64 capability in the Intel Vulkan driver. The shaderFloat64 capability signifies 64-bit floats (doubles) support within the shader code.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Budgie 10.2.9 Desktop Released with HiDPI Improvements, Panel and Raven Fixes

      We’ve just been informed this morning by Joshua Strobl from the Solus Project about the general availability of the Budgie 10.2.9 desktop environment for Solus and other supported GNU/Linux distributions.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kdenlive 16.12 Video Editor Adds Advanced Trimming Tools, Rotoscoping Effect

        The Kdenlive development team announced a new stability version of the open-source video editor designed for KDE Plasma desktop environments, Kdenlive 16.12, released as part of the KDE Applications 16.12 software suite.

        We’ve already told you all about the goodies and updated KDE apps that have been included in the final release of the KDE Applications 16.12 software suite for KDE Plasma 5 desktops, but it looks like the Kdenlive video editor got its own announcement, and the changes included in this version are quite very interesting.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.24 Desktop Environment Getting Improvements for the Notification Applet

        Long-time GNOME developer Allan Day reports on some of the upcoming improvements that are coming to the built-in Notification applet of the GNOME 3 desktop environment.

        The Notification applet you see on your GNOME desktop right now has been introduced in the 3.16 release of the popular project, which is used by default in numerous GNU/Linux distributions. But as nothing in this world is perfect, it looks like its user interface needs some improvements here and there.

      • New GNOME API Key for Google Services

        Recently, a few bugs in evolution-data-server were causing various GNOME components to hit Google’s daily limit for their CalDAV and Tasks APIs. At least evolution, gnome-calendar and gnome-todo were affected. The bugs have since been fixed, but until every single user out there installs the fix, everybody will be susceptible even if they have a fixed copy of evolution-data-server. This is because Google identifies the clients by the OAuth 2.0 API key used to access their services, and not the version of the code running on them.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • CentOS-Based Rockstor 3.8-16 Btrfs-Powered Open Source NAS Solution Is Out Now

        Suman Chakravartula informs us today about the general availability of a new maintenance update to his open-source and free Linux-based NAS (Network-Attached Storage) operating system, Rockstor 3.8-16.

        The new version arrives a little over a month since the previous point release, namely Rockstor 3.8-15, and it appears to be yet another exciting release in the development cycle of the Btrfs-based NAS solution as a total of six contributors have managed to address no less than 35 issues reported by users since November 10, 2016.

      • Introducing GoboLinux 016

        GoboLinux was created out of a desire to try new approaches in the Linux distribution design space: the innovative filesystem organization allows us to use a radically different approach in package management — effectively doing away with the package manager.

        GoboLinux 016 continues this journey, with a focus on the exploration of novel ideas aiming to make the system simpler yet functional.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the Week 2016/50

        Even though the year is not yet completely over, this will be the last review for this year: starting from today on, I will be on annual leave until January 9th 2017, when I will resume all activities. Tumbleweed of course will not stop rolling at this time: it is YOU that makes it rolling after all. Nevertheless, you should not be surprised if the pace goes a bit down as many people will be busy with other things during this period.

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Gets GStreamer 1.10.2 and FFmpeg 3.2.2, Prepares for GTK+ 4

        On December 15, 2016, openSUSE Project’s Douglas DeMaio had the great pleasure to report on the latest goodies brought by a total of seven snapshots to users of the openSUSE Tumbleweed distribution.

        Since our last report, it looks like another busy week hit the development team behind openSUSE Tumbleweed, a Linux-based operating system that follows a rolling release model, which means that users are always getting the latest software versions without the need to download a new ISO image and reinstall/upgrade their systems.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • DebEX LXQt Linux OS Now Based on Debian 9 and LXQt 0.11.0, Powered by Kernel 4.9

          GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton informs Softpedia about the availability of a new build of his Debian-based DebEX LXQt Linux distribution, which has been rebased on the some of the latest technologies and Open Source software projects.

          DebEX LXQt (also known as DebEX Barebone) Build 161209 is now the most advanced version of the Linux-based computer OS. It’s rebased on the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system, which is still in development and should hit the streets in early 2017, and the recently released Linux 4.9 kernel.

          The newest LXQt 0.11.0 desktop environment is included as well, and DebEX LXQt now ships with the Nvidia 375.20 proprietary graphics driver for an out-of-the-box Nvidia GPU experience. As expected, all the pre-installed packages have been updated to their latest versions as of December 9, 2016.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • RASA NLU gives developers an open source solution for natural language processing

    For better or worse, 2016 was another year of bots. I probably got more pitches for bot startups than anything else. And yet, bots are far from hitting their stride. If we hope to break beyond the rigid functionality of today’s tools, a prerequisite is going to be giving bot developers a bit more open source love.

    RASA NLU, a new open source API from LASTMILE, supports developer’s bot efforts by reducing the barriers to implementing natural language processing. 25 companies have been using RASA NLU in closed beta, but now everyone will be able to access the libraries on Github.

  • An Open Source SDK is About Democratising Viewability: Q&A with Jason Cooper, Integral Ad Science
  • Open source diversity efforts gain momentum in 2016

    If software is pervasive, shouldn’t the people building it be from everywhere and represent different voices? The broadly accepted answer is yes, that we need a diverse set of developers and technologists to build the new digital world. Further, when you look at communities that thrive, they are those that evolve and grow and bring in new voices and perspectives. Because much of the software innovation happening today involves open source software, the open source community can be an entry point for new people in technology roles. This means that the open source community must evolve to stay relevant. There has never been a better time for the open source community to welcome new community members from underrepresented groups than now, and the community is rising to the challenge. Efforts to increase diversity in open source are showing results, so let’s look at a few examples:

    [...]

    The Linux Foundation and OpenStack Foundation provide scholarships, travel assistance, training, mentorships, childcare, affinity groups, and more as part of their events and services. (I’m involved in the Linux Foundation-sponsored Women in Open Source events and the Women of OpenStack [WOO] group.) Since the WOO group started in 2014, more women have been attending and speaking at OpenStack-related events and contributing to OpenStack projects. More than 11% of attendees at both LinuxCon North America and OpenStack Summit in Austin in 2016 were women.

  • Docker Delivers Containerd to Open Source Community
  • Docker containerd ups the open source container management ante
  • Julien Nioche on StormCrawler, Open-Source Crawler Pipelines Backed by Apache Storm

    Julien Nioche, director of DigitalPebble, PMC member and committer of the Apache Nutch web crawler project, talks about StormCrawler, a collection of reusable components to build distributed web crawlers based on the streaming framework Apache Storm.

  • Telecom

  • Cloud Foundry Foundation

  • SaaS/Back End

    • OpenStack Education Set to Flourish in 2017

      You’ve no doubt heard about the shortages in people with deployment and management expertise on the cloud computing and Big Data scenes. There just are not enough skilled workers to go around. The OpenStack Foundation, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and other organizations are now taking some important steps to address the situation.

  • Databases

    • CrateDB 1.0 Delivers New Stable Open-Source Database Option

      The open-source CrateDB database hit a major milestone on December 14 with the debut of its 1.0 release. CrateDB defines itself as a SQL database that enables real-time analytics for machine data applications.

      What is also particularly interesting about CrateDB is that it aims to bring NoSQL type capabilities, including improved performance, to the SQL database model. The structural nature of SQL was originally seen as a hindrance to some, which led to the rise of NoSQL. With CrateDB, there is a distributed SQL query engine as well as columnar field caches that help to provide improved speed.

  • CMS

    • German firms unveil DeGov eGovernment platform

      German ICT service providers are pooling their work on public administration portals, leveraging open source software. The companies unveiled DeGov, a portal solution built on Drupal 8, at the ‘Drupal in der öffentlichen Verwaltung’ (Drupal in public administration) conference in Düsseldorf on 17 November.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OPNsense 17.1 beta: Images available now !

      With the best wishes for the holiday season attached we hereby humbly present our 17.1-BETA images and thank everyone for their early input, valid questions and generally keeping us on our toes throughout the past months. The next major release features FreeBSD 11.0, the SSH remote installer, new languages Italian and Czech, state-of-the-art HardenedBSD security features, PHP 7.0, native PAM authentication against e.g. 2FA (TOTP), as well a rewritten Nano-style card images that adapt to the media size to name only a few.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EC looking for help with open source office automation

      The European Commission is looking to hire ICT staff that can help implement open source-based office automation. The open source expertise is a small part of a larger call for new hires that was published by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) on 1 December.

    • Aragon parliament asks for open source in schools

      Members of parliament in Aragon, one of Spain’s autonomous communities, are urging the government to increase the use of open source software in education. On 2 December, parliamentarians asked the minister of education to strengthen support for the VitaLinux Education project, which is developing an Ubuntu-based distribution of open source software made especially for schools in the community.

    • GDS joins international effort on open source

      The Government signed the Paris Declaration last week at the Open Government Partnership summit, which highlighted the potential for open source to support efforts to reduce corruption by increasing transparency and strengthening governance.

      The agreement involves promoting the transparency and accountability of the relevant code and algorithms “wherever possible and appropriate”.

      The first deliverable of the group is an open source contribution policy template, which is already available in an alpha version on github and will be further developed over the next few months. It has been written by a number of governments and organisations to help those wanting to set up a free/open source software contribution policy, and provides some guidance on best practice and central governance.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Dutch political party deploys “remotely controlled Members of Parliament”

      Last week, the Dutch society-driven political movement GeenPeil started its own political party, promising its members direct democracy through what it calls “remotely controlled Members of Parliament”. Every week, the party’s members will be asked for their opinions in “mini-referenda” on the votes that take place in the Dutch Parliament. Their (anonymous) votes will determine the voting behaviour of the party’s Members of Parliament, thereby emulating direct democracy in a representative parliamentary system.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Arduino MKRZero shrinks Zero to MKR1000 dimensions

        Arduino LLC’s $22 “MKRZero” shrinks the guts of the Arduino Zero board to the 65 x 25mm size of a MKR1000, but without the MKR1000’s WiFi.

        Earlier this year when Arduino LLC debuted its $35, IoT focused MKR1000 board, we suggested it was like combining an Arduino Zero with its WiFi Shield. With its new MKRZero, Arduino LLC offers the same tiny 65 x 25mm footprint as the MKR1000, but with the 68 x 30mm Zero’s original Atmel (now Microchip) ATSAMD21 MCU rather than the WiFi-enabled ATSAMW25. It also lacks the MKR1000’s crypto chip, but does add a handy SD slot.

      • Maker Movement and FOSS: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

        When you think about it, “making” is just a more down-to-earth and less abstract version of coding, with results you touch and feel instead of experience on a screen.

      • Making your own retro keyboard

        We’re about a week before Christmas, and I’m going to explain how I created a retro keyboard as a gift to my father, who introduced me to computers when he brought back a Thomson TO7 home, all the way back in 1985.

        The original idea was to use a Thomson computer to fit in a smaller computer, such as a CHIP or Raspberry Pi, but the software update support would have been difficult, the use limited to the builtin programs, and it would have required a separate screen. So I restricted myself to only making a keyboard. It was a big enough task, as we’ll see.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Marijuana can be covered in pesticides, fungi, and mold — even if it’s legal

      There is no known lethal dose of marijuana, which means it can’t kill you. But the stuff that gets sprayed or grows organically on pot buds can.

      Studies show that marijuana sampled across the US carries unsafe levels of pesticides, mold, fungi, and bacteria. Earlier this year, Colorado recalled hundreds of batches that tested positive for banned pesticides.

      It’s unclear how much cannabis, whether purchased legally in a dispensary or bought from a college roommate’s cousin’s friend, is at risk. But as the industry goes mainstream, experts suggest it’s time legal weed gets quality assurance.

    • UN General Assembly Resolution: TRIPS Flexibilities, High-Level Panel On Medicines Access

      The United Nations General Assembly this month is considering a resolution committing to elevate health issues to the highest levels of foreign policy. The resolution includes references and commitments related to dozens of existing instruments and tools aimed at improving health, including a full range of those on access to medicines, such as patent flexibilities under trade rules, and the recent report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on access to medicines and innovation.

    • UNITAID Board Adopts Resolution On IP Flexibilities Under Trade Rules

      The Executive Board of UNITAID yesterday adopted a resolution on the use of the intellectual property flexibilities enshrined in the global trading system allowing developing countries to facilitate access to affordable medicines.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • Why My Heart Bleeds for Open Source [Ed: Name-dropping bugs with brands, logos, and Web sites to make FOSS look bad]
    • Reliably compromising Ubuntu desktops by attacking the crash reporter

      In this post I’ll describe how I found a remote code execution bug in Ubuntu Desktop which affects all default installations >= 12.10 (Quantal). The bug allows for reliable code injection when a user simply opens a malicious file. The following video demonstrates the exploit opening the Gnome calculator. The executed payload also replaces the exploit file with a decoy zip file to cover its tracks.

    • Dear hackers, Ubuntu’s app crash reporter will happily execute your evil code on a victim’s box

      Users and administrators of Ubuntu Linux desktops are being advised to patch their systems following the disclosure of serious security flaws.

      Researcher Donncha O’Cearbhaill, who discovered and privately reported the vulnerabilities to Ubuntu, said that a successful exploit of the bugs could allow an attacker to remotely execute code by way of a maliciously booby-trapped file.

    • LibreSSL documentation status report
    • Reproducible Builds: week 85 in Stretch cycle
    • Should we be pushing OpenPGP?

      Bjarni Rúnar, the author of Mailpile released a blog about recent blogs disparaging OpenPGP. It’s a good read.

      There’s one reason to support OpenPGP missing from the blog: OpenPGP protects you if your mail server is hacked. I’m sure that Debbie Wasserman Schultz wishes she had been using OpenPGP.

    • Security experts: ‘No one should have faith in Yahoo at this point’

      Experts have attacked Yahoo’s weak security after the revelation it suffered a hack in 2013, which exposed the personal data of 1 billion users, just months after revealing a 500-million-user data breach from 2014.

      The hack saw the potential theft of login details, personal details and any confidential or sensitive information contained within email correspondences. Yahoo provided the email services for BT and Sky customers, as well as other services.

    • Yahoo admits it’s been hacked again, and 1 billion accounts were exposed

      On December 14, Yahoo announced that after an investigation into data provided by law enforcement officials in November, the company and outside forensics experts have determined that there was in fact a previously undetected breach of data from more than 1 billion user accounts. The breach took place in August 2013 and is apparently distinct from the previous mega-breach revealed this fall—one Yahoo claims was conducted by a “state-sponsored actor.”

      The information accessed from potentially exposed accounts “may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (using MD5) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers,” Yahoo’s chief information security officer, Bob Lord, reported in the statement issued by the company. “The investigation indicates that the stolen information did not include passwords in clear text, payment card data, or bank account information. Payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system the company believes was affected.”

    • Hacked Yahoo Data Is for Sale on Dark Web

      Some time around August 2013, hackers penetrated the email system of Yahoo, one of the world’s largest and oldest providers of free email services. The attackers quietly scooped up the records of more than 1 billion users, including names, birth dates, phone numbers and passwords that were encrypted with an easily broken form of security.

      The intruders also obtained the security questions and backup email addresses used to reset lost passwords — valuable information for someone trying to break into other accounts owned by the same user, and particularly useful to a hacker seeking to break into government computers around the world: Several million of the backup addresses belonged to military and civilian government employees from dozens of nations, including more than 150,000 Americans.

    • 0-days hitting Fedora and Ubuntu open desktops to a world of hurt [Ed: even more FUD in Dan Goodin’s UK edition headline]

      If you run a mainstream distribution of Linux on a desktop computer, there’s a good chance security researcher Chris Evans can hijack it when you do nothing more than open or even browse a specially crafted music file. And in the event you’re running Chrome on the just-released Fedora 25, his code-execution attack works as a classic drive-by.

    • Game Music Emulator Security Vulnerability Patched in Debian and Ubuntu Linux [Ed: The same news without the FUD of Dan Goodin]

      Security researcher Chris Evans has reported recently on yet another vulnerability in the Game Music Emulator (game-music-emu) package that’s installed or found in the repositories of various popular GNU/Linux distributions.

      For those not aware, Game Music Emulator is a collection of video game music file emulators designed to playback a large number of formats and systems, including SPC (Super Nintendo/Super Famicom), where the problem was discovered by Chris Evans, which could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code via a maliciously crafted file.

    • 0-day alert: Your favorite Linux distro may not be as secure as you think [Ed: Sensationalism from Dan Goodin is infectious. Beta News now parrots his dramatic ‘journalism’]
    • Parrot OS A Linux Distro For Pentesters, Security Analysts And Hackers

      Parrot OS is a live and installable operating system based on Debian for Penetration Testing, Computer Forensic, Reverse Engineering, Hacking, Cloud Pentesting, privacy/anonymity and cryptography. It has more than 300 penetration testing tools in its repositories. It is developed by Frozenbox’s Team.

    • Ubuntu App Crash Reporter Bug Allows Remote Code Execution

      A security researcher has discovered a vulnerability in Ubuntu’s crash reporter that would allow remote code execution, making it possible for an attacker to compromise a system using just a malicious file.

    • Most Ubuntu Linux Installations Are Affected By A Dangerous Remote Code Execution Bug

      All recent Ubuntu Linux releases ship with Apport crash handling software. A security researcher has discovered a flaw in this utility that allows an attacker to remotely execute code using a malicious booby-trapped file. Ubuntu has released the fix for the same, which can be grabbed via simple Ubuntu update.

    • Remote Code Execution Bug Found in Ubuntu Quantal

      A remote code execution bug has been patched in the default installation of Ubuntu Desktop affecting all default installations of Quantal version 12.10 and later.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why the United Nations Must Move Forward With a Killer Robots Ban

      As part of a U.N. disarmament conference, participating countries are deciding on Friday whether or not to start formal discussions on a ban of lethal autonomous weapons following on from three years of informal discussions.

      Last July, thousands of researchers working in AI and robotics came together and issued an open letter calling for a pre-emptive ban on such weapons.

      I was one of the organizers of the letter, and today I spoke at the U.N. for a third time calling once again for a ban.

    • South Sudan faces ‘Rwanda-like’ genocide, UN human rights commission warns

      South Sudan is “on the brink of an all-out ethnic civil war,” the head of a UN human rights commission has warned.

      Yasmin Sooka told the UN Human Rights Council the international community could prevent a “Rwanda-like” genocide by immediately deploying 4,000 peacekeepers to protect civilians.

      She also called for the country to set up a court to prosecute atrocities in the world’s newest country.

      Tens of thousands have been killed in fighting in South Sudan and more than a million people have fled.

    • Pentagon demands China return US underwater drone

      The Pentagon is demanding that China return an “unlawfully seized” underwater drone after a Chinese warship took the device from waters near a US oceanographic vessel.
      “We call upon China to return our UUV immediately, and to comply with all of its obligations under international law,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement, using the abbreviation for “unmanned underwater vehicle.”

      In the latest encounter in international waters in the South China Sea region, the USNS Bowditch was sailing about 100 miles off the port at Subic Bay when the incident occurred, according to the official.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Wikileaks founder Assange on hacked Podesta, DNC emails: ‘Our source is not the Russian government’

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange denied Thursday that hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta were stolen and passed to his organization by Russian state actors.

      “Our source is not the Russian government,” Assange told “The Sean Hannity Show.”

      “So in other words, let me be clear,” Hannity asked, “Russia did not give you the Podesta documents or anything from the DNC?”

      “That’s correct,” Assange responded.

      Assange’s assertion contradicts the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which concluded in October that “the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails [sic] from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations.”

    • Russia hacking allegations in interests of ‘military intelligence’ – NSA whistleblower Bill Binney

      Claims that Russia hacked the DNC may lead to a new “Cold War” that would be profitable to those interested in military intelligence budgets, says former National Security Agency technical director and NSA whistleblower William Binney.

      “[The CIA] haven’t come out with the evidence to show the tracing of the data from the DNC server to, for example the Russians, or anybody else, or going from them to WikiLeaks, which is a high priority target for NSA, in terms of network monitoring,” Binney told RT.

      He’s one of the group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity who signed a letter arguing that if the data was a hack, the NSA would have a trace of the hack. The letter was published by Consortium News on Monday.

    • Claims on Russia Hacking Profitable for US Military Intelligence

      The parties linked to US military intelligence budgets have own interest in accusing Russia of alleged hacking activities against certain targets in the US, including against the Democratic National Committee (DNC), US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower William Binney said in an interview published Friday.

    • DNC docs were leaked, not hacked, intelligence veterans say

      Anonymous allegations that Russian government hackers interfered with the US elections are “evidence-free,” several retired intelligence professionals argued in an open letter. Any hack would have been noticed by the NSA, which has stayed silent, they say.

    • Judge Andrew Napolitano: Did the Russians hack Hillary?

      The American intelligence community rarely speaks with one voice. The members of its 17 publicly known intelligence agencies — God only knows the number of secret agencies — have the same biases, prejudices, jealousies, intellectual shortcomings and ideological underpinnings as the public at large.

      The raw data these agencies examine is the same. Today America’s spies rarely do their own spying; rather, they rely on the work done by the National Security Agency. We know that from the Edward Snowden revelations. We also know from Snowden that the NSA can monitor and identify all digital communications within the United States, coming into the United States and leaving the United States. Hence, it would be foolhardy and wasteful to duplicate that work. There is quite simply no fiber-optic cable anywhere in the country transmitting digital data to which the NSA does not have full-time and unfettered access.

      I have often argued that this is profoundly unconstitutional because the Fourth Amendment requires a judicially issued search warrant specifically describing the place to be searched or the thing to be seized before the government may lawfully invade privacy, and these warrants must be based on probable cause of criminal behavior on the part of the person whose privacy the government seeks to invade.

    • Top US Intelligence Vets Reject Russian Hacking Claim, John Podesta Admits To “Making An Example”

      While the Democratic Party is intent on making the world believe that the recent 2016 U.S. presidential election was lost due to Russian interference through hacked emails of Hillary Clinton and the DNC, top U.S. intelligence vets from the NSA and the CIA have said that this is far from the case and that there is no legitimate basis for these claims.

      Furthermore, it has been revealed that John Podesta is not beyond taking liberties with the truth and making spurious claims. Emails published by WikiLeaks attest to the fact that as far back as 2015, he was already suggesting the Democratic Party should make an example of leakers.

    • NBC: Unnamed U.S. Officials Say Putin Personally Involved in Hack of U.S. Election

      According to NBC, unnamed U.S. intelligence officials say Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the effort to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win. The CIA has accused Russia of intervening, and President Obama has ordered a review of Russia’s role. President-elect Donald Trump has called the claims “ridiculous.” This comes as a New York Times investigation has revealed the Federal Bureau of Investigation was aware a DNC computer had been hacked as early as September 2015, allegedly by a team known as “The Dukes,” which the FBI says is linked to the Russian government. The Times investigation goes on to report an FBI agent called the DNC repeatedly to inform them of the security breach, but that the party’s tech-support contractor did almost nothing with the information, believing it might simply be a prank call. The Times also reports the hackers used a relatively low-tech means of infiltrating the emails of top targets, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairperson, John Podesta, whose emails were successfully hacked and then leaked over the summer, generating a slew of negative coverage of the Clinton campaign. The tactic is known as phishing—sending an email to a user asking them to change their password or click on a link in order to gain access to their entire account. John Podesta in fact did change his password after receiving one of these phishing emails, after being advised to do so by one of his aides.

    • Hillary Camp is Looking for Russians Under Every Bed. They Might Want to Start with John Podesta’s

      It’s a truism that American politicians have short memories. It is equally true the same can be said of the U.S. news media.

      Hillary Clinton and her associates have pivoted from a botched Russian “reset” (bearing the fingerprints of campaign chairman John Podesta) to relentless accusations that the Russkies snatched presidential victory away from their clutching fingers.

      There’s plenty of circumstantial evidence leading investigators to surmise the Russians played a role in hacking the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton Foundation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Take the Fight Against the Dakota Access Pipeline to the Banks That Are Funding It

      It’s been over a week since the Army Corps of Engineers denied the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built underneath the Missouri River and required an environmental impact statement before the project could move forward. The move came after water protectors and their allies stood strong for months against a militarized police force that employed water cannons, dogs, tear gas, and rubber bullets. The water protectors remained committed to peaceful resistance and they won.

      [...]

      One thing we can do to support the water protectors is to target the 17 banks currently invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Nation has joined with the Indigenous Environmental Network, 350.org, Oil Change International, the Native Organizers Alliance, and 18 other organizations to call on these banks to support the sovereignty and rights of indigenous peoples and end their support for the pipeline. Click here to sign our petition.

  • Finance

    • Cuba offers rum to pay off $276m Czech debt

      Cuba has come up with an unusual way to repay its multimillion dollar debt to the Czech Republic – bottles of its famous rum, officials in Prague say.

      The Czech finance ministry said Havana had raised this possibility during recent negotiations on the issue.

      Cuba owes the Czech authorities $276m (£222m), and if the offer is accepted the Czechs would have enough Cuban rum for more than a century.

    • Change at the top for Microsoft Australia with Steven Worrall appointed MD

      Microsoft has appointed Steven Worrall as managing director for Australia to replace 21-year company veteran Pip Marlow who is leaving to take up a senior executive position with Queensland financial services and insurance group, Suncorp.

      Worrall joins Microsoft after 22 years with IBM, most recently leading IBM’s Software business for the Asia Pacific region, providing a major source of IBM’s growth in the region. He held a number of marketing, sales and general management roles during his career in the services, software and financing segments of IBM’s business.

    • Microsoft to Offer Software for Local Governments to Regulate and Tax Legal Cannabis [Ed: Tax evader Microsoft to help “tax” pot?]
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jill Stein Pulls Back the Curtain on America’s Voting Chaos

      Let’s acknowledge that Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein’s now-halted bid to recount the vote in three Rust Belt states served principally to earn her a lot of free media and fatten her political fundraising email list. Stein failed to furnish any evidence of the “hacking” and “security breaches” that her many press releases and public comments alleged, but she did scoop up $7.3 million from more than 160,000 donors in less than three weeks.

      Nevertheless, Stein’s arguably self-serving drive to recount votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin performed an important public service. As Stein noted this week in a press call to mark the end of her recount effort, she did spotlight some troubling weaknesses in the nation’s election system. Voting in America continues to be plagued by malfunctioning machines, byzantine rules, and insufficient cross-checks and audits to ensure that ballots are properly tallied.

      Stein’s recount bid captured the paradox of this year’s super-charged debate over voting. The most sensational claims and counter-claims about this year’s election—that the system was “rigged” and riddled with fraud, as Donald Trump alleged, or that voting machines may have been tampered with, as Stein herself declared—lacked any empirical evidence to back them up.

    • Trump’s 17 Cabinet-level Picks Have More Money Than a Third of American Households Combined

      The 17 people who US president-elect Donald Trump has selected for his cabinet or for posts with cabinet rank have well over $9.5 billion in combined wealth, with several positions still unfilled. This collection of wealth is greater than that of the 43 million least wealthy American households combined—over one third of the 126 million households total in the US.

      Affluence of this magnitude in a US presidential cabinet is unprecedented.

    • Trump Treasury pick Steven Mnuchin has a ‘widow foreclosure’ problem

      Reverse mortgages are advertised as a way for elderly homeowners to get the cash they need and stay in their homes for the rest of their lives.

      They don’t have to make payments as long as they live in the home, so few ever worry about foreclosure.

      But a bank formerly run by Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for treasury secretary, has a record of aggressively foreclosing on these homeowners, according to some borrowers and fair housing advocates.

      The practice is known as a “widow foreclosure,” and it was far more common at Mnuchin’s bank than at other lenders, according to housing rights advocates.

    • Betsy DeVos and the Plan to Break Public Schools

      Among the points that can be made in favor of Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s billionaire nominee for the position of Secretary of Education, are the following: She has no known ties to President Vladimir Putin, unlike Trump’s nominee to head the State Department, Rex Tillerson, who was decorated with Russia’s Order of Friendship medal a few years ago. She hasn’t demonstrated any outward propensity for propagating dark, radical-right-leaning conspiracy theories, unlike Michael T. Flynn, Trump’s designated national-security adviser. She has not actively called for the dismantling of the department she is slated to head, as have Rick Perry, Trump’s nominee for Energy Secretary, and Scott Pruitt, the nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

      That the absence of such characteristics should bear noting only underlines the dystopian scope of Trump’s quest to complete his cabinet of cronies. On the other hand, DeVos has never taught in a public school, nor administered one, nor sent her children to one. She is a graduate of Holland Christian High School, a private school in her home town of Holland, Michigan, which characterizes its mission thus: “to equip minds and nurture hearts to transform the world for Jesus Christ.”

      How might DeVos seek to transform the educational landscape of the United States in her position at the head of a department that has a role in overseeing the schooling of more than fifty million American children? As it happens, she does have a long track record in the field. Since the early nineteen-nineties, she and her husband, Dick DeVos, have been very active in supporting the charter-school movement. They worked to pass Michigan’s first charter-school bill, in 1993, which opened the door in their state for public money to be funnelled to quasi-independent educational institutions, sometimes targeted toward specific demographic groups, which operate outside of the strictures that govern more traditional public schools. (Dick DeVos, a keen pilot, founded one of his own: the West Michigan Aviation Academy, located at Gerald Ford International Airport, which serves an overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly male population of students.)

    • Trump meets with tech titans as Bezos lauds ‘productive’ session

      A confab of tech titans had a “productive” meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower on Wednesday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told CNBC, as Trump moved to mend fences with Silicon Valley before taking office in January.

      Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Intel, Oracle, IBM, Cisco and Tesla were among the C-suite executives in attendance, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tesla CEO Elon Musk expected to get private briefings, according to transition staff.

      During the campaign, Trump issued a number of barbs directed at Bezos and his businesses, but at the meeting both men appeared nothing but complimentary.

    • Donald Trump doesn’t read: Financial Times names him “person of the year,” but he thinks it’s a compliment

      Here’s another theory: Donald Trump does read, but he’s banking on other people not reading. He’s banking on people reading his tweet, or even just the reporting on his tweet, without getting into the subtext of the article. Who goes past the headlines anyway?

      Trump’s not exactly riding a wave of populism into the White House. And as much as he and his team want to say there was a “massive landslide,” the numbers don’t bear that out. He won by a Jill Stein in the states that he really needed, squeaking by in key areas while losing the popular vote by millions.

      According to a CBS poll released Thursday, only 34 percent of Americans think that he’ll be a good or very good president. Nearly a quarter — 23 percent — think that he’ll be average. More than a third — 36 percent — think he’ll be a poor one. That’s not just Democrats bringing down the average; independents are basically holding true to the average.

    • This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson.

      In late March, Donald Trump opened a rally in Wisconsin by mocking the state’s governor, Scott Walker, who had just endorsed his Republican opponent, Ted Cruz. “He came in on his Harley,” Trump said of Walker, “but he doesn’t look like a motorcycle guy.”

      “The motorcycle guys,” he added, “like Trump.”

      It has been 50 years since Hunter S. Thompson published the definitive book on motorcycle guys: Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. It grew out of a piece first published in The Nation one year earlier. My grandfather, Carey McWilliams, editor of the magazine from 1955 to 1975, commissioned the piece from Thompson—it was the gonzo journalist’s first big break, and the beginning of a friendship between the two men that would last until my grandfather died in 1980. Because of that family connection, I had long known that Hell’s Angels was a political book. Even so, I was surprised, when I finally picked it up a few years ago, by how prophetic Thompson is and how eerily he anticipates 21st-century American politics. This year, when people asked me what I thought of the election, I kept telling them to read Hell’s Angels.

    • The Electoral College Has the Starkly Anti-Democratic Power to Make a Loser a ‘Winner’

      The Electoral College has never benefited the republic. And it is unlikely that it ever will.

      That, unfortunately, is the answer to the question of whether this elite mob might find a way to reject the discredited candidacy of Donald Trump—as amateur historians and sincere activists are so fond of suggesting should be the case.

      The Electoral College does not exist as a quality-control mechanism. It exists as a check and balance against popular democracy, and the great likelihood is that it will again perform that function on December 19.

    • Jill Stein has done the nation a tremendous public service

      As lead counsel in Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein’s quest to have votes recounted in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, we have been in court for the past two weeks trying to verify the integrity of the election and make sure that no one hacked our democracy. Some have cast Stein as a spoiler, or alleged that the recounts were futile, because they didn’t change who won the election.

      But the recount would only be futile if we, as Americans, ignored the lessons of the past weeks and preserved the status quo that is our broken voting system.

    • Green Party endorses Occupy Inauguration; Greens will participate in protests on Jan. 20 and 21

      The Green Party of the United States has endorsed Occupy Inauguration, as Greens prepare to participate in events planned for Jan. 20 and Jan. 21.

      Occupy Inauguration will feature a mass rally and protest in Washington, D.C. to coincide with President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

    • Assange: Election Showed ‘Liberal Press’ Is ‘Not Very Important,’ And They Can’t Handle It [AUDIO]

      Julian Assange said during the Thursday broadcast of Sean Hannity’s radio show that the 2016 election showed the traditional press is growing “increasingly not very important.”

    • Recount Fiascos Reveal the Profoundly Pathetic State of Voting in America

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s recounts in the three states that gave Donald Trump his Electoral College majority have come to a close, not changing the official results and leaving the public even more wary about the integrity of American elections.

      After several weeks, $7.3 million in donations from 161,000 donors, obstruction by top Republicans and Democrats, election officials who rejected the most accurate recount procedures, slights against communities of color where voting machines broke on Election Day but recounts were blocked afterward, new hacking pathways discovered, and unyielding responses by state and federal judges who didn’t think much of recounting votes or using best practices, Stein announced Tuesday that her presidential recount was mostly over—and now America needed to heed its lessons.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • German spies ‘can’t be trusted’: Relations between the UK and Berlin intelligence chiefs hit after comments by London
    • 14 eyebrow-raising personal details Google knows about you

      Google may know more about me than I know about myself.

      I’m not just saying that, either: I recently started poking around in Google’s personal data repositories and realized that, between my wide-reaching use of the company’s services and my own brain’s inability to remember anything for more than seven seconds, Google may actually have the upper hand when it comes to knowledge about my life.

      From face-tagged photos of my past adventures (what year did I go to Nashville, again—and who went with me to that Eddie Vedder show?) to the minute-by-minute play-by-play of my not-so-adventuresome days (wait, you mean I really only left the house once last Wednesday—and just to get a freakin’ sandwich?!), Google’s got all sorts of goods on me. Heck, even my hopes and dreams (which may or may not involve sandwiches) are probably catalogued somewhere in its systems.

    • Digital Economy Bill – Second Reading

      The digital landscape changes rapidly and profoundly. It is vital that our legislation is kept up to date. This is a big and wide-ranging Bill. Its aim is bold: to bring major change to the UK’s digital economy in infrastructure, consumer rights and opportunities, regulation, skills, safety, innovation, and intellectual property. The prize is great, and this country can be not merely a world leader in digital, but the world leader. I beg to move.

    • Wynn Las Vegas putting Amazon Echo in every room [Ed: always-on microphone in every room]

      Amazon and Google are going head-to-head over smart hubs that can control all the smart devices we keep in our homes, but Amazon currently has a leg up on Google thanks to Alexa’s fully fleshed out system that works with more than Google Home at this point in time. That’s why it’s no surprise that Wynn Las Vegas has announced it will be equipping all of its rooms with Amazon Echo so guests can control everything with their voice.

      Wynn says Alexa will be fully operational in all of its guest rooms by summer 2017, offering guests the ability to control the room lights, temperature, draperies and the television through the power of their voice. Wynn also notes that it plans on incorporating a personal assistant feature just as soon as Amazon introduces those features to the devices.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • NYPD: Muslim teenager who reported harassment by Trump supporters made the story up

      A Muslim teenager who reported being harassed on the New York City subway by supporters of President-elect Donald Trump fabricated the story, a New York City Police Department spokesperson told Business Insider.

      Yasmin Seweid, 18, a Baruch College student, was in police custody as of Wednesday afternoon and has been charged with filing a false report, as well as obstructing governmental administration, according to the NYPD.

    • Muslim student filed bias crime report to avoid curfew punishment

      A Muslim student who said she was harassed on the subway by drunken, hate-spewing white men shouting “Donald Trump!” lied to police because she broke her curfew, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.

      Yasmin Seweid, 18, joined a growing list of local and national alleged hate-crime victims when she told cops she was taunted Dec. 1 on the No. 6 train by three men who called her a terrorist and tried to snatch her hijab off her head while straphangers did nothing.

    • OVER 300 ABUSED WOMEN ISSUE STATEMENT AGAINST PARALLEL LEGAL SYSTEMS: WHO WILL LISTEN TO OUR VOICES?

      Also published this week is devastating new evidence submitted by One Law for All to the Home Affairs Select Committee. It reveals how Sharia councils violate human rights, how discrimination and violence lie at the heart of the courts, how they are linked to the transnational Islamist movement, and why they are a parallel legal system, which must be dismantled. The submission also objects to Naz Shah’s line of questioning of Spokesperson Maryam Namazie and accusations of “Islamophobia” and “anti-faith” to discredit secular voices.

    • Woman who defied clerics is now mayor of Kolhapur

      When Hasina Faras wanted to contest the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation (KMC) polls last year, she was warned by a local body of 40-50 clerics that it was un-Islamic to do so. In fact, the clerics of the Majlis-e-Shoora-Ulama-e-Shahar had then issued a fatwa to all Muslim women not to stand for polls.

      However, 19 Muslim women defied the fatwa and contested. Five of them, including Faras, were elected as corporators. A year down the line, 61-year-old Faras has become the first Muslim woman to bag the post of mayor in Kolhapur.

      Political twists and turns and challenges are not new to Faras, whose family has been associated with the NCP. The religious challenge had posed a new hurdle, but she said support from her family and members of the community helped her face it.

    • Take action for Turkey’s imprisoned writers

      It has been a particular year of crisis for freedom of expression in Turkey, where the government has targeted the independent media since the failed coup in July, detaining, arresting and prosecuting journalists, writers and academics.

      Five months on from the attempted coup in Turkey there are now almost 150 writers and journalists in prison, victims of a continuing campaign to silence peaceful and legitimate opposition. These include the leading linguist Necmiye Alpay, who recently spent her 70th birthday in detention, and her co-defendant, renowned novelist and PEN member Aslı Erdoğan. Detained a month after the coup, in August 2016, Alpay and Erdoğan are now due to stand trial on 29 December on charges of ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’.

    • Hong Kong ‘Snowden refugees’ dream of better life

      Like many four year olds, Sethumdi says she dreams of meeting Father Christmas.

      But her future is uncertain as her refugee parents fight for a new life abroad after they sheltered fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong.

      The story of how impoverished refugees helped Snowden evade authorities in 2013 only emerged in September, propelling them into the media spotlight.

    • NSA Watchdog Fired After Retaliating Against Whistleblower

      A top National Security Administration watchdog, who notoriously declared that whistleblower Edward Snowden should have gone directly to him with his concerns, has been fired for retaliating against another whistleblower.

      Former NSA inspector general George Ellard was found by a high-level Intelligence Community panel to have retaliated in May against a whistleblower.

    • NSA Inspector Who Criticized Snowden for Not Using ‘Official’ Channels Found Guilty of Retaliating Against Whistleblower Who Did Just That

      National Security Agency (NSA) inspector general George Ellard, an outspoken critic of whistleblower Edward Snowden, personally retaliated against another NSA whistleblower, Adam Zagorin reported at the Project on Government Overreach (POGO) on Thursday.

      An intelligence community panel earlier this year found that Ellard had retaliated against a whistleblower, Zagorin writes, in a judgment that has still not been made public.

      The finding is remarkable because Ellard first made headlines two years ago when he publicly condemned Snowden for leaking information about the NSA’s mass surveillance of private citizens, wherein Ellard claimed that Snowden should have raised concerns through internal channels. The agency would have protected him from any retaliation, Ellard said at the time.

    • NSA Inspector General, Who Once Said Snowden Is Manic Thief, May Be Fired For Whistleblower Retaliation

      The inspector general for the National Security Agency, George Ellard, received a termination notice for retaliating against a whistleblower. The outcome was the result of a process enabled by an executive order containing whistleblower protections issued in 2012 by President Barack Obama, according to a report from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

      “The Ellard case is groundbreaking not only because it represents the most extensive use of PPD-19 procedures to date, but also because of Ellard’s high-ranking position in a national security environment where few, if any top officials are known to have been held accountable. A variety of reprisal accusations have been made against senior officials over the years. Rightly or wrongly, very few have ever been substantiated,” POGO journalist Adam Zagorin wrote. (PPD-19 is the “presidential policy directive” or executive order that Obama signed.)

    • Attorneys for officer claim Castile was high on marijuana, not responsive to commands
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Tom Wheeler Resigns From the FCC—So Long, Net Neutrality

      The man who saved net neutrality is stepping aside.

      Federal Communication Commission chairman Tom Wheeler will resign on January 20, the agency announced today. Wheeler’s decision to step down means Donald Trump will have two FCC seats to fill, one Republican and one Democratic. His resignation will also give Republicans a 2-to-1 majority on the commission even before those seats are filled after the departure of fellow Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel at the end of the year.

      (FCC commissioners are nominated by the president, but the agency’s rules dictate that only three members of the five-member board can belong to the same party. It’s customary for the chairperson to resign when a new president is elected.)

      Consumer advocacy groups praised Wheeler, a former telecommunications lobbyist, for standing up to the industry he once represented. Wheeler backed net neutrality, new broadband privacy rules, and subsidies for low-income families to buy broadband, among other initiatives. He also pushed back against Comcast’s proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Crunch time for Kit Kat’s 3D shape as EU judges show teeth in trademark row

        The European Union’s Intellectual Property Office has been told that it must re-examine whether the three-dimensional shape corresponding to the product “Kit Kat 4 fingers” may be maintained as an EU trademark.

        The General Court of the European Union—one of the bloc’s highest, if least-known courts—made the ruling on Thursday.

        In 2002, Nestlé applied to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) for the three-dimensional shape of the company’s four-finger Kit Kat product to be registered as an EU trademark. As the General Court explained, in 2006, the EUIPO agreed to register the mark in respect of the following goods: “sweets, bakery products, pastries, biscuits, cakes, waffles.”

        The next year, rival confectionery giant Cadbury Schweppes—now part of the US giant Mondelez (pronounced “mon-deh-leez”)—applied to the EUIPO for a declaration of invalidity to cancel the trademark.

        In 2012, the EUIPO dismissed that application, because it said that Nestlé’s mark had acquired a “distinctive character” through the use that had been made of it within the EU. So Mondelez then asked the EU’s General Court to annul the EUIPO’s decision, which it has now agreed to do.

    • Copyrights

      • US Finds Existing Copyright Law Suited For Software Embedded In Everyday Products

        The United States Copyright Office has released a study that finds that existing copyright laws are sufficient to cover issues arising over software embedded in everyday consumer products. But it does call for some flexibility for consumers to tinker with their devices.

      • No Deal: German Universities Prepare For Cut-Off From Elsevier Journals

        After licensing negotiations between German university libraries and Elsevier failed at the beginning of the month, over 60 university libraries in Germany are preparing to be cut off from hundreds of journals of the British publisher, after a standoff over pricing and access.

        The university libraries organised in the DEAL initiative rejected an offer made by Elsevier earlier this month for a first nationwide licence, because of an aggressive pricing and flaws in the access models.

      • MPAA Takes Credit for The Shutdown of KickassTorrents

        Earlier this year KickassTorrents was taken down following a criminal investigation into the site’s alleged operators. While the U.S. Department of Justice handles the case, based on an FBI investigation, they were not the only ones involved. According to comments made by MPAA boss Chris Dodd, Hollywood played a crucial role as well.

      • The Pirate Bay and Other Pirate Sites Will Be Blocked in Australia

        Following a case brought by several prominent rightsholders, the Australian Federal Court has ordered dozens of local Internet service providers to block The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt, SolarMovie, plus many proxy and mirror services. The event marks the start of mass-blocking Down Under.

      • Torrent site-blocking more about PR, says IA chief

        The peak body representing Internet users in Australia has described the Federal Court decision on blocking sites deemed to be disseminating copyrighted material without permission as being “more about PR than anything real in the fight against unlawful downloading”.

        Internet Australia chief executive Laurie Patton said: “Even the rights holders are talking about it being part of an ‘education process’.

        “Meanwhile, the costs of implementing this pointless scheme will no doubt flow on to honest content consumers in the form of increased Internet access fees.”

        The court on Thursday decided in favour of rights holders led by Foxtel and Village Roadshow against four telecommunications companies which were the respondents in the case: Telstra, Optus, M2 (now owned by Vocus Communications) and TPG.

      • Blocking Pirate Bay will not stop VPN-savvy Australians

        Despite a Federal Court decision this week obliging internet service providers to block certain piracy-enabling websites, Australians will continue to easily access such sites via virtual private networks (VPNs) and other technologies they already use.

        The decision was the first use of new powers granted in 2015, which allow rights holders to request that access be blocked to foreign-hosted websites that facilitate copyright infringement. In this case, ISPs including Telstra, Optus and others were told to take all reasonable action to block access to popular torrenting websites including The Pirate Bay, TorrentHound and IsoHunt.

12.15.16

Links 15/12/2016: Qt Creator 4.2, Kubernetes 1.5

Posted in News Roundup at 7:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux 2017 – Looking Ahead

    2016 started full of hope for Linux fans but those hopes were dashed when the much anticipated Ubuntu 16.04 and Fedora 24 landed chocked full of bugs and driver issues. Some of us who follow these things closely expressed dismay over the problems encountered by users. A few bug-a-boos are to be expected in new releases, but these were big Vietnamese Hissing Cockroach-sized bugs that turned out to be show stoppers for some users.

    Canonical, the keepers of Ubuntu, seemed to spend more time worrying about phones and integrating Bash into Windows 10 than putting out a stable Long Term Support (LTS) desktop release. Canonical’s Ubuntu team did fix many of those issues and it is now almost as stable as the much-lauded 14.04 release. Most are happy with Ubuntu now or have moved on to greener pastures. ‘Nuff said.

  • How to make Linux more trustworthy

    While the fight against government-mandated software backdoors raged for most of 2016—including the showdown between Apple and the FBI over the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, and the UK’s new Investigatory Powers Act, which gives the government the power to demand UK companies backdoor their software to enable mass surveillance—the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) has been quietly working to prevent an even more insidious form of backdoor: malicious code inserted during the software build process without a developer’s knowledge or consent.

  • Desktop

    • This might be the first fully open source notebook

      Open source hardware is still atypical for the technology world. However, you can now enthusiastically opt for a fully open source notebook PC to work on your next projects without looking at a proprietary solution.

      Called Libreboot C201, the latest offering is a dream come true for the open source community. It features a 1.8GHz ARM Rockchip RK3288 processor coupled with 4B RAM and 16GB eMMC storage and sports an 11-inch HD display. On the connectivity front, the laptop lacks a built-in Wi-Fi chip but does come with an Atheros Wi-Fi dongle that works with open source drivers.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • 9 lessons from 25 years of Linux kernel development

      Because the Linux kernel community celebrated a quarter-century of development in 2016, many people have asked us the secret to the project’s longevity and success. I usually laugh and joke that we really have no idea how we got here. The project has faced many disagreements and challenges along the way. But seriously, the reason we’ve made it this far has a lot to do with the community’s capacity for introspection and change.

      About 16 years ago, most of the kernel developers had never met each other in person—we’d only ever interacted over email—and so Ted T’so came up with the idea of a Kernel Summit. Now every year kernel developers make a point to gather in person to work out technical issues and, crucially, to review what we did right and what we did wrong over the past year. Developers can openly and honestly discuss how they interact with each other and how the development process works. And then we make changes that improve the process. We make new tools, like Git, and constantly change how we work together.

      Over time, this evolution has created a resiliency that has allowed the project to go from one strength to the next while avoiding the forks that have split the resources of competing projects. It may be many years before we fully understand the keys to the Linux kernel’s success, but there are a few lessons that stand out even now.

    • Blythe Masters Talks ‘Tipping Point’ for Business Blockchain Adoption

      Blythe Masters may be helping to lead an industry-wide shift in the development of blockchain tech, but that doesn’t mean her startup isn’t experiencing its own changes as well.

    • IBM helps developers speed up the creation of blockchain networks

      IBM is actively trying to lure developers into the blockchain world. The giant believes that blockchain “has the potential to transform the way industries conduct business transactions” but that can only happen if industry players work together and allow businesses to benefit from the network effect of this technology.

    • Explain Yourself! Documentation for Better Code by Chris Ward, Crate.IO

      In this talk from LinuxCon Europe, Chris Ward provided a crash course on ways to make documentation for your projects better.

    • Explain Yourself! Documentation for Better Code
    • Linux 4.10 Gets Microsoft Surface 3/4 Input, Wacom MobileStudio Pro

      The HID changes for the Linux 4.10 kernel have been submitted and includes new hardware support

    • MD In Linux 4.10 Adds RAID5 Writeback Cache Feature, FAILFAST

      The Linux MD/RAID code was updated today in Git for the Linux 4.10 kernel with new functionality.

      One of the new MD additions for Linux 4.10 is a RAID5 write-back cache feature. This aggregates writes to make a full stripe write and reduce read-modify-writes. MD maintainer Shaohua Li reported this feature should be good for workloads doing sequential writes followed by fsync. For now though this RAID5 cache feature is considered experimental and disabled by default. The r5c_journal_mode sysfs entry is used for setting the write-back or write-through cache mode.

    • VFIO In Linux 4.10 Adds Mediated Device Interface: Used For Intel KVM-GT, NVIDIA vGPU

      VFIO, the Virtual Function I/O framework for exposing direct device access to user-space in a secure manner with IOMMU protection, has an important new interface with Linux 4.10.

      VFIO in Linux 4.10 adds a Mediated Device Interface. This Mediated Device Interface is used for allowing software-defined devices to be exposed through VFIO while the host driver manages access to the interface.

    • EXT4 In Linux 4.10 Gains DAX iomap, Encryption Improvements

      The EXT4 file-system is seeing some new feature work with the in-development Linux 4.10 merge window.

      The EXT4 feature pull request for the Linux 4.10 merge window queues the dax-4.0-iomap-pmd branch, which includes changes to use the new iomap framework for DAX. This makes the EXT4 DAX I/O code-paths utilize the iomap framework rather than their older DAX functionality, which then allows for more efficient block mapping, PMD page fault support, minor bug fixes, and improvements. DAX is the direct access support in the Linux kernel for file-systems to have more efficient, direct read/write access to persistent memory storage devices. This DAX iomap code being added via the EXT4 pull will also be shared with the XFS DAX code.

    • Is Linux Kernel Growth Sustainable?

      An interesting factoid caught my eye in an article published by Opensource.com this morning. The article was one of those interesting and easy-to-read listicles that many websites — even FOSS Force — likes to run occasionally called 9 Lessons from 25 Years of Linux Kernel Development, and the item that caught my attention was eighth on the list, under the heading, “The kernel shows that major developments can spring from small beginnings.”

    • Collabora Contributions to Linux Kernel 4.9

      Linux Kernel 4.9 was released this week and once more Collabora developers took part on the kernel development cycle. This time we contributed 37 patches by 11 different developers, our highest number of single contributors in a kernel release ever. Remember that in the previous release we had our highest number total contributions. The numbers shows how Collabora have been increasing its commitment in contributing to the upstream kernel community.

      For those who want to see an overall report of what was happened in the 4.9 kernel take a look on the always good LWN articles: part 1, 2 and 3.

      As for Collabora contributions most of our work was in the DRM and DMABUF subsystems. Andrew Shadura and Daniel Stone added to fixes to the AMD and i915 drivers respectively. Emilio López added the missing install of sync_file.h uapi.

    • Linux 4.8.15

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.8.15 kernel.

      All users of the 4.8 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.8.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.8.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st…

    • Linux 4.4.39
    • Hardening the Kernel to Protect Against Attackers

      The task of securing Linux systems is so mind-bogglingly complex and involves so many layers of technology that it can easily overwhelm developers. However, there are some fairly straightforward protections you can use at the very core: the kernel. These hardening techniques help developers guard against the bugs that haven’t yet been detected.

      “Hardening is about making bugs more difficult to exploit,” explained Mark Rutland, a kernel developer at ARM Ltd, at the recent Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2016 in Berlin. There will always be dangerous bugs that manage to evade the notice of kernel developers, he added. “We do not yet know which particular bugs exist in the next kernel, and we probably won’t for five years,” he said, referring to Kees Cook’s recent analysis of kernel bug lifetimes.

    • OpenRISC Has New Maintainer For The Linux Kernel

      OpenRISC continues progressing as an open-source ISA derived from RISC. While still waiting for more hardware to appear, the OpenRISC continues moving along for the Linux kernel.

    • XFS In Linux 4.10 Contains DAX iomap Support, Other Updates

      Dave Chinner sent in the XFS file-system changes for the Linux 4.10 kernel.

      The XFS feature updates for Linux 4.10 include making use of the iomap infrastructure that landed with the EXT4 pull. So XFS now has a new direct I/O implementation making use of iomap, which should be “simpler, faster, and has lower IO latency.”

    • UBIFS With Linux 4.10 Implements Fscrypt-Based File Encryption

      The main feature addition to UBIFS with Linux 4.10 is native file encryption support.

      UBIFS, the Unsorted Block Image File System for raw flash memory media, has file encryption via fscrypt with Linux 4.10. This fscrypt file-system encryption support is what powers EXT4′s file encryption and F2FS per-file encryption while now UBIFS has wired it up for offering optional file encryption.

    • Doky Becomes Linux Foundation Gold Member

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration, announces Doky has become a Gold member of The Linux Foundation. Doky is an online-based operating system, providing unique features such as a seamless cloud collaboration and storage solution and a quickly growing, fully integrated set of virtual desktop apps. Doky calls its service “fluid computing.”

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Looking At GNU/Linux’s Performance Over 2016 With Intel’s Clear Linux

        If you have been curious how the performance of the GNU/Linux stack has evolved over 2016, I ran some benchmarks of the rolling-release Clear Linux from the start of 2016 compared to this week to see how gains in the upstream software have evolved as well as their aggressive out-of-the-box optimizations for this operating system out of Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center.

        Clear Linux was used for this 2016 before/after comparison due to Intel’s aggressive performance optimizations made this year and that it’s a rolling-release distribution but with publishing new installer images for each release, which is on a near-daily basis, it’s easy to get the system back to its state far back in the past. This makes it much easier to run fresh benchmarks on an older state of Clear Linux compared to today, rather than using Arch Linux or another rolling-release where it’s less easy to get the system to a prior state long ago.

      • VisionTek 240GB SATA 3.0 SSD Benchmarks On Linux
      • Samsung 960 EVO NVMe SSD Benchmarks On Linux

        As of this week the Samsung 960 EVO NVMe M.2 SSDs have begun shipping for those interested in high-performance solid-state storage. For our benchmarking fun today I am looking at the Samsung 960 EVO 250GB NVM Express M.2 SSD (MZ-V6E25) with tests under Ubuntu 16.04 while using the Linux 4.9 kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita 3.1 Released!

        Today the Krita team releases Krita 3.1.0 ! Krita 3.1 is the first release that is fully supported on OSX (10.9 and later)! Krita 3.1 is the result of half a year of intense work and contains many new features, performance improvement and bug fixes. It’s now possible to use render animations (using ffmpeg) to gif or various video formats. You can use a curve editor to animate properties. Soft-proofing was added for seeing how your artwork will look in print. A new color picker that allows selecting wide-gamut colors. There is also a new brush engine that paints fast on large canvases, a stop-based gradient editor.

      • KDE’s Krita 3.1 Released With Speedups & Improvements

        After the big Krita 3.0 release earlier this year, the crew responsible for this open-source digital painting software aligned with KDE has released Krita 3.1.

      • Krita 3.1 Digital Painting App Officially Released with Many Cool New Features

        A few moments ago, the development team behind the powerful, open-source, free, and cross-platform Krita digital painting software proudly announced the final release of Krita 3.1.

        After being in development for the past few months, Krita 3.1 is now that most advanced version of the application, bringing cool new features like full support for Apple’s Mac OS X operating system, as well as the ability to render an animation to MKV, GIF, MP4, or OGG files using the FFmpeg multimedia framework.

      • Qt 5.7.1 Released

        Qt 5.7.1 has been released today. It contains all the latest bug fixes and improvements, including everything from Qt 5.6.2 patch release as well as additional improvements and functionality not available in the Qt 5.6 branch.

        The brand new Qt Creator 4.2.0 is also included in the Qt 5.7.1 offline installer packages as well as the online installer.

      • Qt Creator 4.2 released

        Qt SCXML is a new module in Qt that allows you to create state machines from State Chart XML and embed them into Qt C++ and Qt Quick applications (Overview). It was released as Technical Preview in Qt 5.7 and will be released fully supported with Qt 5.8.

      • Qt 5.7.1 & Qt Creator 4.2 Released

        The Qt Company has announced the first point release to Qt 5.7 as well as putting out the Qt Creator 4.2 upgrade to their integrated development environment.

        Qt 5.7.1 includes all of the latest bug fixes and minor improvements, including some work not currently found on the Qt 5.6 branch. More details on Qt 5.7.1 changes via this blog post.

      • Qt Creator 4.2 Launches with New Qt SCXML Editor Module, Better CMake Support

        Today, December 14, 2016, the Qt Company was pleased to announce the final release of the open-source, free, and cross-platform Qt Creator 4.2 IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows platforms.

      • KDE Ships KDE Applications 16.12.0

        December 15, 2016. Today, KDE introduces KDE Applications 16.12, with an impressive array of upgrades when it comes to better ease of access, the introduction of highly useful functionalities and getting rid of some minor issues, bringing KDE Applications one step closer to offering you the perfect setup for your device.

      • KDE Applications 16.12 Released: KWave Added, Konqueror Ported To KF5

        The KDE community banded together today to issue their big KDE Applications 16.12 update.

        Among the changes to KDE Applications 16.12 is adding the KWave sound editor to the bundle, Marble adds a wallpaper and widget mode, KCharSelect now handles Unicode emoticons, Cantor supports a Julia back-end, Ark archiving improvements, and many other changes.

      • KDE Applications 16.12 Released with Kwave Sound Editor, Advanced Archiving

        Today, December 15, 2016, as expected, KDE announced the general availability of the KDE Applications 16.12 software suite for the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environments on various Linux-based operating systems.

        KDE Applications 16.12 had a short development cycle, since November 10, 2016, when it entered Dependency Freeze stage. A Beta was announced one week later, on November 17, and the Release Candidate build landed two weeks later, on the first day of December. And now, you the final release is here with numerous goodies.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • ValaCAT application current status

        During last weeks I have been working on the application interns and the user interface. I don’t publish anything last week because I was in a festival (Festival Internacional do Mundo Celta de Ortigueira) and I have no internet connection.

        I have create a more Gnome-Shell like UI than the one I show you on the previous mockups and I think that it’s quite cool. I have also created modules to treat with languages, filters and more. You can view and critize the code on the GitHub Repository.

  • Distributions

    • Dedoimedo interviews: MX Linux team

      Behold, for this has never been done before on Dedoimedo. Several readers suggested that I perhaps expand my critique of all things open-source into a more personal dimension. Interviews, babe, interviews. I listened, I agreed, and here we are!

      This is the first such interview attempt on Dedoimedo. First of many to come. Today, we will be conducting a written Q&A session with a member of the MX Linux team. Now, for those wondering who or what this distribution slash project might be, quote: “MX Linux is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS communities, using the best tools and talents from each distro. It is a midweight OS designed to combine an elegant and efficient desktop with simple configuration, high stability, solid performance and medium-sized footprint.” MX Linux caught the attention and high praise of Dedoimedo recently, with a very solid MX-15 release, and I had recently titled it as one of the top Xfce releases of 2016. Let us expand, shall we.

    • Reviews

      • Zorin 12 Core: unpolished diamond

        One of the most anxiously awaited distributions in the Linux world this autumn was Zorin OS. The anxiety was intense, since the last release of Zorin OS 11 stopped receiving any updates long ago because it was based on the non-LTS version of Ubuntu. Zorin OS 12 was finally released on the 18th of November 2016 with the additional release of an updated ISO image on the 20th of November. There were no reports on the official blog about the reasons for the re-release.

      • Best Xfce distro of 2016

        Let us continue where we started with the KDE/Plasma nominations. It is time to vector our all-seeing eye toward another desktop environment – Xfce. Once upon a time, it used to be a bland, boring offering that could not stand up to the likes of Gnome 2 and KDE 3.5. But then, slowly, it emerged from the ashes like a Phoenix, and persistently, steadily earned its place among the big ones, standing tall, stable, sturdy, and just plain good.

        In a way, Xfce now fills the void that was created when Gnome 3 came to life, and many years later, it is still there. But then, Xfce has also left its austerity behind, and it is trying to cater to the modern-era users with all the goodies people expect, without sacrificing its simple approach to fast, no-nonsense computing. So let us see what Year 2016 has blessed us with. To wit, our candidates.

    • New Releases

      • SemiCode OS — New Linux Distro For Programmers And Web Developers

        Very often Linux enthusiasts complain regarding the fragmentation due to hundreds of distributions. Each distribution has its own libraries, kernel configuration, pre-installed software, etc. However, the same variety makes Linux unique. Every person can create his/her own Linux distro and customize it.

        If we take a look at the vast list of various Linux distributions, there are specialized solutions for hackers, power users, artists, and gamers. But, there’s a dearth of distros that claim to serve the unique needs of programmers, probably, because most Linux-based operating systems are customizable and a developers can install all the useful tools in no time.

      • Lumina Desktop moved to Sparky repos

        The latest version of Lumina Desktop 1.1.0 patch1 is available straight from Sparky repos.

      • Proxmox Virtual Environment 4.4 Linux OS Released with New Ceph Dashboard, More

        Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH, the company behind the Debian-based Proxmox Virtual Environment and Proxmox Mail Gateway products, announced the release of the Proxmox VE 4.4 operating system.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • New Tumbleweed snapshot 20161213 released!
      • GNOME, Notmuch update in Tumbleweed

        To state that not much has been happening in openSUSE Tumbleweed is an understatement as there were seven snapshot this week.

        Life, however, is full of surprises and irony and this article just might end with a little.

        The beginning of the week started with snapshot 20161208 that had a change that affects Python users. The update of python3-setuptools to version 30.2.0 dropped support for Python 3.2, which was released in February of 2011. The snapshot also provided an update to Kernel firmware 20161130 with patches affecting Intel Bluetooth.

      • openSUSE:Leap:42.3 started
    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian vs. Fedora, MX Linux Team, 2016 Top Searches

        Today in Linux news Bruce Byfield compared and contrasted two of “the most influential Linux distributions of all time.” While more alike than one imagines, Byfield outlined the differences as why to “pick one over another.” Elsewhere, Dedoimedo interviewed the MX Linux team and discussed Xfce distributions in other posts. Michael Larabel reported today that the FBDEV maintainer has quit and Google blogged of the year’s top searches.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based antiX MX-16 “Metamorphosis” Released, Ships Without Systemd

          The development team behind the Debian-based antiX MX GNU/Linux distribution was pleased to announce the final release of antiX MX-16 “Metamorphosis.”

          Based on the latest stable Debian release, namely Debian GNU/Linux 8.6 “Jessie,” the antiX MX-16 operating system is a major release that comes approximately one year after the previous version, antiX MX-15, and promises to offer users a collection of the latest and greatest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software applications.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Exodus, Tumbleweed a Day, Open Source Notebook

            Two long-time Ubuntu developers have given their notice. It’s probably just a coincidence, but if more leave it could only be bad news. Elsewhere, Tumbleweed has seen five releases in as many days and CoreOS has changed its name. Bash got a new logo and blogger DarkDuck said Zorin OS 12 is a diamond in the rough.

          • Taking a break

            It’s a bit strange to write this blog post in the same week as Martin Pitt is announcing moving on from Canonical. I remember many moments of Martin’s post very vividly and he was one of the first I ran into on my flight to Sydney for Ubuntu Down Under in 2005.

          • The alphabet and pitti end here: Last day at Canonical
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Microsoft quietly emits patch to undo its earlier patch that broke Windows 10 networking

      Microsoft has sneaked out a patch to get Windows 10 PCs back online after an earlier update broke networking for people’s computers around the globe.

      Since the end of last week or so, systems in the UK, US, Europe and beyond automatically installed software from Microsoft via Windows Update that broke DHCP. That meant some computers couldn’t obtain their LAN-side IP addresses from their broadband routers, effectively randomly kicking them off the internet and their own local network. That confused the hell out of a lot of netizens.

    • Dec. 2016 Patch Tuesday: Microsoft releases 12 security bulletins, 6 rated critical

      Congrats for making it through another year of patching Windows! There are 12 this month, 6 rated critical and some which had been publicly disclosed.

    • Researchers Find Vulnerability That Enables Accounting Fraud, PwC Decides The Best Response Is A Legal Threat

      For years now, we’ve noted that some companies apparently think it’s a good idea to punish security researchers that expose vulnerabilities in their products, even when the researchers use the proper channels to report their findings. This kind of absurdity runs hand-in-hand with international attempts to criminalize security research — or the tools researchers use — to do their jobs. Obviously, this kind of behavior has one tangible end result: it makes all of us less secure.

      The latest chapter in this saga of myopic bumbling comes courtesy of PwC, which for whatever reason decided that the best response to a major security flaw found in one of the company’s products was to to fire off a cease and desist letter aimed at the researchers. More specifically, Munich-based ESNC published a security advisory earlier this month documenting how a remotely exploitable bug in a PwC security tool could allow an attacker to gain unauthorized access to an impacted SAP system.

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Things That Make You Go “Hmmm” From Adobe
    • Flaws Found in Security Software, Unlicensed Code

      A flurry of industry surveys have flagged open source and unlicensed software as growing security threats. Moreover, a review released by Flexera Software also found that the very security products designed to protect IT infrastructure are themselves riddled with vulnerabilities embedded in open source software.

      While agreeing that malware is a growing threat, other observers counter that the culprit is the growing use of unlicensed software.

      The Flexera security software survey conducted between August and October found that 11 security software products from vendors such as IBM (NYSE: IBM), McAfee and Splunk showed up on its list of 20 products with the most security vulnerabilities. Hence, the survey emphasizes that software developers need greater visibility into open source components so they can identify vulnerabilities and quickly issue security patches. Those patches are generally available as soon as vulnerabilities are announced.

    • Another Yahoo Security Breach Affects a Billion Accounts

      If you’re a Yahoo user, you should strongly consider closing your account. If you decide to keep your account open, you might as well post your username and password to Facebook and send them out in a tweet, for all the good Yahoo’s security precautions will do for you.

    • ‘Refer a Friend’ Ransomware Program

      If you need any proof that malware is a business much like any other — with the big exception that it’s illegal — all you have to do is look at the latest ploy being used by the currently-in-development ransomware called Popcorn Time that was discovered December 7 by MalwareHunterTeam. The folks behind the malware are incorporating a scheme to drum up business that’s directly from a Marketing 101 textbook.

      If Popcorn Time grabs a computer and encrypts it’s files, the hapless victim is offered two choices to get the data returned to its pristine state. One is the traditional method — the authors of the malware call it “the fast and easy way” — of paying a ransom of a Bitcoin, which is about $773 at the current rate. If the price is too steep for the victim’s pocketbook, there’s another option that the malware authors call “the nasty way,” which is a new twist on the tried and true “refer a friend” promotions that have been used by legitimate businesses forever.

    • ‘Stop using your Netgear router’ says CERT after major vulnerability found

      NETGEAR HAS confirmed that a number of its routers have a security vulnerability which can be triggered by a malicious weblink from one machine on the network allowing a code injection allowing access to every attached device.

      The discovery, VU #582384, which came to light late on Friday, has been validated by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) as affecting models including the R6250, R6400, R6700, R7000, R7100LG, R7300, R7900, and R8000.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Saudi Arabia and Gulf states ‘support Islamic extremism in Germany,’ intelligence report finds

      Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar are supporting extremist Islamic groups in Germany, according to a leaked intelligence report.

      A brief seen by the Süddeutsche Zeitung and broadcasters NDR and WDR raised concern over a reported increase in support for fundamentalist Salafism in Germany, warning that the ideology already has 10,000 followers and is growing.

      The report, by Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency and Federal Intelligence Service (BND) reportedly accused Gulf groups of funding mosques, religious schools, hardline preachers and conversion or “dawah” groups to spread the ideology.

    • EgyptAir crash: Explosives found on victims, say investigators

      Traces of explosives have been found on victims of the EgyptAir plane that crashed into the Mediterranean in May, Egyptian investigators say.

      A criminal investigation would now begin into the crash of the Airbus A320, the civil aviation ministry said.

      Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo plunged into the sea on 19 May killing all 66 people on board.

      A source close to the French investigation says they have doubts about Egypt’s latest findings.

      They told the BBC there had been “difficulties” working with the Egyptian authorities and that their main concern was to see the remains of the French victims returned to France.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Researchers must convince Trump that science matters, interior secretary says

      Scientists will need to speak up about their research and the importance of scientific integrity — or risk not being heard by the incoming administration, said the U.S. interior secretary Sally Jewell at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union today.

      Her talk was a carefully worded call to arms for scientists to become part of the political process. “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” she said. Part of that will require learning how to talk about science not only in the kind of language a layperson can understand, but also in the language of dollars and cents. Communicating science’s value will be critical in order to appeal to an increasingly business-oriented administration.

      “When you have a President-elect of the United States that’s in the real estate development business, your science matters,” she said. “Nobody wants to build a building in harm’s way if they’ve got good data that tells them where they can build it out of harm’s way.”

    • 15,000 mosques are going green

      Morocco is looking ahead to a bright future. Literally.

      The government is installing energy-efficient lights and solar technology in more than 100 mosques in 2016 and plans to expand the program over the next five years to include 15,000 state-funded mosques. That represents nearly 30% of all mosques in the country.

      The so-called “green mosques” initiative is part of Morocco’s ambitious push into renewable energy. It’s spending billions of dollars to wean itself off imported fuel and reduce emissions by ramping up the use of energy efficient technology and renewables.

      As it stands now, nearly 95% of energy in Morocco comes from abroad, according to the International Energy Agency‌.

  • Finance

    • How Donald Trump May Actually Widen the U.S. Trade Deficit

      Donald Trump says his platform for reviving economic growth is designed to slash the nation’s trade deficit, restoring the country’s exports to past glory.

      Instead, he could be about to expand the U.S. trade deficit to levels not seen since the financial crisis. That could fan flames of trade conflict in an increasingly protectionist world.

      Mr. Trump’s plans to boost government spending on infrastructure and cut taxes have spurred a rise in the dollar. If the president-elect delivers on his promised policies, argues William Cline, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the dollar’s likely to strengthen further.

    • Uber appeals against ruling that its UK drivers are workers

      Uber has launched an appeal against a landmark employment tribunal ruling that its minicab drivers should be classed as workers with access to the minimum wage, sick pay and paid holidays.

      The taxi-app company filed papers with the appeal tribunal on Tuesday in an attempt to overturn the October judgment that, if it stands, could affect tens of thousands of workers in the gig economy.

    • Uber ordered to stop self-driving vehicle service in San Francisco

      Uber has been ordered by state regulators to stop using self-driving cars in California, according to the Associated Press, at least until it secures the necessary permit issued by the state to allow companies to test autonomous vehicles on public roads. The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued a statement saying Uber was expected to secure such a permit, but Uber maintained that it did not require this clearance because its vehicles were not fully self-driving and have a driver onboard at all times.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • What Jill Stein’s Recount Effort Actually Accomplished

      Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein’s attempts to recount the election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania are now over.

      Although Stein only secured a complete recount in Wisconsin, she is claiming to have won a victory for voters by exposing weaknesses in the voting system.

      In fact, Stein’s greatest service may have been to validate the Wisconsin results ― and thus demonstrate that voting irregularities did not tip the election in Donald Trump’s favor.

    • Ronna Romney McDaniel tapped to lead RNC

      Ronna Romney McDaniel is President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to become the Republican National Committee chair next year, the RNC said Wednesday.

      Romney McDaniel, who is currently the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party and the niece of 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, will succeed current RNC chair Reince Priebus, who has been tapped to be Trump’s chief of staff.

    • The Russian Bear Uses a Keyboard

      I am about twenty four hours behind on debunking the “evidence” of Russian hacking of the DNC because I have only just stopped laughing. I was sent last night the “crowdstrike” report, paid for by the Democratic National Committee, which is supposed to convince us. The New York Times today made this “evidence” its front page story.

      It appears from this document that, despite himself being a former extremely competent KGB chief, Vladimir Putin has put Inspector Clouseau in charge of Russian security and left him to get on with it. The Russian Bear has been the symbol of the country since the 16th century. So we have to believe that the Russian security services set up top secret hacking groups identifying themselves as “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear”. Whereas no doubt the NSA fronts its hacking operations by a group brilliantly disguised as “The Flaming Bald Eagles”, GCHQ doubtless hides behind “Three Lions on a Keyboard” and the French use “Marianne Snoops”.

      [...]

      Of course there were hacking and phishing attacks on the DNC. Such attacks happen every day to pretty well all of us. There were over 1,050 attacks on my own server two days ago, and many of them often appear to originate in Russia – though more appear to originate in the USA. I attach a cloudfare threat map. It happens to be from a while ago as I don’t have a more up to date one to hand from my technical people. Of course in many cases the computers attacking have been activated as proxies by computers in another country entirely. Crowdstrike apparently expect us to believe that Putin’s security services have not heard of this or of the idea of disguising which time zone you operate from.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Ex-British ambassador who is now a WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Clinton emails – they were handed over to him at a D.C. park by an intermediary for ‘disgusted’ Democratic whistleblowers

      Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a close associate of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, told Dailymail.com that he flew to Washington, D.C. for a clandestine hand-off with one of the email sources in September.

      ‘Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,’ said Murray in an interview with Dailymail.com on Tuesday. ‘The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.’

    • Former NSA Officer William Binney: CIA Lying About Russians Hacking DNC

      Whistleblower William Binney, a former National Security Agency official, is speaking out against the Central Intelligence Agency’s claims that Russia hacked the Democratic Party.

    • Ray McGovern: Russia Election Interference Allegations Don’t Add Up

      in order to help Donald Trump become the next president, but does the evidence back up the accusations? More than a month after his victory, why is the anti-Russia hysteria still being ramped up by the establishment and Democratic Party?

    • US Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims

      All signs point to leaking, not hacking. If hacking were involved, the National Security Agency would know it – and know both sender and recipient.

      In short, since leaking requires physically removing data – on a thumb drive, for example – the only way such data can be copied and removed, with no electronic trace of what has left the server, is via a physical storage device.

    • Anti-Trump groups to protest Electoral College, urging it to change the vote

      A coalition of groups opposed to Donald Trump are planning demonstrations in all 50 state capitals on Monday, targeting the meetings of a historic and much-disputed organization: the Electoral College.

      Their goal is a long shot: persuading enough electors to abandon commitments to vote for Trump, somehow denying him the majority he needs to claim the presidency.

      “Electors were given the responsibility by our Founders to vote for whoever will be the best person for the job as President,” said Democracy Spring organizer Tania Maduro. “Electoral College, only you can save us.”

      Under the U.S. Constitution, voters do not vote directly for presidents; they vote for members of the Electoral College who vote for presidents during post-election meetings in each state. In most cases, candidates who win statewide votes claim all the electors in those states.

    • Michael Moore warns Electoral College that it’s “too dangerous” to vote for Trump

      Michael Moore hopes that the Electoral College will have what he describes as a “Profiles in Courage moment” and deny Donald Trump the White House.

      After saying that Bush was “asleep at the wheel the month before 9/11,” Moore claimed that now “we have a president-elect who doesn’t even want to get behind the wheel. This is actually worse. He’s putting all of us in danger,” during his interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Tuesday.

      Moore, who took Trump seriously often, also expressed concern that Trump could “take away our constitutional rights” should some crisis break out early in his administration.

      “I want my fellow Americans, regardless of if they’re Democrats, Republicans, whatever you are, we have to come together and say, ‘This man cannot be at the helm of this ship,’” Moore urged his fellow Americans in the event that that happened.

    • Harvard law professor says ’30′ Republican electors ready to block Donald Trump win

      As many as 30 Republican members of the Electoral College are willing to break their pledge and vote against Donald Trump in order to block him from becoming the US President, according to a Harvard University law professor.

      Larry Lessig, who was himself briefly a candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination, has been offering legal support to electors on their right to “vote their conscience” – that is, to reject the mandate given to them by the winner of the popular vote in their specific state.

      Most states bind their electors to the popular vote by state law, but Mr Lessig said there was precedent to say these are federal officials, granted powers by the federal constitution, who should “be able to exercise their independent and nonpartisan judgement about who to vote for”.

    • 40 Electoral College members demand briefing on Russian interference

      Forty members of the Electoral College on Tuesday signed a letter demanding an intelligence briefing on Russian interference in the election ahead of their Dec. 19 vote.

      Ten electors originally signed the letter when it was published Monday, and 30 more have since added their names.

      The open letter — led by Christine Pelosi, the daughter of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) — urged Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to give a detailed briefing on President-elect Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

    • Silicon Valley ready to play defense on Trump

      Addressing some of tech industry’s top leaders on Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump vowed to make their companies soar.

      “I’m here to help you folks do well,” he said.

      When it comes to Silicon Valley’s wish list for immigration reform, however, many voices in the industry aren’t so sure.

      Trump’s unexpected win has shaken up the immigration battle in the tech community, deflating the high hopes of reformers and forcing them to ready a defense.

    • Trump: ‘We’re going to start saying Merry Christmas again’

      In the days leading up to his inauguration, President-elect Donald Trump is making a lot of promises to voters.

      The latest: “We’re going to start saying Merry Christmas again.”

      At a stop in Grand Rapids, Mich., on his victory tour around the U.S., Trump heralded the Christian holiday and commented that around the holidays department stores put up decorations such as bells, red walls and fake snow and but “They don’t have have Merry Christmas.’”

    • Monica Crowley, Fox News Personality, to Join Trump’s National Security Council

      Monica Crowley, a conservative radio host and Fox News analyst, is expected to be tapped by the Trump administration to be a deputy national security advisor, two sources familiar with the pick said.

      The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the choice. Crowley did not immediately return a request for comment.

      Crowley, a self-described “happy warrior,” a loyal Trump supporter and advocate, had also been floated as a possible pick for White House press secretary.

    • Recounts Are Only as Good as They Are Allowed to Be

      The existence of paper ballots is generally touted as the ultimate backstop guaranteeing the integrity of American elections, because “if there is a problem or any doubts, those ballots can always be recounted.”

      They can be — but will they be?

      Now we have seen three “recounts” up close and learned that, in practice, this amounts to a false and dangerous assurance. The effort to recount these ballots, where they do exist, has been blocked, subverted, and turned into a sham in each of the three states in which it has been attempted this month.

    • The oil and gas industry is quickly amassing power in Trump’s Washington

      After eight years of being banished and sometimes vilified by the Obama administration, the fossil fuel industry is enjoying a remarkable resurgence as its executives and lobbyists shape President-elect Donald Trump’s policy agenda and staff his administration.

      The oil, gas and coal industries are amassing power throughout Washington — from Foggy Bottom, where ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson is Trump’s nominee to be secretary of state, to domestic regulatory agencies including the departments of Energy and Interior as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.

      “It feels like the grizzly bear in ‘The Revenant’ has been suddenly pulled off our chest,” said Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association.

    • The ticking time bomb in Pennsylvania’s election system

      Whether it happens this month or not, the electronic voting systems in our state must undergo a full forensic evaluation by independent computer security experts. Without that evaluation and subsequent changes both in the machines and the procedures for using them, votes cast for our local, state and federal government will always be at risk for error or manipulation, and we can never be fully certain that the outcomes of our elections reflect the will of the voters.

      A number of years ago, I acquired two different electronic voting machines (known as DREs) from government surplus sales – the type used in Philadelphia County and the type used in Montgomery County – and, with Lehigh students, dismantled and examined them. In my assessment, none of the DREs used in Pennsylvania are capable of retaining a permanent physical record of each vote cast, which is required by the Pennsylvania Election Code. Many of the voting machines used in Pennsylvania, including those used in Philadelphia, create no permanent, physical record of each vote cast – in other words, these machines leave no paper trail.

    • Why Are the Media Taking the CIA’s Hacking Claims at Face Value?

      In 1977, Carl Bernstein published an exposé of a CIA program known as Operation Mockingbird, a covert program involving, according to Bernstein, “more than 400 American journalists who in the past 25 years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency.” Bernstein found that in “many instances” CIA documents revealed that “journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.”

      Fast-forward to December 2016, and one can see that there isn’t much need for a covert government program these days. The recent raft of unverified, anonymously sourced and circumstantial stories alleging that the Russian government interfered in the US presidential election with the aim of electing Republican Donald J. Trump shows that today too much of the media is all too happy to do overtly what the CIA had it once paid it to do covertly: regurgitate the claims of the spy agency and attack the credibility of those who question it.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Self-censorship is worst form of censorship: Taslima Nasreen

      For noted Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who has faced the ire of fundamentalists on several ocassions, self-censorship is the worst form of censorship.

      With attacks against writers, minority religious leaders, and atheist bloggers on the rise in Bangladesh, Nasreen says many authors have now been forced to resort to self-censorship to avoid facing fatal consequences.

      “In our part of the world we have problems regarding freedom of expression. Many people do not speak what they want to. And, most writers in Bangladesh now self-censor themselves. Otherwise they will be hacked to death. But, for me it is the worst form of censorship,” she said.

    • Ethiopia Offline: Evidence of Social Media Blocking and Internet Censorship in Ethiopia

      Waves of protests against the government have taken place across various parts of Ethiopia since November 2015. These protests have consistently been quashed by Ethiopian security forces using excessive, sometimes lethal, force, which led to scores of injuries and deaths. The crackdown on protests was accompanied by increasingly severe restrictions on access to information and communications in large parts of the country by cutting off internet access, slowing down connections and blocking social media websites.

    • Ethiopia: Evidence of social media blocking and internet censorship

      Recently we published a post about what appeared to be a possible internet shutdown in Ethiopia during a wave of ongoing protests by ethnic groups. Today, in collaboration with Amnesty International we are releasing a report that includes evidence of recent censorship events during Ethiopia’s political upheaval.

    • Two Yle journalists resign citing limits on freedom of speech

      Two Yle journalists have resigned from the company over what they say are restrictions on their freedom of speech and a working culture hostile to journalistic practices. The two had published stories about Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s family links to a subcontractor of the state-owned and state-subsidised ex-Talvivaara mine, but disputed editorial decisions to shelve follow-up stories.

    • Anglophone journalists hit back against Cameroon government ‘censorship’

      Anglophone journalists in Cameroon have condemned a government order banning all radio and television discussions on the political situation in the English-speaking South-West Region.

      The order signed by the South-West Regional Delegate of Communication, Muma Rosette Bih, called on private media owners to respect the government’s “social communication and editorial policy.”

    • The League Against Silence wants to overcome self-censorship in Colombia

      “We are going to make a confession: in Colombia, journalists publish much less than what they know.” Thus begins the promotion video of the newly-formed network of journalists called The League Against Silence, which, through its first activity, is seeking resources to cover the most self-censored issues in the country.

      The confession from the journalists does not seek controversy. What the league wants is to generate debate and solutions for one of the most serious problems facing Colombian journalists, especially those in the interior of the country: self-censorship.

    • It is time to talk about film censorship in India

      The rules that are followed by the censorship committee are those which have been presented to us by the government. Nothing has changed, and it is certainly not arbitrary. It is a myth that the film Befikre went without any cuts. Our job is to suggest edits to the producers and they can make the changes and send the film back for reconsideration. 82 per cent of the films (Bollywood or otherwise) have been passed without any cuts, so we are very fair. Also I don’t make the decision alone. The film is put up for review to a committee where every member gets a say. Only unanimous decisions based on conscience are passed. Otherwise they film is sent to a review committee. Our job is not to look into the implications of Freedom of Expression — only to review objectionable content.

    • Censors are becoming celebrities

      If there were a rogues’ gallery for all those who have made significant contributions to the recent decline in global democracy, it would prominently feature Dmitry Kiselyov and Lu Wei.

      As Vladimir Putin’s chief propagandist, Mr. Kiselyov bears considerable responsibility for ushering in what some call the post-truth era, in which lies, fabrications and fake news increasingly shape the political debate in dictatorships and democracies alike. And until recently, Mr. Lu was the field marshal of China’s ambitious system of internet censorship. As the boss of a vast thought-control bureaucracy, he is credited with perfecting an Orwellian structure of information regulation of unprecedented scope and complexity.

      A free press and access to information are the crown jewels of modern democracy. Honest elections, fair trials, equality before the law — all are vulnerable without dedicated and ethical journalists and laws that protect the press from dangerous laws proposed by people of bad faith.

      Censorship and propaganda were once regarded as sources of shame, even in authoritarian settings, and the officials who carried out these shabby projects were shadowy figures unknown to the outside world. In the 21st century, however, things have changed.

    • YouTube Censorship 2016: North Korea Channel KCTV Blocked For Violating Community Guidelines
    • YouTube blocks North Korea’s state-run propaganda channel
    • YouTube blocks North Korean channel to avoid breaching sanctions
    • Miss World’s obscene pro-China censorship
    • Attempts to Silence Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin Give More Attention to Her Message
    • This Beauty Queen Is Being Silenced by Miss World and It’s Shady AF
    • Amazon Prime Video Is Censoring Content in India, and Badly
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Shadow Brokers may be selling NSA cyber tools on new underground site

      The Shadow Brokers hacker group, believed to be behind the high-profile cyber theft of NSA cyber tools, now appears to have put up the stolen cyber weapons for direct sale on an underground site, according to a report. A newly uncovered site reportedly contains a file with the cryptographic signature of the Shadow Brokers, indicating that the hacker group has abandoned its auction and is now moving to directly sell the NSA hacking tools.

    • Vehicle-to-vehicle communication rule finally proposed by the government

      Nearly three years after it was first mooted, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Tuesday that will mandate vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communication systems in all new cars and trucks. Once the rule is finalized, car makers will have two model years to begin including V2V systems, with some added leeway for product cycles. V2V-equipped cars will communicate with each other at short ranges to prevent the kinds of accidents where current advanced driver assistance systems, most of which depend on line of sight, aren’t effective.

    • AWS: the first rule of the new data centre is don’t talk about the new data centre

      YOU MIGHT HAVE thought that Amazon Web Services (AWS) would be delighted to tell the nation all about its newly announced UK data centre on BBC Radio 4′s flagship Today news programme. Not a bit of it.

      “So, where’s it going to be?” asked the interviewer, Dominic O’Connell.

      “I’d love to tell you where it is but I’d have to kill you,” chortled Gavin Jackson managing director of AWS UK and Ireland, clearly enjoying himself.

      “Our customers’ security is our top priority so we don’t want to describe where it is or anything like that.”

      So how big is it, asked the interviewer, lamely.

    • Starting next year, Evernote employees could access your unencrypted notes

      Evernote has published an update to its Privacy Policy, revealing that as of 23 January 2017, employees will be able to access unencrypted notes. The change is being wheeled in because of the apparent failings of machine learning.

      Perhaps more worrying is the fact that Evernote says that it is not possible to opt out of having employees possibly accessing your unencrypted notes. The only way to fully protect your privacy is to delete all your notes and close your Evernote account.

      The update to the Privacy Policy starts off sounding fairly innocuous: “The latest update to the Privacy Policy allows some Evernote employees to exercise oversight of machine learning technologies applied to account content, subject to the limits described below, for the purposes of developing and improving the Evernote service”.

    • 150 Filmmakers Ask Nikon and Canon to Sell Encrypted Cameras

      In the summer of 2013, when documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was shooting a still-secret NSA leaker named Edward Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel room, she took security seriously. She’d periodically transfer her footage to encrypted hard drives, and would later go so far as to destroy the SD cards onto which her camera recorded. But as she watched Snowden through her lens, she was haunted by the possibility that security agents might barge through the door at any moment to seize her camera. And the memory card inside of it remained dangerously unencrypted, full of unedited confessions of a whistleblower who hadn’t yet gotten his secrets out to the world.

    • Over 150 filmmakers and photojournalists call on major camera manufacturers to build encryption into their cameras

      Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation is publishing an open letter to the world’s leading camera manufacturers—including Nikon, Sony, Canon, Olympus, and Fuji—urging them to build encryption into their still photo and video cameras to help protect the filmmakers and photojournalists who use them.

      The letter is signed by over 150 documentary filmmakers and photojournalists from around the world, including fifteen Academy Award nominees and winners, such as Laura Poitras, Alex Gibney, Joshua Oppenheimer, and many more. You can read the full text below.

    • Edward Snowden says “the central problem of the future” is control of user data

      Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey interviewed Edward Snowden today, and the big topic was technology.

      During the Q&A (which was broadcast live from the Pardon Snowden Periscope account) Snowden discussed the data that many online companies continue to collect about their users, creating a “quantified world” — and more opportunities for government surveillance.

      “If you are being tracked, this is something you should agree to, this is something you should understand, this is something you should be aware of and can change at any time,” he said.

    • Django debates privacy concern

      In recent years, privacy issues have become a growing concern among free-software projects and users. As more and more software tasks become web-based, surveillance and tracking of users is also on the rise. While some software may use advertising as a source of revenue, which has the side effect of monitoring users, the Django community recently got into an interesting debate surrounding a proposal to add user tracking—actually developer tracking—to the popular Python web framework.

    • Pardon Edward Snowden
    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden sends strong anti-surveillance message to Donald Trump

      In a clear message to US President-elect Donald Trump, the famed National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden has said that government surveillance programmes will create “vulnerabilities” for social media users.

      “The same technologies that are being used to connect us, to tie us together, to let you listen to this right now, are also being used to make records about your activity. Recording the activities of someone creates vulnerabilities for them,” Snowden said during a question-and-answer session with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey CEO on the live video app Periscope owned by the micro-blogging site.

    • Snowden ‘not worried’ about fate under Trump

      Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden says he is not worried about his fate and future under US President-elect Donald Trump, who assumes office in January.

      “I’m not worried,” Snowden said in an interview with Twitter on Tuesday, when asked if he is worried a Trump presidency could lead to his imprisonment. “I’m comfortable with the decisions that I made. I believe that I did the right thing.”

    • Snowden Says Accepts Possibility of Extradition to US

      Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he was “not OK” with the possibility of being extradited to the United States but had to accept it.

    • Snowden: Donald Trump could get pal Putin to kick me out of Russia

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned Donald Trump, as US President, could do a deal with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to extradite or imprison the whistleblower.

      In an hour-long live-streamed video interview on Periscope with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey today, Snowden argued the US had trapped him in Russia when it cancelled his passport. The ex-NSA IT nerd added the incoming White House administration – which seemingly has better relations with the Russian government than the Obama regime – may be able to get him kicked out of the country and delivered into the hands of Uncle Sam, or otherwise imprisoned.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • French State of Emergency: same player, play again

      The French National Assembly and Senate are about to extend the state of emergency established in France one year ago, on 13 November 2015, for the fith consecutive time. PM Bernard Cazeneuve’s administration is requesting a renewal until 15 July 2017 with no guarantee that this state of emergency will end. France is settling into a permanent state of Human Rights suspension and in limitations of civil liberties that become more difficult to block everyday. La Quadrature du Net is calling on MPs to deny this renewal and return to the Rule of Law and the respect of rights and liberties, in this period of crucial elections.

    • Women fight back after being BANNED from streets by Muslim men

      FRENCH women have launched a fightback to reclaim areas of the country turned into no go zones by Muslim men as a shocking report lays bare the state of social segregation caused by mass migration.

    • Devastating New Evidence on Sharia Courts
    • Sharia courts have no place in UK family law. Listen to women who know
    • The Sharia debate in the UK: who will listen to our voices?
    • Jakarta’s Governor Ahok hears blasphemy indictment as court guarded by hundreds of police

      In the indictment read to the North Jakarta District Court, prosecutors argued the Christian and ethnic Chinese Basuki Tjahaja Purnama deliberately committed an action that was hateful, abusive and blasphemous.

      The crime carries a maximum five years in prison.

      The Governor, better known as Ahok, is facing a local governors election in February next year.

      After the indictment was read, Ahok, who is represented by a team of 80 lawyers, told the court he could not understand why he was charged with blasphemy.

      “I beg your honour to consider my defence note and consider whether charges by the prosecutor can be accepted or if you reject it so I can go back to serve Jakarta and build the city,” Ahok, told the court.

      “I had no intention to interpret Al-Maidah or commit blasphemy against Islam or insult the clerics,” he said, referring to the fifth chapter of the Koran.

      “My intention was solely for the rogue politicians who use the verse incorrectly during the election.”

    • German Defense Minister Refusing to Wear Hijab Causes Saudi Outrage

      Controversy arose after German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her entourage refused to wear hijab head coverings or the full length abaya garment while visiting Riyadh last week.

      Von der Leyen said that she “respect[s] the customs and traditions of the country,” but added that, “No woman in my delegation will be required to wear the abaya, as the [right] to choose one’s attire is a right shared by men and women equally,” according to Iran Front Page.

    • Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, and the Modern Whistle-Blower

      In the summer of 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara commissioned a group of thirty-six scholars to write a secret history of the Vietnam War. The project took a year and a half, ran to seven thousand pages, and filled forty-seven volumes. Only a handful of copies were made, and most were kept under lock and key in and around the Beltway. One set, however, ended up at the RAND Corporation, in Santa Monica, where it was read, from start to finish, by a young analyst there named Daniel Ellsberg.

    • NSA Watchdog Removed for Whistleblower Retaliation

      Until just a few months ago, George Ellard occupied a position of trust as top watchdog of the National Security Agency, America’s principal collector of signals intelligence. Ellard was not only NSA’s Inspector General, but an outspoken critic of Edward Snowden, the former contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified emails to publicly expose the agency’s domestic surveillance program. Snowden claimed, among other things, that his concerns about NSA’s domestic eavesdropping were ignored by the agency, and that he feared retaliation. Ellard publicly argued in 2014 that Snowden could have safely reported the allegations of NSA’s domestic surveillance directly to him.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Things Heat Up In WIPO Debate On Patents And Health

      The World Intellectual Property Organization patent law committee this week became the latest venue for the global debate over the system to provide incentives to the pharmaceutical industry to find new medicines while ensuring all patients have access to those medicines. Most developing countries want the committee to discuss the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, while most developed countries disagree. The tone is rising, and the issue could come as a hurdle as countries decide the future work of the committee.

    • Group Finds Discrepancies In Implementation Of Nagoya Protocol Between EU, Providers

      A new report by two civil society groups explores what they say are discrepancies between European Union and provider country laws implementing the Nagoya Protocol on genetic resources, which they say could lead to legal uncertainties for users and providers.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • CEIPI/EAO Conference–”Copyright Enforcement in the Online World”

        The conference ended with the panel discussion on future perspectives on copyright enforcement online with the participation of Julia Reda, MEP for the Pirate Party, Rüdiger Dossow, Secretary to PACE Committee of Culture, Science, Education and Media,ilvia Grundmann, Head of Media and Internet Governance Division of the Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe, Cécile Despringre, Executive Director of the Society of Audiovisual Authors, and Giancarlo Frosio and Prof Sean O’Connor from the CEIPI.”

      • Music Industry Pressures Trump on Piracy Ahead of Silicon Valley Meeting

        Donald Trump will meet with some of the biggest technology companies during a round-table discussion in New York this afternoon. Ahead of the meeting the RIAA and an A to Z of music groups have written an open letter to the president-elect, pressing him over piracy and the protection of intellectual property rights.

      • Court Protects BitTorrent Pirate From Overaggressive Filmmakers

        Filmmakers and other rightsholders should not be allowed to aggressively exploit copyright law for financial gain. In a recent court order, an Oregon Judge denied the makers of The Cobbler a request for more than $17,000 in attorney fees, arguing that individual downloaders don’t have to pay for more than their fair share of the piracy problem.

      • US Government Publishes New Plan to Target Pirate Sites

        The US Government has just released its new Joint Strategic Plan for Intellectual Property Enforcement. There’s a strong “follow the money” emphasis alongside cracking down on pirate advertising, domain hopping, search engine results, and abuse of social media.

      • Court orders ISPs to block rights-infringing websites

        Foxtel and Village Roadshow have succeeded in their bid in the Federal Court to force ISPs to block a number of sites they say are infringing their copyright.

        The court handed down its judgement this afternoon in the case which was filed by Foxtel and Village Roadshow in February.

        ISPs were required to block The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt and SolarMovie, according to the court ruling.

        But Federal Court Judge John Nicholas did not grant the copyright holders leave to issue out-of-court orders to carriers to block any other sites.

12.14.16

Links 14/12/2016: CrossOver 16, GNOME 3.23.3, and KDevelop 4.7.4 released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Voice of the Masses: What are you most looking forward to in 2017?

    So 2016 is almost over, and we’ll soon be recording our last podcast of the year. We could use this time to reflect on the last 12 months, but isn’t it far more exciting to think about the future? The answer is yes.

    On that basis, we want to hear from you: what Linuxy or FOSSy thing are you most looking forward to in 2017? Perhaps it’s a new release of your favourite distro, or an update to a killer app that you depend on. (Gimp 2.10, anyone?) Maybe you hope to see Linux grab 3% of the desktop market share, or something else entirely. Simply input your musings into the comment box below and we’ll read out the best in our podcast, fuelled by Glühwein and plenty of Christmas cheer.

  • Server

    • CoreOS Linux Rebranded as Container Linux, as Kubernetes Goes Self-Service

      CoreOS is coming full circle, bringing established capabilities to its Tectonic platform, which provides a commercially supported distribution of the open-source Kubernetes container management system.

    • How Getting Your Project in the CNCF Just Got Easier

      Managing and making sense of these new, cloud-native architectures is something that the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) aims to help make easier for developers worldwide. On today’s episode of The New Stack Makers podcast, we talk with CNCF Executive Director Dan Kohn and CNCF Chief Operating Officer Chris Aniszczyk about the direction of the CNCF and cloud-native computing as a whole. The interview took place at KubeCon/CloudNativeCon, which took place last month in Seattle.

    • Open Source Helps Drive Cloud Adoption Says 2016 Future of Cloud Survey

      Scalability, agility, cost, and innovation are the main factors driving cloud adoption, according to the 6th annual Future of Cloud Computing study released today by North Bridge Venture Partners and Wikibon analysts. And, this year, mobile and open source are twice as likely to be cited as a drivers for cloud computing as they were in 2015.

    • New survey reveals a surge in cloud-first adoption strategies

      Infrastructure-as-a-service is close behind, with 58 percent of respondents using it for at least some computing task and 53 percent for storage. Platform-as-a-service has the lowest adoption rate (45 percent) but is expected to grow the fastest, with planned usage increasing by 19 percent over the next two years on top of 33 percent growth in just the past year.

    • Of automation and autonomy: Open-source tool automates cloud deployment (with layovers)

      The more processes developers and engineers can automate, techies say, the faster and more advanced their applications will become. However, certain processes are not yet ripe to have human brains taken completely out of the equation. Deploying code to the cloud is one of those tasks that benefit from a mix of automation and human oversight — does this open-source tool strike the perfect balance?

      Dianne Marsh, director of engineering tools at Netflix Inc., spoke about the open-source cloud tool she helped create, called Spinnaker, a Continuous Delivery platform. Her efforts on the technology were recognized at CloudNOW, the 5th Annual “Top 10 Women in Cloud” Innovation Awards. CloudNOW is a non-profit consortium of leading women in cloud computing and converging technologies.

    • Guide to the Open Cloud: The State of IaaS and PaaS

      The Linux Foundation recently announced the release of its 2016 report “Guide to the Open Cloud: Current Trends and Open Source Projects.” This third annual report provides a comprehensive look at the state of open cloud computing. You can download the report now, and one of the first things to notice is that it aggregates and analyzes research, illustrating how trends in containers, microservices, and more shape cloud computing. In fact, from IaaS to virtualization to DevOps configuration management, it provides descriptions and links to categorized projects central to today’s open cloud environment.

    • Monitoring Those Hard-to-Reach Places: Linux, Java, Oracle and MySQL

      Today’s IT environments are increasingly heterogeneous, with Linux, Java, Oracle and MySQL considered nearly as common as traditional Windows environments. In many cases, these platforms have been integrated into an organization’s Windows-based IT department by way of an acquisition of a company that leverages one of those platforms. In other cases, the applications may have been part of the IT department for years, but managed by a separate department or singular administrator.

      Still, whether it’s a perception of required specialization, frustration over these platforms’ many version permutations or just general uncertainty and doubt, Linux, Java, Oracle and MySQL create mass monitoring confusion and are routinely considered “hard to reach” for even a seasoned IT professional. This problem goes both ways (when monitoring Windows is actually the unnatural element) but for the most part, IT shops are primarily Windows-based and consistently struggle to monitor these more niche platforms.

    • AWS Sets Cloud Networking Example For IT Organizations

      Industry standard servers have played a big role in reducing the cost of networking across the enterprise. But there is a fair amount of nuance that needs to be appreciated to understand how to achieve that goal. One of the best examples is the way Amazon Web Services offloads network services from industry standard servers.

      AWS has the largest amount of x86 server infrastructure on the planet. But even with all that infrastructure, AWS spent several million dollars developing its own network infrastructure to offload networking functions from those servers. At the recent AWS re:invent 2016 conference, James Hamilton, vice president and distinguished engineer for AWS, described how AWS is employing custom 25G routers and 10G network interface controller (NIC) cards based on commodity processors to scale networking services in the cloud.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Linux 4.9, Mint Plasma 5.8, Year in Games

        Clement Lefebvre blogged Sunday of Plasma 5.8 LTS coming to Linux Mint. He said thanks to the Kubuntu team Mint users can upgrade through the Kubuntu repositories or wait for Mint 18.1. He said 18.1 could be delayed if necessary if 5.8.4 isn’t ready by earlier estimates. For those wanting to help test, Lefebvre posted the instructions. He further stated that if not for the Kubuntu team, there’d probably be no KDE version for Mint. The Kubuntu team is also looking for testers using that distro as well.

      • KDE Plasma 5.8

        Second, because Kubuntu is an essential part of what we provide with Mint KDE. I know some of you mistakenly think we could base on top of Neon, or simply package KDE ourselves but realistically, we cannot. Our KDE community is small, packaging KDE represents a huge commitment and because Plasma 5 is still reaching maturity it’s a continuous process which cannot get frozen for an entire 2 years. At the same time, we have high expectations, stability is important to us and if we do something it has to work. With this in mind, if it wasn’t for Kubuntu and their Backport PPA, I don’t think there would be a KDE edition in Linux Mint.

      • Kubuntu and Linux Mint doing Plasma 5.8 testing
      • KDevelop 4.7.4 released

        Hello!

        I have the pleasure to announce the new stable release of KDevelop 4.7.4. This is a bug fix release increasing the stability of our (older) KDE4 based branch.

        The most important fix and the main reason for this release is making the KDE4 branch compatible with behavior changes in code generated by GCC6 which lead to crashes in KDevelop (https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=360707).

      • KDevelop 4.7.4 Open-Source IDE Improves GCC 6 Support, Fixes Long-Standing Bugs

        Today, December 13, 2016, the development team behind the open-source and cross-platform KDevelop IDE (Integrated Development Environment) software announced a new maintenance update for the older stable KDevelop 4.7 series.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Improving notifications in GNOME

        Like a lot of people, I was really happy with the big notification redesign that landed in 3.16. However, I’ve been itching to return to notifications for a little while, in order to improve what we have there. Prompted by some conversations we had during the Core Apps Hackfest last month, I finally got around to spending a bit of time on this.

      • GNOME 3.23.3 released

        GNOME 3.23.3, the second development release in the GNOME 3.24 cycle,
        is now available. Major changes include gnome-settings-daemon 3.23.2,
        which splits plugins out into separate helper daemons instead of
        running all of the code in process, and gjs 1.47.3, which now depends
        on SpiderMonkey 31 instead of SpiderMonkey 24 and is an important first
        step towards upgrading to a secure and supported JavaScript engine. We
        now have new parallel-installable *mm packages based on the new
        libsigcplusplus 3.0 API/ABI, which also paves the way to use GTK+ 4
        from C++, although GTK+ 4 and the new gtkmm are not yet included in
        this release due to problems with a dependency. We have temporarily
        downgraded NetworkManager to the latest stable release due to a build
        issue. gnome-shell is upgraded to version 3.23.2.

      • GNOME 3.23.3 Released
      • GNOME 3.23.3 Desktop Environment Released, Paves the Way for Using GTK+ 4

        We’ve just been informed by GNOME Project’s Michael Catanzaro about the general availability of the third development release in the GNOME 3.24 desktop environment cycle.

      • GNOME Music 3.24 App to Use Grilo for Storing Metadata, Get Major Revamp

        The GNOME development team have released the third snapshot of the upcoming GNOME 3.24 desktop environment, due for release next year on March 22, and includes a new unstable build of GNOME Music, versioned 3.23.3.

        At the very end of last week, long-time GNOME developer Georges Basile Stavracas Neto wrote an interesting blog post about the future of the GNOME Music app, a music player distributed as part of the GNOME Stack, from where it results that the open-source software project needs a total revamp.

      • Overview of the VP9 video codec

        When I first looked into video codecs (back when VP8 was released), I imagined them being these insanely complex beasts that required multiple PhDs to understand. But as I quickly learned, video codecs are quite simple in concept. Now that VP9 is gaining support from major industry players (see supporting statements in December 2016 from Netflix and Viacom), I figured it’d be useful to explain how VP9 works.

      • A Nice Overview Of The VP9 Codec By A GNOME Developer

        For those interested in learning more low-level details about Google’s open-source, royalty-free VP9 video codec, GNOME developer Ronald Bultje has provided a nice overview.

        If you are looking for some nighttime technical reading, Bultje’s lengthy blog post covers the impact of VP9, its approach to video coding, and its algorithms for offering better performance over older video codecs.

      • GNOME’s Epiphany 3.23.3 Web Browser Disables HTTPS Everywhere By Default

        Epiphany 3.23.3 was tagged on Monday as the newest development release of this web-browser update being aligned for GNOME 3.24.

        Epiphany 3.23.3 has disabled its experimental HTTPS Everywhere support by default and it’s also disabled by default the experimental Firefox Sync support. While disabled by default, the Firefox Sync support was improved in this release with better error handling. There were also improvements for its HTTPS Everywhere support, but still not good enough for keeping it on by default yet.

      • Latest Epiphany Snapshot Disables Firefox Sync and HTTPS Everywhere by Default

        As part of the third development release of the GNOME 3.24 desktop environment, versioned 3.23.3, the team responsible for the open-source Epiphany web browser just released a new unstable build.

        Yes, we’re talking about Epiphany 3.23.3, which seems to be a major milestone implementing lots of bug fixes and general improvements. First off, it appears that this build disables the experimental Firefox Sync and HTTPS Everywhere functionalities by default, but they’ll most certainly make a comeback before the final release hits the streets.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Linux Kernel 4.9 Now Live for Linux Lite 3.2 Users, Here’s How to Install It Now

        Linux Lite developer Jerry Bezencon informs Softpedia today about the availability of the recently released Linux 4.9 kernel for users of the Linux Lite 3.2 operating system.

        We know that you’re currently enjoying your brand-new Linux Lite 3.2 installation with all of its awesome new features and improvements, but if you’ve ever dreamed of having the latest Linux kernel packages installed for some reason, you can now install Linux kernel 4.9, but only if you’re running the 64-bit edition of the OS.

      • Rockstor Announcing 3.8.16
      • Proxmox VE 4.4 released

        We’re excited to announce the release of Proxmox VE 4.4! The new version of our virtualization software contains great improvements, especially increasing usability, reliability and scalability.

    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • How an open leader achieves work/life balance

        Becoming an open leader means becoming attuned to the intricate ways that complex and ever-moving systems structure our daily lives. As I’ve argued, open leaders are masters of balancing multiple parts of those systems strategically—not only as part of various projects at work, but also in other aspects of their lives.

      • Popular CentOS Linux server gets a major refresh

        CentOS doesn’t get many headlines. But it’s still the server Linux of choice for many hosting companies, data centers, and businesses with in-house Linux experts. That’s because CentOS, which is controlled by Red Hat, is a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone. As such, it reaps the benefits of RHEL’s business Linux development efforts without RHEL’s costs.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Receives Security Certification
      • Enterprise Linux 7.1 meets NIST crypto standards
      • Red Hat Completes FIPS 140-2 Certifications for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

        -Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 has received nine Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 security certifications from the U.S. federal government’s National Institute of Standards and Practices (NIST). These certifications, achieved in 2016, emphasize Red Hat’s focus on delivering a more secure foundation for mission-critical systems, building upon Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1’s recent achievement of a Common Criteria security certification at Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) 4+ as the first certified operating system to offer Linux Container Framework Support.

      • KeyBank Goes Cloud-Native, Builds a DevOps Practice and Chooses Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Review: Fedora 25 – The Trail Blazer that is Blazing Fast

          Not long after being released to the wild, I decided it was time to retire old faithful Ubuntu GNOME in favour of Fedora 25 on my main laptop (an Optimus equipped machine). The Ubuntu install had served me very well indeed, but with Fedora’s latest offering featuring the latest stable version of GNOME and Wayland now being used by default, it was a rabbit hole I decided to delve into…

          In reality, the whole process is not quite so dramatic. When replacing one Linux distro for another, as long as you do all the usual sane backups and the distro you are replacing your old one with does all things you need it to, it’s not such a big deal. After all, it’s essentially one Linux for another Linux and most of your usual apps and tools will be available in one way or another.

          Still, replacing a perfectly stable install of Ubuntu GNOME that had served me well for a good two years (even surviving a few Ubuntu version upgrades in the process) for both work and play probably seems a bit risky for a fresh new version of Fedora. And let’s be honest, when it comes to new releases of Fedora, you never know quite what you are going to get. But in a way, that is part of the fun of it. Perhaps, I also had an itch for adventure.

          So, how did Fedora 25 fare and how is it still faring, in my everyday use? Read on…

        • More Fedora 26 Change Proposals: Ruby, Golang 1.8, Go PIE, ZF3

          While the changes need to be cleared by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo), the latest proposals look like they’re relatively safe to assume they’ll be accepted for this next major Fedora Linux release due out in 2017. The latest feature talk includes:

          - Golang 1.8. The Go Language v1.8 release is due out in February so should be safe to land for Fedora 26 in providing the latest Go support.

        • Fedora Docker Layered Image Build Service Now Available

          It is with great pleasure that the Fedora Project Announces the availability of the Fedora Docker Layered Image Build Service to the Fedora Contributor Community!

          With this announcement we open the availability of the Docker Layered Image Build Service for the Docker Layered Images. The Fedora Cloud WG has been the primary maintainers of this project on GitHub. But now the service is available in dist-git as official components of Fedora. From there we will extend an invitation to all Fedora Contributors to maintain Docker Layered Image Containers for official release by the Fedora Project. Currently this effort is to enable the Fedora Cloud/Atomic Working Group goals of targeting Fedora Atomic Host as a primary deliverable to power the future of Cloud. This is also to enable the Fedora Modularity work be delivered as Containers in the future as Fedora becomes fundamentally more modular in nature.

        • F25 Release Event Samos – Event Report

          I started with an introduction to the distribution and to the project as a whole. I explained the plethora of options being offered to our end users (Fedora Spins, Fedora Labs, Alternate Architectures). I passed the torch to Zacharias, who briefly spoke about Fedora.next before giving an in-depth look at the latest features. We then discussed about contribution opportunities.

        • Fedora-Based OLPC (One Laptop per Child) Linux OS 13.2.8 Is Out with Sugar 0.110

          OLPC (One Laptop per Child) OS developer James Cameron announced the availability of a new stable update for the Fedora-based GNU/Linux operating system used by default on those low-cost, connected OLPC laptops designed for children.

          OLPC OS 13.2.8 is now the latest version of the distribution, and while it’s shipping with the newest Sugar 0.110 interface as default desktop environment, it appears to be based on a very old Fedora release, namely Fedora Linux 18, which was launched almost four years ago, on January 15, 2013.

        • Fedora 23 to be discontinued

          If you are a user of Fedora and particularly Fedora 23, then you should consider upgrading to newer version before December 20th, 2016. Fedora 23 will be officially discontinued and there won’t be an further support after that. According to sources after December 20th, neither there will be any updates in repositories nor any new package will enter the repositories. Fedora 23 won’t receive any security fix or bug fix.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • SalentOS 1.0 – Minimal Debian

          The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 processor architecture. The download for the 64-bit build is 1GB in size. Booting from the downloaded ISO brings up a graphical desktop environment, running on the Openbox window manager. When the system first starts up, a window appears and asks us to select our preferred language from a list of two-letter language codes. The default language is English (gb).

          Once our language has been selected, we are free to explore the Openbox-powered interface. A panel at the top of the display holds the distribution’s application menu, a handful of quick-launch buttons, a task switcher and the system tray. The background rotates between wallpapers, with most of the background images displaying landscape scenes. When we decide we want to install the distribution we can launch the system installer from a quick-launch button on the panel at the top of the screen.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Longtime Ubuntu Developer Martin Pitt Leaving Canonical, Joining Red Hat
          • Another Veteran Ubuntu Member Is Leaving Canonical

            Well, this is a bit strange and hopefully just developers looking to recharge and find new endeavors for 2017 as opposed to any exodus, but just hours after writing about Martin Pitt leaving Canonical to join Red Hat, another longtime Ubuntu developer is leaving the company too.

            Martin Pitt had been at Canonical for 12.5 years while the other developer leaving was there for 11 years: Daniel Holbach. Daniel had been with Canonical since 2005 and served as a developer on the desktop team, founded Ubuntu’s community teams, and then in the past few years had been working in community management and related community/relations areas.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • “Ultra Minimal” Ubuntu Budgie Is Coming, Uses “220MB Or Less Of RAM”

              The Ubuntu Budgie developers are working on an Ultra Minimal version of their Linux distribution that’ll consume less than 220MB RAM. This version is expected to ship without any standard applications or a RAM-intensive desktop environment. To tell you more about this upcoming release, we’ve contacted the developers for more information.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Nextcloud 11 Launches with Two-Factor Authentication, Performance Improvements
  • Nextcloud 11 sets new standard for security and scalability

    We’re proud to release a huge milestone: Nextcloud 11, delivering a wide range of security and scalability improvements with a number of important features on top. This release provides you the most secure solution for keeping your data under control we’ve delivered yet.

  • Nextcloud adds security and scalability to its private cloud offering

    The latest version of Nextcloud adds business security and scalability improvements to its small business cloud.

  • KDE and Nextcloud Developers Discuss Integration of Nextcloud in KDE Plasma

    On December 13, 2016, Nextcloud’s Jos Poortvliet reveals that the company behind the popular self-hosting cloud server forked from ownCloud is currently in discussions with the developers of the KDE Plasma desktop to deeply integrate Nextcloud.

    It appears that back in July 2016, Nextcloud founder Frank Karlitschek and community manager Jos Poortvliet, along with long-time KDE developers Kai-Uwe Bergmann and Martin Gräßlin gathered together in Stuttgart to discuss the steps they need to take for a deeper integration of Nextcloud in KDE Plasma.

  • How 30,000 people helped pick the new Bash logo

    I agree, and a problem I see in the open source community centers on collaborating on artwork, logos in particular. I don’t think it’s a platform limitation (GitHub, etc.), I think it’s a lack of art directors. By definition an art director is someone who is responsible for the visual style and images created for a project. An art director creates the overall design and directs others who are part of the project to develop artwork or layouts.

    To have any success as an art director in open source I’ve found the following characteristics are needed: an eye for design, open mindedness, and patience. To help illustrate this point, I’ll present two projects where I have made art direction contributions. One was a failed attempt, the other was a success.

  • Students and professors work across the aisle during Election Night Hackathon

    At the peak of the event, nearly 140 students, faculty, staff, and local citizens filled the MAGIC Center and overflow work spaces. Dan Schneiderman, the event’s coordinator and the FOSS@MAGIC Research Associate and Community Liaison, led the event on a high note with a brief kick-off ceremony. Hackers were provided with a list of resources for building applications related to civic hacking. Shortly after the start, attendees began to discuss project ideas to work on throughout the night. Professors and alumni provided mentorship, advice, and help for students planning projects.

  • Open source and the software supply chain

    Grasping the nuances of hardware supply chains and their management is straightforward—you essentially are tracking moving boxes. Managing something as esoteric as resources for building software with a variety of contributions made by the open source community is more amorphic.

    When thinking about open source platforms and supply chains, I thought of the supply chain as a single process, taking existing open source components and producing a single result, namely a product. Since then, I’ve begun to realize that supply chain management defines much of the open source ecosystems today. That is, those who know how to manage and influence the supply chain have a competitive advantage over those who don’t do it as well, or even grasp what it is.

  • Events

    • Top open source conference picks for 2017

      Many of you reading this will be fans of open source who would love to get out and meet open source leaders, companies, and users at conferences. With most of us having to prioritize conferences either due to budgetary or family reasons (or both), knowing which events we should prioritize can be difficult.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 50.1.0 Lands in Ubuntu’s Repos, Multiple Security Vulnerabilities Fixed

        Today, December 13, 2016, Canonical published a new USN (Ubuntu Security Notice) advisory to inform users of the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system about the availability of Mozilla Firefox 50.1.0 in the software repositories.

        Mozilla released the Firefox 50.1.0 web browser a couple of days ago, and it looks like they patched a total of 13 security vulnerabilities, which could have been used by an attacker to crash the application or run programs as your login if the users were to open a malicious website.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Major Hadoop Survey Finds Complexity Challenges, Predicts Move to Simplicity

      How much traction are Hadoop and other Big Data tools getting in enterprises? That depends on which studies you put credence in. Onet report from Snowflake Computing, a cloud data warehousing company, found that nearly two thirds of the respondents said that they believe Hadoop will not have any impact on their legacy data environments.

      However, Syncsort, focused on Big Iron to Big Data solutions, has announced the results from its third annual Hadoop survey, showing that as users gain more experience with Hadoop, they are building on their early success and expanding the size and scope of Hadoop projects.

      You can download the Hadoop survey results for 2017 now.

      According to the survey, the number one role of Hadoop continues to be increasing data warehouse capacity and reducing costs (cited by 62% of respondents) but the number of organizations using it for better, faster analytics is on the rise (49.4% of respondents, up from 45.5% last year). As the ways in which they are using Hadoop and the benefits they expect to achieve are evolving, there are several key trends to watch in 2017.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Some GTK3/Wayland/OpenGL Improvements For LibreOffice

      Some LibreOffice commits today caught our attention as exciting for those using Wayland and also interested in GTK3/OpenGL.

      First up, LibreOffice has switched from using GLEW to Epoxy. GLEW, of course being the OpenGL Extension Wrangler Library. Epoxy, meanwhile, being the newer library for handling OpenGL function pointer management with GLX/WGL/EGL support, OpenGL ES 1/2/3, and OpenGL 4.4 core/compatibility support.

  • Education

    • Dedicated FOSS Computer Lab at IIT Bombay

      While colleges and universities in the United States try to figure out whether their campus needs a FOSS computer lab, no such hesitation occurs in smart higher education institutions overseas. In this short video, hear from Professor Shyama Iyer about the FOSS tools taught at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay).

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Geography & open source

      The best way to understand Boundless it to compare it to Red Hat. Red Hat provides support and training for an open source operating system called Linux. In a similar vein, Boundless provides assistance with geographic information provided by the open source community. Some people compare it to having an “insurance policy” when you dive into the world of open source.

    • Most Member States support OGP Paris Declaration

      Most of the EU Member States support the Open Government Partnership Paris Declaration agreed on last week at the OGP Summit in Paris, France. In signing the declaration, countries say they will pursue further open government reforms, emphasising citizen participation. The conference brought together representatives of 80 governments and hundreds of civil society organisation from around the world.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Khronos Group Announces New Standards Collaboration for VR Integration

      It’s no secret that at this early point in the lifecycle of VR that there are many different platforms, solutions and paths to choose from when it comes to content and standards for motion and control. Due to the range of APIs created for game engines and different VR solutions, such as Steam VR, Oculus, OSVR, Daydream etc., it can be difficult for developers to create one-application-fits-all software. As a result, their software typically ends up specializing for a particular VR solution over others. This can arguably limit industry growth at the expense of differentiation.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • AMD Reveals More Zen CPU Details, Officially Known As Ryzen, No Linux Details Yet

      AMD’s Zen New Horizon event is going on right now. For those missing out on the livestream, here are my live details so far on Zen, or now officially known as Ryzen.

      Here are my highlights, check back for updates.

      - They have “met or exceeded” their goals at AMD for Zen. Beating performance goals of 40%+ instruction per clock improvement.

    • AMD ‘Ryzen’ is the official name of the Zen processors, more details released today

      They announced that Ryzen ‘Summit Ridge’ will be on their AM4 platform, which will support DDR4 memory, USB 3.1 v2, NVMe storage and PCIe v3. It will have 8 cores, 16 threads with a base clock of at least 3.4 GHz+ (they may tweak that higher at release). It will boost higher, but they haven’t said how high. This is wrapped up in a neat 95W TDP package, so that’s not bad at all for what it does.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Supreme Court declines to hear biologic drug patent fight

      The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case over whether companies that make copycat versions of biologic drugs must wait six months after winning federal approval before bringing them to the market.

      The justices opted not to take up Apotex Inc’s appeal of a July federal appeals court ruling that could delay the Canadian generic drug maker’s launch of so-called biosimilar versions of California-based Amgen Inc’s Neulasta, used to fight infection in cancer patients.

      Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002, Neulasta is one of Amgen’s top-selling products, accounting for $4.7 billion of its nearly $21 billion in sales last year.

      Biologic drugs like Neulasta are made using living cells. Unlike traditional drugs, biologic drugs cannot be copied exactly to make generic versions. A 2010 federal law, the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, allows companies to seek approval to sell near-copies called biosimilars.

    • Ohio Gov. John Kasich Signs 20-Week Abortion Ban

      Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a 20-week abortion ban into law on Tuesday, making the state the 18th to do so.

      At the same time, the governor vetoed a bill that would have banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy― before many women even realize they’re pregnant. Nicknamed the “heartbeat bill,” it would have threatened doctors with up to a year in jail if they performed an abortion after detection of a fetal heartbeat. The law would have been the most extreme anti-abortion restriction in the country.

      Ohio’s Republican-controlled House and Senate passed both the six-week ban and the 20-week ban last week. Kasich, who strongly opposes abortion rights despite his reputation as a moderate, was expected to sign the 20-week ban.

    • UAEM Targets Accessible Medicines, R&D Financing, Publicly Funded Research

      Last month’s annual Access to Medicines (A2M) Week, 14 to 20 November, saw a creative collection of activities and events organized by students across UAEM’s network in Europe and North America, as well as in Brazil and India. Events included a photo competition, campaign videos, film screenings, interdisciplinary panel discussions, webinars, pub quizzes and a “Run against Resistance”. Public performances, presentations and flash mobs with students in white coats made powerful statements on university campuses and communities during the week according to UAEM.

    • Pesticides stop bees buzzing and releasing pollen, says study

      The world’s most widely used insecticides harm the ability of bees to vibrate flowers and shake out the pollen to fertilise crops, according to preliminary results from a new study.

      Some flowers, such as those of crops like tomatoes and potatoes, must be shaken to release pollen and bumblebees are particularly good at creating the buzz needed to do this. But the research shows that bumblebees exposed to realistic levels of a neonicotinoid pesticide fail to learn how to create the greatest buzz and collect less pollen as a result.

      The research is consistent with previous work that has shown neonicotinoid pesticides reduce learning and memory in bees. A moratorium on the use of three neonicotinoids on flowering crops was put in place in Europe in 2013 and will be reviewed next year.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Putin’s Great Patriotic Pseudoscience

      Now the Kremlin is investing in academic kooks and conspiracies.

    • Lockheed Martin Loses Nearly $4 Billion In Market Value After Trump Tweets F-35 Program Cost Is ‘Out Of Control’

      Shares of Lockheed Martin fell Monday, wiping out nearly $4 billion of the company’s market value, as President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that making F-35 fighter planes is too costly and that he will cut “billions” in costs for military purchases.

      Trump didn’t mention any specific company in his tweet, but Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed makes the F-35 one-seat fighter aircraft and is a major U.S. defense contractor.

      “The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th,” Trump tweeted.

    • Navy’s newest destroyer was held up by seawater leaking into machinery

      After two unscheduled stops for repairs, the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), the US Navy’s new stealthy all-electric-powered destroyer, arrived at its new home port in San Diego on December 8. The ship also brought along new details about the source of its engineering woes. Zumwalt’s propulsion issues, which caused the ship to have engineering failures off Norfolk, Virginia, and while transiting the Panama Canal, were caused by seawater getting into the ship’s lubrication system for its huge electric motors.

      US Naval Institute News’ Sam LeGrone reports that the root cause of the engine failures was seawater contamination in the lube oil for the bearings of Zumwalt’s Advanced Induction Motors. Rather than being driven by dedicated gas turbine engines, the Zumwalt’s motors are powered by electricity from the gas turbine generators that also power the rest of the ship. The power plant is the first of its kind in a Navy ship, and it could generate enough power to allow Zumwalt to be later refitted with directed energy weapons or electromagnetic railguns.

    • Fresh details, charges emerge in Pizzagate DC shooter’s case

      The story began when DC’s Metropolitan Police Department arrested 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch on allegations of assault with a dangerous weapon. The feds took over the case on Tuesday and have charged Welch with Interstate Transportation of a Firearm with Intent to Commit an Offense, which carries a maximum 5-year term. Welch appeared in federal court in Washington, DC, on Tuesday and asked for a lawyer. He remains jailed until at least Friday, when a detention hearing is scheduled.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Greater New York City Region Must Plan for “Permanent Flooding”

      The Greater New York City region has done good work in the years since Superstorm Sandy to consider storm-related flooding, but a new report by the Regional Plan Association found that the more pernicious threat of sea-level rise needs more attention.

      The report breaks sea-level rise into “what-if” scenarios for 1-, 3- and 6-foot sea-level rise increments in the tri-state region. It finds that many of the major resilience policies, plans and projects under development fall short of addressing the long-term, existential threat of permanent flooding from sea-level rise.

      It’s “long past the point where sea-level rise can be ignored in the hope that future technology will provide an easy solution,” said the association, an independent urban research and advocacy organization for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

    • EU easing of fishing quotas raises fears over dwindling stocks

      British fishing fleets will be allowed to catch greater quantities of cod, haddock and sole next year, after Europe’s ministers approved a new fishing quota that will cheer fish and chip shops but has alarmed scientists concerned over dwindling stocks.

      The European Union’s fisheries council reached an agreement in the early hours of Wednesday morning, in what may be one of the last such quota divisions in which the UK takes part if supporters of a hard Brexit have their way.

      Scientists warned that the EU catch limits for 2017 were above their recommendations, in contravention of the reforms to the common fisheries policy that are supposed to ensure levels of catch are sustainable by 2020. Nearly two-thirds of European fish stocks are overfished and 85% are below healthy levels.

  • Finance

    • Socialism for the Rich, Capitalism for the Poor: An Interview With Noam Chomsky

      The United States is rapidly declining on numerous fronts — collapsing infrastructure, a huge gap between haves and have-nots, stagnant wages, high infant mortality rates, the highest incarceration rate in the world — and it continues to be the only country in the advanced world without a universal health care system. Thus, questions about the nature of the US’s economy and its dysfunctional political system are more critical than ever, including questions about the status of the so-called American Dream, which has long served as an inspiration point for Americans and prospective immigrants alike. Indeed, in a recent documentary, Noam Chomsky, long considered one of America’s voices of conscience and one of the world’s leading public intellectuals, spoke of the end of the American Dream. In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Chomsky discusses some of the problems facing the United States today, and whether the American Dream is “dead” — if it ever existed in the first place.

    • Amazon Warehouse Workers Have Resorted To Sleeping In Tents

      Amazon factory workers in Britain are sleeping in tents close to one of the company’s largest UK warehouses because they can’t afford the commute to work, Scottish newspaper The Courier has reported.

      Amazon maintains one of its giant packaging warehouses, known as fulfilment centers, near the town of Dunfermline in Scotland. Over the weekend, The Courier said it had seen at least three tents in woodland close to the Dunfermline warehouse, and spoke to one Amazon worker who was staying in a tent.

      According to the newspaper, the worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said that they couldn’t afford to pay to travel to work and back from their home in Perth—around a 60 mile round trip. While Amazon pays its Scottish staff above the minimum wage in Britain, workers can be pushed to work up to 60 hours a week. The company provides a bus transport for workers, but this can cost up to £10 a day, more than an Amazon worker’s initial hourly pay of £7.35 ($9.30).

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trumpism Poses the Most Dire Threat to Academic Freedom in Recent Memory

      Thanks to the principle of academic freedom, professors have unusual space in American society to challenge the powerful without fear of retribution. For this reason the right has always resented professors, and for decades it has targeted them as subversives. The election of Donald Trump and the rise to power of the extremist ideologues surrounding him, like Steve Bannon and Rudolph Giuliani, make this a frightening moment for those academics who see fighting for a more just world as part of their job.

      In 2012, I found myself the target of a hate campaign after saying a few intemperate things about the National Rifle Association and American gun culture in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. I was upset not only because of the horrors of the event itself—a shocking one for many Americans—but because in 1998 my high-school Spanish teacher in Springfield, Oregon, had been murdered by her son before shooting up his own high school. How many people had to die before anything was changed? Noting on Twitter that I would like to hold NRA leadership accountable for its promotion of high-powered firearms, I said that I wanted to see “Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick.” This was obviously a metaphor, but thanks to a right-wing website called Campus Reform, which “monitors” leftists on college campuses, demagogues such as Michelle Malkin started a campaign to have me fired. Hundreds of phone calls and e-mails poured into the university. Luckily, I work on a unionized campus and nothing came of the campaign.

    • Electoral College voters under intense pressure

      The 538 delegates to the Electoral College will gather at governors’ offices and statehouses across the country Monday to make President-elect Donald Trump’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton official.

      The results aren’t expected to deviate much from Election Day, when Trump won 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232.

      Despite media coverage, social media chatter and announcements from a handful of electors who have made their protest votes public, it’s unlikely that electors will defect in significant numbers.

      Even so, scattered groups of liberals are using every means at their disposal — lawsuits, petitions, and public and private pressure — to try to convince 37 GOP electors to peel away from Trump to deprive him of the 270 votes needed for victory.

    • Twitter will not be at Trump’s tech summit

      Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO and cofounder, initially told Re/code he was not invited to Trump’s tech summit in New York. Dorsey then said he was unsure about being invited. According to a source, Twitter was indeed left off the list.

      Nu Wexler, a spokesman for Twitter, said the company had nothing to share beyond Dorsey’s comments.

      The snub stands out, considering the role Twitter played in Trump’s campaign and in his presidential transition efforts so far.

    • ICC Named UN Observer – Big Business Gets A Seat At The UN Table

      The ICC has significant activities related to intellectual property enforcement, research, and digital economy. It hosts BASCAP, the Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy.

    • Intelligence Officer Who Personally Met the Democratic Email Leaker Confirms Leaker Is with AMERICAN Intelligence Service … Not Russia

      In other words, Murray – a close friend of Julian Assange – says he knows for a fact that there were no hacks at all … instead, an American insider leaked the information to Wikileaks.

    • Oliver Stone: DNC Hack Was ‘Inside Job,’ Not Russia

      During an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, director Oliver Stone accused the Democratic National Committee of hacking itself. Asked by the host what he makes of the reports that Russian hackers breached the DNC’s email server and fed information to WikiLeaks in an attempt to influence the U.S. presidential election, Stone called that idea a “great fiction.” The director, currently promoting his biopic of Edward Snowden, said the intelligence experts he has spoken with indicated that the DNC hack was “probably an inside job.” He went on to specify that he believed the hack was perpetrated by Democrats within the committee. The revelations from the hack led directly to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other high-level officials.

    • Exclusive: Top U.S. spy agency has not embraced CIA assessment on Russia hacking – sources

      The overseers of the U.S. intelligence community have not embraced a CIA assessment that Russian cyber attacks were aimed at helping Republican President-elect Donald Trump win the 2016 election, three American officials said on Monday.

      While the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) does not dispute the CIA’s analysis of Russian hacking operations, it has not endorsed their assessment because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow intended to boost Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, said the officials, who declined to be named.

      The position of the ODNI, which oversees the 17 agency-strong U.S. intelligence community, could give Trump fresh ammunition to dispute the CIA assessment, which he rejected as “ridiculous” in weekend remarks, and press his assertion that no evidence implicates Russia in the cyber attacks.

    • Turnaround in public opinion on latest Wikileaks

      The release of John Podesta’s emails has proven embarrassing for the Hillary Clinton campaign, particularly the revelation of the contents of her secret speeches to banks and her aides’ strategizing over her own e-mail scandal, among other issues. Thanks to ongoing controversies surrounding Donald Trump, Clinton has largely managed to avoid having to engage with the issue, but reports from intelligence agencies suggest that the leaks may have a broader, geopolitical relevance: Russian intelligence services are suspected of being behind the hacking of Podesta’s email account.

      YouGov’s latest research shows that public attitudes towards Wikileaks is very different in 2016 compared to 2010. According to Pew Research Center, in 2010 60% of Americans who are aware of the emails thought that the release of State Department cables harmed the public interest, but in 2016 only 28% believe that the release of John Podesta’s emails harms the public interest. The shift is most pronounced among Republicans, 75% of whom say that the cable releases were harmful, while only 12% say that the email leak is harmful.

    • Pragmatism is a winner for Romanian Left

      Romania is one of the few countries in Europe where the Left still wins elections. But the key to the Social Democrats’ (PSD) success is their lack of leftist ideology — or rather, their willingness to promise voters in the EU’s second-poorest country to give them what they want.

      With 95 percent of the votes counted on Monday, the PSD got slightly more than 45 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections on Sunday. That is expected to give the party 251 seats out of the total of 464 of the Romanian parliament.

      The National Liberals (PNL) came in second, obtaining around 20 percent of the votes. These results put it on course to get 98 seats in the parliament.

    • Don’t Certify Electors and Electoral College Vote Without Full Recount

      The American people deserve to know that the outcome of this election is actually valid.

      We are tired of hearing the pundits say that the election is over and there is nothing we can do when there are significant questions raised by the recounts that have been going on in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, as well issues raised in a recent lawsuit seeking a recount in Florida.

      Hillary Clinton has garnered almost 3 million more popular votes than Donald Trump. The polls and exit polls in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania showed Clinton was the winner. The recount efforts by the Stein campaign have revealed that many votes remained uncounted at the time those three states were called for Trump. These efforts have also raised many concerns about the validity of the outcome even before the CIA reported the intent of the Russians to influence the results of the election. Under these circumstances it is absolutely imperative that there be a full recount and investigation into potential hacking in these states, before the electors are certified and the votes of the Electoral College counted.

      While states generally have been granted the right to set the rules of the election and terms of re-counts, what has happened to the efforts in the three states is alarming. In each state there have been substantial outcome determinative questions raised by the initial investigations but there have been many objections raised and appeals filed. The Stein efforts are not technically over but they may have hit a roadblock.

    • Michigan to Audit ‘Significant’ Mismatches in Detroit Vote

      Michigan’s elections bureau ordered an investigation Monday into substantial ballot discrepancies in a small portion of Detroit’s voting precincts, after the discovery of a polling place where 300 people voted but only 50 ballots were properly sealed in a container.

      Since learning of the issue last week during Michigan’s presidential recount, state officials have learned of similar “significant mismatch” problems at roughly 20 of Detroit’s 490 precincts, said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. He said there is no reason to think votes were not counted and the differences would not have affected Republican Donald Trump’s narrow victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the state.

      Clinton won 95 percent of Detroit’s vote.

      Detroit elections officials told the state that in the one precinct, the 250 missing ballots were left in the tabulator bin, “but we want to verify this,” Woodhams said. It was not immediately clear what caused the inconsistencies in other precincts.

    • Stein Ends Recount Bid, but Says It Revealed Flaws in Voting System

      Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, on Tuesday closed her long-shot bid to recount the votes in three battleground states, saying that the effort encountered bureaucratic hurdles and revealed deep shortcomings in the elections system.

      “We do not have a voting system we can trust, and the recount was essentially stopped in its tracks,” Ms. Stein said in a conference call with reporters.

      Since finishing a distant fourth in the Nov. 8 election, Ms. Stein has played a prominent role as she pushed for recounts while saying, without proof, that the vote may have been hacked. Her lawyers doggedly pursued recounts in three states — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — where Donald J. Trump led Hillary Clinton by a combined margin of roughly 75,000 votes.

    • Greg Palast: By Rejecting Recount, Is Michigan Covering Up 75,000 Ballots Never Counted?

      Investigative reporter Greg Palast has just returned from Michigan, where he went to probe the state’s closely contested election. Trump won Michigan by fewer than 11,000 votes out of nearly 4.8 million votes cast. Green Party presidential contender Dr. Jill Stein attempted to force Michigan to hold a recount, but a federal judge ordered Michigan’s Board of Elections to stop the state’s electoral recount. One big question remains: Why did 75,335 ballots go uncounted?

    • Jill Stein announces plans for leftover recount money

      Included in that $7.4 million estimate is just under $4.5 million for state filing fees, $1.6 million for legal fees, $212,500 for staff salaries, $364,000 for consultants and $353,618 for administrative expenses.

      Stein’s campaign is planning to reach out to each of its 161,000 donors and ask them to vote on which “non-partisan election reform and voting rights organizations” will receive the leftover money. The campaign did not immediately release a list of possible organizations, but said it will do so “in the coming weeks” when it begins surveying donors.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Uber creepy: Ex-staffer reveals drivers spied on exes, politicians and, er, Beyoncé

      TWENTY FIRST CENTURY TAXI FIRM Uber is again under inspection for doing what people would rather it did not do, with an ex-worker having claimed that the company’s systems have been routinely used to infringe on customers’ privacy.

      In fact, says the Guardian, people including Beyoncé were victim to the bad rules around customer information data management, that also lead to people keeping an eye on old lovers and political peoples using a system called “God View”.

      The Guardian links to another report, this one on the Centre for Investigative Reporting’s (CIR) Reveal project website. It has access to documents from a court case in October when this was all coming to a head thanks to a chap with a great name who blew the whistle.

    • As Trump Presidency Looms, Digital Activists Brace for a Fight for the Internet

      Donations have doubled since the election as supporters turn to the EFF to defend the Internet during a Trump presidency. Even though the President-elect has yet to make formal policy pronouncements, his comments about surveillance and apparent hostility to the tech sector are causing many in Silicon Valley to fear the worst.

      [...]

      Those old battles include ones over the role of clandestine programs that permitted mass collection of Americans’ phone and Internet records. While the Justice Department halted some of those programs after NSA-contractor Edward Snowden exposed them, Cohn points out that Trump’s attorney general and CIA director nominees have said they would reinstate them. She also notes the CIA nominee, Rep. Mike Pompeo, has proposed to expand the collection of “social data,” which is often held by companies like Facebook and Instagram.

    • UNESCO Report Backs Right To Encryption In ‘Golden Age Of Surveillance’

      The United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has released a report on encryption, taking the perspective of human rights.

      “What ultimately matters, from a human rights perspective, is that cryptographic methods empower individuals in their enjoyment of privacy and freedom of expression, as they allow for the protection of human-facing properties of information, communication and computing. These properties include the confidentiality, privacy, authenticity, availability, integrity and anonymity of information and communication,” the report said in its recommendations.

      Among issues addressed in the report is protection of metadata, by which a person’s behaviour on the internet is trackable, and ensuring strong encryption without backdoors in a “golden age of surveillance” brought about by the internet.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How the Obama administration laid the groundwork for Trump’s coming crackdown on the press

      In the summer of 2009, less than a year after President Obama took office, one of the first orders of business for the newly empaneled Senate Judiciary Committee was passing a long-stalled federal ‘media shield’ bill, which would finally provide a uniform level of protection to reporters who get subpoenaed to testify against their sources in court.

      The bill, which had previously been scuttled by Republican Congress, now had strong support in a Democratic Congress, and seemingly, a newly-elected Democratic president, who had co-sponsored an almost identical bill when he was a senator.

      But just as it looked like the bill would sail through Congress and make its way to the president’s desk, it was stopped in its tracks. President Obama suddenly reversed course from his previous position and announced he would oppose the bill if the Senate didn’t carve out a giant national security exception that would make the important protections within it all but meaningless.

    • Sharia-compliant bank opens in Scotland

      Al Rayan Bank has opened an office in Glasgow making it the first wholly Sharia-compliant retail bank in Scotland.

      Scottish customers will now have access to a large range of Islamic retail banking products, which include Sharia-compliant home and property finance products for the Scottish market.

      Al Rayan’s Glasgow branch was opened by Sultan Choudhury, chief executive officer of Al Rayan, and Keith Leach, chief commercial officer.

    • Trial of Jakarta governor Ahok begins as hundreds of Islamic hardliners protest

      The much anticipated blasphemy trial of Jakarta’s Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has opened amid tight security and mobs of Islamic hardliners chanting for his arrest.

      Hundreds of protestors, some dressed in white Muslim garb, gathered outside the court in the Indonesian capital for the first day of the trial, demanding the governor be jailed for allegedly insulting Islam.

    • ‘Rebel’ Saudi Arabia woman who posted photo without head scarf is arrested

      Saudi police have arrested a young woman who tweeted a picture of herself outdoors without the body-length robes and head scarf that women in the kingdom are required to wear.

      A woman identified as Malak al-Shehri posted a picture of herself on Twitter in a jacket and multi-colored dress last month after announcing that she would leave her house without her abaya, a long loose-fitting robe, and headscarf.

      The tweet caused a backlash with many calling for Shehri – whose first name means angel, which was also her moniker online – to be executed with the hashtag “We demand the arrest of the rebel Angel Shehri.”

    • Free Raif Badawi

      Saudi Arabia should free Raif Badawi; we urge readers to support a message calling for his release

    • Europeans overestimate Muslim population: poll

      People in France, Italy, Belgium, Poland and Germany vastly overestimate both the number of Muslims living in their countries now and how many will be living in them in 2020, according to an Ipsos MORI study released Wednesday.

      The French believe Muslims make up 31 percent of the population, while in reality they account for 7.5 percent. Survey respondents said Islam would be the religion of 40 percent of the country in 2020, far in excess of the 8.3 percent demographers estimate.

    • 73-year-old man with dementia fatally shot by Bakersfield police

      An unarmed 73-year-old man whose family said was in the initial stages of dementia was shot and killed early Monday by a Bakersfield police officer, authorities said.

      Police responded about 12:30 a.m. to a report of a man brandishing a handgun in the 7900 block of Silver Birch Avenue, a neighborhood in the southwest corner of the city, Bakersfield police Sgt. Gary Carruesco said.

      [...]

      Police said the call was prompted by a report of a man with a firearm, but investigators canvassed the area after the shooting and did not recover a gun, Carruesco said. Police searched the family’s home and cars and did not recover a firearm, Rogelio Serna said.

    • Unarmed 73-year-old man with dementia shot dead by US police

      A 73-year-old Latino man suffering from the early stages of dementia has been shot dead by a US police officer.

      Francisco Serna was unarmed and standing in a neighbour’s driveway when police in Bakersfield, California received reports of a man brandishing a gun.

      Sergeant Gary Carruesco told KBAK-TV and the Los Angeles Times that police arrived at about 12.30 am and when a witness pointed to Mr Serna, an officer fired several rounds and killed him.

      The Kern County coroner said Francisco Serna was declared dead at the scene in Bakersfield at about 1.15am local time on Monday.

      Bakersfield Police Department said the officer who shot Mr Serna had been placed on administrative leave while the incident was being investigated.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Saying Goodbye to Net Neutrality Under Trump

      News organizations that like to have obituaries written and ready to go to bed well before a death actually occurs might want to go ahead and assign someone the task of writing an obit for Net Neutrality. Without a doubt, one thing that’s sure to happen when Trump begins his weekly commute to the Oval Office is an end to the legal principle that Internet service providers should treat all Internet traffic equally.

      Commissioner Ajit Pait, the man most likely to be appointed Trump’s head of the FCC, at least on an interim basis, pretty much put that icing on the cake last week. Speaking before a luncheon celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Free State Foundation, a “bipartisan think tank” that advocates “free market, limited government, and rule of law,” Pait said, “On the day that the Title II Order was adopted, I said that ‘I don’t know whether this plan will be vacated by a court, reversed by Congress, or overturned by a future Commission. But I do believe that its days are numbered.’ Today, I am more confident than ever that this prediction will come true.”

      ISPs, of course, don’t like Net Neutrality any more than big business likes any regulation — other than those that benefit them. They claim it places a burden on them and that they need the ability to prioritize traffic so that “important” traffic can be put in the fast lane while not so important traffic is relegated to the slow lane. Net Neutrality, they say, would cost them money on the equipment needed to give all traffic equal footing.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Music Industry Groups In Harmony In Calling For Support From Trump

        A wide array of music industry groups, from Christian to classical, rhythm & blues to movie soundtracks, and everything in between sent a letter to United States President-Elect Donald Trump urging him to take their intellectual property rights into consideration when he meets with technology industry leaders on 14 December.

      • Academic publishing houses lose appeal against Delhi University & photocopy shop

        Academic publishing houses, OUP and CUP have suffered yet another defeat in their litigation against Delhi University and a photocopy shop when a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court ruled against them in an appeal on December 9, 2016.

        The crux of the lawsuit was whether the practice of photocopying copyrighted material and compiling them in course-packs was copyright infringement under Indian law. Given that universities and students have been photocopying copyrighted material for several years without any restrictions, the lawsuit had provoked an angry backlash from students and academics – both of whom then organised themselves into an association and intervened in the case.

12.13.16

Links 13/12/2016: CoreOS Container Linux, CentOS Linux 7

Posted in News Roundup at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 gifts under $50 for open-source geeks

    The weeks of December are flying by, and the new year is fast approaching. While it seems that sales begin earlier and earlier every year, some people (like me) put off gift buying until the last minute. Even if you’re a more responsible gift-giver, it can be hard to pinpoint what someone might like for Christmas or Hanukkah.

    If you’re shopping for an open-source geek in your life, but don’t have a ton of money to spend on hardware, there are a few stocking-stuffers and small gifts that can be had for under $50. Here are five affordable options to consider before shipping deadlines pass.

  • Google makes ‘Embedding Projector’ an open source project

    Data can be highly valuable, and no company knows that more than Google. It is constantly collecting a massive amount of it — it is pretty much how the company butters its bread. Data only has value when it can be used, however, meaning it must ultimately tell a story. In other words, collecting it is only the beginning.

    One of the best way to digest and present data is with visualizations and dashboards. Not everyone is a data scientist, so how you tell a story matters. Today, Google is making a rather nifty data visualization tool an open source project. Called “Embedding Projector”, it can show what the search giant calls “high-dimensional data”.

  • Kubernetes 1.5 comes to Windows Server 2016
  • Kubernetes 1.5 Brings Container Management to Windows

    New release of open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system adds initial support for Microsoft Windows Server and previews beta stateful application capabilities.

    The open-source Kubernetes container management system is moving forward with the release of Kubernetes 1.5 on December 15, bringing the platform to Microsoft Windows Server for the first time. The Kubernetes 1.5 milestone is the last major release of Kubernetes in 2016 and follows the 1.4 release that debuted on September 26.

  • A new way forward for power utilities: The Open Smart Grid Platform

    The Open Smart Grid Platform is an open, generic, scalable, and independent Internet of Things platform that enables municipalities and power distribution companies to easily control and monitor various public service objects with any application and with any communication infrastructure. It acts as a connecting link between web applications and smart devices, and it was built with utility requirements in mind (a strong security focus, reliability, use of international standards, etc). The platform was also built to fit with multiple use-cases from the ground up; it contains generic functions that are needed for managing and controlling a large number of devices, like authorizations, time synchronization, and configuration management.

  • Events

    • Plasma Meets Nextcloud

      At a meeting back in July in Stuttgart, KDE and Nextcloud developers discussed deeper integration between the respective communities. We’d like to share some of those ideas and, as always, invite anyone interested in participating to help make it happen!

    • Wednesday: Release Party in Berlin!

      On wednesday is our Nextcloud meetup and – Nextcloud 11 will be released, so let’s make it a release party! Bring some snacks if you like, let’s drink a beer or two, get our servers upgraded perhaps.

    • Help Move the Networking Industry Forward at Open Networking Summit 2017

      I am honored to join The Linux Foundation this month as General Manager of Open Source Networking & Orchestration. As I look at the last three decades, we (networking geeks) have always stepped up to stay ahead of major technology disruptions. Now we are at the next big revolution: open networking, fueled by open source communities.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • CMS

    • How Open Source CMS are Taking Over the World

      Content management systems are wide and varied. There are tons of them on the market, some are proprietary but a very large amount are created under an open source license. The reason for this is simple; it allows a small team of developers to become a bigger team by opening up their code to a wider community of users who may wish to contribute or provide enhancements.

      This is one of the greatest strengths that open source products have; the often large pools of available developers. Of course, like anything, there can be downsides as well but lately, we’ve seen more and more open source products become viable options for companies in search of stable, regularly updated platforms on which to run their businesses. Today, I’m going to share with you my thoughts on how open source CMS’ are taking over the world.

    • The three big CMS’: Which is right for your business?

      A platform that originally started as a home for blogging with 76.5 million blogs created since 2004, WordPress has advanced a great deal over the last decade and now powers over 25 per cent of websites across the world. There are a whole host of reasons why this platform is so popular with business owners and designers alike.

      It’s easy to set up and use for just about anyone who owns a computer. There’s no need to have much knowledge about coding as you can build a simple website from scratch using the thousands of templates and plug-ins available at your fingertips. It’s also cost-effective. It’s free to sign up and although some of the best templates and plug-ins come at cost, if you want to create a website for free you can.

      For designers, it’s an ideal CMS as bespoke websites can be built fast due to the ease of amending code. This means that they can be launched in a short period of time for clients, and any changes as the business evolves can be done quickly.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Can open source and open systems really open the door to healthier democracies?

      Many think technology can improve democracy and good governance. Open data and online platforms allow the public to participate more directly and gain greater transparency and accountability.

      This whole area of technology for improved governance could be worth $2bn over the next decade, according to Pablo Sarrias, CEO and founder of OpenSeneca.

      His company was set up by Telefónica Open Future and Barcelona-based electronic voting company Scytl, which has provided proprietory election technology for the 2016 US elections, among others.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Italy’s eInvoice system to become open for all

      Italy is opening up its FatturaPA payments services. Starting in January, the system can also be used for free by companies to send invoices to other companies and citizens, who in turn can use the system to pay them.

    • How “open source” seed producers from the U.S. to India are changing global food production

      Frank Morton has been breeding lettuce since the 1980s. His company offers 114 varieties, among them Outredgeous, which last year became the first plant that NASA astronauts grew and ate in space. For nearly 20 years, Morton’s work was limited only by his imagination and by how many different kinds of lettuce he could get his hands on. But in the early 2000s, he started noticing more and more lettuces were patented, meaning he would not be able to use them for breeding. The patents weren’t just for different types of lettuce, but specific traits such as resistance to a disease, a particular shade of red or green, or curliness of the leaf. Such patents have increased in the years since, and are encroaching on a growing range of crops, from corn to carrots — a trend that has plant breeders, environmentalists and food security experts concerned about the future of the food production.

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Apple, Microsoft notable absentees from new Global Virtual Reality Association

      VR headset manufacturers including Google, HTC VIVE, Facebook’s Oculus, Samsung, Acer Starbreeze and Sony Interactive Entertainment have come together to establish the Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA).

      The association is a non-profit organisation for international VR headset manufacturers to promote the growth of the VR industry.

      According to the companies, the association will help develop best practices for the industry, as well as share them and foster dialogue between several stakeholders around the world.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Insiders: America’s largest chain of psych hospitals kidnaps people seeking care, drugs and holds them until they’re out of insurance

      Universal Health Services (UHS) is the largest chain of psychiatric facilities in the USA, with 2.5x more beds than its closest competitor, and dozens of whistleblowers from inside the company told a Buzzfeed reporter that they were pressured to find pretenses to lock up people who voluntarily presented for assessments, holding them against their will until their insurance ran out, with massive bonuses for executives who increased profits (and much smaller bonuses for execs who improved health outcomes for patients).

      UHS hospitals are incredibly profitable, running at 30-50% margins, and whistleblowers say these margins are attained by dropping staffing to unsafe levels and preferentially hiring underqualified and inexperienced people; while simultaneously packing in patients by bedding them in closets, in isolation cells, and on mattresses on the floors of day-rooms.

      Meanwhile, the whistleblowers say that patients in desperate need of care are refused admission, or are kicked out early, if they don’t have insurance. A large plurality of UHS’s patents are covered by tax-funded Medicare, and 10% of the company’s hospitals are currently under investigation for Medicare fraud. Patients say that their confinement has eaten into the days of mental health care they are entitled to under Medicare, meaning that if they end up in distress later that they will not be able to get care.

    • The People Who Sell You Legal Weed Don’t Know Enough About It

      When I first received my medical marijuana card, my visits to the local dispensary were generally long, drawn out affairs. The bud tenders on staff would meticulously walk me through each strain on display, describing in detail their psychoactive and somatic effects. As someone prone to cannabis-induced anxiety I eventually learned that strains with low THC and high CBD counts were what I needed, but it took a lot of trial and error to find the right strain of medicine. Although the bud tenders spoke with authority about the effects of their medicine, I would often find that the effects of the bud recommended for me didn’t at all match what the bud tender had told me.

  • Security

    • The sad tale of CVE-2015-1336

      Today I released man-db 2.7.6 (announcement, NEWS, git log), and uploaded it to Debian unstable. The major change in this release was a set of fixes for two security vulnerabilities, one of which affected all man-db installations since 2.3.12 (or 2.3.10-66 in Debian), and the other of which was specific to Debian and its derivatives.

      It’s probably obvious from the dates here that this has not been my finest hour in terms of responding to security issues in a timely fashion, and I apologise for that. Some of this is just the usual life reasons, which I shan’t bore you by reciting, but some of it has been that fixing this properly in man-db was genuinely rather complicated and delicate. Since I’ve previously advocated man-db over some of its competitors on the basis of a better security posture, I think it behooves me to write up a longer description.

    • Dear democracy, you need more hackers

      This is my write up from Nesta’s recent digital democracy day — I wasn’t planning to blog but it inspired me, so here you go.

      The day included two sessions; one focussed on local government and one in parliament focussed on, well, parliament. At the heart of each session were four fantastic presentations showcasing digital democracy projects from Iceland (Citizen’s Foundation —Gunnar Grímsson), Taiwan (Digital Minister — Audrey Tang), France (Cap Collectif — Nicolas Patte) and Brazil (Chamber of Deputies Hacker Lab — Cristiano Falia). Big thanks to Theo and the rest of the gang at Nesta for arranging :)

      My main thought following the day (there was so much — it’s been hard to boil it down…) is that there needs to be more capacity in our democracy to hack. Government can no longer rely on off the shelf solutions to meet democratic challenges but needs to experiment and adapt – something brilliantly illustrated by each of the four projects.

      [...]

      The tools are not much use if the institutions of democracy are unwilling or unable to respond to them. Nicholas Patte explained how it took a long time to convince the elected representatives in France about their crowd sourced legislation project but, with perseverance, they got there in the end.

      I loved that Taiwan has a ‘Minister of Hacking’ who can get things done at the highest level of government — her sage advice is that politicians can be asked to accept ‘those things they can live with’; compromise clearly plays a role.

    • Users Told Disconnect Certain Netgear Routers

      About this time I’m wondering if I’d even purchase a Netgear router.

      You’d think that with all of the fuss recently about the insecure Internet of things, especially when it comes to routers, that any router maker would be on top of it and patching vulnerabilities as soon as they’re discovered.

      Evidently not, as far as Netgear is concerned.

    • Busted Windows 8, 10 update blamed for breaking Brits’ DHCP

      Folks using Windows 10 and 8 on BT and Plusnet networks in the UK are being kicked offline by a mysterious software bug.

      Computers running the Microsoft operating systems are losing network connectivity due to what appears to be a problem with DHCP. Specifically, it seems some Windows 10 and 8 boxes can no longer reliably obtain LAN-side IP addresses and DNS server settings from their BT and Plusnet broadband routers, preventing them from reaching the internet and other devices on their networks.

      (The link between BT and Plusnet is that, while the latter bills itself as a friendly independent ISP, it’s really a subsidiary of the former.)

      BT and Plusnet told The Register Microsoft is investigating the blunder. Redmond also confirmed on Thursday in its support forum that it’s looking into the problem.

    • Containers in Production – Is Security a Barrier? A Dataset from Anchore

      Over the last week we have had the opportunity to work with an interesting set of data collected by Anchore (full disclosure: Anchore is a RedMonk client). Anchore collected this data by means of a user survey ran in conjunction with DevOps.com. While the number of respondents is relatively small, at 338, there are some interesting questions asked, and a number of data points which support wider trends we are seeing around container usage. With any data set of this nature, it is important to state that survey results strictly reflect the members of the DevOps.com community.

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • security things in Linux v4.9
    • Black Hats Leveraging PowerShell

      Those with long memories might remember that in 1996, Microsoft added support in the Internet Explorer browser for ActiveX controls. While this greatly expanded the functionality of the Internet, it also made the web a much less safe place, especially for the average user. The trouble was, ActiveX made it simple to download and install software with little or no input from users. Even those not old enough to remember have probably already figured out that this didn’t work out well.

    • A security lifetime every five years

      A long time ago, it wouldn’t be uncommon to have the same job at the same company for ten or twenty years. People loved their seniority, they loved their company, they loved everything staying the same. Stability was the name of the game. Why learn something new when you can retire in a few years?

      Well, a long time ago, was a long time ago. Things are quite a bit different now. If you’ve been doing the same thing at the same company for more than five years, there’s probably something wrong. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule, but I bet more than 80% of the people in their jobs for more than five years aren’t exceptions. It’s easy to get too comfortable, it’s also dangerous.

    • Hack of Saudi Arabia Exposes Middle East Cybersecurity Flaw

      More than a year after a drowned Syrian toddler washed up on a beach in Turkey, the tiny refugee’s body, captured in a photograph that shocked the world, reappeared on computer screens across Saudi Arabia — this time as a prelude to a cyberattack.

      The strike last month disabled thousands of computers across multiple government ministries in Saudi Arabia, a rare use of offensive cyberweapons aimed at destroying computers and erasing data. The attackers, who haven’t claimed responsibility, used the same malware that was employed in a 2012 assault against Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, and which destroyed 35,000 computers within hours.

    • London councils are reliant on unsupported Microsoft server software [Ed: Well, even if supported, still back doors in it. Abandon.]

      ALMOST 70 PER CENT of London councils are running unsupported server software, leaving them vulnerable to exploits for which there are no patches available.

      That’s according to backup firm Databarracks, which through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request revealed that 69 per cent of London councils are running out-of-date server software.

      The firm contacted all 32 London boroughs as well as the City of London and received responses from all.

      The data revealed that 63 per cent of London councils are still running Windows Server 2003, 51 per cent run SQL Server 2005 and 10 per cent still use Windows Server 2000 – none of which are still supported by Microsoft.

    • PwC sends ‘cease and desist’ letters to researchers who found critical flaw

      A security research firm has released details of a “critical” flaw in a security tool, despite being threatened with legal threats.

      Munich-based ESNC published a security advisory last week detailing how a remotely exploitable bug in a security tool, developed by auditing and tax giant PwC, could allow an attacker to gain unauthorized access to an affected SAP system.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Houston man pleads guilty in mosque fire on Christmas Day

      A Houston man was sentenced Friday to four years in prison after pleading guilty to starting a fire at a mosque on Christmas Day.

      Gary Nathaniel Moore, 38 of Houston, was arrested last year in connection with a fire at 2 p.m. on Dec. 25 at a storefront mosque in the 1200 block of Wilcrest.

      Moore told investigators at the scene that he had attended the mosque for five years, coming five times per day to pray seven days per week, according to court records.

    • Man who posted pro-ISIS material and attacked ‘moderate Muslims’, labelling them ‘pure sell-outs and traitors’ is jailed

      An extremist has been jailed for two years for posting an Islamic State propaganda video on Facebook, despite claims he would find prison “a living nightmare”.

      Abdul Hamid, 31, who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, admitted posting the unedited four-minute video entitled No Respite, glorifying the terror group and its fighters.

      The Old Bailey heard that he had seen a short clip of the video in an online news report and believed it was not illegal to share it on social media at the time.

      But he later accepted that he had been “reckless” when he posted it in its entirety on Facebook, leading to it being viewed 465 times, “liked” 20 times and “shared” 34 times.

    • Donald Trump says ‘I don’t want China dictating to me’ signalling President-elect could abandon decades-old foreign policy

      Donald Trump has questioned whether the US should continue its support for the “One China” policy unless Beijing makes concessions on trade and other issues.

      “I don’t want China dictating to me”, he said while defending his recent phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

      In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, he said: “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a ‘One China’ policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.”

      The President-elect was responding to a question about his phone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, which represented a break with decades of US diplomatic tradition that recognises Beijing as the sole representative of China.

    • Donald Trump Says He Doesn’t Need Daily Intelligence Briefings Because He’s a ‘Smart Person’

      The president-elect was interviewed on Fox News Sunday

      Donald Trump said he doesn’t need daily intelligence briefings because he’s a “smart person.”

      Trump, who currently receives the presidential daily brief just once a week, said in an interview with Fox News Sunday that he only requires the information if something has changed.

    • Syrian refugees mark one year anniversary of being welcomed to Canada

      Noura Alissa says she’s very grateful for the warm welcome she’s received in Canada, but admits the year since she arrived in Montreal from Syria has been more difficult than she expected.

      “Trying to find a job while learning French has been difficult, but I am trying,” the 25-year-old Syrian refugee said in English in an interview Sunday. She said the warm welcome she’s received from Canadians has helped ease the transition.

      It has been a year since Canada welcomed the first group of Syrians that the government flew out of refugee camps, and both political leaders and refugees marked the occasion over the weekend with a mixture of pride and an acknowledgment of the challenges that remain.

      Immigration Minister John McCallum said he would never forget joining Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other cabinet ministers at Toronto’s Pearson airport on Dec. 10, 2015 to greet the first plane load of refugees.

    • Lockheed Martin shares suffer after Trump F-35 tweet

      Shares in Lockheed Martin have fallen after President-elect Donald Trump said he would cut the cost of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter after taking office.

      He tweeted: “F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20.”

      The F-35 is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons programme, costing about $400bn (£316bn).

      Lockheed shares were down 4.2% at $248.51 in morning trading.

    • Transition Adviser Peter Thiel Could Directly Profit From Mass Deportations

      Palantir Technologies, the data mining company co-founded by billionaire and Trump transition advisor Peter Thiel, will likely assist the Trump Administration in its efforts to track and collect intelligence on immigrants, according to a review of public records by The Intercept. Since 2011, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has paid Palantir tens of millions of dollars to help construct and operate a complex intelligence system called FALCON, which allows ICE to store, search, and analyze troves of data that include family relationships, employment information, immigration history, criminal records, and home and work addresses.

      In a separate multi-million-dollar contract signed in 2014, Thiel’s $20 billion company is building a complex case management system for ICE’s HSI, which processes tens of thousands of civil and criminal cases each year.

    • Saudi arms money is running out

      Saudi Arabia is certainly fighting proxy wars in the Middle East (Allies rally to Johnson over Saudi gaffe, 9 December), as well as promoting its form of Islam in many countries around the world. But it is not just for their oil and for their lucrative custom, for as long as they can pay, that we court Saudi Arabia. We were friendly with the Shah of Persia and selling him aircraft only weeks before he fled his country. The west found itself needing the stability the Saudi regime provides in the region.

      But it can now be predicted that all of this will end – perhaps soon – and that things will become catastrophically worse in the region. Saudi Arabia is running out of money and, despite protestations and efforts to prevent it, the momentum towards bankruptcy seems unstoppable. Saudi’s cash flow is depleted by low oil prices and by steadily decreasing demand for oil from that area. If the House of Saud suddenly falls, as did the Shah, religious revolutionaries of many shades will clash for power and seize the country’s massive stock of armaments. Client states will be left penniless and exposed.

    • Escaped Isis sex-slave Nadia Murad urges EU to recognise Yazidi genocide

      Escaped Isis sex slave Nadia Murad has called on the EU to recognise the Jihadi group’s ongoing genocide against the Yazidi people.

      Ms Murad said the EU must work to prosecute members of Isis and establish a safe zone to protect vulnerable minorities.

      She has been awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought along with Lamya Haji Bashar, another Yazidi woman who was also captured by Isis when the group launched a major assault across northern Iraq in 2014.

      They escaped after several months of enslavement and now campaign for Yazidi women.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Methane surge needs ‘urgent attention’

      Scientists say they are concerned at the rate at which methane in the atmosphere is now rising.

      After a period of relative stagnation in the 2000s, the concentration of the gas has surged.

      Methane (CH4) is a smaller component than carbon dioxide (CO2) but drives a more potent greenhouse effect.

      Researchers warn that efforts to tackle climate change will be undermined unless CH4 is also brought under tighter control.

      “CO2 is still the dominant target for mitigation, for good reason. But we run the risk if we lose sight of methane of offsetting the gains we might make in bringing down levels of carbon dioxide,” said Robert Jackson from Stanford University, US.

      Prof Jackson was speaking ahead of this week’s American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco where methane trends will be a major point of discussion.

    • Jill Stein says Standing Rock decision buys time but more work needs to be done

      In an interview with Jorge Ramos, Dr. Jill Stein weighed in on the recent Standing Rock decision, Trump voters, and her recount efforts.

    • Trump says ‘nobody really knows’ if climate change is real

      President-elect Donald Trump said Sunday that “nobody really knows” whether climate change is real and that he is “studying” whether the United States should withdraw from the global warming agreement struck in Paris a year ago.

      In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, Trump said he’s “very open-minded” on whether climate change is underway but has serious concerns about how President Obama’s efforts to cut carbon emissions have undercut America’s global competitiveness.

      “I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows,” Trump said. “Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast. I do know this: Other countries are eating our lunch.”

    • Inside Exxon’s Great Climate Cover-Up: From Early Climate Change Researcher to Epic Climate Denier

      With President-elect Donald Trump expected to nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, we look back at the investigative series by the Pulitzer Prize-winning news organization InsideClimate News, which revealed Exxon knew that fossil fuels cause global warming as early as the 1970s but hid that information from the public. We speak to Neela Banerjee of InsideClimate News and former Exxon scientist Ed Garvey.

    • Pipeline spills 176,000 gallons of crude into creek about 150 miles from Dakota Access protest camp

      A pipeline leak has spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek roughly two and a half hours from Cannon Ball, where protesters are camped out in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline.

      Members of the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes, as well as environmentalists from around the country, have fought the pipeline project on the grounds that it crosses beneath a lake that provides drinking water to native Americans. They say the route beneath Lake Oahe puts the water source in jeopardy and would destroy sacred land.

    • Trump’s transition: sceptics guide every agency dealing with climate change

      The heads of Donald Trump’s transition teams for Nasa, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy, as well as his nominees to lead the EPA and the Department of the Interior, all question the science of human-caused climate change, in a signal of the president-elect’s determination to embark upon an aggressively pro-fossil fuels agenda.

      Trump has assembled a transition team in which at least nine senior members deny basic scientific understanding that the planet is warming due to the burning of carbon and other human activity. These include the transition heads of all the key agencies responsible for either monitoring or dealing with climate change. None of these transition heads have any background in climate science.

    • Donald Trump ‘will violate US Constitution on first day of presidency’ due to business interests

      Donald Trump is on course to violate the US Constitution on day one of his presidency after insisting he will not relinquish ownership of his businesses while in office.

      The US President-elect confirmed during a Fox News Sunday interview that he will hand the management of his companies to his children but will not give up ownership of the businesses.

      Mr Trump said: “When I ran, everybody knew that I was a very big owner of real estate all over the world.”

    • Trump’s pick for interior secretary could open up federal land to oil and gas drilling

      President-elect Donald Trump is expected to pick Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) to lead the Interior Department, according to The New York Times. If confirmed by the Senate, she’s expected to open up federal land and waters to oil, gas, and coal extraction, as well as undo environmental policies approved under the Obama administration.

      Rodgers is the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House of Representatives. She was also appointed to serve as vice chair of Trump’s transition team. Since she was first elected to Congress in 2004, Rodgers supported legislation to open up the Atlantic Ocean to oil and natural-gas drilling and to prevent the Department of the Interior from regulating fracking, according to The Wall Street Journal. In the state of Washington, Rodgers has promoted the use of hydropower, a renewable energy source.

  • Finance

    • Venezuela pulls 100-bolivar note from circulation to ‘beat mafia’

      The Venezuelan government is to withdraw its largest banknote from circulation in its latest attempt to tackle the world’s worst inflation crisis.

      President Nicolás Maduro said on Sunday that the 100-bolivar note, which is currently worth only two US cents (1.6p) on the black market, will be withdrawn on Wednesday. Venezuelans will then have 10 days to exchange the notes at the central bank.

    • Amazon accused of ‘intolerable conditions’ at Scottish warehouse

      Amazon has been accused of creating “intolerable working conditions” after allegations that workers have been penalised for sick days and that some are camping near one of its warehouses to save money commuting to work.

      Willie Rennie, the Liberal Democrat leader in Scotland, said Amazon should be “ashamed” that workers at its warehouse in Dunfermline have chosen to camp outside in the winter.

      He made the comments after the the Courier newspaper published photographs of tents near the site that it said were being lived in by Amazon workers. It said at least three tents were pitched close to the warehouse by the M90 in Dunfermline and that a man living in one of them had said he was an employee who usually lives in Perth.

      A Sunday Times investigation found that temporary workers at the warehouse were being penalised for taking time off sick and put under pressure to hit targets for picking orders. It also claimed that although workers could walk up to 10 miles a day doing their jobs, water dispensers were regularly empty.

    • The war on cash being justified as “necessary against organized crime” is the worst excuse ever

      There is a “war on cash” going on from the central banks, trying to reduce the usage (and personal storage) of cash. This is something that makes sense as a power move against the common people in a time of forced negative interest rates, but it is a shocking reduction of liberty and privacy (of finance), not to mention that the official justifications don’t hold a shred of water. What’s really behind this trend?

      Would you like your government to have more insight into your personal finances than you have yourself? That’s where we’re heading with the ongoing “war on cash” – into a world where every transaction is not just loggable by the government (or a government-coerced agent), but where you can also be held responsible for anything and everything you buy and sell.

      There’s both a carrot and a stick in this scheme of making everything traceable and trackable. The stick consists of outright bans on cash transactions – several European countries have banned cash transactions exceeding 1,000 euros. Uruguay has banned cash transactions over $5,000. Even Switzerland has proposed banning cash transactions over 100,000 Swiss francs (admittedly a high number, but once a government declares a right to ban cash transactions, the number is a matter of degree and not principle).

    • Yik Yak fires 30 of 50 employees, still has no business model

      In a move that seemed all-too predictable, Yik Yak has fired more than half of its staff. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the local startup laid off 30 of its 50 employees on Thursday.

      Since it began in 2013, the company behind the purportedly anonymous messaging app has never had, and still doesn’t have, any obvious source of meaningful revenue. Yet somehow, Yik Yak was valued by venture capitalists at $400 million in December 2014 after Sequoia Capital invested $62 million.

    • Japan ratifies TPP trade pact to fly the flag for free trade

      Japan on Friday ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade pact aimed at linking a dozen Pacific Rim nations, hoping it will one day take effect despite President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge that the United States will withdraw from it.

      The TPP, which aims to cut trade barriers in some of Asia’s fastest-growing economies but does not include China, can not take effect without the United States.

      The deal, which has been five years in the making, requires ratification by at least six countries accounting for 85 percent of the combined gross domestic product of the member nations.

      Given the sheer size of the American economy, the deal cannot go ahead without U.S. participation.

    • Committee Report: Provisions in TPP expose Australia to unnecessary risk

      I am glad to have this opportunity to make some remarks about Report 165: Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreementof the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. I am a member of that committee and I am a new member of this place. I begin by observing that the committee process was both instructive and constructive.

      I thank the Chair, the member for Fadden, for the way he guided us through the process and, of course, my fellow Labor members of the committee for the way they approached the evidence and the submissions that we received in hearings.

      The report enables ratification of the TPP to occur, and that report was tabled yesterday. The timing is little bit strange, considering the circumstances that confront us. Since 8 November and the success of President-elect Trump, it has become clear that the United States has no present intention of ratifying the TPP, and without the United States in the TPP it will not come into force. On that basis, Labor members of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties thought it would be prudent to move the reporting date to the new year so that those developments in the United States could unfold. They were also mindful that there is an inquiry afoot in the other place that does not report until the first week of the new parliamentary year. That was not the mood of the majority of the committee. Obviously the report has been tabled and presumably ratification will ensue.

    • Four EU states among world’s worst tax havens

      Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands are listed among the top 15 global corporate tax havens, according to a new report from aid agency Oxfam.

      The report out on Monday (12 December) claims that the member states contribute to helping big businesses dodge tax on a massive scale, despite EU and other efforts to crack down on the practice.

      Bermuda tops the list of the 15 followed by the Cayman Islands and the Netherlands. Ireland ranks 6, followed by Luxembourg (7) and Cyprus (10). The British Virgin islands, Jersey and the Bahamas are also listed.

    • Trump’s Labor Pick, Fast-Food CEO Andrew Puzder, Opposes Minimum Wage Increase & Paid Sick Leave

      President-elect Donald Trump has picked fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder to become the next secretary of labor. Puzder is a longtime Republican donor who has been a vocal critic of raising the minimum wage, the Fight for 15 movement, expansion of overtime pay, paid sick leave and the Affordable Care Act. Puzder is also an anti-choice activist who has been accused of domestic violence. We get response from labor leader Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which represents over 2 million workers.

    • Trump taps Goldman Sachs president for top economic adviser

      President-elect Donald Trump has selected Gary Cohn, the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs, to serve as assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the national economic council.

      “As my top economic advisor, Gary Cohn is going to put his talents as a highly successful businessman to work for the American people,” Trump said in a statement. “He will help craft economic policies that will grow wages for our workers, stop the exodus of jobs overseas and create many great new opportunities for Americans who have been struggling. He fully understands the economy and will use all of his vast knowledge and experience to make sure the American people start winning again.”

    • The Internet Governance Forum Wakes Up to Trade

      The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multi-stakeholder community that discusses a broad range of Internet issues, and seeks to identify possible shared solutions to current challenges. This year was the first year in which the spotlight fell on the use of trade agreements to make rules for the Internet behind closed doors, and a broad consensus emerged that this needs to change.

      In an unprecedented focus on this issue, there were three separate workshops held on the topic—an EFF-organized workshop on the disconnect between trade agreements and the Internet’s multi-stakeholder governance model, two more specific workshops on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and on the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), and finally a high-profile plenary session that was translated into the six United Nations languages and included on its panel two former trade negotiators, a Member of the European Parliament, and two private sector representatives, as well as speakers from EFF and Public Citizen.

    • Apple CEO Tim Cook Cook invited to event regarding the European Commission tax ruling

      Apple CEO Tim Cook may have a busy travel schedule over the next several weeks. He’s apparently attending a “tech summit” at Trump Tower this week. And an Oireachtas committee has expressed confidence that Cook will accept an invitation to respond to the European Commission tax ruling which has cost his company €13 billion, according to the Irish Times.

    • Apple CEO invited to attend tax ruling hearing in Dublin

      An Oireachtas committee has expressed confidence that Apple’s Tim Cook will accept an invitation to respond to the European Commission tax ruling which has cost his company €13 billion.

      John McGuinness, chairman of the Oireachtas all-party Finance Committee has written to the global technology company’s chief executive in California inviting him to attend a hearing next month, along with other senior executives.

    • Irish legislature invites Tim Cook, other Apple execs to hearing on $14.5B EU tax ruling

      An Irish legislative committee is reportedly optimistic that Apple CEO Tim Cook will accept an invitation to attend a late January hearing, which will examine the European Commission’s ruling that Ireland must collect $14.5 billion in back taxes from the iPhone maker.

    • Apple’s Tim Cook among tech executives meeting with Donald Trump on Wednesday – report
    • Traders scheme to cash in on Trump tweets

      President-elect Donald Trump issued a single tweet blasting defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. at 8:30 a.m. on Monday. By lunchtime, he had wiped $4 billion off the company’s market value.

      Wall Street traders began dumping the company’s stock after Trump criticized its fighter jet program: “The F-35 program and cost is out of control,” he tweeted. “Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.”

    • ECB’s quantitative easing programme investing billions in fossil fuels

      The European Central Bank’s (ECB) quantitative easing programme is systematically investing billions of euros in the oil, gas and auto industries, according to a new analysis.

      The ECB has already purchased €46bn (£39bn) of corporate bonds since last June in a bid to boost flagging eurozone growth rates, a figure that some analysts expect to rise to €125bn by next September. On Thursday the bank said it would extend the scheme until 2018.

      But an EU pledge to cut its carbon emissions by at least 80% by mid-century could be undermined by the asset purchasing scheme, according to investments revealed in an analysis of the bank’s international security identification numbers (ISINs) by campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Craven Power Politics of Mitch McConnell

      He blocked a bipartisan statement on Russian hacking before the election, but now belatedly joins senators asking for a probe.

    • Did the Russians “hack” the election? A look at the established facts [Ed: CrowdStrike are like a Microsoft proxy [1, 2]. Largely responsible for dangerous Russia blaming]

      “CrowdStrike’s Falcon endpoint technology did catch the adversaries in the act,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer of Crowdstrike. “When the DNC brought us in to conduct an investigation in May 2016, we deployed this technology on every system within DNC’s corporate network and were able to watch everything that the adversaries were doing while we were working on a full remediation plan to remove them from the network.”

    • Alphabet’s Page, Schmidt Said to Attend Trump Tech Meeting

      Page, chief executive officer of the Google parent company, and Schmidt, the chairman, plan to be at the meeting, a person familiar with the decision said late Friday. The person asked not to be identified because the decisions were not public. An Alphabet spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.

    • Trump says CIA report that Russia helped his electoral win is “ridiculous”

      On Friday evening, The Washington Post reported that the CIA has “concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the US electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.”

    • What Trump said about Apple, Alphabet and Facebook — the tech companies he’s meeting next week

      In case you missed it: President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is convening a tech summit at Trump Tower next week, and top execs from Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and more are attending.

      As one person familiar with the summit plans told my boss, Recode’s Kara Swisher, “Look, this is obviously a circus.” So, let’s do some social media-searching acrobatics and see what Trump has said about these companies.

    • All TV Will Be Trump TV

      Remember the good old days when the media were certain that after Donald Trump lost the election he’d launch his own television channel? Son-in-law Jared Kushner met with media dealmakers to lay the groundwork, and a small alt-shop called Right Side Broadcasting Network earned the nickname “Trump TV” by producing post-debate analysis on Donald’s Facebook page. There was even excited speculation that Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity would bail on Fox News to join their old boss Roger Ailes at an all-Trump-all-the-time, sexual-harassment-friendly workplace.

      This new, Breitbart-flavored media empire would, many of us feared, make Trump’s birther campaign to delegitimize President Obama look like a dress rehearsal and Fox look like a poodle. Trump TV would not only hound President Hillary Clinton 24/7, with pitchfork demands for her head, it would operate as a government in exile, in your living room and on your handheld device—menacing, unaccountable, and, most frighteningly, more entertaining than anything the official administration could muster.

    • Recounts should be the norm, not the exception

      Jill Stein, her supporters and a group of experts struggled mightily to get proper recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. They were accused of paranoia and of simply wasting time.

      Why is it so difficult, and so controversial, to get the results of a U.S. presidential election inspected and verified? Audits should be mandatory in all states; in fact, they’re part of the foundation of a healthy democracy.

      Recounts not only are important for finding proof that voting machines were misconfigured or hacked. In a meaningful recount, evidence representing the voter’s intent is compared against the published vote totals. Even if a recount proves that everything went as intended, it’s a way to reassure the public — especially the losing side — that the announced winner of the election is legitimate.

    • Electoral college members demand information on Russian election interference before Donald Trump vote

      Ten members of the electoral college have requested more information from intelligence officials on the relationship between President-elect Donald Trump and Russia.

      The electoral college addressed an open letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper prior to their 19 December vote that would finalise the election results.

    • Wisconsin recount confirms Trump’s win

      The results of the Wisconsin recount were finalized Monday, reaffirming Donald Trump’s victory in the traditionally blue state.

      The Associated Press reported Monday afternoon that Trump actually picked up 162 additional votes, keeping his margin of victory around 22,000 over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

      The final results, certified by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, changed by fewer than 1,800 votes.

    • Donald Trump Certified as Winner in Wisconsin, Following Recount

      President-elect Donald Trump was certified the winner of the Wisconsin presidential race on Monday after a statewide recount failed to produce evidence of widespread irregularities or miscounted ballots.

    • Trump promises ‘no new deals’ while president, Ivanka won’t manage company

      Donald Trump is promising to refrain from launching any new business deals during his time in the White House, and the president-elect also said late Monday night he plans to hand over operations of his sprawling company to his two adult sons but not his oldest daughter, Ivanka.

      The businessman offered details on the future of his financial empire via Twitter through a series of late night posts. The tweets came just hours after his aides confirmed a delay to his planned Thursday “major news conference” that was being billed as a chance for Trump to explain how he’d disentangle himself from his business arrangements.

    • Critics of Trump’s nasty Twitter attacks miss the point

      When a local union chief pointed out the errors in Donald Trump’s claims about saving jobs at the Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana, it didn’t take long for the President-elect to attack him on Twitter, where he has 17 million followers.

      “Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!” Next Jones received a flood of angry anonymous calls, including death threats.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Terror Scanning Database For Social Media Raises More Questions than Answers

      On Monday, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube announced a new partnership to create a “shared industry database” that identifies “content that promotes terrorism.” Each company will use the database to find “violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images” on their platforms, and remove the content according to their own policies.

      The exact technology involved isn’t new. The newly announced partnership is likely modeled after what companies already do with child pornography. But the application of this technology to “terrorist content” raises many questions. Who is going to decide whether something promotes terrorism or not? Is a technology that fights child porn appropriate for addressing this particular problem? And most troubling of all—is there even a problem to be solved? Four tech companies may have just signed onto developing a more robust censorship and surveillance system based on a narrative of online radicalization that isn’t well-supported by empirical evidence.

    • Another Viewpoint: Slippery slope of censorship

      Pressured by governments around the world, four companies operating some of the world’s most popular internet sites and services — Facebook, Twitter, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft — announced last week a joint effort to censor “violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images.”

    • 2016: the year Facebook became the bad guy

      Mark Zuckerberg started 2016 with a cookie cutter message of hope. “As the world faces new challenges and opportunities, may we all find the courage to keep making progress and making all our days count,” he wrote on his Facebook wall on 1 January. He and his wife, Priscilla Chan, had just had their daughter, Max, and had been sharing warm and fuzzy photos of gingerbread houses and their dreadlocked dog Beast over the holiday season.

      Then 2016 happened. As the year unfurled, Facebook had to deal with a string of controversies and blunders, not limited to: being accused of imperialism in India, censorship of historical photos, and livestreaming footage of human rights violations. Not to mention misreported advertising metrics and the increasingly desperate cloning of rival Snapchat’s core features. Things came to a head in November, when the social network was accused of influencing the US presidential election through politically polarized filter bubbles and a failure to tackle the spread of misinformation. The icing on the already unpalatable cake was Pope Francis last week declaring that fake news is a sin.

    • Facebook Is Looking to Hire a 20-Year Media Veteran to Help it Rethink News

      The company faced sharp criticism for its role in spreading fake news stories during the U.S. presidential election

      Facebook wants to develop closer ties with the media industry.

      A recently posted “Head of News Partnerships” job listing seeks someone with more than 20 years of experience in news to be the “public-facing voice of Facebook and its role in the news ecosystem.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • German Government Knew About NSA Espionage on Its Soil Since 2001

      New secret dossiers of the German government published by WikiLeaks last week revealed that the Federal Government under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was informed – “very early and in detail” – about espionage operations of the US and Great Britain on German soil.

    • What Is Carly Fiorina’s Stance On The NSA? She & The Agency Go Way Back

      President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly considering his former campaign rival Carly Fiorina to serve as director of national intelligence, according to the New York Times. Like Trump, Fiorina’s career has primarily been in business, but she also spent two years as chair of the Central Intelligence Agency’s External Advisory Board. During her presidential bid, Fiorina revealed her close relationship with the NSA and CIA while she was still CEO of Hewlett-Packard. If Trump does indeed hire Fiorina for his cabinet, we can expect her to continue aiding the NSA’s spying activities.

    • Trump eyes Carly ‘fact-free’ Fiorina as potential NSA chief

      Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina share a penchant for a loose association with the truth that just might make Fiorina the perfect person to head the National Security Agency under Trump. The two met Monday to discuss the matter and decided that China is a huge threat to the U.S. Russia, not so much.

    • Exclusive: Face-to-face with Edward Snowden in Moscow on Trump, Putin and dwindling hopes of a presidential pardon

      In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric in Russia, Edward Snowden, the fugitive former NSA contractor who leaked information about U.S. surveillance activities, talks about Putin, life in Russia with his longtime girlfriend and the possibility of returning to the U.S. to face justice in a Trump administration.

    • Tor Project Releases Sandboxed Tor Browser 0.0.2

      The non-profit organization behind TOR – the largest online anonymity network that allows people to hide their real identity online – has launched an early alpha version of Sandboxed Tor Browser 0.0.2.

      Yes, the Tor Project is working on a sandboxed version of the Tor Browser that would isolate the Tor Browser from other processes of the operating system and limit its ability to interact or query low-level APIs that can lead to the exposure of real IP addresses, MAC addresses, computer name, and more.

    • Finnish police want to use surveillance camera face recognition tech

      Finnish law enforcement officials say they want police to be able to acquire and use facial recognition technologies which would help them identify people more easily from the vast amount of images that its network of surveillance cameras provide. A working group at Finland’s National Police Board is examining the constitutionality of implementing facial recognition tech – as well as what setting up such a system would cost.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • “Each of us is a treasure”: Edward Snowden writes a letter to a girl living with albinism in Malawi

      Edward Snowden wrote a letter to Annie Alfred, a 10-year-old child living with albinism in Malawi.

      Alfred is one of 7,000-10,000 people in Malawi who have albinism, an inherited skin condition that leads to the absence of pigment in the skin and color. In Malawi, and in some other countries in Africa, albinos live in fear of being targeted for their body parts because of a belief they contain magical powers that bring wealth, good luck and cure HIV.

    • Montreal lawyers urge Ottawa to help asylum-seekers who housed Snowden

      A group of Montreal lawyers is urging the Canadian government to help impoverished asylum-seekers in Hong Kong who say they have faced harassment for having housed whistleblower and American fugitive Edward Snowden.

      The lawyers have launched a Canadian organization named For the Refugees to raise money for the families and to lobby Ottawa to give them sanctuary as they come under pressure in Hong Kong – a jurisdiction known for being tough on asylum-seekers.

      Since the refugees’ involvement with Mr. Snowden rose to global prominence this fall – including in scenes in a recent Oliver Stone film on the fugitive – they say they’ve been questioned on Mr. Snowden by welfare authorities, seen welfare benefits cut and had visits from police.

    • ‘Non-Muslims meddling in Islamic laws a threat to Muslims’

      Non-Muslims interfering with state Islamic laws are a threat to the Muslims who make up the majority of the country’s population, says PAS leader Khairuddin Aman Razali.

    • Syrian teen kicked off Berlin tram for food, not headscarf

      On Wednesday a Syrian teenager reported she had been kicked off Berlin public transport for wearing a headscarf. It now appears that was a misunderstanding.

      The 14-year-old had told authorities that the bus driver had refused to leave the tram stop, instead announcing over the loudspeaker that he would not drive anyone wearing a headscarf.

      She added that she left the tram confused after receiving no support from other passengers.

    • RSF urges Boris Johnson to raise case of jailed blogger Raif Badawi during Saudi Arabia visit

      I am writing on behalf of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) regarding your visit to Saudi Arabia. We have serious concerns about the press freedom situation in the country, in particular the case of jailed blogger Raif Badawi. We ask that you take the opportunity to raise Badawi’s case, the cases of other jailed journalists and citizen journalists, and the broader dire press freedom climate in the country, at the highest possible levels during your visit.

      Saudi Arabia is currently ranked of 165th out of 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index, and has consistently ranked among the world’s worst regimes for press freedom since the Index was established in 2002. The King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdelaziz Al Saud, has been on RSF’s list of ‘predators of press freedom’ since he succeeded his brother Abdullah as king in 2015. Salman has embodied the heritage of a dynasty that has always been hostile to media freedom

    • Saudi police arrest young woman for removing abaya

      Saudi police detained a young woman for violating modesty rules after she removed her abaya, the loose-fitting, full-length robes women are required to wear, on a main street in the capital Riyadh, local media reported on Monday.

      The conservative Muslim country enforces a strict dress code for women in public, bans them from driving and prohibits the mixing of sexes.

      The Arabic-language al-Sharq newspaper reported that the woman was detained after a complaint was filed by the religious police.

    • Moment documentary maker ‘is punched, kicked and choked by five migrants’ after entering ‘no-go’ zone in Swedish city

      This is the moment a documentary maker says he was punched, kicked and choked by five migrants after entering a ‘no-go’ zone in Stockholm.

      US producer Ami Horowitz travelled to the Swedish capital to examine the effects of immigration in the country.

      But after entering the Husby area of the city, he claims he was immediately set upon by a gang of men who took objection to him filming.

      A sound recording captures the moment he says he was set upon in an ‘unprovoked attack’ before being dragged off to a nearby building.

    • Charity warns of FGM ‘parties’ taking place in England

      Girls are being taken to female genital mutilation (FGM) “parties” in cities across England, a charity has warned.

      The Black Health Initiative in Leeds says midwives from Africa are being flown into the country to carry out the illegal practice.

      West Yorkshire Police said they were aware girls were being subjected to FGM locally.

      Latest NHS figures show more than 8,000 women across England have recently been identified as being victims of FGM.

    • More than 4,000,000 attempts to read US law have failed since a court ordered Public Resource to take it down

      Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, “In keeping with best practices for major Internet providers to issue periodic transparency reports, Public Resource would like to issue two reports.

      “First, our National Security Letter canary is still alive. If we receive such a letter in the future, we will kill the canary and you will not see this report next year.

      “Second, due to ongoing litigation in the case of American Society for Testing and Materials et al v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc. currently pending in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, we have issued 4,063,455 HTTP 451 error messages for attempting to access standards from ASTM, NFPA, and ASHRAE. These documents are all incorporated into federal and state law and include such vital public safety documents as the National Electrical Code, which is the law in all 50 states. The HTTP 451 error message is issued when a document is Unavailable For Legal Reasons.

      “During the term of the ongoing litigation over our right to post public safety standards that are part of the law, the Court has asked us to remove these documents from public view, so any attempts to access these documents will throw an HTTP 451 error and you are redirected to our access denied page. For example, if you try to read ASTM D3559: Standard Test Methods for Lead in Water — which is mandated by the authorities in the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR 136) and is applicable to the testing of water in communities such as Flint, Michigan—we will not allow you to view this document, neither as a scan of the original paper document, nor as an HTML document with SVG graphics which is accessible to people with visual impairements.

    • Backpage executives beat pimping charges, case dismissed

      Last month, a California judge tentatively ruled that he would dismiss charges lodged by California’s attorney general against Backpage.com’s chief executive and two of its former owners. The tables seemed to turn after a November 16 hearing in which Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman decided against following his tentative ruling. But on Friday, the judge issued a final order that virtually mirrored the earlier one: charges dismissed.

    • Columbia’s Graduate Student Union Is a Nationwide First

      While labor faces a shaky ground under the Trump administration, a landmark union win has widened the horizons for worker organizing on college campuses nationwide. The graduate student workers at Columbia have voted to unionize. The 1,602-623-margin victory means that the 3,500-strong union became the first private-university graduate-student union established through a formal National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election, following a breakthrough ruling by the board recognizing their employee rights. As the official Graduate Workers of Columbia–United Auto Workers Union, teaching and research assistants can push forward a nationwide wave of unionization efforts at both public and private higher-education institutions.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Internet Governance Forum: Embarking On Post-IANA Transition And Taking On Trade

      The first edition of the renewed Internet Governance Forum (IGF) last week tried its all not to become just another internet governance conference, with new formats and the taking on of one big topic that so far had evaded the “multi-stakeholder” approach: trade negotiations. But it also angered some by making its big dinner an invitation-only event, for governments and friends.

    • Council of Ministers approve WiFi4EU

      On 5 December, Europe’s telecom ministers approved the European Commission’s plans to offer WiFi in towns, cities and villages across Europe. The EC proposed the WiFi4EU project in September.

      Wifi4EU was announced by President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, saying: “Everyone benefiting from connectivity means that it should not matter where you live or how much you earn. So we propose today to equip every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020.”

    • Malta adds 80 public Wifi hotspots

      Malta’s Information Technology Agency (MITA) has opened 80 public wireless Internet access points at government buildings. On 5 December, the Wifi hotspots were officially unveiled in a ceremony at the Education Department. The Wifi hotspots are one of the components of Malta’s National Digital Strategy – Digital Malta.

      Users that want to access the Internet at these government buildings simply connect to the Wifi hotpots, MITA announced last week, and accept the public access service’s terms and conditions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A Look At The UNAIDS Board Debate On IP And Medicines; Outcome Fell Short For Some

      The discussion on intellectual property-related barriers to access to medicines was one of the most contentious points of the 39th meeting of the UNAIDS governing board last week. After hours of negotiations, the board agreed that the organisation will keep working on the issue. But developing countries and civil society would have preferred a stronger mandate, according to representatives.

    • Copyrights

      • Commercial sites must check all their links for piracy, rules Hamburg court

        In the latest case, a Hamburg court ruled that the operator of a website violated on copyright by publishing a link to material that was infringing, even though the site operator was unaware of this fact. As Ars reported in September, an earlier judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held that posting hyperlinks to pirated copies of material isn’t illegal provided it is done without knowledge that they are unauthorised versions, and it is not carried out for financial gain.

        The CJEU had said that “when the posting of hyperlinks is carried out for profit, it can be expected that the person who posted such a link carries out the necessary checks to ensure that the work concerned is not illegally published on the website to which those hyperlinks lead.” But it did not specify what constituted “carried out for profit.”

        Reda explained to Ars how, in her view, the German ruling had gone beyond the CJEU, and why it’s a problem: “The Hamburg court took a very drastic interpretation of this already problematic ruling and decided that even if a link does not serve a commercial purpose in itself, but is posted on a commercial website, the linking party is liable for a copyright infringement on the website it links to.”

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