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Links 5/1/2015: Acer Chromebook 15, GNOME Internet Radio Locator (GIRL)

Posted in News Roundup at 4:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Hands-on with Makulu Linux Xfce 7.0: The most beautiful Linux distro I have ever seen

        The latest release of Makulu Linux has two major things going for it: first, it is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, rather than Debian, and second, it uses the Xfce desktop. Makulu seems to be doing a tour or rotation of desktops so perhaps having Xfce shouldn’t be a surprise, anyway.

        The Release Announcement / Release Notes give some interesting insight into the background and development of this release, as well as the major features of this release. As always with Makulu Linux, aesthetics was a major focus, and it includes loads of beautiful wallpapers, themes, icons and fonts. The other major focus was speed, thus the choice of Xfce for the desktop, and Firefox rather than Chrome, the synapse launcher rather than slingscold, and the inclusion or omission of various other packages.

    • New Releases

      • Xmas, New Year, Pentoo Release, Shmoocon 11

        Well, it’s that fabulous time of year again. The time where we all have a few days in a row off work so we can concentrate on the things we really care about, like spending time with family. But after about an hour we all get pretty tired of that and get to work on Pentoo :-)


        In addition to all the boot loader changes and the standard updates, we have switched metasploit live to using ruby 2.1. This change was not only important because ruby 1.9 support is ending soon, but because it was a near 600% increase in speed. Remember waiting 30+ seconds for msfconsole to load? Well, those days are gone.

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Korora Takes Fedora 21 and Improves It

          Korora, an unofficial Fedora Remix distribution with tweaks and extras to make the system work out of the box and that aims to provide an improved user experience, has been upgraded to version 21 Beta.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Xubuntu 14.10

              It has been just over a year since I last reviewed Xubuntu, so this review is well overdue.

              Xubuntu has been one of my favourite distributions for a long time and for a number of very good reasons.

              Xubuntu comes with the XFCE desktop environment which means that it is lightweight and highly customisable.

              What I also like about Xubuntu over some of the other XFCE based distributions is that it doesn’t overload you with applications. You get just enough to cover the bases but it is then up to you to install what is important for your needs.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Nvidia wants to power the self-driving car of the future (and every display inside that car)

      Drive CX, the display one, is powered by Nvidia’s Maxwell architecture and supports “every major OS in the world” — which for the world of cars includes QNX, Linux, and Android. Basically, it’s a small computer inside your car capable of processing 16.6 megapixels across multiple screens. In Huang’s automotive vision, everything can be a display. Smart mirrors? Check. Displays in the car’s pillars? Check. Head rests? Of course — put a screen on it!

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Samsung ready to do Tizen Smart TV battle at CES 2015 – “Most Seductive TV of all time. PERIOD“

          If you look at Samsung’s marketing, they are definitely ready to do battle at CES next week over their Smart TVs or should I proudly say Tizen Smart TVs. The are introducing their new S’UHD TVs (S for Samsung?) as the “Most Seductive TV of all time. PERIOD“. This is a bold statement to make indeed as we know that there are some highly seductive TVs already from the world of LG and Sony, to name a couple.

      • Android

        • Intel buys $25 million stake in Google Glass rival Vuzix

          By buying a stake in Vuzix, however, Intel is also getting involved in the enterprise side of wearables — an area where functionality trumps stylishness. Vuzix’s flagship M100 smart glasses may have been fairly rudimentary when we tried them out last year, but that hasn’t stopped the company securing a deal with Lenovo to sell the devices to industrial and commercial markets in China. Vuzix says it’s also targeting the medical, retail, and materials management sectors, claiming that companies can use the M100’s internet-connected display to give workers “unprecedented access to information, data collection and more.” Google is trying to crack the same markets with its Glass at Work scheme, developing the software that will help Glass connect to real workplace scenarios.

        • Chinese iPad Clone Runs Both Android and Windows 8.1

          Nokia recently unveiled a snazzy new Android tablet that looked suspiciously like the iPad mini. Now, Chinese company Onda has done one better with a dual-booting iPad Air knockoff that offers high-end specs at competitive price.

        • Top 10 Best Android Smartphones Buyers Guide: January 2015 Edition

          2014 has drawn to a close, or just about, but 2015 has yet to get going. In fact, as of writing, nobody has announced their next latest and greatest. We’re still waiting for Mobile World Congress, which won’t be until a little later in the year to see what Sony, Samsung and HTC have to offer. Right now though, we have a list of smartphones that many of you might have picked up towards the end of 2014, perhaps in Black Friday sales, perhaps through upgrades. Either way, here’s our pick of the best Android smartphones for January 2015.

        • CES 2015 Preview: Android Smartphones, Tablets, Wearables and More!

          CES 2015 is just about here. It’s the first big trade show of the new year. While the actual show floor opens up on Tuesday January 6th, we’ll start seeing announcements flooding in as early as tomorrow. Yep, companies are always looking to get their products announced ahead of their competitors, and every year it happens earlier and earlier. We will be at CES this year, we’re sending Nick to cover the entire thing by himself. And no that’s not a punishment.

        • Pizza Compass Is The One Android (And Android Wear) App That Every College Student Needs

          It’s entirely possible to find the nearest pizza restaurant using Google Maps. Or Yelp. Or even just searching in the browser of your choice. But why would you go to all that trouble when something like Pizza Compass exists? It’s both a compass that uses pizza as its needle, and a compass that points you to pizza. It’s deep, man. So deep it’s overflowing with pepperoni and onions like a Chicago pie. I really wish I hadn’t eaten before I started writing this post.

        • Parrot’s New In-Dash System Gives Any Dumb Car Apple or Android Brains

          While Apple CarPlay and Android Auto promise to make your car’s in-dash system infinitely more bearable in the not so distant future, you’re still stuck in the unfortunate position of having to choose between one or the other. Not so Parrot’s whimsically named RNB6, which lets you go both ways. Oh, and it has a dash cam built right in.

        • Nexus Users Can Fix Android 5.0 Bugs Before Other Updates Arrive

          In November 2014, Google rolled out Android 5.0 Lollipop to Nexus users but it created several bugs. The bug fix updates Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop resolved some issues but there are still errors that remain that can be addressed manually.

        • Android 5.0.2 Lollipop Update Breakdown

          At the end of the last year, Google released an Android 5.0.2 Lollipop update to Nexus 7 2012 users. That update delivers some crucial fixes though the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop update situation is still extremely murky. Here, we breakdown what we know about the situation and take a look at what Nexus users in general need to know about the most current version of Android 5.0 Lollipop.

        • Android Authority this week
        • HTC One M8 updated to Android 5.0.1 Lollipop with SkyDragon Google Play Edition ROM [How to]

          XDA developer, HolyAngel has released an update to his SkyDragon Google Play Edition ROM to version 4.2.1, which is based on stock Android 5.0.1 update, base firmware 3.11.1700.2 and updated to kernel version 3.0.4.

        • Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop Update Making Progress

          The Samsung Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update continues to make significant progress and the highly anticipated update is now available in two brand new regions ahead of the U.S. Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop release that appears set to begin sometime this month.

        • Open Source Photography: NDFilter Android App

          Getting exposure right when using ND filters can be tricky, unless you enlist the help of NDFilter. This open source app for Android makes it possible to calculate the correct shutter speed for the given ND filter with consummate ease.

Free Software/Open Source

  • When ‘Release Early, Release Often’ Is a Problem

    Large projects such as Linux and GIMP demand constant development, to keep up with the ever changing face of technology if for no other reason. If the decision were made tomorrow to pause development on Linux for a few years and just fix bugs and work on security issues, in rapid time Linux would begin to lose its dominance in the enterprise. After two years sans development, the operating system would already be well down the road to obsolescence and almost hopelessly behind. The same would be true of GIMP, even as it continues to gain ground on Photoshop.

  • 5 open source projects to join in 2015

    You’ve been using open source software for a while, and now you want to give back to the community. Even with solid advice, you’re probably finding that it’s difficult to sift through all of the projects out there to find one that’s right for you.

    To help, I’ve put together a list of five open source projects that you should consider joining in 2015. Many of them may not be the highest profile projects out there, but they do offer some interesting challenges. And helping them is a great way to give back to the community.

  • Super Mario 64 Remake Developer Showcase Video; Open Source Modern Update Of N64 Classic Title Moves Forward

    Studios today are remaking everything, slapping on a new coat of paint and reselling you the same experience – but better – for largely the original price. Resident Evil has had how many remakes already? But, for some fans, the studios aren’t focusing on the correct titles and they remake the game themselves.

  • Broadwell Support Continues Stepping Along In Coreboot

    Google’s Duncan Laurie converted “WTM2″ motherboard in Coreboot to having Broadwell SoC support. WTM2 is short for Whitetip Mountain 2 and is Intel’s codename for one of their consumer reference board (CRB) designs, which is what’s sampled and tested by Intel’s partners such as Google.

  • Docker to Gain New Ground in 2015, After Taking Center Stage in 2014

    Prior to 2014, Docker was not well-known, but that all changed over the course of the year. The open-source Docker container virtualization project got its start in March 2013, and in 2014 hit its full stride, achieving its 1.0 release milestone and the embrace of many of the world’s leading IT vendors.


    By leveraging open source software and establishing best practices to protect this data at an ongoing rate, these agencies can take a cue from the private sector and enjoy a sense of trust in the way they store and collaborate on private data.

  • The power of open source in 2015

    Today, it is almost impossible to name a major player in IT that has not embraced open source. Only a few short years ago, many would have argued we would never see that day. Many of us remember the now infamous “Halloween Documents,” the classic quote from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer describing Linux as a “cancer,” and comments made by former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, saying, “So certainly we think of [Linux] as a competitor in the student and hobbyist market. But I really do not think in the commercial market, we’ll see it [compete with Windows] in any significant way.”

  • Creating and Using Barcodes with Free Software

    Producing the barcode itself is trivial in Inkscape — the leading Free/Open Source Software vector drawing application — ever since the extension became part of the standard distribution, with version 0.46. The current version supports several kinds of barcodes, including the UPC and EAN types.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Why does the world still need the Mozilla Foundation?

        With its Firefox browser rapidly losing share, and its financial ties to Google finished, the Mozilla Foundation finds itself facing the most pivotal moment in its history since its founding more than a decade ago.

        “We’re utterly confident in our stability and viability going forward,” Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker said in a recent interview with Stephen Shankland of Cnet.

        But just because the foundation can continue, does that mean it should?

        I think there is still an essential role on the web for a non-profit organization that can develop services that may not generate big profits, but where it would be valuable to have a more neutral player.

        But at the same time, at this moment, it’s difficult to say what Mozilla is doing that is so essential to the world.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack moves forward into 2015

      Interested in keeping track of what’s happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for what’s happening right now in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

    • Tesora Trove DBaaS Certified for Mirantis OpenStack Cloud Platform

      At a steady clip, database-as-a-service functionality has been emerging as an important component of the evolution of the OpenStack cloud computing platform. When the OpenStack Icehouse version arrived in April of last year, the Trove database-as-a-service project was one of the under-the-hood offerings. And since then, OpenStack releases have featured significatnly improved versions of Trove.

    • Red Hat Marks a Strong 2014, Sharpens Focus on OpenStack

      As 2014 ended, there were many eloquent summaries of the state of open source and the state of cloud computing, but one of the most focused ones came from Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst. In an online post that was fresh on the heels of a knockout financial quarter for Red Hat, Whitehurst lauded the fact that open source technology is now pervasive, and provided glimpses of how his company is gaining momentum with its cloud efforts.

      “Today, it is almost impossible to name a major player in IT that has not embraced open source,” Whitehurst said. “Only a few short years ago, many would have argued we would never see that day.”

  • Databases

    • NoSQL pioneer to inject your database with ACID

      The firm already has a prototype that’s in the hands of early customers with plans to go public in 2015, The Register has learned.

      The move follows delivery of an ACID-compliant graph database for use with FoundationDB’s existing NoSQL engine.

      The document database, like FoundationDB’s graph store, would run on top of the company’s recently upgraded key-value store engine. If it is successful, FoundationDB could succeed in throwing up another bridge between the once-separate worlds of NoSQL and relational databases.

  • BSD

    • LLVM & Clang Had A Killer 2014 With Lots Of Improvements

      The LLVM project had a great 2014 with a ton of new developers and contributions to the compiler infrastructure and its Clang C/C++ compiler front-end.

      In 2014 there were the releases of LLVM 3.4 in January of last year, LLVM 3.5 mid-year, and now LLVM 3.6 is being readied for release in the weeks ahead.


    • GNU Chess release 6.2.0

      I am glad to announce the release of version 6.2.0 of GNU Chess. GNU Chess is a chess-playing program. It can be used to play chess against the computer on a terminal or, more commonly, as a chess engine for graphical chess frontends.

    • Nano-Archimedes Is The Latest GNU Project, Making More Scientific Software Open-Source

      Before getting too excited over this latest GNU project, it will likely only be relevant to a few Phoronix readers as it’s a highly scientific. The GNU Nano-Archimedes project page describes the software, “GNU nano-archimedes is a Technology Computer Aided Design tool (TCAD) for the simulation of various technology relevant situtations involving the dynamics of electrons such as the transport in nanometer scale semiconductor devices (nanodevices) and time-dependent many-body problems coming from, for example, quantum chemistry and/or atomic physics. It is based on the Wigner equation, a convenient formulation of quantum mechanics in terms of a phase-space (completely equivalent to the Schroedinger equation), and the density functional theory (DFT). It is also able to deal with time-dependent ab-initio many-body simulations.”

    • One Of The GNU Games Has Its First 2015 Release Out

      If you’re not into all of the modern, resource-intensive Linux games or just prefer something more skillful, GNU Chess has been updated for some terminal gaming action.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Hardware

    • Many More AMD FreeSync Monitors Are On The Way

      A number of new monitors that support AMD FreeSync are being shown off this week at CES. FreeSync is AMD’s method of matching the monitor’s variable refresh rate to that of the graphics card that is similar to the now VESA-approved DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync.

  • Security

    • OP still under attack, Danske Bank also down

      OP Pohjola customers outside Finland are still facing difficulties logging in to the company’s online banking platform, as a cyber attack stretched into a sixth day. Danske Bank’s services were also down on Monday, but it was unclear whether or not that was due to a denial of service attack.

    • Hacks (Both Types)

      That North Korea was responsible for the Sony hack is the most improbable bit of US propaganda of 2014. There is ample forensic evidence that the hack was an inside job, while the evidence that it was North Korea is … secret. Not one of my myriad contacts who are present or retired security service officers believe it. But geek stuff aside, there are many adjectives that apply to the North Korean regime, most of them unpleasant. Sophisticated is not one of them.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • ​Assange stakeout has cost UK taxpayers £9mn

      Policing the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over two years in order to prevent a possible Julian Assange escape has already cost the British taxpayers over £9 million, and the bill keeps growing.

      The estimated direct cost of policing outside the Knightsbridge building for WikiLeaks founder that took asylum there in June 2012 runs to £11,000 per day.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Sir David Attenborough: Humans may be an endangered species

      Of all the problems Sir David Attenborough has witnessed throughout the natural world, he sees none so pressing as the one facing our own species, which he believes could die out if we don’t tackle booming populations.

      Himself a patron of Population Matters, a UK charity advocating sustainable human populations, Attenborough believes more women around the world urgently need to be given political control of their bodies.

      “It’s desperately difficult, the dangers are apparent to anybody,” he told The Independent.

      “We can’t go on increasing at the rate human beings are increasing forever because the Earth is finite and you can’t put infinity into something that is finite.

    • All Forms of Life Are Sacred

      The battle for the rights of animals is not only about animals. It is about us. Once we desanctify animals we desanctify all life. And once life is desanctified the industrial machines of death, and the drone-like bureaucrats, sadists and profiteers who operate them, carry out human carnage as easily as animal carnage. There is a direct link between our industrial slaughterhouses for animals and our industrial weapons used on the battlefields in the Middle East.

  • Finance

    • Seven years ago, Wall Street was the villain. Now it gets to call the shots

      The recent passage by Congress of new legislation favourable to loosening controls on risky Wall Street trading is just the most recent example of the consolidation of plutocratic power in Washington. The new rules, written largely by Citibank lobbyists and embraced by the Obama administration, allow large banks to continue using depositors’ money for high-risk investments, the very pattern that helped create the 2008 financial crisis.

      This move was supported largely by the establishment in each party. Opposition came from two very different groups: the Tea Party Republicans, who largely represent the views of Main Street businesses, and a residue of old-line progressive social democrats, led by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Three Ways Conservative Media Misinform About Birth Control

      Conservative media personalities have long ignored the public’s overwhelming support for wider access to birth control, instead pushing long debunked myths that birth control is cheap and easy to access, is only about preventing pregnancies, and can cause abortion.

    • Selma, Ferguson, and the Right-Wing Backlash

      “Selma,” the new biopic of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., offers a snapshot into the civil rights leader’s time in Selma, Alabama, as he led a march through hostile territory to pressure President Lyndon B. Johnson into promoting the Voting Rights Act.

    • The Gruesome U.S. Beheadings Fox News Ignored

      On New Year’s Eve, Christian Jose Gomez allegedly attacked his mother with an ax. Angry that she had been “nagging” him about moving some boxes up to the attic, Gomez beheaded Maria Suarez-Cassagne in the family’s garage and tried to stuff her headless body into a garbage can, according to investigators. When he couldn’t do that, he fled the home on his bike and was soon captured by local deputies in Oldsmar, Florida. Gomez calmly confessed to the crime and said he’d been planning it for days.

  • Privacy

    • Hackers can’t solve Surveillance

      Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors without Borders, is an organization that saves lives in war-torn and underdeveloped regions, providing health care and training in over 70 different countries. MSF saves lives. Yet, nobody thinks that doctors can “solve” healthcare. It’s widely understood that healthcare is a social issue, and universal health care can not be achieved by either the voluntary work of Doctors or by way of donations and charity alone.

    • Why EFF’s “Let’s Encrypt” Initiative Is More Important Than It Seems

      Late 2014, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced a small software utility called “Let’s Encrypt”, aimed at website administrators. It reduces the time and skill required to encrypt a website from three hours and much Googling to twenty seconds and one command. That initiative is more important than just being another random utility.

  • Civil Rights

    • For whistleblower vet, winning is a long-elusive quest

      Still reeling from combat injuries, Mike Helms opened the letter from the Pentagon, afraid of more bad news.

      Military doctors had already told him he couldn’t get treatment for a head injury he’d sustained in a blast in Iraq. After the intelligence officer complained to Congress, he was fired.

      But reading the notice, Helms realized it was the best outcome he could have hoped for: Investigators had concluded the military had illegally retaliated against him for blowing the whistle.

    • Belgian rapist and murderer to be put to death by lethal injection

      A rapist and murderer is to be put to death in Belgium this week, despite Europe’s ban on the death penalty, after a court granted him the right to euthanasia.

      Frank Van Den Bleeken, 52, is not physically ill but claims his “psychological suffering” is unbearable and that he would prefer to die than spend more of his life behind bars.

    • Confessions of a former TSA officer

      Airport security is a farce. And yes, we laughed at your nude body scans.

    • The most sinister court in Britain strikes yet again

      The shadowy Court of Protection’s treatment of a 72-year-old grandmother is a national scandal, says Christopher Booker

  • DRM

    • Netflix accused of shutting out VPNs and being a copyright ‘yes’ man

      TELLY ON DEMAND OUTFIT Netflix has been accused of jumping when the copyright cartels say ‘jump’ and of blocking overseas users from watching international content via a virtual private network (VPN).

      Torrentfreak is first with the news about the Netflix action, reporting that the subscription streamer is acting because the industry that feeds it, the entertainment business, wants total control over who sees and views its content and where.

      We asked Netflix to comment and it told us that it has not recently made any new efforts in the direction of VPNs.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • At America’s court of last resort, a handful of lawyers now dominates the docket

      The marble façade of the U.S. Supreme Court building proclaims a high ideal: “Equal Justice Under Law.”

      But inside, an elite cadre of lawyers has emerged as first among equals, giving their clients a disproportionate chance to influence the law of the land.

      A Reuters examination of nine years of cases shows that 66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the Supreme Court succeeded at getting their clients’ appeals heard at a remarkable rate. Their appeals were at least six times more likely to be accepted by the court than were all others filed by private lawyers during that period.

      The lawyers are the most influential members of one of the most powerful specialties in America: the business of practicing before the Supreme Court. None of these lawyers is a household name. But many are familiar to the nine justices. That’s because about half worked for justices past or present, and some socialize with them.

    • Copyrights


Links 4/1/2015: Meizu M1 Note, Samsung Ahead of Apple in Customer Satisfaction

Posted in News Roundup at 3:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • CES: Acer introduces first 15.6″ display Chromebook

      “The Acer Chromebook 15 is a true powerhouse, it provides fast mobile performance and a large display to help customers accomplish more every day,” said Jerry Kao, president of Acer Notebook Business Group in a statement. “Acer has been a leader in the Chromebook market, from providing the latest in technology and trailblazing battery life to designing new form factors. We’re driving the category forward again with the world’s first 15.6-inch display Chromebook, the Acer Chromebook 15.”

    • Atom PC – Future PC

      It’s got enough computing power, graphics power and memory to be useful for all the kinds of tasks folks use a smartphone or tablet but it’s definitely a desktop-PC form factor. It has the instant supply of Android apps and the usability of a GNU/Linux desktop all in one package.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • The VIA OpenChrome DRM Still Might Be Kicking In 2015

        There hasn’t been much to report on in months for the OpenChrome DRM driver as there simply hasn’t been any new public patches to comment on. While it sort of looked like this VIA DRM Linux driver was dead, it seems work is possibly getting resurrected on this open-source driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kate5 on Mac

        Given that the KF5 based Kate works OK on Windows, I would like to get the Mac version up and running, too.

        As virtualization of MacOS X is kind of “forbidden” and not that nicely usable anyway, as no nice accelerating drivers are available for the standard vm solutions, I just went out into the world and bought some Retina MacBook.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • North Korea Linux 3.0 Blatantly Rips Off Mac OS X, but It’s Really Not Bad – Gallery

      North Korea Linux 3.0 is the best and latest from the state of North Korea. The ISO images of this elusive operating system have been made available and everyone can get to test it. Knowing Korean is a plus, but you can get the idea even without it.

    • Screenshots

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Meizu M1 Note with 5.5 Inch Display to Launch with Ubuntu – Rumor

            We have yet to see any actual Ubuntu phones in the wild, but more rumors are popping up all over the place. This time it’s about the impending launch of the upcoming Meizu M1 Note with an Ubuntu system.

          • Robot, Is Being Programmed with Ubuntu

            Japan is the leader in the industry of humanoid robotics, although other countries have made significant progress. One of the best and easily recognizable humanoid robots that comes from Japan is Honda’s Asimo and it looks like the engineers are using Ubuntu for some of their tasks.

          • Ubuntu GNU/Linux Becoming Like That Other OS

            It’s the same old thing. An operating system gains reasonable popularity and it becomes godlike. It must not be criticized or the critic is declared mentally incompetent. That’s just wrong. If users become dependent on an OS and the developers of the OS go off on some tangent the users don’t like, that’s the developers’ problem, not the users. I long ago dropped Ubuntu because it didn’t work for me, breaking configurations with updates. I once had all my terminal servers drop out because the display manager would not run. My configurations were ignored. I went to Debian where users get much more respect. The policy that one package should not mess with the configuration of another protects users’ investments in their systems. Ubuntu thought it was fine that ~100 seats should be disabled when I installed a new set of icons, for Pity’s sake. For that, they overruled /etc/gdm.conf…

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Run Google’s Kit Kat Android on Your PC as a Linux Distro – Gallery

          Android-x86 is a port of the Android operating system for the x86 platform. The developers have just released a new update for it and version 4.4-r2 is now out and ready for download.

        • Top 10 Best Android Wear Apps and Faces Monthly – January 2015 Edition

          To get the New Year started, we’ve put together our regular pick of the Top 10 Android Wear apps from the past month. These could be good choices for your new smartwatch, or just something to get your brain moving before you have to go back to work. A lot of these new apps this month are watch faces, after all that’s what the latest Android Wear update to Android 5.0 was all about, and there are some great new additions available. As well as watch faces, apps many of us use on a daily basis have been upgraded with great Android Wear support and it’s a good time to be an Android Wear user.

        • Flappy Bird’s Android Wear App Challenges Apple Watch

          Just as Flappy Bird signalled the lopsided nature of the software market during the early months of 2014, its arrival on your Android Wear powered smartwatch points to the strengths of Google’s approach to wearables, and how it will contrast with Apple’s strategy.


          Google’s vision of Android Wear is relatively clear. It is a second screen to your main Android device (be it a smartphone, phablet, or ultraportable), it will give you rich notifications you can act on from your wrist, and it will present you with relevant and timely information.

        • Samsung pulls ahead of Apple in consumer satisfaction

          Customers in 2014 who bought a Samsung smartphone are more satisfied than those who purchased an Apple device, according to a new report from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index.

        • Xiaomi is the world’s most valuable technology startup, worth $46 billion

          As we briefly mentioned a little earlier, Xiaomi has just officially rounded-off its latest round of fundraising, where the company generated $1.1 billion with of additional investment. This gives Xiaomi a valuation worth $46 billion, matching original estimates and making the Chinese manufacturer the most valuable technology startup around.

        • Man returns stolen Android tablet when he can’t work it

          Yes, I am sober. Please let me explain. A man from Sunderland in northern England stole an Android tablet from a charity store, according to court documents. Christopher Hooson apparently saw it in the window of the Jonny Kennedy store in Whitley Bay and thought: “I’ll have that.”

          There was one small problem. When he brought it home he didn’t know how to get it to work. It’s unclear why this was so. What is clearer is that, eight days later, Hooson took it back to the charity store and showed his deep good-heartedness. He tried to donate the tablet back to the store.

          This move was unwise. Even charity stores have CCTV. And so Hooson, age 33, ended up in court to defend himself.

        • The Interview download includes Android hacker attack

          Several weeks ago Sony Pictures was hacked by a group that claimed to have done so that The Interview would not be released. Once it was clear that the film WAS still going to be released as normal, they issued further threat that anyone who saw the film would be in danger of physical attack. Most recently there’s been a hack embedded within a torrent – that’s an illegal download, in this case, and it’s hitting Android users in South Korea specifically.

        • New Android-Powered Nokia C1 Renders Leak Along With Phone’s Alleged Spec Sheet

          Nokia, what’s left of it that is, surprised everyone by announcing an Android-powered Nokia N1 tablet back in November. Why was this surprising? Well, I believe you all know by now that Nokia’s Devices and Services department was acquired by Microsoft, which left this Finnish company in ruins basically. The vast majority of the company is now Microsoft-owned, but what’s left of it is trying to make their mark out in the market. Nokia is technically not allowed to manufacture devices until 2016, as per their contract with Microsoft, but they found a way to avoid that rule. Nokia N1 wasn’t manufactured by Nokia, Foxconn did that for them.

        • Last year’s most surprising hit Android phone may get Lollipop soon

          Android handset makers launched a wide variety of smartphones last year and a surprising number of flagship devices managed to stand out of the crowd. But one handset in particular really stood out from the pack because it literally came out of nowhere to generate buzz that was unprecedented for a small, unestablished company.

        • Android Circuit: Galaxy Note 4 Versus Galaxy S5, Android’s Lack Of Profit, Gingerbread Lives Again

          Taking a look back at the week’s news across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit highlights a number of stories including the Galaxy S5 vs the Galaxy Note 4, the Note 4 LTE, Xiamoi’s 2015 strategy and financials, where is the profit in Android and can Samsung find it, is the Moto G the smartphone of the year, and is Android 2.3 Gingerbread a good OS in 2015?

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Why does Google Say Mozilla Thunderbird is Less Secure?

        Sometimes when you are looking for an answer to one thing, you end up finding something else rather surprising. Case in point, Google’s statement that Mozilla Thunderbird is less secure, but why do they say that? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answer to a confused reader’s question.

  • Programming

    • Next-Generation PHP 7.0 Is Running Well But Will It Catch Up To HHVM?

      It’s been a while since I’ve last tried out the Git code for the next-generation PHP (phpng) that’s going to be known as PHP 7.0 when released likely later this year.

      The next major release of PHP is to be called PHP7 in order to avoid confusion with the now-defunct PHP6 unicode initiative. PHP 7.0 is likely to be released by the end of 2015 per the PHP7 timeline. If the release candidates begin on time starting in June, we could be looking at the official PHP 7.0 release around October of this year. However, it’s largely dependent upon the state of affairs at that point with the quality of the code.


  • Science

    • An asteroid striking Earth is a possibility, but we’re more likely to destroy ourselves

      Our solar system is littered with billions of pieces of debris, from the size of large boulders to objects hundreds of miles across. We know that from time to time these hit Earth. A Russian scientist has calculated that a mountain-sized asteroid — which crosses paths with the Earth every three years — could one day hit us with an explosion 1,000 times greater than the surprise 2013 impact of a bus-sized meteor in Russia.

      This is not the only doomsday scenario faced by our planet. Humanity may have already created its nemesis, according to Prof. Stephen Hawking. The Cambridge University physicist claimed that new developments in the field of artificial intelligence mean that, within a few decades, computers thousands of times more powerful than in existence today may decide to usurp their creators and end humanity’s 100,000-year dominance of Earth.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • The Biggest Security Threats We’ll Face in 2015

      As the clock strikes midnight on the new year, so begins the countdown to a new round of security threats and breaches that doubtless will unfold in 2015. But this year will be a little different. In the past, when we’ve talked about threat predictions, we’ve focused either on the criminal hackers out to steal credit card data and banking passwords or on the activist hackers out for the lulz (and maybe to teach corporate victims a lesson).

      But these days, no threat predictions are complete if they don’t address the looming threats posed by nation-state attacks, like the ones exposed by Edward Snowden. It’s been said repeatedly that when a spy agency like the NSA undermines a system to gain access for its own use, it makes that system more vulnerable to attack by others. So we begin this list with that in mind.

    • The Most Dangerous People on the Internet Right Now

      If only the internet had its own version of Lost in Space’s robot to herald every lurking hazard or menace with an unequivocal warning. Unfortunately Robot B-9 isn’t available. So in his absence we’ve compiled a list of candidates we consider to be this year’s most dangerous. We’ve taken a broad view of danger, though—it’s not just about who is potentially a danger to public safety, but also about entities who might be considered a danger simply because they rock the status quo.

    • Countdown to Zero Day: launching Stuxnet on Iran

      As you turn the last page of Kim Zetter’s new book about the worm and virus that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear program, don’t be surprised if you find yourself starting to mull over a career change.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Barack Obama must decide whether he will let the neocons keep pulling his strings

      Heading into the last quarter of his presidency, Barack Obama must decide whether he will let the neocons keep pulling his strings or finally break loose and pursue a realistic foreign policy seeking practical solutions to world problems, including the crisis with Russia over Ukraine, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • Ukrainian Nazis Pay Private Military Company Academi (formerly Blackwater) for Training, Russian Report

      The Russian Government’s Tass ‘news’ agency is alleging that “The US private military company Academi (formerly known as Blackwater) … has confirmed to the Kiev authorities its readiness to start training an experimental battalion of 550 men as of January at the request of Ukraine’s General Staff,” according to an unnamed source, which source is probably one of the few remaining anti-nazi bureaucrats still remaining in the Ukrainian Government. The reported price of this Blackwater (a.k.a. “Xe,” a.k.a. “Academi”) training contract is $3.5 million.

    • Leaked Documents Show the US Used Drone Strikes to Target Afghan Drug Lords

      The latest documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal that US drone strikes in Afghanistan weren’t limited to just al Qaeda and Taliban leaders — they also targeted drug dealers accused of supporting the insurgency.

      The papers, obtained by German news magazine Der Spiegel, include a “kill list” that once contained as many as 750 names, including many mid- and lower-level members of the Taliban involved in drug trafficking.

    • The real politics behind the US war on IS

      In fact, it is all about domestic political and bureaucratic interests.

    • Der Spiegel Reveals Loose Standards Needed for Drone Assassination

      The German magazine Der Spiegel has published a revealing exposé about the loose standards by which the the Obama administration assassinated people, including many non-combatants, in Afghanistan. The December 28 story documented a quick-to-assassinate tendency which took the form of readiness to loosely classify anyone in the drug trade as a legitimate assassination target, as well as a readiness to accept large numbers of civilian casualties.

      The Obama administration accelerated the 2008 decision by the Bush administration to extend the war on terror to the drug war. “In the opinion of American commanders like Bantz John Craddock,” Der Spiegel reported, “there was no need to prove that drug money was being funneled to the Taliban to declare farmers, couriers and dealers as legitimate targets of NATO strikes.” The result was that many people who made the assassination list — hundreds of people at any time — were often several layers removed from actual Taliban terrorists, and may even have been unaware they were financing the Taliban.

    • Bush’s Enduring Theories of Martial Law

      The failure to hold anyone accountable for torture derives from extraordinary post-9/11 legal theories that made the President all-powerful during “wartime” and established what amounted to martial law in the United States, a condition that continues to this day, writes retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce.

    • US Adding Names to Foreign Fighter Watchlist ‘Like a Ticking Odometer’

      Quoted in an article by the Washington Post‘s Greg Miller on Tuesday, an unnamed former U.S. intelligence official described how the NCTC—citing the threat of Europeans who may have travelled to foreign battlefields, particularly in Syria and Iraq—is actively placing thousands of people into the database nearly constantly, sometimes with (and often without) the full knowledge of European governments or their intelligence agencies. According to the report, the database already contains more than 15,000 names.

    • Afghan ‘kill list’ leak: NATO risked civilian lives by targeting low-level Taliban fighters

      Besides targeting top Taliban leaders, NATO forces in Afghanistan included low-ranking fighters and drug dealers on their list of “legitimate” targets, risking civilian lives in a wider airstrike campaign, Der Spiegel reported, citing Snowden archives.

    • Leaked ‘kill list’ shows NATO killed Afghan children, civilians in pursuit of low-level Taliban fighters

      Drawing information from top secret documents spirited away by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel reports that the “kill list” used by NATO forces in Afghanistan included low-ranking members of the Taliban along with drug dealers suspected of supporting them.

    • New Snowden Docs Reveal Wider Net of NATO ‘Kill List’ Targets

      The reporting also explains how the wide net of those targeted for assassination covered those deemed to be narcotics traffickers.

    • Pakistan Taliban: US drone ‘kills militants’ in tribal region
    • Suspected U.S. Drone Strike Kills Nine in Pakistan’s North Waziristan

      A suspected U.S. drone strike killed at least nine suspected militants in Pakistan on Sunday, government and security officials told NBC News. Pakistani government and security officials said the drone fired two missiles and struck a militant compound in the Shawal valley of the restive region of North Waziristan.

    • U.S. Drone Strike Said to Kill Militants in Pakistan

      At least six foreign militants are believed to have been killed in an American drone strike in the North Waziristan tribal region on Sunday morning, a Pakistani security official said.

      The Pakistani official said a drone fired two missiles into a compound in the Dattakhel subdistrict at 6.40 a.m. The area is close to the border with Afghanistan and to Miram Shah, the main town in North Waziristan and the site of the region’s administrative headquarters.

    • President Obama’s Hawaii vacation: Day 15

      Obama headed out to the beach to join his daughter Malia and friends at Bellows Air Force Station on a mostly sunny day. A dozen onlookers watched as the motorcade left the Kailua neighborhood, some holding signs that read “Drones Kill” and “Stop NSA Snooping.” A rainbow stretched over the mountains as the president made his way to the beach and its sparkling turquoise waters.

    • Obama: How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?

      In the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson was heckled this way. Anti-war activists targeted his Southeast Asian war they wanted ended.

      Obama way outdid his predecessors. With two years left to go. Bombing 7 countries in 6 years. More on this below.

      Plus subversion in unknown numbers of others. From its empire of bases. Its global embassies infested with CIA agents.

    • Chickenhawk Response No. 8: The Economic Realities (and Unrealities) of a Trillion-Dollar Budget

      I’ve spent most of the past two days reading through the ~ 1,200 emailed or paper-mailed responses I’ve gotten, most from past or current military people and most supportive overall if differing in degree. Obviously I can’t quote from (or unfortunately even acknowledge) all of them, but I’ll excerpt some as feasible in coming days. Again, I’ll assume that I am free to quote from incoming messages unless specified otherwise, but I won’t use real names unless you say so in advance.

      Today’s theme: business aspects of what I call the chickenhawk economy.

    • You Can’t Run From This Course-correcting Bullet

      The U.S. Army has manufactured a bullet that can change direction mid-flight, according to a story reported in the Independent (U.K.).

    • Stay away from the Sentinelese. Either you’ll kill them or they’ll kill you

      The Sentinelese, a tiny island tribe in the Indian Ocean, have a tried-and-true foreign policy.


      The Sentinelese have been derided as “savages” and “primitives” for failing to join the outside world. But their habit of killing intruders is nonetheless wise.

      Modern history is filled with sad sagas of indigenous peoples eradicated or decimated by diseases borne by European visitors. As in 17th-century America, epidemics can rapidly depopulate the land and leave it vulnerable to takeover.

    • Drones and questions of command for Obama

      There was a disturbing revelation contained in recent a New York Times’ front-page report. President Obama has empowered the CIA by “allowing its director, not the White House, to make the final decisions about targeted drone strikes” on foreign soil. These strikes number in the hundreds from Afghanistan to Yemen to Somalia.

    • Looking Backward, Looking Forward: 2014-2015

      Major events and policies in 2014 which have had a profoundly negative effect on the prospects for peace and social justice are equally numerous.

      (1) The US and EU installation of a puppet regime in the Western Ukraine (Kiev) and its conversion into an economic vassal state of the European Union and NATO outpost on Russia’s border is a major blow against democracy and boost to Ukrainian neo-fascist political leaders. The militarization of the Ukraine, as an adversary of Russia, threatens a global nuclear war.

    • Pakistan Fumes At Being Portrayed As Hellhole By US TV Show Homeland

      Pakistan has problems with the way it has been depicted as a military-dominated, terrorist-infested hellhole in the American television drama Homeland and has reportedly conveyed its unhappiness to the show’s producers.

    • Readers React: Why political gridlock isn’t always a bad thing

      To illustrate his point, Diamond blames the coup against Chile’s democratically elected Salvador Allende partly on Allende’s refusal to compromise, making no mention of the CIA’s role in bringing dictator Augusto Pinochet to power.

    • Strikes to Continue in Afghanistan Despite Mission End: Former Official

      Former CIA official claims that US drone strikes targeting the Taliban and other insurgent groups will continue despite the official end of NATO combat operations in Afghanistan.

    • The incredible US “peace plan” for Syria

      The Syrian people have won two successive wars in four years. Yet the country does not yet know peace. Not only are Washington “liberal hawks” doing everything in their power to prolong the crisis, but they have devised a plan to prepare a third war. Thierry Meyssan reveals here how they intend to use to their advantage the peace conference planned to be held in Moscow in late January 2015.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Finance

    • Why a consumer society can’t fix the climate

      Policy makers throughout the industrialized world generally assume that humankind can solve serious global problems by adopting better technologies and regulations—without questioning the viability of consumer-capitalist societies. This faith is mistaken. The big problems, particularly climate change, are so serious that they cannot be solved without unprecedented and extremely radical change, including abandoning the obsession with economic growth, market systems, and high living standards.

    • Russia’s Putin praises Crimea’s ‘return home’ in New Year address

      Next year, the Russian economy is projected to fall by around 4.5 percent if the average price of oil remains near $60 per barrel, according to the central bank.

    • What are U.S. Objectives in Weakening Russia’s Economy?

      Larry Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss the “tactical strength and strategic weakness” of Putin in Ukraine and whether the West is trying to turn Russia into another “Greece”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Marketing Madness

      If they really wanted to be freedom’s heroes, US filmgoers would be lining up at theaters that are showing the movie “Kill the Messenger,” an excellent drama based on a real story. It exposes how the CIA used its contacts and perhaps even paid agents who work inside the largest and supposedly “free and independent” corporate media organizations, to spread lies and destroy the reputation of Gary Webb, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who had exposed an incredibly cynical and criminal program by the CIA in the 1980s to facilitate the massive import into the US of cocaine from Latin America in order to raise money from the drug cartels which it used to fund arms for the Contra army fighting to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

    • The Interview to be air-dropped into North Korea using balloons

      Balloons have been used before to take propaganda and other items into North Korea.

    • Liam Neeson: Taken Has Put Americans Off Travelling To Europe

      The 62-year-old actor stars as retired CIA agent Bryan Mills in the action franchise and admits fans have written to him saying they’re frightened of travelling abroad due to the storylines in which his wife and daughter are kidnapped.

    • Mike Huckabee’s Worst Media Moments

      Fox News and Mike Huckabee are finally parting ways as the now former host explores a second presidential run. After serving as the governor of Arkansas and losing a 2008 presidential primary bid, Huckabee was hired by the network. His media career was rife with controversial comments and outright falsehoods.

    • Mike Huckabee Sold Out His Fans To A Quack Doctor, Conspiracy Theorists, And Financial Fraudsters

      Mike Huckabee, who is parting ways with Fox News, has profited from renting his Fox-promoted MikeHuckabee.com email list to a wide range of shady characters, including a medical quack claiming Alzheimer’s disease cures; a for-sale stock pundit that was fired from Fox; a financial firm that was fined by the government for engaging in “deliberate fraud”; and a survival food company that profits off of readers’ fears of being “herded into FEMA camps.”

      Huckabee has previously denied responsibility for his shady sponsored emails, telling Media Matters: “You are supposed to read the disclosure and the disclaimer that is a part of the messages. You know, we are simply the conduit to send messages, these are sponsored and I can’t always vouch for the veracity.”

    • The Interview reinforces a negative view of US journalists

      The Interview is a dangerous movie. The first victim was Sony, which had electronic files hacked in an intrusion that revealed shocking details: like the fact that one of its executives wanted to cast a black actor as James Bond, and that many people at Sony can’t spell. But another more serious group of victims haven’t yet been mentioned: journalists who work in dangerous parts of the world.

      The film, which was released over the Christmas holiday, depicts two goofy journalists, played by Seth Rogen and James Franco, who score an interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and who are recruited by the CIA to kill him. Rogen’s character, the producer of a television interview program, was supposedly educated at my alma mater, Columbia School of Journalism, but seemed to have no qualms about crossing what I recall was one of the most indelibly-inked lines of journalism ethics: don’t do the bidding of the CIA.

    • 5 Absurd Right-Wing Moments
    • 2014 in review: The year according to Fox News

      The way the news is covered by Fox in the US can seem incomprehensible to the rest of the world – not to mention many Americans.

    • Benign Intent: Tools of Corporate Media Propaganda

      In a healthy society governed by democratic principles and the rule of law, news media would be analogous to a powerful telescope, a roving, scrutinizing eye from which little or nothing can hide. Corrupt societies — ones that require the vast majority of the population to be passive, obedient, misinformed, ignorant, distracted and consumptive — require instead a media that acts as a kind of prism, a distorting lens that presents a perversion of reality.

      The scale of this distortion varies greatly around the world, with some — mostly independent — media (sometimes lone journalists) laudably aiming to shine a torch as best they can on state and corporate power. At the other extreme, dictatorships like North Korea use state media to portray a false reality to help control their people, who nonetheless are surely aware that their freedoms are strictly limited.

      Western corporate-owned media, however, is unique and quite remarkable in that while it depicts a reality as laughably false as that shown to the North Koreans, its readers/viewers — more accurately its consumers — are overwhelmingly unaware that they are being fed a pack of lies, that the picture given to them is — in key areas that concern corporate power and Western control of world resources — diametrically opposite to reality.

  • Censorship

    • Government red-faced after memos warning staff not to breach Official Secrets Act are leaked to the media
    • Government wants crackdown on violation of Official Secrets Act

      The government wants a crackdown on violation of Official Secrets Act through leakage of sensitive information in the media but its own communication seeking to curb the practice has come out in public domain.

      Aaj Tak has accessed a series of government notes highlighting concerns over the leakage of information to the media expressed by top security bosses. In a letter to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth on October 13, 2013, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval pointed out that a news channel had broadcast a report on India’s nuclear submarine INS Arihant.

    • Ajit Doval, The NSA, Asks Ministries To Plug Classified Documents Leakage

      National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has asked ministries to take necessary steps to prevent leakage of classified information to the media and fix responsibility in case the leakage takes place.

    • NSA red-faced after memos warning staff not to breach of secrecy laws are leaked to media

      In a letter to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth on October 13, 2013, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval pointed out that Aaj Tak channel had broadcast a report on India’s nuclear submarine INS Arihant.

    • Cuban dissidents arrested before free-speech demonstration in Havana

      Cuban police have detained at least three leading dissidents ahead of a planned free-speech demonstration in the Plaza de la Revolución.

      The arrests of Antonio Rodiles, Eliezer Avila and Reinaldo Escobar look set to be the biggest test yet of diplomatic relations with the US since they were restored earlier this month after 53 years of tension.

    • Putin just imprisoned an innocent man to silence his opposition-leader brother

      This morning, under the glare of worldwide media attention, a Russian court sentenced Oleg Navalny, an apolitical former postal worker, to three and half years in prison on embezzlement charges that are widely and correctly considered to be fictitious.

      Russia’s slide into authoritarianism has been so gradual, and accompanied by so many distractions such as Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and his ban on American adoptions (not to mention his cartoonish image abroad), that many Americans have missed it. Yes, Russia does some bad things, particularly to gays, the common perception goes, but it’s still not quite a dictatorship.

    • The Bitter Education of Alexey Navalny

      It was the radicals—Russians call them the demshiza, formed from the roots of the words for “democratic” and “schizophrenic”—who insisted on talking about the fact that Putin had established a virtual state monopoly on media, jailed his opponents, most likely sent his cronies to London to poison a former secret agent, and enabled the murders of many more critics, cancelled elections, waged war on his own people in Chechnya and Dagestan, and annexed parts of Georgia and Ukraine. All along, Putin and his friends stole from state coffers and from their enemies on a scale that overwhelms the imagination. They were never just “crooks and thieves.” Navalny knows that now.

  • Privacy

    • Nico Sell: ‘To me, the NSA and Edward Snowden are just the tip of the iceberg’

      The founder of secure messaging app Wickr on privacy, why she always wears dark glasses in public and why girls make great hackers

    • Offshoring Data Won’t Protect It From The NSA

      The United States is the physical hub of the global Internet. Data from around the globe crosses gateways and servers in the United States. This basic fact, obscured by hazy visions of a borderless Internet cloud, is part of what accounts for global dismay at the revelations of extensive spying by the National Security Agency.

    • Storing data offshore won’t protect it from NSA, expert says
    • The NSA’s Ongoing Efforts to Hide Its Lawbreaking

      Every quarter, the National Security Agency generates a report on its own lawbreaking and policy violations. The reports are classified and sent to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board. It’s unclear what happens once they get there.

      Those reports are now online dating back to late 2001.

      The NSA has posted redacted versions of the documents to its website. “These materials show, over a sustained period of time, the depth and rigor of NSA’s commitment to compliance,” the agency’s self-congratulatory introduction declares. “By emphasizing accountability across all levels of the enterprise, and transparently reporting errors and violations to outside oversight authorities, NSA protects privacy and civil liberties while safeguarding the nation and our allies.”

      These NSA characterizations are not credible.

    • Missouri Bill Bans Use of Local Resources for NSA Surveillance

      A bill filed late last month in Missouri would step into the breach left by a federal government unwilling to restrain the unconstitutional surveillance of Americans.

    • US Made Spyware Found on Merkel Aide’s USB Drive

      Reports out of Berlin today say that a top aide of German Chancellor Angela Merkel was targeted by advanced malware commonly used by the NSA and Britain’s counterpart, the GCHQ.

    • Cyber attack on Angela Merkel aide: Report

      The German chancellor’s office has fallen victim to a hacking attack, according to a German newspaper. The Regin malware in question has been linked to British and US spy agencies.

    • NSA spooks count on holiday distractions to hide misbehavior
    • Apple Says Has Never Worked With NSA On IPhone Backdoors

      Apple responded on Tuesday to Germany’s Der Spiegel reports that the National Security Agency had developed a system to hack into and monitor iPhones called “Dropout Jeep,” saying it never worked with the U.S. spy agency and was unaware of efforts to target its smartphones. Der Spiegel referred to it as a “trojan,” or malware that helps hackers get into protected systems. The report, which surfaced on Sunday, did not suggest that Apple had cooperated with the U.S. spying agency on so-called backdoors.

    • NSA Abused Power by Spying on Wives, Girlfriends

      The National Security Agency (NSA) was forced to admit on Christmas Eve how it wrongly spied on Americans in a list it released as a result of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

    • The Patriot Act Is Cannibalizing America’s Economic Edge

      The majority opinion prioritized protectionism—the idea that phone-record collection could stop threats like ISIS from endangering U.S. citizens—over economic growth. Such myopic attachment to the tools of defense, without consideration of their big-picture relevance, puts the $5.7 trillion U.S. IT industry in danger of losing its competitive advantage.

      Risking the second-largest industry in the country will pose serious long-term consequences—not only to the economy, but, by association—to national security itself.

      It’s time for legislators to ask themselves which laws matter most.

    • NSA Abuses Never End

      The NSA has posted redacted versions of the documents to its website. “These materials show, over a sustained period of time, the depth and rigor of NSA’s commitment to compliance,” the agency’s self-congratulatory introduction declares. “By emphasizing accountability across all levels of the enterprise, and transparently reporting errors and violations to outside oversight authorities, NSA protects privacy and civil liberties while safeguarding the nation and our allies.”

      These NSA characterizations are not credible.

      Even the uninformed observer will be suspicious of the spy agency’s account upon learning that far from voluntarily releasing redacted versions of these documents, it was forced to do so by Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the ACLU. The NSA fought to continue suppressing these documents from the public, even though the redacted versions in no way harm U.S. national security. A court ordered the documents released.”

    • Kim Dotcom is back!
    • MegaChat Poised to Compete With Skype

      Kim Dotcom, an individual who has become known as an outspoken encryption enthusiast, and the man who attempted to stop the recent hacks against both Sony and Microsoft’s online services via the notorious hacker group Lizard Squad, has announced he intended to bring about a rival against Skype. Dotcom intends to release MegaChat, a fully-encrypted video call and chat platform for users tired of Skype on all of their devices. The service is said to support key features of most well known messaging platforms already, but with the promise of no back doors where the United States government can access chat logs from those using the service, reports Slash Gear.

    • Kim Dotcom serves up a Encrypted Chat service, Mega Chat ‘coming soon’
    • MegaChat encrypted Skype rival imminent says Kim Dotcom

      Outspoken encryption enthusiast Kim Dotcom has promised the imminent arrival of his Skype rival, Mega’s fully-encrypted video call and chat platform, which will be positioned as a pipeline for free-speech. The service, currently referred to as MegaChat, will support all the key features of existing popular messaging clients, only with the added promise of no backdoors being provided to the US government, Dotcom claims, pointing out that it’s already in fact been used in public by high-profile leakers Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. News of the app comes as fresh revelations from Snowden’s NSA documents finger several services as being targeted by the spy agency.

    • Kim Dotcom vows to KILL SKYPE with encrypted MegaChat

      Megaupload maestro Kim Dotcom says he will soon unveil an encrypted video calling and chat service that he claims will mark “the end of NSA mass surveillance.”

      In a series of tweets, Dotcom said the service, to be called MegaChat, will also doom Skype, the current king of online calling, which is thought to have been cooperating with US government snoops since at least 2011.

      “No US based online service provider can be trusted with your data,” the rotund refugee proclaimed. “Skype has no choice. They must provide the US Government with backdoors.”

    • Edward Snowden’s legal defence fund accepts bitcoin donations

      Whistleblower Edward Snowden is accepting donations in bitcoin to pay for his legal defence.

      Courage Foundation, which manages the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor’s legal defence fund, launched a website, edwardsnowden.com, where people can donate to support Snowden via a number of means.

      The website accepts payments via paypal, credit cards, bank transfer and cheques in addition to bitcoins.

    • Big Brother Spying Program Is Stripping Away Privacy [Video]
    • When it comes to surveillance, there is everything to play for

      The UK passed “emergency” legislation, referred to as the Drip Act, expanding mass surveillance powers in the wake of European court judgments. In the US, modest reforms to domestic mass surveillance failed to pass Congress. Ireland retrospectively made legal UK mass surveillance efforts related to the country, while even Germany – one of the most outspoken nations on surveillance – has challenged Der Spiegel’s reporting of the tapping of Angela Merkel’s phone.


      The technological backdrop is similarly mixed: in the immediate wake of Snowden, a flurry of new companies promising privacy arose, but there’s not yet a definitive app, while incumbents such as Tor have revealed several attacks and security breaches (since fixed). Conversely, though, major players are starting to regard privacy as a selling point: Google and others are encrypting ever more of their traffic, and even enhancing privacy controls over which information the search and social giants store.

    • Senate letter exposes FBI domestic warrantless cellphone data mining

      In a letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson this week, leading US Senators requested information about the use of “StingRay” and “dirt box” devices and other cell phone surveillance and data mining systems by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other US government agencies.

    • The year of surveillance is finally over

      Whether it was the NSA, your cell phone company or some place where you bought pants a few months ago, it seemed everyone was after your data in some way in 2014. Here are some of the stories that shed light on the new ways you’re being tracked — and also some methods to keep your information safe from prying eyes of all sorts.

    • Why we should be worried about relinquishing our privacy to a secret state

      Ben Wizner is a director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Speech, Privacy & Technology Project — which is dedicated to protecting and expanding individuals’ right to privacy, as well as increasing the control that one has over their personal information, ensuring that civil liberties are enhanced, rather than compromised, by new advances in science and technology.

      Winzer has litigated numerous cases involving post-9/11 civil liberty abuses. These include challenges to airport security policies, government watchlists, extraordinary rendition, and torture. He has testified before US Congress, and also traveled several times to Guantánamo Bay, where he has met people who have been held against their will in secret prisons and tortured by the CIA.

      In July 2013, one month after the revelations about the NSA’s practices came to light, Winzer became Edward Snowden’s attorney. He was put in contact with him directly through the journalist Glenn Greenwald. I spoke to Wizner, focusing specifically on the issue of maintaining democratic accountability as technology advances.

    • The Real Constitutional Crisis Is Hidden

      It’s the Bush-Obama record of surveillance and lack of accountability—and not executive action on immigration—that ought to concern citizens.

    • Debate Over U.S. Government Surveillance Faces a Deadline

      Civil-liberties advocates and many lawmakers want stricter protocols for gathering information—in particular, limits on the mass collection of phone records by the National Security Agency—while opponents of such measures cite security threats that they maintain warrant the continuation of the bulk accumulation of personal data.

    • Anti-terror plan to spy on toddlers ‘is heavy-handed’

      Nursery staff and childminders are given ‘duty’ to report toddlers they suspect of being at risk of becoming terrorists under new Home Office measures

  • Civil Rights

    • Melville House Publishes Senate CIA Torture Report as Book

      Dennis Johnson, one of the founders of Melville House Publishing, called the CIA Torture Report “probably the most important government document of our generation, even one of the most significant in the history of our democracy” and announced the publishing of the report as an e-book and a paperbook.

    • CIA Torture Report Sells Out in a Day

      Melville House revealed plans to sell the CIA’s recently release torture report earlier this month, and it turned out to be a good idea.

    • Ferguson and CIA torture painful for Canadians

      Canadians know, by following their own and the US media, that race relations remain ugly in the United States despite gratifying progress and that the CIA tries to topple foreign governments, kill foreign leaders and tortures people to achieve its policy goals, for example in Guantanamo Bay.

    • Making torture legal

      The CIA, the executive hand of the president, has been involved, deeply, in every crime known to man — for decades!

    • Briton ‘lived’ Guantanamo torture

      The 47-year-old, who has been cleared for release from the detention camp since 2009, said he had not read the 6,000-page report but had been the victim of one of the measures outlined in it – “rectal rehydration”.

    • If Obama won’t bring U.S. torturers to justice, why not compensate torture victims for life?

      President Barack Obama has made it clear since taking office that no one will be punished for torture.

      As I have repeatedly written before, that’s reprehensible. But what about compensating torture victims?

      According to the recent report issued by the U.S. Senate Intelligence committee, torture under the Bush administration was more brutal and widespread than previously understood.

    • My Turn: Always and everywhere, torture is wrong

      As the child of an emigrant family that escaped from a Hungary ruled by a communist government, I heard many stories of relatives and friends enduring extreme cruelties and torture by that government. Perhaps this was the reason I joined Amnesty International 40 years ago.

      The organization is dedicated to helping the victims of human rights abuses and supporting the abolition of torture worldwide. After my family became American citizens, I never imagined that my new adopted country would engage in torture and abuse of prisoners. But in the 1970s, the investigations by Sen. Frank Church revealed that the CIA was not only attempting to assassinate some leaders of South American and Central American countries but that they were also assisting in torturing prisoners in those countries and training the torturers.

    • ​80% whistleblower retaliation claims ignored in biased, ‘Trojan horse’ system

      The number of whistleblowers being retaliated against is increasing every year as former federal workers warn it’s almost impossible to raise grievances through official avenues within the government, a new report reveals.

      Among the employees and contractors working for the United States military and the American intelligence community, more than 8,700 have filed claims since 2001 in which they allege having faced reprisal for raising objections about supposed instances of waste, fraud or abuse, McClatchy reported on Tuesday.

      According to the report, an analysis of whistleblower retaliation claims made with the Pentagon suggests the number of workers who say they suffered for speaking out has been “increasing virtually every year” since September 11, 2001.

    • Judge Okays Condé Nast Payout of $5.85 Million to Former Interns

      Onetime interns will each get payouts of up to about $1,900 for their time with the publisher

      Condé Nast appears likely to pay $5.85 million to thousands of former interns who have accused the magazine publisher of underpaying them for their work.

    • Terrorism “Insurance” Expires

      The April 2013 issue of The Atlantic recounts the U.S. Senate testimony of a young man named Farea al-Muslimi, a Yemini. He attended English classes in Yemen before going to high school in Rosamond, California, then college in Beirut— all funded through U.S. State Department scholarships. One day a drone strike hit his remote home village of Wessab. Seven of his siblings died from injuries they sustained. During his testimony to the Senate, he said he has met dozens of civilians who were injured during drone strikes and other air attacks in Yemen. “The killing of innocent civilians by U.S. missiles in Yemen is helping to destabilize my country and create an environment from which AQAP benefits. [Drone strikes] are the face of America to many Yemenis.” (He was quoted using the acronym for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.)

    • Is it not time to dismantle the CIA?

      It’s not as if we weren’t warned about the CIA. Some 50 years before the Senate Intelligence Committee issued its 500-page report on torture, former President Harry Truman published an opinion piece in the Washington Post asserting that the CIA was out of control and calling for it to be broken up.

    • CIA should pledge to a ban on recruiting journalists

      According to a recent series of investigative reports, oil-rich Azerbaijan — wedged between Russia and Iran — is ruled by a virtual kleptocracy. It is illegal for Azerbaijan government officials to own businesses, but the law does not apply to their families. So while President Ilham Aliyev’s control of the nation’s oil industry remains cloaked in layers of deceptive legality, the facts about his two daughters’ hefty stake in the mining, financial services, construction, and other industries have become public knowledge.

      These facts were unearthed by a brave journalist named Khadija Ismayilova. On Dec. 5, Ismayilova was jailed; on Dec. 26, the Baku office of her employer, the US-funded Azeri language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was raided and ransacked.

      For months, the ruling party has been accusing Ismayilova of spying for the CIA. But she has not been formally charged with espionage, and weeks of interrogations and searches by the legal authorities have not produced a shred of evidence to justify such a charge. Yet sadly, America has a history of providing a pretext to authoritarians and other adversaries to discredit independent journalists in this manner. This needs to end.

      When RFE/RL was originally established in 1949, its purpose was to break the information monopoly of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union — and its funding came covertly from the CIA. In 1967 this covert funding was exposed (by investigative journalists), and in 1971 it was terminated. In 1972, Congress voted to fund RFE/RL openly as an independent media company under the supervision of the Board for International Broadcasting, a new entity created to serve as a firewall between RFE/RL and the government.

    • How To Read the Senate Report on CIA Torture

      Despite its rich fund of hard-won detail, the Senate report has, at best, produced a neutral outcome, a draw in this political contest over impunity. Over the past forty years, there have been a half-dozen similar scandals over torture that have followed a familiar cycle – revelation, momentary sensation, vigorous rebuttal, and then oblivion. Unless we inscribe the lessons from this Senate report deeply into the country’s collective memory, then some future crisis might prompt another recourse to torture that will do even more damage to this country’s moral leadership.

    • The ‘Espionage Den’: American ghosts in Tehran

      After the hostage crisis, the Revolutionary Guard used it as a training centre, eventually opening a museum, variously called the Espionage Den or Den of Spies. Provocative murals and posters on peeling walls are updated regularly to reflect US invasions since then (Afghanistan and Iraq). One startling frieze is a parody of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” showing Uncle Sam handing dollars to a greedy banker. The perimeter walls feature a number of anti-American murals commissioned by the government of Iran, notably a Statue of Liberty with the slogan “Death to America!”

    • The UN Anti-Nazi Resolution, the Prague Declaration and the History of “US Accommodation with Nazism”

      On October 27, 2014, the front page of The New York Times reported: “In Cold War, U.S. spy Agencies used 1,000 nazis.” What the headline fails to say is that the U.S. employed and protected men whom they knew were among the most barbaric nazi war criminals. “When the Justice Department was preparing in 1994 to prosecute a senior Nazi collaborator in Boston, named Aleksandre Lileikis, the CIA tried to intervene. The agency’s own files linked Mr. Lileikis to the machine-gun massacres of 60,000 Jews in Lithuania.

    • LETTER: Pro-torture column really way off base

      Mr. Justin Smith’s over-long pro-torture piece in Sunday’s Daily News Journal (Dec. 21) was way off base.

      Characterizing water-boarding as “minor dunkings” is an error of the first order. CIA water-boarding is way worse than anything done in training for U.S. service personnel in Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape classes, where the exercise is carefully regulated and controlled.

      CIA water-boarding has no such controls, is real and not practice, and in its excesses approaches and crosses over into the water torture for which we condemned war criminals after World War II.

    • Over 100 deaths by abuse in Egyptian prisons in 2014: Report

      An end of year report by the El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence has documented an apparent spike in torture and abuse across Egyptian prisons in 2014, recording at least 100 deaths in custody.

    • All those who OK’d torture should be held accountable

      As chief of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, Rodriguez ordered the destruction of 90 videotapes showing interrogations of Abu Zubaydah. Those tapes might have settled two questions: Were prisoners “tortured” and did “enhanced” interrogation techniques really provide “actionable” intelligence”? Why were the tapes destroyed, if the CIA is telling the truth?

      More disturbing is Joseph Reisert’s column (“Blatantly partisan tenor ensures CIA report serves no good purpose,” Dec. 12). You might expect a “professor of American constitutional law” to focus on the legal issues raised by the CIA report. Surely Reisert knows that torture is illegal under both American and international law.

      Japanese soldiers were charged with war crimes for waterboarding American POWs during World War II. “Just following orders” was not a defense.

    • Turned Backs, The Mayor and the Police

      The funeral of Officer Ramos on Saturday, Dec. 27, turned into a Fascist spectacle as many in the ranks of the police turned their backs on NYC Mayor de Blasio—a Fascist spectacle because, already heavily militarized, already implicated in wanton killings of blacks nationwide, the police, many coming from far and wide, used the funeral to demonstrate their demand for acting with impunity and their contempt for authority to reign them in. The funeral symbolized the police as enemies of the rule of law, unable and unwilling to bear scrutiny for lawless acts of an ongoing nature but brought to national attention through a sudden condensation of events over the last several weeks. We stand in fear of our own public servants, just as we do toward the CIA on the international plane, a militarization of American life which internalizes, collectively, the repression America as a nation presents to and imposes on the world and internally demands of itself lest its global/domestic Power be questioned.

    • Failures of torture well documented

      Michael Nutkiewicz’s recent letter to the Journal (Dec. 20) about the futility and danger of torture was spot-on correct. I spent 25 years in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and retired in 2009 as the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI for New Mexico. Prior to that I was SAC for the FBI in Alaska for four years. My heart does not ache, and I face no moral dilemma, for those chosen to undergo enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT). My issue with EIT and torture in general is that it just doesn’t work and is, in fact, counterproductive. Mr. Nutkiewicz correctly notes studies have shown valuable intelligence overwhelmingly being collected through simple and direct interrogation techniques.

    • Hector Avalos: A torturing faith?

      According to Hayden, the CIA’s program is “built on the particular psychological profile of the people we have and expect to get — al-Qaeda operatives. Perceiving themselves true believers in a religious war, detainees believe they are morally bound to resist until Allah has sent them a burden too great for them to withstand. At that point — and that point varies by detainee — their cooperation in their own heart and soul becomes blameless and they enter into this cooperative relationship with our debriefers.”

      So what sorts of sufferings might you inflict on these Muslim detainees to persuade them to cooperate, and yet remain sinless in their religion?

      Aside from waterboarding, which brings victims to near drowning, “interrogators used ‘rough takedowns,’ described as taking a naked detainee outside of his cell, placing a hood over his head, and dragging him up and down a long corridor while slapping and punching him.”

      Another was “the technique known as ‘hanging,’ involving handcuffing one or both wrists to an overhead horizontal bar… one detainee was apparently left hanging for 22 hours each day for two consecutive days to ‘break’ his resistance.”

      Then there was “forced rectal feeding,” which the CIA said was “medically necessary” for those refusing to eat. For example, a detainee named Majid Khan, was “subjected to involuntary rectal feeding and rectal hydration, which included two bottles of Ensure. Later that same day, Majid Khan’s ‘lunch tray,’ consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins, was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused.”

    • Commentary: A long overdue nod to Latin self-determination

      Fidel Castro would survive 11 U.S. presidents, at least eight CIA plots to assassinate him and a few premature obituaries, and live to see world’s most powerful country finally give in and recognize—in principle at least—Cuba’s right to national self-determination.

    • Can The Cuban Revolution Withstand The Normalization Of Relations With US?

      On Dec. 17, the United States and Cuba carried out an unprecedented — but not unforeseen — prisoner swap: USAID subcontractor Alan Gross and an unidentified U.S. intelligence asset were released by Cuban authorities in exchange for the three remaining members of the “Cuban 5” being held in the U.S.


      The Cuban 5, on the other hand, were imprisoned for attempting to safeguard the small island nation from terrorist activities that intensified following the 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger plane by former CIA agents Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch. In 1998, they were charged with a number of crimes in the U.S., including conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, and acting as agents of a foreign government.

    • Torture Reports: Brazil and the United States Release Reports Documenting Systematic Human Rights Abuses

      One day after the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its Executive Summary of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program exposing a policy of torture applied in the War on Terror, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff unveiled her country’s investigatory National Truth Commission Report, identifying human rights atrocities committed in Brazil between 1946 and 1988.

    • Al-Qaeda terrorist suspect dies days before his trial in New York

      Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai was diagnosed with advanced liver cancer after U.S. commandos and FBI agents captured him in 2013, outside of his home in a suburb of Tripoli, Libya.

    • Perspectives: Torture, stop defending the indefensible

      For instance, of the 119 detainees tortured by CIA agents and contractors, 26 individuals were mistakenly held. This means that completely innocent people were detained and tortured for months. Not all of them survived their captivity.

    • Torture Doesn’t Save Lives, It Costs Them

      In 1995, I swore an oath to support and defend our Constitution — a document proclaiming basic human rights and prohibiting the U.S. government from inflicting “cruel and unusual punishment.” After taking this oath, I became a military intelligence officer and, four years after that, a counterintelligence officer with interrogation training.

    • Was revenge the hidden rationale for torture?

      The widespread rhetoric of evil and fear surrounding terrorism suspects has created a large risk that individuals who are detained for interrogation will automatically be seen as inherently bad. For example, in a “Meet the Press” interview the Sunday after the torture report was made public, former Vice President Dick Cheney described the CIA’s targets as way: Unlawful combatants who committed unlawful acts of war against Americans.

      My research has serious implications: Public support for the use of severe interrogation may well have less to do with a quest for information than with a subconscious human instinct for vengeance, even though that is not the expressed purpose of interrogation.

    • Brain-Washing the American Way

      2013’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the capture and murder of Osama bin Laden, made the false point that torture works.

      Both Sony films depict and promote State Department and C.I.A. narratives, and were vetted and approved by those government agencies—yet, the truth of each narrative is questionable, at best, and their effect on audience understanding of history is frightening.

    • Police increasingly use
      torture, says Kontras

      Based on the CIA torture report recently disclosed, the bombshell report revealed that the American government had approved the torture of prisoners, some of whom were wrongfully imprisoned and held without due process or even public acknowledgment. An earlier report found that some detainees were held indefinitely at least in part because the CIA about the circumstances of their detention.

      When we allow fear and uncertainty to drive our policy, the consequences can haunt us forever. In the saddest news of all, of the world’s nations helped run the program.

      The Senate report makes it clear that “enhanced interrogation techniques” is simply a euphemism.

      Interrogators also staged executions and made threats to hurt detainee’s children or rape and murder their mothers, a common form of psychological torture that has been a mainstay of totalitarian regimes for centuries.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Who’s the true enemy of internet freedom – China, Russia, or the US?

      Recent reports that China has imposed further restrictions on Gmail, Google’s flagship email service, should not really come as much of a surprise. While Chinese users have been unable to access Gmail’s site for several years now, they were still able to use much of its functionality, thanks to third-party services such as Outlook or Apple Mail.

      This loophole has now been closed (albeit temporarily – some of the new restrictions seem to have been mysteriously lifted already), which means determined Chinese users have had to turn to more advanced circumvention tools. Those unable or unwilling to perform any such acrobatics can simply switch to a service run by a domestic Chinese company – which is precisely what the Chinese government wants them to do.


Links 3/1/2015: Korora 21 (Darla) Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 8:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • North Korea Linux 3.0 (Red Star OS) screenshot tour

    The desktop version North Korea Linux 3.0 is finally available for download and install, thanks to the same guy who initially brought us the server version of North Korea Linux. The ISO download has been popping up all over the place on torrent sites, and I’ve got a full screenshot tour of this odd but interesting Linux distribution. I suggest downloading it via Kick Ass Torrents.

  • Download the desktop version of North Korea Linux 3.0

    Martyn Williams at North Korea Tech reports on the public release of Red Star 3.0:

    The latest version of North Korea’s home-grown desktop operating system, Red Star Linux 3.0, was uploaded to BitTorrent on Monday. We first got a look at the operating system almost a year ago when screenshots were posted online.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server Saw More Code In 2014 Than 2013, But Its Heydays Are Over

        The X.Org Server had more code churn in 2014 than it did in 2013, but its pace has certainly slowed down compared to years prior. But at the same time for those thinking X.Org Server development is going the way of the dinosaur due to Mir and Wayland, you’re sadly mistaken too.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • SoK comes to an end

        The KHangMan was initially a KXmlGuiWindow, but the new UI did not need a few things like the menubars and such, for which it was changed to a QMainWindow.The Messages.sh script was initially placed in src/desktop/ , but since those 3 folders (desktop, harmattan, plasma-active) were about to go, it was moved from there to simply src/ , and it was modified to translate the qml files also. After all these changes the code needed some heavy cleanup, because a lot of functionalities already implemented in the QML code were also defined in the cpp code. Some of the other cleanup tasks were removing commented out statements, removing unnecessary variables, optimizing the code by removing some unncecessary statements, and so on.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • OpenPGP Smartcards and GNOME

        The combination of GnuPG and a OpenPGP smartcard (such as the YubiKey NEO) has been implemented and working well for around a decade. I recall starting to use it when I received a FSFE Fellowship card long time ago. Sadly there has been some regressions when using them under GNOME recently. I reinstalled my laptop with Debian Jessie (beta2) recently, and now took the time to work through the issue and write down a workaround.

  • Distributions

    • Arch Family

      • ArchBang New Release 2015

        Updated packages, Network Manager (nm-applet) for network connections, Firefox web browser and of course Gparted for all you power users

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Now Covered by Analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald (NYSE:RHT)

        Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Analysts at BMO Capital Markets raised their price target on shares of Red Hat to $77.00 in a research note on Tuesday. Separately, analysts at Piper Jaffray initiated coverage on shares of Red Hat in a research note on Tuesday. They set an overweight rating on the stock. Finally, analysts at William Blair reiterated an outperform rating on shares of Red Hat in a research note on Monday, December 22nd. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nineteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. Red Hat presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $72.78.

      • Fedora

        • F21 Release Party in Brno

          I finally found time to write a blogpost about our F21 release party in Brno office of Red Hat. It took place on the release date – December 9th. It was, as always, well attended. It’s hard to estimate the total number of attendees, but it was definitely over 100. Unfortunately, F21 DVDs had not arrived yet, but we still had other swag for people to take: Fedora product stickers, Fedora logo stickers, case badges, badges, pins, flyers,…

        • Installing The AMD Catalyst Driver On Fedora 21

          Installing the AMD Catalyst (fglrx) driver on the latest Fedora release can sometimes be a challenge due to Fedora catering towards the open-source graphics drivers.

          With Fedora being on the bleeding-edge and not caring much about proprietary software support while the open-source graphics drivers continue to evolve, sometimes it can be a bit of a headache installing the AMD Catalyst/fglrx driver on the newest Fedora release, but generally it’s possible.

        • Korora 21 (Darla) Beta – Now Available

          The Korora Project is very pleased to announce that the first beta release of version 21 (codename “Darla”) is now available for download.

          Although this is a beta release of Korora, it is derived from Fedora 211 stable and should be ready for every day use. We are keen however, to hear any issues people encounter so that we can improve it for the final release. Feel free to bombard us on social media or log a report in our support system, Engage.

        • Korora 21 Now In Beta With Cinnamon 2.4 & More

          The first beta release of the Fedora-based Korora Linux distribution is now available that’s powered by last month’s Fedora 21.

    • Debian Family

      • Release Critical Bug report for Week 01
      • Weirdness with hplip package in Debian wheezy
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Nokia Lumia 1020 Ubuntu OS Features Leaked

            There is a fresh leak being spread throughout the mobile device world from Team Ubuntu (via GizmoChina) that appears to reveal the Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone running a full version of Ubuntu OS Linux. This type of leak is hard to confirm one-hundred percent, but a series of images within the source website show the mobile device running the operating system effectively. The images appear to reveal the smartphone running the full version of the Ubuntu OS desktop operating system. Anyone who has used the Ubuntu Linux operating system previously should recognize the setup on the phone, as it featured a basic wallpaper with tiles commonly used for features and shortcuts set to the left hand side.

          • Meizu M1 Note to go open-source in 2015: Smartphone expected to feature Ubuntu Touch, to be launched at CES 2015

            Chinese smartphone brand Meizu, which not too long ago grabbed eyeballs of technology enthusiasts across the world by announcing its decision to convert its high-end smartphone, the MX4 to open-source, is now in the news again.

            This time it is because the China-based company’s first Canonical Ubuntu-powered smartphone, the M1 Note running the Ubuntu Flyme operating platform is pegged for official launch during the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2015) in Las Vegas.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • LG tips new 4K TVs running WebOS 2.0

      Following up on its well-received first batch of WebOS based smart TVs, LG has announced a new line of 4K ULTRA HD TVs that run an updated 2.0 version of the Linux-based OS.

      Following up on its well-received first batch of WebOS based smart TVs, LG just announced a new line of 4K ULTRA HD TVs that run an updated 2.0 version of the Linux-based OS. WebOS 2.0 offers up to 60 percent faster boot time, as well as an easier interface and easier connectivity to external devices. In addition, users can now customize their menus on the Launcher Bar.

    • Phones

      • So the Smartphone ‘Bloodbath’ Annual Preview for Year 2015 – This is so boring

        So yes, readers, it was an exhilirating ride. But it is now over. The bloodbath is gone. Samsung won the hardware war clearly. Android won the OS war, decisively. There are no dark horses left. We just learned a week ago that even the so-called ‘third ecosystem’ haha, Windows Phone, has actually failed to activate one third of all the Lumia Nokia smartphones shipped using that OS. So Windows is in reality a far worse disaster than has even been reported, and the Nokia collapse was the worst corporate management catastrophy ever witnessed. Well, we know all that, Elop the worst CEO of all time and all that. what we now will see in the coming years is more price wars that will cause unforseen profit warnings, more mergers and acquisitions like Microsoft buying Nokia’s handset business and Lenovo buying the Motorola business from Google. We may well see former greats like HTC and Blackberry being sold and buyers from Asia most likely China but could be India or elsewhere in Asia. Japan’s seven handset makers have gone through their own consolidation through mergers and acquisitions already shrinking from 7 manufacturers to 4. The South Korean market is in similar state now with Pantech being on the block.

      • Tizen

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source carries software-defined storage forward

    In my small home-office, I have hard drives, flash drives, and solid-state drives, which use FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, Btrfs, Ext3, and Ext4 file systems, and are connected to the computers with CIFS, NFS, HTTPS, ssh, and ftp over the Internet and Gigabit Ethernet with a variety of authentication systems based on Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Active Directory (AD). And, this, mind you, is a simple, small-business network.

    Is it any wonder then that companies, far, far larger then my little operation, want to abstract their storage concerns away with software-defined storage (SDS)? I think not!

  • Coreboot Ported To Another Lenovo ThinkPad

    While Coreboot is most commonly used by Google Chromebooks, an increasing number of Lenovo ThinkPad laptops are becoming compatible with Coreboot for initializing and booting the system with open-source software.

  • Open Source App Allows Easier Image Sharing in Google Hangouts
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google’s Chromebooks can now run Linux using a Chrome extension

        Google’s Chromebooks can now run Linux, François Beaufort, former frequent Chrome hacker who was hired by Google in 2013, revealed on a Google+ post. To run Linux, users will essentially have to enable developer mode, and use a Chrome extension named Crouton Chrome.

        Chromebook computers run on Google’s ChromeOS, which isn’t as full-fledged as Windows, OS X, or most Linux distributions for that matter. Google, however, has added several handy features to the operating system in the last couple of months. Chromebooks now support offline video playback and also lets users run a handful of Android applications.

    • Mozilla

      • Hats Off to Mozilla

        Firefox turned ten years old last November and celebrated the occasion with a new version (33.1) that featured a much-welcomed developer edition. It also featured a “forget” button that lets you backspace through time, blowing away history, cookies and open tabs: one more privacy tool for the shed.

        Those were two among many new moves by Mozilla, Firefox’s parent, all siding with individuals leaning against two prevailing winds that have blown across the on-line world for at least a decade.

  • BSD

    • BSD Community is Too Insular

      First of all let me say I really like BSD. I enjoy studying it’s history which extends back to 1978 when it was a mere add-on to Bell Labs Unix version 6. The longest uptime I’ve ever had on a computer was with OpenBSD. It’s a fine piece of work.

      On the other hand when I look at the BSD community I see a less than friendly environment. It is rather like a gated community where you need to be invited in. Often when one goes to BSD forums one gets some mysterious error message and no access. IRC channels related to BSD are also invite only.

    • The Good & Bad Of ZFS + HAMMER File-Systems On BSD

      Among the pros of ZFS are it’s self-healing, writable clones, fully journaling system using ZFS snapshots, compression, and portable storage. Among the viewed HAMMER positives are the focus on data integrity, great SQL database performance, lower RAM requirements, supports pseudo file-systems, fully open-source with a BSD license, etc. Of course, with each also comes various cons.


    • A small update to our “User Liberation” video

      So we’ve now chucked this particular easter egg, and written this post to document the decision. Doing this reminded me of the relative impermanence of all digital media. DRM-pushing companies like Amazon and Apple who distribute videos and ebooks have the same capability, to go back and edit works after they are published. In many cases, they can even do it remotely, replacing works that you think of as living on a device in your home. Will they tell you about it when they do?

      Thank you to Urchin Studios for making the edits and for their amazing work on the project! It really demonstrates the power of free software and free formats, and debunks the myth that professional designers and animators must use proprietary software to be top notch.

    • Happy GNU year 2015!
  • Project Releases

    • Release 0.11 of ctioga2

      The possibilities of the new styling system are particularly interesting, and I’m working on ways to make it more powerful, and providing series of default style files that anyone could use as they want. Among other future changes, I want to improve the position of ticks, especially when using non-linear axes, and add functions to draw vector fields (though this still needs some thinking). Enjoy, and a happy new year to everyone !

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Pulp in the New Year

      Pulp has used web.py as its web framework for a long time, but unfortunately that project has gone dormant. Since Pulp only uses a small set of web.py’s features (essentially using it as a thin WSGI adapter), replacing it is a reasonably straight-forward task. This gave us an opportunity to re-evaluate what we want out of a web framework and consider several compelling options.

    • My $2375 Amazon EC2 Mistake

      When I woke up the next morning, I had four emails from Amazon AWS and a missed phone call from Amazon AWS. Something about 140 servers running on my AWS account. What? How? I only had S3 keys on my GitHub and they where gone within 5 minutes!

      Turns out through the S3 API you can actually spin up EC2 instances, and my key had been spotted by a bot that continually searches GitHub for API keys. Amazon AWS customer support informed me this happens a lot recently, hackers have created an algorithm that searches GitHub 24 hours per day for API keys. Once it finds one it spins up max instances of EC2 servers to farm itself bitcoins.

      Boom! A $2375 bill in the morning. Just for trying to learn rails.

      Lucky for me, I explained my situation to Amazon customer support – and they knew I wasn’t bitcoin mining all night. Amazon was kind enough to drop the charges this time!

    • New tool to track use of open source Web code

      Prior to Libscore, developers contributed to front-end open source projects, hoping their work would be used at-large, but without having any concrete visibility.


  • Prince Andrew and ‘naked pool parties’ at his paedophile friend’s house

    Juan Alessi, who spent 11 years working for Epstein, also told the Daily Mail how the Prince enjoyed daily massages by young women during his visits.

    He said Andrew emerged ‘smiling’ after the rub-downs which, he believes, were paid for by Epstein.

  • Science

    • Are two thirds of cancers really due to bad luck?

      A paper published in Science has been widely reported in the media today. According to media reports, such as this one, the paper showed that two thirds of cancers are simply due to bad luck, and only one third are due to environmental, lifestyle, or genetic risk factors.

      The paper shows no such thing, of course.

      It’s actually quite an interesting paper, and I’d encourage you to read it in full (though sadly it’s paywalled, so you may or may not be able to). But it did not show that two thirds of cancers are due to bad luck.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Drug firms sway vets on antibiotics in food animals

      In 2016, a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy will give veterinarians a key role in combating a surge in antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” that infect humans. For the first time, the agency will require veterinarians, not farmers, to decide whenever antibiotics used by people are given to animals.

  • Security

    • DNSSEC

      Many registrars don’t support DNSSEC, if you use such a registrar (as I do) then you need to transfer your zone before you can productively use DNSSEC. Without the DS entries being signed by a registrar and included in the TLD no-one will recognise your signatures on zone data.

    • Friday’s security updates
    • OpenBSD Moves to 5.7-beta

      As always, your testing is needed to ensure that any bugs are found and squashed early!

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • How Fox News Covered Pope Francis’ Action On Climate Change

      Fox News reported on Pope Francis’ upcoming action on climate change by promoting climate change denial and suggesting that the pope is aligning with “extremists who favor widespread population control and wealth redistribution.”

    • UK’s leading fund manager picks his stocks for 2015

      Britain’s leading fund manager, Neil Woodford, has warned that falling oil prices could prompt a rout in the global bond market as shale companies default on vast debts built up during the US fracking boom.

    • Every Time You Fly, You Trash The Planet — And There’s No Easy Fix

      When the latest international Climate Conference wrapped up in Lima, Peru, last month, delegates boarded their flights home without much official discussion of how the planes that shuttled them to the meeting had altered the climate.

      Aircraft currently contribute about 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. That might not seem like much, but if the aviation industry were a country, it would be one of the world’s top 10 emitters of CO2. And its emissions are projected to grow between two and four times by 2050 without policy interventions.

  • Finance

    • TTIP Update XLVI

      There are *already* more than €30 billion worth of ISDS claims against EU nations


      This is the key problem with ISDS: it places the rights of corporations above the rights of nations – indeed, in this case, above the rights of the EU to determine laws within its borders. ISDS cannot be “fixed”, as the European Commission would have us believe, because it was designed with exactly this purpose in mind: it was introduced as a way of protecting investments in countries where the local rule of law could not be depended upon. Since that is manifestly not the case in the EU or US, it serves no purpose other than to undermine the strong legal systems there. The only solution is therefore to drop ISDS from TTIP, CETA and all future agreements.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Koch-Funded News Outlet Defends Dark-Money Organizations

      Conservative news outlet Watchdog.org released a six-part series defending dark-money organizations — politically focused groups that conceal the identities of their donors — but failed to disclose its own funding from the Koch brothers and other conservative dark-money players.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Fox News’ Attack On Driver’s Licenses For Undocumented Californians Is Full Of Falsehoods

      Fox News falsely claimed that California’s new program to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants amounted to “back door to citizenship” that would increase identity theft. But the program requires a stringent background check and shares the support of law enforcement and public officials who point to studies that show the program will lead to increased safety and transparency for citizens.

    • Who Goes to Jail? Matt Taibbi on “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap”

      In part two of our holiday special, we feature our April 2014 interview with Matt Taibbi about his book, “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.” The book asks why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale. “It is much more grotesque to consider the non-enforcement of white-collar criminals when you do consider how incredibly aggressive law enforcement is with regard to everybody else,” Taibbi says.

    • The lost detainees and the CIA’s dungeons

      The executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report on CIA torture was finally published on 9 December 2014, and it proved shocking, despite being highly-redacted and missing 9,400 documents “withheld by the White House”.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Netflix Cracks Down on VPN and Proxy “Pirates”

      Netflix is starting to block subscribers who access its service using VPN services and other tools that bypass geolocation restrictions. The changes, which may also affect legitimate users, have been requested by the movie studios who want full control over what people can see in their respective countries.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian ISPs and VPNs Now Have to Alert Pirating Customers

        Starting today Canadian Internet providers are required to forward copyright infringement notices to their subscribers. This notification scheme provides a safe harbor for ISPs but is also expected to result in a surge in piracy settlement schemes. The new law further causes trouble for VPN providers, who are now required to log customers for at least six months.


Links 2/1/2015: AMD Catalyst Benchmarks, Krita Receives Artist Choice Award

Posted in News Roundup at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • January 2015 Issue of Linux Journal: Security

    The Security issue of Linux Journal always makes me feel a little guilty. It turns out that although I have a fairly wide set of technology skills, I’m not the person you want in charge of securing your network or your systems. By default, Linux is designed with a moderate amount of security in mind. For that, I am incredibly grateful. If you struggle with maintaining security in your environment, this issue hopefully will encourage and educate as opposed to making you feel guilty. My goal this year is to learn and be encouraged by the Security issue, not just feel bad.

  • January 2015 Video Preview
  • Guilt by association: Linux Australia members slam others over Williams’ nomination

    At least two members of Linux Australia have criticised the attitude of members who have raised questions about an iTWire staff member who attempted to contest the organisation’s elections.

    Both Noel Butler and Russell Coker took a diametrically opposite position to that of others following the nomination for treasurer by David M. Williams, a columnist for iTWire in the past and an infrequent contributor for the last two or three years.

  • A FOSS Wish List for 2015
  • FOSS’ Shining Moments of 2014

    Well we’re into the last few days of 2014 here in the Linux blogosphere, and fortunately the tequila supplies down at the Broken Windows Lounge continue to hold strong.

    The weather outside may be frightful, but the refreshments — like the software — remain nothing short of delightful.

    It didn’t take long for bloggers to slip into a sentimental mood as they reminisced about the waning year, and a heartening post from Jim Zemlin over at Linux.com only helped things along.

    “2014 was a tipping point where companies decided there was too much software to write for any one company to do it by themselves,” Zemlin wrote. “They are shedding commodity software R&D by investing in ‘external R&D’ with open source.

  • “Average” Users

    Users of GNU/Linux don’t even need to read the GPL to be legal and can probably forget about malware and possibly even firewalls in their homes. They can leave that to the router if at all. The average user doesn’t have to install much software at all as most desktop distros include a web browser that people want to use, multimedia software and an office productivity suite like LibreOffice.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Significant Performance Improvements For RadeonSI LLVM With New Patches

        Tom has landed some measurable RadeonSI LLVM performance improvements to his LLVM branch that provided important code generation features for Southern Islands GPUs and newer (Radeon HD 7000 series and newer). The important code generation features now implemented in his branched AMDGPU LLVM back-end are machine scheduling and sub-reg liveness support. With the current machine scheduler, the schedule model is not yet completed and could be improved further, according to Tom, but the results are already positive.

      • AMD Catalyst Linux OpenGL Driver Now Faster Than Catalyst Windows Driver In Some Tests

        Earlier this week I showed benchmarks of AMD’s incredible year for their open-source Linux driver and how the open-source Radeon Gallium3D driver moved closer to performance parity with Catalyst. One of the lingering questions though is how does the Catalyst 14.12 Omega Linux driver from December compare to the latest Catalyst Windows driver? Here’s some benchmarks looking at the latest open and closed-source drivers on Linux compared to the latest Catalyst Windows release.

        It’s been a while since last delivering a Windows vs. Linux Catalyst comparison at Phoronix, but found the time to be right for going along with our year-end recaps and performance reviews. Earlier this week I also posted the Intel Windows vs. Linux OpenGL performance comparison. The same Core i7 4790K Haswell system was used with this AMD Linux vs. Windows benchmarking. As shared in that Intel article, Windows 8 was being very unstable on this particular system so for all of the testing I had to revert to running Windows 7 rather than Windows 8.1.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • digiKam Recipes 4.3.1 Released

        I ring in the new year with a digiKam Recipes update. This version features two new recipes: Remove Keywords from Photos and Add Web Interface to digiKam with digiKamWebUi. In addition to that, the updated and expanded Deal with Bugs in digiKam recipe now explains how to generate backtraces.

      • Retiring Plasma NN 0.9.0.x
      • Krita Receives Artist Choice Award from ImagineFX

        Make sure to check out the January 2015 issue of ImagineFX where Krita receives the Artist Choice award! That’s appreciation with a vengeance! ImagineFX is the #1 resource for concept artists and illustrators in the entertainment industry. It is a great resource if you are looking to level up your art skills.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Software, GNOME’s App Store, Is Drawing Some Fresh Criticism

        Shouldn’t the GNOME Software “app store” include non-GUI (CLI) packages? That’s one of the questions being asked yet again by users.

        Starting in December and continuing into January are various Fedora development threads of users questioning various GNOME motives with their GNOME Software program. In particular, right now, the GNOME Software application center doesn’t like CLI-only packages for installation but only those with a GUI. Additionally, GNOME Software is limited in showing packages for non-GNOME desktop environments unless certain parameters are set.

      • Introducing GNOME MultiWriter

        I spent last night writing a GNOME application to duplicate a ton of USB devices. I looked at mdcp, Clonezilla and also just writing something loopy in bash, but I need something simple my dad could use for a couple of hours a week without help.

      • GNOME MultiWriter: Easy Duplication Of Many USB Devices

        Richard Hughes’ latest announcement isn’t of another open-source hardware project but rather a new GNOME software application.

  • Distributions

    • Happy New Year & Browser and OS stats for 2014

      LQ ISO recently surpassed 55,000,000 Linux downloads

    • New Releases

      • 4MRescueKit

        4MRescueKit provides its users with software for antivirus protection, data backup, disk partitioning, and data recovery. It is distributed in the form of a multiboot CD, which includes four (extremely small) operating systems. Each of the systems tries to follow the UNIX philosophy (Small is beautiful. Make each program do one thing well).

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Work On Improving Glibc Math Performance

        Siddhesh pushed into glibc-2.18 upstream performance improvements of about eight times for the slowest path of the pow function inside glibc. Other functions received significant performance improvements too thanks to improving the multi-precision code-path.

      • Improving math performance in glibc

        Mathematical function implementations usually have to trade off between speed of computation and the accuracy of the result. This is especially true for transcendentals (i.e. the exponential and trigonometric functions), where results often have to be computed to a fairly large precision to get last bit accuracy in a result that is to be stored in an IEEE-754 double variable.

      • Fedora

        • Resolving my slow booting in Fedora 21
        • Let’s Plan Events in EMEA!

          At EMEA FAD in Leverkusen, we started planning events and activities in EMEA for the fiscal year 2016 (starts on March 1, 2015). Right after that, I asked others, who couldn’t attend the FAD, to provide their input. Today, I put it all together on a new wiki page that should help us organize events where we want to promote Fedora in the next year.

    • Debian Family

      • My Debian Activities in December 2014
      • UEFI Debian installer work for Jessie, part 3

        If you have appropriate (U)EFI hardware, please try this image and let me know how you get on, via the debian-cd and debian-boot mailing lists.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu-Powered Meizu Smartphone Might Launch This Month

            Much like Xiaomi, Meizu has had a great 2014. The company has launched several great devices which are very affordable at the same time, which let this China-based smartphone manufacturer to sell tons of units. The company has launched not one, but two flagship handsets this year, the Meizu MX4 (September) and MX4 Pro (November). The latest handset this company has launched is the M1 Note handset, or the Blue Note, as it’s called in China. This device was launched quite recently actually and surprised many people by what it has to offer. This is a rather powerful mid-high end handset which costs only 1,999 Yuan (16GB version) in China, which is about $322.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Amazon now has 33 paid Android apps available for free

          If the 40 free applications that Amazon gave away last week wasn’t enough to satiate your hunger for new apps, the company is back today with even more goodies for your Android device.

          Amazon is now offering 33 paid Android apps for free as part of its latest Free App of the Day Bundle. There are games and utilities packed inside of the bundle, including big names like Monopoly, République, Thomas Was Alone, Lyne, and Angry Birds Star Wars.

        • OnePlus One gets official Android 5.0 Lollipop alpha ROM

          OnePlus has been quietly developing its own Android 5.0 Lollipop based ROM for the OnePlus One. Following the controversy with Cyanogen licensing in India, the company had announced that it will be providing an early build to customers, which will replace the Cyanogen OS on their devices.

        • 16 Essential Apps For Your New Android And iPhone 6

          So you’ve unwrapped, unboxed and cuddled your new smartphone to death. Candy Crush? Check. Instagram? Check. Staring at the screen wide-eyed and full of excitement but have no idea what to do next? Check.

        • How To Migrate From iPhone iOS to Android Without Losing Your Files
        • Verizon Announces Android 4.4.4 KitKat Update is Now Available for Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1

          Android 4.4.4 KitKat update is now available for Verizon’s Samsung Galaxy Tab 4.10.1.

          Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 owners can now enjoy the perks that comes with the new update. Verizon shared the improvements that come along with the firmware.

          The tablet has now a self activation support and ICC ID information added to Settings. The bugs such as VPN and Chrome cast connectivity issues are fixed. There are also pre loaded applications and services such as Find My Mobile, Kids Mode Widget, Email Widget and My Verizon (10.0.710).

        • One important area where top Android phones crush the iPhone 6

          The iPhone 6 is a spectacular smartphone. I reviewed the iPhone 6 earlier this year and while there are a few things that could certainly be improved, I said that the phone was clearly one of the best smartphones in the world. And it still is. From handset design and build quality to performance and the supporting third-party app ecosystem, the iPhone 6 is a class leader in almost every key area.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Broadwell Support Marching Along For Coreboot

    For months now there’s been Coreboot developers working on Intel Broadwell support (primarily from Google and focused on future Chromebook support). With the start of the new year and hopefully seeing more Broadwell hardware on the market soon, that support is coming along in Coreboot.

  • Events

    • Typoday 2014 At Pune

      This blog was pending on me from long time. I got a chance to attend typoday.in 2014 conference At Symbiosis International University, Viman Nagar, Pune in February. This was the my second conference specifically on typography domain after National workshop on calligraphy and typography in 2007.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • A year in the life of OpenStack

      What a year for OpenStack! With two shiny new releases, two excellent summits on opposite sides of the Atlantic, countless new features, and an ever-growing community of users and developers, it truly has been a year of progress for OpenStack.

    • Big Data Becomes a Market Force, Ushering in Change

      As reported here earlier, a new KPGM study on cloud computing trends at enterprises shows that executives are very focused on extracting business metrics from their cloud computing and data analytics platforms. That suggests that we’re going to continue to see the cloud and the Big Data trend evolve together this year.

    • How Open Source Can Fix 2015′s Data Entropy

      This will not be a good year for those that believe in human progress. At least, not if enterprise software is any indication.

  • Databases

    • MemSQL adds open-source connector to external data sources

      MemSQL Inc. has returned to the limelight four months after its landmark funding round with the release of an open-source connector for its namesake database that simplifies the process of importing data from external sources. The launch is the latest milestone in the startup’s efforts to remove the barriers that keep information siloed in the enterprise.

      The ability to act on real-time events without any logistical delays is useful in applications ranging from ad optimization to signal intelligence processing. The real-time analytics capability is one of the reasons MemSQL received a capital infusion from the Central Intelligence Agency’s investment arm as part of its September round.

    • MongoDB Set to Gain Additional Momentum in 2015

      With more than 10,000 downloads of MongoDB now occurring daily, many organizations are using MongoDB to consolidate a raft of proprietary document repositories using an inexpensive open source platform that scales significantly higher than its counterparts.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Ports 2015Q1 To Bring Many Changes

      The Ports package management system in FreeBSD has seen 6024 commits from 160 individuals in the past quarter. Among the updates for users to find with the FreeBSD Ports 2015Q1 state compared to the last quarterly snapshot is pkg 1.4.3, new keywords and USES, a dependency on LLVM Clang 3.4, Firefox 34, Chrome 39, Python 2.7.9, Ruby, GCC 4.8.3, GNOME 3.14, Cinnamon 2.4.5, and X.Org 1.14.

    • Deciso Launches OPNsense, a New Open Source Firewall Initiative

      OPNsense combines the best of open source and closed source firewalls. It brings the rich feature set of commercial offerings with the benefits of open and verifiable sources combined with a simple BSD license. This makes OPNsense the platform of choice for users, developers and commercial partners.

      Companies that want to use OPNsense to create a branded version, extend its features, or even create a fork and build upon the same codebase are allowed to do so under the 2-clause BSD license.

  • Project Releases

    • man-pages-3.76 is released

      I’ve released man-pages-3.76. We’ve just passed 12k commits in the project, and this release, my 158th, marks the completion of my tenth year as maintainer of the man-pages project.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Sarah Palin posted a photo of her son stepping on their dog for New Year’s

    Palin’s son, Trig, was just trying to help wash the dishes. The dog was lying in front of the sink, so he did what a lot of other kids would probably do. Palin saw a sort of “overcoming all obstacles” message in this and decided to share.

  • Tram delays Manchester’s New Year fireworks
  • Tram delays New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacular

    New Year fireworks in Manchester were delayed by an excruciating four minutes after a tram got in the way of the display.

    Videos show an excited crowd counting down to midnight only for the sky above Picadilly to remain dark.

    “Five, four, three, two one: Let’s have the fireworks!” announces the show’s host – but none follow.

  • New Year’s Eve London fireworks: BBC loses 1.4m viewers in 12 months
  • New year fireworks add sparkle to 12 million viewers’ nights

    More than 12 million viewers watched Big Ben ring in the new year amid a spectacular fireworks display on BBC1 – but it failed to hit the highs of last year’s celebrations.

    The 15-minute New Year’s Eve Fireworks programme had an average of 12.3 million viewers (63%) from 11.55pm, down from 13.7 million viewers (67.5%) for the same broadcast in 2013.

  • Science

    • 7 things Back to the Future predicted for 2015

      In the cult film Back to the Future 2, Doc Brown and Marty McFly land in 2015, a futuristic land of flying cars and hovercrafts. As the New Year dawns, which of their predictions were hits – and misses?

  • Security

    • North Korea/Sony Story Shows How Eagerly U.S. Media Still Regurgitate Government Claims

      The identity of the Sony hackers is still unknown. President Obama, in a December 19 press conference, announced: “We can confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack.” He then vowed: “We will respond. . . . We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States.”

      The U.S. Government’s campaign to blame North Korea actually began two days earlier, when The New York Times – as usual – corruptly granted anonymity to “senior administration officials” to disseminate their inflammatory claims with no accountability. These hidden “American officials” used the Paper of Record to announce that they “have concluded that North Korea was ‘centrally involved’ in the hacking of Sony Pictures computers.” With virtually no skepticism about the official accusation, reporters David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth deemed the incident a “cyberterrorism attack” and devoted the bulk of the article to examining the retaliatory actions the government could take against the North Koreans.

    • Doxing as an Attack

      Doxing is not new; the term dates back to 2001 and the hacker group Anonymous. But it can be incredibly offensive. In 2013, several women were doxed by male gamers trying to intimidate them into keeping silent about sexism in computer games.

      Companies can be doxed, too. In 2011, Anonymous doxed the technology firm HBGary Federal. In the past few weeks we’ve witnessed the ongoing doxing of Sony.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • JFK and the Cuban Embargo

      Already, we’re hearing that President Obama is a traitor, that he is surrendering America to Fidel Castro and the communists, and betraying the Cuban people and the cause of freedom and democracy for wanting to lift the 54-year-old Cold War-era U.S. embargo against Cuba.

      That is precisely the way that the national-security establishment felt about Kennedy and actually much worse.
      Already, we’re hearing that President Obama is a traitor, that he is surrendering America to Fidel Castro and the communists, and betraying the Cuban people and the cause of freedom and democracy for wanting to lift the 54-year-old Cold War-era U.S. embargo against Cuba.

      That is precisely the way that the national-security establishment felt about Kennedy and actually much worse.

      It began with the CIA’s plan to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, an invasion that would be carried out by Cuban exiles but secretly funded and directed by the CIA in order to provide U.S. officials with “plausible deniability” with respect to their role in the operation.

      What did that mean? It meant that the CIA would lie to the American people and the world about the U.S, government’s role in the operation. And it would also mean that under the CIA’s plan, the newly elected president would immediately become the nation’s liar-in-chief, a secret that the CIA would obviously have over his head for the rest of his time in office.

      Keep in mind that the CIA plan was concocted before Kennedy got into office. Once Kennedy was sworn in, the CIA presented him with the plan. Kennedy was dumb to go along with it, a point that he later acknowledged. But the fact is that he fell hook, line, and sinker for the CIA’s assurances to him that the invasion would be a smashing success, that the Cuban people would rally against Castro, and that no air U.S. support would be needed.
      It began with the CIA’s plan to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, an invasion that would be carried out by Cuban exiles but secretly funded and directed by the CIA in order to provide U.S. officials with “plausible deniability” with respect to their role in the operation.

      What did that mean? It meant that the CIA would lie to the American people and the world about the U.S, government’s role in the operation. And it would also mean that under the CIA’s plan, the newly elected president would immediately become the nation’s liar-in-chief, a secret that the CIA would obviously have over his head for the rest of his time in office.

      Keep in mind that the CIA plan was concocted before Kennedy got into office. Once Kennedy was sworn in, the CIA presented him with the plan. Kennedy was dumb to go along with it, a point that he later acknowledged. But the fact is that he fell hook, line, and sinker for the CIA’s assurances to him that the invasion would be a smashing success, that the Cuban people would rally against Castro, and that no air U.S. support would be needed.

    • Austrian filmmaker uncovers apparent secret Nazi nuclear complex

      Documentary filmmaker discoveres 1944 CIA report that revealed the existence of underground atomic weapon program in the area of St. Georgen an der Gusen, according to local media.

    • Secret Nazi nuclear bunker discovered in Austria by filmmaker
    • Nazi nuclear bunker discovered in Austria

      A network of underground tunnels and bunkers used by the Nazis to develop an atomic bomb has been discovered in Austria by a filmmaker.

    • Secret Nazi nuclear weapons testing bunker unearthed in Austria

      An underground weapons bunker built by Nazis to test nuclear and chemical weapons has been unearthed in Austria.

    • Nazis’ vast, secret WMD facility uncovered in Austria

      A huge, secret, underground Nazi weapons factory, believed to have been built for the development and planned manufacture of nuclear weapons and other WMDs, has been uncovered in Austria.

    • Vast secret Nazi ‘terror weapons’ site uncovered in Austria

      A SECRET underground complex built by the Nazis towards the end of World War II that may have been used for the development of weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear bomb, has been uncovered in Austria.

    • Secret WWII WMD factory found — Was Hitler testing nuclear bomb?

      St. Georgen an der Gusen is a small market town in Upper Austria. Quiet and picturesque, it’s hard to imagine that during WWII, it was selected to be the business center for the SS in exploiting slave labor. Now another secret have been unearthed.

    • Secret Nazi Nuclear Complex Used to Try to Build Atomic Bomb Discovered in Austria

      A Nazi nuclear bunker was discovered in Austria under a large weapons factory.

      The complex, which features a network of tunnels and bunkers used by the Nazis to try to to build an atomic bomb, was discovered in Austria by filmmaker Andreas Sulzer.

    • Filmmaker Finds Nazi Atomic Bomb Research Bunker

      A filmmaker has found a secret network of underground bunkers used by the Nazis to develop an atomic bomb.

      Located in the hills surrounding the Austrian town of St. Georgen an der Gusen, the vast site covers an area of up to 75 acres. It is believed that it could be connected to the nearby Bergkristall factory, an underground facility where Nazi scientists and engineers developed the Messerschmitt ME 262, the world’s first jet powered fighter plane.

    • Secret Underground Nazi WMD Factory Found: Report

      Suspiciously high radiation levels around the Austrian town of St. Georgen an der Gusen had long fueled theories that there was a buried bunker nearby where Nazis had tested nuclear weapons during WWII. Those suspicions came one step closer to being confirmed last week after the opening of a 75-acre underground complex was dug out from below the earth and granite used to seal off the entrance, the Times of Israel reports. The excavation team was led by Austrian filmmaker Andreas Sulzer, who says the site was “likely the biggest secret weapons production facility of the Third Reich”—a facility that probably relied on forced labor from the nearby Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp and may have even been the testing location for a nuclear bomb, the Daily Mirror reports.

    • Filmmaker says he uncovered Nazis’ ‘biggest secret weapons facility’ underground near concentration camp

      An Austrian filmmaker believes he has discovered a huge Nazi “secret weapons facility” in an underground complex near the remains of the Mathausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria, where thousands of Jews were killed.

    • Secret Nazi Nuclear Plant Discovered in Austria

      Austrian documentary filmmaker Andreas Sulzer found the 75-acre complex just outside the small town of St. Georgen an der Gusen, near Linz. This site is not far from the Bergkristall factory, where the Messerschmitt Me 262 — the first operational jet-powered fighter — was invented.

      Sulzer noticed that an Austrian physicist who was recruited by the Nazis had mentioned about the subterranean site in his diary.

      It was built by slave labourers who lived in the nearby Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.

      The exact location of this Nazi factory was determined with the help of intelligence reports and radiation tests that revealed that the radioactivity levels at the site were higher than normal.

    • ‘Biggest secret Nazi weapons factory of the Third Reich’ discovered underground near sleepy Austrian town

      The 75-acre facility, located near the town of St Georgen an der Gusen, is believed to have been used to create and test weapons of mass destruction and was deemed so important to the Nazis that the head of the SS and Hitler’s right hand man Heinrich Himmler, even oversaw its development.

    • Underground lab where Nazis worked on secret nuclear bomb is uncovered

      An underground Nazi labyrinth where slaves laboured on high-tech weapons including a secret nuclear missile programme has been uncovered in Austria.

      The 75-acre facility near the town of St Georgen an der Gusen is described as the ‘biggest secret weapons facility of the Third Reich,’ after it was unearthed by documentary maker Andreas Sulzer.

    • Secret Nazi ‘weapons of mass destruction factory’ discovered underground in Austria
    • Hitler’s secret ‘nuke plant’

      A labyrinth of secret underground tunnels believed to have been used by the Nazis to develop a nuclear bomb has been uncovered.


      Excavations began on the site after researchers detected heightened levels of radiation in the area – supporting claims that the Nazis were developing nuclear weapons.

    • Vast, secret Nazi nuclear testing facility unearthed in Austria

      Huge web of tunnels covering area of 75 acres reinforces claims Nazis were working on developing WMDs

    • Researchers Discover Suspected Secret Nazi Nuclear Development Site

      The facility, which spans an area up to 75 acres, is thought to be an extension of the underground Bergkristall factory, where the world’s first operational jet fighter was produced. According to the Sunday Times, the Nazis took pains to hide the research facility, even as Bergkristall was inspected after the war.

    • Mission Ends in Afghanistan, but Sacrifices Are Not Over for U.S. Soldiers

      On Wednesday, as 2014 came to a close, the United States and allied forces formally turned over combat operations in Afghanistan to Afghans, officially ending the longest war in America’s history, and starting a new struggle for recognition among many military families who say they already feel forgotten.

    • New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019

      America’s $400 billion Joint Strike Fighter, or F-35, is slated to join fighter squadrons next year—but missing software will render its 25mm cannon useless.

    • The Tragedy of the American Military

      The American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. The result is a chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can’t win.

    • Did You Know We Won the Afghan War This Weekend?

      Now, there is no journalism without fact-checking, so let’s dig in on the president’s statement. Afghanistan no longer is under threat from the Taliban, and all terrorism has been taken care of. Instead of an economy based on corruption, smuggling and opium production, Afghanistan is a thriving consumer society. Women walk the streets in mini-skirts, and elections happen without incident. An American can stroll among Kabul’s cafes and quaint bazaars with his head held high and his safety guaranteed by grateful Afghans. America and its allies’ investment of over 3,400 lives and four trillion dollars has paid off. Also, all the dead Afghans, whatever.

      Oh, wait, none of that is true.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Supreme Court, in Big Leap, Plans to Put Filings Online

      The Supreme Court will soon join other federal courts in making briefs and other filings available electronically, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. announced Wednesday.

      The changes will come “as soon as 2016,” the chief justice wrote in his annual year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary.

    • Exclusive: Julian Assange on “When Google Met WikiLeaks” While He was Under House Arrest

      In a holiday special, we feature an exclusive Democracy Now! interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In July, Amy Goodman spoke to Assange after he had just entered his third year inside Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has political asylum. He faces investigations in both Sweden and the United States. In the United States, a secret grand jury is investigating WikiLeaks for its role in publishing a trove of leaked documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as State Department cables. In Sweden, he is wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, though no charges have been filed. During his interview, Assange talked about his new book, which at that time had not yet been released, titled, “When Google Met Wikileaks.” The book was later published in September.

  • Finance

    • Police suspect fraud took most of Mt. Gox’s missing bitcoins

      Nearly all of the roughly US$370 million in bitcoin that disappeared in the February 2014 collapse of Mt. Gox probably vanished due to fraudulent transactions, with only 1 percent taken by hackers, according to a report in Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, citing sources close to a Tokyo police probe.

    • Finns Party, SDP say poor can’t take more austerity

      Finnish politicians reacted to President Sauli Niinistö’s appeal for leadership on structural reforms with their own suggestions of what might be cut from the government’s budget. The SDP and the Finns Party say there is no room to cut spending that goes to support low-income Finns.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NBC’s Chuck Todd explains why journalists so rarely ‘bark’ at politicians

      An open secret in Washington, D.C., journalism was unexpectedly shared with frustrated voters across the country on Sunday’s edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

      Anyone who’s ever watched an elected official from either major political party be interviewed by a serious journalist has probably angrily asked aloud, “Why don’t they ask him about XYZ?!” Or, “Why did they let him get away with that answer?!”

      One of the most obvious and serious reasons is time constraint. Reporters, whether on TV or print, are almost always only allowed a small window of time to ask elected officials a set of questions.

      But one of the other lesser known reasons is access. Competition in political journalism is fierce and having access to big names in D.C. is everything. If a congressman thinks he’s treated unfairly or too aggressively by a reporter, he may simply choose to give his time to someone he thinks is more fair (i.e., more “friendly”).

    • The Shadow Lawmakers

      While the public believes the people they elect to Congress create legislation and policies, their role is increasingly theatrical.

  • Censorship

    • Three Al Jazeera Journalists Remain in Jail After Egyptian Court Orders a Retrial

      Egypt’s highest appeals court on Thursday ordered a retrial for three imprisoned journalists from Al Jazeera’s English-language service, implicitly acknowledging critical procedural flaws in a case that rights advocates have described, from the men’s arrests to their convictions, as a sham.

      But the decision offered no guarantees that the journalists, who have been imprisoned for more than a year and now face a potentially lengthy second trial, would be freed anytime soon.

    • India bans Open Source Sites

      The Indian government has blocked a clutch of Open Saucy websites including Github because they were carrying “anti-India” content from the head-lopping terror group ISIS.

    • India Illustrates The Risks Of Censorship Laws

      Next time you see your government proposing internet censorship laws of any kind, remember this incident where the Indian government crippled their own software industry so they could be seen to be doing something about terrorism. Their department of telecommunications has blocked 32 web sites — including archive.org and Github — as if to illustrate why it’s bad to allow anyone the power to block web sites arbitrarily (ETI claims it’s 60+). They’ve blocked entire slices of multi-purpose web infrastructure because one of their functionaries found something about ISIS somewhere on it, according to TechCrunch.

  • Privacy

    • UK wants hot tech grads to do spy work before building startups

      The British government is considering a program that would see the most promising tech graduates spend some time working for the GCHQ signals intelligence agency, the U.K.’s equivalent to the NSA, before they move into the private sector.

      As per a Thursday article in The Independent, confirmed to me by the Cabinet Office on Friday, the scheme would give the U.K. a rough equivalent to the system in Israel, where many tech entrepreneurs have come out of Unit 8200 of the Israel Defence Force. Unit 8200 is also a signals intelligence operation, and the cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks is a notable spinout.

    • What We Learned About NSA Spying in 2014—And What We’re Fighting to Expose in 2015: 2014 in Review

      In fact, some of the most significant information about the NSA’s surveillance programs still remain secret. Despite one of the most significant leaks in American history and despite a promise to declassify as much information as possible about the programs, nearly two years later the government still refuses to provide the public with the information it needs. For example, government officials still have not answered a simple, yet vitally important, question: what type of information does the NSA collect about millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans (or the citizens of any other country, for that matter)? And the government still refuses to release some of the most significant decisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—the secret court tasked with monitoring the government’s surveillance programs.

    • The IOB Reports on the Internet Dragnet Violations: “Nothing to Report”

      I’ve been working through the NSA’s reports to the Intelligence Oversight Board. Given that we know so much about the phone and Internet dragnets, I have been particularly interested in how they got reported to the IOB.

      By and large, though, they didn’t. Even though we know there were significant earlier violations (some of the phone dragnet violations appear in this timeline; there was an Internet violation under the first order and at least one more of unknown date), I believe neither gets any mention until the Q1 2009 report. These are on the government’s fiscal year calendar, which goes from October to September, so this report covers the last quarter of 2008. The Q1 2009 reports explains a few (though not the most serious) 2008-related phone dragnet problems and then reveals the discovery of the alert list, which technically happened in Q2 2009.

    • NSA Obfuscated to Congress about Back Door Searches in 2009

      The NSA got a lot of criticism for releasing its IOB reports on December 23, just as everyone was preparing for vacation. But there were three reports that — at least when I accessed the interface — weren’t originally posted: Q3 and Q4 2009 and Q3 2010 — all conveniently important dates for the Internet dragnet (I’ll have more on what they didn’t disclose soon).

    • Leahy & Grassley Press Administration on Use of Cell Phone Tracking Program Print Share

      Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) pressed top Obama administration officials on the use of cell-site simulators, which can unknowingly sweep up the cell phone signals of innocent Americans.

    • How ABC Investigative Reports Turn into NSA Briefings to the SSCI

      First, this is ABC News, one of the outlets notorious for laundering intelligence claims; indeed, it is possible this is a limited hangout, an attempt to preempt one of the most alarming revelations in Bamford’s book. While the report doesn’t say it explicitly, it implies the claims of whistleblowers Kinne and Faulk prove Hayden to have lied in his CIA Director confirmation hearing, in response to the softball thrown by Hatch. In any case, the briefing about this disclosure appears to have gone exclusively to SSCI (with follow-up briefings to both intelligence oversight committees afterwards), the committee that got the apparently false testimony (and not for the last time, from Michael Hayden!). But by briefing the Committee, it also gave Jello Jay an opportunity — and probably, explicit permission — to sound all stern about a practice the Committee likely knew about.

    • Email Encryption Grew Tremendously, but Still Needs Work: 2014 in Review

      What if there were one thing we could do today to make it harder for the NSA and other intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on millions of people’s email communications, without users having to change their habits at all?

      There is. It’s called STARTTLS for email, a standard for encrypting email communications. 2014 saw more and more email providers implementing it.

    • Stingrays Go Mainstream: 2014 in Review

      We’ve long worried about the government’s use of IMSI catchers or cell site simulators. Commonly known as a “Stingray” after a specific device manufactured by the Harris Corporation, IMSI catchers masquerade as a legitimate cell phone tower, tricking phones nearby to connect to the device in order to track a phone’s location in real time. We’re not just worried about how invasive these devices can be but also that the government has been less than forthright with judges about how and when they use IMSI catchers.

      This year the public learned just how desperately law enforcement wanted to keep details about Stingrays secret thanks to a flurry of public records act requests by news organizations across the country. The results are shocking.

    • FISA “Physical Searches” of Raw Traffic Feeds, Hiding in Plain Sight?

      I’m still trudging through NSA’s reports to the Intelligence Oversight Board, which were document dumped just before Christmas. In this post, I want to examine why NSA is redacting one FISA authority, starting with this section of the Q1 2011 report.

    • French Government Quietly Enacts Controversial Surveillance Law On Christmas Eve

      Techdirt has noted that the NSA chose to release embarrassing details of its illegal surveillance of Americans on Christmas Eve. By an interesting coincidence, the French government picked the same date to enact a hugely controversial new surveillance law, which had been passed back in 2013, and will now enter into operation almost immediately, at the start of 2015. One of its most troubling aspects is the vagueness of its terms. As reported by Le Point, here’s what can be collected (original in French)…

  • Civil Rights

    • United States of Emergency
    • Prince Andrew named in lawsuit over underage sex allegations
    • Prince Andrew denies allegations in underage sex lawsuit filed in U.S.
    • Prince Andrew sex case claim: Duke of York is named in underage ‘sex slave’ lawsuit over claims of forced sexual relations
    • Palace denies Prince Andrew ‘underage sex’ claim
    • Police Chief Accuses Secret Service Of Misconduct

      Nashville’s police chief is raising stunning new allegations regarding the U.S. Secret Service, saying local agents once asked his officers to fake a warrant.

      Even more disturbing, Chief Steve Anderson said he complained to top Secret Service officials in Washington, and they did not seem to care.

    • And the Winner of the ‘War On Terror’ Financed Dream Home 2014 Giveaway Is…

      Oceanfront views, 24-hour doorman, heated pool, and perhaps best of all, a “private tunnel to the beach.” This $3 million Palm Beach, Florida penthouse could be yours, but unfortunately it isn’t because this prize has already been claimed by a former high-level U.S. official who helped pave the way for the over decade-long “war on terror,” which has been a near complete catastrophe.

      Iraq is aflame, the Islamic State is on the rampage, the situation in Afghanistan worsens by the day, and thousands of Americans—and many more Iraqis and Afghans—have died during the post-9/11 conflicts. Meanwhile, the combined cost of the “war on terror” comes to an estimated $1.6 trillion.

      But if the American people got screwed on the deal, a lot of former senior government officials who played important roles in this debacle have done quite well for themselves. It’s New Year’s Eve and I need to write a final sendoff to 2014, so I thought I’d take a look at the fortunes (literally) of some of these figures: Former CIA director George Tenet and former FBI director Louis Freeh (I’ll cover former Department of Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge in a New Year’s post).

      Consider Tenet. As head of the CIA, he missed multiple signs of a major Al Qadea attack directed against the United States, called the case against Saddam building Weapons of Mass Destruction a “slam dunk,” and approved the Bush administration’s torturing of terror suspects.

      In any fair world Tenet would be tried for criminal incompetence. Instead, he got the Presidential Medal of Freedom and after resigning in 2004 (at which point his agency salary was south of $200,000), he received a $4 million advance to write a memoir. In it, he confessed to “a black, black time” a few months after 9/11 when he was sitting at home in his favorite Adirondack chair thinking about the tragedy that killed 3,000 Americans on his watch and asked, “Why me?”

    • Disclose the full torture report, Senator Udall

      Colorado’s U.S. Sen. Mark Udall can perform yeoman’s service in upholding the rule of law and government accountability before his term concludes on Saturday.

      Protected by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, the senator can publicly disclose the already redacted 6,700-page “Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.”

    • These Charts Show How Ronald Reagan Actually Expanded the Federal Government

      One of the many, many problems Jeb Bush faces in his quest for the Oval Office is his break from Republican orthodoxy on president Ronald Reagan’s legacy. In 2012, Bush told a group of reporters that, in today’s GOP, Reagan “would be criticized for doing the things that he did”— namely, working with Democrats to pass legislation. He added that Reagan would struggle to secure the GOP nomination today.

    • Web Freedom Is Seen as a Growing Global Issue

      Government censorship of the Internet is a cat-and-mouse game. And despite more aggressive tactics in recent months, the cats have been largely frustrated while the mice wriggle away.

      But this year, the challenges for Silicon Valley will mount, with Russia and Turkey in particular trying to tighten controls on foreign-based Internet companies. Major American companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google are increasingly being put in the tricky position of figuring out which laws and orders to comply with around the world — and which to ignore or contest.

    • Demonstrators March Against Police Brutality In Oakland and San Francisco On New Year’s Eve

      A number of downtown Oakland transit lines were detoured due to a protest against police brutality that took place in the area on Wednesday evening.

      Protesters met at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland around 9 p.m. for the New Year’s Eve march.

      Reports on Twitter suggested somewhere around 100 to 200 people were marching, accompanied by a large police presence.

    • Letter: Grand jury results damage justice

      The grand jury decisions not to indict police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Panteleo in the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner can be seen as another example of the racist and criminal history of United States justice.

    • Anti-brutality activists aim to ‘evict’ St. Louis police from headquarters

      Scores of protesters at the helm of the ongoing nationwide movement against police violence stormed the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Wednesday, aiming to “evict” officers they accused of “perpetrating police brutality on our citizenry.”

      Five of the roughly 25 demonstrators who linked arms in the lobby of the police department were arrested in the headquarters, the St. Louis Police Department told Al Jazeera. Police pepper-sprayed and forced other protesters off the premises.

    • Fox affiliate fires reporter and cameraman who deceptively edited video of police brutality protesters

      Fox 45 fired the reporter and cameraman involved with a story that claimed protesters against police brutality were shouting “to kill a cop,” the Baltimore City Paper reports.

    • Congressmen admit to not reading NDAA before voting for it: ‘I trust the leadership’

      US House members admitted they had not read the entire $585 billion, 1,648-page National Defense Authorization Act, which predominantly specifies budgeting for the Defense Department, before it was voted on Thursday in Congress.

    • Mike Lee Thwarted In Bid To Strip Government’s Ability To Detain Americans Indefinitely

      Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) mounted a largely symbolic bid Friday to end the White House’s authority to indefinitely detain Americans without trial.

      The conservative Republican senator offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that was immediately blocked.

      “The bottom line is that there is simply not enough time left before we adjourn to debate even a single amendment, and surely not a single amendment of this complexity,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who objected to Lee’s request to debate his amendment. Levin added that he had previously supported a similar measure.

    • Levin Is Leaving Congress Disappointed the NDAA Doesn’t Do More
    • US Congress Gives Native American Lands to Mining Company

      The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) sanctioned giving federal lands belonging to indigenous Americans to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of the British Australian multinational, Rio Tinto.

    • The International Criminal Court on shaky ground

      A DOZEN years after its creation, the International Criminal Court is foundering. So far it has brought just 21 cases in eight countries, all of them in Africa. Only two have resulted in convictions — of relatively obscure Congolese rebel leaders. Though 139 countries signed the founding treaty, the United States, Russia, China, India, Israel and every Arab nation but Jordan have declined to join. The most horrific crimes against humanity perpetrated in the world in the past decade — in North Korea, Syria and Sri Lanka, among other places — remain outside the ICC’s reach.


      Pending such opportunities, the court may be tempted to pursue more quixotic initiatives. This month chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda reported that she was “assessing available information” on “enhanced interrogation techniques” by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which is an ICC member. This month’s Senate Intelligence Committee report on cases of torture may increase the impetus behind that probe. But the alleged crimes committed by U.S. personnel, though shocking, are not grave enough to meet the ICC’s high bar for prosecution — and it would be politically foolish for the court to pursue U.S. targets.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Marriott plans to block personal wifi hotspots

      The hotel chain and some others have a petition before the FCC to amend or clarify the rules that cover interference for unlicensed spectrum bands. They hope to gain the right to use network-management tools to quash Wi-Fi networks on their premises that they don’t approve of. In its view, this is necessary to ensure customer security and to protect children.

    • Google Fiber, Net Neutrality & More…

      Reclassifying ISPs as common carriers is seen by many as the easiest way to bring back Net Neutrality.

  • DRM

    • Watch Netflix video in your chromium browser – this time for real

      Apparently, having a functional Widevine CDM support will allow you to watch Youtube Movies as well, but since I already pay for Netflix I did not want to test these Youtube rentals. Another test which failed was my attempt to watch television on horizon.tv, the content streaming network of my provider (UPC/Liberty Global). Even with a UserAgent spoofer and all browser cookies removed, that site still detected that I was visiting using a Chrome/Chromium browser and kept presenting an annoying popup to force me to switch to a different browser because Chrome does not support Silverlight anymore (on Mac OSX and Windows 64-bit at least, remember their NPAPI depreciation). No way around that, even though I was fairly sure that Horizon TV also used Widevine for Digital Rights Management (DRM) in the past. Guess I still have to use Firefox with Pipelight for that, then.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Rental Car Stereos Infringe Copyright, Music Rights Group Says

        STIM disagrees. The collection society says that previous cases involving hoteliers have ended with licenses being obtained which enable hotel guests to listen to music while on the premises. Furthermore, other car rental companies in Sweden have already agreed to pay a per-stereo levy so Fleetmanager should also pay, STIM argues.

        This is not the first music-related copyright case to hit the car sector this year. In July, the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies launched a class action lawsuit against Ford and General Motors over the CD-ripping capability of their cars. In November the group followed up with fresh legal action against Chrysler and technology partner Mitsubishi.


Links 1/1/2015: Kodak on Android, Tizen on All Samsung TVs

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Ben Jennings on UN climate change talks – cartoon

      All leaders must rise to the challenge for December 2015, warns outgoing EU climate chief

    • Bonus: More from the deepest depths of Debian
    • Bonus: 2014 in review
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Yet another way to make your app support StatusNotifierItem
      • Round 2

        Well the first two laps of my first SoK is over and now I finally enter into the final lap. In the first month I had finished with the design of the site but it was just plain and simple HTML/CSS and as we all know that is not enough. So the next question that arises is – what do we need ? And the answer to that will be a framework.

      • [SoK] Cantor Python backend status update

        There were not many commits from my side to the Cantor project during the last month, but most of stuffs that are related to porting the Python 2 backend to Python 3 have been done.

      • MUP, a Markup Previewer

        MUP is a markup previewer. It supports multiple markup formats. You can use it to read markup text, but it is also useful when writing markup text to check how your work looks, thanks to its refresh-as-you-save feature.

      • What’s going on with measures in Marble

        Here in the Marble world, we are working hard on expanding the current functionality with new features. Today I would like to show you some stuff we’ve recently introduced as part of the Measure tool. The measure tool is basically a multifunctional georuler, that allows to perform a variety of measurements. For instance, now you can easily measure distances on trivial paths or areas of complicated polygon shapes.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Builder, an IDE of our GNOME

        Bastian Hougaard and Jakub Steiner put together a wonderful video for the campain. Thanks guys!

        I’ve funded the last 4 months of development to give you and idea of what you are funding and reduce your risk. I also wanted to prove to you that I’m capable of taking on this project. I hope you agree and are willing to keep me going.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Us Versus Them

          On some levels this makes sense. Red Hat is the single largest entity in Fedora and many (if not most) of the movers and shakers in Fedora are Red Hat employees. A quick glance at the Fedora 21 System Wide Changes shows many more Red Hat employees than not. Is it any wonder that individual contributors can feel a bit like a sailboat in the way of an aircraft carrier?

        • A good year for Ansible users

          Today I’d like to take a look at where Ansible is, a year later, using last year’s report as a benchmark. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve done pretty well for our users in 2014.

    • Debian Family

      • Status on Jessie (December 2014)

        The next timed change of the freeze policy will apply per January 5th. After that date, we will only accept RC bugs fixes. Which means it is final chance for translation updates.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • These Are the Essential Apps for Tweaking Ubuntu and Unity

            Ubuntu can be easily tweaked and it’s not all that difficult to make some visual changes to it. People think that Unity is not all that flexible, but that’s definitely not the case and users need just two apps to make all the changes they want.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Samsung to use Tizen across ALL of its TV starting 2015

          The HOT News of the day is that Samsung have decided to start shipping Tizen on ALL of their upcoming Smart TVs starting 2015. According to industry sources, Samsung have taken this bold move following a meeting that took place on 29 December, and decided to only use Tizen across its complete upcoming TV line in an effort to boost its own Tizen TV ecosystem.

      • Android

        • Kodak focuses on Android-powered smartphone cameras

          After a lengthy corporate restructuring, the indomitable Kodak is applying its brand and expertise to a new market: smartphones. The imaging company announced its intention to launch a range of Android smartphones aimed at transitioning technophobes in partnership with mobile device manufacturer Bullitt Group.

        • The best Android phones of 2014

          This last year has been a big one for Android. Displays have started moving beyond 1080p, devices keep getting bigger, and Android 5.0 brings the most fundamental change the platform has seen in a very long time. Some of the phones that were released in 2014 were huge successes, and other fell short of expectations, but which one was the best? That depends on how you frame the question, so let’s split it up a few different ways and find out.

        • How Android beat iOS in 2014, and vice versa

          In most areas, Google is already beating Apple, or at least catching up to it. Yet Apple still has a stranglehold in specific areas, ones that aren’t easy to break, including the enterprise as well as the hearts of independent developers and startups.

        • Here’s what finally pushed a longtime Android fan to switch to an iPhone 6 Plus

          Earlier this week, we brought you the story of Jason Kallelis of Writing About Tech, a longtime Android fan who had grown so frustrated with Android’s user experience recently that he felt tempted to switch to the iPhone 6 Plus. Well, it’s just one day later and Kallelis has already decided to take the plunge and has bought himself Apple’s giant new phablet as an experiment to see if he likes it better.

        • Nexus 7 Android L 5.0.2 Update Released For Wi-Fi Edition, Fixing Memory Leak on Android Lollipop 5.0 and 5.0.1

          Android 5.0.2 has rolled out for Nexus 7 users, and the latest incremental update aims to fix a few lingering bugs that were still crawling around the Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system after launch.

        • Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop Problem Fix Confirmed

          Google’s new Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system delivered tons of new features to Nexus smartphone and tablet users. However, it also delivered a number of Android 5.0 Lollipop issues to owners of the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus 10, and Nexus 7, Lollipop problems that Google’s been trying to iron out over the last month and a half.

        • Android 2.3 Gingerbread—Four years later, the OS just won’t die

          December was the fourth anniversary for Android 2.3 Gingerbread—an eternity for smartphones—yet the OS stubbornly refuses to die. The OS that originally shipped in 2010 is still clinging on to 9.1 percent of active devices, and in developing markets it still ships on new devices. Android 2.3 has even outlasted newer versions of Android, like 3.0 Honeycomb (0 percent) and 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (7.8 percent).

        • HTC One M9 rumors: ‘Hima’ boasts Android 5.0 Lollipop with Sense 7 UI?

          Another reliable tipster confirmed that the HTC One M9 “Hima” will be released in March boasting the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop OS overlaced with the HTC Sense 7 user interface.

        • OnePlus Release Official Alpha Version Of Their Stock Android 5.0 Lollipop ROM – Download Included

          The news of a OnePlus ROM was not new news, as it had been reported months ago that the company was working on its own version of close-to-stock android. More recently, the company announced a competition in their forum asking members to suggest a name for their ROM. Well, if you have been waiting to see what OnePlus could bring to the ROM table then it looks like the wait is over. OnePlus today have released the first version of their very own ROM. At the moment, the ROM name has still not been decided (or at least made known) and instead is simply going by ‘Android Lollipop Alpha’. As the name suggests, this ROM is based on Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and is now available to download and install. However, before you all click download, you do need to know that this is a very early build. Quite often builds are referred to as “early” or “alpha”, but this is seriously early and OnePlus has therefore released this as a ‘community preview’ version (similar to what we saw from Google with the L preview a few months ago). OnePlus make this point in their blog post stating “It’s so early, in fact, that this build contains no extras beyond the stock features of AOSP Lollipop”. So you’ve been warned. You should expect things not to work, bugs and other nasties associated with early and alpha ROM builds.

        • OnePlus One Android 5.0 Lollipop Alpha Build Now Available
        • Android 5.0 Lollipop Update: Samsung May Send Out New Google Software To Galaxy S5 And Others In January

          Samsung Electronics Co. may be ringing in the New Year with a fresh new system update for its devices. The manufacturer reportedly plans to begin sending out the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to its devices in January, according to a Reddit user claiming to be a Samsung employee.

        • Amazon now has 33 paid Android apps available for free

          If the 40 free applications that Amazon gave away last week wasn’t enough to satiate your hunger for new apps, the company is back today with even more goodies for your Android device.

          Amazon is now offering 33 paid Android apps for free as part of its latest Free App of the Day Bundle. There are games and utilities packed inside of the bundle, including big names like Monopoly, République, Thomas Was Alone, Lyne, and Angry Birds Star Wars.

        • Google’s Efforts Could Soon Lead To Unlocking Android Riches In Google Play

          Android is the most used mobile operating system in the history of the world. Google’s mobile OS shipped on 84% of all global smartphones in Q3 2014, a level that has grown consistently over the last several years. In contrast, Apple’s iOS has lost quarterly share in a growing market, showing up in 11.7% of all smartphone shipments in the third quarter.

        • HTC One M7 Lollipop Update: Android 5.0.2 Available Via LiquidSmooth ROM

          While Google has yet to release the Android Lollipop for the HTC One M7, users of the smartphone can try out the latest version by installing the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop update on their phones thanks to LiqiudSmooth ROM.

        • Build a Wi-Fi Webcam from an Old Android Phone

          Instructables user depotdevoid took his old Droid Razr Maxx and decided to turn it into an always-on, internet-connected webcam he could monitor at any time. If you want to do the same, you’ll need a few things to make this project work. A copy of IP Webcam (Free, $4 Pro) from Google Play, and a soldering iron (if you don’t want to just use USB power—depotdevoid’s Maxx has a broken USB charging port) to add external power, and a mount for your phone are all it really takes. He uses his to watch his 3D printer when he’s not in his garage workshop, but you can use it to keep an eye on package deliveries, watch your pets during the day, or just see the view from your home window.

        • OnePlus vs Micromax: Dream of Google-less Android now further away

          An obscure court case in India appears to have dented hopes of the mobile industry weaning itself off Google dependency – and has raised questions about the goals of Cyanogen and its backer, a Silicon Valley VC firm with close ties to Google.

          In the cosy world of Menlo Park VC firms, Andreessen Horowitz (or “A16Z”) is as close to Google as anyone. Together, they teamed up to create the “Glass Collective”, while its head, Netscape founder Andreessen, appear to go to battle in Google’s wars against media companies, as Michael Wolff reminded us this week.

        • Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 2 to receive Android 5.0 Lollipop OS update
        • Lollipop’s memory leak bug confirmed, will finally be fixed in future Android release

          Although it can be exciting living on the bleeding edge of tech, sometimes being first to a software update can prove to be more harmful than good. Just ask Nexus (or even iPhone) owners who’ve, over the years, learned the hard way that initial updates — especially when it comes to major Android versions — can often times be riddled with bugs and other general weirdness. It’s this very reason it appears there was such a long delay in the rollout of Android 5.0 Lollipop for the Nexus 5.

        • Checking up on 2014’s crowdfunded Linux and Android devices

          What became of the crowdfunded projects we covered in 2014? Two earned more than $2 million each, about a third went unfunded, and half had shipping delays.

          Ten years ago if somebody were to tell you you’d soon be able to collect thousands and even millions of dollars for your product idea simply by posting a summary and some pictures on a web page, you might have been inclined to check their meds. Then Kickstarter launched in 2009, and small-scale investing changed forever.

        • Best Android Smartphones 2014: Your Favorite Devices And The Features That Made You Love Them

          While it may seem to most consumers that all smartphones are pretty much the same — and for Apple users, they are — Android phone manufacturers brought a diverse array of hardware to the market in 2014. The theme of the year was standout features, including large (and even curved) displays, water-resistant designs and powerful cameras. Manufacturers competed fiercely to win the favor of consumers, and many handsets stood out for very specific reasons. Below is a rundown of the best Android devices of 2014 and their best features.

        • Android KitKat x86 Updated With Linux 3.18, Better Suspend/Resume

          Android 4.4 “KitKat” has been ported to Intel/AMD x86 processors for a while in stable form while kicking off the New Year is the second stable release of Android-x86 4.4

          Android-x86 4.4-r2 is the second stable update to KitKat for Intel/AMD processors. This update has various x86-specific improvements targeted for tablets and netbooks.

        • Nokia N1 Android Tablet Release Date in China Set for January

          Nokia has confirmed the launch date of its first Nokia-branded Android tablet, the N1, which will first hit the Chinese market on Jan. 7, 2015.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • News: OLPC releases a farm version.

        The One Laptop Per Child project, still going strong in 2015, provides a new version of the nearly indestructable XO laptop which is specifically geared toward children in farming communities.

        The XO Tablet is an Android tablet designed for children 3-12 years old that brings OLPC’s expertise to both the educational . It features a 7-inch screen and over 150 applications.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 2015: Open Source Has Won, But It Isn’t Finished

    At the beginning of a new year, it’s traditional to look back over the last 12 months. But as far as this column is concerned, it’s easy to summarise what happened then: open source has won. Let’s take it from the top:

    Supercomputers. Linux is so dominant on the Top 500 Supercomputers lists it is almost embarrassing. The November 2014 figures show that 485 of the top 500 systems were running some form of Linux; Windows runs on just one. Things are even more impressive if you look at the numbers of cores involved. Here, Linux is to be found on 22,851,693 of them, while Windows is on just 30,720; what that means is that not only does Linux dominate, it is particularly strong on the bigger systems.

    Cloud computing. The Linux Foundation produced an interesting report last year, which looked at the use of Linux in the cloud by large companies. It found that 75% of them use Linux as their primary platform there, against just 23% that use Windows. It’s hard to translate that into market share, since the mix between cloud and non-cloud needs to be factored in; however, given the current popularity of cloud computing, it’s safe to say that the use of Linux is high and increasing. Indeed, the same survey found Linux deployments in the cloud have increased from 65% to 79%, while those for Windows have fallen from 45% to 36%. Of course, some may not regard the Linux Foundation as totaly disinterested here, but even allowing for that, and for statistical uncertainties, it’s pretty clear which direction things are moving in.

  • Is Open Source Collaboration the Key to Better Communication?

    Is open source collaboration the key to communication? No silver bullet exists that provides organizations with everything they desire in a single solution. With that said, commercial open source collaboration solutions help companies future proof their investment and give them what is needed to fit their unique requirements. So, if what you are seeking is better security and privacy, improved flexibility and greater control over your collaboration solution, then you should consider open source.

  • Events

    • 2015: the Year of Open Source with Chinese Characteristics?

      The rise of China is hardly a secret – by some metrics, the Chinese economy is already the largest in the world. But in recent months, it has become clear that Chinese technology companies are also about to have a major impact on the rest of the planet – and that includes the world of open source.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox private browsing directly

        I use the private mode of firefox quite often, for example when I want to test an application while being authenticated in one windown and not authenticated in another window.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • 2014 and 2015

      In just a few hours 2014 ends. This is a great opportunity to look back at what happened this year in the ownCloud world and in my personal life. This was an absolutely crazy 12-month so this blog post is now way longer that I planed. A huge thanks you to everyone in the ownCloud community. It´s a blast to work together with so many clever and friendly people from all over the world.

  • Project Releases

    • GWorkspace 0.9.3

      New Year’s Eve Edition: GWorkspace 0.9.3 released!

    • rfoaas 0.0.5

      A new version of rfoaas is now on CRAN. The rfoaas package provides an interface for R to the most excellent FOAAS service–which provides a modern, scalable and RESTful web service for the frequent need to tell someone to eff off.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Perl ‘issues’

      I just watched a CCC talk in which the speaker claims Perl is horribly broken. Watching it was fairly annoying however, since I had to restrain myself from throwing things at the screen.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF Plugfest showcases innovations on document collaboration

      The ODF Plugfest that took place in London on 8 and 9 December showcased innovative ways to work with electronic documents. The most striking idea is the borrowing of techniques commonly used in software development, promising many news ways to create and collaborate on documents.

      At the two-day workshop in London, the Berlin-based ODF expert Svante Schubert proposed to borrow techniques commonly used in software development, to manage revisions from many different sources. He suggests to exchange only the changes made in a text, instead of the much more cumbersome sending back and forth of an entire document. “Using files for collaborating on documents is a relic from the era of floppy discs”, developer Schubert says. “It forces a recipient to read the entire document and try to understand what has been changed by others.”


  • Japan: ‘Solo weddings’ for single women

    A travel agency in one of Japan’s most beautiful cities, Kyoto, has started organising bridal ceremonies for single women.

  • Why Singles Should Say ‘I Don’t’ to The Self-Marriage Movement
  • Security

    • Lizard Kids: A Long Trail of Fail

      The Lizard Squad, a band of young hooligans that recently became Internet famous for launching crippling distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against the largest online gaming networks, is now advertising own Lizard-branded DDoS-for-hire service. Read on for a decidedly different take on this offering than what’s being portrayed in the mainstream media.

    • FBI Waking Up To The Fact That Companies With Itchy Trigger Fingers Want To Hack Back Hacking Attacks

      It’s no secret that some in the computer security world like the idea of being able to “hack back” against online attacks. The simplest form of this idea is that if you’re a company under a denial-of-service attack, should you be able to “hack” a computer that is coordinating those attacks to stop them? More than two years ago, an LA Times article noted that some cybersecurity startups were marketing such services. Related to this, when the terrible CISPA legislation was being debated, one concern was that it would legalize such “hack backs” because, among other things, CISPA would grant immunity to companies “for decisions made based on cyber threat information.” Some interpreted that to mean that companies would have immunity if they decided to hack back against an attacker.

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Want to have your server pwned? Easy: Run PHP

      More than 78 per cent of all PHP installations are running with at least one known security vulnerability, a researcher has found.

      Google developer advocate Anthony Ferrara reached this unpleasant conclusion by correlating statistics from web survey site W3Techs with lists of known vulnerabilities in various versions of PHP.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Oliver Stone: Ukraine’s revolution was CIA ‘plot’

      US director Oliver Stone has called Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution that ousted president Viktor Yanukovych a CIA “coup” and claimed that the West played a role in fostering anti-government protests in the country.

      The filmmaker, who is not new to conspiracy theories around world events, posted the bizarre theory on Facebook after a four-hour interview with Yanukovych, whom he called “legitimate president of Ukraine until he suddenly wasn’t on February 22 of this year”.

    • Oliver Stone Says Ukraine’s Revolution Was Actually A CIA Plot

      Acclaimed film director Oliver Stone on Tuesday claimed that the overthrow of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych earlier this year was the result of an American plot.

      Stone, who is known for his left-wing politics, made the claim via a post on his Facebook page. In it, he revealed that he’d spoken to the ousted ruler for “4 hours in Moscow for new English language documentary produced by Ukrainians.” Stone did not provide many details on the documentary but said it “seems clear that the so-called ‘shooters’ who killed 14 police men, wounded some 85, and killed 45 protesting civilians, were outside third party agitators.”

    • ‘CIA fingerprints’ all over Kiev massacre – Oliver Stone

      The armed coup in Kiev is painfully similar to CIA operations to oust unwanted foreign leaders in Iran, Chile and Venezuela, said US filmmaker Oliver Stone after interviewing Ukraine’s ousted president for a documentary.

    • Oliver Stone Meets Toppled Ukrainian President Yanukovych, Accuses CIA of Sparking Coup
    • Mashable: Oliver Stone says CIA was behind Ukraine revolution in bizarre Facebook rant
    • Ukraine Massacre has CIA Fingerprints Says Oliver Stone
    • Oliver Stone: U.S. Behind Ukraine Revolt, Has ‘CIA Fingerprints on It’
    • Famous US Director Oliver Stone to Shoot a Documentary on 2014 Ukraine Coup

      Hollywood film producer Oliver Stone has said he wants to make a four-hour documentary telling the “dirty story” of the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in what he believes was a “coup” organized with the help of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency.

    • Ukraine Wants Action, But U.S. Sends Hashtags Instead

      As Russian troops amass along the Ukraine border and take over military facilities in the Crimea region, the United States has distanced itself from any boots-on-the-ground intervention.

      The U.S. won’t send troops or weapons, but it will send hashtags.

      While Congress approved an aid package for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia this week, the State Department pushed a Twitter campaign under the hashtag #UnitedForUkraine, which calls on people to share their support for the country.

      President Obama had great success using social media during his campaigning days, but does that same mindset work for foreign affairs?

      “I don’t know what effect this is supposed to have,” said former State Department diplomat James Lewis. “It’s a hashtag. What’s it going to do? For this situation, it’s not a useful tool.”

      To get the momentum going on the hashtag, top officials posted their own photos. Among the most notable was the State Department’s chief spokesperson Jen Psaki, who was once in the running for the Obama’s press secretary.

    • Idaho woman shot dead by two-year-old son was nuclear scientist

      The woman who was accidentally shot dead by her two-year-old son in an Idaho Walmart is described by those who knew her as a gun lover, a motivated academic and a successful nuclear research scientist.

      “She was a beautiful, young, loving mother who was taken much too soon,” Veronica Rutledge’s father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, told the Spokesman-Review. “She was out on what was supposed to be a fun-filled day with her son and nieces.”

      Rutledge was shot at about 10.20am on Tuesday, in the electronics department of the Hayden, Idaho, Walmart. Kootenai County sheriffs said her son, sitting in the front of a shopping cart, reached into Rutledge’s purse, found her weapon and shot his mother.

      “I mean, this is a pretty tragic incident right now that we’re dealing with,” Kootenai lieutenant Stu Miller told reporters on Tuesday. “When you have young children, small people, holiday season – it’s not a pleasant experience.”

      While shopping with her son and nieces in the store, Rutledge carried a loaded small-caliber handgun zippered in a pocket in her purse. The purse was a Christmas gift from her husband, Colt Rutledge, one designed specifically for concealed carry, the Washington Post reported.

    • Killer Drones Are a Lethal Extension of American Exceptionalism

      In his 2009 acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, President Barack Obama declared, “Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war.” By the time Obama accepted the award, one year into his presidency, he had ordered more drone strikes than George W. Bush had authorized during his two presidential terms.

      The Bush administration detained and tortured suspected terrorists. The Obama administration has chosen to illegally assassinate them, often with the use of drones. The continued indefinite detention of men at Guantánamo belies Obama’s pledge two days after his first inauguration to close the prison camp there. However, Obama has added only one detainee to the Guantánamo roster. “This government has decided that instead of detaining members of al-Qaida [at Guantánamo] they are going to kill them,” according to John Bellinger, who formulated the Bush administration’s drone policy.

    • Congress AWOL on predator drone killings

      Evidence in the public domain suggests that predator drone strikes are doing more harm than good.

      That is not surprising. The Senate Intelligence Committee report released recently similarly showed that post-9/11 torture did not work on al Qaeda detainees and facilitated international terrorist recruitment.

      Yet Congress has been derelict in failing to conduct comprehensive oversight hearings to appraise the predator drone program. They would probably provoke legislation to terminate the professedly targeted killings because they create more terrorists or terrorist sympathizers than they eliminate.

    • Opinion: The dirty side of ‘clean’ warfare

      The German public has reacted with surprise to headlines that the Bundeswehr passed on so-called “kill lists” of Afghan “terrorists” to the US. Admitting the truth can be painful at times, says Kersten Knipp.

    • Noor was ‘on NATO kill list’: Spiegel
    • Merkel pressured over targeted killings in Afghanistan

      German weekly Der Spiegel published secret NATO documents revealing a list of around 750 suspected Taliban officials, some of whom were killed without charge or trial.

      Opposition parties demanded an explanation from Chancellor Angela Merkel Tuesday after a German newspaper published secret documents suggesting Germany had provided intelligence for targeted killings of Taliban members in Afghanistan.

    • Merkel pressured over targeted killings in Afghanistan
    • Renaming Afghan War, renaming murder

      The U.S.-led NATO war on Afghanistan has lasted so long they’ve decided to rename it, declare the old war over, and announce a brand new war they’re just sure you’re going to love.

      The war thus far has lasted as long as U.S. participation in World War II plus U.S. participation in World War I, plus the Korean War, plus the Spanish American War, plus the full length of the U.S. war on the Philippines, combined with the whole duration of the Mexican American War.

    • Social Control in America, Police Enforcement of “Minor Crimes”

      In the United States in 2014, you may be arrested for selling loose cigarettes, jumping turnstiles, dancing on the subways, and having small amounts of marijuana, but not for assassination, torture, anal rape, illegal surveillance, or invading, occupying and bombing sovereign countries.

    • “Distancing Acts:” Private Mercenaries and the War on Terror in American Foreign Policy

      At the time, Weiss was one of at least 48,000 corporate soldiers working in Iraq for more than 170 private military companies (PMCs), with another 30,000 to 100,000 serving in Afghanistan at any given point during the war along with thousands more who performed menial tasks like cooking and cleaning for marginal pay.2 Though the Pentagon claims not to keep records on mercenary fatalities, over 1,000 mercenaries are estimated to have been killed in Iraq and another 2,500 in Afghanistan, including eight who worked for the CIA, with thousands more wounded.3 A 1989 UN treaty, which the U.S. did not sign, prohibits the recruitment, training, use and financing of mercenaries, or combatants motivated to take part in hostilities by private gain, with PMCs claiming exclusion on the grounds that they play a combat support role.4 This essay details the role of PMCs in America’s long Iraq War in light of a century-long history of U.S. use of mercenary and clandestine forces throughout the world. It shows the multiple ways of mercenary war as a means of concealing military intervention from public view. The Bush administration carried these practices to extreme levels, particularly in financing organizations which profit from war and hence are dedicated to its perpetuation.

    • It’s Not the Koran, It’s Us

      The corporate media chorus willfully ignores that U.S. actions, not Islam, fuel jihadism.

    • Ukraine’s Year of Precarious Triumph [Revisionism]
    • 153 killed by drone strikes in Pakistan in 2014

      At least 153 people have been killed in 25 U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s restless tribal belt in 2014, according to figures from a Pakistan-based think tank.

    • Peace Activist Kathy Kelly Heads to Prison for Protesting U.S. Drone War

      Peace activist Kathy Kelly is about to begin a three-month prison sentence for protesting the U.S. drone war at a military base in Missouri earlier this year. Kelly, along with another activist, was arrested after offering bread and an indictment against drone warfare. Kelly is the co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

    • Gaza’s children struggle to overcome nightmares of war

      Muntasser survived an Israeli strike on Gaza this summer which killed his young brother and three cousins. Five months and a suicide attempt later the Palestinian boy remains haunted by the memory.

      Just a week into the deadly 50-day July-August war, two Israeli missiles slammed into a beach in Gaza City where Muntasser Bakr, 11, was playing football with relatives.

    • The latest blockbuster from CIA Pictures: The Interview

      Co-directors Seth Rogen (who also plays a leading role) and Evan Goldberg and screenwriter Dan Sterling have created a work that consists largely of a series of unconnected vulgar jokes and gags strung over a plot that glorifies state murder. One of the sharper characterizations of the film is to be found in the emails from Sony executives, who panned The Interview as “desperately unfunny and repetitive.” The studio officials termed the film “another misfire” by Rogen and [actor James] Franco, in which “Franco proves once again that irritation is his strong suit.”

    • Stranger than Fiction: The Interview and U.S. Regime-Change Policy Toward North Korea

      Representations of North Korea as a buffoon, a menace, or both on the American big screen are at least as old and arguably as tired as the George W. Bush-era phrase, “the axis of evil.” Along with the figure of the Muslim “terrorist,” hackneyed Hollywood constructions of the “ronery” or diabolical Dr. Evil-like North Korean leader bent on world domination, the sinister race-bending North Korean spy, the robotic North Korean commando, and other post-Cold War Red/Yellow Peril bogeymen have functioned as go-to enemies for the commercial film industry’s geopolitical and racist fantasies. Explaining why the North Korean leader was the default choice for the villain in his 2014 regime-change comedy, The Interview, Seth Rogen has stated, “It’s not that controversial to label [North Korea] as bad. It’s as bad as it could be.”1 Indeed, one-dimensional caricatures of North Korea flourish in the Western media in no small part because “[w]acky dictators sell.”2 Yet when it comes to Hollywood’s North Korean regime-change narratives, the line between fact and fiction, not to mention the distinction between freedom of expression and government propaganda, is revealingly thin. Whether in Hollywood or Washington, the only permissible narrative for North Korea is what Donald Macintyre, former Seoul bureau chief for Time magazine, has called “the demonization script.”3 Not only have the dream machines of the entertainment industry long played an instrumental role within American theaters of war, but also, U.S. officials and political commentators often marshal the language of entertainment—for example, the description of U.S.-South Korea combined military exercises as “war games” and the Obama administration’s references to the Pentagon’s “playbook” with regard to North Korea—when describing U.S. military maneuvers on and around the Korean peninsula.

    • CIA releases statement on the 5 year anniversary of the murder of seven CIA agents in Afghanistan

      The suicide bomber had been recruited as a CIA informant and taken to Afghanistan to infiltrate the upper ranks of al-Qaeda. For months, he provided the Agency with independently verifiable intelligence on the terrorist network, and he promised to lead the CIA to the group’s most senior members. Instead, the asset was an al-Qaeda double agent…”

    • Ecuador: CIA justifies Reyes ‘targeting’ in 2008

      According to a secret study released by the WikiLeaks group on Dec. 18, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) considers the killing of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) second-in-command Raúl Reyes by Colombian forces in Ecuadorian territory on Mar. 1, 2008 an example of ways that assassinations of rebel leaders “can play a useful role.” In addition to the Reyes case, the paper reviews the use of “high-value targeting (HVT)”—the killing or capture of top leaders—in fighting rebels in Afghanistan, Algeria, Colombia, Iraq, Israel, Peru, Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka. HTV can have “negative effects,” the study concludes, but the practice can “contribute to successful counterinsurgency outcomes” if used strategically. The July 9, 2009 study, marked “secret” and “NOFORN” (“no foreign nationals”), is entitled “Making High-Value Targeting Operations an Effective Counterinsurgency Tool”; it apparently forms part of a “Best Practices in Counterinsurgency” series.

      Reyes, the FARC’s chief spokesperson and negotiator, was killed when the Colombian military launched a nighttime air raid and then an incursion against a rebel encampment in Ecuador’s northeastern Sucumbíos province about three kilometers from the Colombian border. Some 19 FARC members were killed in the operation, as were four Mexican students who had been visiting the encampment while in Ecuador to attend a leftist conference. Although the Colombian government and the media treated the attack as a simple raid against a group of rebels, the CIA study refers to it as part of a number of “successful HVT strikes against top insurgent leaders in early 2008, in conjunction with earlier strikes against second and third-tier leaders and finance and logistics specialists.” Reyes’ death “is likely to have seriously damaged FARC discipline and morale, even among its leadership, according to a CIA field commentary.” As an example of the operation’s success, the CIA noted that “[p]ublic support for the Colombian government solidified in the wake of the killing…with President Alvaro Uribe’s approval rating increasing from the mid-70% range to as high as 84%.”

  • Finance

    • Police dismantle soup kitchen for London homeless, evict activists

      Social justice activists determined to feed the homeless have faced eviction for the second time following their attempts to open a soup kitchen in Westminster, in the heart of London. They were forcibly ousted by police Tuesday night.

      Following their eviction from a listed Victorian building near Trafalgar Square they had been occupying in the run-up to Christmas, the group decided to set up a soup kitchen outside.

      Since December 25, they had been distributing food, coffee and tea outside the vacant offices to people sleeping rough on the streets of London.

    • American Democracy Under Threat for 250 Years

      But these old works do invite us to live questions that they lived, which many of us had complacently forgotten, and which Pikettymania was an effort to remember. These are the inescapable questions of a world where the economy, including global ecology, does not take care of itself, and where it may come into conflict with democracy. They are questions for a world where we need to get clearer on what we mean by democracy, and what we lose when we neglect or betray it.

    • French ‘rock-star’ economist Thomas Piketty refuses country’s highest honor

      France’s star economist Thomas Piketty, who shot to fame and topped best-seller lists in 2014 with his controversial book on wealth and inequality, has declined the country’s highest award, the Legion d’Honneur, local media said on Thursday.

      “I refuse this nomination because I don’t think it’s up to a government to say who is honorable,” Piketty told AFP news agency. “They would do better to focus on reviving growth in France and Europe.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Brands pay Twitter to falsely appear in your following list

      A Twitter advertising technique is perturbing people. Promoted brands like MasterCard and IFC are appearing in the list of accounts some users follow, even if they don’t actually follow them.

      Sources familiar with the company’s advertising strategy tell me this has been occurring since early 2013, but the public has only just now cottoned onto it thanks to actor William Shatner (of Star Trek fame). Shatner brought attention to it after he saw that “MasterCard” appeared in his following list despite the fact that he didn’t follow it. He did a little investigation and discovered that the same promoted account appeared on Dwayne Johnson’s follower list, looking a little out of place given “The Rock” only followed one other account.

    • Murdoch, Scaife and CIA Propaganda

      The rapid expansion of America’s right-wing media began in the 1980s as the Reagan administration coordinated foreign policy initiatives with conservative media executives, including Rupert Murdoch, and then cleared away regulatory hurdles, reports Robert Parry.

  • Censorship

    • Air Canada Blocks Access To Any Google Hosted RSS Feed (Including Techdirt) For No Good Reason

      The block here is clearly not directed at Techdirt, but rather at Google’s Feedproxy service — which was formerly Feedburner, a company Google bought years ago. Many, many, many sites that have RSS feeds use Google’s service as it makes it much easier to manage your RSS feed and to do some basic analytics on it.

      In this case, it appears that Air Canada has (for reasons unknown) wasted good money on a company called “Datavalet” which offers “Guest Access Management” for companies who offer WiFi access to customers. Datavalet proudly highlights Air Canada and famed Canadian donut chain Tim Hortons among its customers.

    • China Echoes America’s NSA in Fresh Crackdown on Gmail

      Some users were also able to access Gmail via cell phone clients on Google’s Android, the top mobile operating system in China.

  • Privacy

    • The Android Apps That Collect the Most Data on You

      Apps often need permission to access other stuff on your phone to work. What is less obvious is the breadth of information collected, and why it gets scooped up. Vocativ put together a list of common permissions from popular Android apps, calling it a “barometer of what app makers think they can get away with.”

    • How Facebook Killed Our Class Reunion

      I remember being excited senior year of high school when thinking about our future class reunion. My excitement stemmed from a movie I had watched. In the movie, the star was the ugly duckling growing up. When he arrived at his class reunion, he was a rich hunk with a gorgeous bride. I couldn’t wait to be “that guy”. I also couldn’t wait for all of the “popular kids” to show up at this future class reunion fat and strung out. It was going to be GREAT.

      As it turns out, I was entirely wrong. NOBODY showed up at our class reunion. Because we never had one. And I blame Facebook. The social media giant has helped us all become closer apart.

    • Tor de farce: NSA fails to decrypt anonymised network

      A new round of NSA documents snatched by master blabbermouth Edward Snowden appeared online late on Sunday, revealing spooks’ internet security pet hates.

      The latest dump of PDFs published by Der Spiegel appeared to show what the Five Eyes surveillance buddies – the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – see as obstacles posed by internet security protocols.

    • Snowden files reveal NSA had ‘major problems’ tracking Tor dark web users and cracking encryption

      Although it’s now well known that US spy agency NSA and its British cousin GCHQ were able to monitor, collect, and analyse our digital communications, a new report reveals which encrypted programmes gave the spy agencies a headache.

    • Leaked NSA Documents Reveal The Best Way To Stay Anonymous Online

      It’s not easy to truly be anonymous online. Sure, there are plenty of chat apps and secret-sharing sites that claim to offer you privacy, but it’s tricky to know whether US intelligence agencies have a backdoor in them or not.

      The best way to stay anonymous online has been to use Tor, a special kind of web browser developed to help US government employees hide their tracks online.

    • Leaked NSA Documents Reveal How To Hide From The NSA

      If you want a truly anonymous life, then maybe it’s time you learned about Tor, CSpace and ZRTP.

      These three technologies could help people hide their activities from the National Security Agency, according to NSA documents newly obtained from the archive of former contractor Edward Snowden by the German magazine Der Spiegel.

    • Latest Snowden Revelations Expose Scope Of NSA Interceptions

      But perhaps more significantly, the revelations culled from the trove of documents leaked by Edward Snowden show the forms of encryption the NSA struggled to break (at least at the time of the documents in 2012). That list includes PGP, Tor, CSpace, OTR and ZRTP.


      Another alarming statistic from the article is the number of https connections, the type of secure connections used by sites like Facebook, that the agency intercepts. One document showed that by late 2012, the NSA was cracking 10 million such connections a day.

    • EFF: What we learned about NSA spying in 2014 and what we’re fighting to expose in 2015

      After a banner year for shedding light on the NSA’s secret surveillance programs in 2013, the pace of disclosures in 2014 — both from whistleblowers and through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits — slowed significantly.

    • Google tells WikiLeaks about emails it handed to NSA two years ago

      Google delivered a boob of a Christmas present to WikiLeaks by informing the organisation that it turned over an email account to the National Security Agency [NSA] following a request over two years ago.

      A Twitter post by WikiLeaks stated that Google contacted the group on Christmas Eve to inform them the Gmail mailboxes and account metadata of an employee were handed over to law enforcement authorities after a US federal warrant had been issued, Ars Technica reports.

    • If the Supreme Court tackles the NSA in 2015, it’ll be one of these five cases

      Roughly a year and a half since the first Snowden disclosures, there’s already been a judicial order to shut down the National Security Agency’s bulk metadata collection program.

      The lawsuit filed by Larry Klayman, a veteran conservative activist, would essentially put a stop to unchecked NSA surveillance. And at the start of 2015, he remains the only plaintiff whose case has won when fighting for privacy against the newly understood government monitoring. However, it’s currently a victory in name only—the judicial order in Klayman was stayed pending the government’s appeal.

    • This privacy-protecting app cocktail is the NSA’s worst nightmare

      The agency has identified one anonymity method that’s impossible to crack. By combining several services including Tor, VPNs, CSpace and ZRTP, Internet users would give the NSA a “catastrophic” headache, as their communications would be virtually impossible to intercept.

      This cocktail leads to a “near-total loss/lack of insight to target communications, presence,” as the NSA explains.

    • NSA has VPNs in Vulcan death grip—no, really, that’s what they call it

      The National Security Agency’s Office of Target Pursuit (OTP) maintains a team of engineers dedicated to cracking the encrypted traffic of virtual private networks (VPNs) and has developed tools that could potentially uncloak the traffic in the majority of VPNs used to secure traffic passing over the Internet today, according to documents published this week by the German news magazine Der Speigel. A slide deck from a presentation by a member of OTP’s VPN Exploitation Team, dated September 13, 2010, details the process the NSA used at that time to attack VPNs—including tools with names drawn from Star Trek and other bits of popular culture.

    • NSA’s Vulcan Death Grip on VPNs
    • What’s in the files the NSA dribbled out after its Xmas dump?

      Patrick writes, “The NSA dumped its IOB reports on Christmas Eve, except that it was short 15 files, I pointed that out, next dump was silent but an additional 12 files, I pointed out the three missing files, and as of today, the three extra files were added, but the extra 3 files have a different naming convention.”

    • NSA IOB Dump Finally Complete!

      The “Christmas Eve” NSA file dump that you will see reported at: NSA Waited Until Christmas Eve To Release Details Of Its Illegal Surveillance On Americans, What you need to know about the NSA document dump, and, U.S. Spy Agency Reports Improper Surveillance of Americans, repeated by various other sources, which never mentioned the dump being incomplete, is now complete.

      I reported in Merry Christmas From the NSA! Missing Files about 15 missing files, which by my report of: NSA IOB Report Dump – Still Missing Files had become 3 missing files and when I checked today, the NSA file dump is complete, all being silent corrections to the file dump.

    • The NSA’s Ongoing Efforts to Hide Its Lawbreaking

      Every quarter, the National Security Agency generates a report on its own lawbreaking and policy violations. The reports are classified and sent to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board. It’s unclear what happens once they get there.

    • A New Year’s resolution for Obama: Dismantle the NSA

      Here’s a perfect New Year’s resolution: Let’s abolish the National Security Agency and prosecute its agents for spying on us. It’s perfect because it’s the right thing to do — and because it’s a promise that’s probably impossible to keep.

      On Christmas Eve, the NSA, complying with a Freedom of Information Act request from the American Civil Liberties Union, released documents showing that intelligence agents used the incredible resources of the NSA to spy on their wives, husbands, and girlfriends.

    • New Documents Reveal What the NSA Can’t Crack Yet
    • Tor, TrueCrypt, Tails topped the NSA’s ‘most wanted’ list in 2012

      Three out of three? That could be the score for the U.S. National Security Agency’s cryptographic “most wanted” list of 2012.

      In January 2012, it saw Internet traffic anonymizing tool Tor (The Onion Router), Linux distribution Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) and disk encryption system TrueCrypt as the biggest threats to its ability to intercept Internet traffic and interpret other information it acquires.

      Since then, flaws have been found in Tor and the FBI has unmasked Tor users and a vulnerability was found in Tails allowing attackers to determine users’ IP addresses.

      And while a source-code audit gave TrueCrypt a relatively clean bill of health in April, TrueCrypt’s anonymous developers inexplicably abandoned the software a few weeks later, warning it was insecure.

    • Tor, TrueCrypt, Tails topped the NSA’s ‘most wanted’ in 2012, per newly revealed Snowden leaks
    • New Snowden Documents Reveal That The NSA Can’t Hack Everyone
    • New NSA leaks: does crypto still work?

      Some of the new leaks imply that the NSA is able to compromise core cryptographic Internet protocols like TLS and IPSEC. This is scary news indeed: if the underlying mathematics of crypto are compromised, then in some important sense, all bets are off. But as Green shows, the NSA does not appear to be attacking the math: instead, it has infiltrated and subverted big companies in order to steal their cryptographic certificates, which means that the companies can’t be trusted, but the math can be (probably).

    • Infiltrate the NSA

      The story of John Ashcroft and James Comey’s hospital-bed heroics has by now been told many times. On March 10, 2004, President Bush’s White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, and chief of staff, Andrew Card, went to the intensive care unit of George Washington University Hospital to try to persuade the ill attorney general, Ashcroft, to sign off on continuing massive collection of Americans’ Internet “metadata,” a program started in October 2001. Comey, then the deputy attorney general, had refused to reauthorize the program; its most recent authorization was scheduled to expire the next day. Comey got to his boss first, and Ashcroft refused to sign. Though pushed hard by Gonzales and Card, and also by Vice President Dick Cheney and his counsel, David Addington, Comey and several of his Department of Justice colleagues stood their ground and declined to ratify this domestic metadata collection based on the president’s bare say-so.

    • NSA spying in Vienna detailed at Chaos meet

      Austrian journalist Erich Möchel delivered a presentation in Hamburg at the annual meeting of the Chaos Computer Club on Monday December 29, detailing the various locations where the US NSA has been actively collecting and processing electronic intelligence in Vienna.

    • Despite Backlash, German Govt Still Working With NSA

      The Edward Snowden leaks and the revelation of wholesale NSA surveillance of the entire planet hit a lot of people hard, but particularly in Germany, where the public knows all too well the dangers of a surveillance state. The backlash was huge, and the German government promised major changes to their relationship with the US spies.

    • Backlash in Berlin over NSA spying recedes as threat from Islamic State rises

      In a crescendo of anger over American espionage, Germany expelled the CIA’s top operative, launched an investigation of the vast U.S. surveillance programs exposed by Edward Snowden and extracted an apology from President Barack Obama for the years that U.S. spies had reportedly spent monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.

    • Online privacy and the Edward Snowden documentary

      Laura Poitras’ new documentary about mega-leaker Edward Snowden, “Citizenfour,” makes no pretense at being evenhanded. It’s a polemic against the National Security Agency’s effort to spy on people in the United States and around the world – innocent, guilty, or simply suspect – all in the name of national security.

    • Topeka man, 89, files suit against Edward Snowden, documentary producers

      When Horace Edwards saw a recent showing of the documentary “Citizenfour,” which chronicles former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s leak of classified documents, he was aghast.

    • Secret report cited in NSA surveillance lawsuit, gov’t silent on its existence

      Civil rights and federal attorneys sparred at a hearing over a case involving domestic dragnet surveillance by the federal government. The plaintiffs argued the searches are illegal, while the government said opponents don’t have enough evidence to know.

      The hearing, requested by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for a partial summary judgment, concerns the class action lawsuit, Jewel v. NSA, which was filed six years ago. It claims the National Security Agency (NSA) acquired AT&T customers’ e-mail and other data using surveillance devices attached to the company’s network.

    • Snowden reveals how to go ‘level 5′, give the NSA fits

      Civil rights and federal attorneys sparred at a hearing over a case involving domestic dragnet surveillance by the federal government. The plaintiffs argued the searches are illegal, while the government said opponents don’t have enough evidence to know.

      The hearing, requested by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for a partial summary judgment, concerns the class action lawsuit, Jewel v. NSA, which was filed six years ago. It claims the National Security Agency (NSA) acquired AT&T customers’ e-mail and other data using surveillance devices attached to the company’s network.

    • Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA’s War on Internet Security

      When Christmas approaches, the spies of the Five Eyes intelligence services can look forward to a break from the arduous daily work of spying. In addition to their usual job — attempting to crack encryption all around the world — they play a game called the “Kryptos Kristmas Kwiz,” which involves solving challenging numerical and alphabetical puzzles. The proud winners of the competition are awarded “Kryptos” mugs.

  • Civil Rights

    • The law will protect any member of Congress who releases the full torture report. Someone needs to step up

      In 1971, I entered the full text of the top-secret Pentagon Papers – a history of how the US became mired in the swamp of the Vietnam War – into the Congressional Record, even as the Federal Bureau of Investigation was hunting for Daniel Ellsburg (who gave the papers to the New York Times) and President Richard Nixon and his Justice Department were filing injunctions against newspapers to prevent their publication. Subsequent case law affirmed that members of Congress may reveal any government “secret” to the public without fear of prosecution because of the “Speech and Debate” clause of the constitution, from which members derive their duty to inform the people about the actions of their government.

    • Off-Duty Cop Wrestles, Slams Woman Into Car After Fender-Bender

      After video of a man wrestling a woman and throwing her against a car came to light Tuesday, the San Jose Police Department issued a warrant – for the woman’s arrest.

      Of course the man “being assaulted” was none other than an off-duty San Jose Cop in plainclothes. The officer reportedly approached the woman – without identifying himself as a police officer – after a fender bender between their cars.

    • The Dissenter’s Top Films of 2014

      Steve Rogers, who is Captain America (Chris Evans), awakens from decades of suspended animation, to find himself in the present day when the global war on terrorism is being waged. He works for SHIELD, a powerful paramilitary spy agency that now has military drones called “hellicarriers,” which allow for assassination. As Rogers says, “I thought the punishment usually came after the crime.” Part of the reason why the agency has turned to assassination is because the agency was infiltrated, and Captain America spends the movie dealing with this.

    • Police: Man was locking, not stealing from cars

      It seemed an unlikely excuse from a man suspected of breaking into cars at an auto yard. But police say it appears a Norwalk man was being truthful when he insisted he was just checking the vehicles to make sure they were locked.

      Employees at Coating’s Auto Body caught 20-year-old Alexander Louis Friday and held him for police.

    • An Open Letter to People Who Think the Police Accountability Movement is Built on Hate

      This is a message to Allen Clifton, co-founder of Forward Progressives, and anyone else who labels the police accountability movement dangerous and hateful. Us “anti-government activists” as you called us, protesters, cop watchers, cop blockers, members of the civil rights movement; we are not hate groups as you recently proclaimed, despite being thoroughly told you are wrong in the comment section of your own article. You join the ranks of other “journalists” like Bill O’Reilly who recently attacked Cop Block and others who film the police.

    • The CIA Phoenix Program: US Government is No Stranger to Torture

      From 1967 to 1971, the Central Intelligence Agency ran a secret government operation called Phoenix. (4) At the time, the program was classified and, due to the unpopularity of the Vietnam War, it received wide public scrutiny. In fact, many war protesters called it an illegal assassination program. (5)

      The Phoenix Program’s official stated purpose was to gather intelligence on the communist Viet Cong and share that information with South Vietnamese military and government leaders. The program has been heralded a success due to its ability to “gain detailed knowledge about the Viet Cong and to disrupt that organization”. (5) So what does “disrupt” mean, exactly?

      To many detractors, it means exactly what it sounds like: assassination. In fact, the program is known to have resulted in about 20,000 deaths. (4)

      One of those is a South Vietnamese interpreter by the name of Thai Khac Chuyen. (6) Chuyen was accused of being a double agent and killed by six Special Forces soldiers in 1969, but those soldiers were never held accountable for their actions because U.S. political leaders didn’t want key witnesses to testify. Therefore, a trial for the soldiers could not be staged. This event led to Daniel Ellsberg copying key documents and releasing them to the press.

      Rightly or wrongly, the U.S. developed a reputation for murder on the battlefield, an irony not lost on political conservatives who have criticized journalists for losing the Vietnam War merely by reporting on ugly incidents like Chuyen’s assassination, and his treatment prior, and the My Lai Massacre. (7)

    • Report Implicates U.S. In Brazilian Dictatorship’s Torture Practices

      The scope of CIA torture revealed in this week’s Senate Intelligence Committee report has come as a shock to many, but America’s involvement with torture predates the terrorist attacks on 9/11. This week Brazil published its very own torture report as part of an investigation into the crimes perpetrated during the country’s 21 year-long U.S. backed military dictatorship. It confirms what historians have been writing about for years: that torture and other human rights abuses were systemic within the regime, and that the military received extensive training by the U.S. and the U.K. on torture and other repressive techniques.

    • CIA Torture’s Immeasurable Damage to U.S. Global Leadership

      Last month’s revelations about CIA torture have hurt U.S. credibility worldwide. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA Interrogation concluded the program “created tensions with U.S. partners and allies…complicating bilateral intelligence relationships.” It said the program caused “immeasurable damage to the United States’ public standing, as well as to the United States’ longstanding global leadership on human rights in general….”

    • Udall Urged to Disclose Full Torture Report

      Sen. Mark Udall has called for the full release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture. However, as a still-sitting member of Congress, he has a constitutional protection to read most of the still-secret report on the Senate floor — and a group of intelligence veterans urges him to do just that.

    • The Secret CIA Document That Could Unravel Case For Torture

      As the public grapples with the gruesome realities put forth in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s damning report on the CIA’s torture program, the agency has dug in to defend itself. The CIA claims the torture tactics it used in the years following 9/11 were legal and saved American lives. And despite what the Senate study alleges, the agency insists it never lied about the torture program.

    • Outgoing senator urged to release full CIA torture report

      Calls for Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) to reveal the entire, unredacted CIA torture report have increased, with a group of former intelligence analysts issuing a memo that urges the outgoing legislator to read the report on the Senate floor.

    • Britain’s murky role in CIA torture

      Not long ago, in a bid to find out how effective the CIA really was at counterterrorism, U.S. President Barack Obama released a rabbit into a forest and challenged the agency to find it. The CIA spent months planting informers in the forest, interviewing forest creatures, and examining all the forest intelligence. Nothing. Finally the agency went into the forest and dragged out a soaking wet, badly beaten brown bear screaming: “Okay, okay! I’m a rabbit, I’m a rabbit!”


      For years, the British government denied that its territory had been used for so-called “rendition” flights, in which terror suspects were illegally transported across the globe by the CIA to countries where they could be tortured. It also denied that British intelligence agencies had any involvement or knowledge of the CIA’s brutal program. The denials were supported by an ISC investigation in 2007 that gave the intelligence agencies and government a clean bill of health. The ISC reiterated its findings in 2010. – See more at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Commentary/2014/Dec-30/282569-britains-murky-role-in-cia-torture.ashx#sthash.I6TN3xGP.dpuf

    • Our New Politics of Torture

      New York Review contributor Mark Danner has been writing about the use of torture by the US government since the first years after September 11. Following the release this month of the Senate’s report on the CIA torture program, Hugh Eakin spoke to Danner about some of the most startling findings of the investigation and what it reveals about the continued political debate surrounding the program.

    • The CIA’s Torture Program Breeds Hate

      Norman Pollack: The antecedent question, not did the CIA deceive these administrations about the efficacy of EITs, but, as the Senate Report claims, were the administrations even aware of the programs? The Senate Report is seeking to give Obama deniability—i.e., that he was kept in the dark—lest he be held accountable for war crimes. I am in no position to judge whether EITs yielded relevant information. But on solidification of security, no; if anything, torture has turned much of the world against America, and has created the basis for the rise of militant groups and the desire for retribution.

    • Nothing ‘awesome’ about CIA torture – Ramzy Baroud

      But CIA torture being a “stain” on an otherwise flawless record doesn’t suffice either. In fact, in some way, this logic is the heart of the problem, since it blocks any attempt at honest reading of whatever “values” Washington stands for, and tries to achieve, using “soft diplomacy” of “rectal feeding.”

      What is equally worrying to what the report has contained is the existing mindset in the US, among the ruling class and the media.

      This reality can be best summarised in the words of a Fox News show co-host, Andrea Tantaros: “The United States of America is awesome, we are awesome,” she exclaimed.

      “The reason they want to have this discussion is not to show how awesome we are. This administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we’re not awesome.”

      With such overriding thoughtless mindset, there is little evidence to show that such “awesomeness” will cease any time soon, even if at the expense of many innocent people. – December 27, 2014.

    • ​Gitmo command ordered inmates chained to ceiling, degraded, tortured – ex-FBI specialist

      The recent CIA torture report revealed the agency’s inhumane practices of interrogation during the War on Terror. However, some people claim the information gathered through torture proved valuable and saved lives – but is that so? Is information gathered this way even reliable? Will the CIA stop its practices now the truth is out? And what about the inmates of Guantanamo Bay? What has been done to them? To find answers to these questions and many more, we speak to former FBI criminal profiler Jim Clemente on Sophie&Co today.

    • View from abroad: US loses moral high ground after CIA report

      When the US Senate report on the CIA’s torture campaign was released recently, the State Department sent out a warning to US missions abroad to beware of a possible backlash. In the event, beyond indignant newspaper editorials, the international reaction has been somewhat muted.

    • There is no debate about torture

      The Senate Intelligence Committee’s scathing torture report not only described the brutality of the CIA’s interrogation methods, but also demonstrated their ineffectiveness. Led by ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, former Bush administration officials have rushed to the airwaves to defend the CIA.

      “I would do it again in a minute,” Cheney said on NBC’s Meet the Press, claiming that Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs) produced “actionable intelligence that kept us safe from attacks”.

    • He was tortured for three years. Now he’s fighting against it — and denouncing the CIA

      Nearly four decades later, Perico Rodriguez recalls his torture. He fought to breathe. Prison guards had blindfolded him and chained him to a bunk-bed. They tied his hands behind his back and shoved his face into a bucket of water.

      The technique was known as El Submarino, a cousin of waterboarding used during Argentina’s “Dirty War”. His lungs, he said, never recovered.

    • Ministers STILL won’t tell truth about torture: Foreign Office refuses to give details of UK meetings with team behind CIA dossier

      Ministers faced fresh accusations of a cover-up last night after refusing to reveal crucial details of British meetings with US politicians investigating CIA torture.

      Home Secretary Theresa May was one of several British politicians and envoys who paid 24 visits to senior members of the Senate Intelligence Committee as it investigated barbaric techniques used on terror suspects.

      The disclosure has fuelled claims that the Government desperately lobbied to keep allegations of Britain’s complicity in torture out of the committee’s damning report

    • Letter: CIA and torture

      Mr. Olszewski states that millions of Americans who died protecting our freedom would have no problem with a little physical and psychological torture.

      I would like to know who or how many of these Americans who died elected him to act as their spokesman regarding their mindsets about torture.

      For your edification, Mr. Olszewski, these fun and games the CIA played resulted in a detainee meeting his death by drowning from hypothermia while being waterboarded. A second detainee died from hypothermia while being handcuffed to his cell wall without any clothing in freezing temperatures.

      We hanged German leaders who were responsible for torturing people, after they were found guilty of these crimes at the Nuremberg trials.

    • Numbers Game: What CIA Torture Report Has Shown (Other Than Torture)

      ‘American people have a right – indeed, a responsibility – to know what was done in their name; how these practices did or did not serve our interests; and how they comported with our most important values,” says John McCain. But he seems to be alone among pro-torture, CIA-supporting politicians.

      Indeed, McCain’s views on the subject seem highly unpopular in the Republican Party. Reactions pretty much sum up to various forms of denial, fear mongering and finger-pointing. ‘This release could endanger the lives of Americans overseas, jeopardize U.S. relations with foreign partners, potentially incite violence, create political problems for our allies, and be used as a recruitment tool for our enemies,’ say Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Jim Risch. One might argue that most of the world suspected the CIA of torture anyways, not to mention a level of anti-American notions in certain parts of the world that have been stable for a long time, but who cares, let’s panic.

    • The Prosecution of the CIA Whistleblower Who Revealed Waterboarding to the World

      CIA Torture Program Whistleblower John Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison while those he exposed still remain free.

    • Human rights act stops CIA abuses, says former Attorney General
    • Senior Tory defends Human Rights Act as a bastion against abuses like those exposed in the CIA torture report

      Former attorney general Dominic Grieve has said “egregious” behaviour like the CIA torture techniques would not occur in Britain because of the European Convention on Human Rights.

      His intervention comes amid a bitter dispute within the Conservative party over the leadership’s plan to stop British laws being overruled by European judges.

      Mr Grieve has criticised his party’s proposals for a new Bill of Rights which proponents said would give UK courts and Parliament the final say over Europe.

    • European Convention on Human Rights ‘stops egregious acts’
    • Employees who expose wrongdoing pay a price

      When Ilana Greenstein blew the whistle on mismanagement at the CIA, she tried to follow all the proper procedures.

      First, she told her supervisors that she believed the agency had bungled its spying operations in Baghdad. Then, she wrote a letter to the director of the agency.

    • CIA whistleblower being treated like ‘traitor’

      A former CIA case officer has gone public with claims of retaliation against her from the bureau after she tried to report her concerns over the misconduct of colleagues in the intelligence service.

      “I don’t believe in breaking the law, I don’t believe in leaks, I don’t believe in divulging classified information,” stated Ilana Greenstein in a video interview released by McClatchy DC, a Washington-based journalistic bureau on Tuesday. “What I believe in is a good internal system, where people who have concerns can voice those concerns without recrimination.”

    • New developments concerning report on CIA torture

      Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005, accused the CIA of having operated this torture-based conditioning program to fabricated the evidence that provided the rationale for going to war against Iraq [2].

    • Ireland seeks clarification from US on Shannon flights

      Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan is seeking clarification from the US government on whether evidence was uncovered in a recent US Senate intelligence committee report of Shannon Airport being used by the CIA for extraordinary rendition.

    • Ireland seeks clarification from US over Shannon

      The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed he is seeking clarification from the US Government whether any evidence of Shannon Airport being used by the CIA for extraordinary rendition was uncovered in a recent U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report.

      Minister Charlie Flanagan had been asked by Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe whether he was aware of the report and revelations about CIA torture of detainees.

    • CIA rendition flights and Shannon

      Simon Carswell’s article on Shannon Airport and renditions (“Bush assured Irish State Shannon not used for rendition flights”, December 22nd) provides an important insight into the concerns that two former Irish ministers had in relation to the CIA’s torture and renditions programme.

      Dermot Ahern was minister for foreign affairs and Michael McDowell was minister for justice when a report by Dick Marty for the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe identified Ireland and Shannon as a stopover point for rendition flights. Nonetheless the government failed to take decisive action, apart, it would seem, from asking the US government if it was taking prisoners through Shannon. The US government’s response to such questions can hardly have been a surprise to the ministers.

    • U.S. policy hypocrisy evident in CIA torture

      We practiced tortures that we have prosecuted after real war and condemned when used by other countries that could as legitimately claim “national security” as we did. So, it’s not a question of Congress not clearly prohibiting torture, it’s we as a nation allowing our representatives to turn a blind eye to it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2015?

        Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years—an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1958 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2015, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2054.1 And no published works will enter our public domain until 2019. The laws in other countries are different—thousands of works are entering the public domain in Canada and the EU on January 1.


Links 31/12/2014: GNU/Linux in Xiaomi Laptops, Chromebooks Runs GNU/Linux in Browser

Posted in News Roundup at 10:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy Prefers Debian with Xfce – Video

    Linux systems have been spotted in all sorts of interesting places, but they don’t usually make their ways into the movies. Well, from the looks of it, a Linux system has been used in Luc Besson’s Lucy.

  • 2015: If wishes were penguins, everyone would fly

    It’s the end of yet another year. I’m not going to go on record to say that 2015 will finally, finally, finally be the year of Linux! It may, but it may not. What I will go on the record for is to say what my personal Linux and open-source wishes for Linux are in the coming year. They aren’t many, and they aren’t tilting at any given windmill … they just are.

    I’ve already made my “predictions” for Linux in my post “2015 will be the year Linux takes over the enterprise (and other predictions)”. This time, however, I want to take a look at what might be necessary for some of those predictions to actually come true.

  • Desktop Linux and Open Source in 2014: Looking Back

    Clichéd though they may be, year-in-review pieces about desktop Linux—by which I mean Linux distributions designed for end users working on desktops, PCs and, perhaps, large-form mobile devices—are a tradition here at The VAR Guy (and, before that, at our late, great sister-site, WorksWithU, a blog dedicated to Ubuntu Linux). But at the end of 2014, there’s not much to say about desktop Linux other than that it’s now so mature, and open source momentum so focused on other niches, that the Linux desktop has seen little major action over the past 12 months.

  • Purism Librem 15

    While the Librem 15 doesn’t necessarily match my personal tastes for laptop hardware due to the overall size and the mouse in particular, the mission of the company definitely does. Up until this point there were few options for laptops that ran purely Free Software, much less any that had modern hardware and a modern look and feel. I believe Purism genuinely wants to create a quality laptop that will appeal both to the Free Software community as well as privacy advocates and the Librem 15 is a nice start. In this era of pervasive surveillance, rootkits bundled with corporate software, threats of hardware backdoors by nation states, and the overall increasing sophistication of attacks, I think Purism is on to something here. As more people value transparency as a means toward security, a computer that can provide the source code for every driver, application, and firmware it uses becomes more valuable.

  • Xiaomi Said to Launch a Linux Notebook

    Xiaomi is quickly becoming a major player in the tech gadget space. It’s already a huge smartphone maker in China, though has started to spread its wings into other arenas as well. Next up may be a new laptop, at least according to some specs that were recently provided by GizmoChina. As you’ll note from the image above, this looks like a MacBook Air – but don’t let that fool you just yet.

    GizmoChina says that the Xiaomi notebook, powered by Linux, may cost under $500, though the specs suggest it may cost a bit more than that. The site says Xiaomi’s notebook will pack an Intel Core i7 Haswell processor, a 15-inch 1920 x 1080-pixel display and a solid 16GB of RAM. There’s no news on what sort of storage this will pack, though if it’s as thin as the picture suggests, it may have a solid state hard drive as well.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Docker Reigned in 2014, But Competition is Coming

      Container technology was without a doubt one of the biggest stories of 2014, and if you mention the container arena to most people, Docker is what they think of. As impressive as Docker is, as recently as June of last year, OStatic highlighted some of its instabilities.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Lead Developers Of systemd

      Fedora contributor Tomasz Torcz has taken a fresh look at what individuals and companies are the largest contributors to systemd.

    • Who wrote systemd?

      When it comes to systemd middleware, Lennart Poettering often takes the blame and has sole authorship attributed. But there are many more developers (git shows 593 authors in total) – missing their portion of berating, thus unappreciated and unhappy. Over the Winter Holidays I’ve run LWN’s “who wrote” scripts to gather more insight into systemd’s developer base.

    • Systemd Development Skyrocketed This Year

      Rising above all of the systemd controversies and in-fighting this year, systemd developers remained committed and did a heck of a job at adding code to the project.

      As some complementary development statistics for systemd focused on 2014 to yesterday’s lead developers of systemd article, I ran GitStats this morning on the latest end-of-year systemd mainline Git repository. The numbers speak for themselves and systemd grew significantly this year.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Nouveau vs. NVIDIA GeForce Linux Performance At The End Of 2014

        Testing for this article was done using the same Core i7 4790K Haswell system as used by the other recent Linux graphics tests. Ubuntu 14.10 x86_64 was running on the system with the Unity 7.3.1 desktop and X.Org Server 1.16.0. The open-source Nouveau driver consisted of the Linux 3.18.0 kernel, Mesa 10.5.0-devel, and xf86-video-nouveau DDX Git. The proprietary NVIDIA Linux driver used was the latest NVIDIA 346.22 beta driver release from earlier this month.

      • Intel Haswell Linux OpenGL Driver Catching Up To The Intel Windows Driver

        Past Intel Windows vs. Linux graphics driver benchmarks have shown that for Haswell the OpenGL performance on Linux generally comes up short of the proprietary Windows driver. Fortunately, the Intel open-source Linux driver improved a lot this year and is now more competitive to the Windows driver.

        My latest end-of-year testing was comparing the Intel Linux graphics performance over the past year to Microsoft Windows with the latest proprietary driver (v10.18.10.3960).

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Despite Rumors, Xfce Alive & Kicking

      Rumors: They exist, for better or worse, and there’s not much you can do about them. In addition, rumors are the starting blocks for the old Churchill adage that “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

      Three times this month, Xfce came up in conversation — online, of course, and in the realm of social media and in forum discussions — and the context in which each conversation came up had the desktop on the brink of closure, with one unwitting person saying that Xfce was dead.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Does Using GNOME On Wayland Save Power?

        One of the commonly asked questions is whether using Wayland will be more power efficient or save power compared to running the same software under an X.Org Server environment. Here’s a simple test of GNOME on Wayland in Fedora 21 while monitoring a laptop’s battery use.

        After yesterday’s Fedora 21 Gaming Benchmarks: X.Org vs. XWayland To End 2014 I ran a simple comparison just looking at the system power consumption while engaging with the GNOME 3.14.2 desktop environment under X.Org Server 1.16 and when running under Wayland.

      • GNOME 2014 Highlights

        Early in the spring Karen Sandler announced her departure* as the Executive Director of the foundation.

        The GNOME Asia Summit, an event with a strong community building focus, was this year hosted in Beijing, China. In the end of July the GNOME community gathered for GUADEC in the beautiful city of Strasbourg, France for a week of talks, discussions and hacking.

      • The GNOME Progress & Events That Defined 2014

        The GNOME project had a rather splendid year with significant progress made in porting GNOME’s components to Wayland, adding many features to the GTK+ tool-kit, enabling OpenGL support in GTK+, and improvements to the many GNOME applications.

  • Distributions

    • OpenELEC lightweight Linux adds Kodi 14 support

      Version 5.0 of the RPi-compatible, Kodi/XBMC-oriented OpenELEC Linux distro for media players upgrades to Kodi 14, adds i.MX6 support, and drops AppleTV.

    • OpenELEC 5.0 released
    • New Releases

      • Back-up Your Linux OS with Clonezilla Live

        Clonezilla Live, a Linux distribution based on DRBL, Partclone, and udpcast that allows users to do bare metal backup and recovery, is now at version 2.3.2-2. Users should be able to download it and test it.

      • Chapter 21. Release 14.12 (“Caterpillar”, 2014/12/30)

        In addition to numerous new and upgraded packages, this release has the following highlights:

        Systemd has been updated to version 217, which has numerous improvements.

        Nix has been updated to 1.8.

        NixOS is now based on Glibc 2.20.

        KDE has been updated to 4.14.

        The default Linux kernel has been updated to 3.14.

      • NixOS 14.12 Released To End Out 2014

        NixOS 14.12 stable is codenamed “Caterpillar” and includes Nix 1.8 for package management and a wide collection of package updates. The release announcement by Domen Kožar details, “11972 commits were pushed by 310 contributors since the last release (14.04).”

      • Linux Deepin 2014.2 Makes It Out Just In Time For The New Year

        Deepin Linux with its original desktop environment claims to have been downloaded tens of millions of times and in use in more than 40 countries around the globe. Deepin 2014.2 delivers new themes, drag-and-drop reordering support for the Dock icons, launcher improvements, improved multi-screen support, network improvements, system notification improvements, tablet support, and other updates focused around its HTML5-based desktop.

      • deepin 2014.2正式版发布——自由·独特·前卫
    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project News – December 29th, 2014

        Debian Project News – December 29th, 2014

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Used to Analyse Data from Famous Comet-Hunting Rosetta Space Probe

            Rosetta is the space probe that was sent to meet the Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet and that carried the Philae lander, which eventually made a touchdown on the comet itself. It looks like the guys who are analyzing the data sent by the probe are also using Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu operating system worth trying as it wins 3 consecutive awards from W3tech
          • Ubuntu Terminal Reboot Is Probably One of the Coolest Terminals You’ve Seen

            Developers have reinvented the terminal numerous times and there are a ton of various apps out there that do the same thing. Now, an “Ubuntu terminal reboot” has surfaced and it’s glorious.

          • $100 Bay Trail PC-on-a-stick can run Ubuntu (and Windows)

            The MeegoPad T01 is a tiny PC-on-a-stick with an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor, 2GB of RAM, and Windows 8.1 software. It sells for around $100 and up.

            Just plug the stick into the HDMI port of a display, connect a power source, and you’ve got a desktop computer (with the processing power of a cheap Windows tablet).

            But what if you’d rather run Ubuntu? Yep. You can do that.

          • Upstart MJ Technology To Launch ‘Ubuntu Edge’-Like Tablet Early 2015

            Last year, Canonical tried to crowdfund its own smartphone that would run the company’s “Ubuntu Touch” operating system. The smartphone was called “Ubuntu Edge” and would come with a unique design, 4 GB of RAM, a quad-core processor, sapphire screen and 128 GB of storage.

            The campaign ultimately failed, reaching less than half of its ambitious goal of $32 million. Since then, we haven’t actually seen a commercially available device running Ubuntu Touch.

            A new start-up called MJ Technology promises to build a tablet that will look like the Ubuntu Edge smartphone Canonical wanted to build, and it will run Ubuntu.

          • Shuttleworth Explains Why Open Source is More Secure than Closed Source [VIDEO]

            In 2014, open source technology came under a heavy barrage of criticism as a result of high-profile security vulnerabilities. Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu Linux and its lead commercial sponsor Ubuntu, has a very different view and remains a stalwart defender of the open source model for software development and security.

            In a video interview with Datamation, Shuttleworth details his view on open-source security as Ubuntu Linux celebrates its 10th anniversary.

            In 2014, the Heartbleed vulnerability in the open source OpenSSL cryptographic library had wide ranging impact. OpenSSL is widely deployed on servers, VPNs and even mobile devices and it took some time for vendors and users to get systems and devices patched.

            “We have a big responsibility to proactively make sure that the system is as robust in the face of inevitable flaws as it can be,” Shuttleworth said.

          • 12 Months, 12 Highlights: This was Ubuntu in 2014
          • Windows Phone Replaced with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on Lumia 1020

            Windows phone (Lumia 1020) is probably the last place where you would expect to see Ubuntu, but a user has posted images with Ubuntu running on this device and they seem to be legit.

            The first thing that users might think is that someone ported Ubuntu Touch for the Lumia 1020 device and that would not be an impossible task. It would be difficult but not impossible. It would also be a difficult to install a custom ROM, but that’s also not impossible. The interesting thing is that the images show an Ubuntu system running and not the Touch version.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Pear OS Is Making a Comeback – Rumor

              Pear OS was a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that imitated the Mac OS X desktop environment with great accuracy. It disappeared rather mysteriously roughly a year ago, and no one has heard anything of it ever since. Now, an image has been ported on a remote and obscure part of the Internet that shows that Pear OS might be making a comeback.

            • Pear Returning, In the Movies, and More Highlights

              Today in Linux news Softpedia.com is reporting that Pear OS is making signs of a comeback. In other news, Debian is spotted in a new movie and Phil Shapiro shares a cheap laptop story. We have 2014 highlights on Ubuntu, GNOME, and FOSS in general as well as Jack Wallen’s wishes for the new year.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Micro-UAV controller features open, modifiable design

      The AeroCore 2 is an update to the original AeroCore controller introduced last Spring. Like most hacker-oriented UAV autopilots, both AeroCore models run Nuttx RTOS for real-time control tasks, along with Linux for higher level functions.

    • Raspberry Pi: Raspbian and NOOBS releases

      What better way to spend the holidays, and prepare for the New Year, than with a new release of Raspbian (Debian GNU/Linux specifically for the Raspberry Pi), and a new NOOBS package?

      For those who don’t have a Raspberry Pi (or more than one) already, or might have just gotten one for Christmas, the foundation has posted a Got a new Pi article. I also wrote a number of Hands-On with Raspberry Pi posts last Christmas, which include a lot more detail and lots of screen shots.

      The new Raspbian release (2014-12-24) and a new NOOBS package (1.3.11) are available for download in the usual ZIP format on the Raspberry Pi downloads page. The NOOBS image also includes Pidora, Arch Linux, openELEC, RaspBMC and RiscOS.

    • Ringing in 2015 with 40 Linux-friendly hacker SBCs

      2014 brought us plenty of new open-spec, community-backed SBCs — from $35 bargains, to octa-core powerhouses — and all with Linux or Android support.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • UK retailers in TABLET PRICE SLASH BONANZA

        You can buy tablets for under £30, but for just over that (including shipping) you can get a 7” Quad Core device, and Amazon is now chock-a-block with cheap tablets. Even retail outlets, with brand name tablets, will do you a massive discount.

      • The Year Of The Small Cheap Tablet In UK

        The more competitive the market for personal computing, the more innovative will be OEMs and retailers. I expect many more will ship GNU/Linux just to be different or to offer something new. 2015 could be the last year retail shelves exclude GNU/Linux anywhere. The monopoly is truly dead.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache Markes Year’s End By Graduating Two Big Data Projects

    As this year draws to a close, it’s worth taking note of two important projects from the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) that have graduated to top-tier project status, ensuring them development resources and more. Apache MetaModel went from the Apache Incubator to become a Top Level Project. It provides a model for interacting with data based on metadata, and developers can use it to go beyond just physical data layers to work with most any forms of data.

    Meanwhile, we’ve also covered the news of Apache Drill graduating to Top Level Project status. Drill is billed as the world’s first schema-free SQL query engine that delivers real-time insights by removing the constraint of building and maintaining schemas before data can be analyzed.

  • 2014’s Five Biggest Stories Affecting FOSS
  • Funding

    • Anonabox Gets Kicked from Kickstarter, Shows Up on Indiegogo with Updated Specs

      The online community tore the project apart and discovered that the makers of Anonabox were disingenuous when they were saying that it was something original, custom built. As it turned out, it was actually a repurposed Chinese device with a slightly better memory. Also, the operating system used was OpenWRT, which is basically Linux distro for routers and other such devices. Most, if not all of the information provided on Kickstarter was a lie. Eventually, the Kickstarter project was suspended and no one got hurt, financially.


  • Public Services/Government

    • Deputy CTO UK: ODF is a ‘big change’

      The UK government’s 400 IT departments are preparing their organisations for the use of the Open Document Format (ODF) as the default for its editable documents. The process should avoid making civil servants and other end-users bear the brunt of the switch, says Magnus Falk, deputy chief technology officer (CTO) of the UK government. “To unlock our digital documents, we’re leading a digital transformation.”

    • Spanish region Galicia publishes training materials for Linux and LibreOffice

      Amtega, Galicia’s agency for technological modernisation, has published its training materials for Linux and LibreOffice under an open license. They can be used by training centres, organisations and individuals to prepare for the office productivity CODIX certification provided by the CeMIT network.

    • 5100+ signatures for open formats in the French educational system

      More than 5100 people have signed the call to promote open formats and interoperability in the French educational system, a campaign initiated in November by April, France’s free software advocacy group. Their call for interoperability in the education system (Appel pour l’intéropérabilité dans l’Education Nationale) is supported by 100 teachers, as well as employees and school trade unions.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Open data partnership between city and county of Durham, NC

        Open data has found the most innovation at the local government level. While not taking away from te efforts of data.gov and the state initiatives, local data has more impact on the day to day lives of civil society. A wealth of city and county public data exists, but accessing it can sometimes be time consuming. Now, thanks to a new local government partnership, open data in Durham is just months away from becoming a reality.

    • Open Hardware

      • Turn on your computer from anywhere with an Arduino Server

        Unless you live off-the-grid and have abundant free electricity, leaving your rig on while you go away on trips is hardly economic. So if you’re like [Josh Forwood] and you happen to use a remote desktop client all the time while on the road, you might be interested in this little hack he threw together. It’s a remote Power-On-PC from anywhere device.

        It’s actually incredibly simple. Just one Arduino. He’s piggybacking off of the excellent Teleduino software by [Nathan] who actually gave him a hand manipulating it for his purpose. The Arduino runs as a low-power server which allows [Josh] to access it via a secure website login. From there, he can send a WOL packet to his various computers to wake them up.

  • Programming

    • PHP Install Statistics

      …over 78% of all PHP installs have at least one known security vulnerability.

    • Performance Analysis With Performance Co-Pilot, iPython and Pandas

      One of many reasons to love Performance Co-Pilot, is the fact that it is a fully fledged framework to do performance analysis. It makes it extremely simple to extend and to build anything on top of it. In this post we shall explore how simple it is to analyze your performance data using iPython and pandas.

    • New Language from MIT Streamlines Building SQL-Backed Web Applications

      There are countless developers and administrators who are creating and deploying online applications backed by SQL databases.

      The problem is that creating and deploying them is not the easiest nut to crack due to the complexity of marrying HTML, JavaScript and other tools and components.

      That’s exactly the problem that Adam Chlipala, an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, is trying to solve with Ur/Web, a domain-specific functional programming language for modern Web applications. The language encapsulates many key components needed for robust applications into just one language, and can help ensure the security of the applications.


  • Fury as AirAsia families shown live footage of floating bodies being recovered from missing plane

    Media stations have been criticised for showing split-screen footage of distraught families as they were watched live footage of bodies from missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 being recovered from the water.

    TV One, an Indonesian news channel, screened images from rescue crews as they encountered the debris and bodies found earlier today in the Java Sea, off the coast on Borneo, on a split screen interposed with live reaction from the families of passengers.

  • London New Year’s Eve fireworks made ticket-only for first time

    Metropolitan police urge everyone not among 100,000 who paid for reservation to stay at home and watch on TV

  • Security

    • Is SSH Insecure?

      Fact is, we don’t yet know enough details about all possible attack surfaces against SSH available to the agencies and we badly need more information to know what infrastructure components remain save and reliable for our day to day work. However we do have an idea about the weak spots that should be avoided.

    • More Data on Attributing the Sony Attack

      This is nonsense. North Korea has had extensive offensive cyber capabilities for years. And it has extensive support from China.

      Even so, lots of security experts don’t believe that it’s North Korea.

    • Lizard Squad in the FBI blizzard

      This crew is taking credit for the Sony and Xbox hack and the Feds are already taking the low-hanging fruit. It is not really a surprise that these hacks are so prolific most hacker crews want to get their name out there but to do so means, well that it is out there.

      Colour me surprised that a member of the Lizard Squad hacking group, whos handle alias is “ryanc” aka Ryan caught the attention of the FBI aka Federal Bureau of Investigation after speaking with the media about the Christmas-day attacks on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network (PSN).

    • New evidence Sony hack was ‘inside’ job, not North Korea

      US cybersecurity experts say they have solid evidence that a former employee helped hack Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer system — and that it was not masterminded by North Korean cyberterrorists.

      One leading cybersecurity firm, Norse Corp., said Monday it has narrowed its list of suspects to a group of six people — including at least one Sony veteran with the necessary technical background to carry out the attack, according to reports.

      The investigation of the Sony hacking by the private companies stands in stark contrast to the finding of the FBI, which said Dec. 19 its probe traced the hacking — which ended up foiling the planned wide release of the Hollywood studio’s “The Interview” — to North Korea.

      Kurt Stammberger, senior vice president at Norse, said he used Sony’s leaked human-resources documents and cross-referenced the data with communications on hacker chat rooms and its own network of Web sensors to determine it was not North Korea behind the hack.

    • Who Was Behind the Cyberattack on Sony?

      The cyberattack on Sony Pictures unleashed a torrent of alarmist media reports, evoking the image of North Korean perfidy. Within a month, the FBI issued a statement declaring the North Korean government “responsible for these actions.” Amid the media frenzy, several senators and congresspersons called for tough action. Arizona Senator John McCain blustered, “It’s a new form of warfare that we’re involved in, and we need to react and react vigorously.” President Barack Obama announced his administration planned to review the possibility of placing North Korea on the list of states sponsoring terrorism, a move that would further tighten the already harsh sanctions on North Korea. “They caused a lot of damage, and we will respond,” Obama warned darkly. “We will respond proportionally, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose.”

    • Top 10 Security Incidents and Vulnerabilities of 2014

      This past year has been one of the busiest ones on record for IT security professionals, with a seemingly endless stream of high-profile exploits and software vulnerabilities. At the end of 2013, Target revealed what turned out to be the first of many retail breaches over the next 12 months. Retailers large and small were in the news over the course of 2014, with breaches at Home Depot, Staples, Dairy Queen and even the nonprofit Goodwill Industries. Retailers weren’t the only ones under attack in 2014, however; the open-source software development movement was under scrutiny due to several high-profile security incidents. The OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability that was first disclosed in April had a wide-reaching impact and consequences that took months to unravel. Heartbleed also ushered in a new era of naming and branding vulnerabilities that extended throughout 2014. The Shellshock bug in the open-source BASH shell was another high-impact vulnerability disclosed in 2014 that left IT professionals scrambling. Not all high-impact flaws were the cause of panic though. The open-source Xen hypervisor that powers much of the world’s public cloud infrastructure was patched before any public exploits emerged. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look back at the top 10 security incidents and vulnerabilities of 2014.

    • Low-risk ‘worm’ removed at hacked South Korea nuclear operator

      South Korean authorities have found evidence that a low-risk computer “worm” had been removed from devices connected to some nuclear plant control systems, but no harmful virus was found in reactor controls threatened by a hacker.

      Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co Ltd said it would beef up cyber security by hiring more IT security experts and forming an oversight committee, as it came in for fresh criticism from lawmakers following recent hacks against its headquarters.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Obama’s Lists: A Dubious History of Targeted Killings in Afghanistan

      Combat operations in Afghanistan may be coming to an end, but a look at secret NATO documents reveals that the US and the UK were far less scrupulous in choosing targets for killing than previously believed. Drug dealers were also on the lists.

    • Afghanistan’s New Millionaires

      “Do you want to listen to Taliban cassette?” Matiullah Matie asks as he steers his white Toyota Corolla along a narrow road surrounded by cornfields and mud huts. He keeps the tapes in the car for long drives, Matie explains, just in case he picks up a hitchhiker who looks like a Talib. “They think I am such a pious mujahid man,” the round, bearded businessman laughs. “They don’t know I am screwing them all.”

    • Boy, 2, Accidentally Shoots and Kills Mom at Idaho Walmart
  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks Says Iceland’s Gov’t Unlikely to Push Information Freedom Reform

      WikiLeaks spokesperson said that Iceland’s initiative to become the Switzerland of Bits is unlikely to move an inch further under the country’s current conservative government.

    • Intelligence, defense whistleblowers remain mired in broken system

      When Ilana Greenstein blew the whistle on mismanagement at the CIA, she tried to follow all the proper procedures.

      First, she told her supervisors that she believed the agency had bungled its spying operations in Baghdad. Then, she wrote a letter to the director of the agency.

      But the reaction from the intelligence agency she trusted was to suspend her clearance and order her to turn over her personal computers. The CIA then tried to get the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation of her.

      Meanwhile, the agency’s inspector general, which is supposed to investigate whistleblower retaliation, never responded to her complaint about the treatment.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The 11 Dumbest Things Conservative Media Said About Climate Change in 2014

      This year saw landmark reports on climate change, detailing the ever-increasing scientific certainty that human activities are driving catastrophic climate change and that action needs to be taken to prevent the worst effects. Yet despite the fact that more Americans than ever support action on climate change, conservative media went to ridiculous lengths to cast doubt on the scientific consensus behind global warming, citing everything from free market economics to witchcraft, touting conspiracy theories and predictions of an “ice age,” and even fulfilling Godwin’s law.

  • Finance

    • Despite a Tumultuous 2014, Bitcoin Still Has Value

      Bitcoin had a difficult year in which its value declined by two-thirds, but there is still much reason for optimism in 2015.

    • Why China is about to give Silicon Valley serious competition

      Here’s a news story you probably didn’t see: “Creative enterprises hub to be established in Qianhai.” You didn’t see it because it ran in the Shenzhen Standard, an English-language newspaper in China’s Guangdong province, slightly north of Hong Kong. The local government is investing $750 million to build a giant hub for design and other creative enterprises.

  • Censorship

    • India blocks 32 websites, including GitHub, Internet Archive, Pastebin, Vimeo

      Internet users in India are starting to lose to access websites including GitHub, Internet Archive, Pastebin, and Vimeo under an order from India’s DoT (Department of Telecom).

      It appears an order to block the sites issued on December 17 is taking effect — albeit unevenly.

      Today, Centre for Internet and Society (Bangalore, India) Policy Director Pranesh Prakash posted a copy of the notice listing the 32 blocked URLs.

    • Indian Government Orders 32 Web Sites Blocked, Including GitHub, Archive.Org, Pastebin, DailyMotion And Vimeo

      It’s not clear why these sites have been blocked in this way, but Prakash, who is Policy Director at the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore, India, believes it may be because of a court order in a copyright case. He also points out that this is not the first time this has happened. However, the key nature of many of the sites affected, and the fact that entire sites, rather than just some of their pages, were blocked, is bound to lead to calls for this blunt instrument to be refined before it is used again.

    • Government blocks over 60 websites including github & sourceforge on anti-terror advisory

      Over 60 websites and links, including popular online tools like Github and Sourceforge used by thousands of programmers have been blocked in India, triggering angry protests by Internet users.

  • Privacy

    • arc4random vs timing attacks

      Here at 31C3, Sebastian Schinzel just gave a presentation based on Revisiting SSL/TLS Implementations: New Bleichenbacher Side Channels and Attacks. The particular attack that caught my eye was the failure to generate a fake PMS before checking for bad padding, not after. Doing it afterwards exposes a timing difference of up to a few microseconds which can be measured over the network.

    • How The NSA Works Hard To Break Encryption Any Way It Can

      And, sure, it is a “threat” to the way in which the NSA snoops on everything, but for the vast majority of users, it’s a way to protect their privacy from snooping eyes. The report does reveal that certain encryption standards appear to still cause problems for the NSA, including PGP (which you already use for email, right?), OTR (used in some secure chat systems) and VoIP cryptography system ZRTP. Phil Zimmermann, who helped develop both PGP and ZRTP should be pretty damn proud of his achievements here.

    • When The FISA Court Rejects A Surveillance Request, The FBI Just Issues A National Security Letter Instead

      We’ve talked quite a bit about National Security Letters (NSLs) and how the FBI/DOJ regularly abused them to get just about any information the government wanted with no oversight. As a form of an administrative subpoena — with a built in gag-order — NSLs are a great tool for the government to abuse the 4th Amendment. Recipients can’t talk about them, and no court has to review/approve them. Yet they certainly look scary to most recipients who don’t dare fight an NSL. That’s part of the reason why at least one court found them unconstitutional.

      At the same time, we’ve also been talking plenty about Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which allows the DOJ/FBI (often working for the NSA) to go to the FISA Court and get rubberstamped court orders demanding certain “business records.” As Ed Snowden revealed, these records requests can be as broad as basically “all details on all calls.” But, since the FISA Court reviewed it, people insist it’s legal. And, of course, the FISA Court has the reputation as a rubberstamp for a reason — it almost never turns down a request.

    • E-mail is too important to die, workers say

      THERE is no shortage of tech companies trying to replace e-mail in the workplace by offering new collaboration tools.

      Workers, though, just want their e-mail.

      In a new survey, 61% of US adult workers who use the internet ranked e-mail as “very important” for doing their jobs, according to Pew Research Center.

    • NSA: Tell no-one [31c3] by James Bamford
  • Civil Rights

    • Russians Are Organizing Against Putin Using FireChat Messaging App

      Anti-government protesters in Russia followed along on Twitter as opposition leader Alexey Navalny live-tweeted his house-arrest violation today. But the real action was on FireChat, where Navalny and his supporters organized protests and exchanged unfiltered communication.

    • CPS Threatens Dad: Let Your Kids Play Outside and We’ll Take Them Away

      I received an update from the Maryland mom of two who was contacted by Montgomery Country Child Welfare Service in November after she let her kids, ages 6 and 10, play at the park two blocks from home by themselves. She was cited for allowing a child under age 8 “to be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle while the person charged is absent.”

      The CPS worker decided “confined in a dwelling” was the same thing as “outside in a park.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Yet Another Horrible Comcast Customer Service Experience Goes Viral

      Comcast’s customer service troubles are well documented, with bad customer service experiences going viral every few months, requiring Comcast CEO Brian Roberts to trot out of his corner office to promise to do better. Just a few months ago, Comcast also excitedly hired a new “Senior VP of Customer Experience,” named Neil Smit Charlie Herrin. I hope Herrin wasn’t taking an extended vacation for the holidays, because just in time for New Year’s, yet another horrific customer experience situation has gone viral via Reddit.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Correcting copywrongs [31c3]
      • How Copyright Makes Culture Disappear

        A few years ago, we wrote about some research by Paul Heald that did an astounding job visually demonstrating how much copyright law today harms the dissemination of content.

      • Is piracy really just an access and convenience problem?

        I agree partly with what Fung said in his column. He’s absolutely right about convenience and access being big problems for consumers.


        I’ll give you a good example of this. For the longest time the popular hard rock band AC/DC refused to put its music up on iTunes and other digital outlets. The band members and their management retained a 1980s mind-set and wanted people to go to Walmart to buy CDs. Talk about being trapped in the past!


Links 30/12/2014: Linux 3.19 RC2 Released While Torvalds Turns 45

Posted in News Roundup at 11:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • ‘One frickin’ user interface for Linux’

    It’s almost 2015 now, and it turns out he was right. That “1FUI” is called whatever Android has, and it has made Linux the dominant player in the next big computer revolution. Linux does great in servers, embedded stuff, supercomputing, and utterly owns mobile computing (Apple people, the world is bigger than the US, UK, and Australia).

    Linux didn’t need a ‘year of desktop Linux’ after all.

  • Desktop

    • Install Linux on used laptop

      Now that Windows XP has been officially discontinued there are a huge number of Windows XP laptops for sale on eBay. Many of these run really well with a light Linux distro, such as Linux Mint XFCE.

      At my public library job, I installed Linux Mint 16 XFCE on someone’s Windows XP laptop and was amazed at how much faster the laptop ran. So, my curiosity got the best of me, and I searched eBay to find that particular laptop model: a Dell Latitude C640, manufactured in 2002. Someone was selling such a laptop on eBay for $20. The description of the laptop was that it was in perfect working condition, so I bid $20.

  • Server

    • Five Great Applications For Systems Admins

      Being a systems administrator is a difficult, often thankless job. You’re one of the people responsible for keeping the entire IT infrastructure of your business up and running. What that means is that whenever something doesn’t work the way it should, all eyes immediately turn in your direction.

      You can hardly be blamed for looking to make your life a bit easier. I’d actually recommend that you do so, truth be told. The less time you spend slogging through all the basics of administration, the more time you can devote to improving your server.

      To that end, I’ve compiled a list of a few of the best sysadmin apps on the web; tools that any Linux administrator worth their salt should consider using.

    • 5 Key Enterprise Computing Trends in 2014

      It’s often striking at the end of any given year to reflect upon how much things changed over the preceding 12 months, and 2014 is no exception. After all, open source software reached a “tipping point” this year, as Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin recently noted, achieving new prominence in software development and driving what Zemlin calls an “innovation renaissance.”

    • Cloud Computing Will Continue to Have Legs in 2015

      All you have to do get a guage on how hot open cloud computing is is check the job listings. Opportunities abound for those with OpenStack skills, for example.

      But there are strong signs that some of the big growth in cloud computing may lie ahead, and Amazon, the 800-pound gorilla in the cloud, may face much stiffer competition.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.19-rc2 Is A Tiny Release
    • Linux 3.19-rc2

      This -rc is tiny, for all the obvious reasons.

      I don’t expect that to last, but we’ll probably have another week of
      relative calm until things really start normalizing.

      Aboit 80% drivers (drm being the bulk of it by far), with a few small
      fixes around arm64, auditing and some random small oneliners


    • OpenVZ & Parallels Cloud Server To Merge Into Open-Source Virtuozzo Core
    • Parallels to merge OpenVZ and Cloud Server
    • Happy Birthday Linus, Looking Back, and Korora Tidbits

      Softpedia.com today remembered the birthday of our founding father Linus Torvalds. In other news some Korora tidbits popped up in the feeds and Matthias Clasen is hinting that Red Hat 7.2 may feature the latest GNOME 3.14. Phoronix.com highlights their top stories for the year in Fedora and Debian and Sean Michael Kerner looks back at the top kernel news of the year.

    • Linus Torvalds Turns 45, Happy Birthday!

      Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel and the current maintainer of the most advanced versions released, has just turned 45 and we wish him “Happy Birthday.”

    • Linux in 2014: Six New Kernels, Thousands of New Features
    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org & Wayland Can Both Co-Exist & Continue Marching Forward

        While many view Wayland as the future of the Linux desktop, the X.Org Server shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon as beyond needing it for legacy X11 applications, there’s still much innovation happening within the conventional xorg-server as shown by the progress it’s made in 2014.

      • Intel Haswell HD Graphics End Of 2013 vs. 2014 Benchmarks

        Following on from yesterday’s Phoronix testing that provided an extensive look at AMD’s incredible open-source driver advancements over 2014 by benchmarking the open-source graphics stack from the end of 2013 compared to the end of this year, out now is similar treatment for Intel HD Graphics with their open-source Linux driver for Haswell hardware.

      • Mesa 10.3 & 10.4 Point Releases For The New Year

        Emil Velikov has announced new point releases in the Mesa 10.3 and Mesa 10.4 series in getting ready new open-source graphics drivers for 2015.

      • Linux Gains Support For Really High Frame Rates With The PS3 Eye Camera

        A new patch has been proposed today for the Linux kernel that would allow the PlayStation 3 Eye camera to capture at much higher frame-rates.

        The PlayStation Eye camera for the PS3 is similar to a web camera but can also be used for computer vision and gesture recognition tasks. The PlayStation Eye has been supported by the Linux kernel since the late Linux 2.6 days but with a future update (Linux 3.20 or later given that the 3.19 merge window is closed) will support higher modes.

    • Benchmarks

      • USB Flash Drive File-System Tests On Fedora

        For those wondering what Linux file-system is most performant on a USB 3.0 flash drive, here are some benchmarks using Fedora 21.

      • Intel Ivy Bridge Linux OpenGL Benchmarks Over Two Years

        Alongside the recent year-end tests of the Intel HD Graphics 4600 Haswell desktop OpenGL benchmarks were also some separate HD Graphics 4000 results from a Core i7 Ivy Bridge laptop. The ASUS Zenbook used for benchmarking had a Core i7 3517U processor with HD Graphics 4000, 4GB of RAM, and dual 128GB SSDs.

        For this testing the same Zenbook with the same settings was tested across Ubuntu 12.10, Ubuntu 13.10, and Ubuntu 14.10 with upgrades to the Linux 3.18 kernel and Mesa 10.5-devel to mark the end 2014 experience. Across the Ubuntu upgrades were new versions of the Linux kernel, Mesa, and xf86-video-intel DDX to affect the OpenGL and 2D performance along with other factors like switching of default CPU governors and 2D acceleration architectures.

      • Radeon Gallium3D Moved Closer To Performance Parity With AMD’s Catalyst In 2014
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Major Release

        Since then, we had a lot of things to be proud of: we made nice friends around the world, we strengthened local KDE communities in Brazil, we’ve been representing KDE for seven years in a row in major FLOSS Brazilian conferences. There were countless talks, short courses, hunting for new contributors, the first Akademy-BR and two LaKademies. That makes me happy but I’m, above all, a programmer. I’ve been missing the commits I haven’t done, the features I haven’t implemented and the bugs I haven’t fixed. I joined KDE already chased by that voice: “you have a Ph.D. to complete …” and it’s quite easy to let your passions dominate the priorities of your tasks

      • Processed in digiKam Call for Submissions

        Sharing is caring, right? So if you use digiKam for processing photos, why not share your photo editing techniques and tips with other users and showcase your best photos? I invite you to participate in the new Processed in digiKam feature on this very blog.

      • January Bug of the Month

        The KDE Gardening Team selected the January “Bug of the Month”. Before announcing it, let me write more about this initiative.

      • Knetwalk running on KF5 :)

        With this screen shot i think my work of porting knetwalk is complete. I would like other kde members to test knetwalk’s framework branch and report if they are experiencing any issue installing it on kf5. I will try and fix that error on my part.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Mutter Now Uses GTK+ For Drawing All Window Decorations

        Fixed this morning in Mutter Git for GNOME 3.16 development is Bug #741917 for having the GNOME3 window manager letting GTK+ draw window decorations. The bug by Florian Müllner explained, “With CSD [client side decorations] support in GTK+, we are now maintaining two very different (but supposedly matching) themes for the same elements. Just ditch our own theme format (which everyone hates anyway) and use GTK+ for server-side decorations as well. This has been lying around locally for a couple of months now and in a public branch for quite some time, so I consider this fairly well tested by now (mostly using the default theme).” Florian just wasn’t complaining about the issue but came with patches in hand.

  • Distributions

    • OpenELEC 5.0: Linux-based OS focused on Kodi 14 media center

      There are plenty of ways to turn a PC into a media center, but one popular (and powerful) option is to install Kodi, the application formerly known as XBMC. Kodi presents a full-screen, remote control-friendly user interface for navigating music, videos, photos, and other content. It also supports plug-ins that let you stream content from the internet or use your computer as a DVR to record live TV.

    • Reviews

      • Review: CentOS 7.0 GNOME

        I tried CentOS 7.0 GNOME on a live USB made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see what it’s like. (As will become clear soon enough, there are no pictures in this review, and for the same reason, this review will be relatively shorter. Suffice it to say for now that the distribution basically looks identical to Scientific Linux 7.0 GNOME from screenshots.)

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Linux Antique

        Let me introduce you to Linux Antique, aka Red Hat 5.2 KDE.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 to Finally Land in Present Times with GNOME 3.14

        Everyone knows that Red Hat Enterprise Linux is not exactly the trend setter when it comes to adopting the latest packages. The operating system has always operated under the assumption that old means stable, but that is not true anymore. It’s possible that RHEL 7.2 will switch to the latest GNOME 3.14 version.

      • Exclusive CEO Interview: How Red Hat Inc. Crushed Expectations in Q3, and What’s Next

        Open source software veteran Red Hat (NYSE: RHT ) reported third-quarter results recently and the company crushed analyst expectations on both the top and bottom lines. Shares jumped as much as 14% higher the day after the release, and have only climbed higher in the few days since.

      • Red Hat March 2016 Options Begin Trading

        Investors in Red Hat Inc (Symbol: RHT) saw new options become available today, for the March 2016 expiration. One of the key data points that goes into the price an option buyer is willing to pay, is the time value, so with 445 days until expiration the newly available contracts represent a potential opportunity for sellers of puts or calls to achieve a higher premium than would be available for the contracts with a closer expiration. At Stock Options Channel , our YieldBoost formula has looked up and down the RHT options chain for the new March 2016 contracts and identified the following call contract of particular interest.

      • Red Hat Receives New Coverage from Analysts at Piper Jaffray (RHT)
      • Fedora

        • 18 Things to Do After Installing Fedora 21 Workstation

          If you’re a Fedora fan, I’m sure that you know that Fedora 21 has been released a few days ago, Fedora 21 came with many new changes which you can view in our last article about it. Also you may view the installation guide for Fedora 21 that we published few days ago.

        • Korora 19 “Bruce” Reaches End Of Life

          Since we use Fedora as the base for our distribution and thus follow the Fedora Project’s life cycle, it means that Korora 19/19.1 reaches it’s End Of Life status soon just like Fedora 19. We advise our users to upgrade to K20 before January 6th 2015 or, if it is released by then, K21. After this date systems that still run K19, won’t receive any security updates anymore and are considered to be vulnerable.

        • Korora 21 development progress

          As always we are working hard on the next Korora Project release to present our users an overall polished and smooth desktop experience.

        • Fedora 21 Gaming Benchmarks: X.Org vs. XWayland To End 2014

          As some extra benchmarks over the holidays, here’s some fresh numbers when running some OpenGL gaming tests on GNOME running natively on X.Org vs. GNOME on Wayland and the games running through XWayland.

          As my most recent benchmarks were from (X)Wayland on Fedora 21 from its pre-release form in September, before ending out the year I figured it’s time to run some new reference tests with all available Fedora 21 updates. Fedora 21 was tested with the GNOME on its X.Org Server and GNOME on Wayland sessions available via the F21 GDM log-in screen. The tests in question were running through XWayland to look at the overhead for this approach of running legacy X11 games/applications on Wayland.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source and Linux in 2014
  • Best open education tools and tales in 2014

    A great Bengali polymath and noble prize winner in literature (Rabindranath Tagore) once said: “Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time”. With changing times, the systems and customs that govern our society should also change. Human beings are intrinsically curious. To quote Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher, “Curiosity is the lust of the mind”. However, there also seems to be another aspect of our human nature that sees systems and customs in a preordained manner. This aspect stifles disruptive innovation, restricts growth in a vertical direction, and fortifies the stubborn staying power of our fixations with these systems and customs.

  • FOSS’ Shining Moments of 2014

    “This year we had a very dark highlight with the Systemd situation,” said Google+ blogger Gonzalo Velasco C. “Wounds are still bleeding in some communities; forks were made; tons of antacids were consumed. Time will heal those, but for now, the bitter taste remains.” That said, “distros like Slackware, Gentoo and PCLinuxOS stayed put on their convictions not to use it, and that is very good.”

  • Improving on bug reports

    There’s nothing like the comments to justify an article. After I wrote about the average user’s difficulty with filing bugs, the responses came rapidly. Many agreed with me, or were willing to consider my comments plausible, but two with long histories of involvement with free software seemed only intermittently aware that any problem existed, and were more interested in faulting me for not suggesting more solutions.

  • The Open Bay – an open source Pirate Bay has emerged through Github

    The Pirate Bay previously made its website open for hosting by anyone with “minimal web knowledge”. After it was closed recently time and time again thanks to various lawsuits, GitHub has seen 372 copies of “The Open Bay” created, seeing The Pirate Bay hit the open source market.

  • Open Source Players Make IoT, Big Data Predictions for 2015

    Executives from Red Hat, the Linux Foundation, MapR and Splice Machine offer predictions for open source, big data, the Internet of Things, containerization and networking in 2015.

  • What will 2015 bring for the open source cloud?

    Regardless of what we see in 2015, the open source cloud will continue to grow, change, and adapt. What is your top prediction for this year?

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • MozJPEG Is Evolving Well For Better Optimized JPEGs

        While Fabrice Bellard’s work on the BPG Image Format has been getting a lot of attention in recent weeks for being an image format trying to replace JPEGs with offering higher compression ratio and other features over JPEGs, its design around the encoding of HEVC/H.265 makes its blocked by patents. For at least the interim, Mozilla is committed to making JPEGs better for the web.

      • MozJPEG 3.0

        Mozilla has done a study of image formats and concluded that WebP and JPEG XR are not a big-enough improvement over well-optimized JPEG. In the study only HEVC (H.265) was significantly better, but it’s a patent-encumbered format, so it can’t be used freely (shhhh!)

        It seems that Mozilla has a short-term and a long-term plan for image compression. They’re sponsoring development of the Daala codec, which is technically very interesting, but not production-ready yet.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Get a college minor in open source

      In this lightning talk presentation, Remy tells us about the first academic minor in open source software at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) that has both a technical and non-technical track. The courses in this minor all use open source software in some way, shape, or form. Additionally, student engagement on campus includes social coding through hackathons and meetups.

  • BSD


    • GNU Nana project + github

      There has been little activity on GNU Nana for the last few years so I’ve decided to leave this as a frozen archive. A slowly updating version is available on https://github.com/pjmaker/nana which deals with issues such as 64 bit CPU’s and autoconf.

    • User Liberation: Watch and share our new video

      Most people interact with free software every day, but many of those people don’t know what free software is or why they should go out of their way to use it. We want to fix that (and we think you do too), so we commissioned a short video that makes free software easy for everyone to understand:

    • The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Aaron Wolf of Snowdrift.coop

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

      In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with Aaron Wolf, co-founder of Snowdrift.coop, a web platform coordinating patronage specifically for freely-licensed works. Aaron Wolf is a music teacher by trade who got involved in the free software movement in 2012 building on his earlier interest in free culture and cooperative economics.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Best open source in government: policies, new tools, and case studies

      As I reflect on another year of open source in government stories, I took a look back at the articles we published on Opensource.com this year to see if there were any noticeable commonalities. I found that most articles on the government channel fell into one of three categories: government policies, new tools available, and case studies.

      This is consistent with the trend I highlighted last year (We have policies. Now what?). As Mark Bohannon is fond of saying, “Governments are wrestling with the ‘how tos’ of open source choices; not ‘whether’ to use it.” Government policies are become more refined and sophisticated in regards to open technologies, and increasingly, governments are choosing to “default to open.” However, governments still need help implementing those policies, and citizens are stepping up by creating new, open source tools and open formats to help governments get the job done.

      Rather than do a traditional Top 10 list this year, I wanted to highlight a few standouts from each of these categories from 2014 that I think are worth reading if you missed them the first time. Or might even be worth a second read if it’s been a while.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • This Md. startup is taking off thanks to the global open-source hardware movement

        It’s for an analog-to-digital converter circuit: in English, a board for “computers that can take dozens of signals from the world and figure out what to do with them,” explained Umar Farooq, the cofounder of Scarab Hardware.

      • Bridging gongkai and free/open source
      • From Gongkai to Open Source

        Compared to the firmware, the hardware reverse engineering task was fairly straightforward. The documents we could scavenge gave us a notion of the ball-out for the chip, and the naming scheme for the pins was sufficiently descriptive that I could apply common sense and experience to guess the correct method for connecting the chip. For areas that were ambiguous, we had some stripped down phones I could buzz out with a multimeter or stare at under a microscope to determine connectivity; and in the worst case I could also probe a live phone with an oscilloscope just to make sure my understanding was correct.


  • AirAsia plane with 159 aboard overshoots Philippine runway

    An AirAsia Zest plane carrying 159 people overshot the runway and got stuck in a muddy field Tuesday at an international airport in the central Philippines after landing from Manila in windy weather, officials said. There were no reports of injuries.

  • EU judges oppose accession of EU to ECHR

    Accession of the EU to the ECHR has been a very slow-burn process, with the Commission starting things off in 1979 (sic). The breakthrough, or so it appeared at the time, was the entry into force of Article 6 of the Lisbon Treaty of European Union, in December 2009. This (Art.6(2)) makes it a treaty obligation that the EU

  • Virgin Atlantic pilot lands 447 passengers safely in Gatwick drama

    A Virgin Atlantic plane carrying 447 passengers was forced to make an emergency landing at Gatwick after landing gear problems hit a US-bound flight.

    Hundreds of holidaymakers applauded in relief after their pilot returned the Boeing 747 to base safely following an unconventional journey that included dumping fuel at sea and flying low over the Gatwick control tower twice so that air traffic controllers could scrutinise the main undercarriage with binoculars.

  • Video shows Virgin Atlantic plane’s faulty landing gear as it touches down
  • Virgin Atlantic VS43: Watch terrifying footage from inside plane as it makes emergency landing at Gatwick
  • The Myth of the Last Man

    …it is time to revisit one of the most potent myths of the British Empire

  • The best countries for work-life balance

    According to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that ranked its 34 member countries on work-life balance, the United States comes in 29th in the category, which the report attributes to long work hours and a lack of social activities.

  • Science

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 6 Ways New Media Are Getting It Right On Climate Change — And 1 That’s Very Wrong

      While some mainstream media outlets are starting to get the message about the threat of climate change, they are still far behind emerging media when it comes to climate coverage.

      Throughout 2014, new TV and web-based news sources have been continuing the trend of providing excellent climate coverage. Media Matters has identified six positive trends in how new media are covering climate change — and one trend that may be cause for alarm.

    • Pope to push for action on climate change

      Over the weekend, The Guardian reported that Pope Francis will issue an encyclical urging Catholics to push for action on climate change. The push will coincide with the efforts to follow up on the Lima agreement in the hope that they will lead to binding agreements for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Finance

    • Empire of the pig

      China’s insatiable appetite for pork is a symbol of the country’s rise. It is also a danger to the world

    • Leading European truckmakers operated cartel for 14 years: FT

      Top European truckmakers operated a cartel for 14 years to delay the progress of emissions-reducing technology, the Financial Times reported, citing leaked documents in a European Commission investigation.

      The newspaper said that one of the documents states that DAF Trucks, Daimler, Iveco, Scania, Volvo and MAN “agreed the timing and price increase levels for the introduction of new emission technologies” to comply with Euro 3 rules on nitrogen oxide and other emissions in 2000. (on.ft.com/1vanmz5)

      A spokeswoman for the European Commission, which announced last month it had sent charges to truckmakers it accused of a long-running and serious price-fixing cartel, said it would not comment on the leaked document. Known as a statement of objections, it lists the accusations against the firms.

      Daimler, Volvo and Iveco parent CNH Industrial all confirmed receipt last month of the statements of objections, together with Volkswagen-controlled Scania and MAN.

  • Censorship

    • MIT indefinitely removes online physics lectures and courses by Walter Lewin

      MIT’s action comes in response to a complaint it received in October from a woman, who is an online MITx learner, claiming online sexual harassment by Lewin. She provided information about Lewin’s interactions with her, which began when she was a learner in one of his MITx courses, as well as information about interactions between Lewin and other women online learners.

    • Gmail blocked in China

      Google Inc’s Gmail was blocked in China after months of disruptions to the world’s biggest email service, with an anti-censorship advocate suggesting the Great Firewall was to blame.

      Large numbers of Gmail web addresses were cut off in China on Friday, said GreatFire.org, a China-based freedom of speech advocacy group. Users said the service was still down on Monday.

      “I think the government is just trying to further eliminate Google’s presence in China and even weaken its market overseas,” said a member of GreatFire.org, who uses a pseudonym.

      “Imagine if Gmail users might not get through to Chinese clients. Many people outside China might be forced to switch away from Gmail.”

      Google’s own Transparency Report, which shows real-time traffic to Google services, displayed a sharp drop-off in traffic to Gmail from China on Friday.

    • Gmail Access Blocked in China

      Gmail users in China are reportedly having trouble accessing Google’s free email service in the region.

      The shutdown was first reported by GreatFire.org, an organization that monitors online censorship in China. The site today re-tweeted a message from a Beijing-based writer who said in a translated message that Gmail was “fully blocked.”

    • Reports Arrive Showing Gmail and Service Provision Blocking in China

      For a growing array of users, Google’s Internet and cloud services are the backbone of how they stay connected, productive and informed. From Gmail to the Google Cloud Platform, Google has established Internet and cloud service standards around the world — but in China, not so much.

    • Cuba’s ‘offline internet’: no access, no power, no problem

      Cubans have found a unique albeit semi-legal way around their country’s practically nonexistent internet access – external hard drives passed from person to person

  • Privacy

    • Facebook’s Illuminating Algorithmic Cruelty

      My own year has had much that I value, but little of it has been shared with Facebook so my own edition is largely valueless. It also thankfully omits the things that make me cry, like the memory of my mother’s passing this spring or the six months of triage following it. If you’ve chosen to share with Facebook, this is a wake-up call that you have also given them the implicit permission to make you relive memories on command.

      Frankly it’s no worse than the other things you’ve given them permission to do with the intimacies you’ve shared. They are just as free with advertisers and social data miners; you just don’t have that rubbed in your face. If you dislike “Year In Review” you probably will hate the things they do with your data without telling you (even if they have secured your permission in advance through their Terms of Service).

    • Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty

      A picture of my daughter, who is dead. Who died this year.

      Yes, my year looked like that. True enough. My year looked like the now-absent face of my little girl. It was still unkind to remind me so forcefully.

      And I know, of course, that this is not a deliberate assault. This inadvertent algorithmic cruelty is the result of code that works in the overwhelming majority of cases, reminding people of the awesomeness of their years, showing them selfies at a party or whale spouts from sailing boats or the marina outside their vacation house.

      But for those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by divorce or losing a job or any one of a hundred crises, we might not want another look at this past year.

      To show me Rebecca’s face and say “Here’s what your year looked like!” is jarring. It feels wrong, and coming from an actual person, it would be wrong. Coming from code, it’s just unfortunate. These are hard, hard problems. It isn’t easy to programmatically figure out if a picture has a ton of Likes because it’s hilarious, astounding, or heartbreaking.

    • Facebook’s ‘Year in Review’ app swings from merely annoying to tragic

      Unless you’re making an active decision to disconnect this holiday season, you’ve probably seen a flood of Facebook “Year In Review” posts — a sort of digital card highlighting the biggest moments of 2014, algorithmically customized for each user.

      The posts are slickly designed, even if their visual uniformity can make scrolling through a newsfeed of the digital holiday letters a bit grating. However, in some cases the summaries can go beyond irritating and become downright cruel.

      The default tagline for the posts is “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.” But not everyone actually had a great year. For some users, the prompts to view their own digital year in review may dig up painful memories.

    • Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA’s War on Internet Security

      US and British intelligence agencies undertake every effort imaginable to crack all types of encrypted Internet communication. The cloud, it seems, is full of holes. The good news: New Snowden documents show that some forms of encryption still cause problems for the NSA.

    • NSA Documents: Attacks on VPN, SSL, TLS, SSH, Tor
    • Dotcom: Encrypted MegaChat is “Coming Soon”

      As 2014 draws to an end, encryption and privacy remain high on the agendas of many netizens. Cloud hosting service Mega has been building its reputation in this niche and is now preparing to deliver a new privacy tool. According to Kim Dotcom the company he founded will soon wave “bye bye” to Skype with the debut of MegaChat.

    • Revealed: supposedly uncrackable encryption tools still not safe

      An online article supposedly reveals the encryption tools that spies can’t hack, but the list doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

      An article over at Fairfax Media entitled ‘Revealed: the encryption tools spies can and can’t hack’ starts off with a lot of stuff about Edward Snowden, his revelations, COMINT, Five eyes and more.

      It references Australia’s Federal Attorney-General naming Edward Snowden as ‘an American traitor’.

    • Jacob Appelbaum: Reconstructing narratives – transparency in the service of justice [31c3]
    • LEAKED: Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global

      Much has been written, at least in the alternative media, about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), two multilateral trade treaties being negotiated between the representatives of dozens of national governments and armies of corporate lawyers and lobbyists (on which you can read more here, here and here). However, much less is known about the decidedly more secretive Trade in Services Act (TiSA), which involves more countries than either of the other two.

      At least until now, that is. Thanks to a leaked document jointly published by the Associated Whistleblowing Press and Filtrala, the potential ramifications of the treaty being hashed out behind hermetically sealed doors in Geneva are finally seeping out into the public arena.

      If signed, the treaty would affect all services ranging from electronic transactions and data flow, to veterinary and architecture services. It would almost certainly open the floodgates to the final wave of privatization of public services, including the provision of healthcare, education and water. Meanwhile, already privatized companies would be prevented from a re-transfer to the public sector by a so-called barring “ratchet clause” – even if the privatization failed.

    • Inside the NSA’s War on Internet Security

      NSA documents indicate they can get into SSH, along with IPSec and PPTP, but that PGP/GnuPG and OTR, as well as TrueCrypt are secure.

    • Glenn Greenwald: Why privacy matters [TED video]

      In some ways it may be fair to say that 2014 was the year when issues of survaillance and privacy became a huge part of our public discourse. And so I thought that re-posting this fantastic TED video by Glenn Greenwald on Why Privacy Matters is rather appropriate.

    • Open Source Privacy Tools NSA Can’t Crack: OTR, PGP, RedPhone, Tor And Tails

      In a recent talk at the Chaos Communication Congress, Jacob Appelbaum, who is a core member of the Tor Project and is now working with Der Spiegel and Laura Poitras to analyze the Snowden documents, unveiled some documents showing which tools NSA couldn’t crack.

  • Civil Rights

    • Thrown in the cells for beeping at a police car! Driver handcuffed and DNA-tested… then faces six-month legal ordeal

      The 34-year-old train driver, who has never been in trouble with the police in his life, was accused of abusive and threatening behaviour and charged with a public order offence.


      Each time, Mr Samara said, he beeped his horn instinctively. ‘For a train driver, especially because we have no brake, using the horn if there is danger is just a natural thing to do,’ he said.

      On the last occasion the van stopped and a policewoman got out and challenged him.

      ‘I didn’t shout or swear or wind my window down, but I did tell her the manner of her driving had caused me to slam on the brakes,’ Mr Samara said.

      He said the policewoman told him she was out looking for a missing child. She was upset about his attitude and told him: ‘When you have a problem don’t come to us as we won’t want to know.’

      Mr Samara told her he was going to make a complaint about her.

      Then her male colleague joined her, ordered him out of his car and handcuffed him. Mr Samara was arrested and taken to the police station where he was left in the cells for two hours and eventually charged.

      He appeared at a preliminary court hearing but prosecutors dropped the case last month after CCTV obtained from the police station contradicted the officer’s evidence that he was threatening and abusive.

    • Victim: Indecent proposition from New London chief was ‘chilling’

      Speaking publicly for the first time, Janelle Westfall said state laws failed her after New London’s former police chief made her a proposition: If she posed nude for him, the underage alcohol charges against her would be dropped. Because of Westfall’s complaint, David Seastrand will never be allowed to serve as a police officer again. She also received a $70,000 settlement from the town. But, she adds, “It just bothers me that it happened, and that they couldn’t prosecute (Seastrand). It bothers me that it could happen again to someone else.”

    • The Sneakiest Way Prosecutors Get a Guilty Verdict: PowerPoint

      At least 10 times in the last two years, US courts have reversed a criminal conviction because prosecutors violated the rules of fair argument with PowerPoint. In even more cases, an appellate court has taken note of such misconduct while upholding the conviction anyway or while reversing on other grounds (as in the case of Sergey Fedoruk). Legal watchdogs have long asserted that prosecutors have plenty of ways to quietly put their thumb on the scales of justice —such as concealing exculpatory evidence, eliminating jury-pool members based on race, and so on. Now they can add another category: prosecution by PowerPoint. “It’s the classic ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’” said Eric Broman, a Seattle attorney who focuses on criminal appeals. “Until the courts say where the boundaries are, prosecutors will continue to test the boundaries.”

    • Freedom of Info at 10: Tony Blair’s WORST NIGHTMARE

      Although the Freedom of Information Act was passed in 2000, it didn’t come into force until 1 January 2005, meaning we’ve had just about 10 years of FoI – as the Information Commissioner’s Office was keen to point out in a minor PR blizzard.

      That load of celebratory snippets* included such worthy-but-dull moments as the first ICO decision notice. Issued in February 2005, it ordered Westminster Council to cough up information about pavements.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Flash! Amazon Acts like For-Profit Company!

      Apparently, Amazon just might be pursuing a way to maximize its own profits rather than those of indie authors. What a shock!

      Meanwhile, Kindle Unlimited authors are reacting by chopping books up into smaller pieces so that they get more fees for the same amount of work (a bit unseemly and obvious, to my taste), or by pulling their books from the program entirely (a rational response, but what will Amazon do next? After all, it has complete authority over what it chooses to pay authors, regardless of the program involved).

      It’s ironic that the scales should now be falling from the eyes of Amazon fans so soon after the Hatchette dispute led them to vilify traditionally published authors for their gullibility in siding with their publishers, and their business model, instead of abandoning them for Amazon. Now, it seems, that career path does not seem so certain.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UK cinema calls police on preteens with iPads during Mockingjay screening

        Both The Daily Mail and The Argus are carrying the story of seven 12-year-old Brighton, UK girls who were questioned by police after staff at a Cineworld multiplex reportedly saw that some of the girls had iPads and smartphones. Concerned that the girls might be engaging in copyright infringement by recording parts of the movie, the staff called 999 (the UK emergency services number, equivalent to 911 in the US) and requested police to help deal with the situation, which the Mail says the staff characterized as an “emergency.”

      • isoHunt Founder: Piracy is A Convenience and Access Problem.

        For isoHunt Founder Gary Fung, 2014 was the first full year without him taking a central place in the BitTorrent landscape. But even though his site was crushed by the MPAA, Hollywood is still facing the same piracy problems. Today Fung shares his views on piracy and the future of media distribution.


Links 28/12/2014: OpenELEC 5.0, KaOS 2014.12

Posted in News Roundup at 5:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Funding

  • Openness/Sharing

    • GitHub’s Most Popular Project Is The New Open Source Pirate Bay

      After The Pirate Bay made its site available for anyone to host with “minimal web knowledge”, the project has become a hit on the popular developer site GitHub, and 372 copies of “The Open Bay” have been created.

      The Pirate Bay was recently raided by police in Sweden, knocking its services offline. Its answer? Make it possible for anyone to create their own Pirate Bay, complete with all of its old torrents, and the ability to carry on the tradition.

  • Programming


  • Douglas Carswell tells Ukip to stop blaming foreigners as youth poll shows Nigel Farage is even less popular than Nick Clegg

    Douglas Carswell, one of Ukip’s most senior figures, has called on the party to stop making “the mistake of blaming outsiders” for Britain’s problems and described disliking foreigners as “not merely offensive, but absurd”.

    The former Tory MP’s comments came as a damning new poll showed Ukip had failed to win the support of young voters ahead of the general election in May, who were found to be six times more likely to choose the Green Party.

    Mr Carswell, whose by-election victory over his former party in October made him one of Ukip’s most influential faces and one of their two members in the Commons, said it was “interdependence that put the Great into Great Britain”.

    His comments come after party leader Nigel Farage defended the language used by Ukip candidate Kerry Smith, who mocked gay party members as “p******s”, joked about shooting people from Chigwell in a “peasant hunt” and referred to someone as a “C****y bird”.

    Mr Farage also made headlines last month when he blamed his lateness to a paid-for party event on “immigrants” causing greater traffic on the M4.

  • AirAsia Flight From Indonesia To Singapore Loses Contact With Air Traffic ControlAirAsia Flight From Indonesia To Singapore Loses Contact With Air Traffic Control

    Flight QZ 8501 — an Airbus 320-200 — lost communication with Indonesia’s Surabaya Juanda International Airport at 7:24 Singapore time on Sunday morning, the airline said. The plane “was requesting deviation due to enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost,” AirAsia said in a statement.

    “The weather was not good — it was bad — at the estimated location the plane lost contact,” Indonesian Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustafa said.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Nestle CEO: Water Is Not A Human Right, Should Be Privatized

      Former Nestle CEO claims water is not a human right and should be privatized and controlled. He also states that GMOs have never caused illnesses despite hundreds of independent studies showing otherwise.

      So, is water a free and basic human right, or should all the water on the planet belong to major corporations?

      Should the poor who cannot afford to pay these said corporations suffer from starvation due to their lack of financial wealth?

  • Security

    • A Straightforward Chronology of the Sony Hacking Incident

      Security geeks reveal government disinformation

    • Experts Are Still Divided on Whether North Korea Is Behind Sony Attack

      The FBI announcement last week that it had uncovered evidence in the Sony hack pointing to North Korea appears to have settled the issue for a lot of people—in Washington, DC.

      “As a result of our investigation,” the FBI announced, “and in close collaboration with other U.S. government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions.”

    • Who Really Hacked Sony Is Like A High-Tech Movie Plot

      Everyone has a theory about who really hacked SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT website, according to ASSOCIATED PRESS.

    • Sony Emails, Seth Rogen Fuel Speculation of CIA Role Making The Interview

      Truth can definitely be stranger than fiction, especially if you believe what actor/director Seth Rogen recently said about the production behind his latest film, The Interview.

    • Sony’s ‘The Interview’ makes $1m on Christmas Day

      Sony Pictures’ controversial movie “The Interview” collected more than $1m in a limited Christmas Day release, and is expected to make several millions of dollars over the holiday weekend.

    • Chinese Viewers Mostly Give Thumbs Up for ‘The Interview’

      Although Beijing is Pyongyang’s only significant ally on the world stage, many ordinary Chinese have mixed feelings about their government’s relationship with North Korea, which has been called as close as “lips and teeth.” Some have come to see a reflection of their own condition in North Korea’s poverty, repressiveness and over-the-top propaganda. Online, some commentators have begun to refer to the North Korean leader as “Fatty Kim the 3rd.”

    • False Flagging the World towards War. The CIA Weaponizes Hollywood

      The campaign of aggression against North Korea, from the hacking of Sony and the crescendo of noise over the film, The Interview, bears all the markings of a CIA false flag operation.

      The hacking and alleged threats to moviegoers has been blamed entirely on North Korea, without a shred of credible evidence beyond unsubstantiated accusations by the FBI. Pyongyang’s responsibility has not been proven. But it has already been officially endorsed, and publicly embraced as fact.

      The idea of “America under attack by North Korea” is a lie.

      The actual individuals of the mysterious group responsible for the hacking remain conveniently unidentified. A multitude of possibilities—Sony insiders, hackers-for-hire, generic Internet vandalism—have not been explored in earnest. The more plausible involvement of US spying agencies—the CIA, the NSA, etc. , their overwhelming technological capability and their peerless hacking and surveillance powers—remains studiously ignored.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Afghanistan conflict: When Enduring Freedom is turned asunder

      In December of 2001, the mightiest military force the world has ever known launched ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ in Afghanistan. Today, the US and NATO military mission in that distant country officially comes to a close, but the foe remains unvanquished.


      To sum up, the US and NATO mission in Afghanistan can rightfully be called disastrous. The America that once was aghast at the idea of torturing people wholesale, is today subdued and numbed to the so-called “black sites” in Afghanistan and around the globe, where torture became the norm. Compared to NSA spying on US citizens, the cover-up or misdirection used to conceal these activities are outright war crimes for most people. Names like Parwan Detention Facility, the Salt Pit, and detainees like Khaled el-Masri and other tortured detainees echo a dark reality of this war on terror. For the leaders who have helped perpetuate these wars, though, cheap talk still resonates. Barack Obama just spoke to US troops on Christmas day about this war’s effects. He said:

    • 2 Drone Strikes in Pakistan Are Said to Kill 9 Militant Suspects

      At least nine people suspected of being militants, including four foreigners, were killed in two separate drone strikes in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, a Pakistani security official said.

    • Two U.S. drone strikes kill seven militants in Pakistan

      Two suspected U.S. drones fired missiles at militant hideouts in northwest Pakistan on Friday killing at least seven fighters, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

    • US drone strike kills 3 in Afghanistan’s Logar

      A US drone strike has killed at least three civilians in Afghanistan’s troubled southeastern province of Logar.

    • US Drones Kill Seven People in Pakistan

      At least seven alleged Taliban fighters died in two separate US drone attacks in the northern-western Pakistani province of North Waziristan, where the Army is carrying out an air and ground operation against the insurgency.

    • U.S. Air Force Intel Unit Helped Kill 1,200 People in a Year

      A secretive group of U.S. Air Force intelligence specialists flying aboard American spy planes helped U.S. military commandos kill more than a thousand enemy combatants in just a single year back in 2012.

    • Torture, Drones, and Hollywood: A Former CIA Operative Talks

      Robert Baer: Assassination doesn’t work, generally. I approached it from the premise that had we assassinated Hitler in 1933 we would have saved lives and destruction. Probably we would have, but in general assassination doesn’t turn out to be a way to avoid war. I take my own experience and other assassinations through history and get a lot into the drone program, which doesn’t work, as well. It’s clear to me, with the massacre at this Pakistani school [at Peshawar]; the CIA in a sense had a role in that, because the two predecessors of the man [Maulana Fazlullah, AKA “Mullah Radio”] who ordered that were both killed by drones. – See more at: http://www.progressive.org/news/2014/12/187945/torture-drones-and-hollywood-former-cia-operative-talks#sthash.jMxsX8Oy.dpuf

    • If the Senate issued a report on America’s drone program

      There were the new tidbits of information on the workings of the president’s “kill list” and the convening of “terror Tuesday” briefings to target specific individuals around the world. There were the insider discussions of ongoing decisions to target American citizens abroad for assassination by drone without due process of law and the revealing emails in which participants up to presidential advisers discussed how exactly to craft the exculpatory “legal” documents for those acts at the Department of Justice.

    • Marjorie Cohn on Drone Warfare: Illegal, Immoral and Ineffective

      Law professor, writer and social critic Marjorie Cohn explores human rights and US foreign policy, and the frequent contradiction between the two in her monthly Truthout column, “Human Rights and Global Wrongs.” She agreed to an interview with Leslie Thatcher recently about her new book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.

    • The cyclical nature of the War on Terror

      Acts of ‘terror’ have been permeating through our televisions screens and newspapers in the West to the extent that we now seem to be surrounded by them. The ‘war on terror’ makes ‘us’ in the West feel safe, but what is almost never considered is how ‘our’ safety affects the lives of the ‘others’ we aim to destroy.

    • After Scrutiny, C.I.A. Mandate Is Untouched

      Over a lunch in Washington in 1976, James J. Angleton, for years the ruthless chief of counterintelligence at the C.I.A., likened the agency to a medieval city occupied by an invading army.

      “Only, we have been occupied by Congress,” he told a young congressional investigator. “With our files rifled, our officials humiliated, and our agents exposed.”

      The spymaster had cause for worry. He had endured a public grilling about his role in domestic spying operations by a select committee headed by Senator Frank Church, a Democrat from Idaho, that spent years looking into intelligence abuses. And the Central Intelligence Agency, used to doing what it wanted while keeping Congress mostly in the dark, was in the midst of convulsions that would fundamentally remake its mission.

    • Drone strikes: are they Obama’s enhanced interrogation techniques?

      The Obama administration insists that international humanitarian law (IHL) is the applicable law because it claims the US is involved in an armed conflict.

    • Drone strikes: Obama’s torture technique?

      On November 24, two weeks before the Senate Intelligence Committee released its “torture report,” Reprieve, a UK-based human rights NGO, published the results of its latest investigation into President Obama’s drone strike program. While Obama was preparing for the inevitable release of the Senate’s report which provided the most extensive insight yet into the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush administration, Reprieve provided insights of its own into the Obama administration’s equally disturbing targeted drone assassination program.

    • Comment: Are US military drone strikes legal?

      On November 24, two weeks before the Senate Intelligence Committee released its “torture report,” Reprieve, a UK-based human rights NGO, published the results of its latest investigation into President Obama’s drone strike program. While Obama was preparing for the inevitable release of the Senate’s report which provided the most extensive insight yet into the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush administration, Reprieve provided insights of its own into the Obama administration’s equally disturbing targeted drone assassination program.

    • How the CIA Sold Obama on Counterinsurgency by Drone Assassination

      The Washington Post, ABC News, and other news outlets stress the report’s findings that targeted assassinations had limited impacts on Taliban targets. While this leaked report does criticize the effectiveness of some High-Value Target (HVT) assassination operations, such characterizations mistake the CIA’s argument that not all counterinsurgency problems can be solved with targeted assassinations as an argument against such operations. Far from dismissing HVT operations, the report advocates them in select conditions.

      What the Post and others miss is the role this CIA report played in larger conversations about counterinsurgency strategies among members of the CIA, Pentagon, Congress, White House, and corporate military profiteers. In 2009, these conversations focused not only on the roles counterinsurgency should play in warzones, but whether this counterinsurgency should be based on soft power models (providing needed services, etc.) or hard power models (like Project Phoenix in Vietnam, or JSOC’s targeted assassination programs in Iraq). While this leaked document is only a single report, it provides a view into the types of intelligence analysis that informed President Obama’s rapid increased use of CIA HVT drone operations targeting individuals, including American citizens, in Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

      This 18-page CIA report reads like a Harvard International Relations dissertation proposal—an observation more about audience, than author–as it reviews data on past HVT programs, weighing the “positive and negative implications of targeted assassinations” in select insurgency campaigns around the world. High-Value Targeting refers to “focused operations against specific individuals or networks whose removal or marginalization should disproportionately degrade an insurgent group’s effectiveness. The criteria for designating high-value targets will vary according to factors such as the insurgent group’s capabilities, structure, and leadership dynamics and the government’s desired outcome.”

    • ‘Why are covert CIA agents operating in allied EU countries?’

      After a CIA memo explaining how to get through tighter EU border security checks was leaked to WikiLeaks, the question arose why are there covert agents in the countries the US is meant to share intelligence with, former MI5 agent Annie Machon told RT.

    • Judge: CIA recruit must testify in leak case

      While the source isn’t named, Risen’s 2006 book “State of War” discusses a Russian nuclear scientist the CIA used as an intermediary to pass nuclear blueprints containing intentional flaws to Iran for use in their nuclear program. Risen’s account of what the CIA effort code-named “Operation Merlin” suggests that the Russian became concerned the flaws were too obvious and flagged them to the Iranians.

    • Torture just one CIA abuse

      One case of many was the CIA’s involvement beginning in 1970 with the overthrow of the elected Chilean President Salvador Allende. They did this through instigating a coup that installed the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. His repression called the Caravan of Death resulted in the death of thousands and torturing tens of thousands. This account is a sordid story and approval went for it went all the way to the White House. Check out the details on Wikipedia. Unbelievable.

    • Dividing the CIA in Two

      When created in 1947, the CIA was meant to coordinate objective intelligence and thus avert some future Pearl Harbor attack, but its secondary role – engaging in covert operations – came to corrupt its independence, a problem that must now be addressed, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

    • Let the C.I.A. Do What It Is Supposed to Do

      From its inception in 1947, the C.I.A. was designed with one overriding mission: preventing strategic surprise. Its controversial interrogation program is just the latest symptom of a larger disease, the tyranny of the current. Since 9/11, rather than assessing the threat landscape of the future, the C.I.A. has been mired in the terrorist threat of the here and now. Time and energy spent on targeted killings, black sites and interrogations with water boards and rectal hydration was time and energy that could have been spent better assessing and anticipating emerging challenges like the Arab Spring, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions, or ISIS’s gathering strength. White House officials and warfighters naturally worry most about today. The C.I.A.’s job is to also worry about tomorrow.

    • White House petition seeks release of all JFK files

      Prominent JFK assassination researcher and author Lamar Waldron has posted on the White House website a petition calling for the release of all classified government files on the JFK assassination and a pardon for former Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden.

    • Wikileaks: CIA’s Brennan on ‘witch hunt’ when Hastings was killed

      A 2010 email released by Wikileaks from a top-level CIA contractor asserts that CIA Director John Brennan, the subject of a story by deceased journalist Michael Hastings, was on a “witch hunt” against “investigative journalists” perceived as hostile.


      The story on Brennan was never published.
      Stratfor was once called “The Shadow CIA” by Barron’s. In 2012 WikiLeaks began publishing “The Global Intelligence Files,” over five million e-mails from the Texas-based company.

      The email has never been disavowed by Stratfor. When San Diego 6 reporter Kim Dvorak asked the CIA for comment on the email in the context of the Hastings’ death, in an August, 2013 report, a CIA spokesman responded:

      ““Without commenting on information disseminated by WikiLeaks, any suggestion that Director Brennan has ever attempted to infringe on constitutionally-protected press freedoms is offensive and baseless.” ”

      Michael Hasting was killed on June 18, 2013, when the new Mercedes C250 SUV he had just leased hit a tree after running numerous red lights at over 100 mph in Los Angeles. A surveillance video at a pizza shop captured a fiery, violent explosion, which is uncharacteristic of high-speed impacts. Generations of advances in safety design have made accidents exhibiting these characteristics unheard of.

    • Letters: CIA torture report is disturbing

      Those of us who lived through the atrocities of World War II, the Nuremberg trials of Axis leadership for crimes against the peace and humanity, and the growth of the U.S. national security state are aware of CIA’s principal role. It’s to do things that the government wants done with plausible deniability. Harry Truman’s creation of the CIA was the worst mistake of his presidency.

    • Head of Stratfor, ‘Private CIA’, Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was ‘The Most Blatant Coup in History’

      In a December 19th interview in the Russian magazine Kommersant, George Friedman, who is the Founder and CEO of Stratfor, the ‘Shadow CIA’ firm, says of the overthrow of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych that occurred on February 22nd of 2014: “It really was the most blatant coup in history.” Perhaps he is saying this because of the videos that were uploaded to the Web which showed it to be so, but this statement by him contradicts the description that is asserted by the U.S. White House and the European Union, and the Western press, which description is that Yanukovych’s overthrow was instead just the result of the U.S. Government’s $5+ billion expense since 1991 to establish ‘democracy’ in Ukraine.

    • LETTER: Is U.S. run by war merchants, drone killers and CIA torturers?

      Wars against nations that haven’t harmed us in any way.

  • Finance

    • Tourists to UK ‘to spend record levels in 2015′

      Spending by tourists visiting the UK is expected to reach record levels next year, the government has said.

      Spending by overseas visitors will top £22bn for the first time, according to forecasts by tourism body VisitBritain.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Worst 2014 Smears From Right-Wing Websites

      Right-wing media websites continued to undermine their credibility in 2014 by peddling a number of false, ridiculous, and bigoted smears. Here are the top smears from conservative websites The Daily Caller, Breitbart.com, and The Washington Free Beacon.

  • Censorship

    • The Interview and free speech: let’s not get too smug

      Censorship battles are usually a good thing, especially when powerful voices and interests are ranged on opposing sides. They illuminate the social and political landscape in a country – our own, as well as those we routinely regard as less enlightened. But the triangular controversy over Sony Pictures’ low-budget comedy The Interview, North Korea and the White House has not made my Christmas.

    • 1961 | The C.I.A. Readies a Cuban Invasion, and The Times Blinks

      In an abundance of caution, Mr. Szulc’s article was shifted at the last moment from its position in the upper right corner as the lead story of the day. It was further demoted in importance when the revised layout for Page 1 specified a headline one column wide rather than four columns.

    • Iran expands ‘smart’ Internet censorship

      Iran is to expand what it calls “smart filtering” of the Internet, a policy of censoring undesirable content on websites without banning them completely, as it used to, the government said on Friday.

    • Tailored censorship? Iran unveils ‘smart’ web filters

      Iran is rolling out new “individual filters” that will let citizens receive access to different parts of the internet, depending on government clearance, and will allow censors to weed out specific website pages – not entire domains, as they currently do.

    • Google and Social Media Resisting Russian Censorship Orders

      Google, Facebook and Twitter are putting up resistance to orders received from the Russian government to block and remove information about the planned rally by the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny next month, which might result into a full scale showdown as Russia tried to censor online content.

    • China censors news on Sony hack

      Censorship is a part of daily life in China. News articles are erased from online search engines, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are banned, and CNN is routinely blacked out for Chinese viewers.

      Instagram was a huge hit in China — until the government banned it during the Hong Kong protests.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Don’t drink and do remember your bribes: The CIA guide to how to travel like James Bond

      Take it easy at the Christmas party if you plan to fly the next day. According to the CIA’s secret travel guide for spies, travellers with “shaking or trembling hands, rapid breathing for no apparent reason, cold sweats, pulsating carotid arteries, a flushed face, and avoidance of eye contact” will arouse suspicion.

    • CIA manuals advising spies how to maintain their cover while using false documents at airports released by Wikleaks
    • How CIA spies move freely through Europe on fake passports

      Secret CIA documents advising undercover American spies on how to move through Europe on fake passports have been published online, revealing growing concern that tighter EU rules could blow the cover of US intelligence agents.

      Two documents released by WikiLeaks show that CIA agents are currently able to freely enter and travel through the 26 countries of the Schengen Area with only a “minimal” risk that EU border guards will grow suspicious.

      There is little chance of being detected when first entering the Schengen Area because European border guards are focused on “illegal immigration and criminal activities, not counterintelligence”, the CIA documents concluded.

    • Calls For Holder To Investigate, Prosecute CIA Torture
    • Calls Grow to Prosecute Former US Officials for CIA Torture

      The ACLU presented a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Monday demanding an investigation into those responsible for the CIA’s torture tactics.

      Recent revelations about CIA torture under former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney between 2001-2009 have put the two figures under increased scrutiny.

    • Human rights groups call for special prosecutor to investigate CIA torture

      The ACLU and Human Rights Watch say the offences amount to ‘a vast criminal conspiracy’ and are ‘shocking and corrosive’ to US democracy and credibility

    • Human rights groups urge criminal investigation into CIA torture

      President Barack Obama should appoint a special prosecutor to determine if former Bush administration and CIA officials broke the law by having suspected terrorists abducted and tortured in secret prisons by waterboarding and other brutal interrogation methods, two leading human rights groups said Monday.

    • Operation Mind Control: Chilling CIA Experiments On US Citizens

      Bacteria to infect the enemy, poisons for assassinations, truth drugs for interrogations, germ warfare and brainwashing

    • Violence, torture and pestilence: 2014 was not a great year for U.S.

      For the United States, 2014 was a year of racial violence, rape, war, terrorism, drought and pestilence.

    • Polish MPs to investigate CIA payment for torture sites

      As a recent US Senate report showed, the CIA handed over up to USD 30 million to the secret services of an unnamed country that hosted the “black sites” where terrorist suspects captured in Afghanistan and Iraq were detained without warrant and subjected to “enhanced investigation techniques”, that is, torture, daily Rzeczpospolita reported. – See more at: http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/191518,Polish-MPs-to-investigate-CIA-payment-for-torture-sites#sthash.uaNfAO9A.dpuf

    • Polish Committee Investigates Allocation of Funds for CIA Secret Prisons

      Marek Biernacki, head of the Sejm Special Services Committee, stated that it is necessary to investigate where the money allocated for CIA “black sites” in Poland has gone.

    • Under pressure over CIA jail, Poland sends out mixed messages

      This month’s acknowledgment by Poland’s former president that he allowed the CIA to operate a secret interrogation centre throws the Polish government’s appeal against a European court ruling on the jail into disarray.

    • A new look at Zimbabwe-USA ‘tortuous’ relations via the CIA

      Zimbabwe is one among a number of African countries that assisted the United States of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in its notorious rendition programme. This emerged from a recent report that the USA Senate made public recently. – See more at: http://nehandaradio.com/2014/12/28/new-look-zimbabwe-usa-tortuous-relations-via-cia/#sthash.H0yxACxL.dpuf

    • A Brief History of the CIA’s Unpunished Spying on the Senate

      This is the story of John Brennan’s CIA spying on Congress and getting away with it.

      Last March, Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA of spying on the Senate intelligence committee as it labored to finalize its report on the torture of prisoners. “I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution,” she said. “I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. I have received neither.”

    • U.S. Senate and CIA agree torture program was mismanaged

      The Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation program and the spy agency’s official response clash on almost every aspect of the long-secret operation, including the brutality and effectiveness of its methods and the agency’s secret dealings with the Bush White House, Congress and the media. Both reports largely agree on one major CIA failure: the agency’s mismanagement of the now-shuttered program.

    • The Senate’s CIA report may help to lead to a new politics of intelligence in Washington.

      The Senate’s recent report into the CIA’s interrogation methods has prompted new discussions on how the U.S. should be conducting intelligence gathering, and the level of Congress’ oversight. Glenn Hastedt writes that the report raises the prospect of a new era of intelligence politics characterized by a skeptical Congress that more tightly controls and challenges the intelligence community, as well as one of continued leaks. He also argues that concerns over short political time frames will continue to push the intelligence community to retroactively justify its actions.

    • Pressure grows on PM to hold judge-led inquiry into Britain’s role in CIA torture

      David Cameron was last night under intense pressure to deliver on his promise to hold a judge-led inquiry into British complicity in torture.

    • Public won’t let Washington sweep CIA torture under the rug – Russian diplomat

      The Obama administration won’t be able to throw the torture issue under the table, as the US Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program has sparked a global public outcry, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s human rights ombudsman told RT.

      “It’s to be continued. If you wish, this report is to be continued against the will of those who would like to hush it down,” Konstantin Dolgov stressed.

      The Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture following 9/11 will be “discussed in the international forum, including, hopefully, in the UN Council of Human Rights and in some other international formats,” he added.

    • CIA torture report: Right also condemns torturers

      Two responses to the Senate report have stood out for me. The first was by Republican Senator John McCain. On the floor of the Senate, he described the use of torture as “shameful and unnecessary”.

      He continued: “The use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies; our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights.”

      The second response was that of the Conservative MP David Davis. Referring to “the barbarism of the secret CIA torture programme”, he went on to state that “our association with torture causes us to lose our moral strength and serves to galvanise those who oppose us”.

    • CIA Decides that the CIA Hacking into Members of Congress is not a Punishable Offense

      A panel appointed by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan to assess blame for the CIA’s intrusion into Senate Intelligence Committee computers has—no surprise—found that those who broke into the computers shouldn’t be punished.

      The handpicked committee, composed of three CIA officers; Robert F. Bauer, who served as White House counsel during President Barack Obama’s first term; and chairman Evan Bayh, a former Democratic senator from Indiana who served on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the three CIA technology officers and two lawyers who participated in the computer hacking should not be punished.

    • Human rights record in the United States of America alarming

      The United States Obama administration won’t be able to throw the torture issue under the table, as the US Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program has sparked a global public outcry

      “It’s to be continued. If you wish, this report is to be continued against the will of those who would like to hush it down,” , the Russian Foreign Ministry’s human rights ombudsman Konstantin Dolgov told the media.

      The Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture following 9/11 will be “discussed in the international forum, including, hopefully, in the UN Council of Human Rights and in some other international formats,” he added.

    • Did the CIA Torture So Bush Could Invade Iraq? (Video)

      The Bush administration and the CIA tortured al-Qaida suspects because they wanted evidence that linked Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and could be used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Middle East expert Patrick Cockburn writes at The Independent.

    • Following Senate report, Johnston leaders tout reported CIA contractor as ‘good corporate citizen’

      Johnston County leaders say they have no reason and no authority to probe a Smithfield-based company long linked to the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program.

      A Raleigh-based anti-torture group says a recently released Senate Intelligence Committee report names 17 detainees transported by Aero Contractors, a company that leases space at the Johnston County Airport and at the Global TransPark in Kinston. Based on flight logs and other data, the group, North Carolina Stop Torture Now, says Aero Contractors transported another 14 detainees not named in the report.

      Tony Braswell, chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners, said he doesn’t know much about what Aero Contractors does. He said he does know, however, that the company has always been a “good corporate citizen.”

      “That’s all we know, and we don’t know if they committed any crimes in Afghanistan or Pakistan,” Braswell said. “Our job is to deal with schools and provide clean drinking water and have a budget for the sheriff.”

      But Christina Cowger, coordinator of North Carolina Stop Torture Now, said the Senate report confirms that Aero Contractors was vital to the CIA’s capture and interrogation of terror suspects using techniques that some consider torture. Now, she said, it’s time for elected officials to ask more questions.

    • The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings

      Human experimentation was a core feature of the CIA’s torture program. The experimental nature of the interrogation and detention techniques is clearly evident in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s executive summary of its investigative report, despite redactions (insisted upon by the CIA) to obfuscate the locations of these laboratories of cruel science and the identities of perpetrators.

    • How a false witness helped the CIA make a case for torture

      Buried amid details of “rectal rehydration” and waterboarding that dominated the headlines over last week’s Senate Intelligence Committee findings was an alarming detail: Both the committee’s summary report and its rebuttal by the CIA admit that a source whose claims were central to the July 2004 resumption of the torture program — and, almost certainly, to authorizing the Internet dragnet collecting massive amounts of Americans’ email metadata — fabricated claims about an election year plot.

    • Irony 101: Study Ethics with Legal Ace Who Sanctioned NSA Wiretapping, CIA Torture

      Waterboarding: Yes or no? It’s OK to selectively violate the Geneva Convention, right? Spying on Americans is illegal, but aren’t rules made to be broken?

      The world is a confusing place and it’s hard for young people to answer complicated questions like these on their own. Fortunately, students at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, have Professor Robert Deitz to help them navigate the contemporary moral morass. “All of us are familiar with basic ethical notions,” he writes in the syllabus for his Spring 2015 course, Ethical Challenges in Public Policy. “We learn from childhood the idea that some conduct is right and other conduct is not right.”

      How’d Deitz get so smart about ethics? He’s magna cum laude from Harvard (like President Obama) and then spent eights years as General Counsel at the National Security Agency, serving as the official Yes Man for General Michael Hayden, and after that three years as his Senior Councillor at the Central Intelligence Agency until 2009. At the former post Deitz rubber-stamped NSA surveillance. At the latter, he sought to derail an independent investigation by then-CIA Inspector General John Helgerson into the agency’s torture and rendition of terrorism suspects.

    • CIA Report Fallout: Alissa Starzak Could Lose Shot At Becoming US Army’s Top Lawyer

      Alissa Starzak will have to wait until after the holidays to find out if accusations she stole and leaked classified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents will scuttle her chances of becoming the U.S. Army’s top lawyer. And her chances could rely on whether Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will back her.

    • CIA torture report: Did US military create Isis through brutal interrogation techniques?

      The CIA torture report covers over 100 detainees but that’s so pale and insignificant compared with the actual number of detainees who experienced enhanced interrogation techniques, or EITs. That number would run into the thousands, during the period when EITs were deemed legal. Every interrogator was allowed to use them.

    • The Horrific Stories of CIA-sponsored Torture That Aren’t in the Senate Report.

      There’s still no official account of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other victims of torture that the CIA is responsible for.

    • Do We Need the C.I.A.?

      Would the security needs of the United States be better served if the C.I.A. were dismantled?

    • Jeremy Renner On The CIA Plot Behind ‘Kill The Messenger’ – The Contenders

      Star Jeremy Renner and producer Scott Stuber talk about Kill the Messenger, their film about Gary Webb, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter. Webb uncovered a CIA plot in the 1980s that funneled cocaine into the United States to finance arms purchases and other operations in Central America, then faced a campaign to undermine and deny his work.

    • SA man at centre of CIA sting

      An infamous South African, linked to some of the most shady scandals of this century, has emerged at the centre of a US transcontinental sting operation that netted an alleged drug cartel assassin.

      Paul Calder le Roux shopped former American Special Forces-trained sniper Joseph Hunter, who was arrested in Thailand in an operation spearheaded by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

    • CIA Torture Report: Will South Africa Own Up? – OpEd

      For South Africa to own up and come clean on its shameful role in assisting America’s immoral WOT is a matter we will continue to agitate for.

    • Human rights group calls for inquiry into Malaysia’s role in CIA torture

      Human rights group Suaram urged Putrajaya to set up an independent commission of inquiry to unravel the authorities’ involvement in the United States’s torture programmes, following a US Senate report in which Malaysia was implicated.

    • Effective oversight of the CIA depends on Congress

      In a recent piece here on The Monkey Cage, Michael Colaresi discussed the need for change in oversight of the CIA and by extension the entirety of the intelligence community. He suggests that in the wake of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture issued Dec. 9, “current and former CIA officials, as well as President Obama, seem bent on missing the relevant lessons to improve governance of national security. The CIA needs more, not less, oversight” (my emphasis).

    • The CIA’s Road to Infamy

      Beyond the drama created by the Report’s surviving multiple assassination attempts, what is there that should grab our attention? The CIA designed and conducted a program of systematic torture of those it suspected of being associated with terrorism. It did so at several of the notorious “black sites,” at Guantanamo and probably elsewhere in Iraq and Afghanistan. Torture was the official policy of the United States government as stipulated by President George W. Bush with the unanimous approval of his national security team – including Colin Powell. The torture program continued for years – carried out by the Army as well as the CIA. Several of those tortured were held on basis of no evidence whatsoever, something that did not shield them from abuse and imprisonment under brutal conditions.

    • CIA’s poisonous legacy starts with who we are

      Senator John McCain spoke the truth on the Senate floor this month, in response to the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture: “. . . this question isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are, and who we aspire to be.” Many voices insisted that the revelations contained in the report — savage, even murderous treatment of prisoners; illegal renditions; black sites — were not true to the American character. The CIA — having carried out torture; having lied about it at the time; and having lied about it this month in response to the report — was discussed as if it were “not who we are.” But is that true?

      American officials, and the American people, know very well what the CIA is, and what it does. It was McCain who, when CIA waterboarding of terror suspects first surfaced as an issue some years ago, recalled that, after World War II, Japanese waterboarding of POW’s — what McCain calls “mock execution” — was one of the war crimes for which Japanese prisoners were hanged. But on the Sunday talk shows after the Senate report’s release, various CIA defenders, including Dick Cheney, talked of such tactics with stoic pride. President Obama decried torture and swore never again, but simultaneously defended the honor of the CIA, and declined to prosecute its war criminals. It comes as no surprise then, that in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week, a majority of Americans found that “the harsh interrogation practices” laid out in the report were “acceptable under the circumstances.” Really?

    • Why The Government Needs to Release the CIA Torture Photos

      As details emerge from the CIA Torture Report, many Americans are finding themselves reeling. Yet we are still getting an incredibly sanitized version of the truth. This is because thousands of photos, taken at these CIA black sites, are being withheld by the government under the guise of ‘national security.’

      The photos are currently locked in a court case that has been going on for some time, but last Friday the government was forced to submit reasoning for every photo they wanted to remain classified. NY State Judge Alvin Hellerstein is expected to make a ruling shortly regarding their release, but the United States may still attempt to withhold them.

    • Has a Top CIA Official Been Exposed as the Leading Liar About Torture?

      Senior CIA officer Alfreda Frances Bikowsky has reportedly been described in several articles by large, credible sources as a linchpin figure in the CIA torture program. However, she was unidentified, but The Intercept has named her as being that instrumental figure in the CIA torture program.

      After being called a “key apologist,” “The Unidentified Queen of Torture,” noted as “the model for the lead character in ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’” and identified in having a central role in lying to Congress about the CIA’s torture methods, Bikowsky appears to be the main liar. Last week, according to The Intercept, “NBC News reported that one senior CIA officer in particular was responsible for many . . . false claims.”

      The report noted that Bikowsky, remaining unnamed, “also participated in ‘enhanced interrogations’ of self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed witnessed the waterboarding of terror suspect Abu Zubaydah and ordered the detention of a suspected terrorist who turned out to be unconnected to al Qaeda, according to the report.”

    • Penn prof. ‘horrified’ life’s research is connected to CIA torture techniques

      The CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” outlined in a controversial report released earlier this month from the Senate Intelligence Committee, was influenced by a Penn professor’s research.

      Psychology professor Martin E. P. Seligman famously conducted studies at Penn in the 1960s that revealed a “learned helplessness” in dogs subjected to repeated eletric shocks. Instead of adjusting their behavior upon receiving multiple shocks, the dogs remained in place, providing valuable insight into the workings of depressed or abused persons. Now, his research is being used for torture rather than healing according the the Senate report.

    • Former CIA Operative On Torture Report

      Glenn Carle retired from the CIA after 23 years of service. He participated in the interrogation of top-level members of al-Qaida and refused orders to engage in torture.

    • The Continuing Shame of the CIA’s Torture Program

      For a clue into how out-of-control, un-American, and just plain wrong our CIA’s torture program was, note the frantic and furious reactions by the CIA establishment to reports about its torturous cruelty.

      First were flat-out denials. George Tenet, CIA director during the most vigorous period of torturing al Qaeda suspects, almost blew a gasket in 2007, when a “60 Minutes” interviewer pressed him about the agency’s waterboarding of prisoners. “We don’t torture people.” Tenet practically hollered at the reporter – “Let me say that again to you, we don’t torture people. OK?”

    • CIA torture report: Why the silence from local human rights groups?

      Questions are being asked as to why local human rights groups and other non-governmental organisations that fight for people’s rights have remained silent over the US CIA Torture Report.

      PAS official mouthpiece, Harakahdaily said there seems to be very little outcry from rights groups everywhere, adding that protest notes have yet to be sent to the US embassy over its treatment of detainees purportedly involved in terrorism.

    • The CIA & NYPD: Perilous Insubordination In Our Democracy

      It is very simple. If the CIA is insubordinate to the president, whom the country elected, then it is insubordinate to all of us.

    • Before the EITs: James Mitchell’s Special Invite to FBI/APA Conference at Quantico on “Combatting Terrorism”

      The narrative is in place. James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen made millions of dollars having convinced the CIA to construct a torture program via reverse-engineering brutal methods of interrogation used in their previous employment in a military program meant to prepare U.S. military and intelligence personnel for torture by a foreign power or terrorist group.

    • Conditioning brain through fear, CIA program sought to render detainees helpless

      At times, waterboarding rendered al-Qaida terror suspect Abu Zubaydah hysterical. But later, a message to CIA headquarters described an interrogator merely lifting his eyebrow and snapping his fingers, and Zubaydah “slowly walked on his own to the water table” to lie down.

    • Non-religious Americans believe CIA “treatment of suspected terrorists” unacceptable, poll reveals

      The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life conducted polls in 2009. The surveys discovered that the religious Americans are more likely to believe that torture of suspected terrorists is justifiable.

      Five years after the survey was conducted, a new poll was done and it was discovered not much has changed.

      The new poll, conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News, found that more Christian Americans, compared to non-Christians, find that CIA “treatment of suspected terrorists” is acceptable.

    • The Mysterious Case of Prisoner 212

      Researchers and reporters had long counted the total number of prisoners who cycled through Guantanamo at 779, but the Senate intelligence committee’s report on CIA torture revealed that there was one more previously unknown detainee. Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, also known as prisoner 212, was held at a secret black site at Guantanamo Bay, according to the report, bringing the total number of detainees to 780.

      That al-Libi was held by the CIA is long established. After all, al-Libi’s name is notorious as the source of bad information used by the Bush administration to tie Saddam Hussein to Al-Qaeda to support the US invasion of Iraq — information he provided while being tortured in Egyptian custody, and later recanted.

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