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01.10.15

Links 10/1/2015: Mirantis OpenStack 6.0, Linux Mint 17.1 KDE, Linux Leap Second

Posted in News Roundup at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Censorship

    • In Solidarity With a Free Press: Some More Blasphemous Cartoons

      Defending free speech and free press rights, which typically means defending the right to disseminate the very ideas society finds most repellent, has been one of my principal passions for the last 20 years: previously as a lawyer and now as a journalist. So I consider it positive when large numbers of people loudly invoke this principle, as has been happening over the last 48 hours in response to the horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

    • Who’s Afraid of Wikileaks? Missed Opportunities in Political Science Research

      Leaked information, such as WikiLeaks’ Cablegate, constitutes a unique and valuable data source for researchers interested in a wide variety of policy-oriented topics. Yet political scientists have avoided using leaked information in their research. This article argues that we can and should use leaked information as a data source in scholarly research. First, I consider the methodological, ethical, and legal challenges related to the use of leaked information in research, concluding that none of these present serious obstacles. Second, I show how political scientists can use leaked information to generate novel and unique insights about political phenomena using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods. Specifically, I demonstrate how leaked documents reveal important details about the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, and how leaked diplomatic cables highlight a significant disparity between the U.S. government’s public attitude towards traditional knowledge and its private behavior.

    • Unmournable Bodies

      Rather than posit that the Paris attacks are the moment of crisis in free speech—as so many commentators have done—it is necessary to understand that free speech and other expressions of liberté are already in crisis in Western societies; the crisis was not precipitated by three deranged gunmen. The U.S., for example, has consolidated its traditional monopoly on extreme violence, and, in the era of big data, has also hoarded information about its deployment of that violence. There are harsh consequences for those who interrogate this monopoly. The only person in prison for the C.I.A.’s abominable torture regime is John Kiriakou, the whistle-blower. Edward Snowden is a hunted man for divulging information about mass surveillance. Chelsea Manning is serving a thirty-five-year sentence for her role in WikiLeaks. They, too, are blasphemers, but they have not been universally valorized, as have the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo.

    • Another Day, Another Bogus Set Of DMCA Takedowns Based Solely On Keywords (This Time Hiding Legit GitHub Projects)

      For many years we’ve seen DMCA takedowns that were clearly based on little more than quick keyword searches. There are so many of these cases that it’s difficult to keep track of them, but a few examples: Fox demanded a takedown of an article on the SF Chronicle’s website… because Fox owns the rights to the movie Chronicle. Some companies, like LeakID seemed to specialize in sketchy takedowns based on just keywords and not actually looking at the content. A story getting attention on Headline News (with followup from TorrentFreak) details just the latest example.

    • We Are Not All Charlie

      The police are evacuating the Gare du Nord station in Paris as my train from Brussels arrives; a suspicious package, I learned later. The rain is coming down quite hard. I resist the urge to interview my taxi driver about the current mood.

      [...]

      I wish President Obama had not said this, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the Holocaust is an historical fact, and church desecrations are physical crimes against property; neither vandalism nor the denial of historical reality compare to the mocking of unprovable religious beliefs. (And yes, I find attacks on the principles of my faith painful, but I would defend the right of people to make such attacks; I’m opposed, for instance, to the criminalization of Holocaust denial.)

      Mainly, Obama’s statement is troubling because it should be the role of the president of the United States, who swears an oath to defend the Constitution, to explain to the world the principle that free speech is sacred—painful, sometimes, but sacred. If the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam—in other words, to people who speak freely and offensively—then it belongs to those who would suppress by force any criticism of religion. This is not an American idea, and it certainly isn’t Charlie.

    • Every geek is Charlie

      Terrorism isn’t just performing a terrifying act. It’s provoking society’s immune system into attacking itself, making its defense systems attack the values and people they are supposed to be defending. Terrorism is like an autoimmune disorder of democracy. When we focus on the violence instead of the subtlety of the infection, it is easy to succumb as it seeks to provoke us into destroying ourselves.

    • Danish mosque doubles down on Isis support

      In a newly-aired documentary, leaders of the Grimhøj Mosque said that they want to see Isis win, that a Danish suicide bomber is a hero and that they do not believe in democracy.

    • Saudi Arabia: Free Speech Doesn’t Apply Here

      Just two days after issuing a condemnation of the terror attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, the government of Saudi Arabia began carrying out a public flogging against blogger Raif Badawi, who in May was sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam.

    • Charlie Hebdo – Defending Freedom of Speech

      The horrifying murders of cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris have been a grim start to the new year. In our connected world we hear of atrocities all the time. But the thought that people are willing to deliberately target freedom of speech has been particularly chilling. This is at the heart of our society – the freedom to debate, criticise, laugh, disagree, be angry, fall out and make up again.

      [...]

      To me if the attack was about destroying freedom of speech our response has to be really acting to protect it. Stop default web blocking. Encourage democratic debate. Question regimes that oppose freedom even if they happen to be allies like Saudi Arabia. Stop casual police monitoring of social media. Resist knee jerk reactions to tabloid fear headlines.

  • Privacy

    • Spanish Judge Says Use Of ‘Extreme Security Measures’ For Email Is Evidence Of Terrorism

      After a series of moves that include introducing copyright laws that threaten the digital commons and open access, as well as criminalizing online calls for street demonstrations, Spain is fast emerging as a serious rival to Russia when it comes to grinding down the digital world. Unfortunately, it seems that lack of understanding extends to the judiciary too, as shown by recent events reported by Rise Up, an “autonomous body based in Seattle”, which aims to provide secure and private email accounts for “people and groups working on liberatory social change”.

    • UK Intelligence Boss: We Had All This Info And Totally Failed To Prevent Charlie Hebdo Attack… So Give Us More Info

      What’s especially sickening about this is that this argument “works” for surveillance state opportunists whether they succeed or fail. If they actually do stop terrorist threats (and in the same speech Parker claims they have stopped a few planned attacks in “recent months” but fails to provide any details), they use that to claim that the surveillance works and they need to do more. Yet when they fail to stop an attack — as in the Charlie Hebdo case — they don’t say it’s because the surveillance failed, instead, it’s because they didn’t have enough data or enough powers to collect more data. In other words, succeed or fail, the argument is always the same: give us more access to more private data.

    • PEN America: “The Harm Caused by Surveillance…is Unmistakable”

      PEN America published a report this week summarizing the findings from a recent survey of 772 writers around the world on questions of surveillance and self-censorship. The report, entitled “Global Chilling: The Impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers,” builds upon a late 2013 survey of more than 500 US-based writers conducted by the organization.

    • Media Matters staff: Fox Guest Suggests A “Muhammad Law,” Similar To Megan’s Law, To Monitor Muslims Who Support Sharia
    • Cloud App Policy Violations Are a Growing Concern

      The January 2015 Netskope Cloud Report shows an increasing use of cloud applications by enterprises.

      The race to the cloud is continuing to accelerate, with more cloud apps than ever now being used by enterprises, according to the January 2015 Netskope Cloud Report.

    • A sober Snowden deems life in Russia ‘great’

      “They talk about Russia like it’s the worst place on earth. Russia’s great,” the former NSA contractor told journalist James Bamford during an interview in Moscow for the PBS program “NOVA,” which released a transcript of the conversation Thursday.

    • At CES, privacy is a growing business

      Whenever I say the word “privacy” to many of the presenters at International CES, there’s a little sigh before they answer. The thing to get excited about at this year’s show, after all, is the connection of everything to the internet, so you can track how much energy your lightbulbs use or how you hold your toothbrush.

  • Civil Rights

    • How Did TV News Talk About Torture in Coverage of the Torture Report?

      Indeed, as the study explains, “Representatives of human rights groups and experts on international law were notable for their absence.” Out of the 104 guests surveyed in the study, only two lawyers who represented torture victims–Joseph Margulies (12/9/14) and Meg Satterthwaite (12/14/14)–appeared as part of the torture discussion. This was perhaps the closest the media got to emphasizing human rights.

    • Responding to terrorism

      This was without doubt intended as an act of terrorism. But I refuse to be terrorised and decline the opportunity to hate. What does that mean practically? Terrorism is like a pernicious auto-immune disease to which it is easy to succumb. It seeks to provoke us into destroying ourselves.

    • White House Responds To Petition About Aaron Swartz By Saying Absolutely Nothing

      Soon after the unfortunate suicide of Aaron Swartz, a lot of anger was directed at Carmen Ortiz, the US Attorney who was the key figure behind the ridiculous prosecution of Swartz for daring to download too many documents (that he had legal access to, as did anyone connecting to MIT’s network). Ortiz showed no concern at all that either she or her office had done anything improper in threatening Swartz with over 30 years in jail for downloading (legally) some academic papers. As a result some people set up one of those “We the People” White House petitions, asking the Obama administration to remove Ortiz from her job.

    • Non-lethal force is still abuse: Police officers tackle, cuff Tamir Rice’s sister in her moment of grief

      Cleveland city officials have released a video showing police officers tackling the 14-year-old sister of Tamir Rice in the moments after officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shot her 12-year-old brother. In the footage, Rice’s sister can be seen running to the scene. As she approaches, an officer forcefully brings her to the ground. Another officer approaches and continues to hold her down. She’s handcuffed and put into the back seat of the patrol car. Loehmann, meanwhile, stands idly nearby Rice’s bleeding, dying body.

    • No to Securitarian Instrumentalisation

      Without even waiting for the end of investigations on the despicable attack against Charlie Hebdo on January 7th, the government is set on increasing counter-terrorist arsenal, first by notifying Brussels the decree implementing “terrorists” or child pornography websites blockade but also by announcing new counter-terrorism measures. La Quadrature du Net calls on citizens to reject this absurd escalation and show determination in defending the freedom of expression and information.

    • Obama & Counterterror: The Ignored Record

      As he has in matters of environmental protection, immigration reform, and normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba, Obama can take significant steps under his executive authority, without the need for legislation. These would include allowing criminal investigation of the officials who authorized the CIA’s torture, shutting Guantánamo, ending the military commissions, announcing clear rules for drone use, and embracing effective limits on intrusions into privacy by electronic surveillance. With his legacy at stake, it is still not too late for Obama to demonstrate that our security indeed does not depend on abandoning our rights.

    • Government wants to know potential Sterling jurors’ opinions about whistleblowers

      “Do you have any positive or negative beliefs or opinions regarding the term ‘whistleblower’ or individuals who act in the role of a ‘whistleblower’?” the government wants to have Judge Leonie Brinkema ask potential jurors in CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling’s trial next week. “Do you have any opinion, favorable or unfavorable, about organizations or individuals who release to the public government documents and information without authorization, including the news media, government employees, or private persons?” the government offered as another proposed question for jurors.

      Sterling, meanwhile, is more interested in what potential jurors think of Condoleezza Rice. As National Security Adviser, she convinced the New York Times not to publish James Risen’s story on Operation Merlin, the dubious plot to deal Iran flawed nuclear blueprints. Prosecutors had wanted to submit the talking points she used to do so, without calling her to testify, but Judge Brinkema ruled that Rice would have to take the stand to enter those talking points. The government objects to questions specifically directed to opinions about Rice, finding it “inflammatory.”

    • Markings of a Citizen

      I saw the gravity of the whole situation. The huge amount of trust that Edward had to make towards Glenn Greenwald and Laura to be able to get the information out in a right way by adhering to the CHARACTERS that Mr. Greenwald and Ms. Poitras have consistently portrayed with immense integrity. More so the fact that Glenn and Laura had no idea who Mr. Snowden was or if he was even telling the truth. In typical spy-novel fashion, Ed could have been the bait to trap some journalists being thorns in somebody’s side.

    • James Clapper’s Dystopian Novel about North Korea’s Hack

      I noted the other day how centrally James Clapper foregrounded his recent trip to North Korea in his discussion of the alleged North Korean hack of Sony. Now that the transcript is up, I see the trip was even more central in his discussion than reports had indicated. After noting that Jim Comey (whom he called “the senior expert on the investigative side of cybersecurity”) and Admiral Mike Rogers (whom he called “the senior expert on how cybersecurity ops actually happen”) would say more in following speeches, Clapper launched into a description of his trip, as if it were central to the discussion of the hack.

    • Australian special forces work with Iraqi security group accused of killing prisoners, torture

      Australian Special Forces in Iraq are working with an elite Iraqi security force accused of killing prisoners and other human rights violations.

      Prime Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed that the 200-strong Australian Special Operations Task Group in Iraq has begun providing “training and assistance” for the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) in its battle against Islamic State.

      Military experts regard the service as the most capable and resilient element of the Iraqi security forces. However, former Australian defence intelligence officers say the service has “unquestionably been responsible for major war crimes and unnecessary civilian casualties”.

    • China uses long-range intimidation of U.S. reporter to suppress Xinjiang coverage

      The Chinese government has imprisoned the three brothers of a Washington-based reporter for Radio Free Asia, apparently intensifying its suppression of free speech and coverage of the troubled province of Xinjiang.

      Ethnic Uighur journalist Shohret Hoshur left China in 1994, after he ran into trouble with the authorities for his reporting. He has since become a U.S. citizen and a mainstay of Radio Free Asia’s coverage of Xinjiang, offering one of the only independent sources of information about events in the province.

    • Feds won’t call Risen at leak trial

      Federal prosecutors won’t call New York Times reporter James Risen as a witness at a leak trial set to get underway next week for one of his alleged confidential sources, several people close to the situation said.

      The decision appears to bring to an end a six-year battle to get him to provide testimony against former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who is facing ten felony charges in connection with alleged disclosures to Risen about an operation aimed at undermining Iran’s nuclear program.

    • Mexican Students Didn’t Just ‘Disappear’

      The forced disappearance of 43 students from a rural teachers college in Mexico has catapulted the security crisis that the US’s southern neighbors are living into northern headlines. However, the majority of English-language news accounts have failed to provide a deeper context concerning the failed war on drugs and the use of forced disappearances as a repressive state tactic, and employ language that often criminalizes the disappeared students.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • New year brings new hope for Net neutrality supporters

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler reverses course, makes a strong statement in support of Title II regulation and against fast lanes

    • Only 25Mbps and up will qualify as broadband under new FCC definition

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today is proposing to raise the definition of broadband from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up.

      As part of the Annual Broadband Progress Report mandated by Congress, the Federal Communications Commission has to determine whether broadband “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” The FCC’s latest report, circulated by Wheeler in draft form to fellow commissioners, “finds that broadband is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, especially in rural areas, on Tribal lands, and in US Territories,” according to a fact sheet the FCC provided to Ars.

    • Hey Everyone, CISPA Is Back… Because Of The Sony Hack, Which It Wouldn’t Have Prevented

      This isn’t a huge surprise, but Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the NSA’s personal Rep in Congress (NSA HQ is in his district), has announced that he’s bringing back CISPA, the cybersecurity bill designed to make it easier for the NSA to access data from tech companies (that’s not how the bill’s supporters frame it, but that’s the core issue in the bill). In the past, Ruppersberger had a teammate in this effort, Rep. Mike Rogers, but Rogers has moved onto his new career as a radio and TV pundit (CNN just proudly announced hiring him), so Ruppersberger is going it alone this time around.

    • The Switchboard: A controversial cybersecurity bill, CISPA, is back

      House Dem revives major cyber bill. The Hill reports: “The measure — known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) — has been a top legislative priority for industry groups and intelligence officials, who argue the country cannot properly defend critical infrastructure without it.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP Update XLVII

      As long-suffering readers of this column will have noticed, the dominant theme of the discussions around TTIP so far has been the investor-state dispute settlement provisions (ISDS). We are still waiting for the European Commission’s analysis of the massive response to its consultation on the subject – it will be fascinating to see how it tries to put a positive spin on the overwhelming public refusal of ISDS in TTIP.

      The issue that crops up most often after ISDS is probably transparency – or rather the almost complete lack of it. Yes, it’s true that there have been some token releases of documents: initial position papers in 2013, and some more in 2014; but these don’t really tell us much that we didn’t already know, or could guess. The main obstacle to greater openness was Karel De Gucht, the European Commissioner for Trade when TTIP was launched. As he showed time and again during the ACTA fiasco, he had little but contempt for the European public and its unconscionable desire to know what the politicians whose salaries it pays are up to in Brussels. That made his retirement at the end of last year an important opportunity to bring more openness to trade negotiations.

    • Copyrights

      • Authors Guild Gives Up Trying To Sue Libraries For Digitally Scanning Book Collection

        Back in June we wrote about how the Second Circuit appeals court totally demolished the Authors Guild’s arguments against a bunch of university libraries for scanning their book collections digitally, in order to enable better searching of the contents. The lawsuit was against Hathitrust, an organization set up to manage the book scanning program for a group of university libraries. In 2012, a district court said that what the libraries/Hathitrust were doing was obviously fair use and the appeals court re-enforced that strongly. The Authors Guild is basically giving up in this case, saying that should the libraries change their practices, it may want to revisit the issue. But for now, it’s giving up the case while “reserving” its position.

01.09.15

Links 9/1/2015: Firefox OS in TVs, Manjaro Linux 0.8.11

Posted in News Roundup at 11:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linuxy Hopes and Dreams for an Inferno-Free 2015

    In 2015, “I predict that an avalanche of governments using FLOSS and GNU/Linux will take place in Europe,” said blogger Robert Pogson. “FLOSS is widely accepted there, and with adoption of ODF becoming widespread, FLOSS and GNU/Linux are poised for a breakthrough.” China, India and Russia, meanwhile, will “make major moves to adopt GNU/Linux for general governmental purposes including education.”

  • Server

    • Inside HP’s NFV Strategy [VIDEO]

      HP is active in many areas where NFV will fit, including the OpenStack cloud and the Linux Foundation’s OPNFV effort. In a video interview with Enterprise Networking Planet, Gillai explains how the various pieces of HP’s NFV strategy fit together.

    • The power of Docker and open source ecosystems

      Reading through the latest list of top 10 open source projects on Opensource.com has been a reminder of what a great year 2014 has been for open source. Established projects like OpenStack and Mongo have continued to break new records in adoption and usage. We’ve seen incredible momentum from newer projects like Apache Mesos, Kubernetes, and Deis. And we’ve also seen that open source companies like Cloudera, Hortonworks, and Ceph can reach meaningful business milestones while remaining true to their open source roots. Virtually everywhere you look in the IT stack—from storage to networking, compute, mobile, and virtualization—the most exciting innovations are being led by open source.

    • Is Rocket Strictly a Competitor to Docker?

      Container technology was major news last year, and if you bring up the container arena to most people, Docker is what they think of. OStatic has highlighted some of Docker’s instabilities, though, and, as noted in this post, significant competition is coming in Docker’s direction.

  • Kernel Space

    • Microchip Backs AGL’s Connected Car Plan with Linux Driver
    • Linux Foundation Adds SDN, Storage and Managed Hosting Members

      The Linux Foundation’s membership continues to expand. This week, three new companies joined the open source consortium, bringing strengths in software-defined networking, storage and managed hosting to the organization.

    • diff -u: What’s New in Kernel Development

      Given the ongoing controversy within the Capsicum developer community and the corresponding lack of specification of key features, and given the existence of capabilities that already perform a similar function in the kernel and the invasiveness of Capsicum patches, Eric was opposed to David implementing Capsicum in Linux.

    • The Companies That Support Linux: IIX Inc.

      2015 will be the year that software-defined networking goes mainstream, according to Network World. And new Linux Foundation corporate member IIX is helping data centers, Internet service providers and telecommunications companies through that transition with its Linux-based software-defined interconnection (SDI) platform.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Locking the screen before system suspends

        Our Plasma workspace has offered the feature to lock the screen when resuming from suspend for a long time. Ideally the screen gets locked right before the system goes to suspend to ensure that the screen is properly locked when the system wakes up.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Streams API in WebKit at the Web Engines Hackfest

        First of course I would like to thank Igalia for allowing me to use the company time to attend the hackfest and meeting such a group of amazing programmers! It was quite intense and I tried to give my best though for different reasons (coordination, personal and so on) I missed some session.

  • Distributions

    • Test Your Linux Savvy

      Our top story on this bit of a slow new day is the closing of one of our Linux blogs. In other news Phoronix.com has noted the latest Fedora changes and Jon Gold has posted a name-the-distro quiz. And finally today, Intel showed off a new computer-on-a-stick at CES that comes in a Linux version.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • ROSA Desktop Fresh R5 KDE Offers a Different and Cool KDE Experience

        The ROSA OS doesn’t have too many releases in a year, but this is the second major version in the space of just a few months. The developers have been making a lot of changes and improvements to it, and they’ve done a number of refinements to the KDE desktop that really sets it apart from everything else.

    • Arch Family

      • Hands-on with Manjaro Linux 0.8.11

        I have heard a lot of good things about Manjaro Linux, most importantly that it is one of the easiest Arch Linux derivatives to install, so I decided to give that a try.

        If you are not familiar with Manjaro Linux (or Arch Linux), there are a couple of things you need to understand before we go on. Arch Linux is well known in the Linux community, with a reputation of being compact, fast, flexible, and very well maintained and supported by a dedicated community.

      • Manjaro GNOME Community Edition Arrives with GNOME 3.14 Vanilla Desktop – Gallery

        Manjaro GNOME Community Edition, a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux and fully compatible with the Arch repositories, has reached version 0.8.11 and is now ready for download.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • SUSECon 14 report

        It’s been a big year for SUSE. Last year at SUSECon 13 the team announced new development versions of SUSE Cloud and a service pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise 11. Since then they’ve turned SUSE Cloud into a real product and SLE 12 has finally been released. New technology and new products were the items SUSE went into the convention with, leading with a theme of ‘Always Open’ to remind everyone that even though SUSE are developing new tech, it’s always open source.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Certification Caps Big SDN Year for Big Switch Networks

        Big Switch Networks Inc. capped off a big year in the software-defined networking (SDN) industry by announcing its flagship networking fabric was awarded certification for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5, laying the groundwork for OpenStack cloud computing implementations.

        Big Switch is a leader in the “bare-metal” SDN arena, targeting its Big Cloud Fabric for building out new datacenter pods with low-cost networking devices controlled by open source software in a disaggregated approach that moves network “intelligence” from expensive, proprietary equipment to the software management layer.

      • The role of Linux in data centre modernisation
      • Fedora

        • Speech compressor and limiter for your headset in Fedora

          Last couple of months I’ve been using Google Hangouts and Bluejeans conferencing technologies more than my VoIP phone. I got used to crisp and clear voice from my Polycom and Platronics headset so I had a question.

        • continuity of various projects

          The biggest change of all.

          I’m just not going to have to maintain packages, read mail etc for Fedora, so those all got orphaned yesterday.

          Josh & Justin pretty much handled all of the Fedora kernel work for the last year or so, so me walking away is not going to make a huge difference there.

          I might still occasionally take a peek at Fedora bugzilla to see if there’s anything similar to a particular bug, but don’t expect to be doing triage work.

          I’ll still keep a Fedora box or two at home for a while, but work-wise, I’m expecting a lot more Debian in my life. It’s been over a decade since I last used it seriously. That should prove to be fun.

        • rpm packages of vmod-ipcast
    • Debian Family

      • Marvell donation accelerates Debian ARM package builds

        Starting in April, several Debian ARM port builder machines have been upgraded to substantially faster Marvell Armada XP based servers. Marvell has donated eight Marvell MV78460 SoC development boards using Marvell Armada 370/XP CPUs running at 1.6GHz.

        “Debian’s distributed build cluster requires high performance and high reliability from the machines used.” Explains Riku Voipio, Debian ARM port maintainer “We are confident the new machines will serve us as well as the previous Marvell Discovery Innovation-based builders which have been operating 24/7 since 2009″.

      • Derivatives

        • Is SteamOS Ready for the Possible Steam Machines Launch in March?

          Valve has been working on its Steam Machines console for more than a year, but things have been very silent in the past few months. Rumors are now saying that in fact the Steam Machines will launch in 2015, but is SteamOS ready?

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu to add multi-touch to Linux touchscreen laptops and desktops

            Imagine multi-touch on touchscreen laptops and even desktop PCs. True multi-touch is coming to Linux devices in Ubuntu 10.10 (code name Maverick Meerkat), according to Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical. But what about Linux on tablets?

          • Unity 8 And Mir Have Received Interesting Updates

            In the last month, Canonical has updated both Unity 8 and Mir a lot, the final scope being to achieve a full mobile-desktop convergence (to make an unique system for both the computers and mobile devices, with an intelligent “responsive” interface).

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Good news, Some Samsung 2014 TVs to be upgradeable to Tizen

      Samsung’s new 2015 lineup of TVs will run Tizen and the company does not have any plans to make any Google Android TVs, which is great news for the OS and its ecosystem as its far better to focus all your resources in one direction, and Tizen is a good direction for that. Tizen TV brings some great features to users including the ability to watch live TV on their mobile devices whilst connected to their home network, even if the TV if OFF.

    • Wearing LG’s webOS smartwatch made me happy

      I don’t know what to say. What I just experienced was inexplicable. After Android Central revealed the news that Audi’s car-unlocking smartwatch (built by LG) runs webOS, I made an immediate dash to the nearby stand of TTs and asked the friendly German demo dude if I could borrow his watch for a moment. More surprising than his consent was the actual software running on this watch: it’s webOS with a level of maturity and polish that betrays the fact LG has been working on the UI for quite a while. The animations are smooth and fast, and the look is tailored to fit a round watch face.

    • 3D printer dev kit runs Linux on new Marvell ARMv7 SoC

      Marvell announced the first Linux-based hardware/software development kit for 3D printers, built around a new, 533MHz “88PA6120″ ARMv7 SoC.

      Marvell’s 3D Printer SoC Solution, also known as the Marvell 88PA6120 3D Printer Development Kit, provides a complete reference kit for turnkey development of 3D printers, says Marvell. The hardware platform is built around a new Marvell 88PA6120 SoC clocked to 533MHz. The company did not offer processor details, but said it is an ARMv7 compatible processor.

    • Intel’s HDMI Compute Stick slaps Windows or Linux on your TV
    • CES 2015: Intel announces $149 Compute Stick which runs Windows and Linux
    • Intel Compute Stick will run Linux
    • Intel’s “Compute Stick” is a full Windows or Linux PC in an HDMI dongle
    • Intel HDMI stick runs Linux or Windows on quad-core Bay Trail
    • CES: Smart TVs on Linux; SCALE prep underway

      First things first: Thanks to Christine Hall for standing in for me last Friday for the weekly wrap-up. As some of you know, I was pretty much in the dark for the first five days of the year after a fire in my building (nowhere near me) early on New Year’s Day morning caused the power to be shut down.

      As we start 2015, with the Consumer Electronic Show in full swing in Lost Wages (more on this in a bit), let’s take a look at some of the happenings in the FOSS realm.

    • Harman brings Linux based IVI to entry-level cars

      Harman’s Linux-based IVI system for entry-level cars integrates Aha Analytics, and supports Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and MirrorLink connectivity.

    • LG May Be Dropping Google’s Android For Its Next Generation Of Smartwatches

      The Wall Street Journal is reporting that LG is planning on dropping Android Wear–Google’s operating system for smartwatches–in favor of WebOS, its own operating systems found in its smart TVs. According to an anonymous source speaking to the Journal, WebOS will be used in a new line of LG smartwatches released sometime in early 2016. LG already has two smartwatches operating on Android Wear: G Watch and G Watch R.

    • Linux Shines at CES with Smart TVs and Home Automation Gizmos

      Each year, as I search through CES product launches to see which run Linux, I get the feeling I’m looking at an iceberg. There are probably a lot more tuxified devices out there than I’ll ever have time to track down. At this year’s Internet of Things-laden show, the list of potentially Linux based gizmos has grown even larger.

      Certainly, there are plenty of vendors that openly proclaim their products’ Linux roots (see farther below), but more often vendors keep mum, implying they created the secret sauce all by themselves. Even when you ask, they often don’t tell. It’s easier to identify technology using the Linux-based Android, but now that Android’s cool factor has waned due to its overwhelming success, some vendors even obscure their Android foundations.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • The powerful Saygus V2 supports up to 256GB of external storage

          You may not be familiar with the company behind the V2 phone, and that is no surprise as Saygus is hardly a household brand. However, their new multimedia phone may just put them on your radar, with up to 320GB of internal storage and all the right specs to make a splash in the market.

          Saygus is showing off their V2 Android powered smartphone at CES 2015, and we are on site to check it out. Stay tuned for a full video rundown to see how we feel about this 5-inch device.

        • Razer Cortex Lets You Stream PC Games to any Android Microconsole

          Plus, those without an Android device can pick up the new $99 quad-core Razer Forge TV microconsole.

        • How to get married with Android Auto

          It’s been a year since the launch of the Open Automotive Alliance, which happened here in Las Vegas at CES 2014. Now, 12 months later, Android Auto is real. It’s not out, exactly — you can’t buy any cars or head units that have it installed quite yet — but it’s coming in a matter of weeks, and that means that Google partners are out in force showing Android Auto devices you’ll be able to own in 2015.

        • Volunteers add mobile to Norway’s FixMyStreet

          Norway’s Unix User Group (NUUG) has updated FiksGataMi, a localised version of the FixMyStreet website. The new site is tailored for mobile computing devices, and there also is a custom app for Android devices.

        • ​Android Lollipop is out, but almost no one is using it

          Android 5.0 Lollipop has had its troubles. First, it stumbled out of the gate. It was briefly available over-the-air (OTA) for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (both first and second generation), and Nexus 10 in early November, but then Google pulled the upgrade for two weeks. Today, almost two months after the re-release on Google Nexus 5, 10, and Nexus 7 Wi-Fi devices, as well as Moto X and G phones, Lollipop still has only a handful of users, never mind a mass audience.

        • Sony’s $1200 Walkman ZX2 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

          Remember Sony’s Walkman from back in the 80s? Sony never stopped making them but they were eclipsed in later years first by iPods then by mobile phones. Now it looks like the Walkman is about to be reborn in a big and rather expensive way. Sony showed off its new Walkman ZX2 at CES 2015, and it’s going to cost $1200.

        • HTC One M8 Android 5.0 Update Release Rumored

          In November following the global release date of Android 5.0 Lollipop by Google, HTC and many manufacturers promised quick Android 5.0 Lollipop update for many key smartphones. Among those promises was the HTC One M8 Android 5.0 update within 90 days of November 3rd.

        • HTC One M8 owners get ready – Android 5.0 will arrive in next two weeks
        • Nexus 9 ssh on the go

          The Nexus 9 is an odd, compromised tablet, and way too expensive, but combined with the folio keyboard & pocketwifi it makes a nice ssh terminal for use on the road.

          Various ssh apps like ConnectBot have terrible external keyboard support. So I compiled a static dropbear binary and static busybox, and I’m using those with Android Terminal Emulator.

        • CyanogenMod Adds Official Support For Android One, Nexus 6, International LG G3 (D855)

          Just a day after pushing Lollipop nightlies to over 30 devices for the first time, CyanogenMod has now added more devices to the fray: the gambit of Android One phones, the LG G3 D855 (international), and the Nexus 6. Android One devices, owing to the control over software and hardware that Google has in that program, share a single ROM under codename “sprout.”

        • CES 2015: BlackBerry announces BBM for Android Wear

          BlackBerry continues to try to get non-BlackBerry users hooked on BBM. Today they announced that BBM for Android Wear is coming soon.

        • CES 2015: An Android smartphone with 320GB storage

          At the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 tech expo, little-known brand Saygus announced a smartphone that will blow the competition out of the water.

        • This Microsoft Surface lookalike runs a productive version of Android instead

          At first glance on the CES show floor, the Remix Ultra-Tablet seems like a cheap Surface knock-off. It has a two-stage kickstand similar to that of the Surface Pro 2—albeit one that feels flimsier than Microsoft’s model—and a magnetic keyboard cover with traveling keys and a felt material over the trackpad.

        • Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop Update: 10 Things We Expect

          With a Samsung Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop release ongoing and new details swirling, we’ve been taking a look at Samsung’s first Lollipop update. Yesterday, we broke down what we currently know and today, we want to take look at what we expect as Samsung moves forward with its Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop release in the United States and elsewhere.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Pono Is Here, High Def Open Source Codec (Sort of) & All

    Neil Young’s long promised high def music device, Pono, is out and I am jammed. Not that I’m ever going to be able to buy one, mind you. But if I were entrenched middle class, the type of person who can shell out 500 bucks for a new Coach purse, I’d have one of these babies in a Texas heartbeat, which should be quicker than a regular heartbeat given the Lone Star State’s rate of high blook pressure and all. The latest news is that they’ll be available in your not-so-friendly neighborhood electronics store on Monday for $399. The Pono Music Store already went online a few days back.

  • Open Source Is Data Science’s Missing Ingredient
  • Cheap cloud + open source = a great time for startups

    While the rest of the world binges on IoT goodies from CES 2015, we thought we’d focus on (what else?) enterprise-grade infrastructure. This week’s guest, Steve Herrod was formerly CTO of VMware, and so knows a little something, something about that topic. Now he’s managing director of General Catalyst where he’s looking for the next VMwares of the world.

  • OSSmosis at Infosys

    I had to end my involvement in a hurry after that since I had to return to the airport in time for my return flight. As it turned out, Spicejet decided it was in no hurry and delayed by flight by over an hour; I guess I am lucky that it did not get cancelled. However, despite that, it felt worthwhile to attend the event and see a serious effort by one of the major driving forces in IT in India to encourage adoption of Open Source technologies and more importantly to encourage contribution to Open Source within its organization.

  • How to explain open source to the in-laws

    No, I said, though some community people can and will do that. My job is to make it easier for people to use the software (how to read the book best) and write the software (by helping with getting procedures and tools together to write books more efficiently). Because there needs to be some sort of organization about the creation of the software. So, I get people with an interest in building the software well together with people who have an interest in running the software. And, because there is commercial interest in the software, someone pays me to do this.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox OS to fuel Panasonic TVs, Chromecast-like devices

        Panasonic will embed Firefox OS in its 2015 smart TVs, and Matchstick announced a Chromecast-like Firefox OS platform, to be used by Philips/AOC and TCL.

      • A Device Blind Users Will Love

        In Firefox OS we have a suite of core apps called Gaia that is the foundation for Firefox OS’s user interface. It is really one giant web app, perhaps one of the biggest out there. Since our mission dictates that we make our products accessible, we have embarked on that journey, we created a screen reader for Firefox OS, and we got to work in making Gaia screen-reader friendly. It has been a long and sisyphean process, where we would arrive at one module in gaia, learn the code, fix some issues, and move on to the next module. It feels something like this:

      • Scale13x and Mozilla
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • Metanautix Promises Data-Agnostic SQL Queries with Quest

      Making SQL, NoSQL, Hadoop and other big data frameworks play nicely with one another is a major challenge that vendors are only now beginning to overcome. But a startup named Metanautix is taking data-agnosticism even further through a new platform that can turn any kind of data—even images—into SQL tables.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Community-developed Open Source solutions in a corporate environment

        To deliver a value, every infrastructure needs applications. If you review the Open Source business solutions market, community-developed Open Source solutions are often among the very best solutions. Examples are Redmine (project and process management), WordPress (publishing and blogging), DokuWiki (wiki), Subversion & Git (version control), Discourse (forum) and many more. Also, some renown companies like SugarCRM, NetSuite, and Suse have grown out of community-developed Open Source projects.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FreeIPMI 1.4.8 Released
    • PRICE 1.3.0

      This version improve Mac support quite a bit, Apple made several changes since 10.6 which caused malfunctions and weird symptoms (and which fix occasional stuff on 10.4 too). Both PowerPC and x86 work fine!

    • GNU Guix ported to ARM and other niceties of the new year

      A new port of GNU Guix to ARM using the “hard float” ABI has just landed, thanks to the hard work of Mark H Weaver and John Darrington. This makes it the fourth supported architecture after x86_64, i686, and mips64el. We are looking for ARM hardware donations that would allow us to add this architecture to our continuous integration build farm; your help is welcome!

  • Public Services/Government

    • France’s environmental agency deployed Pydio to increase collaboration

      France’s Environment and Energy Management ADEME (Agence de l’Environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie), has deployed the open source file sharing solution Pydio (Put Your Data in Orbit ) for its one thousand employees. Implemented in March 2013, the solution now serves as a basis of the Partage ADEME Portal. The agency is also contributing to the project some of the specific developments that were made for integrating Pydio to the existing agency’s system.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • FBI Director Comey’s Single Point Of Failure on Sony

      However the easiest way to compromise a node on North Korea’s Internet is to go through its ISP – Star Joint Venture. Star JV is a joint venture between North Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation and another joint venture – Loxley Pacific (Loxpac). Loxpac is a joint venture with Charring Thai Wire Beta, Loxley, Teltech (Finland), and Jarungthai (Taiwan).

      I explored the Loxley connection as soon as this story broke, knowing that the FBI and the NSA was most likely relying on the myth of a “closed” North Korean Internet to base their attribution findings upon. Loxley is owned by one of Thailand’s most well-connected families and just 4 kilometers away is the five star St. Regis hotel where one of the hackers first dumped Sony’s files over the hotel’s WiFi. It would be a simple matter to gain access to Loxley’s or Loxpac’s network via an insider or through a spear phishing attack and then browse through NK’s intranet with trusted Loxpac credentials.

      Once there, how hard would it be to compromise a server? According to HP’s North Korea Security Briefing (August 2014) it would be like stealing candy from a baby. HP scanned the IP blocks involved in the Dark Seoul attacks (175.45.178.xx and 175.45.179.xx) and detected “dated technology that is potentially susceptible to multiple vulnerabilities and consistently showed the same open ports and active devices on scanned hosts.” Apparently the North Korean government worries more about controlling Internet access among its population then it does about hardening its Internet-facing systems. Did the FBI’s Red Team rule that out? Did they even consider it?

    • North Korea and Sony: James Clapper Describes His Trip

      I’m still not convinced that North Korea did the hack. But if they did, then there’s more of a backstory, precisely where Clapper is pointing to it: in his trip to North Korea just weeks before the hack.

      Alternately, Clapper’s fixation on his trip may suggest his meeting with Kin Youn(g) Chol has influenced analysis of the hack, leading Clapper’s subordinates to ascribe more importance to heated meetings while their boss was in North Korea than they logically should.

      Either way, Clapper’s giving a very partial description of that trip. But now that he has returned to doing so, it ought to be a much more significant focus for reporting on the alleged North Korea hack.

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Stealthy ‘XOR.DDoS’ trojan infects Linux systems, installs rootkit

      The new threat, XOR.DDoS, alters its installation depending on the victim’s Linux environment and then later runs a rootkit to avoid detection. Although a similar trojan has been spotted in Windows systems, Peter Kálnai, malware analyst at Avast, said in a Wednesday interview with SCMagazine.com that this trojan ventures into relatively untapped territory by targeting Linux systems.

    • World’s first (known) bootkit for OS X can permanently backdoor Macs

      Securing Macs against stealthy malware infections could get more complicated thanks to a new proof-of-concept exploit that allows attackers with brief physical access to covertly replace the firmware of most machines built since 2011.

    • Religion is a “medieval form of unreason”: Salman Rushdie responds to Paris attacks

      In the statement, published on the website for English PEN, an organization that promotes freedom of speech, Rushdie not only condemns the shooting, but religion as a whole.

      “Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms,” he wrote. “This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today.”

      Rushdie expresses his support for the publication and calls for the defense of satire, “which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.”

    • Helpful, low-FUD information security sites, mailing lists, and blogs

      Keeping current with the latest trends and technologies in the realm of information security is critical and there are many options to choose from. However, as with any content on the internet, it takes some effort to find sites with a good signal-to-noise ratio. Information security is a heavily FUD-laden industry and I’ve taken some time to compile a list of helpful sites.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Terrorism and Nuance

      In fact the only terrorist in the last year convicted in the UK, who possessed an actual bomb – a very viable explosive device indeed, was not charged with terrorism. He was a fascist named Ryan McGee who had a swastika on his wall and hated Muslims. Hundreds of Muslims with no weapons are locked up for terrorism. A fanatical anti-Muslim with a bomb is by definition not a terrorist.

    • Shooters in Paris terror attack still free as ties to Syria fighting probed

      Europe has been on high alert as anti-terror experts voiced alarm at the thousands of Europeans who’ve gone to Syria and Iraq to fight on behalf of the Islamic State and other terror organizations, and who security experts warned would return to their home countries trained and radicalized.

    • Remembering Victims of Terror–and Forgetting Some Others

      So apparently Morell doesn’t remember the bloodbath in Norway in July 2011, when Anders Breivik killed eight people by bombing government buildings in Oslo and then murdered 59 others, mostly teenagers, at a youth camp associated with the Labour Party. This was actually a deadlier attack then the London bombings, which killed 56.

    • Fox Host Brian Kilmeade On Xenophobic Element To Anti-Islamic Movement In Germany: “So What?”
    • Fox Host: How Do We Spot ‘Bad Guys’ If We Don’t Know ‘Tone Of Their Skin’?
    • After Paris Attack, Fox Anchor Suggests Skin Color Can Help Identify “Typical Bad Guys”

      Fox News anchor and Supreme Court correspondent Shannon Bream reacted to a Paris terror attack by suggesting certain skin tones are more typical of “bad guys” than others.

    • Police officer killed as France hunts Charlie Hebdo killers

      A woman police officer was killed and a street cleaner wounded on the edge of Paris this morning in an attack by a man who was reported to have fired an assault rifle of the kind used in yesterday’s murder of 12 people at Charlie Hebdo magazine.

    • Grenades Thrown at Mosque in France, Day After Charlie Hebdo Attack: Officials

      A day after deadly attack at a French satirical magazine in Paris, a mosque was attacked in Le Mans, west of the French capital.

      Three blank grenades were thrown at the mosque shortly after midnight in the city of Le Mans, west of Paris; shots were also fired in the direction of a Muslim prayer hall shortly after evening prayers in the Port-la-Nouvelle district near Narbonne in southern France.

    • Charlie Hebdo: Google France Displays Black Ribbon On Home Page As Country Mourns 12 Killed

      Google France has marked its home page with a small black ribbon as a tribute to the 12 people killed in the brutal shooting attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

    • Dispatches: An Overshadowed Atrocity

      In the capital of Yemen, Sanaa, at least 37 people were killed and 66 others injured by a bomb blast outside a police academy that was clearly targeting prospective cadets who had lined up in readiness to enroll. As yet, no one has claimed responsibility for the Sanaa attack but it bears the hallmarks of many others that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has carried out in Yemen in recent years.

    • Pentagon Misfires in Stealth Jet Scandal

      The Pentagon and the world’s biggest arms-dealer are hitting back at criticisms of their $400 billion stealth jet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

      On Tuesday, Lockheed Martin, and the military’s F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) condemned two Daily Beast reports highlighting issues with the jet’s currently inoperable 25mm cannon and sensor package—while confirming many of those stories’ central assertions.

    • US to close major airbase in Britain – Pentagon

      The Pentagon has decided to end operations at an airbase in Britain and 14 other sites in Europe in a bid to save $500 million annually due to tight budgets and a shrinking military.

      The US said on Thursday that it would end operations at RAF Mildenhall, located northeast of London. The base is home to tanker, reconnaissance, and special operations aircraft.

      RAF Mildenhall was used as a transport hub for US troops. The US will withdraw 3,200 military personnel and their families over the next few years. The net loss of US troops in Britain will be around 2,000, the Pentagon said.

      Its 352nd special operations group will reportedly move to Germany, while RC-135 reconnaissance planes will stay in the UK.

    • Paris Attack Suspects Said to Take Hostage; 2nd Hostage-Taking Also Reported

      Hundreds of French security forces have converged on an industrial park in a town northeast of Paris where two suspects in Wednesday’s terrorist attack in central Paris appear to be barricaded with at least one hostage at a printing business, the authorities said. A police official said the suspects told negotiators they intended to “die as martyrs.”

      As that drama was playing out about 30 miles northeast of Paris, the police responded in force to reports of a shooting and possible hostage-taking at a kosher supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes, on the eastern edge of Paris.

    • Charlie Hebdo attack: shooting at Paris kosher grocery

      A SECOND shootout is happening at a kosher grocery in eastern Paris with reports suggesting that a gunman has as many as five hostages.

      The gunman is reportedly the same man who shot and killed police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe, 27, who was killed when she was on patrol in the suburb of Montrouge following the Charlie Hebdo attack.

    • Charlie Hebdo manhunt: LIVE REPORT

      Police have released photos of a man and a woman wanted in connection with the fatal shooting Thursday at Montrouge.

    • Police surround kosher Paris supermarket

      Police in France have surrounded a kosher supermarket in south-east Paris amid reports of a shooting.

      A gunman, believed to be the killer of a policewoman in the capital on Thursday, has taken a hostage at the store, a source told France’s AFP news agency.

    • BREAKING NEWS: Third shooting in Paris as two dead & ‘at least five people’ taken hostage

      An armed gunman is with the hostages in the Jewish grocery store in Vincennes in the east of Paris and there are unconfirmed reports that two people have died.

      He has been named as Amedy Coulibaly, 32, the man who shot and killed cop Clarissa Jean-Philippe, 27, yesterday, just one day after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

    • French Police Are Dealing With Two Linked Hostage Situations

      Authorities in northern France are closing in on two brothers who allegedly carried out an attack against a satirical magazine in Paris on Wednesday.

      Simultaneously, a man thought to be connected to the suspects has taken hostages in eastern Paris.

      In eastern Paris, there has been a shootout at a kosher supermarket involving a man suspected of killing a policewoman on Thursday.

    • This Facebook Page Appears To Belong To One Of The Charlie Hebdo Suspects

      BuzzFeed News has found a Facebook page that appears to have belonged to the elder Kouachi brother. BuzzFeed could not independently verify that the page did belong to the same Said Kouachi, the individual wanted in the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

    • Gunman threatens to kill hostages at Paris market if suspects in Charlie Hebdo shooting are attacked

      A gunman holding at least five hostages in a Paris kosher market has threatened to kill them if French authorities launch an assault on two cornered al-Qaida-linked brothers suspected in a newspaper massacre, a police official said Friday.

      Terrorists linked to each other seized hostages at two locations around Paris on Friday, facing off against thousands of French security forces as the city shut down a famed Jewish neighborhood and scrambled to protect residents and tourists from further attacks.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Guarding Assange has cost British taxpayers almost £10mn

      British taxpayers have spent almost £10 million safeguarding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because Swedish officials refuse to interview him on UK soil.

      The besieged Ecuadorian embassy, where Assange currently resides, has been surrounded by police 24/7 for over two years.

  • Finance

    • Saxby Chambliss Transforms From Senator To Lobbyist In Less Than A Week

      It’s good to know that Saxby won’t have to worry about trying to survive on that six-figure Senate pension.

    • Obama to propose free community college

      President Obama will unveil a new proposal to make the first two years of community college free for students during an event Friday in Tennessee previewing his State of the Union address.

      But White House officials aren’t saying how much the program — which one aide described as “significant” in scope — will cost. Nor has the administration shared details of the initiative with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who would be necessary to approve the estimated billions of dollars necessary to provide free tuition.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How Clint Eastwood Ignores History in ‘American Sniper’

      They should know better. In 2012, “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was lavishly praised by most reviewers, and it wasn’t until criticism emerged from political reporters like Jane Mayer and others (I wrote about it too) that the tide turned against the pro-torture fantasy at its core. The backlash, coming after the film made “best of the year” lists, was probably responsible for it (fortunately) being all but shut out of the Academy Awards. Hopefully the praise-and-reconsider scenario will recur with “American Sniper.”

    • Fox News Gives Paris Massacre the Benghazi Treatment

      On Wednesday afternoon, Fox News’s Gretchen Carlson focused on portraying the Obama administration as weak-kneed and out of touch in its response to the massacre in Paris. After interviewing pundit Ari Fleischer, who served as a principal spokesman for President George W. Bush’s global war on terror, Carlson went with a familiar script:

      “It is what it is. It, meaning terrorism. Terrorism is what it is,” Carlson said. “So why does the administration continue to have such a problem telling the American people and the rest of the world just that? Is that a disservice to all of us? In some way giving us a false sense of security? That since our own leaders don’t see any of these attacks as terrorism right away, neither should we?”

    • Charlie Hebdo hunt: Police storm siege north of Paris

      Gunshots and explosions have been heard at the site where suspects of the Charlie Hebdo shootings are holding a hostage north of Paris.

  • Censorship

    • Mumbai Police blocks over 650 social media posts featuring Charlie Hebdo cartoons

      Mumbai Police has blocked over 650 posts and pages “on a popular social networking site” for allegedly uploading the controversial cartoons featured in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, reports The Hindustan Times. Mumbai police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni told the publication that they are blocking every controversial post that “they come across”.

    • ‘Hacktivist’ group Anonymous says it will avenge Charlie Hebdo attacks by shutting down jihadist websites

      Hacker group Anonymous have released a video and a statement via Twitter condemning the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people, including eight journalists, were murdered.

      The video description says that it is “a message for al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and other terrorists”, and was uploaded to the group’s Belgian account.

    • Saudi Arabia: online activist to be flogged in a public square tomorrow

      Badawi was sentenced to ten years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of one million Saudi Arabian riyals (approximately £175,000) last year for creating an online forum for public debate as well as accusations that he insulted Islam. According to information obtained by Amnesty, Badawi will receive up to 50 lashes tomorrow, while the rest of the 1,000 lashes will be carried out over a period of 20 weeks.

    • Monitoring and Criminalizing Online Speech and Social Media
    • Charlie Hebdo survivors defiant in the face of terror

      In the aftermath of the fatal terrorist attack on the Paris offices of satirical newspaper ‘Charlie Hebdo’, Hélène Hofman spoke to former employee Caroline Fourest. The award-winning French journalist remained defiant, and promised that the next issue of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ will still be published next week, writes Alex McClintock.

    • Stephen Fry: We have to make a stand over Charlie Hebdo

      Stephen Fry has told ITV News why he thinks it’s important for the media and individuals to publish cartoons by Charlie Hebdo, explaining that he holds freedom of expression “sacred”.

    • Swede calls for more controversial cartoons

      Despite Wednesday’s deadly attack on a Paris magazine that published controversial pictures of the prophet Mohammed, Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks argues that European media should not censor satirical pictures in the future.

    • “Ur head will be cut”: The story of the porn star who is getting death threats for performing in hijab

      After only a couple of months in the adult industry, 21-year-old Lebanese-American Mia Khalifa took the crown for most-searched-for star on PornHub from the legendary Lisa Ann of “Nailin’ Paylin” fame. It was a surprise win for the newcomer, who took to Instagram to humbly celebrate with a blushing emoji and caption reading, “nothing but respect for the almighty queen, though!”

    • A Close Call on Publication of Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

      Was The Times cowardly and lacking in journalistic solidarity when it decided not to publish the images from the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that precipitated the execution of French journalists?

      Some readers I’ve heard from certainly think so. Evan Levine of New York City wrote: “I just wanted to register my extreme disappointment at what can only be described as a dereliction of leadership and responsibility by the New York Times in deciding not to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons after today’s massacre.”

    • The Saudi Role in Sept. 11 and the Hidden 9/11 Report Pages

      Since the early days after the Sept. 11 attacks, when news emerged that most of the airline hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, dark allegations have lingered about official Saudi ties to the terrorists. Fueling the suspicions: 28 still-classified pages in a congressional inquiry on 9/11 that raise questions about Saudi financial support to the hijackers in the United States prior to the attacks.

      Both the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama have refused to declassify the pages on grounds of national security. But critics, including members of Congress who have read the pages in the tightly guarded, underground room in the Capitol where they are held, say national security has nothing to do with it. U.S. officials, they charge, are trying to hide the double game that Saudi Arabia has long played with Washington, as both a close ally and petri dish for the world’s most toxic brand of Islamic extremism.

    • US gag order on EU police agency stirs controversy

      The European Commission on Thursday (8 January) defended a US gag order imposed on the EU’s police agency Europol.

      It means EU lawmakers and most officials are not allowed to scrutinise a document – on implementation of the EU-US Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) – written by Europol’s own internal data protection committee, the joint-supervisory body (JSB).

  • Privacy

    • Browsing in privacy mode? Super Cookies can track you anyway

      For years, Chrome, Firefox, and virtually all other browsers have offered a setting that doesn’t save or refer to website cookies, browsing history, or temporary files. Privacy-conscious people rely on it to help cloak their identities and prevent websites from tracking their previous steps. Now, a software consultant has devised a simple way websites can in many cases bypass these privacy modes unless users take special care.

      Ironically, the chink that allows websites to uniquely track people’s incognito browsing is a much-needed and relatively new security mechanism known as HTTP Strict Transport Security. Websites use it to ensure that an end user interacts with their servers only when using secure HTTPS connections. By appending a flag to the header a browser receives when making a request to a server, HSTS ensures that all later connections to a website are encrypted using one of the widely used HTTPS protocols. By requiring all subsequent connections to be encrypted, HSTS protects users against downgrade attacks, in which hackers convert an encrypted connection back into plain-text HTTP.

    • FBI says it can use fake phone masts to listen in on phone calls without warrant

      The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has argued that it should be able to listen in on phone calls using technology that tricks phones into thinking they’re connecting to normal masts. The tools, called “Stingrays”, allow users to intercepts calls and texts.

    • China police reportedly buy virus to monitor phones

      A screenshot purportedly showing that Chinese police were purchasing viruses for the iPhone and Android in order to monitor calls is stirring controversy in China.

      The image in question was from the official site of the government of Wenzhou, an eastern city, and is dated Dec. 15. It contained a notice saying the local police department had spent around 150,000 yuan ($24,000) on mobile-phone viruses and a device to insert the malware into phones, “specifically against jailbroken iPhones and Android phones for real-time monitoring of calls, text messages and photos.”

    • Privacy is not terrorism

      On Tuesday 16th December, a large police operation took place in the Spanish State. Fourteen houses and social centres were raided in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa and Madrid; books, leaflets and IT material were seized; and eleven people were arrested and sent to the Audiència Nacional, a special court handling issues of “national interest”, in Madrid. They are accused of incorporation, promotion, management and membership of a terrorist organisation. However, lawyers for the defence denounce a lack of transparency, saying that their clients have had to make statements without knowing what they are accused of [2]. “[They] speak of terrorism without specifying concrete criminal acts, or concrete individualised facts attributed to each of them.” [1] When challenged on this, Judge Bermúdez responded: “I am not investigating specific acts, I am investigating the organization, and the threat they might pose in the future” [1]; making this yet another case of apparently preventative arrests. Four of the detainees have been released, but the remaining seven have been jailed pending trial. The reasons given by the judge for their continued detention include the posession of certain books, “the production of publications and forms of communication”, and the fact that the defendants “used emails with extreme security measures, such as the server RISE UP.”[2]

    • EU Legal Study: All EU Data Retention Laws May be Dodgy

      DRIPA likely to be struck down

    • Lies and revelations: Why mass surveillance is not about catching the “bad guys”

      In response to the Snowden revelations, many governments have argued that we need surveillance to safeguard national security – and this is not a new rhetoric. Ever since 9/11, governments across the globe which have, directly or indirectly, aligned with U.S foreign policy have argued that there is a trade-off between civil liberties and security. This implies that it is acceptable for intelligence agencies to spy on our communications so that they can detect criminals and terrorists – otherwise known as the “bad guys”.

      However, if we look a bit closer at the classified documents leaked by Snowden, it is evident that targeted surveillance is largely used to enhance the political and economic advantage of those in power, while mass surveillance is directed at spying on almost everyone – regardless of whether they have engaged in criminal activity or not.

    • European Parliament Study Likely To Boost Legal Challenges To Blanket Data Retention In Europe

      Back in April last year, we wrote about a surprising and hugely important ruling by Europe’s top court that the framework for data retention in Europe — the Data Retention Directive — was “invalid”. That was largely because it allowed data retention on a scale that was disproportionate. But an interesting question that arises from that decision is: if the Directive itself is invalid, where does that leave all the EU agreements and laws that require data to be retained? What exactly is their legal status now that the Directive has been struck down? Are they invalid too?

    • Finland gets tough on privacy, with new law to give Apple, Facebook messages total security

      On 1 January, the ‘Information Society Code’ passed into law. The Code is a major new umbrella act revising the country’s electronic communications legislation, which has four main goals: simplifying existing rules; improving consumer protection; boosting information security; and creating more equal telecoms markets.

    • The response to the Charlie Hebdo murders is not more untargeted surveillance

      We know that the Hebdo offices were already a target, having been firebombed in 2011, over the publication of a caricature of the prophet Mohammed. We know that the suspects Cherif and Said Kouachi were already known to the security services. We know that France, like the UK has powers to surveill its citizens and, unlike the UK, also has ID cards and an armed police force. But none of this prevented the murder of those 12 people. Despite this, the Head of MI5, Andrew Parker, has indicated that our security services need more powers to prevent similar attacks occuring in the UK.

  • Civil Rights

    • After a long delay, Obama declines to fire U.S. attorneys over Aaron Swartz’s suicide

      The White House is declining to fire two Justice Department officials over their handling of a controversial court case involving Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist who committed suicide in 2013 after being accused of hacking into a university network.

    • MI5 chief seeks new powers after Paris magazine attack

      The head of MI5, Andrew Parker, has called for new powers to help fight Islamist extremism, warning of a dangerous imbalance between increasing numbers of terrorist plots against the UK and a drop in the capabilities of intelligence services to snoop on communications.

    • Britain warned about ‘grave and relentless’ terror threat as French manhunt goes on

      Last night anti-terrorism police and a paramilitary special ops unit were scouring the 50 square miles of woodland near Abbaye de Longpont, Aisne, for Said Kouachi, 34, and his brother Cherif 33.

    • Risen Deflects Queries in Leak-Case Testimony

      After years of pressuring New York Times national security correspondent James Risen to testify in the leak – or “Espionage Act” – case against ex-CIA official Jeffrey Sterling, the prosecutors never directly asked Risen to name Sterling as his source, as Sam Husseini describes.

    • CIA’s Hidden Hand in ‘Democracy’ Groups

      The importance of the CIA and White House secretly arranging private funds was that these supposedly independent voices would then reinforce and validate the administration’s foreign policy arguments with a public that would assume the endorsements were based on the merits of the White House positions, not influenced by money changing hands.

    • NYT Still Pretends No Coup in Ukraine

      The New York Times keeps insisting that last year’s Ukrainian coup wasn’t a coup and anyone who thinks so lives inside “the Russian propaganda bubble.” But a slanted Times “investigation” shows that the newspaper remains lost inside the U.S. government’s “propaganda bubble,” writes Robert Parry.

    • If America wants to make sure it never tortures again, it must choose law over secrecy

      In theory, Obama’s December 2009 executive order on national security classification should prevent the CIA from using secrecy to place itself beyond the rule of law, since the order specifically forbids classifying information to “conceal violations of law”. In practice, though, the prohibition is virtually never enforced. The Obama administration – like the Bush administration before it – takes the position that the CIA’s criminal actions can be legitimately classified if they are “intelligence sources and methods”. And neither Congress, nor the president, nor the courts have imposed any legal limit on what counts as an intelligence source or method. In practice, the phrase has come to mean “anything the intelligence community doesn’t want you to know.” Congress needs to write a legal definition of “intelligence sources and methods” that imposes real limits, and makes clear that it excludes torture and other crimes.

    • It’s Critics of ‘Selma’ Who Are Distorting Civil Rights History

      Johnson is the character most clearly intended for white audience members to identify with; no doubt like many of them, he starts out admiring King but not really understanding him, and over the course of the film he comes to realize on an emotional level why King says he cannot wait for political justice. In other words, he’s a white man who has something to learn from a black man. Fifty years after the events portrayed in Selma, that’s still evidently something some people don’t want to see.

    • Tell the DOJ Whistleblowing Is a Public Service, Not a Crime

      Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is set to go on trial soon for allegedly giving classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen — about a CIA operation that provided flawed nuclear weapon blueprints to Iran in 2000. Along with CMD, the Nation, the Progressive and Roots Action, you took action in support of Risen, now is the time to come to the aid of whistleblower Sterling.

    • Looking Away From Police Killings

      USA Today (11/24/14) reported on the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy on a Cleveland playground. Tamir Rice, holding a BB gun, was shot twice in the chest by a rookie cop. Police came to the playground in response to a 911 call in which a man said he was reporting someone, “probably a juvenile,” with a gun that was “probably a fake.”

    • Hate Crime Experts Skeptical of Call for Cops to be Covered by Federal Law

      The largest police union is urging Congress to expand hate crime protections to include law enforcement.

    • The War on Drugs Is Burning Out

      The conservative wave of 2014 featured an unlikely, progressive undercurrent: In two states, plus the nation’s capital, Americans voted convincingly to pull the plug on marijuana prohibition. Even more striking were the results in California, where voters overwhelmingly passed one of the broadest sentencing reforms in the nation, de-felonizing possession of hard drugs. One week later, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD announced an end to arrests for marijuana possession. It’s all part of the most significant story in American drug policy since the passage of the 21st Amendment legalized alcohol in 1933: The people of this country are leading a dramatic de-escalation in the War on Drugs.

    • Michel Houellebecq stops promotion of new novel after Charlie Hebdo attack

      The French novelist Michel Houellebecq, whose latest book featured on the cover of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on the day of the massacre at its offices, has stopped its promotion as the victims were being mourned.

    • Norway’s Christians didn’t have to apologise for Anders Breivik, and it’s the same for Muslims now

      When Newcastle gunman Raoul Moat went crazy, I’m sure I remember interviewers, callers on phone-in shows and website forums insisting it was up to so-called moderate Geordies to denounce these atrocities, and X Factor started that week with Louis Walsh saying he wouldn’t take part unless Cheryl Cole condemned this “foul evil act of pure foul evil, carried out by her own people”.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Chairman Moves Toward Real Net Neutrality Protections
    • FCC Chairman Hints at Utility-Style Rules for Internet

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler appears poised to propose new rules that would classify Internet service providers as public utilities in a move designed to ensure everyone has the same access to free content online.

      Wheeler strongly indicated Wednesday that he favors the shift to tougher regulations, describing it as “just and reasonable” during an appearance in Las Vegas at the International CES, a technology industry gadget show.

    • Net neutrality vote of 26 February could see Class II after all

      THE US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on net neutrality legislation at its next meeting on 26 February, it has emerged.

      [...]

      Meanwhile, just in case Wheeler speak with forked tongue, Democrat senator Al Franken has reintroduced a bill before the Senate which would force the FCC to ban paid-for priority on the internet, regardless of its status.

    • Net Neutrality Might Be a Step Closer to Reality

      The best solution to the problem of net neutrality would be the introduction of genuine competition among ISPs. Your local cable company might still want to discriminate against rivals in the video business—or maybe team up with one of them and degrade the others—but they’d have a hard time doing that if Google was providing great quality for every video service and customers could easily switch if they got tired of poor Netflix streaming. More generally, competition would put a ceiling on all sorts of bad behavior. If your prices are high, or your service is poor, or you have a habit of playing favorites with certain sites, then you’re going to lose customers unless you get your act together. True competition would make heavy regulation of broadband mostly unnecessary.

  • DRM

    • GOG To Remove Archive Protection From Their Windows Installers

      After hearing plenty of heated feedback, GOG.com has now backtracked from their use of encrypted RAR files in their Windows installers, something which has raised concerns about the potential for encroaching DRM on their service as well as causing technical problems for some Linux users.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Piracy Notices: From Benign to Ridiculous

        Canada’s new piracy warning notice scheme is young but already controversial. With one relatively small ISP sending more than 3,000 notices every day, copyright trolls have quickly jumped on the bandwagon with their own brand of crazy. Other notices are much more benign – and users know it.

      • How Copyright Forced A Filmmaker To Rewrite Martin Luther King’s Historic Words

        Among the most powerful moments of Selma, the new film about the march Martin Luther King, Jr. led in 1965 in support of voting rights for African Americans, are the speeches, sermons, and eulogies King delivered during that tumultuous period. However, the speeches performed by actor David Oyelowo in the film do not contain the actual words spoken by King. This is because the King estate would not license the copyright in the speeches to filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Thus, the King estate’s aggressive stance on copyright has literally forced the re-writing of history.

01.07.15

Links 7/1/2015: Unity 8 and Mir, Sony’s LinuxWalkman

Posted in News Roundup at 9:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Intel Compute Stick runs Windows and Linux, fits in your pocket

    A few months back, I got a breathless email from an Intel PR rep due to some confusion over a little Chinese-made HDMI PC. Now we know why: Intel was stealthily getting ready to launch one of their own.

    This tiny black stick emblazoned with the “Intel inside” logo is Intel’s Compute Stick. This device isn’t like the Dell Cloud Connect dongle that they took to CES last year, nor is it a copy of Microsoft’s Wireless Display Adapter. It’s a full PC, capable of running both Linux and Windows, and it’s set to go on sale in the very near future.

  • Server

    • 3 Ways Enterprise IT Will Change in 2015

      Much the way the end of a year invites reflection upon what changed over the preceding 12 months, there’s nothing like the start of a new one for looking ahead and predicting what’s to come. So it is in enterprise IT, where market researchers have been busy studying their proverbial crystal balls for that very purpose.

      Late last month, for instance, IDC released not just one but three new prediction-filled reports focusing on three key areas of enterprise technology. Bottom line? Things will look pretty different a year or two from now.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Foundation Extends the AllSeen Alliance, Sets Summit Speaker Agenda

      The Linux Foundation is out with a slew of announcements this week to kick off 2015. The AllSeen Alliance, which operates as a Linux Foundation Collaboration project, has announced a number of new initiatives. Most notably, it is expanding its platform framework with an AllJoyn Gateway Agent that extends the Internet of Things footprint beyond any user’s local environment, over to the cloud.

    • ​CES 2015: AllSeen Alliance to bring order to the Internet of Things

      Lost among the 4K TVs, 3D printers, and smart baby-bottles at CES, the AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry group advancing the Internet of Everything (IoT) via the AllJoyn open-source software project, announced the first release of the AllJoyn Gateway Agent. That’s a pity, because this announcement may be the most important one of the show.

    • Linux Foundation Adds SDN, Storage and Managed Hosting Members

      The Linux Foundation’s membership continues to expand. This week, three new companies joined the open source consortium, bringing strengths in software-defined networking, storage and managed hosting to the organization.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Part Two Of KDAB’s Qt3D 2.0 Overview
      • Overview of Qt3D 2.0 – Part 2

        In the previous article we learned about the requirements and high-level architecture of Qt3D 2.0. In order to put some of this into context and to give you a concrete example of how it looks to draw something in Qt3D using the QML API, we will now briefly show the important parts of one of the simple examples that will ship with Qt3D. We will start off simple and just draw a single entity (a trefoil knot) but to make it slightly more interesting we will use a custom set of shaders to implement a single-pass wireframe rendering method. This is what we will draw:

      • GCompris is now released on Android

        One year ago I took the hard decision to fully rewrite GCompris in Qt Quick in order to address tablet users while keeping PC compatibility. As you imagine it’s a daunting task and something for sure I could not do alone. Thanks to the help of the many contributors who joined the project we have been able to port 86 activities of the 140 of the legacy version in a year. You can look at this page to see the status of the port. We can hope to complete the port in one more year. The new version is far from perfect and we continue to polish it everyday but we already provide a better user experience than the legacy version.

      • Thinking about working on KDE 5 again (frameworks, plasma, applications)

        In my “preview” of KDE 5, I was able to offer the KDE 5 packages as co-installable to KDE 4 because it was not yet more than Frameworks and Plasma packages – it needed the presence of KDE 4.x in order to provide a meaningfull Plasma 5 workspace. That meant, you could install KDE 5, play around with it for a bit, and then un-install the packages if you had seen enough, without this process touching or destroying the configuration of your KDE 4 environment. That was a good thing, because Plasma 5 was quite unstable at that time, and the whole exercise was not meant to probide an actual day-to-day work environment.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • D-Link floats a raft of Linux-based home automation gizmos

      D-Link expanded its home automation line with a wireless hub, water leak sensor, siren, security cameras, and 802.11ac routers, all running embedded Linux.

    • Raspberry Pi B+ gets its Grove on

      Raspberry Pi’s are great little Linux devices but they have plenty of limitations when it comes to comes to wiring up to the analog world or just behaving like a micro-controller. There’s been various attempts to weld Pi and Arduino together (I have some) like the Dexter Industries’ BrickPi that plugs you into the Lego bricosystem or their Arduberry which brings Arduino shield connectors out the top of the board.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Take two ‘medtech’ apps & call me in the morning

          We want medtech on open platforms of course — and so now we have the free Medelinked app available for Android smartphones and tablets in the Android Market on Google Play.

        • Sony’s $1200 Walkman ZX2 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

          Remember Sony’s Walkman from back in the 80s? Sony never stopped making them but they were eclipsed in later years first by iPods then by mobile phones. Now it looks like the Walkman is about to be reborn in a big and rather expensive way. Sony showed off its new Walkman ZX2 at CES 2015, and it’s going to cost $1200.

        • Fuhu’s behemoth Android tablet has a 65-inch, 4K display

          In its suite here, Fuhu mounted the display on the wall, like a television, but also embedded it inside a wooden table, as well as a poker table. Fuhu senior vice-president Lisa Lee said the company plans to sell furniture designed around the larger tablets, so they can serve as electronic play spaces.

        • ​Samsung releases mid-range Galaxy E5 and E7 with Android KitKat

          Samsung has released two new mid-tier members of the Galaxy family, the Galaxy E5 and Galaxy E7. The duo will make their debut in India alongside the full-metal-bodied Galaxy A3 and Galaxy A5.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Panasonic’s smart TVs go open-source with Firefox OS

        One of the buzzier and least-understood technology announcements made at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show deals with smart televisions. A smart television is a good-old-fashioned television set that comes with a built-in Wi-Fi connection and an operating system that allows the consumer to not only view over-the-air, cable, and satellite programming, but also connect to the Internet to increase their programming options.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • 12 highlights from the OpenStack roadmap

      OpenStack, due to its sheer size and complexity, can be difficult to keep track of. Each constituent part is managed and developed separately, and sometimes there’s just too much going on to be up on everything. Combine the distributed nature of the project with a fast release cycle and even seasoned cloud operators can have trouble keeping up with features and components as they move through the development process.

    • Enterprises, and the Market, Love Big Data for 2015

      As we’ve been reporting, several barometers, including 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. These baromters suggest that we’re going to continue to see the cloud and the Big Data trend evolve together this year. In fact, Big Data is now a big market force.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Open Source Databases Keep Chipping Away at Oracle’s Empire

      The three fastest growing databases of 2014 were all open source, according to a new report from DB-Engines, a site that tracks popularity in the rapidly changing database marketplace.

      The ever popular new-age database MongoDB topped the list again this year, with Redis, a tool for managing data, and ElasticSearch, which provides the foundations for building your own search engine, as runners up.

  • Healthcare

    • NHS refused to pull ‘unfit for purpose’ Care.data leaflet

      The mishandling of the controversial Care.data scheme – intended to extract data from GP records and effectively share it with world+dog – was in part due to the refusal of NHS England to recall an ill-informed public leaflet from the printers, an independent oversight body has revealed.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Crowdsourcing a new edition of a Bach masterpiece

      New works of art usually enter the public domain through a process involving death and patience. It is a rarer occasion that living people set about to make a resource public domain, and even rarer so when that effort involves thousands of people collaborating and pooling their time, energy, and money. That’s what’s happening on MuseScore.com with the first public review of the Open Well-Tempered Clavier score, a new edition of J.S. Bach’s musical masterpiece (BWV 846-869).

  • Programming

    • How GitHub uses GitHub to document GitHub

      Providing well-written documentation helps people understand, make use of, and contribute back to your project, but it’s only half of the documentation equation. The underlying system used to serve documentation can make life easier for the people writing it—whether that’s just you or the team you work with.

Leftovers

  • Haiku OS Mail Support Significantly Reworked

    For fans of the Haiku operating system inspired by BeOS, its mail service has been reworked.

  • Security

    • Attributing the Sony Attack

      No one has admitted taking down North Korea’s Internet. It could have been an act of retaliation by the US government, but it could just as well have been an ordinary DDoS attack. The follow-on attack against Sony PlayStation definitely seems to be the work of hackers unaffiliated with a government.

    • Jon Stewart Mocks The US Response To North Korea After ‘The Interview’ Fiasco

      “But I guess our anger is no surprise, these hackers violated our privacy. They read our emails, what kind of a country does that?” Stewart said sarcastically before showing news clips about Edward Snowden’s revelation that the NSA can read emails, chats and personal conversations.

    • Jon Stewart mocks Sony hack: NSA doesn’t leak ‘mean sh*t’ about Angelina Jolie
    • US Social Surveillance Abuse Puts Civil Liberties in Jeopardy

      The NSA’s secret project codenamed Boundless Informant seeks to establish control over “information space.” According to The Guardian it has been able to collect the data on 97 billion phone calls worldwide since March 2013.

    • The Government Must Show Us the Evidence That North Korea Attacked Sony

      American history is littered with examples of classified information pointing us towards aggression against other countries—think WMDs—only to later learn that the evidence was wrong

    • FBI Director: Sony’s ‘Sloppy’ North Korean Hackers Revealed Their IP Addresses

      The Obama administration has been tightlipped about its controversial naming of the North Korean government as the definitive source of the hack that eviscerated Sony Pictures Entertainment late last year. But FBI director James Comey is standing by the bureau’s conclusion, and has offered up a few tiny breadcrumbs of the evidence that led to it. Those crumbs include the claim that Sony hackers sometimes failed to use the proxy servers that masked the origin of their attack, revealing IP addresses that the FBI says were used exclusively by North Korea.

      [...]

      Comey’s brief and cryptic remarks—with no opportunity for followup questions from reporters—respond to skepticism and calls for more evidence from cybersecurity experts unsatisfied with the FBI’s vague statements tying the hack to North Korean government. In a previous public announcement the FBI had said only that it found “similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks,” as well as IP addresses that matched prior attacks it knows to have originated in North Korea. At that time, the FBI also said it had further evidence matching the tools used in the attack to a North Korean hacking attack that hit South Korean banks and media outlets.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • In shift, U.S. military says it is investigating credible civilian casualty reports in Iraq and Syria

      The U.S. military is investigating credible reports of civilian casualties in its campaign against Islamic State militants, the Pentagon press secretary said Tuesday, a shift after months in which defense officials said they were aware of none.

    • The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer. Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?

      I have to confess: I was suckered by the trailer for American Sniper. It’s a masterpiece of short-form tension – a confluence of sound and image so viscerally evocative it feels almost domineering. You cannot resist. You will be stressed out. You will feel. Or, as I believe I put it in a blog about the trailer, “Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper trailer will ruin your pants.”

      But however effective it is as a piece of cinema, even a cursory look into the film’s backstory – and particularly the public reaction to its release – raises disturbing questions about which stories we choose to codify into truth, and whose, and why, and the messy social costs of transmogrifying real life into entertainment.

    • NSA agent: Israel attacked USS Liberty to hide the truth from Washington

      However, according to a former signals intelligence analyst of the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Israeli combined air and sea attack on the USS Liberty, which took place on 8 June 1967, was a premeditated act carried out because the Israelis “didn’t want the US to know what they were up to in the Sinai before they invaded Egypt”.

    • Abolishing Nuclear Weapons – Useful and Not-So-Useful First Steps

      Also in December, the Marshall Islands, subjected to 67 nuclear tests by the United States in the 1940s and 1950s, put forward written arguments in the World Court, taking the eight declared nuclear weapon states – and Israel – to task. The Pacific state (with a population of less than 70,000) wants the World Court to order the nuclear weapon state signatories to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to live up to their promise in the NPT to end the arms race ‘at an early date’ and to negotiate a treaty on ‘complete disarmament’.

      In December, India marked two major developments in its ground-based nuclear weapons capability, with the first successful test of the 2,500-mile-range Agni-IV, the first Indian ballistic missile able to deliver nuclear warheads deep inside China; and testing of the delivery platform for the Agni-V, with its range of up to 3,400 miles, bringing the whole of China within range. (In 2016, as well as deploying the Agni-V, India plans to bring its first nuclear missile-carrying submarines into service, completing its nuclear air-land-sea ‘triad’.)

      As is well-known, India has fought several wars with its neighbours (Pakistan and China) since its birth as an independent nation in 1947, and war with Pakistan remains an ever-present threat.

    • Obama Has Killed More People with Drones than Died On 9/11
    • Somali Militants Execute Alleged U.S. Intelligence Agency Spy

      Somalia Islamist militant group al-Shabaab said a man accused of working with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to kill a senior rebel commander for a $1 million reward was one of four people it executed for spying.

    • JFK Nephew Claims CIA Worked to Prevent Normalization with Cuba

      Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, claims that the CIA actively worked to obstruct President Kennedy’s effort to reconcile relations with Cuba, saying the countries would have eventually reconciled if not for the 1963 assassination of the former president.

    • It’s time for full disclosure of CIA records on JFK’s assassination

      It is ironic that two events coincide at this time, with the opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba by President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate debating the need for increased oversight of the CIA given its out-of-control torture of individuals at Guantanamo.

    • Why Jeffrey Sterling Deserves Support as a CIA Whistleblower
    • In Defense of a CIA Whistleblower

      The mainstream U.S. news media sometimes rallies to the defense of a reporter who is pressured to reveal a source but not so much for the brave whistleblower who is the target of government retaliation. Such is the case for ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, writes Norman Solomon.

    • CIA Whistleblower Faces Decades in Prison for Exposing Botched CIA Plan

      Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.org, says Jeffrey Sterling and other whistleblowers have leaked classified information against the interests of the ruling elite, but in the interest of democracy

    • NYT reporter refuses to reveal sources on failed CIA effort against Ira

      James Risen refuses to answer prosecutor’s questions in case against former CIA agent, charged with leaking information about CIA operation against Iran’s nuclear program.

    • Burr: No intention to rewrite CIA torture report

      Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, the incoming chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that he won’t try to rewrite the report issued last month cataloging brutal interrogation tactics used by the CIA operatives on suspected terrorists although he strongly disputes portions of the report.

    • Bolivian President Alleges CIA Interference

      President Evo Morales suspects the U.S. is working to sow disunity within his political party.

    • Idea of CIA ‘secret’ war illogical

      If we have already had a “secret” war and the Register’s headline writers know about it, it isn’t a secret anymore.

      If it is still secret, then no one knows about it, so we cannot have a “next.”

      If the Register’s headline writers believe that the CIA can declare war against some hapless nation all by itself, I submit that the headline writers have watched too many “Get Smart” TV sitcoms to have come to that conclusion.

      I don’t think the CIA operates this way.

    • Obama 2015 Pakistan drone strikes

      The events detailed here occurred in 2015. These have been reported by US or Pakistani government, military and intelligence officials, and by credible media, academic and other sources, including on occasion Bureau researchers. Below is a summary of CIA drone strikes and casualty estimates for 2015. Please note that our data changes according to our current understanding of particular strikes. Below represents our present best estimate.

    • North Korean defector kills four people after crossing into China

      Beijing has lodged a formal diplomatic complaint with Pyongyang after a fleeing North Korean soldier killed four people when he crossed the border into China.

    • After “Charlie Hebdo” Attack in Paris, Senators Rush to Undermine Defense Reforms

      American lawmakers took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to express sympathy with the victims of the grisly attack on a satirical Parisian publication. But some rushed to use the “Charlie Hebdo” tragedy to criticize efforts to reform draconian national security policies. .

      “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the families, and the French people in the wake of this horrendous attack,” said Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) in the first of a series of tweets on the issue. “Here at home, we must use this horrific attack as an opportunity to reevaluate our own national security posture,” he pivoted.

      Graham eventually took aim at efforts to reform the National Security Agency.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Republicans to Push Keystone XL Pipeline as New Congress Convenes

      The new U.S. Congress convenes today with Republicans in control of both houses for the first time in eight years. Republicans now have 246 seats in the House, their largest majority in nearly 70 years. The new Congress is also more diverse than ever before, with a record 104 women, including Utah Representative-elect Mia Love, the first black Republican woman in Congress. Women still make up only 20 percent of lawmakers, while people of color make up only about 18 percent. At the top of the Republican agenda is a push to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, with lawmakers in both houses expected to file measures in favor of the project today.

    • Chicago Tribune Lets CEO Push Business Interests Without Disclosure

      The Chicago Tribune published an op-ed by the CEO of Caterpillar, a manufacturer of large construction equipment, which advocated for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline but failed to disclose Caterpillar’s significant financial stake in the pipeline’s construction.

  • Finance

    • New GOP Congress Fires Shot At Social Security On Day One

      With a little-noticed proposal, Republicans took aim at Social Security on the very first day of the 114th Congress.

      The incoming GOP majority approved late Tuesday a new rule that experts say could provoke an unprecedented crisis that conservatives could use as leverage in upcoming debates over entitlement reform.

    • How The Media Is Carrying Water For GOP’s “Jobs” Agenda

      Media outlets have uncritically promoted House Speaker John Boehner’s latest attempt to frame the Republican Congress’ harmful agenda as a set of “jobs bills.” But the Republican plan offers negligible hiring incentives, will cost over a million workers their health care coverage, and will increase the budget deficit by billions.

    • CIA financial threat adviser: US facing a 25-year ‘Great Depression’

      The Apocalypse-like scenario painted by “Currency Wars” best-selling author James Rickards about the US facing the prospect of a 25-year Great Depression is certainly depressing for many people. According to Rickards, who calls himself an “economic historian” and is a financial threat adviser to the CIA and the Pentagon, America’s “dangerous level of debt” and the Federal Reserve’s reckless printing of trillions of dollars should serve as bright red signals that a major financial crash is coming.

      Known as an investment banker and hedge fund manager who reportedly helped uncover terrorist insider trading after the 9/11 tragedy, Rickards says a key signal is the way the Fed has reportedly been changing Misery Index calculations to hide the true state of the US economy. The Misery Index is an economic indicator wherein figures are arrived at by adding the true unemployment rate with the true inflation rate.

    • The Growth Projections for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact Are a Joke

      Bob Kuttner has a column in the Huffington Post warning of the dangers of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP). Kuttner correctly points out that the deal is not really about reducing trade barriers, which are already minimal, but rather about locking in place a business-friendly structure of regulation (wrongly described as “deregulation”).

    • Cutting Subsidies and Closing Loopholes in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Coal Program

      In 2002, the Powder River Basin, or PRB, in Wyoming and Montana surged past the Appalachian coalfields that stretch from Pennsylvania to Tennessee to become the nation’s largest coal-producing region. Today, the PRB occupies a 40 percent share of the U.S. coal market. Although market forces, mechanization, and technological changes help explain some of the coal industry’s decision to shift more production from privately owned lands in the East to federal lands in the American West, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s, or DOI’s, coal policies have played an equally important—though largely unnoticed—role in this transition.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Hollywood’s idealized view of CIA officers is no substitute for reality

      Among the many compelling aspects of “Zero Dark Thirty,” the 2013 film about the capture of Osama bin Laden, was the notion (much touted by the film’s creators) that its characters were based on real people. This included the heroine, a brilliant and tenacious red-haired CIA analyst named Maya, played by Jessica Chastain.

    • Former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers joins CNN as National Security Commentator

      Former U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) joins CNN as a national security commentator offering expert analysis on a wide range of political, counterterrorism, and national security topics. Rogers was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000 and served seven terms representing Michigan’s 8th District. During his last two terms in office he was Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Rogers’ career began with service as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army; later he was a Special Agent with the FBI. In addition to his new role at CNN, Rogers is also a host of the daily Westwood One radio talk segments, Something to Think About with Mike Rogers.

  • Censorship

    • AP pulls ‘Piss Christ’ after Paris attack

      The Associated Press has removed an image of Andres Serrano’s 1987 photograph “Piss Christ” from its image library following Wednesday’s attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

      “It’s been our policy for years that we refrain from moving deliberately provocative images. It is fair to say we have revised and reviewed our policies since 1989,” AP spokesperson Erin Madigan told POLITICO, referring to the year the AP first posted the photograph.

    • Terrorists Can’t Kill Charlie Hebdo’s Ideas
    • News Outlets Are Censoring Images of Cartoons That May Have Incited Charlie Hebdo Attack

      The French magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked this morning by gunmen, possibly al-Qaida members, who were apparently upset by its history of printing cartoons mocking radical Islam. While much of the response to the attack has celebrated the notion of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, some news outlets have chosen to self-censor images of controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

    • Terror does not kill freedom

      The terrorist has already lost if you stand up for your freedom and for the truth.

    • Some Outlets Are Censoring Charlie Hebdo’s Satirical Cartoons After Attack

      News organizations around the world are facing a dilemma about how to portray cartoons of Muhammad by the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo after a deadly attack on its offices Wednesday — and some are choosing to respond by censoring or cropping out photos of the cartoons themselves.

    • Charlie Hebdo: The media doesn’t have to publish their most controversial cartoons to show its support

      Today’s terrorist atrocity in Paris was, at its most basic level, an attack on innocent men and women designed to cause widespread panic and fear. Yet it appears also to have been motivated by a desire to defy Europe’s entrenched media freedoms and to denounce, in the most bloody way, one of the central tenets of western liberalism – the right to offend.

    • 15 powerful responses from cartoonists to the Charlie Hebdo attack

      POLITICAL CARTOONISTS around the world are tweeting powerful cartoons in response to today’s massacre at French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people were killed.

      Three masked gunmen entered the offices of the publication in Paris this morning – two police officers and ten staff were killed, including three of the magazine’s cartoonists and its editor, Stephane Charbonnier (known as ‘Charb’).

    • Freedom of expression? It’s a thing of the past: Editorial

      Writers the world over are working with the government these days – with the government looking over their shoulders, that is.

      In the contemporary surveillance state, you don’t need to be particularly paranoid to fear that you are being watched. In the contemporary surveillance state, the line between paranoia and reality isn’t always so bold.

    • CIA restores Dokdo in its map of Korea
    • CIA torn between allies Japan and South Korea

      The U.S.’s Central Intelligence Agency has found itself caught up in a row between allies South Korea and Japan over a small group of rocky islands, local media reported Monday.

      South Korea’s foreign ministry is attempting to get the CIA to amend entries in its World Factbook that refer to the islands, known as the Dokdo islands by Koreans and as the Takeshima isles in Japan, national news agency Yonhap said.

    • CIA World Factbook leaves Dokdo Island off Korean version of map

      Speaking of the territorial tensions the CIA World Factbook isn’t helping matters.

    • Seoul seeking to rectify CIA factbook’s deletion of Dokdo

      South Korea said Monday it is making efforts to lead the United States to restore its reference to Seoul’s easternmost islets of Dokdo as the Liancourt Rocks in the World Factbook published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    • Reference to Dokdo restored in CIA World Factbook map

      The United States restored a neutral name for South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in the CIA’s World Factbook map on Monday, a day after removing its usual reference to the islets in its latest edition.

  • Privacy

    • Spies do ‘happy dance’ after encryption cracked

      When you’re happy and you know it (and you really want to show it) what do you do if you’re a spy at the United States National Security Agency successfully cracking encryption? You draw a stick figure doing a happy dance.

    • NSA efforts to crack VPN encryption are not the end of the world

      Companies such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook also view encryption and VPNs as a way to protect customers, and have worked to encrypt data passing through their systems since the PRISM scandal broke.

      However, Benjamin Ali, a dark web specialist at security firm Centient, noted that the Der Spiegel report does not spell disaster for digital privacy as many newer encryption technologies are not listed as vulnerable.

      “From the report it would appear that not all VPNs are vulnerable to this attack, which seems to apply to PPTP/IPsec and not OpenVPN,” he told V3.

      “OpenVPN uses AES encryption standard which, according to this article, has not been broken. However, as this report is from a while back, this might not be the case now.”

    • Tutanota releases iOS encrypted email app after notifying NSA

      The German encrypted email service Tutanota has released its iOS app, weeks after its Android app came out. The delay in the release of the iOS app was apparently due to the need for those publishing open-source apps of this kind to first notify the NSA and the U.S. Commerce Department of their existence — it seems Apple is more strict about making sure this measure has been taken.

    • Obstacles Loom for States’ Proposed “Fourth Amendment Protection” Laws

      Legislators in several states have proposed bills over the past year intended to hamper the NSA’s efforts to collect signals intelligence. In Utah, the site of a large NSA data center, a proposed bill would prevent the state, its cities, and its agencies from providing “material support or assistance in any form to any federal data collection and surveillance agency.” The bill is plainly targeted at crippling the data center, which currently relies on a contract with a nearby city for its water supply. The bill would allow the continued performance of the ongoing contract, for which the city borrowed substantial funds, but would prohibit the renewal of the contract or any new contracts with the NSA data center. Furthermore, the bill also imposes a penalty on private corporations that provide support to surveillance agencies by precluding such corporations from subsequently contracting with the state or its agencies.

    • Utah governor won’t support proposal that would cut off the NSA’s water supply

      Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signaled his opposition to a proposed bill that would cut off water to the NSA’s facility south of Salt Lake City.

    • Utah Gov. Opposes Cutting Off Water Supply to NSA Facility

      Utah Gov. Gary Herbert told reporters on Tuesday that while he recognizes the “frustration” some have with the activities of the National Security Agency (NSA), he is not likely to support a measure to cut off the water supply to an NSA facility in the state.

    • Zoho email difficult to crack for National Security Agency

      City-based Zoho Corp’s email and chat services are one of the handful of services, which the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has found it difficult to crack under its mass surveillance programme.

      According to a report by German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, NSA has classified the encryption and security-breaking problems it encountered on a scale of 1 to 5, from ‘trivial’ to ‘catastrophic.’ Facebook chat, for example, was considered ‘trivial.’ The report was based on the documents obtained from former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Abolish the Intelligence-Industrial Complex

      The Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency should be abolished. The two spy agencies cause more problems than they solve and have become menaces to our open society. The CIA was created in 1947 at the dawn of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and the NSA was born in 1952 to consolidate code-breaking and electronic communications spying capabilities. Today, thanks to the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden, we now know that the “black budget” requests from America’s 16 different intelligence agencies amounted to $52.6 billion in 2013. Of that sum, the CIA sought $14.7 billion and the NSA wanted $10.5 billion. Total intelligence spending since the 9/11 terror attacks amounts to more than $500 billion.

    • Australian writers increasingly concerned about mass government surveillance

      Novelists, editors, poets and journalists are becoming increasingly concerned about mass surveillance and its impact on freedom of expression in countries like Australia, the United States and Britain, a new survey has found.

      It shows levels of concern among writers about official surveillance are nearly as high in democratic countries as they are in non-democratic countries that have long legacies of state surveillance.

      The human rights organisation PEN International asked more than 770 writers, from 50 countries, about the ways in which government surveillance was influencing their thinking, research and writing.

      The survey ran between August 28 and October 15 last year and followed a similar survey of US writers in 2013.

    • Government Out of Control
    • Slideware is not a good place to start asessing an intelligence program says OMG Cyber! author Thomas Rid

      In conversation with Vulture South, Rid said one reason hype takes over is that journalists are prone to ignoring the complex context in which each document leaked by Snowden exists.

    • Going down the wrong road

      International whistleblower Edward Snowden could have been talking about T&T last week when he warned an Internet conference in Vancouver that “absolutely more revelations are to come. Some of the most important reporting to be done is yet to come”.
      Speaking from his hideout in Russia Snowden urged the world’s “adversarial press to continue to challenge their governments to ignite debates,” but without putting national security at risk.

    • China police inadvertently admit to buying malware to spy on citizens

      Don’t click on links sent by strangers, the police in one Chinese district warned last year, because malware known as Trojan horses use all sort of tricks to burrow into people’s phones and computers.

      “Curiosity hurts,” the Public Security Bureau in the city of Wenzhou in southeastern China posted on its social media account.

      Yet a few months after posting that warning, a lower level police department in Wenzhou was left red-faced when it emerged that officers had spent 149,000 yuan ($24,000) buying a device and software designed to plant Trojans into phones to monitor its own citizens.

    • Developers Say Privacy Network Tor Was Not Compromised During Silk Road Takedown

      In response to these sorts of concerns, which were quite prevalent in 2014, Jacob Appelbaum and Roger Dingledine from the Tor Project decided to dispel some myths at their recent State of the Onion talk at this year’s Chaos Communication Congress, an annual four-day conference “on technology, society and utopia,” sponsored by the association claiming to be Europe’s largest community of hackers, the Chaos Computer Club.

    • Proposed Prince William data center prompts protest letter to Jeff Bezos

      It is widely assumed by residents and elected officials, however, that the user is Amazon.com, which has been quickly expanding its Amazon Web Services cloud computing business in the area in recent years, including a contract with the CIA. One possible hint: This online job posting.

    • The Surveillance State has arrived

      British philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon placed inmates under surveillance during every moment of time.

      President Obama’s National Security Agency (NSA) is the digital equivalent of the Panopticon but spies on the entire U.S. population.

      The surveillance state in America is a fact. It is no longer a suspicion.

  • Civil Rights

    • David Miranda and the Human-Rights Black Hole

      But one thing Miranda is not is a terrorist. The 29-year-old has never been accused of being a terrorist. He has never been observed associating with terrorists or traveling in terrorist circles. Yet on August 18, 2013, Miranda was detained under Schedule 7 of the United Kingdom’s Terrorism Act 2000, at London Heathrow Airport, and questioned by British authorities for nearly nine hours—the legal limit. Just like a terrorist.

    • If 2014 was a sad year for liberty in Australia, 2015 will be no better

      The Abbott government struggled to gain passage of anything worthwhile in its first full year. Most of its economic reforms were stymied, with higher education the most notable failure. It’s fair to say the deficit problem is still far from resolved.

    • Feinstein presents anti-torture agenda despite GOP opposition

      President Obama has already strictly prohibited torture, but he’s otherwise reluctant to look back at his predecessor’s misdeeds. The Obama White House is satisfied that the United States is now following a just, responsible course, and there’s no need to put the country through prosecutions of officials from the Bush/Cheney administration.

    • Outing Torture Queen Bikowsky

      It’s not easy to be exposed as a war criminal.

    • CIA inspector general David Buckley’s exit ‘unrelated to politics’
    • After Hacking Controversy, CIA Watchdog Resigns

      The CIA’s inspector general will resign this month but U.S. officials said Monday his departure is not related to his finding last year that the spy agency hacked into computers used by Senate aides.

      The agency’s internal watchdog, David Buckley, will be stepping down on January 31, and his move “has been in the works for months,” CIA spokesman Christopher White told Agence France Presse.

    • CIA Watchdog: I Quit

      CIA Inspector General David Buckley will resign at the end of January, the CIA announced Monday. Buckley served as the internal watchdog for the intelligence agency for more than four years, investigating disputes between Congress and the CIA. During his tenure, he oversaw the battle over the agency’s unwillingness to hand over documents on torture and interrogation practices to Congress. The CIA said in a statement that Buckley is leaving to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector.” Neither congressional nor CIA officials say his resignation was politically related, but civil-liberties advocates were irked by his exit. Buckley “raised some serious concerns about the conduct of the CIA in trying to thwart the Senate Intelligence Committee,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight. “The lack of repercussions is very troubling and his departure so soon afterward is troublesome.”

    • CIA Inspector General David Buckley to Resign

      Buckley has served as the intelligence agency’s internal watchdog for more than four years

    • CIA General Inspector Resigns Under Intriguing Conditions

      The 31 st of January is the last day at the CIA for general inspector David Buckley, who investigated a disagreement between the CIA and the Congress regarding the handling of the records of the agency’s interrogation and detention procedures. Officials from CIA have mentioned that his departure has nothing to do with politics or any of the cases he investigated.

    • CIA Watchdog to Step Down

      The CIA announced this morning that its top watchdog is stepping down at the end of the month.

      The agency’s Inspector General, David Buckley, will leave to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector,” a CIA spokesman said in a statement.

    • Stalled Probe Into CIA Prisons in Lithuania Needs US Info to Progress

      Investigation into the secret CIA prisons in Lithuania will not make any progress, until the United States provides Lithuania with information, according to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.

    • Will The Release Of C.I.A. Torture Photos Actually Threaten National Security?

      It’s been nearly a month since a Senate report revealed the gruesome torture techniques used by C.I.A. operatives following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the controversy surrounding whether or not to publish more information continues to stir debate.

      In 2004, the ACLU sued the U.S. government for the release of more than 2,000 photos from Abu Ghraib after some of the disturbing photos were leaked that year. According to Mother Jones, a federal judge forced the Obama administration to release the photos or provide detailed information explaining how the release of each picture could threaten national security. The government chose the second option, and now, a hearing has been set for Jan. 20.

    • British and Dutch researchers develop new form of lie-detector test

      But the invention could soon be defunct. Researchers in Britain and the Netherlands have made a breakthrough, developing a method with a success rate in tests of over 70% that could be in use in police stations around the world within a decade. Rather than relying on facial tics, talking too much or waving of arms – all seen as tell-tale signs of lying – the new method involves monitoring full-body motions to provide an indicator of signs of guilty feelings.

    • Torture Advocates Outnumbered Critics 2-to-1

      A new FAIR study finds that torture defenders outnumbered critics of torture by nearly 2 to 1 in TV news coverage of the Senate Intelligence Committee report released on December 9.

      FAIR surveyed the guests of nine news programs for the week of December 7 to December 14, when discussion of the torture report’s findings was most prominent. The programs included the Sunday talk shows (NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation, ABC’s This Week, Fox News Sunday and CNN’s State of the Union) along with four weekday news shows (MSNBC’s Hardball, Fox’s Special Report, the first hour of CNN’s Situation Room and the PBS NewsHour).

      Of the 104 guests discussing the topic on these shows, 53 expressed a discernible opinion either for or against the use of torture. Thirty-five of those who took a position, or 66 percent, were supportive of torture. This included a few individuals who claimed to be against “torture,” but defended interrogation methods such as waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” that are recognized as torture under US and international law.

    • Fox News Exploits Tragedy In France To Attack NYC Mayor De Blasio

      Fox’s National Security Expert Blames Attack In Part On France’s “Really Strict Gun Control Policy”

Links 7/1/2015: Android Dominant in CES, OSVR in the Press

Posted in News Roundup at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • ​CES 2015: Dell refreshes high-end XPS business laptop line

      If you’re a serious road warrior, and not a Chromebook Pixel fan like I am, you have two real choices: the Lenovo ThinkPad line and the Dell XPS line. Now, Dell has two new SPX versions and they’re looking sweet.

    • Michal Papis, Open Source Developer

      Michal has a very tweaked KDE setup. He discusses his use of Alt+Tab to switch between applications, rather than using virtual desktops, and I’m very glad he does. I too use Alt+Tab compulsively. I’ve experimented with virtual desktops, but Alt+Tab always does the job for me. I’ve always felt guilty that I didn’t do more with virtual desktops but Michal has given me the courage to officially give up on them. And for that, I’ll forever be grateful.

    • North Korea’s Red Star Linux OS: Made in Apple’s Image?

      Most of the recent headlines involving North Korea and computers have centered on whether the former was behind attacks against Sony. Here’s another fact about technology in North Korea that has been subject to less attention: The country has its own, home-grown Linux distribution, called Red Star OS, which happens to look a lot like Apple’s OS X.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation AllSeen Alliance Expands Internet of Things Efforts

      The AllSeen Alliance today announced new initiatives and momentum in its bid to help advance standards for the emerging landscape that is the Internet of Things (IoT).

      The AllSeen Alliance is a multi-stakeholder effort that is operated as a Linux Foundation Collaboration project. The Linux Foundation first announced the AllSeen Alliance effort in December 2013, with the AllJoyn code contribution from Qualcomm serving as the basis. AllJoyn is a framework for enabling secure and seamless connectivity, as well as access, for IoT devices.

      Now the AllSeen Alliance is expanding the framework with the AllJoyn Gateway Agent that expands the footprint of IoT features beyond a user’s local environment, all the way out to the cloud.

    • A Look Inside A Live Linux Kernel

      As web designer, student and open source advocate Shaun Gillies points out, successful industry leaders or project managers in the open source community “frequently employ” peer review techniques as a criteria for quality control in their development cycle.

    • Linux Kernel 3.19 RC3 Is Small and Uneventful and Linus Is Happy About That

      The third RC for the Linux Kernel 3.19 branch has been announced by Linus Torvalds and it’s now available for download and testing. The development cycle continues without interruption and everything is on track.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.17 Should Ship Soon, X.Org Server 1.18 Likely To Be A Quicker Cycle

        Keith Packard of Intel has provided a status update concerning the soon-to-be-out X.Org Server 1.17 and its successor, X.Org Server 1.18.

        Continuing to serve as the de facto xserver release manager, Keith Packard wrote on Sunday that he feels the release of 1.17 is “quite close” but is just waiting to make sure everyone is happy with it before the code ships. For months the 1.17 release has planned to ship around the new year.

      • The Intel Haswell OpenGL Performance Boosting Patch Is Published

        Back in November I wrote about a Major Performance Breakthrough Discovered For Intel’s Mesa Driver due to testing done by LunarG and uncovered with the help of Intel. That performance-boosting patch has been queued up for drm-intel-next thus meaning it will be present with the next major kernel cycle — the Linux 3.20 kernel.

    • Benchmarks

      • Test Driving The New Intel Haswell Linux Performance Patch

        For this quick on-the-spot comparison I ran some benchmarks of Linux 3.19-rc3 compared to the drm-intel nightly kernel state that is Linux 3.19 plus the Intel DRM kernel driver work under development that will ultimately be merged for Linux 3.20. This latest drm-intel code contains the anticipated Haswell specific performance patch.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Fluxbox 1.3.6 Released After Two-Year Wait

      After nearly two years since the previous release, the Fluxbox team has released Fluxbox 1.3.6 (codenamed “It’s about time”) to start off the new year.

      For new Linux users, Fluxbox is a long-standing X window manager derived from Blackbox. Fluxbox is lightweight and very fast yet offers a lot of functionality.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.16 To Have Foursquare Integration, Check-In On GNOME Maps

        Thanks to Damián Nohales’ work last summer on Foursquare support in GNOME via Google Summer of Code 2014, GNOME 3.16 has basic support for this location sharing service now focused on local search.

      • SQLite, VACUUM, and auto_vacuum

        The week before Christmas I hunkered down and took on a nagging issue in Geary I’m almost embarrassed to discuss. The long and short of it is, prior to this commit, Geary never deleted emails from its internal SQLite database, even if they were deleted on the server. It was a classic problem of garbage collection and reference counting. (If you’re interested in the problem and why Geary didn’t simply delete an email when it was not visible in a mail folder, the original ticket is a good place to start.)

      • GNOME MultiWriter and Large Hubs

        Today I released the first version of GNOME MultiWriter, and built it for Rawhide and F21. It’s good enough for a first release, although there are still a few things left to do. The most important now is probably the self-profiling mode so that we know the best number of parallel threads to use for the read and the write. I want this to Just Work without any user interaction, but I’ll have to wait for my shipment of USB drives to arrive before I can add that functionality.

      • GNOME MultiWriter Is an Awesome New App That Writes ISO Files to Multiple Devices

        The GNOME stack is getting all kind of interesting apps and now a new one is in the making, called the GNOME MultiWriter. This app is capable of writing an ISO to multiple devices at once and it’s doing it with a simple and clear interface.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Alpine Linux 3.1.1 released

        The Alpine Linux project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 3.1.1 of its Alpine Linux operating system.

        This is a bugfix release of the v3.1 musl based branch. This release is based on the 3.14.27 kernel which has some critical security fixes.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • “That Other OS”

        PCLinuxOS even does a minimal installation more or less the way I like with most software installation after the first boot but they are not going the way I intend to move sooner rather than later, to ARM. I guess Debian has spoiled me for any other distro. It’s just hard to beat someone with that kind of depth and experience.

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Foresees Sprawling Cloud, Container Specs in 2015

        Meanwhile, as OpenStack and Linux container technologies begin to “collide” in 2015, greater consolidation in areas like workload orchestration (Heat, Kubernetes, Mesos and Yarn) is expected to accelerate. Mark Coggin, Red Hat’s senior director for platform product marketing, said containerization of OpenStack services would help address “the installation complexities of OpenStack, and also facilitate the building of more complex solutions like high availability and fail-over, workload clustering and load balancing, high performance storage infrastructure and application autoscaling.”

      • Ceph for Cinder in TripleO

        A wrap up on the status of TripleO’s Cinder HA spec. First, a link to the cinder-ha blueprint, where you can find even more links, to the actual spec (under review) and the code changes (again, still under review). Intent of the blueprint is for the TripleO deployments to keep Cinder volumes available and Cinder operational in case of failures of any node.

      • Time has come to support some important projects!

        If you read this blog entry it is very likely that you are a direct beneficiary of open source and free software. Like myself you probably have been able to get hold of, use and tinker with software that in the old world of closed source dominance would all together have cost you maybe ten thousand dollars or more. So with the spirit of the Yuletide season fresh in mind it is time to open your wallet and support some important open source fundraising campaigns.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 19 “Schrödinger’s Cat” Reaches EOL and Is Now Definitely Dead

          Fedora 19 “Schrödinger’s Cat” was initially released back in July 2013 and it was alive for a year and a half. Now, the distribution has reached end of file and it’s no longer supported by its developers.

        • Fedora 19 End of Life
        • Fedora 19 Reaches End Of Life State

          If you’re still running Fedora 19 for some reason, you better think about upgrading to Fedora 20/21 as F19 has now reached its end of life.

        • NetworkManager 1.0 released!

          A decade ago seems like a long time in open source. In those days, networking was not easy to configure in Linux systems like Fedora. Networking stacks didn’t play well with each other, and some used frequently today didn’t even exist then. Configuring a laptop for good mobility across networks was difficult, or sometimes impossible.

    • Debian Family

      • Bootstrapping arm64 in Debian

        arm64 is officially a release architecture for Jessie, aka Debian version 8. That’s taken a lot of manual porting and development effort over the last couple of years, and it’s also taken a lot of CPU time – there are ~21,000 source packages in Debian Jessie! As is often the case for a brand new architecture like arm64 (or AArch64, to use ARM’s own terminology), hardware can be really difficult to get hold of. In time this will cease to be an issue as hardware becomes more commoditised, but in Debian we really struggled to get hold of equipment for a very long time during the early part of the port.

      • 64-bit ARM Support Is Moving Along In Debian

        With the upcoming release of Debian 8.0 “Jessie”, AArch64/ARM64 will become an official release architecture.

      • Kodi from Debian

        As of today Kodi from Debian uses the FFmpeg packages instead of the Libav ones which have been used by XBMC from Debian. The reason for the switch was upstream’s decision of dropping the Libav compatibility code and FFmpeg becoming available again packaged in Debian (thanks to Andreas Cadhalpun). It is worth noting that while upstream Kodi 14.0 downloads and builds FFmpeg 2.4.4 by default, Debian ships FFmpeg 2.5.1 already and FFmpeg under Kodi will be updated independently from Kodi thanks to the packaging mechanism.

      • Use Module::Build::Tiny as Debian policy compliant
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Make Adds Google Go Support, Game Category

            Ubuntu Make, formerly known as the Ubuntu Developer Tools Center, is up to version 0.4 and it adds Go language support.

            Ubuntu Make is one of the newer Ubuntu Linux projects for making it easier for developers to quickly and easily setup development environments on the popular distribution. Ubuntu Make 0.4 was released today and it introduces Google Go support along with bringing a new game category. Ubuntu developers can run umake go to deploy the latest version of Google golang along with setting up the proper build environment.

          • Builder Update

            I’ve been really busy during the start of the Builder fundraising campaign trying to round up funds. We still have some larger donations planned that I hope to see land in the not to distant future. We are one week of four complete and have raised nearly 60% of the requested funds!

            This means that I haven’t got to write as much code the last week as I would have liked, but our contributors have picked up the slack.

            For a New Years gift, I put together some tools for those of you that work with HTML. The auto indentation engine now supports HTML, so you wont need to fuss about with alignments anymore. Just hit enter after your opening element and you’ll be properly indented. I also added the basis for what will be the HTML autocompletion engine. It’s not very complete yet, but if someone wants to own it, I’d be happy to hand it off. Longer term, I’d prefer to see it work of the document’s DTD.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • WeMo can now light your smart home from the inside and out

      Following Sunday’s expansion of the WeMo ecosystem with a bevy of sensors, Belkin’s home automation brand is today announcing an expanded lineup of smart lighting devices from Osram Sylvania and TCP (Technical Consumer Products).

    • All of Samsung’s 2015 Smart TVs will be powered by Tizen

      Samsung’s new SUHD TVs announced at CES today will be powered by it’s new Tizen OS.

    • [Developer] Samsung Tizen TV SDK 1.2

      With the launch of the Samsung Tizen TV, we also see the release of the updated Samsung Tizen TV SDK 1.2. This SDK has the tools you need to start developing applications for the Tizen TV Platform. The tools include an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for HTML5, JavaScript, CSS code editing, a light-weight TV Simulator for testing webapps, and a TV Emulator. You also get templates for TV applications

    • Linux Representing at CES

      Linux at CES tops our news coverage for today. In other news OpenSource.com says installing Linux from Scratch can help users learn “the building blocks” of Linux and Softpedia.com says users “are going crazy” for circle icons. Elsewhere Jack Germain spoke to The Document Foundation and Open Source Business Alliance about reaching the goal of universal open document standards.

    • CES 2015: Microchip Technology shows off 30 demos

      Microchip Technology Inc. of Chandler announced Tuesday at CES 2015 that it has joined the Linux Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux to develop software for the connected car.

    • [Video] Samsung Gear S Apps

      This is an Interesting little 1 minute video that I found on the web. It takes you through the advantages of having a Tizen based Samsung Gear S or leaving your Smartphone at home. You have fitness capabilities as well as an App store that you can download applications that are suitable to you and your lifestyle.

    • Tizen TV is Launched with Samsung SUHD Models JS8500, JS9000 and JS9500

      It is with a huge smile that I say Samsung launched their SUHD Lineup of Tizen TVs at the packed Samsung Press Conference at CES 2015. The TVs hold the promise of a superior picture which has 64 times more color expression and will be 2.5 times brighter than conventional TVs. The TV will be running the Tizen OS, which will be optimised for the TV User Interface (UI) making it more responsive compared to previous UIs.

    • CES 2015: Linksys WRT1200AC Router Is a Beast with 512 MB and Official OpenWRT Support

      Linksys has just announced its new WRT1200AC 2×2 Dual Band Wireless AC Router at CES 2015. It might sound like just another router, but this is interesting because it also comes with OpenWrt support by default.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Apple Slapped With Another Lawsuit
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The greatest trick Obama ever pulled was convincing the world America isn’t still at war

      The holiday headlines blared without a hint of distrust: “End of War” and “Mission Ends” and “U.S. formally ends the war in Afghanistan”, as the US government and Nato celebrated the alleged end of the longest war in American history. Great news! Except, that is, when you read past the first paragraph: “the fighting is as intense as it has ever been since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001,” according to the Wall Street Journal. And about 10,000 troops will remain there for the foreseeable future (more than we had a year after the Afghan war started). Oh, and they’ll continue to engage in combat regularly. But other than that, yeah, the war is definitely over.

    • Open source intelligence (OSINT) iBrabo tracks Syrian tweet location of ISIS suspect

      Reports in the Independent newspaper and elsewhere suggest that the open source intelligence research group iBrabo has helped with information capture technology in the quest to pin down a suspected ISIS militant.

      A New Zealand born individual, Mark John Taylor (who uses the names Mohammad Daniel or Abu Abdul Rahman) is said to have now suspended his Twitter account after inadvertently tweeting his location while in Syria.

    • 12 Dead in Attack on Paris Newspaper; France Goes on Alert

      Masked gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar!” stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 12 people before escaping. It was France’s deadliest terror attack in at least two decades.

      French President Francois Hollande called the attack on the Charlie Hebdo weekly, which has frequently drawn condemnation from Muslims, “a terrorist attack without a doubt” and said several other attacks have been thwarted in France “in recent weeks.”

    • France says ready to strike Libya militants

      France said Monday its troops south of Libya are ready to strike extremists crossing the border, but the speaker of Libya’s internationally recognized parliament rejected any Western military intervention in his country.

      French President Francois Hollande urged the United Nations to take action to stem growing violence in the North African country and the transit of arms from Libya to militant groups around the Sahel region.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fracking in Ohio confirmed as cause of rare earthquake strong enough to be felt

      A new study links the March 2014 earthquakes in Poland Township, Ohio, to hydraulic fracturing that activated a previously unknown fault. The induced seismic sequence included a rare felt earthquake of magnitude 3.0, according to new research.

    • As Oil Drops Below $50, Can There Be Too Much of a Good Thing?

      Cheaper oil is still creating more winners than losers. Far more people live in oil-importing countries than live in oil-exporting countries. The U.S., for one, remains a net importer. The well-publicized travails of U.S. shale oil producers are small compared with the gains by American consumers and businesses that are paying less for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, petrochemicals, and the like. With fuel prices down, people are driving more miles and buying more cars and trucks.

  • Finance

    • USA Today Makes Sure Rich Don’t Get Blamed for Middle-Class Stagnation

      The “Nation’s Newspaper” boasts that most of its “editorials are coupled with an opposing view–a unique USA Today feature.” So you’re getting both sides, is the implication–when in fact what you’re more likely to get is perception management, as the Gannett-owned paper makes clear which opinions are to be taking seriously and which are beyond the pale.

      [...]

      That’s a good point, as far as it goes. Where doesn’t it go? For one thing, it doesn’t point out that this is not a problem that started in 1999, but at least 25 years earlier: US median household income has grown only 7 percent since 1973, even as per capita GDP has roughly doubled.

      And where has all that income gone? That phrase “for the non-wealthy” conceals it: While most people have seen little or no income growth over the past four decades, the rich have enjoyed a long-term boom. The top 1 percent of households, for example, have seen their real after-tax income rise by 200 percent since 1979.

    • The Coming War on Pensions

      On the Senate’s last day in session in December, it approved the government’s $1.1 trillion budget for coming fiscal year.

      Few people realize how radical the new U.S. budget law was. Budget laws are supposed to decide simply what to fund and what to cut. A budget is not supposed to make new law, or to rewrite the law. But that is what happened, and it was radical.

      Wall Street’s representatives in Congress – the Democratic leadership as well as Republicans – took the opportunity to create an artificial crisis. The press called this “holding the government hostage.” The House – backed by the Senate – said that it would shut the government down at some future date if two basic laws were not changed.

    • Nobel Laureate Stiglitz Blocked From SEC Panel After Faulting High-Speed Traders

      Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate economist who called for a tax on high-frequency trading, has been blocked from a government panel that will advise regulators on issues facing U.S. equity markets, according to people familiar with the matter.

      Stiglitz’s rejection shows the partisan infighting that has bogged down Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White’s plan to set up a panel of experts to advise the agency on topics ranging from rapid-fire stock trading to dark pools.

    • Inequality and the American Child

      Children, it has long been recognized, are a special group. They do not choose their parents, let alone the broader conditions into which they are born. They do not have the same abilities as adults to protect or care for themselves. That is why the League of Nations approved the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child in 1924, and why the international community adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

    • Authoritarianism, Class Warfare and the Advance of Neoliberal Austerity Policies

      Right-wing calls for austerity suggest more than a market-driven desire to punish the poor, working class and middle class by distributing wealth upwards to the 1%. They also point to a politics of disposability in which the social provisions, public spheres and institutions that nourish democratic values and social relations are being dismantled, including public and higher education. Neoliberal austerity policies embody an ideology that produces both zones of abandonment and forms of social and civil death while also infusing society with a culture of increasing hardship. It also makes clear that the weapons of class warfare do not reside only in oppressive modes of state terrorism such as the militarization of the police, but also in policies that inflict misery, immiseration and suffering on the vast majority of the population.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Inside Putin’s Information War

      There were more than 20 of us sitting around the long conference table: tanned broadcasters in white silk shirts, politics professors with sweaty beards and heavy breath, ad execs in trainers—and me. There were no women. Everyone was smoking. There was so much smoke it made my skin itch.

    • O’Reilly Hosts Former KKK Leader David Duke To Defend GOP Rep. For Speaking To White Supremacist Group

      Bill O’Reilly interviewed former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke about GOP Rep. Steve Scalise’s address to a white supremacist group in a segment Duke turned into a bizarre defense of his reputation.

      Scalise, who has a leadership position in the GOP as the House Majority Whip, has apologized for speaking to a white supremacist conference in 2002. Conservative media are divided on whether Scalise is a victim of the media, or made a mistake serious enough for him to resign his leadership post.

    • Web Journalist Who Broke Scalise Scandal: “I Knew It Was A Bombshell”

      “It was reassuring to me that this story became national and became international. It just demonstrates that America has very little patience for any politician that would associate with white nationalists and would speak in front of their conference,” he said. “What I was really blown away by was the respect the mainstream media afforded me … I thought that was really, for me as an independent journalist, it was really reassuring.”

  • Censorship

    • With Power of Social Media Growing, Police Now Monitoring and Criminalizing Online Speech

      The following day, Ahmed was arrested and “charged with a racially aggravated public order offense.” The police spokesman explained that “he didn’t make his point very well and that is why he has landed himself in bother.” The state proceeded to prosecute him, and in October of that year, he was convicted “of sending a grossly offensive communication,” fined and sentenced to 240 hours of community service.

    • Writers in “free” countries are chilled by government surveillance, study finds

      So says PEN America, which today released the results of a survey conducted in the fall of 2014, asking writers worldwide how their freedom of expression has been impacted by NSA surveillance. Perhaps most significantly, the survey results show that writers in countries designated “free” by the organization Freedom House are at least as worried—and in some cases, more worried—about government surveillance than writers in “non-free” countries. 75% of respondents from “free” countries told PEN they were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about government surveillance.

    • Writers Say They Feel Censored by Surveillance

      A survey of writers around the world by the PEN American Center has found that a significant majority said they were deeply concerned with government surveillance, with many reporting that they have avoided, or have considered avoiding, controversial topics in their work or in personal communications as a result.

    • Intel closes its Russian developer forums to escape Kremlin censorship

      Intel, the latest American tech firm to fall into the Kremlin’s crosshairs, closed the site and redirected users to its sites hosted outside of Russia, along with third-party forums hosting Intel discussions. The news follows a December decision by the Russian government to block GitHub after developers posted politicized code on the site.

  • Privacy

    • Let’s Encrypt (the Entire Web): 2014 in Review

      Last month we were very pleased to announce our work with Mozilla, the University of Michigan, Cisco, Akamai and IdentTust on Let’s Encrypt, a totally free and automated certificate authority that will be launching in summer 2015. In order to let mainstream browsers seamlessly connect securely to your web site, you need a digital certificate. Next year, we’ll provide you with that certificate at no charge, and, if you choose, our software will install it on your server in less than a minute. We’ve been pursuing the ideas that turned into Let’s Encrypt for three years, so it was a great pleasure to be able to share what we’ve been working on with the world.

    • The NSA’s Funny Numbers, Again

      While it appears NSA managed to give IOB (completely redacted) numbers for the files involved, it appears PCLOB never got a clear count of how many were involved. It’s not clear that NSA ever admitted this data may have gotten mixed in with Stellar Wind data. No one seems to care that this was a double violation, because techs are supposed to destroy data when they’re done with it.

      Though, if you ask me, you should wait to figure out why so many records were lying around a tech server before you destroy them all. But I’m kind of touchy that way.

      One thing I realize is consistent between the internal audit and the IOB report. The NSA, probably the owner of the most powerful computing power in the world, consistently uses the term “glitch” to describe software that doesn’t do what it is designed to to keep people out of data they’re not supposed to have access to.

    • The Government Spent a Lot of Time in Court Defending NSA Spying Last Year: 2014 in Review

      EFF continued litigation in our mass spying cases Jewel v. NSA for several spying methods and First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA for the mass telephone records collection. We also joined the legal team in Smith v. Obama when the case went to the Ninth Circuit on appeal, and joined Klayman v. Obama and ACLU v. Clapper as amici. Finally, we sued the Department of Justice for failing to respond to multiple Freedom of Information Act requests.

    • Protesters: The FBI is probably spying on your phone, and no, they didn’t get a warrant for that

      The FBI assures lawmakers that they obtain warrants to use controversial cell-site simulators, otherwise known as stingrays—except when they don’t, which is pretty much always, according to information obtained by Senators Leahy and Grassley.

    • Months later, key details about StingRay non-disclosures yet to be disclosed

      It’s been months since we learned of the seemingly compulsory non-disclosure agreement that the FBI hands police eager to use cell phone tracking equipment. But we still know precious little about which departments nationwide aren’t allowed to tell us what about their StingRays.

    • Writers in ‘Free’ Countries Now Share Surveillance Concerns With ‘Not-Free’ Brethren

      Writers living in liberal democracies are now nearly as worried about the government watching them as their colleagues in countries that have long histories of internal spying, according to an international survey conducted by PEN, a literary and human rights organization.

      Brave writers have historically stood up to even the gravest threats from authoritarian regimes. Conversely, there have always been some who willingly censor themselves.

    • FBI says search warrants not needed to use “stingrays” in public places

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking the position that court warrants are not required when deploying cell-site simulators in public places. Nicknamed “stingrays,” the devices are decoy cell towers that capture locations and identities of mobile phone users and can intercept calls and texts.

      The FBI made its position known during private briefings with staff members of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). In response, the two lawmakers wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, maintaining they were “concerned about whether the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have adequately considered the privacy interests” of Americans.

    • How Britain Exported Next-Generation Surveillance

      IT WAS A COOL, QUIET MONDAY EVENING in northeast England when the computer first told them about Peter Chapman. The clock read a little after five, and two officers from Cleveland police were cruising in their patrol car. A screen lit up next to them: the on-board computer was flashing an alert from the local police network. The message told them the target was a blue Ford Mondeo and gave them its registration number.

      It was only a few minutes before they came across the car and pulled it over with a sounding of their siren. Inside was Chapman, a 33-year-old convict wanted for questioning in connection with a string of offences, including arson and theft. The officers verified his identity and took him to a station just a few miles away.

      At 5:07 p.m. on October 26, 2009, just 20 minutes before he was arrested, Chapman had driven past an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera stationed next to the road. As his car passed, the camera recorded its registration number, together with the time and location, and sent the information to Cleveland Police’s internal computer network, where it was checked against a hotlist downloaded from Britain’s central police database.

    • Total online privacy

      Protect your privacy and your personal information from advertisers, doxxers and anyone you may feel threatened by

    • Privacy Not Included

      So, to help you navigate your way round this privacy jungle, we have created a simple 10 step guide to the little things you can do to help you stay safe and private. After all there’s no need to spoil a beautiful tech friendship before it’s even begun.

    • New Threat to Openness in the EU: Trade Secrets Directive

      Putting all that together, and it’s hard not to see these moves as part of a concerted, global action to make the protection of trade secrets much stronger, and to create new “rights” for companies, which can be used against openness in all its forms. That’s worrying, and swims against the prevailing historical current for more, not less, openness. We must resist it wherever it appears, lest it starts to roll back some of the hard-won gains of recent years – not just for areas like open data and open science, but even for open source itself.

    • Global Moves To Give Corporations Yet More Legal Weapons By Strengthening Laws Protecting Trade Secrets

      Techdirt often discusses the problems with intellectual monopolies such as copyrights, patents and trademarks. These grant powers to exclude others from using something — creative works, inventions, words and phrases. Increasingly, they create dense thickets of obligatory permissions that make it hard or even impossible for others to build on pre-existing work. That may serve the purposes of the monopolist, but is frequently to the detriment of society. Despite the fact that the enforcement options available to holders of such intellectual monopolies have been repeatedly and disproportionately strengthened in recent years, it seems that too much is never enough: there is now a move to boost another kind of monopoly right, that of trade secrets.

    • EFF: Law enforcement ‘desperately’ trying to hide use of surveillance cell towers

      Law enforcement organizations around the country are desperate to keep the public unaware of the use of Stringrays, a surveillance technology that secretly monitors cell phones, even as courts and lawmakers are starting to fight back.

      That’s the conclusion of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which tallied up a year’s worth of public records requests by American media organizations, as well as court and legislative actions, related to the government’s use of the technology, also known as IMSI catchers.

    • Of Course 23andMe’s Plan Has Been to Sell Your Genetic Data All Along

      Today, 23andMe announced what Forbes reports is only the first of ten deals with big biotech companies: Genentech will pay up to $60 million for access to 23andMe’s data to study Parkinson’s. You think 23andMe was about selling fun DNA spit tests for $99 a pop? Nope, it’s been about selling your data all along.

      Since 23andMe started in 2006, it’s convinced 800,000 customers to hand over their DNA, one vial of spit at a time. Personal DNA reports are the consumer-facing side of the business, and that’s the one we’re most familiar with. It all seems friendly and fun with a candy-colored logo and quirky reports that include the genetic variant for asparagus pee.

    • Court Asked Why There’s No Expectation Of Privacy In Cell Location Data, But An Expectation Of Privacy In The Cellphone Itself

      The government continues to argue that the Third Party Doctrine trumps the Fourth Amendment. Almost any “business record” created intentionally or inadvertently can be had by the government without a warrant. Even if the citizen in question has no ability to control what’s collected by third parties (without forgoing the service entirely) or is completely unaware that it’s happening, the government claims records of this type have no expectation of privacy.

  • Civil Rights

    • White Man Publishes Book! USA Today Mistakes This for News

      A collection of short stories published by entertainment lawyer Kevin Morris makes the front page of USA Today’s Money section (1/4/15). Why? The startling thing about the book, according to USA Today media writer Michael Wolff, is that it deals with “one of the least-popular media subjects, middle-aged white men.”

      Yes, “White Men Have Stories to Tell, Too,” as the headline of Wolff’s column declares.

      You might think that if you wrote about media for a living, you would notice that publishers mostly publish, and newspapers mostly review, books written by white men.

    • Senator Dianne Feinstein Proposes Legislation to Make Torture Extra Illegal

      There are already laws on the books in the US that prohibit the use of torture. But after the Senate Intelligence Committee released a summary last month of its 6,700-page torture report that revealed the CIA subjected some detainees it captured after 9/11 to “rectal rehydration” and “ice water baths,” the outgoing Democratic chairwoman of the committee said she will introduce legislation and call for a series of executive actions to ensure the US government never does it again.

    • Feinstein, after release of CIA report, urges measures to ban ‘abusive’ interrogations

      The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said she will seek to make “abusive” interrogation measures illegal and ban the CIA from holding prisoners under a series of measures shaped by the findings of a report released last month on the agency’s treatment of detainees after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    • The Path to Closing Guantánamo

      The reasons for closing Guantánamo are more compelling than ever. As a high-ranking security official from one of our staunchest allies on counterterrorism (not from Europe) once told me, “The greatest single action the United States can take to fight terrorism is to close Guantánamo.” I have seen firsthand the way in which Guantánamo frays and damages vitally important security relationships with countries around the world. The eye-popping cost — around $3 million per detainee last year, compared with roughly $75,000 at a “supermax” prison in the United States — drains vital resources.

    • Let’s All Do Something Useful Today: Write to Manning and Kiriakou

      Prison sucks. Being in prison because you blew the whistle on our government sucks harder. Getting a letter makes it suck less.

      So if you want to do something good today, write a short letter to one of these guys. It need not be anything more than good wishes, or just introducing yourself as a supporter (if you can’t say anything nice, go post your bile somewhere else).

    • From Drone Strikes to Black Sites, How U.S. Foreign Policy Runs Under a Cloak of Secrecy

      At least nine Pakistanis were killed Sunday in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, the first reported drone strike of 2015. News accounts of the strike are based on unnamed Pakistani government and security officials. The Obama administration has said nothing so far. For years, the United States did not even publicly acknowledge the existence of the drone strikes. The drone program is just one example of the national security state’s reliance on secret operations. The recent Senate Intelligence Committee report revealed another example: the shadowy network of overseas CIA black sites where the United States held and tortured prisoners. The report also noted the CIA shrouded itself in a cloak of secrecy keeping policymakers largely in the dark about the brutality of its detainee interrogations. The agency reportedly deceived the White House, the National Security Council, the Justice Department and Congress about the efficacy of its controversial interrogation techniques. We are joined by a guest who has closely followed the debate over national security and secrecy: Scott Horton, a human rights attorney and contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine, whose new book is “Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy.”

    • In Defense of a CIA Whistleblower

      The trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, set to begin in mid-January, is shaping up as a major battle in the U.S. government’s siege against whistleblowing. With its use of the Espionage Act to intimidate and prosecute people for leaks in “national security” realms, the Obama administration is determined to keep hiding important facts that the public has a vital right to know.

      After fleeting coverage of Sterling’s indictment four years ago, news media have done little to illuminate his case – while occasionally reporting on the refusal of New York Times reporter James Risen to testify about whether Sterling was a source for his 2006 book State of War.

    • NYT Reporter Questioned at Hearing in CIA Leak Case

      It is not entirely clear how Risen’s stance affects the government’s case. The government possesses email and phone records that show extensive contact between Sterling and Risen. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema has previously suggested the government could rely on those records to establish what it needs without compelling Risen’s testimony.

    • Times Reporter Says He Won’t Testify as CIA Leak Trial Looms

      According to government lawyers, Holder authorized prosecutors to seek Risen’s testimony on three topics: that he has an unbreakable confidentiality agreement with his source for the ninth chapter of his book, that he wrote the chapter and two newspaper articles based on information from the source and that he previously had a non-confidential reporter-source relationship with Sterling.

    • Defiant on Witness Stand, Times Reporter Says Little

      After losing a seven-year legal battle, James Risen, a reporter for The New York Times, reluctantly took the witness stand in federal court here on Monday, but refused to answer any questions that could help the Justice Department identify his confidential sources.

      Mr. Risen said he would not say anything to help prosecutors bolster their case against Jeffrey A. Sterling, a former C.I.A. officer who is set to go on trial soon on charges of providing classified information to Mr. Risen for his 2006 book, “State of War.”

      [...]

      Judge Brinkema did not indicate how she would respond to such a request, and she said little during Mr. Risen’s testimony. She stepped in, however, when Mr. Risen posed questions of Mr. MacMahon and later Mr. Trump.

      “It doesn’t work that way,” Judge Brinkema said. “You can’t ask him questions. That’s the reporter in you.”

      Mr. Sterling’s trial is scheduled to begin next Monday. Prosecutors gave no indication in court whether, in light of Mr. Risen’s testimony Monday, they planned to call him as a witness.

    • NYT’s James Risen pushes back in hearing on leaks

      The Obama administration’s plan to defuse a First Amendment showdown with a New York Times reporter over his confidential sources was nearly derailed at a court hearing Monday when the journalist rebuffed a series of questions concerning his reporting.

      But he eventually agreed to answer some of the queries, allowing the at-times tense session to get back on track and avoiding for now a major confrontation over press freedom.

    • During Pretrial Hearing, Journalist James Risen Refuses to Help US Government with Leak Case

      New York Times journalist James Risen testified in a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia, during a pretrial hearing in a leak case against former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. The hearing was held so US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema could determine what questions Risen would have to answer at trial as a subpoenaed witness.

      The former CIA officer is alleged to have given information to Risen on a classified program that the government claims was “intended to impede Iran’s efforts to acquire or develop nuclear weapons,” which Risen later published in his book, State of War. He is charged with committing ten felonies, seven of which fall under the Espionage Act. A trial is currently scheduled to begin in the middle of this month.

    • Risen Testifies at Sterling Pre-Trial Hearing

      James Risen sat alone in the far corner of the expansive hallway outside the courtroom. It was a fitting beginning for a day in which he seemed alone, even apart from his lawyers.

      [...]

      However, Risen had made clear before — and repeated today — that he would not reveal who his confidential source or sources were, and in the end no one actually asked that question.

    • Special Prostitution Courts and the Myth of ‘Rescuing’ Sex Workers

      Police took special advantage of sex workers with addiction issues. “If you’re one of those girls who’s begging, crying, and doesn’t want to go to jail,” Love told me, some officers will offer freedom in exchange for sex. But it’s always, said Love, “a deal with the Devil.” Afterward, cops will keep shaking you down—for information, easy arrests, or more sex.

      What would otherwise be called rape at gunpoint is, because the victims are sex workers, given the euphemism “sexual favors.”

    • Antonin Scalia: Torture’s Not Torture Unless He Says It Is

      Perhaps, as Justice Scalia told a Swiss university audience earlier this month, it is indeed “very facile” for Americans to declare that “torture is terrible.” The justice posited to his listeners a classic ticking-time-bomb scenario—this one involving “a person that you know for sure knows the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in Los Angeles and will kill millions of people”—and asked, “You think it’s clear that you cannot use extreme measures to get that information out of that person?” Now, I didn’t see that episode of 24, but I have read my Bill of Rights, and I’m far more inclined to align myself here with James Madison than with Jack Bauer—or with Antonin Scalia.

    • Exclusive: CIA says its inspector general is resigning at end of month

      The agency said in a statement that Buckley, who has served as the agency’s internal watchdog for more than four years, was leaving the agency to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector.”

    • No Impunity for Torturers [Updated]

      In a post called “The Torture Report is Only the First Step,” Harold Koh observed on Friday that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s account of the CIA’s interrogation and detention program should be “more than enough to reopen investigations at the Justice Department to see whether prosecutions are warranted.” Ken Roth, who leads Human Rights Watch, made the same point in a piece published by the Washington Post over the weekend.

    • Shifting Politics on the Death Penalty

      In January 1992, Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, left the presidential campaign trail to fly home for the execution of a man named Ricky Ray Rector. Mr. Clinton’s decision not to grant clemency to Mr. Rector, who had been sentenced to death for killing a police officer, was widely seen as an attempt to fend off the familiar charge that Democrats were soft on crime.

      On Dec. 31, Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, whose name has been mentioned among potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidates, commuted the sentences of the last four inmates on the state’s death row.

      Maryland abolished the death penalty in 2013, but only for new sentences. In resentencing the condemned men to life without parole, Mr. O’Malley said that leaving their death sentences in place would “not serve the public good of the people of Maryland — present or future.”

    • Has the US Constitution Been Lost to Military Rule?

      Furthermore, according to Delahunty and Yoo, terrorists operate within the continental United States and “conceal themselves within the domestic society and economy,” which makes it difficult to identify them. By this logic, everyone is now “suspect.” Furthermore, they wrote, 9/11 created a situation “in which the battlefield has occurred, and may occur, at dispersed locations and intervals within the American homeland itself. As a result, efforts to fight terrorism may require not only the usual wartime regulations of domestic affairs, but also military actions that have normally occurred abroad.”

    • It’s time to abolish the CIA

      The CIA should be abolished.

      After a trial run of 67 years, the agency has proven a sorcerer’s apprentice. The director and his subordinates have became insufferably arrogant Platonic Guardians hiding behind secrecy in the belief that the rest of us are too stupid or naive to judge what risks to accept to preserve liberty and the rule of law. The CIA has made Americans less safe.

      Its incorrigible anti-democratic ethos was epitomized by legendary chief of counterintelligence James J. Angleton. He voiced contempt for the Church Committee’s investigation of chronic agency abuses, i.e., the “Family Jewels.” As reported in The New York Times, Angleton likened the CIA to a medieval city occupied by an invading army, i.e., the Congress of the United States. To the same effect, Director William J. Casey told Church Committee investigator Loch K. Johnson that the congressional role was to “stay the [expletive] out of my business.”

    • BAE Releases Social Media, Open Source Analysis Tool to Stop Data Leaks
    • Unarmed Montana Man Told to Raise Hands Before Officer Fired

      An unarmed man killed by a Montana police officer during a traffic stop was told repeatedly to raise his hands before the officer shot him three times, according to video footage shown Tuesday during an inquest into the shooting.

    • Let’s abolish West Point: Military academies serve no one, squander millions of tax dollars

      Many pundits have suggested that the Republicans’ midterm gains were fueled by discontent not merely with the president or with the (improving) state of the economy, but with government in general and the need to fund its programs with taxes. Indeed, the Republican Party of recent decades, inspired by Ronald Reagan’s exhortation to “starve the [government] beast,” has been anti-tax and anti-government. Government programs, as many of their thinkers note, primarily exist to perpetuate their own existence. At the very least, they have to justify that existence.

  • DRM

    • Kindle sales have ‘disappeared’, says UK’s largest book retailer

      Waterstones has admitted that sales of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader had “disappeared” after seeing higher demand for physical books.

      The UK’s largest book retailing chain, which teamed up with Amazon in 2012 to sell the Kindle in its stores, saw sales of physical books rise 5pc in December, at the expense of the popular e-reader.

      Kindle sales had “disappeared to all intents and purposes”, Waterstones said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cornish pasty ‘threatened by EU-US trade deal’

      German agriculture minister warns that laws protecting regional foods – such as Germany’s Black Forest Ham – may be at risk under a transatlantic trade agreement

    • Copyrights

      • Arrr: The only Pirate in European Parliament to weigh in on copyright

        As speculation and arguments mount over proposed EU copyright legislation, the Pirate Party MEP will publish her report on the matter on 19 January.

        Julia Reda, currently the only Pirate in the European Parliament, has been made “rapporteur” on the implementation of the previous directive on the so-called 2001 Infosoc Directive.

        Collecting societies, publishers and artists have likened this to putting the wolf in charge of the sheep. If we accept the analogy, it’s probably a lot like asking the wolf’s opinion on how the shepherd has been doing and then taking that into account when telling the shepherd what to do next.

      • Pirate Party: ‘We are literally rewriting EU copyright law’

        Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda is leading the revision of the EU’s Copyright Directive — a significant milestone for the self-described internet-freedom movement.

      • All Of These Works Should Be In The Public Domain, But Aren’t

        Every year for the past few years, the good folks at Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain have put up a list of works that should have gone into the public domain on January 1st had Congress not massively expanded the law. Each year, it’s a depressing look at what works should be in the public domain. As a reminder, when these works were created, the creators knew the terms under which they were created and knew that they would have gone into the public domain by now — and they found that to be more than enough incentive to create those works. Given that, it makes absolutely no sense that these works are not in the public domain. The latest list has many, many examples of classic works that should be in the public domain.

01.06.15

Links 6/1/2015: Linux 3.19 RC3, Plasma 5.2 Beta Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 6:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Users Are Going Crazy About Circle Icons, Might Become a Regular Thing

    Linux systems are evolving all the time and the users are always looking for ways to enhance their experience. Right now, the trend indicates that more and more desktops are being adorned with circle icons.

  • Developer Issues Bogus Takedowns Against Cup Of Linux YouTube Channel In Retaliation For Being Banned For Abusive Behavior

    The backstory: the Cup of Linux YouTube channel handles all things Linux, including coverage of distributions and how-to guides for new users. One Linux developer, Antoni Norman, is the main force behind the Pinguy OS Linux/Ubuntu hybrid. Over the years, he’s been a valuable contributor to the Linux community, including the one centered around Cup of Linux. Also, over the years, Shawn Patrick Ryan (“Spatry”) has covered Pinguy OS releases in a number of YouTube videos. So far, so good.

  • Desktop

    • Idea – A Novice Approach To Linux On The Laptop

      So if you have a slow XP computer. You can turn off the internet to Windows for safety and run your attachable Linux device on your laptop.

      Here you have a safe way to upgrade your laptop system and an easy way to run Linux on your laptop. Just attach a USB stick.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.2 Beta Is Being Tagged This Week

        The beta for the upcoming Plasma 5.2 desktop shell is being tagged on Thursday.

        Plasma 5.2 Beta is being tagged on Thursday so this is the last chance for merging any features or artwork ahead of this quarterly update to Plasma 5. As long as the tagging is done on Thursday, KDE Plasma 5.2 Beta (v5.195) should be officially released on 13 January. The plan is to then tag the official 5.2.0 release on 22 January and to officially release Plasma 5.2 on 27 January, per the Plasma 5 schedule.

      • A Guide for Krita Users

        One of our long-standing contributors, Timothée Giet, is working on some new training material as part of his work teaching Krita at Activ Design!

      • Plasma 5.2 Beta Coming

        The Plamsa 5.2 beta will be tagged on Thursday this week. If you have any pending features or changes that are going to affect artwork or strings that should be in the release please make sure they get merged ASAP.

      • [Krita] Cumulative Undo/Redo :More than one stroke at a time

        The last feature I did for Krita was to implement a Cumulative Undo/Redo feature. Since its been almost 3 months since my last contribution to Krita — I thought this was the one of the very first things I had to do from a rather clogged pipeline.

      • [Krita] Project Activity in Bug Reports

        Sven Langkamp recently mentiond that Krita had crept up to second place in the list of projects with most new bugs opened in bugzilla in a year. So I decided play around a litte, while Krita is building.

        Bugzilla has a nice little report that can show the top X projects with open bugs for certain periods. Krita never is in the default top 20, because other KDE projects always have more open bugs. But let’s take the top 100 of KDE projects with open bugs sort the data a bit and then make top 10 lists from the other columns.

    • GNOvktop/GTK

      • Linus Torvalds Says GNOME Terminal on Fedora 21 Is Using “Emo” Mode

        Linus Torvalds is not one to shy away from saying what he thinks and he apparently doesn’t have a too good opinion on what the terminal app looks like by default in the latest Fedora 21.

      • GNOME gets Foursquare integration

        If you were reading my GSoC 2014 reports, you surely remember that I was working on integrating GNOME Maps with social networks, so you can share the place you are in Facebook and Foursquare (and Twitter if you enable an option in Maps!). This surely is not going to be an everyday feature, but I learned a lot during its development (and during the whole GSoC).

  • Distributions

    • ZevenOS 6.0 “Goodbye Edition” Is the Last One for a Long Time

      ZevenOS, a Linux operating system with software optimized for slower computers and with elements of BeOS based on Xubuntu, has just reached version 6.0.

    • Hel-lo Makulu and Goodbye Zeven

      Today in Linux news, ZevenOS has decided to rest on Ubuntu’s laurels. Jamie Watson says Makulu 7 Xfce is the most beautiful distro he’s ever seen and Dedoimedo says Elementary 0.3 is “purrty.” The Korora project released version 21 Beta and Derrik Diener highlights the top five Arch derivatives. And finally today, we have a year-end Linux recap and another Linus quote is ruffling feathers.

    • Linux in 2015: Distros on Tap

      2014 was a unique year for Linux in that Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu all had Enterprise (or Long Term Support/LTS releases as Ubuntu refers to them) releases. There will be no major enterprise Linux platform milestones in 2015, but there will be plenty of updates for enterprise and community Linux.

    • Big Year for Enterprise Linux Distros Includes Major Updates

      Particularly strong for enterprise Linux, 2014 offered a rare confluence of release timing calendars. The three major enterprise Linux vendors delivered milestone updates in 2014. On April 17, Ubuntu 14.04, code-named Trusty Tahr, was released as a long-term support (LTS) version of Ubuntu. (Ubuntu issues new LTS releases every two years; each LTS has up to five years of support.) Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL) came out June 10, marking the first major RHEL update for Red Hat since 2010. Red Hat supports its enterprise releases for 10 years. On Oct. 27, SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 was released, marking the first major update to SUSE’s flagship enterprise Linux platform since 2009. Big enterprise Linux releases were not the only updates during the year, Red Hat’s Fedora community Linux distribution delivered Fedora 21 Dec. 9, providing server-, cloud- and workstation-focused editions. Ubuntu 14.10, code-named the Utopic Unicorn, which debuted Oct. 23, provides new big data capabilities. Also out in 2014, Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) 1.0 Linux distribution provides a new privacy-focused OS choice. In this slide show, eWEEK looks back at key Linux events of 2014.

    • The building blocks of a distribution with Linux from Scratch

      There is a very, very large number of Linux distributions. Each distribution is built using the same basic building blocks but the end results are always different. The choices made by the distribution developers turn the building blocks into finished structures designed to meet a variety of needs—desktop, server, or some other specialized usage.

    • NixOS and Stateless Deployment

      If I had my way, I would never deploy or administer a linux server that isn’t running NixOS.

      I’m not exactly a prolific sysadmin – in my time, I’ve set up and administered servers numbering in the low tens. And yet every single time, it’s awful.

    • Reviews

      • elementary OS 0.3 Freya beta review

        This happens to be one of them distros what mystifies me, good and bad. On one hand, it seems to be very popular, if you look at the Distrowatch rank listing, or consult my best distro of the year vote readers’ choice section, where a rather handsome portion of the audience chose elementary as their favorite spin. It’s only officially at version 0.2, the last stable release was unleashed unto the nerdy crowds some 16 months back, and the latest beta is still only at version 0.3, and taking its time.

        Neither the first nor the second dot oh something release managed to impress me. The desktop environment was pretty and cool, but the overall composition was quite buggy. And this brings me to the other hand of the argument. I kind of want to review it again, despite all of the above. Testing 0.3 Freya, beta. Here we go.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2014.12 MATE screenshot tour

        PCLinuxOS 2014.12 has been released, so it’s time for another screenshot tour. I toyed with the idea of doing a full review on Desktop Linux Reviews, but the next release of PCLinuxOS should have some major changes so I’m holding off until that is available to review. In the meantime, you can get a good look at PCLinuxOS 2014.12 MATE in the screenshots below.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro 0.8.11 Gets Its Fourth Update Pack and All the Latest Kernels

        Manjaro 0.8.11 was made available only a month ago and its makers have already released four upgrade packs. Even if this seems like they have a lot to fix, that’s not actually true. In fact, these packs bring some important upgrades for a number of important components, like the Linux kernel for example.

      • Top 5 Arch Linux Derivatives

        Arch Linux is very unique. Unlike most Linux distributions, it does not have an official live disc. When you boot it up, you’ll be greeted with a terminal. For some people this is fine. In fact, they prefer it. Arch gives you the freedom to sit down and make a Linux install yourself, one that you’ve made with your own two hands. It’s a good time, and that’s great, if you like that sort of thing.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s OpenStack Tech Leadership Discusses Cloud Direction

        Red Hat has multiple products within its Infrastructure division, including the CloudForms management solution and the OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service product. McLoughlin noted that OpenStack is a key part of a broader portfolio but still stands on its own as well.

        “You can build a cloud with the individual projects, but if you build a cloud with the entire portfolio, you get a whole lot more value out of it,” McLoughlin said.

        In terms of the continued development and expansion of OpenStack services, there are a number of new capabilities that are underway, including the Manila shared filed system service. Work is also ongoing for the Zaqar messaging service.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Google Cloud offers streamlined Ubuntu for Docker use
          • Ubuntu Touch Is 2014′s Most Important Linux Distro

            2014 has been a very interesting year with a ton of major releases, but one in particular really stands out, Ubuntu Touch. It’s not yet available in stores and it’s not “really” ready, but it’s the one that registered the most progress.

          • NVIDIA CEO Using Ubuntu for Presentations at CES 2015 – Video

            The CES 2015 conference is in full swing and most of the bigger companies have already made their announcements, including NVIDIA. Some of their presentations have been done using an Ubuntu system, as you can see in the video below.

          • Ubuntu Make 0.4 Released With Go Support, New Game Category

            Ubuntu Make, formerly known as Ubuntu Developer Tools Center, has been updated to version 0.4, bringing Go support as well as a new game category.

            For those not familiar with Ubuntu Make, this is a command line tool created by Canonical, which allows developers to install various development tools / IDEs. Initially, the tool targeted Android developers, making it easy to install Android Studio in Ubuntu. Later, Ubuntu Make also got support for Pycharm, Eclipse and intellij IDEA.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Pearl Linux 1.5 Is a Pear OS Clone and Now It Has a 64-bit Version

              Pearl Linux was released a couple of months ago as a natural successor of the much more famous Pear OS, which disappeared mysteriously. Now, the 64-bit edition has been released as well.

            • elementary OS 0.3 Freya beta review

              This happens to be one of them distros what mystifies me, good and bad. On one hand, it seems to be very popular, if you look at the Distrowatch rank listing, or consult my best distro of the year vote readers’ choice section, where a rather handsome portion of the audience chose elementary as their favorite spin. It’s only officially at version 0.2, the last stable release was unleashed unto the nerdy crowds some 16 months back, and the latest beta is still only at version 0.3, and taking its time.

              Neither the first nor the second dot oh something release managed to impress me. The desktop environment was pretty and cool, but the overall composition was quite buggy. And this brings me to the other hand of the argument. I kind of want to review it again, despite all of the above. Testing 0.3 Freya, beta. Here we go.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • A World of Possibilities for Open Source

    Ten years ago we started with the (immodest?) goal of bringing open source to enterprise software. Today, there are even greater opportunities for open source — not just in software, but as a fundamental force for positive change in the world.

  • Unlock the code, release the future

    Open Source is a key framework to enable the prolonged development and delivery of ARTIST tools to help companies transition to modern platforms, like the cloud. We support businesses on this journey from the start, in assessment and reducing risk, to implementation and reducing cost. ARTIST tools are developed following open standards and in many cases reusing existing open source components. Therefore, all project results are delivered under an open source license, with the exception of a few consultancy tools whose source code is not provided, but which are nonetheless free to use. Links to the source code, licensing information, supporting documentation and demonstration videos are included for each entry.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Why Google Chrome Switched To The Clang Compiler On Linux

        The two main reasons for switching over to Clang as the default Linux compiler for Chrome came down to many Chromium developers already were using Clang on Linux and they wanted to use modern C++ features in Chromium. Google found it easier on Linux systems to switch to Clang for tapping newer C++ features rather than upgrading GCC on their systems from GCC 4.6 to GCC 4.8~4.9.

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Citrix, Apache and Others Still Committed to CloudStack

      In case you were wondering about recent reports of the demise of CloudStack, the folks at Citrix are remaining adamant that the cloud computing platform is healthy and in use at lots of notable organizations. In fact, at the recent CloudStack Collaboration Conference in Budapest, Autodesk, China Telecom, Dell, Walt Disney, and Huawei were all reported among active users of the platform.

  • Databases

  • Funding

    • Blue Box Gets $4 Million in Private Cloud Funding, Mystery Investor

      Blue Box, which offers private cloud services based on OpenStack to big companies including Viacom has just announced a new round of $4 million in funding on top of the $10 million the company raised late last year. And, as Silicon Angle notes, some of the funding comes from an unnamed telco: “The latest $4 million leg saw an unnamed US telco come aboard as the second strategic investor in the startup, triggering speculation about which carrier would throw its weight behind an OpenStack hosting provider.”

    • Mystery telco leads $14M round for OpenStack hosting provider Blue Box

      Private cloud hosting provider Blue Box Inc. has completed its second financing round three months after securing the first infusion to bump its net funding past the $33 million mark. The latest $4 million leg saw an unnamed US telco come aboard as the second strategic investor in the startup, triggering speculation about which carrier would throw its weight behind an OpenStack hosting provider.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Quebec government writes 3 open source licences

      The government of the Canadian province of Quebec is finalising three open source licences to make it easier for provincial public administrations to share software solutions. The licences should be available in the coming weeks.

  • Licensing

    • An open source mantra: Avoid “no derivatives”

      Bill Fitzgerald runs FunnyMonkey to help educators and students improve accessibility to educational materials. He is an educator, open source developer, and entrepreneur, and I was able to speak with him recently about his work and why it matters. And most importantly, how open source methodology makes all the difference.

      Bill grew up in Connecticut and attended Boston College where he completed undergraduate studies before enrolling at the University of San Francisco where he earned a masters degree in writing. He then taught English and history at public and private schools. And he’s been both a school administrator and a technology director. What you can tell from talking to Bill is that he loves education.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • C++ Filesystem Technical Specification Approved

      ISO TS 18822 is based on the Boost file-system library for offering common functions to perform on file-systems. There’s various functions relating to the reading and manipulation of paths, files, and directories.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • GOP Congress’ First Priority: Yanking Health Insurance From 1.5 Million Americans

      One of the first things House Republicans plan to do after Congress reconvenes Tuesday is vote on a bill that would gut Obamacare—and could deprive up to 1.5 million Americans of their employer-sponsored health insurance. After the GOP-controlled House passes the bill, the newly Republican Senate is likely to pass the measure too. What’s more, President Barack Obama may be forced to sign this legislation if it is attached to a must-pass budget bill later this year.

  • Security

  • Finance

  • Privacy

    • Facebook splashes out on voice recognition company Wit.ai

      THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook has invested in another company, adding a voice recognition software outfit called Wit.ai to its roster.

      No financial details have been revealed, but there is a good chunk of gushing, glowing comment from Wit.ai.

      We learn that Wit.ai does a good thing, has a number of happy users, and expects to carry on doing what it is doing even when under the wing of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

    • The Tale of the Privacy Pink Panther

      Last Friday, on my way home from 31c3, a funny thing happened on my way through Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris: I was required by a security agent to not only power up, but also type in my password to unlock my laptop in order to board my flight.

      One tweet, and about 12 hours of no Wi-Fi later, I landed to find that a lot of people interested in privacy and security had questions about the details of my adventure, so here it is.

      First of all, HackerOne employees don’t ever have access to our customers’ vulnerability reports, therefore there are no exploits stored on my devices, so no customer data was at risk. For more about how we protect vulnerability data, see our own bounty and security page.

  • Civil Rights

    • How Low Income New Yorkers Are Benefiting From The NYPD’s Work Stoppage

      In response to growing tensions between the New York Police Department and the city, police unions encouraged officers last week to not make arrests “unless absolutely necessary,” resulting in a 66 percent drop from the same period last year. While the protests have drawn scrutiny for “squandering the department’s credibility” and leaving the city’s streets virtually unattended, they have also had the unintended effect of benefitting New York’s low income residents who are usually the target of the city’s tough-on-crime practices.

    • Who Should Investigate Police Abuse?

      To date, one serious proposal for reform has emerged. On December 8th, Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, proposed that Governor Andrew Cuomo name him, Schneiderman, as an independent special prosecutor to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute police officers in any situation where they cause the death of a civilian. As Schneiderman noted in his letter to the governor, the proposal seeks to address a real problem. When local district attorneys investigate local police officers, there is an inherent conflict of interest. In virtually all usual circumstances, police and prosecutors are partners, working together to build cases against defendants. This is especially true in a place like Staten Island, where the elected district attorney, Dan Donovan, both works closely with the police and answers to many of them as his constituents. As Schneinderman noted, on the rare occasions when prosecutors investigate the police, even when all parties act with the best of intentions, “the question is whether there is public confidence that justice has been served, especially in cases where homicide or other serious charges against the accused officer are not pursued or are dismissed prior to a jury trial.” Cases, in other words, like those of the officers who killed Brown and Garner. (Cuomo has hedged in response to Schneiderman’s idea, saying that he wants to weigh a full package of reforms.)

      [...]

      Schneiderman’s idea has considerable appeal; his judgment in the Eric Garner case would surely have had more credibility than the one rendered by Donovan. Still, special prosecutors are not necessarily good or bad. Like the locals they replace, they are only as good as the cases they bring, or refrain from bringing. That, ultimately, will rest on the good judgment of the individuals involved, and no one has yet figured out a way of putting the right person in place all the time.

    • Summing Up White Supremacist Ties as ‘Saying Nice Things About an Old Man’

      In December 1998, Lott denied any personal knowledge of the CCC, falsely claiming through a spokesperson that his links to the group amounted to a single speech made over a decade before he’d entered the Senate. In 1992, Sen. Lott praised the CCC as keynote speaker at its national convention; in 1997, he met with top CCC leaders in his Senate office; his column appeared throughout the 1990s in the group’s newsletter, which once published a cheerful photo of Lott and CCC members who were also his close relatives. Lott was also the guest of honor at a 1982 banquet hosted by a Mississippi chapter of the old white Citizens Councils (Extra!, 3-4/99).

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Internet Freedom Expected to Further Decline in 2015

      According to a study from Freedom House, the decline of internet freedom kicked into high-gear in 2014 and is expected to suffer further this year because of opinions derived from 65 nations who have access to the World Wide Web.

    • Republicans will push hard to derail net neutrality in Congress

      The Federal Communications Commission is planning to vote on new network neutrality rules in February, and one of the viable options on the table is re-classifying broadband internet as a type of public utility, like telephone companies. President Obama openly supports that plan, and congressional Republicans are signaling that they will do everything in their power to thwart the FCC if it goes this route, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    • More Than the Internet: Net Neutrality Vote Will Determine Whether Americans Are Citizens First or Consumers First

      The debate on the upcoming net neutrality vote should first address the overarching issue it creates: are we, as Americans, consumers first or citizens first? What are our true values and priorities?

      The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on rules to regulate internet traffic in February. At stake is whether the internet (or, as George W Bush called it, “the internets”) should become a multi-tiered system in which the highest payers get preferential treatment, or whether all users should be treated equally.

      Preferential treatment for the highest bidders would mean priority lanes for faster transmissions and slower lanes for others.

      Yes, we can argue about whether equal access will spur more innovation or whether preferential access for the highest bidders will deliver more and better content, and thus spark innovations of its own.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A Europe Of Treaties?

      If we want a Europe where treaties like ACTA and TPP are the democratic norm, scrap the European parliament. If we want all the change that happens to be done in whatever the post-tobacco equivalent of smoke-filled rooms is, scrap the European Parliament. And, for the benefit of the raving right in the UK, if you want the UK’s primary trading market to be controlled invisibly via undocumented and unaccountable negotiations between the political lackeys of plutocrats, vote for the UK to “leave” the EU.

    • Copyrights

      • Google Asked to Remove 345 Million “Pirate” Links in 2014

        Copyright holders asked Google to remove more than 345,000,000 allegedly infringing links from its search engine in 2014. The staggering number is an increase of 75% compared to the year before. While Google has taken some steps to downrank pirate sites, the rate at which takedown notices are sent continues to rise.

01.05.15

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

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 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.

  • 3 REASONS WHY OPEN SOURCE MEANS BETTER SECURITY

    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.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • 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

Leftovers

  • 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

01.04.15

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

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 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.

Leftovers

  • 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.

01.03.15

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 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.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • 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.

Leftovers

  • 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.

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