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Links 7/2/2015: Manjaro 0.8.12, Korora 21

Posted in News Roundup at 8:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Exclusive: Seafile Founder Daniel Pan Talks About His Open Source Cloud Software

    Cloud has become one of the buzzwords in modern computing; there are so many advantages of cloud that it can’t be ignored. It is becoming an integral part of our IT infrastructure. However cloud poses a serious threat to the ownership of data and raises many privacy-related questions. The best solution is to ‘own’ your cloud, either though an on-premise cloud running in a local network disconnected from the Internet or one running on your own secure server. Seafile is one of the most promising, open source-based cloud projects.

  • Cisco Helping Advance Open Source in Networking

    Last week I was in Italia at the Cisco Live! Milano event where I also had the opportunity to speak about OpenDaylight (ODL) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN). What stood out for me the most during my time there was the tremendous progress being made on technologies that are really disrupting the networking space

    SDN and NFV have been advancing innovation in the networking industry over the past few years, but it’s still early, and not many of the technologies have made it out of the lab and into the networks – until now.

  • Events

    • My first experience at FOSDEM
    • Linux Plumbers Conference call for proposals

      The calls for proposals (CFPs) for Linux Plumbers Conference microconferences and refereed track presentations are now up. The conference will be held August 19-21 in Seattle, WA, co-located (and overlapping one day) with LinuxCon North America.

    • X.Org’s XDC2015 Conference Is Happening In Toronto

      The X.Org Board of Directors have decided on Toronto, Canada as the location for this year’s annual X.Org Developers’ Conference.

    • Wayland/Weston 1.7.0 RC2 Released

      The second release candidates to Wayland 1.7 and the reference Weston compositor is now available.

      Wayland 1.7 RC2 fixes a regression on older systems (Ubuntu 12.04 ea) and a fix for a test failure on systems with the Yama Linux Security Module enabled. Wayland 1.7 RC1 was released last week.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Dip in Hadoop data lake can be bracing for big data users

      Encouraged by the promise of cost savings and better efficiency, early adopters are wading into Hadoop as a central reservoir for their analytics data.

    • 4 Lessons for Every Entrepreneur Creating Big Data Solutions

      I recently taught an MBA course at the University of San Francisco titled the “Big Data MBA.” In working with the students to apply Big Data concepts and techniques to their use cases, I came away with a few observations that could be applied by any entrepreneur.

    • Exclusive: Pivotal CEO says open source Hadoop tech is coming

      Pivotal, the cloud computing spinoff from EMC and VMware that launched in 2013, is preparing to blow up its big data business by open sourcing a whole lot of it.

      Rumors of changes began circulating in November, after CRN reported that Pivotal was in the process of laying off about 60 people, many of which worked on the big data products. The flames were stoked again on Friday by a report in VentureBeat claiming the company might cease development of its Hadoop distribution and/or open source various pieces of its database technology such as Greenplum and HAWQ.

    • Second OpenStack Kilo Milestone Now Available

      Though the open-source OpenStack cloud platform only has two major releases in any given year, each release is preceded by a steady cadence of incremental milestone updates.


    • The Bazaar has become Cathedral

      In recent times Red Hat has proven, through their political maneuvering and control over the GNU/Linux community, the need to rethink the definition of “Software Libre”. The violent and absurd landing of systemd over 99% of the GNU/Linux distributions is proving that it is not enough that the source code of the software is free for users to be free. We have lost the freedom of choice, control, and decisions made on our systems.

      In the times we live is not enough that the source code is released under the GPL license to ensure that software is free. Some years ago, when words GNU and Linux perhaps were known to few, and the companies behind them were not competing for the millions of dollars generated today, perhaps this was true. But today there are other variables at play such as freedom of developers and users.

      Whoever controls the free software developers will be able to control his users. It has become clear that even though the source code is free, if the user loses his ability to choose freely and hasn’t resources (knowledge, time and money) to adapt the code to your needs and/or preferences, ” freedom “is an empty word.

    • RMS Feels There’s “A Systematic Effort To Attack GNU Packages”

      Richard Stallman has come out against support for basic LLVM debugger (LLDB) support within Emacs’ Gud.el as he equates it to an attack on GNU packages.

    • GNU C library version 2.21 released

      The GNU C Library version 2.21 is now available.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Can Open-Source Voting Tech Fix The U.S. Elections System?

      “Our nation’s elections systems and technology are woefully antiquated. They are officially obsolete,” says Greg Miller of the TrustTheVote Project, an initiative to make our voting system accurate, verifiable, transparent, and secure. He adds: “It’s crazy that citizens are using twentieth-century technology to talk to government using twentieth-century technology to respond.”

      Miller and others are on a mission to change that with an entirely new voting infrastructure built on open-source technology. They say open source, a development model that’s publicly accessible and freely licensed, has the power to upend the entire elections technology market, dislodging incumbent voting machine companies and putting the electorate at the helm.

  • Licensing

    • Tips to Consider Before Using Open Source Code

      You’ve found an amazing open source project that you think will enhance your proprietary software. But before you and your team of developers can get to work incorporating someone else’s code into your own product, there are some basic steps that you need to take.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Emulation on the Raspberry Pi 2, Git Game, and more

      This week the team at Raspberry Pi unvieled the Raspberry Pi 2. Its increased horsepower means that emulation of the Nintendo 64 and Playstation 1 are possible, as the Raspberry Pi team shows us with some gameplay footage of Mario Kart 64 and Spyro the Dragon.

    • Risk of the Commons

      Free and Open Source software has revolutionized how the world consumes software. Linux, BSD, httpd, nginx, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and thousands of other software products are consumed voraciously. But almost universally people are only consuming. And generally that’s okay. Sharing is one of the key tenets and strengths – that we are able to freely share code to help our neighbor.


  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Chomsky and Kissinger Agree: Avoid Historic Tragedy in Ukraine

      In other words, Kissinger blames the U.S. and Europe for the current catastrophe in Ukraine. Kissinger does not begin at the point where there is military conflict. He recognizes that the problems in Ukraine began with Europe and the U.S. seeking to lure Ukraine into an alliance with Western powers with promises of economic aid. This led to the demonstrations in Kiev. And, as we learned from Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the U.S. spent $5 billion in building opposition to the government in Ukraine.

    • New allegations renew old questions about Saudi Arabia, 9-11

      For years, some current and former American officials have been urging President Barack Obama to release secret files they say document links between the government of Saudi Arabia and the Sept. 11 attacks.

    • What are Saudi Arabia’s ties to al-Qaeda? Barack Obama to consider releasing secret sections of 9/11 terror inquiry

      Questions over the 28-page section of the congressional report have been raised this week following the deposition of imprisoned former al-Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui in which he claimed major Saudi figures were donors to his group in late 1990s.

      Saudi officials have denied this.

      According to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, US intelligence last year began reevaluating the decision to classify the section following a request from congress, though no timescale for the decision was given.

    • Unauthorized Government Killing by Drones, Bombs, or Other Means Is Still Murder

      Although U.S. drones firing missiles at suspected bad guys in faraway places — such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia — have gotten much publicity in recent years, it was recently revealed that the CIA assassinated top Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mugniyah with a good old-fashioned car bomb in Damascus, Syria with President George W. Bush’s strident approval in 2008. Because of an executive order, signed in 1975 by President Gerald Ford, prohibiting assassinations by the CIA, presidents usually get around that order by using the military to kill an enemy bigwig and then make the disingenuous claim that it was merely taking out a “command and control” target rather than an assassination. In this case, Bush, never one to observe constitutional or legal niceties, became incensed that the CIA director was being too timid in carrying out the hit using the exploding car. The real issue in such cases is not whether it is more dangerous to liberty to kill the enemy using a high-tech drone or a more traditional car bomb, but whether it constitutional to do either.

    • Does latest drone strike on al Shabaab signal change in US tactics in Somalia?

      But despite their vaunted precision, there are reports the latest strike in Somalia, on January 31, killed or injured civilians.

    • Drone strikes kill at least ‘45 militants’ in Somalia

      At least 45 suspected al-Shabaab militants have been killed in drone strikes in Southern Somalia on Saturday, a government official said.

    • US drone kills al-Shabaab commander

      A commander of Islamist militant group al-Shabaab was killed in a US drone attack in Somalia, the East African nation’s National Intelligence and Security Agency said Wednesday.

      “The killed al-Shabaab commander is called Abdinur Mahdi, also known as Yusuf Dheeg,” NISA said in a statement.

      Dheeg, who was killed on Saturday, was in charge of coordinating attacks inside and outside of Somalia, as well as assassinations and suicide bombings, the statement added.

    • Almost 2,500 now killed by covert US drone strikes since Obama inauguration six years ago: The Bureau’s report for January 2015

      At least 2,464 people have now been killed by US drone strikes outside the country’s declared war zones since President Barack Obama’s inauguration six years ago, the Bureau’s latest monthly report reveals.

    • You Never Die Twice. Lack of transparency in the CIA and military drone killings.

      This week Women Against War and members of several other Capital District peace groups joined in a Statewide lobbying initiative of our two Senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, after having to re-schedule our Monday appointments due to the foot of snow and more that fell on the area.

    • Technology, Weapons and the Future

      According to Peter Singer, a Senior Research Fellow at the Brookings Institute, “The first predator drones were used in 1995 during the Balkan conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo. By 2000, the Air Force was developing ways to weaponize predator drones, as they were previously used exclusively in spy missions. When the US started the war in Iraq, back in 2003, there were a handful of drones in the air. By 2010, there were over 5,300 drones operating in Iraqi airspace. Additionally, the US went into Iraq with zero unmanned ground systems. By 2010, there were over 12,000 operating in the combat zone.”

    • Three BBC journalists questioned for using drone in Davos no-fly zone

      Three BBC journalists have been questioned by Swiss police for breaching high-level security protocols by using a drone at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month.

    • Letter: Slow down acceptance of drones

      My fear is that some of the dishonest people in government will abuse drones and push for drone strikes on U.S. soil. Food for thought.

    • US Military Lost $400 Million Worth Of Weapons In Yemen

      It was recently reported that $400 million worth of US military weapons went missing in Yemen over the past several years. The equipment includes helicopters, night-vision gear, surveillance equipment, military radios and airplanes.

    • Pentagon loses track of weaponry sent to Yemen in recent years

      Chaos in the functionally leaderless country has seen Houthi rebels reportedly take control of Yemeni military’s arms depots and bases

    • No, I Will Not Watch American Sniper

      America’s war machine breeds enemies faster than the US can kill them, argues Larry Beck.

    • Blowback: the failure of remote-control warfare

      As Europe still reels from the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks in Paris, something far more profound to Western security is happening largely unnoticed—the failure of remote-control warfare. Open Briefing’s remote-control warfare briefing for January, commissioned by the Remote Control project, identified and analysed several trends, which taken together indicate the tactics and technologies deployed are coming back to haunt those Western powers that have embraced them in recent years.

    • What is a defensive weapon?

      President Obama is being urged to supply Ukraine with “defensive lethal assistance”, which sounds almost like a contradiction in terms. James Morgan asks what people mean by “defensive” weapons – and finds out it’s what a hedgehog has.

      It’s widely believed in the US, and in other Nato countries, that Russia is not only arming the rebels but sending soldiers to fight alongside them, so the pressure is increasing on the White House to ramp up military supplies to the Ukrainian government to help it resist a new offensive.

      Currently the US only provides non-lethal equipment, such as gas masks, night-vision goggles and radar. How much further can it go without escalating the conflict or being seen as an aggressor?

    • Ukraine crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande to fly to Russia: February 5 as it happened

      The leaders of Germany and France fly to Kiev and Moscow with new Ukraine peace plan as Nato bolsters eastern Europe against Russia and EU agrees new sanctions. Follow the latest developments

    • Why Arming Ukraine Will Backfire

      Vladimir Putin has restarted his war against Ukraine, and the U.S. and Europe are unsure how to respond. While Europe has apparently decided that no toughening of economic sanctions is called for, some in Washington are calling for equipping Ukraine with lethal weapons.

      Yet arming Ukraine is likely to backfire: It risks misleading the country — which is now pressing to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — into believing the U.S. will do what it takes to defeat Russia. It also risks encouraging Russia to expand the war, because it knows the U.S. and its NATO allies don’t have sufficient interests at stake to go all the way. The parallels often drawn with the war in Bosnia, where a U.S. arms and training program eventually turned the war and forced a peace, aren’t helpful: Serbia was a military minnow next to Putin’s nuclear-armed Russia.

    • The Military’s Next Big Recruiting Ground May Be Virtual

      Video gamers are more prepared for military service than people the same age were in previous generations.

      “We don’t need Top Gun pilots anymore, we need Revenge of the Nerds,” said Missy Cummings, former US Navy pilot, Assoc. Prof. of Aeronautics, MIT in Drone Wars: The Gamers Recruited To Kill, a documentary film about gamers and drone operators.

    • American Sniper: Humanizing and Glorifying a Mass Murderer for the Empire

      Many who are praising the film say the movie is about him, not about the politics of the Iraq war. “It’s a movie about a man, a character study,” said lead actor Bradley Cooper. “The hope is that you can somehow have your eyes opened to the struggle of a soldier, as opposed to the specificity of the war.” Others argue American Sniper is “both a tribute to the warrior and a lament for war,” as the Associated Press reviewer wrote.

      Bullshit. Regardless of the intentions of those making these claims, bullshit.

      This is a profoundly reactionary movie. American Sniper humanizes and glorifies Chris Kyle, an unrepentant Christian fundamentalist mass murderer, who killed 160 Iraqis (supposedly the most “kills” by any U.S. soldier in history). Meanwhile, the movie demonizes and dehumanizes every single Iraqi (with the possible exception of one family), portraying them as evil terrorists and “savages” who deserve to die.

      By telling this story through Kyle’s eyes and purported experience (and prettifying that story), American Sniper weaves a fable about the U.S. invasion of Iraq and its role in the world: America is a force for good. Whatever its mistakes, the U.S. sends its military to places like Iraq to try to protect the innocent and destroy evil. It promotes the outlook that only America and American lives count and anything goes to “defend” them. This is the big lie on the big screen.

    • America’s New Invisible Air Force

      The Pentagon is doubling down on the development of a new arsenal of stealth fighters, bombers, and drones in its newly unveiled budget for next year.

      Never mind the “fifth generation” stealth jets currently rolling off defense contractor assembly lines. The Pentagon is starting to pour money into three different projects to research and develop “sixth-generation” stealth fighters, plus funding for a new Air Force stealth bomber and new Navy carrier-based stealth drone.

    • The invisible face of terror

      Brussels. Ottawa. Sydney. Paris. “Terrorist” attacks in these western cities in the last one year have claimed 29 lives. Add to this the beheadings of western citizens by the Islamic State. The horror evoked by these has led to an outcry against Islam and fierce debates about the necessity of reform in Islam. In France, 3.7 million people marched in solidarity — in the largest public rally since the Second World War — with the victims of Charlie Hebdo to show that western civilisation cannot be defeated by Islamic fanatics.

      We are back to the days of 9/11 and other terror events in the West, and the debate assumes familiar directions: freedom of speech versus violent threats to it and the enlightened West versus barbaric Islam. We are presented this black and white world even by non-Muslim and non-western nations who have joined the project of moderating and domesticating Islam. Of course, there have been nuanced positions which have affirmed the right to free speech while at the same time calling out Charlie Hebdo for its racist portrayals of Islam. But the issue is larger than this.

    • White House seeks big increase in Pentagon budget

      The Pentagon would get $585 billion next year under the Obama administration’s proposed budget, reversing a five-year decline in military spending and blowing past mandatory spending caps imposed by Congress.

    • ISIS Ranks Grow as Fast as U.S. Bombs Can Wipe Them Out

      The Pentagon has said it has killed 6,000 fighters since coalition strikes began five months ago; the intelligence community estimates 4,000 foreign fighters have entered the fray since September. (A higher estimate, made by The Washington Post, holds that 5,000 foreign fighters have flowed into the two countries since October.)

    • [Satire] “They are out there murdering people”

      New Zealand’s contribution to oppressed peoples’ fighting US imperialism will be high on the agenda of his talks in Wellington today with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

    • COMMENTARY: But what shall we do with the #Fallen120000?

      Agonizing as it may be, we need to stand humbly before all these fraught, painful questions because the problem in Mindanao is neither just a military, a legal, or an institutional problem—something that could be solved by increased firepower, policy formulation or institutional reengineering. It is ultimately and inescapably a moral problem: something that could only be solved by resolving broader questions of power and justice—and thus, something, that could only be solved through politics in the broader sense of the term: politics not as wheeling and dealing, but politics as the struggle over how we should live with our fellow human beings, over how should organize our society so we can live the “good life”—the kind of politics that people will kill and die for.

    • US drone watched Mamasapano debacle

      They were not alone. Big Brother was up there monitoring their every move.

      “Kasalukuyan pong nag-e-encounter ang 5th Battalion sa Maguindanao para sa misyon kay Marwan” (The 5th Battalion is right now engaged in a mission in Maguindanao against Marwan), an officer from the assault team said, recording what was happening on the ground about 8 in the morning of Jan. 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

    • US drone helped locate PNP-SAF in Mamasapano —source

      A drone sent by the United States was key in locating pinned Philippine National Police Special Action Force units during the recent Mamasapano operation where 44 elite lawmen were killed, “24 Oras” reported on Wednesday.

      According to the GMA News source, the US sent a drone to Mamasapano, Maguindanao after the PNP-SAF asked for support.

    • Child or militant? 6th-grader killed in US drone strike in Yemen (VIDEO)

      Relatives describe Mohammed as a joyful 12 year old, enjoying school. When he was killed in a latest drone strike in Yemen, authorities listed him as a ‘militant’. The family previously lost Mohammed’s father and brother in a similar attack.

      Mohammed Saleh Qayed Taeiman had been among the three killed in the drone strike last week, according to the Yemeni National Organization for Drone Victims (NODV). It also said that previous US drone strikes had killed Mohammed’s father and his brother in 2011, and in a separate attack, another brother had been injured.

    • IHC grills cop for not registering drone strike murder case

      The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has summoned Islamabad Police Inspector General (IG) Tahir Alam Khan on February, 9 in contempt of court case against Islamabad Secretariat Police station house officer (SHO) for not registering murder case of two people killed in a drone attack in the area of Mir Ali at South Waziristan in 2009.

      As the case came up for hearing before IHC Monday, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, counsel for petitioner Karim Khan, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Nawaz Bhatti from Secretariat Police Station and legal counsel Abdul Rauf appeared in the court.

    • Is Obama Keeping His Promise to Constrain the Use of Drones?

      While it is unclear if they were drone strikes versus another type of aerial assault, BIJ notes that 2014 saw the highest number of confirmed U.S. drone strikes in the east African nation of any year despite the administration’s praise of Somali government reforms.

    • US Drone Strike Kills Four in Yemen

      This is the first attack since Monday, when the US similarly destroyed a car in Maarib and similarly labeled all of the slain “al-Qaeda” only for one to turn out to be a 12-year-old student.

    • Stop Using Drones in My Name

      A 12-year-old Pakistani boy who lost his grandmother in a U.S.-led drone strike says he is afraid of the blue sky; he would rather see the gray sky because he knows then that the drones will not fly. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’S), commonly known as drones, and particularly armed drones, are most effective when weather conditions provide for clear visibility, hence the better ability to hit identified targets. Drones aren’t flown on overcast days due to cloud cover and lack of visibility.

    • Drones a deplorable evil

      A policy of targeted extrajudicial assassination is by its very nature immoral.


      Once extrajudicial killing was policy reserved for rogue nations like Nazi Germany and communist Russia. Rep. Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF, said in her dissenting vote, “Let us not become the evil we deplore.” We now know that drone warfare, no matter how it is managed, is in fact a deplorable evil.

    • Jordan Executes Two Militants After IS Kills Pilot

      Jordan executed two Iraqi prisoners Wednesday, in answer to the Islamic State group’s killing of a Jordanian hostage in Syria.

      Jordanian officials hanged an Iraqi woman sentenced to death for her role in a 2005 suicide bombing in Amman. It also executed another Iraqi who had ties to al-Qaida.

    • Terrorists or “Freedom Fighters”? Recruited by the CIA

      When ISIS beheaded two American journalists, there was outrage and denunciation throughout the West, but when the same ISIS beheaded hundreds of Syrian soldiers, and meticulously filmed these war crime, this was hardly reported anywhere. In addition, almost from the very beginning of the Syrian tragedy, al-Qaeda groups have been killing and torturing not only soldiers but police, government workers and officials, journalists, Christian church people, aid workers, women and children, as well as suicide bombings in market places. All this was covered up in the mainstream media, and when the Syrian government correctly denounced this as terrorism, this was ignored or denounced as “Assad’s propaganda.”

      So why weren’t these atrocities reported in the western media? If this was reported it would have run counter to Washington’s proclaimed agenda that “Assad has to go,” so the mainstream media followed the official line. There is nothing new in this. History shows that the media supported every Western-launched war, insurrection and coup – the wars on Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and coups such as those on Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Chile, and most recently in Ukraine.

    • Ron Paul: The failed ‘Yemen model’

      If Yemen is any kind of model, it is a model of how badly U.S. interventionism has failed.

    • American Sniper: A Model American

      From record ticket sales to major media accolades, from the halls of Congress to the White House, the nation has spoken: “American Sniper” is all-American. Chris Kyle—the most lethal killer in U.S. military history, a true hero, a brave warrior—has been anointed as a role model for all that America has come to stand for.

    • Did the U.S.-Israeli killing of Mughniyah violate international law?

      Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported on a joint U.S.-Israeli operation that killed Imad Mughniyah—Hezbollah’s reported chief of international operations—on the streets of Damascus in 2008. The account raises questions about whether the killing violated international law, and central to the Post’s story is the assessment that these actions “pushed American legal boundaries.”

    • Systemic Series of Monstrous Crimes (3-4)

      Consider the staggering number of murders of innocent human beings committed by the United States government — and ask yourselves how many Auroras those murders represent. I have tried to make calculations of this kind before: using conservative estimates of the deaths in Iraq, the murders in that country alone represent a 9/11 every day for five years. An equivalent number of Auroras would be much higher. modified from Arthur Silber

    • Cozying up to dictators hurts American interests

      So what happened? The Arab Spring didn’t go as hoped — and the United States began to lose the war. An al-Qaida offshoot shockingly conquered large swaths of Iraq and Syria. Libya descended into civil war. Yemen, which Obama cited just last year as proof of his successful strategy, is on a similar downward spiral. The Taliban is gaining ground in Afghanistan. Boko Haram is carving out another space for barbarism in Nigeria.

    • Born at War

      We’ve been trained to think of war preparations — and the wars that result from being so incredibly prepared for wars — as necessary if regrettable. What if, however, in the long view that this book allows us, war turns out to be counterproductive on its own terms? What if war endangers those who wage it rather than protecting them? Imagine, for a moment, how many countries Canada would have to invade and occupy before it could successfully generate anti-Canadian terrorist networks to rival the hatred and resentment currently organized against the United States.

    • The U.S. Intelligence Community is Bigger Than Ever, But is It Worth It?

      The U.S. spends nearly $1 trillion on national security programs and agencies annually, more than any other nation in the world. Yet despite this enormous investment, there is not enough evidence to show the public that these programs are keeping Americans any safer – especially in the intelligence community. Excessive government secrecy prohibits the public and oversight agencies alike from determining whether our expensive intelligence enterprise is worth the investment.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The UK Government Has Now Spent £10M On Julian Assange

      The UK government has now spent £10 million keeping Wikileaker Julian Assange holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

      A website set up by Wikileaks supporters, called govwaste.co.uk, has a counter on the front page that has just creeped past the £10,000,000 mark. The website reads: “Julian Assange has been effectively detained without charge since December 2010.

    • Nick Clegg In Spat With Julian Assange, Could Face Legal Action

      Nick Clegg could face legal action following remarks made about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Speaking on LBC on Thursday, the deputy prime minister commented on Assange’s long stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and the £10 million cost of policing the building – comments Assange believes could be defamatory.

    • Silenced: The War on Whistleblowers

      In SILENCED: The War on Whistleblowers, three Americans reveal the persecution they’ve faced after they dared to question U.S. National Security policy in post 9/11 America. Everyone knows the name Edward Snowden, the fugitive and former intelligence contractor, but Academy Award nominated documentarian James Spione introduces us to three other whistleblowers of the era, speaking for the first time in one film, who discuss in dramatic and unprecedented detail the evolution of the government’s increasingly harsh response to unauthorized disclosures.

  • Finance

    • Bonafide Raises $850k to Build Reputation System for Bitcoin

      The funding round, which comes from Quest Venture Partners, Crypto Currency Partners and the AngelList Bitcoin Syndicate, among others, is a step towards creating a scoring system for addresses on bitcoin’s network.

    • Map: The Most Common* Job In Every State
    • Obama Budget Boosts Military Spending, Taxes on Wealthy

      President Obama has unveiled his $4 trillion budget proposal for next year, asking Congress to raise taxes for the wealthy and corporations to help fund education and fix crumbling infrastructure. The plan includes tax cuts for some poor and middle-class families. It also seeks to recoup losses from corporations that stash an estimated $2 trillion overseas by taxing such earnings at 14 percent, still less than half of the 35 percent rate for profits made in the United States. The budget takes aim at the high cost of prescription drugs, proposes a new agency to regulate food safety, and seeks $1 billion to curb immigration from Central America. It also calls for a 4.5 percent increase in military spending, including a $534 billion base budget for the Pentagon, plus $51 billion to fund U.S. involvement in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Speaking at the Department of Homeland Security, Obama said across-the-board cuts known as sequestration would hurt the military.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • USA Today Responds: ‘Criticizing Violent Islamists Does Not Tarnish All Muslims’

      I’ll save you the trouble of writing a rejection letter, because I know why you wouldn’t run cartoons like these: You would recognize that lumping people together who have nothing in common but their religion is straight-out bigotry. You wouldn’t take it seriously as a defense if I pointed out that the Lord’s Resistance Army and McVeigh really were bad guys.

    • The GOP: Still the Party of Stupid

      Mitt Romney definitely had his down sides as a candidate: the retread factor, and, as I noted two weeks ago, the fact that he made all those dramatic and (apparently) wrong predictions about the future of the economy. But I will say this for him. He did pass the this-guy-looks-and-sounds-like-a-plausible-president test. I always thought that was his greatest strength. He’s central casting.

    • Brian Williams taking himself off air temporarily

      Brian Williams said he is temporarily stepping away from the “NBC Nightly News” amid questions about his memories of war coverage in Iraq, calling it “painfully apparent” that he has become a distracting news story.

      In a memo Saturday to NBC News staff that was released by the network, the anchorman said that as managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” he is taking himself off the broadcast for several days. Weekend anchor Lester Holt will fill in, Williams said.

  • Censorship

    • Guardian, Salon Show How Keeping And Fixing News Comments Isn’t Hard If You Give Half A Damn

      We’ve been talking a lot lately about how the new school of website design (with ReCode, Bloomberg, and Vox at the vanguard) has involved a misguided war on the traditional comment section. Websites are gleefully eliminating the primary engagement mechanism with their community and then adding insult to injury by pretending it’s because they really, really love “conversation.” Of course the truth is many sites just don’t want to pay moderators, don’t think their community offers any valuable insight, or don’t like how it “looks” when thirty people simultaneously tell their writers they’ve got story facts completely and painfully wrong.

    • China seizes 8,000 rolls of toilet paper printed with image of Hong Kong chief

      An official of the Hong Kong Democratic party says Chinese authorities have seized about 8,000 rolls of toilet paper printed with the image of the territory’s pro-Beijing chief executive, Leung Chun-ying.

      Lo Kin-hei, a vice-chairman of the liberal party, said on Saturday that police seized the toilet paper and another 20,000 packages of tissue paper from a factory in the Chinese city of Shenzhen where a friend of the party placed the order to obscure the party as the true buyer.

    • What the CIA didn’t want Americans to know

      Agency brass tried to spike a story implicating the CIA in the killing of a top Hezbollah terrorist. Newsweek complied. The Post didn’t.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Justice for Sale – Part 1: Declining Faith, Rising Police Violence

      This is the first article in a five part series examining the US legal system. The series collectively argues that corporate media and political rhetoric have made Americans acquiescent toward corruption in the US legal system. This piece examines how discourse regarding law enforcement related issues in the US has been constructed to justify abuse by the police.

    • Conservative Media Bash Obama For Mentioning Crusades At Prayer Breakfast

      Conservative media lashed out at President Obama for mentioning the Crusades and Inquisition at the National Prayer Breakfast after condemning the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) as a “death cult” that distorts Islam.

    • Fox Gave Defense Lobbyist An Undisclosed Platform To Slam Obama On Client’s Behalf

      Guest Attacked Obama For Not Letting Company His Firm Represents Sell Drone To Jordan

    • The Police State Is Upon Us

      Anyone paying attention knows that 9/11 has been used to create a police/warfare state. Years ago, NSA official William Binney warned Americans about the universal spying by the National Security Agency, to little effect. Recently, Edward Snowden proved the all-inclusive NSA spying by releasing spy documents, enough of which have been made available by Glenn Greenwald to establish the fact of NSA illegal and unconstitutional spying, spying that has no legal, constitutional, or “national security” reasons. Yet Americans are not up in arms. Americans have accepted the government’s offenses against them as necessary protection against “terrorists.”

    • Armstrong given two tickets after car crash

      Former pro cyclist Lance Armstrong was issued two traffic citations in January for allegedly hitting two parked vehicles in Aspen’s West End and leaving the scene — with his girlfriend apparently telling police initially that she had been behind the wheel in order to avoid national headlines.

    • Ignoring America’s true greatness

      Messrs. Petraeus and O’Hanlan are unconcerned about the nation’s alarmng liberty and justice deficit. The President plays prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to kill any American citizen he decreees based on secret evidence is a threat to the national security. Thousands of innocent civilians abroad are killed by predator drones. The National Security Agency conducts surveillance against the entire United States population without suspicion that even a single target has been complicit in crime or international terrorism.

      Individuals are detained indefinitely without accusation or trial at Guantanamo Bay. Eighteenth century British legal scholar William Blackstone — who was gospel to the Founding Fathers — wrote: “[T]o bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole kingdom.”

    • The US Already Running Special Ops Missions In 105 Countries In 2015

      In the dead of night, they swept in aboard V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Landing in a remote region of one of the most volatile countries on the planet, they raided a village and soon found themselves in a life-or-death firefight. It was the second time in two weeks that elite U.S. Navy SEALs had attempted to rescue American photojournalist Luke Somers. And it was the second time they failed.

    • America desperately needs constitutional convention

      The imperial presidency persists. Look at Obama and his drones. Look at George W. Bush. Bush, who lost the popular vote, stole the 2000 election with the Electoral College’s help. As for the Senate, it is surely the world’s most undemocratic legislative body. Since every state gets two senators, one Californian voter has some 1.5 percent of a Wyoming voter’s power. Wyoming’s population is smaller than NJ’s Bergen or Middlesex counties. Senators from Mississippi or Utah can then filibuster and kill reforms voters from demographic mega-states like California or New York demand. These states are less urbanized and diverse in general. With growing inequality between the classes and races, and growing repression in the form of mass incarceration, we need to radically reform and amend our Constitution. As political scientist Daniel Lazare said, the alternative would be, “the old pre-reform Mississippi state legislature stamping on democracy — forever.” I’m sorry Lincoln’s ghost, but that’s not a Union worth saving. But hey, maybe Hillary can save us.

    • CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Released to House Arrest

      Under the terms of his house arrest, Kiriakou is unable to give media interviews at this time.

      Radack said he eventually hopes to be an anti-torture and prison reform advocate.

      Kiriakou’s official release date is May 1, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.

    • Aaron Swartz stood up for freedom and fairness – and was hounded to his death

      On Monday, BBC Four screened a remarkable film in its Storyville series. The Internet’s Own Boy told the story of the life and tragic death of Aaron Swartz, the leading geek wunderkind of his generation who was hounded to suicide at the age of 26 by a vindictive US administration. The film is still available on BBC iPlayer, and if you do nothing else this weekend make time to watch it, because it’s the most revealing source of insights about how the state approaches the internet since Edward Snowden first broke cover.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Here’s What That Dumb Porn Parody Gets Wrong On Net Neutrality

      Net neutrality propaganda is starting to get weird. A brand new interest group showed up this week with a confusing porn parody that seems to equate Title II reclassification of the internet with dragnet surveillance, among other fallacies. It’s a good chance to talk about what the Federal Communications Commission’s new open internet policy is — and what it isn’t.

      An anti-big government campaign backed by a US Senator released this godawful video that looks like a tasteless ripoff of the age-old “cable guy” porn cliché — except you know not to actually expect any sex because it’s YouTube.


Links 6/2/2015: CrunchBang Linux Ends, Ubuntu Phone From BQ

Posted in News Roundup at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Easing into open source

    Open source scares people. And tossing them into the deep end usually doesn’t help dampen that fear. Instead, we need to help ease people into using open source. Scott Nesbitt, technology coach and writer, shares some advice to help you do that.

    First, curb the urge to get on open source soapbox. Instead, go for the heart of it—show them how they can do their work with it.

    Open source is not only for the techie. So, explain to people they don’t have to be a coder. They can learn to code, but it’s not required.

  • Coreboot Ports Over XGI Framebuffer Support From Linux Kernel

    The Coreboot project has now ported over the XGI Z9s frame-buffer support from the Linux kernel.

  • DreamHost Celebrates Open Source Throughout February
  • Legalese and coding? Yup, it’s the open-source FOSDEM shindig

    FOSDEM doesn’t get the ra-ra headlines or (thankfully) the “booth babes” but the conference does get networking and top technologists (and Belgian beer). I saw a couple of my tech heroes and big cheeses here a few minutes apart just before writing this, for example, and got some top advice for a specific tech issue a breath later.

    I also saw photos of RMS (Richard Stallman) at large a few paces away, though I didn’t get to meet him in person and buy one of his badges, alas…

    Man-flu and technicolour yawning on the second day didn’t stop me having riotous fun with geekery, champers and IP lawyers this year!

  • Which Light Weight, Open Source Web Server is Right for You?

    If you use Linux, most likely Apache is your web server of choice. Apache is a great choice. It’s incredibly powerful, very reliable, and secure. There may, however, be certain deployments that either do not need all of the features found in Apache, do not have the resources to support Apache (such as in the case of an embedded system), or need something easier to manage. If that’s the case, fear not ─ there are plenty of light weight, open source, web servers out there ready to meet and exceed your needs.

  • Lightning Strikes at Salesforce with DIY Development Platform

    Salesforce’s new Lightning platform aims to make it easier for ordinary folks to build apps, and leverages open source tech to do so.

  • Is Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry open enough?

    A year ago, Pivotal announced its intent to set up a foundation for the open source Cloud Foundry project, but issues lurk in the bylaws and ownership of the name

  • Events

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • The art of learning OpenStack

      Trying to learn more about what OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project, might have to offer? Need some help figuring something out, or inspiration for a new approach to try? We’re here to help. We have gathered some of the best how-tos, guides, tutorials, and tips published over the past month into this handy collection.

    • Hadoop Adjuncts Proliferate: YARN, Koya, Slider, and, Yes…Kafka

      Lately we’ve been covering tools that orbit Hadoop in the Big Data ecosystem, ranging from Elastic Search to Qubole, which offers analytics on Hadoop data as a service (HaaS), to the Apache Spark project. In this arena, Kafka and YARN are much talked about. YARN is a sub-project of Hadoop at the Apache Software Foundation that takes Hadoop beyond batch to enable broader data-processing. Kafka allows a single cluster to serve as the central data backbone for a large organization. With it, data streams are partitioned and spread over a cluster of machines to allow data streams larger than the capability of any single machine.

    • ClusterHQ Raises $12 Million, Building Data Layer for Docker
  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle tosses its Linux into Docker’s repository

      Oracle sometimes seems to be a bit miffed by enthusiasm for Linux container darling Docker because its own Solaris “Zones” have done containers for ages.

      Big Red also knows in its heart of hearts that Solaris isn’t for everyone, but reckons its own Linux is for anyone who fancies robust, well-supported Torvalds-spawn. And given that Docker needs an OS in which to run containers, Oracle has therefore decided to make Oracle Linux available in the Docker repository. The company will also package an Oracle-maintained version of MySQL and pop it in the same place.


    • GNU Autoconf Archive – News: Noteworthy changes in release 2015.02.04
    • GNU C Library 2.21 Released With Bug & Security Fixes

      Version 2.21 of the GNU C Library is now available. Glibc 2.21 fixes a lot of issues while also adding some new functionality.

      Glibc 2.21 has many bug fixes, several security fixes, a port to the Altera Nios II platform, a new sempahore algorithm, support for TSX lock elision on PowerPC, optimized string functions for AArch64, support for new MIPS ABI extensions, and many other changes.

      More details on glibc 2.21 can be found via the mailing list release announcement. Other GNU C Library 2.21 details can be found via the Sourceware.org Wiki.

    • FSF JavaScript guidelines picked up by Posteo Webmail

      Over the last few months, Webmail provider Posteo has been working with the FSF to license and tag all JavaScript on their Web site and Webmail system so that it is immediately identifiable as free software. They have also done everything possible to ensure that it is 100% compatible with the GNU LibreJS browser extension, which automatically blocks any potentially nonfree JavaScript, making it easy to browse the Web in freedom. This is an outstanding effort in defense of the freedom of Posteo’s users, and the company deserves recognition for it. We hope others will follow their lead.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Half of IT in Bizkaia province to be open source

      This year half of all the software applications at the Diputación Foral de Bizkaia (the provincial council of Bizkaia, Spain) will be open source, up from 25 percent in November 2014. The goal was announced on 12 November at the start of the LibreCon software conference. “Open-source technology offers competitiveness and savings, boosts the economy, promotes knowledge and makes us more transparent”, a press statement quotes Counsellor of the Presidency, Unai Rementeria, as saying.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Science

    • Six Things Technology Has Made Insanely Cheap

      Innovation makes things cheaper, which frees up cash for consumers to buy other things. That drives the virtuous cycle of economic growth. We dug into the inflation data, more formally known as the personal consumption expenditures price index, to highlight some of the items that have seen the biggest discounts.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Time to put mental health front and centre for this year’s general election

      The imperative to improve mental health in the UK is primarily a moral one. That said, even a hard-nosed economist, insensible to the suffering of individuals, should appreciate the benefits that better mental healthcare can bring. Unsurprisingly given its prevalence, mental illness has a huge economic impact: a 2010 report by the Centre for Mental Health estimated the aggregate costs in 2009-10 as £105.2 billion – rather more than the total NHS budget for the same year, £95.8 billion. As for the benefits of treatment, a report just released by the same Centre finds that, for every £1 invested in group cognitive-behavioural therapy for adolescents suffering from anxiety, £31 is saved in wider costs.

  • Security

    • Now Sharyl Attkisson’s Lawyer Suggests Her Personal Computer Wasn’t Hacked

      Sharyl Attkisson’s lawyer told the Daily Beast that an investigation that found no evidence her personal computer was hacked is “irrelevant” because it reviewed the wrong computer, despite her own repeated claims that the desktop in question had been compromised. He also falsely claimed her lawsuit against the federal government for alleged hacking was focused solely on a separate work computer.

    • Sneaky Linux malware comes with sophisticated custom-built rootkit

      A malware program designed for Linux systems, including embedded devices with ARM architecture, uses a sophisticated kernel rootkit that’s custom built for each infection.

    • DDoS malware for Linux systems comes with sophisticated custom-built rootkit

      A malware program designed for Linux systems, including embedded devices with ARM architecture, uses a sophisticated kernel rootkit that’s custom built for each infection.

    • UK government asks: How’s our hacking?

      We know that the NSA likes taking unsolicited action inside the computers of others. We know the FBI is also very much into hacking.

      Now, the UK government is telling the world that its spies and cops are hackers too — and has asked the public what they think about it

      In a new unprecedented document released on Friday, the UK government released the guidelines and rules that all British spy and law enforcement agencies have to follow in their “equipment interference” activities.

    • Friday’s security updates
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Fiery Cage and the Lynching Tree, Brutality’s Never Far Away
    • [Old] The War Photo No One Would Publish

      When Kenneth Jarecke photographed an Iraqi man burned alive, he thought it would change the way Americans saw the Gulf War. But the media wouldn’t run the picture.

    • ‘A Line in the Sand’ in Fight to Release Thousands of Prisoner Abuse Photos

      A federal judge is demanding that the government explain, photo-by-photo, why it can’t release hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of pictures showing detainee abuse by U.S. forces at military prison sites in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      In a courtroom in the Southern District of New York yesterday, Judge Alvin Hellerstein appeared skeptical of the government’s argument, which asserted that the threat of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda exploiting the images for propaganda should override the public’s right to see any of the photos.

    • Meet The Group That Now Rules Yemen

      Thirteen years ago they were just a few men, disaffected students and farmers, shouting outside a rural mosque in the north Yemeni highlands. Today, they are in charge. They’re known popularly as the Huthis; the U.S. believes they are an Iranian proxy and Saudi Arabia has already fought one war with them.

    • A Blackwater World Order

      The privatization of America’s wars swells the ranks of armies for hire across the globe.

    • Anarchists vs. ISIS: The Revolution in Syria Nobody’s Talking About

      The Middle East today is the last place anyone in mainstream western thought would think to look for progressive political thought, and even less to see those thoughts translated into action. Our image of the region is one of dictatorships, military juntas and theocracies built on the ruins of the former Ottoman Empire, or hollow states like Afghanistan, and increasingly Pakistan, where anything outside the capitol is like Mad Max. The idea of part of the region being not just free, but well on its way to utopian, isn’t one that you’re going to find on mainstream media.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Why the secret criminal investigation of WikiLeaks is troubling for journalists

      Prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia began investigating WikiLeaks in 2010 after the site posted some of the quarter-million State Department cables leaked by Chelsea Manning.

      Last month, an official from the Department of Justice publicly confirmed the investigation is still ongoing. It was the first time anyone, including WikiLeaks’ own defense team, has gotten such confirmation since April 2014.

    • Supreme Court Rules in Favor of TSA Whistleblower Robert MacLean

      Whistleblower laws exist because government officials do not always act in the nation’s best interests.

      The Obama administration, in its war on whistleblowers, just lost a major battle. Major in its venue — the Supreme Court — and major in its implications for future whistleblower cases.

    • Senator Wyden Follows Up With Eric Holder On All Of The Requests The DOJ Has Totally Ignored

      As Attorney General Eric Holder is about to leave office, Senator Ron Wyden has sent him a letter more or less asking if he was planning to actually respond to the various requests that Wyden had sent to Holder in the past, which Holder has conveniently ignored. Wyden notes, accurately, that the government’s continued secrecy on a variety of issues “has led to an erosion of public confidence that has made it more difficult for intelligence and law enforcement agencies to do their jobs.”

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may sue UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg for ‘rape’ comment

      WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange is considering suing UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg for defamation over comments made regarding Assange’s legal situation.

      Speaking on LBC radio on Thursday (5 February), Clegg said that Assange should go to Sweden to “face very serious allegations and charges of potential rape.”

      Assange has been accused of sexually assaulting two women in Stockholm in 2010, however no formal charges have been made and Assange denies the allegations.

    • Assange considers law suit against UK Deputy Prime Minister
    • Scotland Yard has spent more than £10 million guarding Julian Assange in Ecuadorian Embassy

      Scotland Yard have spent more than £10 million on policing the Ecuadorian Embassy where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been avoiding extradition.

      Mr Assange was granted asylum by the government of Ecuador and has been holed up in the building in Knightsbridge since 2012.

      The Metropolitan Police have posted round-the-clock police officers outside the building ever since, costing an estimated £10,500 a day.

  • Finance

    • The Billionaires at Burning Man

      For his 50th birthday, Jim Tananbaum, chief executive officer of Foresite Capital, threw himself an extravagant party at Burning Man, the annual sybaritic arts festival and all-hours rave that attracts 60,000-plus to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada over the week before Labor Day. Tananbaum’s bash went so well, he decided to host an even more elaborate one the following year. In 2014 he’d invite up to 120 people to join him at a camp that would make the Burning Man experience feel something like staying at a pop-up W Hotel. To fund his grand venture, he’d charge $16,500 per head.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Some Other Tall Tales Brian Williams Might Want to Apologize For

      NBC Nightly News anchor Brian William has apologized for falsely claiming (NBC, 1/30/15) that “during the invasion of Iraq…the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG.”

    • Rumors of the Walker Probe’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

      After a January 30, 2015 ruling from Milwaukee-based federal Judge Charles Clevert, some declared that the “John Doe” probe into alleged campaign finance violations by Governor Scott Walker’s campaign was dead.

      The Franklin Center’s Wisconsin Reporter website claimed that Judge Clevert’s decision “effectively pulled the life support plug” on the investigation. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s right-wing columnist Christian Schneider repeated his erroneous “zombie law” claim, declaring that the ruling “almost certainly means the end of the most recent John Doe investigation.”

  • Censorship

    • Google Chrome Dragged Into Internet Censorship Fight

      Google’s lawsuit against Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood is a crucial case for the future of SOPA-like Internet filters in the U.S. This week Digital Citizens Alliance, Stop Child Predators and others voiced their support for the Attorney General, suggesting that Google Chrome should be censored as well.

    • France Implements Administrative Net Censorship

      After review by the French Cabinet last Wednesday, the implementation decree for the administrative blocking of pedopornographic and terrorist websites was published today.

  • Privacy

    • WhatsApp security bug shows private pictures to strangers

      A security problem in WhatsApp means that anyone can see users’ profile photos, even if they have been set to be viewable to friends only, according to security researchers.

    • Proposed changes to US data collection fall short of NSA reformers’ goals

      US intelligence community issues limited list of tweaks to data collection and surveillance at end of year-long effort to respond to Snowden revelations

    • The Newest Reforms on SIGINT Collection Still Leave Loopholes

      Director of National Intelligence James Clapper this morning released a report detailing new rules aimed at reforming the way signals intelligence is collected and stored by certain members of the United States Intelligence Community (IC). The long-awaited changes follow up on an order announced by President Obama one year ago that laid out the White House’s principles governing the collection of signals intelligence. That order, commonly known as PPD-28, purports to place limits on the use of data collected in bulk and to increase privacy protections related to the data collected, regardless of nationality.

    • Lawmakers Call for Investigation Into Verizon’s Use of Mobile ‘Supercookies’

      Three Democratic lawmakers on the influential Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation are calling on federal regulators to investigate Verizon for its practice of using unique customer codes to track the online activities of its wireless subscribers.

    • Two things I’ve learned from using Tor Browser

      So for the past three months I’ve been using Tor Browser to surf the Web, not as a primary browser, but as a secondary browser. Firefox is my primary browser.

      Together with using StartPage as my search engine, I feel much better about my privacy while surfing the Internet. Using Tor Browser leads to a tad slower browsing experience, but I knew that going in, so no complaints there.

    • DEA using license-plate readers to take photos of US drivers, documents reveal

      The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using license-plate reader technology to photograph motorists and passengers in the US as part of an official exercise to build a database on people’s lives.

      According to DEA documents published on Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the agency is capturing images of occupants in the front and rear seats of vehicles in a programme that monitors Americans’ travel patterns on a wider scale than previously thought.

    • Investigative Journalists and Digital Security

      About two-thirds of investigative journalists surveyed (64%) believe that the U.S. government has probably collected data about their phone calls, emails or online communications, and eight-in-ten believe that being a journalist increases the likelihood that their data will be collected. Those who report on national security, foreign affairs or the federal government are particularly likely to believe the government has already collected data about their electronic communications (71% say this is the case), according to a new survey of members of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) – a nonprofit member organization for journalists – by the Pew Research Center in association with Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism

    • Russia might start blocking Internet anonymizers like Tor

      Leonid Levin, the head of the Duma’s committee on public communications policy, wants to grant police the extrajudicial power to block access to Internet anonymizers and “the means of accessing anonymous networks, such as Tor.”

    • GCHQ-NSA intelligence sharing unlawful, says UK surveillance tribunal
    • UK-US surveillance regime was unlawful ‘for seven years’

      Regulations governing access to intercepted information obtained by NSA breached human rights laws, according to Investigatory Powers Tribunal

    • GCHQ spying on British citizens was unlawful, secret court rules in shock decision
    • GCHQ’s Internet surveillance with US ruled unlawful

      Spy agency could now be forced to reveal whether it spied on civil rights groups after watchdog human rights ruling

    • UK tribunal says intelligence-sharing with U.S. was unlawful

      A British tribunal ruled on Friday that some aspects of intelligence-sharing between security agencies in Britain and the United States were unlawful until December 2014, in a ground-breaking case brought by civil liberties groups.

      The Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that Britain’s GCHQ had acted unlawfully in accessing data on millions of people in Britain that had been collected by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), because the arrangements were secret.

      Campaign groups Liberty, Privacy International, Amnesty International and others brought the case following revelations about mass surveillance made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

    • Electronic Surveillance by Spy Agencies Was Illegal, British Court Says

      The court that oversees intelligence agencies in Britain ruled on Friday that the electronic mass surveillance of cellphone and other online communications data had been conducted unlawfully.

      The legal decision, the first time the court has ruled against the British intelligence services since the tribunal was created in 2000, relates to information that was shared between British security agencies and the National Security Agency of the United States before December 2014.

      Although privacy campaigners claimed the decision as a victory, many experts said the British and American intelligence agencies would continue to share information obtained with electronic surveillance, even if they had to slightly alter their techniques to comply with human rights law.

    • In Historic Ruling, U.K. Surveillance Secrecy Declared Unlawful

      The United Kingdom’s top surveillance agency has acted unlawfully by keeping details about the scope of its Internet spying operations secret, a British court ruled in an unprecedented judgment issued on Friday.

      Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, was found to have breached human rights laws by concealing information about how it accesses surveillance data collected by its American counterpart, the National Security Agency.

  • Civil Rights

    • Polaneczky: Innocent frequent flier detained after run-in with TSA

      Once the items were deemed harmless, Vanderklok says, he told Kieser that if someone had only told him what “organic matter” meant, he could have saved everyone a lot of trouble. Kieser then became confrontational. Vanderklok says he calmly asked to file a complaint. He then waited while someone was supposedly retrieving the proper form.

      Instead, Kieser summoned the Philadelphia Police. Vanderklok was taken to an airport holding cell, and his personal belongings – including his phone – were confiscated while police “investigated” him.

      Vanderklok was detained for three hours in the holding cell, missing his plane. Then he was handcuffed, taken to the 18th District at 55th and Pine and placed in another cell.

      He says that no one – neither the police officers at the airport nor the detectives at the 18th – told him why he was there. He didn’t find out until he was arraigned at 2 a.m. that he was being charged with “threatening the placement of a bomb” and making “terroristic threats.”

      Vanderklok’s Kafkaesque odyssey finally ended at 4 a.m., when his wife paid 10 percent of his $40,000 bail.

      When I heard this story, my first thought was that Vanderklok had to have said or done something outrageous for others to respond with such alarm. In fact, Kieser said as much at Vanderklok’s trial on April 8, 2013.


      But here’s the thing: Airport surveillance videos show nothing of the sort.

    • Fairfax SWAT team raids high stakes Great Falls poker game, seizes cash, terrifies players

      On a quiet weeknight among the stately manors of Great Falls, ten men sat around a table in the basement of a private home last November playing high stakes poker. Suddenly, masked and heavily armed SWAT team officers from the Fairfax County Police Department burst through the door, pointed their assault rifles at the players and ordered them to put their hands on the table. The players complied. Their cash was seized, including a reported $150,000 from the game’s host, and eight of the ten players were charged with the Class 3 misdemeanor of illegal gambling, punishable by a maximum fine of $500. The minimum buy-in for the game was $20,000, with re-buys allowed if you lost your first twenty grand.


      “It’s crazy,” said the regular, looking back on the night of the raid. “They had this ‘shock and awe’ with all of these guys, with their rifles up and wearing ski masks.” He noted that the Justice Department recently revamped its guidelines for civil forfeiture cases, following reports by The Post about abuses of the seizure process by police around the country, including Fairfax. But in Virginia, the seizure law remains the same, and agencies may keep what they seize, after going through a court process.

    • When Cops Break Bad: Inside a Police Force Gone Wild

      Looking west from the scrub and boulders of the Sandia Mountains, the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, sprawls across the valley of the Rio Grande, surrounded by the vast openness of the high desert. On the city’s eastern edge, the winding roads and cul-de-sacs of tony subdivisions in the Northeast Heights abruptly give way to the foothills of the mountains, whose sharp red peaks tower over the city.

    • Coca-Cola pulls Twitter campaign after it was tricked into quoting Mein Kampf

      Coca-Cola has been forced to withdraw a Twitter advertising campaign after a counter-campaign by Gawker tricked it into tweeting large chunks of the introduction to Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

      For the campaign, which was called “Make it Happy” and introduced in an ad spot during the Super Bowl, Coke invited people to reply to negative tweets with the hashtag “#MakeItHappy”.

      The idea was that an automatic algorithm would then convert the tweets, using an encoding system called ASCII, into pictures of happy things – such as an adorable mouse, a palm tree wearing sunglasses or a chicken drumstick wearing a cowboy hat.

      In a press release, Coca-Cola said its aim was to “tackle the pervasive negativity polluting social media feeds and comment threads across the internet”.

    • U.S. official: “No coincidence” Islamic State victims in Guantanamo-like jumpsuits

      A top U.S. defense official said it was “no coincidence” that recent Islamic State videos of the savage executions of Jordanian and Japanese hostages showed the victims wearing orange jumpsuits, “believed by many to be the symbol of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.”

    • Fox Host Offers Brazenly Dishonest Defense For Calling Bipolar Disorder “Made Up”

      Fox News Radio host Tom Sullivan is backtracking and brazenly lying about his controversial remarks calling bipolar disorder “made up” and “the latest fad.” While Sullivan now claims his remarks were taken “out of context,” this defense is preposterous. He repeatedly dismissed the validity of bipolar disorder and the clip used by Media Matters was the same one posted by his employer with the headline “(AUDIO) Bipolar Woman Says She DESERVES Disability Benefits. Tom Tells Her She’s WRONG!”

    • An Elite That Has Lost the Impulse to Police Itself

      Few in public life are as contemptuous of privacy as Stewart Baker, an attorney whose career has included stints at the NSA and Department of Homeland Security. He is a staunch defender of most every U.S. government surveillance effort. As Americans expressed alarm at the scope of spying revealed by Edward Snowden, he delivered a speech asserting that they were engaged in an irrational moral panic.

      But even this man, who believes that bulk, warrantless surveillance is fine under the Fourth Amendment, acknowledges that the Drug Enforcement Administration deserves censure for secretly operating surveillance programs. In fact, he believes that the DEA’s behavior was egregious enough that the public’s failure to respond more forcefully calls the value of transparency itself into question.

      Yet he isn’t personally condemning the DEA.

    • HAPPY TRIGGER/LOVELY HORSE/Zool/TWO FACE – Open Source for Cyber Defence/Progress
    • CIA’s Merlin Was Arranging Fake Nuclear Deals on an AOL Account Shared with His Wife and Kids

      Witness after witness in the Jeffrey Sterling trial made claims about how closely held the program was. “More closely held than any other program,” Walter C, a physicist who worked on the program described. “More closely held,” David Shedd, currently head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and head of Counterproliferation Operations until just after the Merlin op.

      Of course, Bob S’ admission that — when FBI showed him a list, in 2003, of 90 people cleared into the program, he said it was incomplete — suggests all those claims are overstated.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Undoing Michael Powell’s Mischief at the FCC

      Michael Powell tried to do for broadband Internet what his father did for Iraq.

      One of the first things George W. Bush did after he was installed in the Oval Office was to put the younger Powell, who was fond of saying things like “the oppressor here is regulation” (Washington Post, 1/23/01), in charge of the agency that regulates media. His blithe attitude toward the consequences of his beloved market was perhaps best expressed by his dismissal of concerns over the digital divide (Chicago Tribune, 2/7/01): “You know, I think there’s a Mercedes divide. I’d like to have one; I can’t afford one.”

    • Morning Joe’s Net Neutrality Conflict Of Interest

      MSNBC’s Harold Ford, Jr. used air time to push net neutrality myths without disclosing his relationship to the telecom industry, which has contributed millions of dollars to lobbying against net neutrality regulations.

    • Stop Saying That The FCC Is ‘Treating Internet As A Utility’ — It’s Not

      Now that FCC boss Tom Wheeler has made it official that he’s going to present rules to reclassify broadband under Title II for the purpose of implementing stronger net neutrality rules (details still to come…), the opponents to this effort have come out of the woodwork to insist, over and over again, that reclassifying is “treating the internet as a utility.” The cable industry’s main lobbyists, NCTA, decried “Wheeler’s proposal to impose the heavy burden of Title II public utility regulation….” and AT&T screamed about how “these regulations that we’re talking about are public-utility-style regulations…” Former Congressman Rick Boucher, who is now lobbying for AT&T whined that “subjecting broadband to public utility regulation under Title II is unnecessary.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • MSNBC’s The Ed Show Highlights Report On Media’s Poor Coverage Of Historic Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations
    • I’ve seen the secrets of TTIP, and it is built for corporations not citizens

      It appears that, even though I am past 50, my opportunities to become a spy have not expired. This is because, as an MEP, I have now been granted privileged access to the European parliament restricted reading room to explore documents relating to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal. But before I had the right to see such “top secret” documents, which are restricted from the gaze of most EU citizens, I was required to sign a document of some 14 pages, reminding me that “EU institutions are a valuable target” and of the dangers of espionage. Crucially, I had to agree not to share any of the contents with those I represent.

    • Copyrights

      • Data retention: the copyright mafia want laws in place

        Australia’s current Prime Minister Tony Abbott has asked the Opposition to back data retention laws by mid-March, playing the security card to try and pressure Labor leader Bill Shorten.

        But, as I’ve pointed out on more than one occasion, this rush to retain data of internet users is for other reasons. One, to satisfy big American media companies who want to use retained data to threated those whom they deem to be copyright violators.

        Australian ISPs have been given until April by the government to agree on a scheme for preventing what the big film and music companies call copyright theft. The mid-March deadline for passing data retention laws fits into that scheme neatly.


Links 5/2/2015: KDevelop 4.7.1, Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 RC3

Posted in News Roundup at 4:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux, Windows, Mac, and You

    David Both recently discussed how the Linux philosophy empowers users and yesterday he demonstrated. Elsewhere Silviu Stahie said Windows 10 won’t kill Linux because it’s a failed OS model and Jim Lynch discusses why some Mac owners choose to run Linux. Red Hat’s Eric Christensen today blogged on the life-cycle of security vulnerabilities and users are reporting on the good, bad, and ugly of Dell XPS 13 Linux support.

  • US Navy Builds a Stealth and Linux-Powered Zumwalt Class Destroyer

    People usually hear about Linux being found in all sorts of devices and rather peaceful enterprises, but there are exceptions. DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer is one of those.

  • Desktop

    • Review: 2015 Dell XPS 13 (9343) Running Linux

      When and if Eric reads this he’s just going to shake his head. For two years in a row now I’ve been lured by the wonders of new laptops announced at CES, and in both years I’ve been disappointed. He tells me I’m stupid for ordering the “new shiny” and expecting it to work, but I refuse to give up my dream.

      Luckily this isn’t a huge issue for me since my main machines are desktops, but my second generation Dell XPS 13 “sputnik” is getting a little old. I am really looking forward to a slightly larger screen. The pixel density isn’t great on my laptop, especially compared to what is out now, and I am finding myself a little cramped for screen real estate.

    • Linux support for the Dell XPS 13 9343 (2015 model)
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel386 psABI Version 1.0 Released

      As the first update to supplement the System V ABI in nearly two decades, version 1.0 of the Intel386 psABI was announced today.

      The Intel386 psABI effort is a processor-specific ABI to supplement the System V ABI with changes relevant to newer processors like SSE4 and Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX). The Intel386 psABI release is based on the x86_64 psABI and is designed for modern x86 architectures and current compiler tool-chains.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Windows Fans Will Find That Q4OS Is the Perfect Replacement, For Windows XP

      Q4OS, a Linux distribution built to offer a similar desktop experience as Windows OSes, has been upgraded once again and it looks like the developers are getting real close to the mythic 1.0 release.

    • Why Evolve OS could win you over to Linux and me away from Ubuntu

      There are so many Linux distributions, each one claiming that they are the one flavor best designed for the new user in mind. Ubuntu, Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS — all outstanding distributions and very much ready for users who want a platform built on the premise that Linux isn’t nearly as challenging as many people assume.

      In 2014, a new distribution appeared out of nowhere, one that cut straight to the heart of the matter and promised to deliver a Linux distribution like no other. That distribution is Evolve OS. For the longest time, the distribution was in a state of limbo, and the best you could do was download an alpha and hoped it would run. I tried a number of times and finally opted to just install the Budgie desktop on a Ubuntu distribution. That attempt gave me an idea of how Evolve OS would look, but not much more.

    • Black Lab BriQ rev4 Is a “Mac Mini” type PC That Runs Black Lab Linux

      Black Lab BriQ rev4 is a new mini PC put together by the same guys who are also working on the Black Lab Linux distro. This is not their first attempt, as the version number shows, and it’s actually a pretty powerful solution.

    • Reviews

      • HandBrake Video Transcoder Gets a Grip on Linux

        HandBrake’s Linux version is not perfect. But it is getting there. The audio and subtitle controls now support default behaviors, which you can store in presets. This simplifies the workflow for many batch encoding scenarios. Two other nice refinements are the improvements to the Auto-Naming feature and the ability to batch add to queue by list selection.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • FESCo Election Results

          The elections for FESCo – January 2015 have concluded, and the results are shown below…

        • Major Hayden: How do you Fedora?

          We recently interviewed Fedora user and contributor Major Hayden on how he uses Fedora. This is the first installment of a new series here on the Fedora Magazine where we will profile Fedora users and how they use Fedora to get things done. If you are interested in being interviewed for a further installment of this series you can contact us on the feedback form.

    • Debian Family

      • News of the package mime-support. (100%)

        The package mime-support is installed by default on Debian systems. It has two roles: first to provide the file /etc/mime.types that associates media types (formerly called MIME types) to suffixes of file names, and second to provide the mailcap system that associates media types with programs. I adopted this package at the end of the development cycle of Wheezy.

      • OTRS 4 in Debian!
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Developers Can Publish Apps in Ubuntu Touch Store in Less than a Minute

            Ubuntu Touch has quite a few interesting features that you won’t find on another platform, but one of those features really stands out. It’s actually the publishing speed of a new app in the Ubuntu Store, which is probably under a minute.

          • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Gets Important Linux Kernel Update

            Canonical revealed that several security issues have been discovered fixed in the Linux kernel affecting the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system.

          • Unzip Exploit Closed in All Supported Ubuntu OSes

            Canonical revealed details about an unzip exploit in Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS operating systems that has been found and corrected. It might not seem like a big issue and it’ not, but it doesn’t mean that an upgrade is not welcomed.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 to Launch with Linux Kernel 3.19, Most Likely

            Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) is scheduled to launch in April and just a few weeks of development are left, which means that Linux Kernel 3.19 is the most likely candidate for implementation in the distro.

          • It’s Easy To Switch Between Upstart & Systemd Right Now On Ubuntu 15.04

            For those that haven’t yet tried out recent builds of Ubuntu 15.04, it’s very easy to try out systemd and switch between that and Upstart. On Ubuntu 14.10 it was possible to experiment with systemd by installing its packages but now with the Vivid Vervet it’s installed by default. Until making the default switch, Ubuntu 15.04′s GRUB2 configuration has a kernel option for the stock boot parameters (using Upstart) and then an alternative one using systemd. So from GRUB2′s menu you can simply switch between Upstart and systemd. The systemd option just appends init=/lib/systemd/systemd to the kernel command-line.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 to Be Out Soon, Features a Cool and Light Enlightenment Desktop

              Bodhi is a Linux operating system based on Ubuntu that has a minimalist approach and really low system requirements. A second Release Candidate has been released by Jeff Hoogland, the leader of the project.

            • Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 RC3 Release

              A little over two weeks ago I announced my return to the Bodhi project and shared our 3.0.0 RC2 “Reloaded” discs. Today I would like to share a set of discs that is our third release candidate. All of the minor issues that were reported in the second release candidate have been corrected in this release and I consider these discs a very polished product.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Fanless Pico-ITX SBC rocks Bay Trail up to 2.4GHz

      Data Modul’s fanless, Pico-ITX “eDM-pITX-BT” SBC runs Linux on Intel’s Bay Trail SoCs, ranging from a single-core 1.5GHz Atom to a quad-core 2.4GHz Celeron.

    • Linux-friendly i.MX6 SBC offers dual-GbE, PoE, HDMI

      Gateworks unveiled a compact “Ventana GW5520″ SBC with Linux and Android BSPs, HDMI, dual PoE-ready GbE, dual mini-PCIe, and industrial temperature range.

    • Pi Glass interview
    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Users Still Have Sweet Tooth For KitKat But Lollipop Is Gaining Ground

          Google has updated the company’s Platform Versions page for its Android mobile operating system, revealing that Android 5.0 Lollipop is gaining a bit of ground among users compared to last month.

        • Android 5.1 (!) spotted running on Android One devices headed for Indonesia

          Now here’s something you don’t see every day: a new version of Android spotted in the wild with nary a word from Google.

          Google announced a few hours ago the upcoming availability of the Android One program in Indonesia. Following India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, this is the fifth country where Google is rolling out its affordable smartphone program. So far, nothing special… except Android 5.1 is mentioned multiple times on the Indonesian Android One landing page, and there’s even a subtle reference to it in the press image (above), where time is set to 5:10.

        • Apple is making its first Android app

          Apple plans to use the streaming service it acquired from Beats Music several months ago, but the app itself will be designed by Apple, Gurman reports. The price could be around $7.99 per month, but it’s not confirmed. This would make it cheaper than Spotify, which is $9.99 per month.

        • Google’s next Lollipop update shows up on an Android One phone

          This whole thing started when Google updated its Indonesian Android One landing page earlier today, complete with a tidbit claiming that such low-cost devices would run “the latest and fastest version of Android (5.1 Lollipop)”. Given that one of Android One’s major selling points is to bring the latest and greatest software updates to people in emerging markets, it’s a little curious that none of the other international landing pages (think India, Bangladesh and Nepal) have gotten similar updates. Then again, it’s not like we haven’t seen a company representatives prematurely pull a trigger before. Tacit, purposeful confirmation? Human error? It doesn’t matter — this cat isn’t going back in the bag.

        • Replicant As A Truly Free, Blob-Less Android OS Is Still Facing A Huge Uphill Battle

          While Replicant OS is promoted by the FSF as a binary-free Android distribution and a truly open alternative to Apple products, the state of Replicant OS in terms of end-user readiness or being as a viable alternative to iOS and Android leaves much to be desired.

        • Good and Samsung Partner to Harden Android Security

          The two biggest issues regarding Android’s security are the size of the Android market and fragmentation of the Android ecosystem. Those issues impact all mobile platforms, not just Android, according to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. “The former point is an issue since, as Microsoft learned to its sorrow with Windows,” King remarked.

        • Android Lollipop 5.1 is ready, but you can’t have it yet

          Seemingly out of nowhere Android is jumping up to version 5.1 and heading out the door—if you’re in Indonesia.

          Google’s Indonesian Android One page lists the “latest and fastest” version of Android at 5.1 and touted the update via Twitter. Indonesia is the latest launch country for Google’s Android One effort, which is already underway in India.

        • This Mechanical Keyboard Is Secretly An Android Computer

          Your keyboard is boring—it doesn’t do anything special or unique. You could change that: some crazy bastards in China have built a keyboard that’s secretly a quad-core Android PC.

        • Five tweaks to make Android Lollipop even better

          Android Lollipop is an excellent leap forward for Google’s mobile operating system, but it isn’t perfect. Even with the Material Design overhaul and improved methods for working through tasks, it has a few annoyances that could use attention. So after some tinkering, here are five areas I think that it could use a touch up to make Android that much better.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Save boring software from the brink

    Consider this scenario: Your organization bought a software license or subscription of a Content Relationship Management (CRM) tool for internal use. You start using the tool enthusiastically. But, with time, the enthusiasm dies, you get bored with the software, and the usage levels drop. Even though the software works fine, you fall back to excel sheets to manage customers, and conditions across the organization go back to the same. Continuous reminders for how to use the tool don’t bring you back, and finally it is decided that the current software is not sufficient for your organization’s needs. A new tool is needed.

  • Which Light Weight, Open Source Web Server is Right for You?

    If you use Linux, most likely Apache is your web server of choice. Apache is a great choice. It’s incredibly powerful, very reliable, and secure. There may, however, be certain deployments that either do not need all of the features found in Apache, do not have the resources to support Apache (such as in the case of an embedded system), or need something easier to manage. If that’s the case, fear not ─ there are plenty of light weight, open source, web servers out there ready to meet and exceed your needs.

  • ownCloud Hooks Up Global Mesh Cloud for Universities, Researchers

    ownCloud, Inc., the company behind the popular ownCloud open source file sync and share software, has announced a project that for the first time ties together researchers and universities in the Americas, Europe and Asia via a series of interconnected, secure private clouds. It’s yet another example of the momentum that ownCloud has. As I covered in a post yesterday, survey results from LinuxQuestions.org showed experts at the site to be very interested in the ownCloud platform.

  • OPNFV Project Boasts Korea Telecom, SK Telecom, Spirent & Xilinx, Enea as New Members

    Korea Telecom, SK Telecom, Enea, Spirent and Xilinx have joined the OPNFV Project, a community-led industry supported open source reference platform for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) to advance the development of open source NFV platform. The OPNFV has a growing member base with a total 49 members now and a community gearing up for its first software release.

  • Events

    • Under the SCALE Big Top

      As we get closer to the Southern California Linux Expo — SCALE 13x for those of you keeping score at home — it bears mentioning that the largest community-run Linux/FOSS show in North America has grown to host a lot of other sub-events during the course of the four-day expo.

    • Open Source Containerization Focus of New ContainerCon Event

      In case there was any doubt about the surging popularity of containerized virtualization and app delivery, the Linux Foundation has announced plans to inaugurate an event, called ContainerCon, dedicated precisely to that topic. The first ContainerCon will take place this August with representatives from Docker, Red Hat (RHT), Twitter, Parallels and Canonical, among others.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Mirantis Expands OpenStack Offerings to Japan Market

      Open source cloud computing vendor Mirantis has extended its reach into Japan, where it has already secured one channel partnership for its “pure-play” OpenStack distribution.

      The growth comes in the form of a subsidiary, called Mirantis Japan GK, which will distribute Mirantis’s OpenStack distribution and other cloud computing services and products in Japan. The subsidiary will be based in Tokyo.

    • The Linux Foundation Announces Guide to Building and Deploying to the Open Cloud

      The 2015 “Guide to the Open Cloud: Open Cloud Projects Profiled” is The Linux Foundation’s second publication on the open cloud, which was first published in October 2013. The updated guide adds new projects and technology categories that have gained importance in the past year. The report covers well-known projects like Cloud Foundry, OpenStack, Docker and Xen Project, and up-and-comers such as Apache Mesos, CoreOS and Kubernetes.

    • Report Shows Apache Spark Gaining Momentum

      Folks in the Big Data and Hadoop communities have been getting increasingly interested in Apache Spark, an open source data analytics cluster computing framework originally developed in the AMPLab at UC Berkeley. According to Apache, Spark can run programs up to 100 times faster than Hadoop MapReduce in memory, and ten times faster on disk. When crunching large data sets, those are big performance differences.

    • OpenStack Development: Getting Easier All the Time
    • Tesora Plans a Course for Database Updates in OpenStack Kilo [VIDEO]

      The open-source OpenStack cloud platform includes multiple projects that can be used to enable different capabilities in the cloud. In the OpenStack Icehouse milestone release, which debuted in April 2014, a key addition was the Trove database project, which enables the use of multiple databases in an OpenStack cloud deployment.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Linux Now Hosted on the Docker Hub Registry

      News Summary Oracle Linux images are now available on the Docker Hub Registry, a repository for Docker-based components, including applications and operating systems (OSs). Oracle Linux joins MySQL, which is already extremely popular on Docker Hub and has been downloaded millions of times. Additionally, Oracle plans to provide a new Oracle-maintained MySQL image for the official repos on Docker Hub in late February further enabling developers to rapidly benefit from the latest MySQL innovations.

    • Oracle Adds Oracle Linux Images to Docker Hun Registry

      Looking to take advantage of the growing enthusiasm for Docker containers among application developers, Oracle today announced that images of Oracle Linux are now available on the Docker Hun Registry.


    • GNU Guix Continues Advancing As A Package Manager & Linux DIstribution

      GNU Guix continues to be one of the most interesting new package management initiatives going on in the past few years. Guix also continues evolving into its own Linux distribution filled with GNU software.

      Ludovic Courtès, the maintainer of GNU Guix and co-maintainer of GNU Guile, presented at FOSDEM last weekend about the progress being made on Guix. Ludovic refers to Guix as “The Emacs of Distros” and that Guix attempts to empower its users in a similar manner to Emacs. GNU Guix became an installable operating system just last year and in the months since it’s picked up an ARMv7 port, many bug fixes, and as of a few days ago became FSDG-compliant. FSDG is short for the Free System Distribution Guidelines as established by the Free Software Foundation.

    • The World’s Email Encryption Software Relies on One Guy, Who is Going Broke

      The man who built the free email encryption software used by whistleblower Edward Snowden, as well as hundreds of thousands of journalists, dissidents and security-minded people around the world, is running out of money to keep his project alive.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Community open sources medical diagrams and animations

        OPENPediatrics (OP), a free online education and best practice sharing community for pediatric clinicians worldwide, has launched a new library of openly licensed medical animations and illustrations, making them available for non-commercial educational use.

        The new multimedia library draws on the extensive collection of animations and illustrations developed for didactic and procedural videos created for the OP clinician community site.

    • Open Hardware

      • Rapid open hardware innovation to redefine wireless

        Hardware design and development traditionally have been shrouded in secrecy, with companies desperate to keep their designs for internal use only. But in a world where sharing and transparency have become the norm, and global collaborative development is no longer just a phrase used by marketers—at least in software engineering—it’s time for things to change.


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Fox Airs ISIS Execution After Previously Blasting Media Outlets For Airing “Terrorist Propaganda”

      Fox News’ Special Report aired images of the execution from the terrorists’ video on February 3. Host Bret Baier explained the network’s reasoning for showing the graphic images, warning viewers, “The images are brutal. They are graphic. They are upsetting,” but, “The reason we are showing you this is to bring you the reality of Islamic terrorism and to label it as such. We feel you need to see it.” After displaying the images, Baier added, “Having seen the whole video, it is something you cannot unsee. Horrific and barbaric, as well as calculating and skilled at high-tech propaganda.” FoxNews.com later uploaded the full-length, 22-minute video on its site.

    • Fox Media Critic: “I Disagree With The Fox Decision” To Air ISIS Propaganda

      HOWARD KURTZ: Megyn, I see the arguments on both sides. I understand the case that we ought to show the pure evil that is ISIS, and I thought our colleague Bret Baier handled it judiciously by just showing a couple of still images. But I disagree with the Fox decision and here’s why. ISIS — I fear that many of the us in the media are helping ISIS spread its propaganda, using its fear tactics. And I felt the same way with the beheading video, still images of which became almost like wallpaper for every story about ISIS. And when that tactic became so familiar, these terrorists, these butchers, went to the even more sick and depraved and barbaric method of burning a man to death. And I just have a concern that we are helping spread the fear that ISIS so badly wants to spread.

    • Burning Victims to Death: Still a Common Practice

      Unlike ISIS, the U.S. usually (though not always) tries to suppress (rather than gleefully publish) evidence showing the victims of its violence. Indeed, concealing stories about the victims of American militarism is a critical part of the U.S. government’s strategy for maintaining support for its sustained aggression. That is why, in general, the U.S. media has a policy of systematically excluding and ignoring such victims (although disappearing them this way does not actually render them nonexistent).

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Julian Assange policing costs reach £10 million

      Scotland Yard confirms latest costs of mounting round-the-clock operation outside the Ecuadorian embassy in central London, where Julian Assange has claimed asylum since 2012

    • UK Spent More on ‘Guarding’ Assange than Iraq War Inquiry

      The price tag for the United Kingdom’s siege of the Ecuadorian embassy in London hit £10 million (US$15 million) Thursday.

      A Wikileaks spokesperson pointed out the cost of the controversial police operation has now exceeded the budget of the Iraq War inquiry. The inquiry was established in 2009 to critique the U.K.’s role in the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. The broad public inquiry is expected to have a final cost of roughly £10 million.

    • Julian Assange asylum: UK taxpayer bill passes £10m for policing WikiLeaks founder

      The cost to the UK taxpayer for policing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during his asylum stay at the Ecuadorian embassy has passed £10m, figures show.

      Assange has sought asylum in the embassy since June 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he has been accused of sexually assaulting two women in Stockholm in 2010.

    • Julian Assange ‘Detention’ Costs
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • We Could Keep Government Small if Only the Old Weren’t Getting So Much Healthcare

      It’s not that the United States can’t afford to keep supporting its elderly in the not-particularly-generous manner that it does today; the big debt projection numbers Hall throws at us turn out to be not so big when you look at them as a percentage of the projected economy. He wants us to be alarmed that Obama’s budget plan would move the federal government’s share of the economy from 20.9 percent today to 22.2 percent in 2024–”higher than post-World War II averages,” he points out, but a trivial redistribution of what is expected to be a much larger economic pie.

  • Censorship

    • Twitter CEO takes stance against abuse, vows to eliminate trolls from the platform

      In an internal memo sent out to employees, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo acknowledged the platform’s ongoing problems with harassment and abuse as well as its inability to combat trolls. Costolo admitted that this behavior was a key factor in driving away core users from the platform, and that he would be taking an aggressive stance against trolls on Twitter.

  • Privacy

    • Facebook to prompt all UK users to register to vote in general election

      The social network will encourage users to register to vote on Thursday, in conjunction with the Electoral Commission

    • British Army To Create 1500-Strong Social Media Propaganda Force

      When an army as traditional as the UK’s is putting these kinds of resources behind online propaganda units, you know it’s entered the mainstream. Expect many others to follow suit, and for the digital fog of war to become considerably thicker.

    • PSA: Your crypto apps are useless unless you check them for backdoors

      At the beginning of the year, I did something I’ve never done before: I made a new year’s resolution. From here on out, I pledged, I would install only digitally signed software I could verify hadn’t been tampered with by someone sitting between me and the website that made it available for download.

      It seemed like a modest undertaking, but in practice, it has already cost me a few hours of lost time. With practice, it’s no longer the productivity killer it was. Still, the experience left me smarting. In some cases, the extra time I spent verifying signatures did little or nothing to make me more secure. And too many times, the sites that took the time to provide digital signatures gave little guidance on how to use them. Even worse, in one case, subpar security practices of some software providers undercut the protection that’s supposed to be provided with digitally signed code. And in one extreme case, I installed the Adium instant messaging program with no assurance at all, effectively crossing my fingers that it hadn’t been maliciously modified by state-sponsored spies or criminally motivated hackers. More about those deficiencies later—let’s begin first with an explanation of why digital signatures are necessary and how to go about verifying them.

    • The Gaping Hole In Obama’s FBI Surveillance Reform

      The federal government this week announced a reform to an investigative tool that gives the FBI sweeping surveillance power. But a target of that surveillance said the change appears to leave investigators with vast power to snoop — in secret.

      The FBI uses national security letters to force business owners to hand over records on their customers, as long as the records are related to a national security investigation. No court approval is needed, and the FBI can impose a gag order on recipients, forbidding them from revealing even the existence of a letter.

    • Examining the Stasi, Seeing the NSA

      For many years, the East German Stasi was viewed as the most totalitarian of intelligence services, relentlessly spying on its citizens during the Cold War. But the Stasi’s capabilities pale in comparison to what the NSA can now do, notes former U.S. intelligence analyst Elizabeth Murray.

    • The government’s cyberterrorism ‘concerns’ are a pretext for their own hacking operations

      The US has always been the world leader of cyberwar, hacking damn near everyone without any repercussions. And, for years, US intelligence officials and private contractors have been milking hacks to secure billions in cyber security programs: all you need is an enemy, and they will sell you the cure.

      Their blatant hypocrisy, threat inflation and militaristic rhetoric must be challenged if we are to have a free and equal internet.

    • Australian government wants to quickly push through strict metadata laws

      The Australian government has renewed its push to get the controversial data retention bill through parliament as soon as possible, despite pleas from privacy advocates and security experts for the government to substantially rewrite the proposed laws.

    • Obama’s Attempts To Rein In NSA ‘An Insult’ To 96 Per Cent Of World’s Population

      President Obama’s administration has finally offered some more detail on how its promises to curb the National Security Agency’s blanket surveillance of the global internet have been implemented. But it’s apparent the measures have offered little in the way of change, according to critics, especially for the majority of those affected: non-Americans.

      A report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence noted that if non-Americans’ conversations are hoovered up by the NSA their messages will remain on NSA servers for five years “unless the information has been determined to be relevant to, among other things, an authorized foreign intelligence requirement”, or if the Director of National Intelligence decides the information is worthy of retention.

    • Western Spy Agencies Secretly Rely on Hackers for Intel and Expertise

      The U.S., U.K. and Canadian governments characterize hackers as a criminal menace, warn of the threats they allegedly pose to critical infrastructure, and aggressively prosecute them, but they are also secretly exploiting their information and expertise, according to top secret documents.

      In some cases, the surveillance agencies are obtaining the content of emails by monitoring hackers as they breach email accounts, often without notifying the hacking victims of these breaches. “Hackers are stealing the emails of some of our targets… by collecting the hackers’ ‘take,’ we . . . get access to the emails themselves,” reads one top secret 2010 National Security Agency document.

  • Civil Rights

    • Sami Al-Arian, Professor Who Defeated Controversial Terrorism Charges, is Deported from U.S.

      In 2003, Sami Al-Arian was a professor at the University of South Florida, a legal resident of the U.S. since 1975, and one of the most prominent Palestinian civil rights activists in the U.S. That year, the course of his life was altered irrevocably when he was indicted on highly controversial terrorism charges by then Attorney General John Ashcroft. These charges commenced a decade-long campaign of government persecution in which Al-Arian was systematically denied his freedom and saw his personal and professional life effectively destroyed.

    • Things In Politico That Make Me Want To Guzzle Antifreeze, Part The Infinity

      OK, so consorting with murderous war criminals has been a common go-to move for Republican candidates since Dick Cheney appointed himself vice-president and puppet master back in Aught-Aught. But even TBOTP has to admit there are certain large brown spots on the apple these guys are polishing. Watch how deftly these areas of rot get mentioned and then dismissed.

    • Will Anyone Pay for Abu Ghraib?

      What happened at the Abu Ghraib prison during the early days of the Iraq war is no secret: The whole world has seen the appalling photos.

      Detainees under American control were raped, beaten, shocked, stripped, starved of food and sleep, hung by their wrists, threatened with death and, in at least one case, murdered. These are war crimes, punishable under both American and international law.

    • Obama Administration Frustrates Inspectors General on Records Access

      A little-noticed passage in President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget is combining with delays by FBI records managers to frustrate inspectors general and their congressional allies in their efforts to clarify the watchdogs’ authority to gain full access to agency documents.

    • CIA Mission: Destroy the Whistleblower and Perfume the Stench of ‘Operation Merlin’

      The leak trial of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling never got near a smoking gun, but the entire circumstantial case was a smokescreen. Prosecutors were hell-bent on torching the defendant to vindicate Operation Merlin, nine years after a book by James Risen reported that it “may have been one of the most reckless operations in the modern history of the CIA.”

      That bestselling book, State of War, seemed to leave an indelible stain on Operation Merlin while soiling the CIA’s image as a reasonably competent outfit. The prosecution of Sterling was a cleansing service for the Central Intelligence Agency, which joined with the Justice Department to depict the author and the whistleblower as scurrilous mud-throwers.

    • Judge rules woman with learning disabilities can be sterilised by force

      Health and social services have been given permission to force entry into the woman’s home, use ”necessary restraint” and sterilise her, at a hearing in the Court of Protection in London.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Is Net Neutrality Now a Done Deal?
    • Victory for Net Neutrality — Let’s Take It Across The Finish Line

      Today, we heard that we’ve won a stunning victory in the fight to protect net neutrality. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put forward a draft proposal for strong, enforceable net neutrality rules based on classifying broadband as a Title II communications service.

    • Don’t call them “utility” rules: The FCC’s net neutrality regime, explained

      Within a few weeks we’ll have a huge document full of legalese on the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, to replace the near-200-page order from 2010 that was mostly overturned by a court ruling last year.

    • Verizon is mad that its huge net neutrality gamble backfired

      Verizon sued to block the FCC’s 2010 net neutrality order, leading to a court ruling that threw out rules against blocking and discrimination. The court said the FCC erred by imposing per se common carrier rules—the kind of rules applied to the old telephone network—onto broadband without first classifying broadband providers as common carriers. Now, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is proposing to reclassify broadband as a common carriage service, an even worse outcome for Verizon and fellow ISPs.

    • Tom Wheeler makes history with full-on Net neutrality proposal

      Internet freedom at last! FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal is for full Title II reclassification for ISPs, defining ISPs as utilities and preventing fast-lane profiteering

    • Net neutrality rules: Six key points

      The Internet rules the Federal Communications Commission proposed Wednesday would apply to fixed and wireless broadband, regulate interconnection deals, and ban fast lanes.

      To cut through the jargon of telecommunications policy, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called the proposal the “strongest open Internet protections ever proposed by the FCC.”

      Wheeler’s proposal would reclassify broadband Internet like a utility, similar to traditional telephones. The stronger authority, recommended by President Obama, would ban service providers from blocking or slowing Internet traffic, while also blocking companies from negotiating deals for faster service.

    • The Biggest Hole in the FCC’s New Internet Rules

      Zero-rating won’t be blocked by the FCC’s Open Internet proposals—and it could a major challenge to net neutrality

    • This is huge: FCC chairman’s strong net neutrality proposal turns the Internet into a public utility

      U.S. Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler just pulled out the big gun in the net neutrality battle: In an op-ed published on Wired, Wheeler announced a proposal to invoke the agency’s Title II authority, which would allow the FCC to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility, similar to phone service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Should the views of a three-person tribunal take precedence over society’s wishes?

      In the last TTIP update I wrote about two important leaks, both dealing with regulatory matters. One of those came from the Greens MEP Michel Reimon, and he’s released another important document, this time concerning dispute settlement [.pdf]. Once more, it has been re-typed from the actual leaked document in order to minimise risk for the source (to whom thanks….)

    • VIDEO: Robert Reich Explains the Worst Trade Deal You’ve Never Heard Of

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership, now headed to Congress, is a product of big corporations and Wall Street, seeking to circumvent regulations protecting workers, consumers, and the environment. Watch this video, and say “no” to fast-tracking this bad deal for the vast majority of Americans.

    • Copyrights

      • Anti-Piracy Outfit Sends Porn ‘Fines’ to University

        An anti-piracy outfit working on behalf of porn studios has surprised ‘pirate’ students with demands for cash. The University of California passed on the $300 threats from CEG TEK alongside suggestions to pay up, but advice given by a campus computer science professor could put even more people at risk.


Links 4/2/2015: X.Org Server 1.17, ContainerCon

Posted in News Roundup at 6:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Attention Linux gamers: Valve, Khronos to reveal next-gen OpenGL successor at GDC

    It’s a great time to be alive if you’re a fanatic about the particulars of various performance-boosting graphics APIs. AMD’s Mantle is here, Microsoft’s DirectX 12 is coming with Windows 10, and at GDC in early March we’ll hear the first news about a successor to the open-source, cross-platform OpenGL API.

    That’s not necessarily huge news if you’re using a Windows machine—unless this OpenGL successor is really special, most games will probably stick with DirectX 12 in a perpetual love/hate relationship. If you’re a Mac or Linux gamer, however, the next-generation OpenGL is potentially a huge deal.

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu 14.10 running on my MacBook

      A few days ago I thought I’d never run something different than Mac OS X on my MacBook, but then I remembered how great Ubuntu ran some years ago on my old laptop. Apart from that my development environment was easily adoptable to Ubuntu and I really love customising stuff, so I made the switch to Ubuntu.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Support For The Broadwell Dell XPS 13 Isn’t Yet In Shape

      While the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Broadwell processor is playing fairly well under Linux, the new Dell XPS 13 laptop/ultrabook that’s been of interest to many Phoronix readers still has a lot of work ahead although it’s effectively usable right now.

    • The Linux Foundation Publishes Guide to the Open Cloud

      The 2015 “Guide to the Open Cloud: Open Cloud Projects Profiled” is The Linux Foundation’s second publication on the open cloud, which was first published in October 2013. The updated guide adds new projects and technology categories that have gained importance in the past year. The report covers well-known projects like Cloud Foundry, OpenStack, Docker and Xen Project, and up-and-comers such as Apache Mesos, CoreOS and Kubernetes.

    • Systemd has plans to include UEFI bootloader

      The system and service manager systemd has plans to include a bootloader that can support UEFI secure boot, according to a report of a talk given by the main systemd developer, Lennart Poettering.

      The bootloader Gummiboot is being considered, according to the talk that Poettering gave at the Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting in Brussels recently.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland’s Weston Now Supports Maximizing XWayland Windows

        A change accepted into Wayland’s Weston compositor codebase on Monday allows for maximizing XWayland windows.

      • Libinput Looks To Dominate On Both X11 & Wayland

        While libinput is most frequently talked about in the context of an input library handling the needs of Wayland compositors (and potentially Mir), it’s set to also take on the roles of an input driver for the X.Org Server.

      • Gallium3D’s Direct3D 9 Support Is Coming Along Well

        Last weekend at FOSDEM 2015 there was a status update concerning Gallium3D Nine, the Direct3D 9 state tracker that runs Windows games in conjunction with Wine.

      • NVIDIA Has A “Great Experience” Working With Nouveau Community

        Alexandre Courbot spoke at FOSDEM this past weekend about enabling the NVIDIA Tegra K1′s “GKA20A” Kepler-based graphics processor with the open-source Nouveau driver.

      • X.Org Server 1.17 Officially Released

        Keith Packard took a break from his new job at Hewlett Packard working on Linux support for “The Machine” to put out the official release of X.Org Server 1.17.

        X.Org Server 1.17.0 was released a few minutes ago and is codenamed Côte de veau. This is a half-year update to the X.Org Server and features integration of the xf86-video-modesetting DDX driver, much improved GLAMOR support, and other improvements.

      • More AMD RadeonSI Improvements Land In Mesa Git

        Marek Olšák pushed out more RadeonSI Gallium3D driver improvements today for bettering the open-source Linux graphics driver support for the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series graphics cards and newer.

    • Benchmarks

      • A Five Year Old NVIDIA GPU Can Still Beat Broadwell HD Graphics 5500

        While the comparison due out later this week will have Ubuntu Linux benchmark results from close to a dozen systems, this one-page article is just a quick glance comparing the ThinkPad X1 Carbon to an aging ThinkPad W510. While the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a Core i7 5600U with HD Graphics 5500, the ThinkPad W510 has a Core i7 720QM processor with dedicated NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M GPU with 1GB of dedicated vRAM.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • End of an Era

        last week, I handed in my Master’s thesis. I was studying Physics for about 7.5 years now. I started using KDE 3.5.x while still in school and in my first student job as a web developer. At university, I taught myself C++ while working as a sysadmin at the faculty, in order to contribute to Kate, Quanta and KDevelop. I quickly discovered that Physics wasn’t so much my thing but the German education system doesn’t make it easy to switch fields. Thus, I endured and continued. And I kept coding though, mostly in my spare time, but also while working part-time for KDAB. Now, all these years later, I’m one of the official maintainers of KDevelop, and also contribute to KF5, esp. KTextEditor regularly. I created tools such as Massif-Visualizer and heaptrack. I became a Qt approver and maintainer of the Qt WebChannel module. And, starting from May this year, I’ll finally be working full-time for KDAB. Oh, how things have changed! Just compare Plasma 5.2 today to the KDE 4.0 alpha 1 or whatever it was that I tried in 2007 – a difference of night and day!

      • GCompris: crowdfunding campaign is over, time to start the work

        The crowdfunding campaign we ran on IndieGoGo to support the work on new unified graphics for GCompris finished yesterday. We didn’t reach the goal set to complete the whole new graphics, but thanks to 94 generous contributors, we collected 3642$. Also we got 260€ directly from the Hackadon 2014, many thanks to those contributors too! Thanks again to everyone who contributed and helped to spread the word!

      • digiKam 4.7.0 Is Out, Preparations Are Made for KDE Frameworks 5 Support

        digiKam Software Collection, the digital photo management application that works best on KDE desktops, has advanced to version 4.7.0 and is now available for download.

      • digiKam 4.7.0 Released, Still Being Ported To Qt5/KF5
      • How KDE Plasma 5 Optionally Uses systemd

        Another systemd component that can be used by Plasma 5 is timedated and its other daemons for allowing basic system admin tasks like time adjustment, locale management, managing the hostname, etc, through DBus interfaces.

      • The Linux Setup – Jonathan Riddell, Kubuntu Developer

        I’m all for free-as-in-freedom. Because of the number of interfaces that software has with the world (both human and programmer), it’s very easy to lock people into proprietary software and create monopolies. Not having free competition is a bad way for any economy to run. I’m surprised at how infrequently this economic argument is made.

        I’m also all for community-made software. It allows us to have control and fix problems that we find, to share knowledge, and to create professional and personal relationships. I love that I can go to almost any city in the world and meet up with someone who wants to chat about the code we work with.

      • TaskWarrior with activities

        A few days ago, Elias Probst asked me to provide some shell functions to easily fetch the current activity so that he could use it with the TaskWarrior – to separate tasks for different activities. These are now avilable in the KActivities repository and … I’m not going to explain them in this post. Maybe the next one.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME’s OPW Women Program Becomes Outreachy

        The GNOME OPW has been the program encouraging women and those associating as women to get involved with open-source software whether it be actual code development or other related tasks like working on documentation, graphics, etc. In return, the women gain experience and are provided with a few thousand dollars. This winter is when the X.Org Foundation became the latest project involved with the OPW.

  • Distributions

    • Are rolling release Linux distros better than fixed releases?
    • New Releases

      • OpenELEC 5.0.1 Is Based on Kodi (XBMC) 14.1

        OpenELEC is an embedded operating system built specifically to run the famous KODI (XBMC) media player solution. The developers have just pushed version 5.0.1 out the door, a day after the release of Kodi 14.1.

      • Q4OS 0.5.25 version released

        Firmware for many Broadcom wireless devices has been included, so Q4OS will automatically recognize and make ready most of the BCM43 and other wireless network cards. New command line tools ‘qrepoadd’, ‘qreporm’ and ‘qrepolist’ has been introduced to easily handle external repositories, for example ‘sudo qrepoadd trinity’ adds complete Trinity repository. Q4OS Development Pack is now able to create more comfortable password-less installers for privileged ‘sudo’ users. It will be used to update most of standard Q4OS application installers in the following weeks. A few another improvements and bug fixes is provided, particularly for alternative KDE4 desktop environment.

      • Plop Linux 4.3.0 released
      • BackBox Linux 4.1Keeps Security Researchers Anonymous

        There are many options available today for users looking at Linux distributions tailored for security research, and among them is BackBox Linux, which was updated to version 4.1 on Jan. 29. Backbox Linux 4.1 is based on the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Long Term Support) distribution and uses the Xfce desktop environment. BackBox Linux is not intended to primarily be a user-focused privacy distribution, as is the case with Tails, but rather is more aligned with Pentoo, CAINE and Kali Linux, all of which focus on providing tools for security analysis. Though BackBox is not primarily a privacy distribution, it does have tools that enable security researchers to stay anonymous while conducting research. For example, a RAM wiping tool will erase the memory on the system that Backbox is running when the operating system shuts down. Plus, BackBox includes a command line interface wizard that provides users with options for enabling anonymous network traffic over Tor (The Onion Router), as well as masking a user’s hostname. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at some of the features in the BackBox Linux 4.1 release.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Life-cycle of a Security Vulnerability

        Security vulnerabilities, like most things, go through a life cycle from discovery to installation of a fix on an affected system. Red Hat devotes many hours a day to combing through code, researching vulnerabilities, working with the community, and testing fixes–often before customers even know a problem exists.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Signal analyzer runs Linux on BeagleBone Black-like core

      Data Translation unveiled a Linux-enabled dynamic signal analyzer for measuring noise and vibration, based on a BeagleBone Black-like embedded computer.

      The DT7837 is used for testing audio, acoustic, and vibration on mobile devices and other electronics gear. The dynamic signal analyzer can simultaneously measure four 24-bit IEPE sensor inputs at a sampling rate of 102.4 kS/s, says Data Translation.

    • Introducing the Raspberry Pi 2, and a new resource

      If you’re interested in open hardware, this one has been hard to miss: this week, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the release of the Raspberry Pi 2. This tiny open hardware project has grown so large that its new releases are now making headlines in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and on the BBC.

    • Should Linux users worry about no-cost Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi?

      Gone are the days when Linux users tried to run their free and open source operating system on Microsoft-controlled hardware: PCs. As Microsoft’s OS and Office market share is declining, and with an (almost) failed mobile platform, the company is now looking at open source for its survival.

    • OpenPi Raspberry Pi Powered Open Source Wireless System (video)

      Makers, hobbyists and developers that enjoy using the Raspberry Pi to create projects may be interested in OpenPi a new piece of hardware that is powered by the 32 bit ARM based Raspberry Pi Compute Module and soon the Quad core Raspberry Pi version 2.

    • Mesh-enabled WiFi router runs Linux, promises better coverage

      The Linux-based “Eero” WiFi router uses mesh networking and self-correcting code to reduce dead zones and optimize speed, and offers mobile app access.

      WiFi routers can be extended with WiFi repeaters or extenders to reduce dead zones and boost signal strength in large or multi-story homes, as well as long railroad apartments. Yet, these devise often don’t live up their claims, especially now that more and more people are simultaneously streaming video.

    • Hands-On: RaspberryPi NOOBS 1.3.12

      There’s plenty of excitement in the Raspberry Pi world this week: the big news is the announcement of the Raspberry Pi 2 hardware – the long-awaited and much-anticipated successor to the immensely popular original unit, which will now be known as the Raspberry Pi 1.

      But that’s not the only news: there is also a new release of the Raspbian operating system and the NOOBS (New Out Of Box Software) package. I am just back from a week in Amsterdam, and will be leaving in a few days for a short trip to Iceland, so I just have time to download and install the new software on my two Raspberry Pi 1 units (Model B and B+), and I have ordered a RPi 2 so I hope that will be waiting for me when I return. At least, the Swiss Pi-Shop says that it will be available on 3 February so I am keeping my fingers crossed – because almost all of the excitement is about the Raspberry Pi 2.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • The Next Android Revision Is Indeed ‘Android 5.1 Lollipop’, Shipping On Android One Phones, Coming To Nexus Devices

          A few hours ago, we spotted no less than five mentions of “Android 5.1″ on Google’s Indonesian Android One page. Considering that 5.1 is quite a jump from 5.0.2, and something like 5.0.3 seemed more likely as the next bug fixer, we were cautious to suggest it may have been a mistake or a very persistent typo.

        • AnandTech reviews Google’s Nexus 9 tablet

          The Nexus 9 tablet is Google’s attempt to take a stab at the high end of the tablet market. But did the company hit or miss the bull’s eye with the Nexus 9? AndandTech has a very deep and detailed review that reveals the good and bad of the Nexus 9.

        • The Google Nexus 9 Review

          For the past few years, we’ve seen Google place significant emphasis on price as a way of competing with other tablets on the market. The original Nexus 7 managed to deliver a good tablet experience without the conventional 500 USD price for a tablet. The successor to the Nexus 7 was even more incredible, as it pushed hardware that was equal to or better than most tablets on the market at a lower price. However, as with most of these low cost Nexus devices not everything was perfect as corners still had to be cut in order to hit these low price points.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The best open-source software for serious Linux users

    Everyone has their personal favorite programs, but some users are more serious about their software than others. One such group includes the people at LinuxQuestions. These are Linux experts who are kind enough to answer newbies’ endless questions. So when they pick out their favorite Linux distributions and open-source programs, I take their opinions seriously.

  • LinuxQuestions Survey Results Surface Top Open Source Projects

    Many people in the Linux community look forward to the always highly detailed and reliable results of the annual surveys from LinuxQuestions.org. As Susan covered in detail in this post, this year’s results, focused on what readers at the site deem to be the best open source projects, are now available. Most of the people at LinuxQuestions are expert-level users who are on the site to answer questions from newer Linux users.

  • Top 7 Reasons Developers Contribute to Open Source Projects

    Contributing to an open source project is free in two ways. In one aspect you are giving of your talents to something much greater, and here you are free to use and share ideas. The concept of money and price is a man-made invention. The best things in life really are free!

  • Facebook’s James Pearce: Open Source Creates More Quality Code

    Facebook has always used and contributed back to open source software. But over the past few years the company has become much more active in the open source community, releasing more of its own internal tools and participating in upstream development on the Linux kernel and many other projects. As a result, the company can more easily attract and retain developers, has increased code quality, and sees faster innovation, says James Pearce, head of open source at Facebook.

  • Docker-Rocket Conflict is a Good Sign

    Docker is an open source software tool that supports packaging of an application and its dependencies into a virtual container that can run on a variety of infrastructures. Docker’s modern, lightweight design enables flexibility and portability on where applications can run and allows for faster, more efficient application development and deployment approaches.

  • OsmocomBB: open source baseband software

    This project is doing amazing work, but despite all the effort, it only supports very small number of phones based on one particular baseband chip because this one happens to accept unsigned firmware. It only supports 2G (and not even completely), so 3G and 4G are completely out of the question. Don’t expect to flash this on your Samsung Galaxy Whatever any time soon.

  • Open Source: Still the Best Solution for Ensuring Safe Software

    As these companies prove by their steadfast commitment to open source, and despite the recently discovered Linux Ghost vulnerability, faith is still strong amongst leading U.S. technology companies that open source software is the best solution for keeping software safe.

  • Events

    • Under the SCALE Big Top

      As we get closer to the Southern California Linux Expo — SCALE 13x for those of you keeping score at home — it bears mentioning that the largest community-run Linux/FOSS show in North America has grown to host a lot of other sub-events during the course of the four-day expo.

      In years past, Ubuntu, Fedora, PostgreSQL and Chef held their own sessions at SCALE — Ubucon, Fedora Activity Day, PostgreSQL Days and Intro to Chef respectively — and they’ll be back this year. Highlighting the “event within an event” lineup at SCALE 13x are also a few others.

    • Digital Jersey to hold first ‘open source’ day

      The day will showcase open source solutions and technology, which offer an alternative to proprietary systems more commonly used by businesses.

    • 20150203 – FOSDEM talk

      Because of the vast scale of the event, around five thousand visitors, there is something for everybody, which again makes it possible for smaller FOSS communities, like Ada language practitioners, to meet at FOSDEM, rather than spending time arranging their own conference.

    • Linux Foundation Creates ContainerCon to Bring Together Top Open Source Developers With Top Container Users

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux and collaborative development, today is announcing the debut in 2015 of ContainerCon, a new event dedicated to bringing together leading developers and contributors of Linux containers with the Linux kernel developer community. The event will be co-located with LinuxCon + CloudOpen North America in Seattle, August 17-19, 2015.

    • Linux Foundation creates ContainerCon to bring vendors together

      Linux Foundation CMO Amanda McPherson said, “We believe it is important to offer a space for those working with containers, and those interested in learning more about them, to come together and share knowledge about this important new technology. Since Linux is the platform for containers, it’s a natural fit.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • FOSDEM Configuration Management: Open Source Infrastructure

      Spencer Krum and Elizabeth K. Joseph shared their experience both using and providing the public infrastructure used by OpenStack at the configuration management developer room at FOSDEM.

    • Tesora’s pivot to open source and the OpenStack Trove project

      Early in 2014, we launched our company Tesora as the OpenStack Trove company focused on the open source database-as-a-service project. This wasn’t, however, a brand new open source company. We began our life as ParElastic, developing a proprietary engine that could transparently scale-out MySQL.

    • What will Follow OpenStack Kilo? My Vote is for Liberty

      The open-source OpenStack cloud community is now choosing the name for what will be the second platform release later this year. The Kilo release is set to debut in May ahead of the OpenStack Vancouver Summit.

      The naming convention for OpenStack releases is to be somewhat related to the location of the design summit, so the ‘L’ name will need to have something to do with Vancouver, British Columbia or Canada even. The current list is now down to four candidate names:

    • VMware’s Cloud Strategy Matures, Focuses on OpenStack

      VMware is much in the news this week for its announcements on the cloud computing front. In a blog post, the company announced the launch of VMware Integrated OpenStack, which, notably, is available for use, free of charge, with VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus, vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus and all editions of vCloud Suite. The company is also pushing its vision of “one cloud, any app, any device.”

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Paid development pays off for LibreOffice for Android

      At the huge FOSDEM conference in Brussels this weekend, the developers of LibreOffice for Android presented their work and road map. LibreOffice for Android is currently available as a file viewer in the Google Play Store, but the team is making rapid progress developing editing capabilities as well.

  • CMS

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • LLVM 3.6 Release Candidate 2 Now Available

      Hans Wennborg at Google has put out the second RC of LLVM 3.6 and its sub-projects like Clang. The RC2 version just has more bug-fixes over what the RC1 release contained a short time ago. LLVM 3.6 was branched in the middle of January.

    • Changes to the FreeBSD Support Model

      Over the past several months, the teams responsible for supporting the FreeBSD operating system discussed the current support model, and how that model can be improved to provide better support for FreeBSD users and consumers.


    • Don’t Want systemd? Try GNU Hurd, But It Still Lacks 64-bit, Audio & USB

      While it doesn’t get talked about too much these days, GNU Hurd remains under active development. A GNU Hurd developer has shared a status update about the state of Hurd in 2015 and how you can start contributing.

      Samuel Thibault spoke at FOSDEM this past weekend about getting involved with this free software kernel project as an alternative to Linux, although Thibault is also a Linux user/developer. While you can see his PDF slides if you’re curious about getting involved with Hurd development, the most interesting portion of his presentation to us was the status update on GNU Hurd.

    • GCC 5 Brings Some Performance Improvements For Intel Broadwell Systems

      My latest Intel Broadwell Linux benchmarks are looking at the performance of the in-development GCC 5 compared to GCC 4.9, the current stable release shipped by many Linux distributions throughout 2014.

    • GCC & Clang Now Support ARM’s New Cortex-A72

      Yesterday ARM announced the new high-end Cortex-A72 CPU and today it’s supported by the GCC and LLVM Clang compilers.

  • Project Releases

    • What is Shadow Daemon?

      Shadow Daemon is a collection of tools to detect, protocol and prevent attacks on web applications. Technically speaking, Shadow Daemon is a web application firewall that intercepts requests and filters out malicious parameters. It is a modular system that separates web application, analysis and interface to increase security, flexibility and expandability.

    • MongoDB 3.0 To Have WiredTiger, Big Performance Improvements

      MongoDB 3.0 was announced today with an expected GA release in March. MongoDB 3.0 has “massive improvements to performance and scalability, enabled by comprehensive improvements in the storage layer.”

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing

    • Good news: Compatibility of LGPLv2 and LGPLv3

      Two of the most used Free Software licenses are the GNU General Public License (GPL) and the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). Both are copyleft licenses, meaning that you can use them as long as you do not remove the Free Software rights from downstream users. The difference is that the LGPL can be linked unto non-free software (as long as the LGPL library itself stays free), but with the GPL everything needs to be free. In 2007, the FSF published an update to both licenses, so now we have version 2 (“GPLv2” and “LGPLv2.1”) and version 3 (“GPLv3” and “LGPLv3”).

  • Openness/Sharing

    • GE’s Open-Source Smart Refrigerator

      Smart refrigerators are not entirely new but General Electric’s (GE’s) ChillHub is the first to open-up its smarts with built-in USB ports for third-party smart accessories that let you use an app at the grocery store to tell you how much milk, soda, beer, eggs or even separate vegetables are left in the ChillHub. Plus, in collaboration with 3-D printer maker MakerBot Industries, LLC (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and rapid-manufacturer FirstBuild (a collaboration of GE and Local Motors in Louisville, Kentucky), the companies ran a contest to see which ideas from users could be made into serviceable, manufacturable accessories. The winners were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2015, Jan. 6-9, Las Vegas).

    • Open Data

      • Open up as much social-good data as possible

        Most software produces data, and many data owners are currently working out how to release their data publicly as part of a wider “data for good” movement that includes groups like the Engine Room, NGOs, private individuals, communities, and companies.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Ford Foundation Joins Hewlett Foundation And Gates Foundation In Requiring Research They Fund To Be Released Under CC BY Licenses

        Over the last few months, a bunch of big foundations have officially stated that all research that they fund via their grants now has to be placed under an open Creative Commons license such as the CC BY license that says that the information can be freely shared and copied, even for commercial purposes, with the only restriction being that you have to attribute the content to the original authors. In September of last year, the Hewlett Foundation kicked it off when it announced that it was requiring CC BY licensing on all content that it funded, followed in November by the Gates Foundation making a similar announcement.


  • 10 reasons why Google should buy the remains of Radio Shack

    Everyone has known for years that RadioShack was dying. Heck, in 2007, the mainstream satirical Onion ran a story, Even CEO Can’t Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business. That story hit between the time the iPhone was announced and when it was launched, to put it into perspective.

  • Amazon in Talks to Buy Some of RadioShack’s Stores

    Amazon.com Inc., aiming to bolster its brick-and-mortar operations, has discussed acquiring some RadioShack Corp. locations after the electronics chain files for bankruptcy, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

  • Science

    • BLETCHLEY PARK: Alan Turing Banbury sheets being used as roof insulation in Hut 6 at Bletchley Park

      The top secret documents used to break the Nazi’s Enigma Code were found during the restoration of Hut 6, which housed the unit dedicated to breaking German army and air force messages.

      The papers found in 2013 were frozen to prevent further decay, before being cleaned and repaired.

      The exhibition is called The Restoration of Historic Bletchley Park and the panels show the processes that were undertaken such as the paint analysis.

      Amongst the fragmented codebreaking documents located in the roof of Hut 6 were also parts of an Atlas, a pinboard and a fashion article form a magazine.

  • Security

    • KeePass Password management tool, Creates Strong Passwords and keeps them secure

      KeePass is a free, Open-Source and useful password manager that creates strong, random password and keep them encrypted on your HD. We to remember passwords, set same passwords for each website/services but that is making all of your accounts unsecure and exposing to hackers. Once any of the website that you’ve signed up on is compromised then most often hackers use username and passwords to open other accounts. So using same password is one way making account unsecured.

    • Serious bug in fully patched Internet Explorer puts user credentials at risk

      A vulnerability in fully patched versions of Internet Explorer allows attackers to steal login credentials and inject malicious content into users’ browsing sessions. Microsoft officials said they’re working on a fix for the bug, which works successfully on IE 11 running on both Windows 7 and 8.1.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A Pointed Letter to Gen. Petraeus

      As retired Gen. and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus was about to speak in New York City last Oct. 30, someone decided to spare the “great man” from impertinent questions, so ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern was barred, arrested and brought to trial, prompting McGovern to ask some questions now in an open letter.

      Dear Gen. David Petraeus,

      As I prepare to appear in New York City Criminal Court on Wednesday facing charges of “criminal trespass” and “resisting arrest,” it struck me that we have something in common besides being former Army officers – and the fact that the charges against me resulted from my trying to attend a speech that you were giving, from which I was barred. As I understand it, you, too, may have to defend yourself in Court someday in the future.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Oil companies are dumping waste into California’s remaining drinkable water sources

      California has a drinking water problem on top of its drinking water problem. Oil companies, with the permission of state officials, have been injecting their wastewater into clean aquifers, according to a damning new report. The practice goes back decades, and is now threatening water quality at a time when the drought-plagued state needs every drop it can get.

  • Finance

    • Robert Reich: The sharing economy is hurtling us backwards

      How would you like to live in an economy where robots do everything that can be predictably programmed in advance, and almost all profits go to the robots’ owners?

      Meanwhile, human beings do the work that’s unpredictable – odd jobs, on-call projects, fetching and fixing, driving and delivering, tiny tasks needed at any and all hours – and patch together barely enough to live on.

      Brace yourself. This is the economy we’re now barreling toward.

      They’re Uber drivers, Instacart shoppers, and Airbnb hosts. They include Taskrabbit jobbers, Upcounsel’s on-demand attorneys, and Healthtap’s on-line doctors.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why Media Shouldn’t Take GOP Attempts To Rebrand As Champions Of The Middle Class At Face Value

      Early news coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign has tacitly allowed the GOP to disingenuously rebrand itself as a party of the middle class, despite the fact that the party’s new rhetoric doesn’t align with its policy positions that continue to exacerbate income inequality. When highlighting Republican rhetoric about the need to reduce income inequality, media should take care to hold the GOP accountable for its actions, not just its words.

  • Censorship

    • The Cost Of Mark Zuckerberg’s Broken Censorship Promise Is Everyone Thinks They’re Winning When Nobody Is

      But the real issue isn’t really that an international company that happens to be led by an American has divorced itself from a moral stand. That kind of thing happens all the time and can be chalked up to the simple fact that, in capitalism, money is king and values are the jester entertaining the masses. And, just to be clear, I’m not arguing that there is even anything wrong with the above. The problem is the promise and what it is designed to do.

      That promise was meant to accomplish two things. The first is the obvious public relations benefit Facebook received from going all Western values in public. The audience that would read Zuckerberg’s proclamation was always going to be largely in favor of the values expressed. That same audience likely largely won’t ever make themselves aware of Facebook’s kneeling before the censorious Turkish government. And that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

  • Privacy

    • The US government bids adieu to Clipper Chip

      Never heard of FIPS-185? Perhaps you know it as the Escrowed Encryption Standard (EES). Its best-known implementation was a chipset known as the Clipper Chip. The Clipper Chip—and the lesser known implementation, Capstone—were developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to be installed in communications devices, for the purpose of protecting private communications, but which also provided “back door” access to law enforcement agencies to conduct electronic surveillance, subject to court order. Naturally, this raised a lot of questions and concerns (some of which are worthy of a whole other blog post).

    • Chris Barton: Chilling privacy call from our Supreme Court

      Our Supreme Court has handed down a chilling ruling about the state’s right to invade individual privacy – particularly when it’s contained, as it is so often these days, on computers or mobile phones.

    • President Tweaks the Rules on Data Collection

      A year after President Obama ordered modest changes in how the nation’s intelligence agencies collect and hold data on Americans and foreigners, the administration will announce new rules requiring intelligence analysts to delete private information they may incidentally collect about Americans that has no intelligence purpose, and to delete similar information about foreigners within five years.

      The new rules to be announced Tuesday will also institutionalize a regular White House-led review of the National Security Agency’s monitoring of foreign leaders. Until the disclosures in the early summer of 2013 by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor whose trove of intelligence documents is still leaking into public view, there was no continuing White House assessment of whether the intelligence garnered from listening to scores of leaders around the world was worth the potential embarrassment if the programs became public.

    • Need benefits? Say goodbye to privacy

      On the 13th of February The Social Security (Information-sharing in relation to Welfare Services etc.) Regulations 2015 come into force. On that date anyone claiming Universal Credit will lose control over who can see their most sensitive personal information. There was a consultation, of course. Sadly, the people who are affected by the new regulations don’t count as important enough to consult and the consultation ended on the 12th of January.

    • What ever happened to NSA officials who looked up lovers’ records?

      It’s been a year since Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Attorney General Eric Holder how it handled National Security Agency officials who abused the agency’s powers, and he still hasn’t gotten an answer.

      Now, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee is renewing his call for Holder to explain whether or not any of the dozen people who used spying tools to track their spouses or others without authorization have been punished.

    • New site: Canarywatch

      “Warrant canary” is a colloquial term for a regularly published statement that a service provider has not received legal process that it would be prohibited from saying it had received, such as a national security letter. Canarywatch tracks and documents these statements. This site lists warrant canaries we know about, tracks changes or disappearances of canaries, and allows submissions of canaries not listed on the site.

    • Germany’s Spies Store 11 Billion Pieces Of Phone Metadata A Year — And Pass On 6 Billion To The NSA

      Given Germany’s high-profile attachment to privacy, it’s always interesting to hear about ways in which its spies have been ignoring that tradition.

    • ‘When you collect everything, you understand nothing’ – Snowden

      National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden answered questions from Canadian students on Monday, telling them that mass surveillance can actually harm the ability to prevent terrorist attacks while also being detrimental to personal privacy.

      Speaking at Upper Canada College in Toronto via webcam from Russia, Snowden was joined by journalist Glenn Greenwald as the pair fielded questions from high school students. When asked about mass domestic surveillance – which new reports show Canada is engaged in – Snowden argued that the practice could divert attention and resources from more focused efforts that would yield better results.

    • Administration highlights surveillance reforms

      With legislation to overhaul a key surveillance program stalled on Capitol Hill, the Obama Administration issued a report Tuesday highlighting reforms it has made to the nation’s snooping efforts since Edward Snowden jump-started public debate on the issue with a series of unauthorized revelations more than a year ago.

    • Working Thread: New and Improved Dragnettery

      This section lays out all the independent advice the IC has sought in the last 18 months, from the advice largely ignored (President’s Review Group) to narrowly scoped (the National Academies of Science report that assessed whether the IC could get the same features of the current phone dragnet, without assessing whether it was effective) to the largely inane (Congressional hearings).

    • Experts decry “nibbling at the edges” rather than real surveillance reform

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced Tuesday that it would immediately implement new surveillance reforms, which it claims illustrate an “ongoing commitment to greater transparency.”

      These new changes, among others, stipulate that content interception cannot be used to intentionally target Americans and permanent residents, change secrecy limits on National Security Letters, require that non-intelligence related information collected on Americans be deleted, and restrict that similar data gathered on foreigners be deleted after no later than five years.

    • DOJ Says It’s Not Legally Required to Tell Wyden Whether Executive Branch Conduct Was Legal

      Via Ali Watkins’ story on Dianne Feinstein’s vindication by the Senate parliamentarian, Ron Wyden has written Eric Holder a letter listing all the unfinished business he’d like the Attorney General to finish before going off to his sinecure defending banks (my assessment, not Wyden’s).


      Wyden has apparently been asking this for “several years.” While that doesn’t entirely rule out CIA spying on SSCI (which, after all, DOJ has answered by not prosecuting), it seems it is some other action he learned about under Obama’s tenure.

  • Civil Rights

    • NYPD Commissioner: Because Terrorism And Protests Are Roughly The Same Thing, A New Special Unit Will Handle Both

      So, they won’t carry machine guns while policing protests, but they’ll be in easy reach. Bratton stated that responding to protests and terrorist attacks require “overlapping skills,” hence the creation of a single unit. There has been no further clarification on what these “skills” might be, other than possibly being able to discern whether it’s a protest or terrorist attack they’re dealing with and, consequently, whether the machine gun stays in the squad car.

    • Silk Road trial closes: “It’s a hacker! It’s a virus! It’s ludicrous.”

      A federal jury saw a final clash between prosecutors and lawyers for Ross Ulbricht on Tuesday as the Silk Road drug-trafficking trial sped to a close.

      The case will be with the jury shortly, after a stunningly short defense case. Ulbricht’s lawyers put on three brief character witnesses yesterday. Today, they brought a private investigator who offered just a few minutes of testimony and a former roommate of Ulbricht’s in San Francisco who only knew him for a few months.

    • Eric Holder’s lawless legacy: Column

      Eric Holder is reaping applause as his six-year reign as Attorney General comes to a close. But Holder’s record is profoundly disappointing to anyone who expected the Obama administration to renounce the abuses of the previous administration. Instead, Holder championed a Nixonian-style legal philosophy that presumed that any action the president orders is legal.

      Holder championed President Obama’s power to assassinate people outside the United States — including Americans — based solely on the president’s secret decrees. On March 6, 2012, Holder defended presidentially-ordered killings: “Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, it does not guarantee judicial process.” TV comedian Stephen Colbert mocked Holder: “Trial by jury, trial by fire, rock, paper scissors, who cares? Due process just means that there is a process that you do.” For Holder and the Obama administration, reciting certain legal phrases in secret memos was all it took to justify executions.

    • DEA teaches agents to recreate evidence chains to hide methods

      Drug Enforcement Administration training documents released to MuckRock user C.J. Ciaramella show how the agency constructs two chains of evidence to hide surveillance programs from defense teams, prosecutors, and a public wary of domestic intelligence practices.

    • CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Released from Prison: Here’s His Final ‘Letter from Loretto’

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou has been released from the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania. He checked into a halfway house on February 3 and then went home to be with his family and serve the remaining 86 days of his sentence on house arrest. And, to mark his departure from the facility, he penned a final letter acknowledging everything he will not miss about being incarcerated.

      Kiriakou was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under President George W. Bush’s administration. In October 2012, he pled guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he confirmed the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter. He was sentenced in January 2013 and reported to prison on February 28, 2013.

      For much of Kiriakou’s prison sentence, Firedoglake has published his “Letters from Loretto.” (Firedoglake even published an illustration of one of his letters, which was done by graphic artist Christopher Sabatini.)

      Kiriakou begins his final letter by expressing gratitude to all the people who supported him throughout his time in prison. He mentions a few of the friends he made while imprisoned.

    • Moussaoui Calls Saudi Princes Patrons of Al Qaeda

      In highly unusual testimony inside the federal supermax prison, a former operative for Al Qaeda has described prominent members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family as major donors to the terrorist network in the late 1990s and claimed that he discussed a plan to shoot down Air Force One with a Stinger missile with a staff member at the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

      The Qaeda member, Zacarias Moussaoui, wrote last year to Judge George B. Daniels of United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, who is presiding over a lawsuit filed against Saudi Arabia by relatives of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He said he wanted to testify in the case, and after lengthy negotiations with Justice Department officials and the federal Bureau of Prisons, a team of lawyers was permitted to enter the prison and question him for two days last October.

    • Editor of Major German Newspaper Says He Planted Stories for CIA

      Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a “propagandist,” an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA.

      Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war.

      Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short.

    • The top secret Cold War countermeasure which would have brought the United States under martial law

      Starting on April 19, 1956, the federal government practiced and planned for a near-doomsday scenario known as Plan C. When activated, Plan C would have brought the United States under martial law, rounded up over ten thousand individuals connected to “subversive” organizations, implemented a censorship board, and prepared the country for life after nuclear attack.

    • The CIA Explains What They Redacted From the Senate Torture Report — and Why

      So says a CIA lawyer in court papers explaining why some redacted portions of the 499-page executive summary, released by the Senate Intelligence Committee last December, can never be revealed. The information includes the identifies of covert CIA officers, “code words” used to conceal the identities of countries, “pseudonyms,” “official titles,” the number of people employed by the CIA, and the salaries of people who work for the CIA. The public disclosure of this information, the CIA said, would “damage national security.”

    • More Women Than Ever in Congress, but With Less Power Than Before

      enator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the new chairwoman of the Energy Committee, was at a reception in Hershey, Pa., last month when aides to Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the No. 2 Republican in the House, presented her with a party favor: a black windbreaker with the words “Chairman’s Table” on the back.

    • Homeland Insecurity: Checkpoints, Warrantless Searches and Security Theater

      Since June 2013, the American public, press, and policy-makers have been debating the implications of Edward Snowden’s disclosures of mass U.S. government surveillance programs, most established after the 9/11 attacks. Our reliance on modern communications technology and its connection with our basic constitutional rights of free speech and Fourth Amendment protections against warrantless seizures and searches is at the heart of that debate. But while that controversy has raged very publicly (even globally), another series of U.S. government search and seizure activities have only recently started to receive the scrutiny they deserve. And just as the over-reach by the NSA sparked what I have previously termed the “digital resistance movement,” these other searches—conducted by elements of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—have sparked a more traditional form of citizen resistance.

    • The Invisible Man: Jeffrey Sterling, CIA Whistleblower

      The mass media have suddenly discovered Jeffrey Sterling — after his conviction Monday afternoon as a CIA whistleblower.

      Sterling’s indictment four years ago received fleeting news coverage that recited the government’s charges. From the outset, the Justice Department portrayed him as bitter and vengeful — with the classic trash-the-whistleblower word “disgruntled” thrown in — all of which the mainline media dutifully recounted without any other perspective.

    • Walmart Cut My Hours, I Protested, and They Fired Me

      Today, the union-backed Our Walmart campaign will hold demonstrations across the country calling on Walmart managers to reverse disciplinary actions against 35 workers in nine states who participated in Black Friday protests against the retailer. Our Walmart will also add claims of illegal retaliation against the workers to an existing case filed with the National Labor Relations Board in October. One of the workers being added to the case is 26-year-old Kiana Howard of Sacramento, California.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Tim Berners-Lee: Net neutrality is critical to Europe’s future

      TIM BERNERS-LEE has spoken out in favour of net neutrality, calling it “critical for Europe’s future”.

      The World Wide Web pioneer was speaking in a blog on the European Commission website.

      The European Parliament has made a clear declaration in favour of net neutrality, but it is open to individual veto by country, and the UK is one of those investigating the pros and cons.

    • Web inventor warns against zero-rating net neutrality threat

      Zero-rating – where carriers charge nothing or very little for the data used by specific apps and web services – is a threat to net neutrality, web inventor Tim Berners-Lee has warned.

    • Oh, It’s On: FCC Boss Formally Throws Support Behind Title II Net Neutrality Rules

      FCC boss Tom Wheeler today confirmed weeks of media leaks by proclaiming he will, in fact, be pushing for Title II based net neutrality rules to be voted on at the agency’s meeting on February 26. In an editorial over at Wired, the FCC boss proclaims that the agency’s new rules will be the “strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC.” Given the FCC’s history, this isn’t saying much; in fact it’s kind of like saying you’re the best triathlete in a late-stage cancer hospice ward. Fortunately Wheeler also notes that, unlike the FCC’s previous rules, these new rules will apply to wired and wireless networks alike.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Even As Copyright Office Has Called For Shorter Copyright, USTR Tries Locking US Into Longer Terms

        This is hardly surprising, but even as the head of the US Copyright Office, Maria Pallante, has called for the US to roll back the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, so that copyright would last the life of an author plus an additional 50 years — rather than the 70 years it is today — the USTR is working to make sure that can’t happen. The latest report from the latest round of negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement says that the US has effectively bullied all the other participants into agreeing that the floor for copyright terms must be life + 70.

      • Reports Indicate Canada Has Caved on Copyright Term Extension in TPP Talks

        Last month, there were several Canadian media reports on how the work of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, had entered the public domain. While this was oddly described as a “copyright quirk”, it was no quirk. The term of copyright in Canada is presently life of the author plus an additional 50 years, a term that meets the international standard set by the Berne Convention. The issue of extending the term of copyright was discussed during the 2009 national copyright consultation, but the government wisely decided against it. Further, the European Union initially demanded that Canada extend the term of copyright in the Canada – EU Trade Agreement, but that too was effectively rebuffed.

      • ISP Doesn’t Have to Expose Pirating Subscribers, Judge Rules

        A federal court in Georgia has quashed a broad DMCA subpoena which required local Internet provider CBeyond to reveal the identities of alleged BitTorrent pirates. The magistrate judge ruled that ISPs don’t have to hand over personal information as they are not storing any infringing material themselves.


Links 3/2/2015: Simplicity Linux 15.1, OpenMandriva Lx 3 Pre-Alpha

Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Australia member numbers down by 30%

    The membership of Linux Australia is showing a downward trend, according to the minutes of the organisation’s general body meeting, with current numbers down to 70 per cent of the highest 2014 figure.

    The meeting was held on January 12 and the minutes circulated on January 31. During the meeting, the membership numbers were claimed to be the same as 2014 by one member, Michael Still, but the outgoing secretary, Kathy Reid, clarified that they were about 70 per cent of 2014.

  • How the 9 major tenets of the Linux philosophy affect you

    One of the comments I received from my previous article was that another operating system has just as much capability on the command line as Linux does. This person said that you could just add this software to get these features and that package if you want those features. That makes my point. With Linux, it is all built in. You do not have to go elsewhere to get access to the power of Linux.

    Many people left comments stating that they could see how it might be nice to know the Linux philosophy as a historical curiosity, but that it had little or no meaning in the context of daily operations in a Linux environment. I beg to differ. Here is why.

  • Windows 10 Will Not Kill the Linux Desktop, It Actually Needs It

    Microsoft is working very hard on Windows 10 and it’s baking everything on the success of this new operating system. This prompted some voices in the community that it’s the end of the Linux desktop, whatever that means, but I’m here to tell you that’s not really the case.

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • What’s New in systemd, 2015 Edition

      This concept builds further upon the socket activation. When restarting a service, systemd can push the used sockets/file descriptors of that service to the sytemd daemon and pass it again to the service once it restarted. This way, no sockets/fd’s are lost.

    • Oh, GAWWWD! Poettering’s Dreams Of Domination Don’t End With systemd

      I’m getting tired of the ever-increasing detailed fragility of systemd taking over the world. I despair of Debian Jessie ever being released at this rate. A lot of the release critical bugs are triggered by systemd because it meddles with so many knobs. Go read the following article and have a good cry… Maybe it’s all a bad dream.

    • Balancing Diversity and Creativity in the World of FOSS

      The Linux community is filled with friction and diversity. One of the advantages of open source software is the diversity that leads to innovative approaches to improve the computing environment.

      But can the diversity go too far? Is it a defining characteristic that kills programming creativity?

      The news cycle surrounding open source technology is fed by ongoing arguments about PulseAudio versus ALSA Sound in one Linux distro or another. Hotly debated discussions ensue about the merits of Systemd replacing init. Some disputes lead to key developers forking a project. Others force particular project developers or contributors to quit.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14.31 Is Now the Most Advanced LTS Branch Available

      The latest version of the stable Linux kernel, 3.14.31, has been announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman, and this is the most advanced long-term support branch of the kernel.

    • Systemd – for better or worse

      The average Linux user can be forgiven for being mystified by the passion and anger that surround the arguments over systemd, which aims to replace the traditional init daemon and shell scripts that initialise a Linux installation. Shell scripts are the tried and trusted method by which the Linux kernel is instructed on the options for its startup processes, and are seen by many sysadmins as ‘the Unix way’ of doing things. Scripts can be changed at will and the kernel doesn’t need a reboot.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Mint, Ubuntu, and Desktop Environments

      Today in Linux news, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said that rolling release distributions are “gaining on” traditional releases and Christine Hall welcomes the “new breed of Linux users.” Reviews of KaOS and Linux Mint stood-out in the newsfeeds as did Jun Auza’s comparison of Mint to Ubuntu. Michael Larabel switched to back to Fedora and Robert Pogson is horrified at systemd creator’s future plans.

    • The best Linux desktop environment for your needs?

      There are tons of different options when it comes to desktop environments for Linux. But which one is right for you? That’s a tough call and can only be made by each individual, but Datamation has some ideas to get you started finding your preferred desktop environment.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • How does systemd relate to Plasma?

        It should be apparent that as developers there are parts we want to embrace as it. In many cases it allows us to throw away large amounts of code whilst at the same time providing a better user experience. Adding it as an optional extra defeats the main benefit.

      • 3D Cube FITS & Debayer support in KStars

        Recently I was finally able to close BUG#305960 where a user requested support for 3D Cube FITS support in KStars. The FITSViewer tool always supported monochrome images since its inception, as this is what most CCD cameras in astronomy use. But single-shot color CCDs and DSLRs’ utilization within the astrophotography world kept growing over the last few years.

      • Release date for Krita 2.9

        After a short discussion, we came up with a release date for Krita 2.9! It’s going to be… February 26th, Deo volente. Lots and lots and lots of new stuff, and even the old stuff in Krita is still amazing (lovely article, the author mentions a few features I didn’t know about).

        Then it’s time for the port to Qt5, while Dmitry will be working on Photoshop-style layer styles — a kickstarter feature that didn’t make it for 2.9.0, but will be in 2.9.x. A new fundraiser for the next set of amazing features is also necessary.

      • SoK : UPnP Media Server and Client; Its integration into PlasmaMediacenter

        It’s been a long time since I wrote my last post. In my last post, I had described my SoK project, how DLNA/UPnP media client works and my plans about implementing DLNA/UPnP media server.

      • Make it flat. Make it the all same. Make it Boring.

        So at the end of the Oxygen period, UX/UI design was reaching an inflection point. Gone were the days were graphical designers challenged its own illustrations skills in a perpetual “I can my candy more naturalistic silly than yours”.

      • SoK Final Report – Theme Designing for Pairs
      • Power Management in 5.3

        A few weeks ago Alex Fiestas passed maintainership of PowerDevil, KDE’s power management service, over to me (thanks!), and there have been many exciting things going on in the power management department. Let’s take a look!

      • Power Management Being Further Improved In KDE Plasma 5.3

        KDE Plasma 5.2 was just released a few days ago but for power KDE Plasma 5.3 are already exciting features building up, including greater power management capabilities.

      • February Bug of the Month

        The KDE Gardening Team selected the February “Bug of the Month”. Before announcing it, let me write about other bugs that got resolved recently.

      • Desktop Makeover!

        In other words, I got nothin’ today. A few ideas, but not the energy nor motivation to follow through quite yet. I’m blaming the Super Bowl, the outcome of which is unknown as I write this. I’m thinking the world will continue to whirl around real nice like, whichever way it goes. But I did find a few minutes to give my aging behemoth home PC a bit of a makeover. Really all I did was to change the wallpaper to a nice new Debian logo-ed 3D thing. Shiny! I’d been using this old one for a few years I think, and it was just getting boring I guess.

        Some of you may recall that I use Linux, Debian Stable (Wheezy!) to be exact, and the hard core savant types may recall that I also use, and love, KDE. Nobody knows what the K stands for – maybe Kool?, but the rest is desktop environment. One of the things that KDE allows idiots like me to do is to easily enable Desktop Effects. Eye candy. Things that wobble and spin and get all pretty like. I’m a sucker for this crap, and have even convinced myself that some of it is useful, even an aid to efficiency. Not that slothful inefficiency isn’t also charming under certain circumstances.

      • digiKam Software Collection 4.7.0 released…

        A new year, a new release… The digiKam Team is proud to announce the release of digiKam Software Collection 4.7.0. This release includes many bugs fixes from Maik Qualmann who propose patches to maintain KDE4 version while KF5 port is under progress.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Rolling release vs. fixed release Linux

      A rolling-release Linux is one that’s constantly being updated. To some of you, that will sound a lot like DevOps’ idea of continuous deployment. You’d be right in thinking so. In both cases, the idea is that users and developers are best served by giving them the latest updates and patches as they’re created.

      There are several ways of doing this. One is to deliver frequent, small updates, which is the model that Arch Linux uses. Another is to replace an old image of the operating system or program with a new one as changes are added to the software. Ubuntu Core is taking this approach.

    • Simplicity Linux 15.1 is now available!

      The final release version of Simplicity Linux 15.1 is finally available for download. Simplicity 15.1 is based on Slacko, and uses the LXDE desktop environment for Netbook and Desktop editions. Also, we are proud to announce the release of our first 64-bit Edition: X. X 15.1 is a 64-bit only release and uses KDE as it’s desktop. Netbook and Desktop Editions are our only 32 bit releases for this cycle. One thing we are particularly pleased to bring you this release cycle is the fact that Simplicity Linux can view Netflix content straight out the box. You do not need to update libraries, change agent strings, or anything else. Just use the shortcut or use Chrome to view Netflix content.

    • OpenELEC 5.0.1 released
    • You’re the Boss with UBOS

      UBOS is a new Linux distro that I like for two reasons. One is that it works toward making it easy for muggles to set up their own fully independent personal home servers with little or no help from wizards. The other is that it comes from my friend Johannes Ernst.

    • 2014 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Award Winners

      The polls are closed and the results are in. We once again had some extremely close races and our first ever three way tie.

    • LQ Members Choice Award Winners Announced

      Every year Linux fans wait for the results of LinuxQuestions.org Member Choice Award Winners and today the end of 2014 results are in. What was the favorite distribution this year? Which was the most used messenger these days? Who brings the best office suite or desktop environment? You might be surprised.

    • Reviews

      • Linux Mint 17.1 Is As Good As It Gets

        Linux Mint is great if you are a traditionalist and you like the way things have pretty much always been.

        Nice little touches are built upon again and again and the improvements are steady but not spectacular.

        Linux Mint is just a really good, stable and solid Linux distribution and it is obvious why it is so popular.

      • KaOS 2014.12 review – Chaos and anarchy

        KaOS 2014.12 is a very slick, very beautiful product. But it is not the most refined operating system out there. Sure, in terms of friendliness and accessibility, it’s right there among the big names, offering everything a user might want or need. Still, to get to that point, you will need to sweat a little. Printing, installer errors, availability of software, all these are potentially critical obstacles that must be addressed before KaOS can become a familiar and well-recommended family name.

        You cannot fault the composition, the style, the setup. It’s really charming. Done with elegance. Maybe all my ranting has helped bring Linux aesthetics to a higher level. But while I do sometimes drool over pretty and shiny, I demand stability and predictability, first and foremost. KaOS has some catching up to do here. And so, it probably deserves around 6.5/10. Pitted against Manjaro, Netrunner Rolling and Chakra, it’s probably the second best Archy offering out there at the moment. The best? Well, read all those other reviews. Anyhow, this isn’t bad, but not quite good enough to wrestle with Ubuntu, Mint and friends. I shall definitely follow this distro’s progress.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Pre-Alpha OMA Lx3 is here – hot and fresh!

        Why pre-Alpha? Because we are eager to deliver you the freshest and hottest, and with your help this new release can start shining brighter even sooner! Have fun, report bugs, enjoy!

      • OpenMandriva Lx 3 Working On Adding Wayland Shells, KF5 + Plasma 5

        The pre-alpha of OpenMandriva Lx 3 features X.Org Server 1.16.3 and Mesa 10.4.2 as the latest for open-source Linux graphics, KDE 4.14.3 is the desktop environment while OpenMandriva is working on migrating to KF5 + Plasma 5, SDDM is the new log-in manager, LXQt 0.8 is available as the new lightweight desktop environment, and there’s various package updates.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • openSUSE 12.3 Is Officially Dead

        It might not seem like a long time, but two years for a Linux operating system is more than usual. Users need to keep in mind that this is provided for free, so its maintaining it for a long time is actually time consuming, especially since the same devs have released other versions since then, which are better and more up to date.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Snappy Ubuntu Core Is Now Ready for Raspberry Pi 2

            Canonical is already trying to stay ahead of the IoT (Internet of Things) movement and the company managed to have the latest Snappy Ubuntu Core ready just in time of the Raspberry Pi 2. At this point you might be wondering what the Internet of Things is and why Ubuntu is making a move for it.

          • Linux Top 3: Raspberry Pi 2, BackBox Linux 4.1 and Black Lab Linux 6

            The next generation Raspberry Pi 2 was announced by Raspberry Pi Founder Eben Upton on February 2. The biggest difference is the new quad-core 900MHz Broadcom ARM Cortex-A7 CPU which deliver up to six times the processing power of the Raspberry Pi B+.

          • Watch Ubuntu and Unity Desktop Transition from Mobile to Desktop

            For the past couple of years, users wanted to see how this Ubuntu convergence concept will come together and now their wish has been granted. More and more details have been revealed and there are a ton of videos that show how convergence works.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Atom based DIN-rail industrial PC won’t be rattled

      Axiomtek’s rugged, Linux-ready DIN-rail PC has a dual-core Atom E3827, remote IoT management, 4GB soldered RAM, and isolated serial, GbE, and DIO ports.

    • Faster Raspberry Pi 2 Says Yes to Ubuntu and Windows, But Where’s Android?

      Raspberry Pi enthusiasts started the week with some welcome news: A Raspberry Pi 2 Model B SBC that is claimed to be six times faster than previous versions is available for the same $35 price. The community-backed single board computer swaps out the old ARM11/ARMv6 processor for an ARMv7 system on chip that features four 900MHz Cortex-A7 cores. That, along with a doubling of RAM to 1GB, means that for the first time, the Pi fully supports Ubuntu. In fact, there’s already an optimized build available of Canonical’s new lightweight Snappy variant of Ubuntu.

    • Raspberry Pi 2 Is Faster, But Not Pricier

      The next-gen Raspberry Pi 2 is on sale now, and despite its souped-up memory and CPU performance, it is still just $35.

    • Linux-based robot controller targets FIRST robotics contests

      NI has launched a real-time Linux-based “RoboRIO” robot controller with a Zynq ARM/FPGA SoC and NI’s LabVIEW IDE designed for FIRST robotics competitions.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Samsung Galaxy S5 Android Lollipop Update Hits U.S. Phones

          The Samsung Galaxy S5 is finally getting the Android Lollipop update after weeks of speculation. The update will be rolling out to Galaxy S5 phones in the United States. The Verizon Galaxy S5 Lollipop update is the first Galaxy Android 5.0 update in the U.S., but it won’t be the last update for all U.S. Galaxy users.

          Samsung started rolling out its first round of Galaxy Android 5.0 updates at the end of last year. The company’s first update was the Samsung Galaxy S5 Lollipop update, according to Gotta Be Mobile. The update wasn’t much of a surprise for users since the Galaxy S5 is Samsung’s current Galaxy S flagship phone. The company typically rolls out updates for its current flagship models at the beginning.

        • Less Than 2% Of Android Devices Are Running Lollipop, Three Months After Launch

          I really, really like Android 5.0 (or “Lollipop” as it’s known by those of us who probably care too much about these things). It cemented my preference for Android, and has earned the Nexus 5 another few months as my go-to phone.

        • Unofficial Hearthstone Port For Android Phones Released

          Back in December last year, Blizzard finally rolled out the Android version of Hearthstone, the company’s popular and admittedly addictive free-to-play online card game. This basically means that the game is now available on iOS and Android tablets, but no smartphones just yet, although Blizzard did state that they are planning on bringing the smartphone version to iOS and Android devices this year.

        • HummingBoard-i2eX review, dual-core SBC which runs Android and Linux

          The HummingBoard-i2eX is a versatile board. It has greater performance than the Raspberry Pi 1 and includes more memory. At $110 it is more expensive than the Raspberry Pi, but you get more for your money.

        • Android 5.1 Might Launch End of February: What Changes Can You Expect?

          Android users who are unhappy with their own version of Android Lollipop could only have less than a month to wait before Google rolls out the first major update for the latest iteration of its Android mobile platform.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Simplicity Linux 15.1 Screenshot Tour
  • How Open Source Succeeds In The Cloud By Trading Freedom For Simplicity

    Importantly, these tools are largely being born within enterprises like LinkedIn that have serious Big Data needs that no commercial software can solve. Even the National Weather Service has jumped in, open sourcing the code that powers its global forecast system.

  • Benefits of Open Source Go Well Beyond Cost Savings, IT Pros Say

    That’s one of the key findings of research recently conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Zimbra, a provider of commercial open source collaboration software in Frisco, Texas. Open source “provides improved control over your software and inherent security and privacy benefits brought to bear by a development community,” said Olivier Thierry, Zimbra’s chief marketing officer, in an interview. “These benefits are tied to the transparent nature of open source, which is taken a step further by commercial vendor support, ensuring long-term viability.”

  • DataStax Acquires Open Source Graph Database Technology

    DataStax has acquired Aurelius LLC, provider of the open source graph database Titan. The Aurelius team will join DataStax to build DataStax Enterprise (DSE) Graph, adding graph database capabilities into DSE alongside Apache Cassandra, DSE Search and Analytics. Development of DataStax Enterprise Graph will begin immediately with availability announcements coming later this year.

  • My Week with Trojita

    Email clients have long been a necessary evil for anybody living in the information age. I have yet to find an email client that I like. Tolerate, yes. But not like. I have found web browsers that I like, note taking programs that I like, even text editors that I love. But email remains the proverbial thorn in my desktop side.

    For years now I’ve been using Mozilla’s Thunderbird, because while I don’t actually like it, it’s the one I hate the least. It has been stable and reliable all this time, something that couldn’t be said for the Evolution client it replaced. But it had flaws, and plenty of them. The biggest of which, in my opinion, is that it is slow. Not only is it slow when I’m doing something with it, it’s somehow even slow when I’m not doing anything.

  • Open Collaboration is Paving the Path for NFV

    I am thrilled to be joining OPNFV as its Director of NFV working directly with those who are committed to advancing open source NFV for all. I am excited about this organization, this technology, this community, and what the future holds for NFV.

  • OPNFV Adds Director and Member Companies

    The Linux Foundation’s OPNFV project for open source network functions virtualization technologies has appointed Heather Kirksey as director of NFV. It has also added new industry partners.

  • Enea, Korea Telecom, SK Telecom, Spirent and Xilinx Join the OPNFV Project
  • Balancing Diversity and Creativity in the World of FOSS

    The Linux community is filled with friction and diversity. One of the advantages of open source software is the diversity that leads to innovative approaches to improve the computing environment.

    But can the diversity go too far? Is it a defining characteristic that kills programming creativity?

    The news cycle surrounding open source technology is fed by ongoing arguments about PulseAudio versus ALSA Sound in one Linux distro or another. Hotly debated discussions ensue about the merits of Systemd replacing init. Some disputes lead to key developers forking a project. Others force particular project developers or contributors to quit.

  • 8 advantages of using open source in the enterprise

    I work with IT teams that are so passionate about Red Hat’s open source mission that they bring a “default to open source” mentality to every project we work on. We’ve been quite successful in finding open source solutions for many of our business needs. Naturally, we turn to our own open source solutions for our operating system, middleware, and cloud needs. Beyond that, we always seek out open source solutions first for our other business needs, such as user authorization and telephony.

    It’s through these first-hand experiences that I’ve reflected on the reasons why open source is a good fit for the enterprise. Here are some fundamental advantages I believe open source offers over proprietary solutions.

  • Apache(tm) PDFBox(tm) named an Open Source Partner Organization of the PDF Association
  • Recommendation engine ‘a la Amazon’ made open-source

    Alex Housley, 31, is the founder of Seldon, an open-source platform that generates user recommendations for any kind of company or industry.

  • To Counter Mass Surveillance, “SOS”: Secure Open Source

    Although it is not a universal remedy, open-source software is still an important ingredient in an EU strategy for more security and technological independence. The quality of the lifecycle processes of open-source software is crucial for its security – more than technology.

    Support and fund maintenance and/or audit of important open-source software: open-source initiatives, some of them widely implemented for security and privacy, need funding to keep going and be audited (with regard to both code and processes).

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Ups Ante for Security Researchers

        Google distributed $1.5 million in awards in 2014 for security vulnerability disclosures, money that was spread across 200 different researchers and included disclosures on over 500 bugs in Google’s Chrome Web browser. In total, Google has paid out $4 million in bug bounties since it first began rewarding researchers in 2010.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • VMware Rolls Out Integrated OpenStack Cloud Offering

      VMware today is delivering on its promise of providing an integrated OpenStack cloud offering. VMware first announced the VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) product at its VMworld conference in August, as the company’s full embrace of the OpenStack platform.

    • New Guides Demystify the Open Cloud

      If you’re bewildered by the number of open cloud platforms and usage models for them that are available, there are some useful new guides you should know about.

    • Once Again, Amazon is Shown to Dominate the Cloud Market

      With all the hubbub surrounding open source cloud computing platforms that are proliferating more rapidly than ever, it’s easy to get lulled into thinking that projects like OpenStack and CloudStack rule the cloud roost. That’s not even close to the truth, though. The proprietary cloud is going strong, and Amazon remains the 800-pound gorilla in the cloud space.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • You can now petition the European Union to ‘fix my document’

      Inspired by the pothole identification and alert site and app, fixmystreet.com, OFE, through its fixmydocument.eu, is giving a crowd-sourced voice to public frustration with software interoperability limitations that stand in the way of citizens who are seeking to communicate and interact with government.

      It should be noted, however, this is more than a vehicle through which to vent. Many parts of the EU are legitimately working hard to implement ODF, the open document format for office applications. Fixmydocument.eu will help them better identify software and documents that are presenting the most pressing and immediate problems. As an added benefit, it should not go unnoticed that more fully deploying ODF and other open standards will help the EU avoid vendor lock-in.

  • Funding

    • Open Source Initiative 2015 Membership Drive

      The OSI will launch our first ever Individual Membership Drive this year, coinciding with our 17th anniversary, Feb 3rd, 2015. Our membership drive goal is to sign up 2,398 members in celebration of our founding on 2/3/98 — “2,398 for 2/3/98″ — see what we did there? :-) The membership drive will also run in parallel with our annual Board elections, with nominations opening on Feb 2nd. The membership campaign will become an annual event.

  • BSD


    • Denemo – News: Version 1.2.2 is imminent
    • FSF adds Guix System Distribution to list of endorsed distributions

      The FSF’s list consists of ready-to-use full GNU/Linux systems whose developers have made a commitment to follow the Guidelines for Free System Distributions. This means each distro includes and steers users toward exclusively free software. All distros on this list reject nonfree software, including firmware “blobs” and nonfree documentation. The Guix System Distribution is a new and growing distro that currently ships with just over 1000 packages, already including almost all of the programs available from the GNU Project.

  • Licensing

    • Open Source Software: Update

      For software vendors, open source software (OSS) should be treated like a compliance issue – in the same way that corporate, securities or environmental compliance is a concern for many companies. The failure to manage compliance can be costly – just like it would be if a company ignored its environmental or securities compliance obligations. An environmental remediation order or a cease-trade order might result from compliance failures in those other areas.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • USGS releases open-source groundwater toolkit
    • Bringing open source cameras to the film-making industry

      The project plans to democratise camera technology and put the power back into the hands of the users. ‘It is a self-liberation by creating high end tools that we ourselves love to work with – fully independent of any of the big, established camera corporations,’ explains a member of the team.

    • Open Data

      • White House open-sources budget data on GitHub

        “This year we are releasing all of the data included in the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget in a machine-readable format here on GitHub,” the White House wrote. “The Budget process should be a reflection of our values as a country, and we think it’s important that members of the public have as many tools at their disposal as possible to see what is in the President’s proposals.”

  • Programming

    • DevOps culture needs to be created

      That seemingly simple question is sometimes a topic of heated debate, even though, if one digs into the details, it’s more a debate about how to think about transformation rather than a debate about the end state.

      Back up a minute—you can think about DevOps as living somewhere between two poles.

    • DevOps theory for beginners

      You can treat your cloud just like it was a data center full of servers with system administrators cracking the whip over them, but that misses the point of how to get the most from your cloud with DevOps.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Awful transit policy fails everyone in metro Detroit

    When we talk about the stalwart, hard-nosed relentlessness that ignites Detroiters’ souls, it’s hard to think of a better example than James Robertson.

    His story is so outlandish it seems certain to be apocryphal: His home is in Detroit, but his work is in Rochester Hills. He has no car, and our public transit system is a joke that’s played daily to brutal effect on people like Robertson. That means he hoofs it up to 21 miles per day, through whatever obstacles man or mother nature toss in front of him. Together, Robertson’s commute and his shift consume a staggering 20 hours of every day. This has been his life for a decade, since his old car died. Earning just $10.55 an hour, Robertson couldn’t save up for another.

  • Science

    • To the Parent of the Unvaccinated Child Who Exposed My Family to Measles

      To the parent of the unvaccinated child who exposed my family to measles:

      I have a number of strong feelings surging through my body right now. Towards my family, I am feeling extra protective like a papa bear. Towards you, unvaccinating parent, I feel anger and frustration at your choices.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ABC News’ Laura Ingraham Pushes Vaccine Myth That ABC News Called Discredited

      ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham falsely suggested there’s a link between vaccines and autism, which flies in the face of substantial scientific evidence and her own employer’s reporting on the issue.

      A domestic measles outbreak has highlighted the rising numbers of American parents who disregard medical recommendations and choose not to vaccinate their children, often for religious or personal reasons.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Ukraine Tipping

      The civil war in eastern Ukraine has continued fitfully since September, when the parties signed a ceasefire known as the Minsk Agreement. The ceasefire has often been more honored in the breach than the observance, but overall it has led to considerably less bloodshed, especially among civilians, than the previous six months fighting. In the spring of 2014, the level of killing escalated sharply, at U.S. urging, when the newly-installed coup government in Kiev chose to attack rather than negotiate with the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk and People’s Republic of Luhansk (now joined in the self-proclaimed federal state of Novorossiya). So far, only the Republic of South Ossetia has recognized these Ukrainian “republics” as independent countries. Only Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru recognize South Ossetia, which declared its independence from Georgia in 1990, but secured it only in 2008 with the help of Russian intervention.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • A Glimmer Of Hope for Julian Assange

      There is a window of hope, thanks to a U.N. human rights body, for a solution to the diplomatic asylum of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in London for the past two and a half years.

      Authorities in Sweden, which is seeking the Australian journalist’s extradition to face allegations of sexual assault, admitted there is a possibility that measures could be taken to jumpstart the stalled legal proceedings against Assange.

      The head of Assange’s legal defence team, former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, told IPS that in relation to this case “we have expressed satisfaction that the Swedish state“ has accepted the proposals of several countries.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Croatia just canceled the debts of its poorest citizens

      Starting Monday, thousands of Croatia’s poorest citizens will benefit from an unusual gift: They will have their debts wiped out. Named “fresh start,” the government scheme aims to help some of the 317,000 Croatians whose bank accounts have been blocked due to their debts.

    • What About The English?

      The Labour Party supports austerity in England but opposes it in Scotland.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Centrist Anxiety at the New York Times

      It’s passages like this that make me hope that my child never falls in love with a centrist. “Purity” is bad, “pragmatism” is good–the latter defined as inherently in the center. Is the centrist position that acknowledges the catastrophic effects of global warming while expanding the extraction of fossil fuels really pragmatic? Or decrying the concentration of wealth while proposing policies that will do almost nothing to counteract it?

    • ‘Venezuelan Bomb Plot’ a Figment of FBI’s–and US Media’s–Imagination

      What’s wrong is that there was no “Venezuelan nuclear bomb plot,” and the scientist in question, Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, didn’t offer Venezuela anything. What Mascheroni was convicted of was telling undercover FBI agents, who were pretending to work for Venezuela, that he could give them nuclear weapons secrets. In real life, Venezuela had nothing to do with it.

    • Is Adblock Plus accepting whitelist bribes from Google, Microsoft and Amazon?

      Google, Microsoft and Amazon have paid Eyeo a significant sum of money to be automatically whitelisted in Adblock Plus

    • Google, Amazon ‘n’ pals fork out for AdBlock Plus ‘unblock’ – report

      Internet giants Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Taboola have reportedly paid AdBlock Plus to allow their ads to pass through its filter software.

      The confidential deals were confirmed by the Financial Times, the paper reported today.

      Eyeo GmbH, the German startup behind Adblock Plus, said it did not wish to comment.

    • Republicans Call for Imposing ALEC Zones on Poorest Neighborhoods of Milwaukee

      Two suburban Wisconsin lawmakers have unveiled an economic development plan for the lowest-income neighborhoods of Milwaukee, and their “solutions” for the Wisconsin communities hit hardest by deindustrialization come directly from a national right-wing playbook.

      Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) represent two of the wealthiest districts in Wisconsin and have no background in economic development, yet have proposed at 23-page plan targeting the majority-minority communities with the highest unemployment rates in the state — and have done so without consulting any of the elected officials who actually represent the area.

    • Cable’s Answer To A Changing TV Landscape? Stuff More Ads Into Every Hour

      As we’ve been covering, the cable and broadcast industry’s response to the shift toward Internet video appears to be a three-staged affair. Stage one was largely denial, with cable and broadcast executives either mocking (or denying the existence of) cord cutters, while going out of their way to try and ignore any data disproving their beliefs. Stage two is a one-two punch of desperately trying to milk a dying cash cow (like endless price hikes) while pretending to be innovative by offering largely uninteresting walled-garden services like TV Everywhere.

    • Muslims Are Nazis, USA Today Jokes

      It’s not a terribly hard cartoon to parse: Islam is the modern equivalent of Nazism, and threatens a new Holocaust. The cartoon lists entities that have nothing in common with each other aside from their connection to Islam–political movements like Hezbollah and Hamas, who have been the targets of far more violence than they are responsible for, along with groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, terrorist groups whose victims are primarily Muslim. Hezbollah and ISIS are actually engaged in intense warfare with each other.

      In case you missed the point, the cartoon puts one of the holiest phrases in Islam–”Allah Akbar,” or “God is great”–in the mouth of a Nazi skeleton.

  • Censorship

    • Bloomberg Latest To Kill Comments Because Really, Who Gives A Damn About Localized User Communities?

      We’ve been noting how the trend du jour among news outlets has been to not only kill off your community comments section, but to proudly proclaim you’re doing so because you really value conversation. It’s of course understandable that many writers and editors don’t feel motivated to wade into the often heated comment section to interact with their audience. It’s also understandable if a company doesn’t want to spend the money to pay someone to moderate comments. But if you do decide to reduce your community’s ability to engage, do us all a favor and don’t pretend it’s because you really adore talking to your audience.

  • Privacy

    • Tech pioneer Phil Zimmermann calls Cameron’s anti-encryption plans ‘absurd’

      David Cameron’s proposals to limit the use of end-to-end encryption technology in the UK are “absurd” according to Phil Zimmermann, creator of the email encryption software, PGP, and now president of secure communications firm Silent Circle.

    • Advice for Whistleblowers and Journalists from an NSA Spy and Snowden’s Lawyer

      There’s no playbook for leaking evidence of state and corporate wrongdoing. But with the uptick in whistleblower prosecutions by the US government, there probably should be.

      For now, studying past whistleblowers, from Daniel Ellsberg to Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, is a good place to start. Some whistleblowers, like former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake and former US Department of Justice ethics adviser Jesselyn Radack (now Snowden’s lawyer), have shown themselves willing to offer instruction.

      Drake and Radack, who appeared at the Berlin Transmediale festival’s CAPTURE ALL event to discuss the documentary Silenced, spoke to me about the challenges facing future whistleblowers and journalists. While they didn’t lay out a precise playbook, they did offer advice on how whistleblowers and journalists can better protect themselves.

      For Radack, it starts with understanding the Espionage Act. While the 1917 law was initially designed to protect against spies, not whistleblowers, the US government has taken to claiming that the leaking of classified information is equivalent of espionage. Espionage Act prosecutions under President Obama, in Radack’s estimation, have created a “backdoor war on journalists” and an “unofficial way to create an official secrets act,” which exists in the United Kingdom but not in the US. Educating whistleblowers and the journalists who work with them is of the utmost importance to Radack.

    • Google, gag orders and WikiLeaks: who’s lying?

      The political fallout of WikiLeaks has passed, but the fury of law enforcement has not. More than four years after the organization published a trove of U.S. diplomatic cables, federal agents continue to wage a secret legal campaign to put the screws to those responsible.

      This month, a new twist to the story emerged as lawyers for WikiLeaks accused Google of betraying its users by secretly turning over their communications to the Justice Department. Google shot back that it did all that it could, but the government stifled the company with gag orders.

      The dispute suggests someone is not telling the truth but, at a deeper level, points to the problem of secret rabbit holes in the U.S. justice system that obscure the existence of criminal investigations.

    • Citing Right to Privacy, Travel & Association, Rutherford Institute Asks Supreme Court to Prohibit Police from Gaining Unfettered Access to Hotel Records

      Citing a fundamental right to privacy, travel and association, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to prohibit police from gaining unfettered access to motel and hotel guest registries. In an amicus curiae brief filed in City of Los Angeles v. Patel, et al., Rutherford Institute attorneys are asking the Court to declare unconstitutional a Los Angeles ordinance that allows police to inspect private hotel and motel records containing information about the persons who are staying there without a warrant or other judicial review. The Institute’s brief argues that the ordinance, which is similar to laws on the books in cities across the nation, flies in the face of historical protections affording hotel guests privacy in regards to their identities and comings-and-goings and burdens the fundamental rights of travel and association, which the Court has long safeguarded from arbitrary government scrutiny.

    • Get your loved ones off Facebook.

      I’ve been a big Facebook supporter – one of the first users in my social group who championed what a great way it was to stay in touch, way back in 2006. I got my mum and brothers on it, and around 20 other people. I’ve even taught Facebook marketing in one of the UK’s biggest tech education projects, Digital Business Academy. I’m a techie and a marketer — so I can see the implications — and until now, they hadn’t worried me. I’ve been pretty dismissive towards people who hesitate with privacy concerns.


      Facebook has always been slightly worse than all the other tech companies with dodgy privacy records, but now, it’s in it’s own league. Getting off isn’t just necessary to protect yourself, it’s necessary to protect your friends and family too. This could be the point of no return — but it’s not too late to take back control.

    • No, Canada! You can’t keep cloud storage local

      This kind of request is not unique to Canada. Some European countries also won’t allow certain types of data to leave the country. However, Canada has been open about using technology from the United States in the past, so a Canada-only request is unusual.

    • Former CIA & NSA Boss: September 11th Gave Me Permission To Reinterpret The 4th Amendment

      Michael Hayden, the former CIA and NSA director, has revealed what most people already suspected — to him, the Constitution is a document that he can rewrite based on his personal beliefs at any particular time, as noted by Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic.

    • Snoopers’ Charter return gets dropped in the House of Lords

      A RECENT PUSH to get the incorrigible so-called Snoopers’ Charter into law has been stopped, freeing the UK, probably only briefly, from the threat of choke-strength communications monitoring.

    • No, ministers – more surveillance will not make us safer

      British politicians keep trying to sneak the Snoopers’ Charter into law – even when it is obvious that the last thing you need when looking for a neeedle in a haystack is more hay

  • Civil Rights

    • FBI put Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond on a secret terrorist watchlist

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation put Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond on a secret terrorist watchlist, according to confidential records obtained by the Daily Dot.

      The records further reveal how the FBI treats cybercrimes and shines a rare light on the expanding definitions of terrorism used by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

    • U.N. Court: Serbia and Croatia Didn’t Commit Genocide in 1990s in Balkans

      The United Nations’ highest court on Tuesday ruled that neither Croatia nor Serbia committed genocide against each other’s populations during the Balkan wars that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

      Peter Tomka, president of the International Court of Justice, said many crimes had been committed by both countries’ forces during the conflict, but that the intent to commit genocide — by “destroying a population in whole or in part” — had not been proven against either country.

    • Portugal to grant citizenship to descendants of persecuted Jews

      Portugal is to introduce a law granting citizenship rights to the descendants of Jews it persecuted 500 years ago, following Spain’s adoption of similar legislation last year.

      Cabinet spokesman Luís Marques Guedes said changes to the nationality law would provide dual citizenship rights for Sephardic Jews, the term commonly used for those who once lived in the Iberian peninsula.

      The rights will apply to those who can demonstrate a “traditional connection” to Portuguese Sephardic Jews, such as through “family names, family language and direct or collateral ancestry”.

    • Ulbricht tells judge: I’m not going to testify

      Ross Ulbricht’s lawyers began his defense case today, and it promises to be a short one—very short.

      The half hour or so of testimony today, which included three character witnesses, will be combined with an estimated hour of direct testimony tomorrow. Unless something surprising happens, closing arguments will take place tomorrow afternoon.

      The government has spent ten days laying out its case that Ulbricht is the mastermind behind the Silk Road drug-trafficking website; he could face life in prison if convicted.

      Ulbricht will not be testifying on his own behalf. That decision was put off by Ulbricht and his lawyers until today, but US District Judge Katherine Forrest asked Ulbricht about it directly after testimony finished today.

    • Finnish parents, teachers grapple with children’s online activity

      The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare says it receives a constant stream of questions from schools and parents about how to handle increasing internet use by children and youth. One school in the eastern city of Kuopio has tried to intervene in late-night messaging and internet bullying.

    • Malcolm X Was Right About America

      “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck,” Malcolm said. “Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, then capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • More bandwidth! The FCC defines broadband right at last

      If you haven’t heard, the FCC has officially defined broadband Internet service as 25Mbps down, 3Mbps up. This is more than six times the previous standard of 4Mbps down and represents a major shift in how the Internet is regarded by the U.S. government.

      Frankly, the 3Mbps upstream minimum is still too low, but the 25Mbps downstream is adequate. This means that suddenly, many Americans no longer have broadband Internet access — and realistically, they haven’t in any way but name for many years now.

    • U.S. Eyes Ban of Controversial Internet ‘Fast Lanes’

      A new Federal Communications Commission proposal expected this week has the potential to be a game-changer in the debate over net neutrality.

    • WSJ Adopts Broadband Lobbyist’s Language To Describe Net Neutrality Proposal

      The Wall Street Journal adopted the language of net neutrality critics to describe the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality proposal, deeming the new potential rules an “intrusive regulation.”

      On January 30, the FCC announced that it would “introduce and vote on new proposed net neutrality rules in February.” Although the official proposal has yet to be released, according to The Huffington Post, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler “suggested that Internet service… should be regulated like any other public utility.”

    • FCC may regulate the US broadband under Title 2

      The debate of a whether net neutrality should be a thing in the US has been going on for over a decade now. There is a clear rift between what the public wants and what the service providers want; ISP oppose net neutrality and any regulation whereas the public want a neutral net.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Two Leaks Reveal How TAFTA/TTIP’s Regulatory Co-operation Body Will Undermine Sovereignty And Democracy

      It has long been evident that TAFTA/TTIP is not a traditional trade agreement — that is, one that seeks to promote trade by removing discriminatory local tariffs on imported goods and services. That’s simply because the tariffs between the US and EU are already very low — under 3% on average. Removing all those will produce very little change in trading patterns. The original justification for TTIP recognized this, and called for “non-tariff barriers” to be removed as well.

    • Trademarks

      • Homeland Security Totally Misunderstands Trademark Law; Seizes Perfectly Legal Sporting Goods Anyway

        Homeland Security’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement group (ICE) has a history of seizing stuff without understanding even the most basic concepts around intellectual property. After all, these are the same meatheads who seized some blogs for alleged copyright infringement, and then had to return some of them over a year later, after they realized it was a mistake. ICE also has a history of using big sporting events to kiss up to the multi-billion dollar sports organizations by shutting down small businesses, protecting Americans from unlicensed underwear. And, of course, what bigger sporting event is there than the Super Bowl. Every year they make a bunch of seizures related to the Superbowl, and this year was no different.

    • Copyrights

      • In Memory Of The Liberties Lost In The War on Piracy

        The first of those things is that the copyright industry had a medical case of severe rectocranial inversion when they made the sloppy business assumption that an unlicensed copy of a movie or a piece of music was equivalent to a lost sale.

        The second of those things is that it wouldn’t have mattered even if it were true (which it wasn’t), because no industry gets to eliminate fundamental civil liberties like the private letter, completely regardless of whether the continued existence of civil liberties means they can make money or not.

        So we of the net generation knew all along that the copyright industry was not only wrong and stupid, but also that their assertion was – or should have been – irrelevant in the first place.


        So the copyright industry has successfully lobbied for laws that ban people from sharing and discussing interesting things in private, and done so from the sloppiest conceivable of false business assumptions. As a result of this dimwitted business sense combined with diehard foolhardiness, we’re left with nowhere to talk or walk in private.


Links 2/2/2015: Linux 3.19 RC7, Kodi 14.1

Posted in News Roundup at 2:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Welcome the New Breed of Linux Users

    Some people don’t like any changes made to Linux user space which makes the operating system easier to use or configure for casual users. They would rather the user be befuddled and helpless, because according to them, people who don’t know how to open a terminal and edit a configuration file in Emacs have no business sitting at a computer keyboard for any purpose.

  • Videos: 10 Interesting Technical Talks from LinuxConf.Au 2015

    Many Linux and open source leaders gave presentations at LinuxConf.Au 2015 a few weeks ago, including Linux Creator Linus Torvalds. All of the conference videos are available on YouTube, and there were many excellent presentations — so many it would be impossible to watch them all. The range of topics covered everything from open source governance and community management, to inspiring uses of Linux and open source technologies, to technical talks and tutorials. Here are ten interesting technical talks focused on Linux and the kernel. (Disclaimer: I have not watched every single minute of all of these videos. I’ll leave it to you to decide how captivating they are.)

  • Which Linux Desktop is Right For You?

    Over the years, the debate over the best Linux desktop environment has raged on. KDE, Gnome, one of the lighter weight Linux desktops – there are so many options to choose from. In this article, I’ll examine the variety of desktops available and compare them accordingly.

  • February 2015 Issue of Linux Journal: Web Development

    I think it was in the late 1990s, possibly into the 2000s, when it was common to put a cutesy graphic on the bottom of your Web page letting everyone know your site wasn’t finished. Generally the graphic was an animated GIF file of a little construction guy shoveling a pile of gravel. Mind you, this was before animated GIF files were the most annoying thing on the Internet, and long before they started getting cool again. The thing that makes me smile isn’t how clever we were to make such graphics, it’s the naiveté of the concept that a Web site might ever be truly finished.

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 3.19 RC7 Is Out, Last One Before Stable

      Linux kernel 3.19 RC7 was announced by Linus Torvalds and it’s probably the last release in this development cycle before the branch becomes stable, most likely next week.

    • Linux 3.19-rc7 Kernel Released: Linux 3.19 Final Coming Soon

      The seventh and likely last release candidate to the Linux 3.19 kernel is now available.

    • 4 Useful Cron Alternatives For Linux

      For those who are familiar with the Unix system, you will also be familiar with the cron application that allows you to schedule and automate tasks to run on their own. We even have tutorials that show you how to get started with cron and crontabs. However, cron is not perfect, as it requires your system to be running 24 hours a day. If you have a habit of turning off your computer at night, and a cron job is scheduled in the sleeping hours, the task won’t be executed. Luckily, there are several cron alternatives that can do a better job than cron. Let’s check them out.

    • Gummiboot UEFI Boot Loader To Be Added To Systemd

      The newest feature being worked on for systemd? A boot loader, of course! It was revealed this weekend that systemd developers are looking at integrating Gummiboot into systemd.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Interview with Lucas Falcão

        I think Krita is doing great and I really like the direction it’s going, the software it seems to be made for artists, at least I have this impression when I use the tools to work on the creation and painting of textures. I don’t hate anything in Krita, and I don’t use all the tools, but I think usability could always be improved.

      • digiKam Quick Tip: Using Album Categories

        Did you know that you can assign categories to albums in digiKam? To do this, right-click on an album, choose Properties from the context menu, and the desired category from the Category drop-down list.

      • SoK Final Report – Theme Designing for Pairs

        Theme designing for pairs is my Season of KDE project, mentored by Heena Mahour. In this project i created new themes for KDE-Edu project “Game Pairs”.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • I Messed Up GRUB2… What a Happy Mistake!

        Yesterday, I was using my daughter’s desktop computer, which is a Mageia 4/PicarOS dual-boot, when I noticed something that has happended before: after running an update of packages, Mageia changes GRUB2 and erases the entry to boot PicarOS.

        I am not very GRUB2 literate. Last time that it happened, I solved the problem with GRUB Customizer, but it wouldn’t help this time.

        I tried the Mageia GRUB tool in the Control Center to no avail.

        Then I installed the KDE package that lets one configure GRUB2… and that’s when I messed up: trying to recover the PicarOS boot entry, I seemed to have installed a useless boot entry on the MBR and the computer, logically, could neither boot PicarOS not Mageia.

        I looked for the Mageia 4 install DVD to run the rescue tool but, since I could not find it, I ran the rescue tools from the Mageia 3 install DVD instead. It did not work; GRUB2 could not be rescued.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Tried to boot my laptop from a cafe…

        Today I tried to boot it in a cafe, off-line and without the extra disk. It was not possible. Systemd would just wait indefinitely for some start-up jobs (it was waiting for the missing disk to come on-line among some other things). Fortunately, I had the extra disk with me, so I attached it and tried again. Still for no use. Systemd now waited for the network interfaces. So I had to actually connect an ethernet cable to a router just to get the crap to boot, and then unplug it and walk back to my table.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Why can Ubuntu dethrone Android and iOS?

            Next week we will finally get to see the first commercially available Ubuntu smartphone when the BQ Aquaris e4.5 rolls out of its incubation unit. It feels like years since the Ubuntu Edge’s doomed for failure crowdfunding campaign…failed, yet there is still a whole lotta love for the mobile OS that some genuinely think has a chance at rivalling Android. Why is it so popular though?

            Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu OS, has spent a couple of years stripping down Android to the bare bones and replacing it with technology that allows it to keep the OS constantly updated at a level not enjoyed by Android users. The OS back end is divided into a trio of partitions that are comprised of three separate sections of code: one each for the device, manufacturer or carrier, and Ubuntu. It means that each one can deliver bug fixes as-and-when they are needed, and customisation specific to the carrier or manufacturer will be far easier to implement. Basically if you’re an Android user constantly bemoaning the time it takes for your update to arrive, we think you’ll have a lot of joy here.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Should You Upgrade From Windows 7 To Windows 8.1 Or Linux Mint?

              Upgrading your computer from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 is not guaranteed to be a seamless experience whereby you click a few buttons and hey presto it works.

              To prove this point I took a Windows 7 computer and installed Windows 8.1 in two different ways to see what would happen. In both cases the result was the same.

              The computer that I used for this experiment was a Dell Inspiron 3521. After upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 the video drivers were lost and I was left with a fuzzy low resolution screen. The network drivers were also a bit ropey. The same thing happened when I installed Windows 8.1 straight from disk as a clean installation.

              To fix the problems all I had to do was download the correct drivers and install them but that meant navigating the Dell website (which isn’t a particularly easy affair) and download the correct drivers and install them in the correct order.

              Whilst the task in hand was fairly straight forward it clearly shows that Windows doesn’t just work in the same way that when you install Linux for the first time you might have to install extra drivers and codecs as well.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • The Driver’s Licence on the Mobile Phone? Its Now Live. Not in the country you thought: it happened first in Dubai

        Its part of the Police App that they have here, which will for example let you do an accident report if you had a fender-bender type accident, and post it in 3 minutes, so for example for insurance claims etc. You take a few pictures of the car and register the accident report with your Driver’s Licence number and your car licence plate, plus the other car’s licence plate, and thats it. The police will review both sides of the story, the pictures from both cars, and issue the official police report for your insurance agency. If the police department has to send an officer to come see the accident, that costs about 2,000 dollars per visit in the time the police have to allocate. Now everything is done electronically and you get your official police accident report by the next day – straight to your mobile phone haha. Brilliant.

      • Delaware aims to be 1st with digital driver’s licenses

        Delaware is aiming to be the first state to offer virtual driver’s licenses accessed through a secure smartphone app.

      • Android

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop Update For Galaxy Note 4 Delayed Further

          The Android 5.0 Lollipop update for Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has been delayed by Oculus. Samsung already started rolling out the software update for various handsets such as the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4. However, the Android 5.0 Lollipop is yet to arrive on the South Korean tech giant’s latest phablets, the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note Edge.

        • Applications? Yes, The Applications Set Android/Linux On Fire

          Remember when folks were telling us that GNU/Linux wouldn’t fly because it lacked applications? Consider Android/Linux. It had zero applications a while back but now it’s on fire. 2 billion applications downloaded a day. Amazing.

        • Taiwan amid top-5 Google Play markets globally, says Google Play executive

          There have been more than one million free and chargeable applications at Google Play, with two billion downloads a day on average from about 190 countries. Google paid a total of US$5 billion to developers of Google Play applications during June 2013-June 2014.

        • Lollipop-based Paranoid Android 5 Alpha 1 is here!

          The Paranoid Android team just announced the release of the first alpha version of the Lollipop-based Paranoid Android 5.

        • Android just achieved something it will take Apple years to do

          It’s easy to be negative about Android’s outlook these days. Apple just posted the most profitable quarter of any company ever, largely on the back of runaway iPhone sales. And Google faces an unprecedented threat from “forked” versions of Android — independently developed offshoots out of Google’s control.

        • Android 5.1 Lollipop to release next month?

          Amidst the problems and issues surrounding the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop OS, its alleged major update Android 5.1 is finally taking shape. Latest whispers say that the OS update will be rolled out near the end of February.

Free Software/Open Source

  • How Pivotal cracked the one-billion-dollar code

    Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry, an open source Platform-as-a-Service offering, just clocked the largest first-year financial bonanza in open source history: spun out of EMC and VMware in 2013 and trading since February 2014 Pivotal pulled in $40m during three quarters of active selling it said last week. As good as this is for Pivotal, it’s perhaps even better for would-be open source entrepreneurs, who may finally have a blueprint for large-scale financial success.

  • Four open source networking projects explained

    Open source projects and protocols have huge potential for networking. Initiatives such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight have attracted the attention both of end-users, as evidenced by the Open Networking User Group (ONUG), major vendors participating in OpenDaylight, OpenFlow and OpenStack, and telecoms creating their own open source efforts like the Open Networking Lab.

  • Zimbra gets back to open source roots

    The open source market landscape is growing by leaps and bounds, and it’s at a time like this that it’s important for Zimbra, a provider of collaboration software, to reinvigorate its open source roots. Here’s how we plan to encourage increased participation in community open source projects in 2015.

  • Good design matters for open source projects

    The design of everyday things is an important cultural movement. Of that, most of us have no doubt. We want our tools to work flawlessly and naturally. And open source projects are catching up on this too.

    Like, Elementary OS, an open source operating system that hopes to make the Linux desktop accessible for everyone. And many other open source web applications, like Ghost, Taiga, and the upcoming Flarum. Also, BeautifulOpen is a collection of open source projects with great websites and a great source for inspiration. They all have designers on their core team.

  • Events

    • Does open source power your entertainment media center?

      Open source media center solutions have really taken off in the past few years, and there are now many more approaches to using both open source software and open hardware to power entertainment on your television. If you’re consuming media with the help of open source, we’re curious: how are you doing it? Are you running Kodi (formerly XBMC), MythTV, MediaPortal, or something similar on a custom-built machine? Or are you going slim and using a specialized Linux build on top of the Raspberry Pi? Or are you doing something else entirely?

    • FOSDEM 2015

      I had a chat with the Diaspora folks at the booth next to us and greatly look forward to the upcoming release. They had a nice flyer-y paper which also included some development stats with the number of active contributors and such, a very useful thing to have so you can quickly see how a project is doing. Diaspora had a hard time since the crazy start, but things are picking up again and 66 people contributed to this important project over the last year.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Report: Companies are Investing in Big Data, But Not All Succeed With It

      Capgemini, a consulting and technology services company, has announced the findings of a global survey into the use of Big Data in corporate decision-making. An Economist Intelligence Unit report “The Deciding Factor: Big Data & Decision making”, commissioned by Capgemini, shows that nine out of ten business leaders believe data is now the fourth factor of production, as fundamental to business as land, labor and capital.

    • Eucalyptus Cloud Originator Rich Wolski on the Cloud and Big Data

      All the way back in early 2008, OStatic broke the news about Eucalyptus, an open source infrastructure for cloud computing on clusters that duplicated the functionality of Amazon’s EC2, using the Amazon command-line tools. The project resided at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was driven and overseen by Rich Wolski, a professer there (shown here).

  • BSD


  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Perl 6.0 Might Finally Be Released This Year

      It was revealed this weekend at FOSDEM in Brussels that the plan is to hopefully release Perl 6.0 by this Christmas.

      Larry Wall is hoping to finally see the Perl 6.0 release out this year, with version 1.0 of Perl 6.0 by Christmas. It’s not yet certain Perl 6.0 will make it out this year but that’s the goal.

      Perl 6 has been in development since 2000 as a big update over Perl 5. Perl 6 seeks to significantly improve the programming language and will break compatibility with Perl 5 though a compatibility mode is expected. Going back a while now have been multiple Perl 6 implementations albeit none complete; a basic overview of Perl 6 can be found via Wikipedia.

    • A peculiar development setup, again

      I never have enough screen real-estate. I sometimes keep six files open at the same time in split-screens, but that requires my Vim windows to be maximized, and then I don’t see the terminal. So I can not see the results of auto-tests (for example), and the relevant code at the same time.

    • 9 Best IDEs and Code Editors for JavaScript Users

      Web designing and developing is one of the trending sectors in the recent times, where more and more peoples started to search for their career opportunities. But, Getting the right opportunity as a web developer or graphic designer is not just a piece of cake for everyone, It certainly requires a strong mind presence as well as right skills to find the find the right job. There are a lot of websites available today which can help you to get the right job description according to your knowledge. But still if you want to achieve something in this sector you must have some excellent skills like working with different platforms, IDEs and various other tools too.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Norway finds first case of mad cow disease, says food safe

      Norway reported its first ever case of mad cow disease on Thursday, saying the instance was an isolated one and telling consumers it was still safe to eat beef and drink milk.

      Tests at a British laboratory confirmed the disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), in a 15-year-old cow, which had been slaughtered, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority said.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • New Mexico toddler shoots both parents with one bullet after finding gun

      A toddler in Albuquerque, New Mexico, shot both his parents with just one bullet on Saturday, after apparently reaching in to his mother’s handbag to get her iPad and coming across a loaded gun instead.

      The 3-year-old and his 2-year-old sister were taken into the care of local authorities.

    • ‘There was no snowball fight’: Video showing New Rochelle police officer pulling gun on teens not what it seems: cops

      A video that appears to catch a New Rochelle police officer pointing a gun at a group of teenagers who were having a snowball fight — and went viral on the Internet — is not what it appears to be, cops said.

      “There was no snowball fight,” New Rochelle Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Murphy told the Daily News, calling the video a piece of “clever mischief.”

      He said police were responding to a 911 call around 4 p.m. Friday that a teenager standing in a group of six near the Heritage Houses had pulled a gun from his waistband and pointed it at another person.

    • UK government feared terrorists would weaponise Ebola

      British military experts were asked to draw up guidance at the height of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa late last year on the feasibility and potential impact of terrorists ‘weaponising’ the virus.

      The Ministry of Defence has released a heavily redacted report, prepared in October, that identified three different scenarios regarding the exploitation of Ebola for bioterrorism.

    • Drone wars: the gamers recruited to kill – video

      In tiny bunkers in the United States, young pilots are operating unmanned drones targeting ‘bad people’ in Pakistan. Recruited at video game fairs by military leaders who know the value of games that glamourise ‘militainment’, drone pilots are left traumatised by the civilian casualties – or ‘collateral damage’ – their strikes cause. Psychologically distanced from the enemy, are drones the future of warfare?

    • US rethinks arming Ukraine’s troops

      With Russia-backed separatists pressing their attacks in Ukraine, NATO’s military commander, General Philip M. Breedlove, now supports providing defensive weapons and equipment to Kiev’s beleaguered forces, and an array of administration and military officials appear to be edging toward that position, US officials said Sunday.

    • U.S. considering giving arms to Ukraine forces, NYT reports

      Separatist leader says rebels plan to boost fighting force to 100,000 men; shells continue to fall in Donetsk, killing 15 over the weekend; Russian official: If U.S. government decides to go forward, it will lead to irreversible results.

    • Ukraine Conflict: US Mulls Giving Fresh Arms to Kiev Forces as Tensions Escalate Post Failure of Peace Talks

      The United States is mulling over supplying Ukrainian forces with defensive weapons and equipment as tensions have escalated in the region after peace talks aimed at ending the fight in eastern Ukraine failed on Saturday.

    • ‘Censored Voices’ film tears apart Israel’s heroic narrative of Six-Day War

      In the wake of Israel’s seemingly miraculous triumph in the Six-Day War in 1967, the country’s victorious soldiers were lionized as heroes.

      But in private, even just one week after the conflict, many of them didn’t feel that way. One describes feeling sick to his stomach in battle and collapsing into a trench.

      “I wanted to be left alone,” he says. “I didn’t think of the war.”

      Another talks about watching an old Arab man evacuated from his house.

      “I had an abysmal feeling that I was evil,” the soldier says.

    • Michael Jansen: Netanyahu the manipulator

      Binyamin Netanyahu’s latest scrap with Hizbollah has given his Likud bloc a boost in Israeli opinion polls, placing the Likud at the top of the line-up for the first time since the Labour and Hatnua parties merged on December 10 to form the Zionist Union.

    • Marwan’s calls tapped

      SUSPENDED national police chief Alan Purisima and US troops used Marwan’s wife as a “tracer” to pinpoint the precise location of the world’s most wanted terrorist, a police general privy to the ongoing probe of the Mamasapano massacre said Sunday.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Another Kind of Isolation

      In 2006 and 2008, the Bureau of Prisons quietly created new restrictive units for terrorists or other inmates they feared might coordinate crimes from behind bars. The Communication Management Units (CMUs) were designed to more tightly monitor and restrict inmates’ communication with the outside world. The units, at Terre Haute, Indiana and Marion, Illinois, operated largely in secret, without any formal policies or procedures in place — until last week.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The British Army is Creating a Battalion of “Facebook Warriors”

      Warfare is a constantly changing landscape, from the weapons that are used to the battlefields they’re fought on. Amidst mountains of Snowden leaks from the NSA and GCHQ, it’s no longer a mystery that the digital warfare is advancing quickly, and the British Army just upped its digital artillery.

  • Privacy

    • Verizon Will Now Let Users Kill Previously Indestructible Tracking Code

      Verizon says it will soon offer customers a way to opt out from having their smartphone and tablet browsing tracked via a hidden un-killable tracking identifier.

      The decision came after a ProPublica article revealed that an online advertiser, Turn, was exploiting the Verizon identifier to respawn tracking cookies that users had deleted.

    • Without broadband under Title II, Verizon will get off scot-free for ‘supercookies’

      Revelations this week that Verizon Wireless secretly used “supercookies” to track customers’ browsing habits underlines a less-talked about benefit of the FCC’s potential reclassification of broadband as a Title II public utility — consumer privacy protection.

    • New e-mail shows feds considered snooping on cars parked at gun shows

      Nearly six years ago, two federal law enforcement agencies considered using license plate readers (LPRs) at gun shows—at least in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

      LPRs scan plates at a very high speed—often 60 plates per second—and record the date, time, and precise location that a given plate was seen. Typically, on a patrol car, that plate is then immediately compared to a list of wanted or stolen cars, and if a match is found, the software alerts the officer. But all scans are routinely kept by various law enforcement agencies for long periods of time, sometimes as long as years or more.

    • The FBI’s plan to collect everyone’s DNA just got a huge boost from congress

      In 2011, 1 in 25 Americans was arrested. In a few years, if the FBI has its way, the federal government will possess the DNA of all of those people and more. Under the radar of most lawmakers and journalists, the Bureau—with private industry and congress’ help—is pushing the most massive expansion of biometric state surveillance since the invention of the fingerprint.

    • Attorney General Nominee: NSA Surveillance is “Constitutional and Effective”

      On Capitol Hill, attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch will return today for day two of her confirmation hearing. If confirmed, Lynch will become the first African-American woman to serve as attorney general. During Wednesday’s hearing, Lynch described the National Security Agency’s spying programs as “constitutional and effective” and defended the government’s surveillance operations.

    • Watchdog: White House has done little on surveillance reform

      A federal privacy watchdog tasked with reviewing the National Security Agency’s controversial spy programs said Thursday the White House has agreed to many of its suggested reforms but taken little action.

    • Privacy Board Says NSA Doesn’t Know How Effective Its Collection Programs Are, Doesn’t Much Care Either

      The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) has just released its assessment [pdf link] of the NSA’s ability to follow instructions. One year ago, it assessed the Section 215 bulk records collection. Six months later, it assessed the Section 702 program, which hoovers up email communications. Now, it has followed up on its recommendations and found the NSA surprisingly cooperative.

    • PGP creator Phil Zimmermann: ‘Intelligence agencies have never had it so good’

      The recent hack against Sony Pictures is likely to have made companies of all sizes consider upping their cybersecurity measures. Perhaps, though, it’s also a different kind of wake-up call: a reason to think less about security, and more about privacy.

      That’s the belief of Phil Zimmermann – the creator of email encryption software Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), and now president and co-founder of secure communications company Silent Circle – initially expressed in a blog post, and expanded on in an interview with the Guardian.

      “Sony had all kinds of things: intrusion detection, firewalls, antivirus … But they got hacked anyway. The security measures that enterprises do frequently get breached. People break in anyway: they overcome them,” says Zimmermann.

    • Hackers Use Old Lure on Web to Help Syrian Government

      Mr. Assad was also the victim of cyberattacks, but of a far more advanced nature.

      A National Security Agency document dated June 2010, written by the agency’s chief of “Access and Target Development,” describes how the shipment of “computer network devices (servers, routers, etc.) being delivered to our targets throughout the world are intercepted” by the agency. The document, published recently by Der Spiegel, the German magazine, came from the huge trove taken by Edward J. Snowden; this one shows a photograph of N.S.A. workers slicing open a box of equipment from Cisco Systems, a major manufacturer of network equipment.

    • ‘Anonymized’ Credit Card Data Not So Anonymous

      Credit card data Relevant Products/Services isn’t quite as anonymous as promised, a new study says. Scientists showed they can identify you with more than 90 percent accuracy by looking at just four purchases, three if the price is included — and this is after companies “anonymized” the transaction records, saying they wiped away names and other personal details. The study out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published Thursday in the journal Science, examined three months of credit card records for 1.1 million people.

    • Nullification Season: 200 State Bills and Counting

      It’s less than one month into the 2015 state legislative season and the Tenth Amendment Center counts more than 200 bills seeking to block or limit federal power.

    • “Prism” Exhibit and SSMU Art & Expression mixer

      Ever feel like you’re being watched? Well, chances are, you’re probably right. If you’ve ever wondered about modern surveillance but have been too creeped out to pursue your curiosity, it might be time to face your fears and check out the “PRISM” exhibit this week. A solo exhibition by Vancouver-based David Spriggs, “PRISM” is a series of works that explore modern surveillance and its uncanny omnipresence in our daily lives. The name of the exhibit alludes in part to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) program, which was exposed by Edward Snowden in 2009. Looking at different modes of surveillance, from cameras to digital scanners, Spriggs’ large-scale works are bound to inform and probably also intimidate. If you really want to know how closely Big Brother is watching, “PRISM” may offer some creative insight.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Swedish Schindler who disappeared

      During World War Two, a young Swedish diplomat saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis. But in January 1945 Soviet troops arrested him – he was never seen in public again.

    • China is world’s worst jailer of the press; global tally second worst on record

      More than 200 journalists are imprisoned for their work for the third consecutive year, reflecting a global surge in authoritarianism. China is the world’s worst jailer of journalists in 2014.

    • Greste family joy at journalist son’s release

      The family of Australian journalist Peter Greste has thanked everyone who helped secure his release from an Egyptian jail after 400 days.

      ‘Peter Greste is a free man,’ brother Andrew Greste said, with his delighted parents Lois and Juris by his side, in Brisbane on Monday.

    • Peter Greste: Australian journalist on his way home after being released and deported from Egypt

      Australian journalist Peter Greste has been deported from Egypt after 400 days behind bars, and has flown to Cyprus on his way home to Australia.

      Greste was set free by order of Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi under a new law allowing foreign prisoners to be deported.

    • Glimmer of Hope for Assange

      There is a window of hope, thanks to a U.N. human rights body, for a solution to the diplomatic asylum of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in London for the past two and a half years.

    • John B. Geer had hands up when shot by police, four officers say in documents

      John B. Geer stood with his hands on top of the storm door of his Springfield, Va., townhouse and calmly said to four Fairfax County police officers with guns pointed at him: “I don’t want anybody to get shot . . . . And I don’t wanna get shot, ’cause I don’t want to die today.”

    • The controversial punishment of Barrett Brown: A deep dive

      I’ve read a lot of criticism recently about the sentencing of Barrett Brown. The online commentary mostly portrays Brown’s sentence as a disturbing example of prosecutorial abuse, in which the Obama Administration’s war on journalists and war on hackers came together to shred First Amendment freedoms. I wondered, is that true? What really happened in the case, and was Brown’s sentence troublesome or not?

    • Fox Host Tells Caller Her Bipolar Disorder Is “Made Up” And “The Latest Fad” For Money

      Fox News Radio host Tom Sullivan told a caller who said she suffered from bipolar disorder that her illness is “something made up by the mental health business” and just “the latest fad.” When the caller told Sullivan that she “would not be alive today” if she hadn’t received mental health treatment, Sullivan wondered if “maybe somebody’s talked you into feeling and thinking this way.”

    • The Coming Biological Infowar: US Proposes DNA Database

      While precision medicine is indeed a powerful tool in fighting disease and repairing injury – in fact, truly the future of medicine – those appointing themselves as its arbiter in the US have already demonstrated they cannot be trusted with such a responsibility.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Time Warner Cable’s 97% Profit Margin on High-Speed Internet Service Exposed.

      In our Petition for Investigation of Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Comcast, we point out that TWC’s High-Speed Internet service has a 97% profit margin and a number of people asked how that statistic was derived. Simple. Time Warner Cable provides the information, (with some caveats).

      Below is the actual financial information excerpted from the Time Warner Cable, 2013 SEC-filed annual report. (Please note that this same mathematics is also used by Comcast and probably Verizon and AT&T, though they do not explicitly detail their financials in this way.)

      Moreover, we need to put this financial information in context to what customers are paying, and more specifically with the Time Warner Cable Triple Play bill that’s been featured in previous articles.

    • Before Net Neutrality: The Surprising 1940s Battle for Radio Freedom

      As we again set policies that define core power relationships for a new medium, we might look to our past to discern lessons for charting our future. For the media system we’ve inherited—one dominated by a small number of corporations, lightly regulated in terms of public interest protections, and offset by weak public alternatives—was not inevitable or natural; it resulted from the outcomes of specific policy battles, and from specific logics and values triumphing over others.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Downloading Fatwa Issued By Turkish Religious Leaders

        Turkey’s top religious body has handed down a fatwa in response to a question raised on the issue of illegal downloading. Obtaining content without permission from creators is forbidden, the Diyanet said. Meanwhile, a Catholic Church debate on the same topic raised an interesting dilemma.


Links 1/2/2015: Devil-Linux 1.6.8, SymphonyOS 15.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Navy’s Newest Linux-Powered Command Center Is Right Out Of Star Trek

    The DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer could very well revolutionize the way the Navy does its surface warfare business. One of its biggest innovations is ditching the cramped, darkly lit Combat Information Center (CIC), a fixture for many decades on past USN combat ships, and replacing it with the state-of-the-art, spacious, Star Trek bridge-like Ship’s Mission Center.

  • Desktop

    • GOL Survey Results: January

      Thanks to GOL reader Fedso, we now have month-by-month comparisons for the survey as well as an automated program which takes the raw survey data and makes graphs. This is pretty exciting stuff since now one of the main goals of the survey project has been achieved and we can observe trends over time.

  • Server

    • Report: Docker Not Yet Widely Used in the Cloud

      Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind the open-source Ubuntu Linux operation system, has published its latest Ubuntu Server and Cloud Survey, showing the emerging trends in server and cloud deployments.

    • CoreOS ‘Rockets’ Ahead With Docker Alternative

      Linux operating system distribution vendor CoreOs aims to expand its own vision for container-based virtualization.
      CoreOS is moving forward on its plans to displace the Docker application virtualization technology and expand its own vision for container-based virtualization. CoreOS got its start in 2013 as a clustered operating system project focused on the optimized delivery of Docker containers but has found fault in the Docker model that it aims to correct with its own Rocket approach.

    • CoreOS Linux: it’s how Google, Facebook & Twitter run at scale
  • Kernel Space

    • Witcher 2 Bug Prompts Linux Creator To Recommend Devs Play Steam Games

      It’s common for NVIDIA and AMD to tweak their drivers to optimise specific titles, but patches to operating systems just for games? Usually developers work around platform quirks, but that’s not good enough for Linus Torvalds, the man behind Linux. When crashes in The Witcher 2 were caused by Linux’s core software, Torvalds not only requested the bug be fixed, but that Steam games should be used in the future as “good tests of odd behaviour”.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Flattr Is the Icon Pack with the Flattest Icons for Linux Systems – Gallery

      Users who like flat icons might want to give Flattr a try. It’s probably the flattest theme that you can find on the Linux platform and it’s been recently updated.

    • Elementary Extensions for Python-EFL

      For those who are unaware the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries and Elementary are the tools that power the Enlightenment desktop and a growing number of other applications. To learn more about getting started with Elementary and python you should check out the full API reference here, the examples on git, or stop by #e.py on Freenode.

      I have been working on a number of small applications using Elementary. While building these applications I found myself reusing a few of the same gadgets in different places, so I had the idea others might find some of them useful as well.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Children’s book with Krita

        Today we’ve got a guest article by John Gholson. John is an artist who is currently working on a big project — an illustrated children’s book. As far as we know, it’s the first time an artist is using krita to illustate a whole children’s book project. So, over to John!

  • Distributions

    • If You Like the Terminal, You Will Love the Terminal-Only Alpine Linux OS

      Security-oriented, lightweight Linux distribution Alpine Linux is based on based on musl libc and Busybox, which make up the terminal, has been upgraded once more and is now available for download.

    • New Releases

      • BackBox Linux 4.1 Is a Powerful Penetration Testing Distro Based on Ubuntu 14.04.1

        BackBox Linux is a distribution based on Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, that is built to perform penetration tests and security assessments. A new version has been released and is now available for upgrade and testing.

      • Devil-Linux 1.6.8 released

        Devil-Linux 1.6.8 has been released! This release brings lots of software updates and resolves the GHOST glibc vulnerability (CVE-2015-0235). Please see the change log for details.

      • Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 SR3 released

        Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 Service Release 3 or SR3. Black Lab Pro Desktop 6.0 SR3 is a major upgrade to our pro desktop line of distributions. With this release we worked on a few issues with memory consumption, security and speed. With the Black Lab Pro Desktop we deliver it in two different desktops, KDE and GNOME Shell . While these are commercial releases we do offer a cut down version of it available for download from our website. While we do not release for download all of the features of the retail release it is far from being crippled. The KDE release boots only consuming 480 mb of RAM and the GNOME Shell release boots using only 545 mb of RAM

      • Release: SymphonyOS 15.0

        I am pleased to announce the release of SymphonyOS 15.0. This release continues improvements to the Mezzo 4 desktop bringing it to a much more stable state.

    • Red Hat Family

      • ‘Enterprise customers are now more willing to implement open source’

        Jim Whitehurst expects India to play a larger role in NYSE-listed Red Hat’s global strategy, thanks to the rapid pace of infrastructure creation.

        “When a new system’s put into place, it’s increasingly likely that it may be built on open source. We like places where there is a lot of infrastructure going in,” Whitehurst, President and Chief Executive Officer, Red Hat, said. Red Hat is the world’s largest commercial distributor of the open source-based Linux operating system. Open source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. In an interaction with BusinessLine, Whitehurst throws light on the opportunities in the Indian marketplace for open source. He also explains why the company is keen to increasingly move more support functions to India.

      • Fedora

        • I Switched (Back) Over To Fedora As My Main OS & It’s Going Great!

          Before this long stint with Ubuntu on my main system, I was using Fedora (Core) and before that was openSUSE, Mandrake, and others. I stopped using Fedora (Core) due to some of the releases being less reliable than others with at the time less of a focus on shipping quality releases and at times just feeling like a dirty testing ground for RHEL. With being very pleased with Fedora 20 and Fedora 21 on the many test systems around the office, I decided to give Fedora another go on my main system. I’ve also been very interested in Fedora.Next and how Fedora 22 is shaping up. Fedora these days seems to be back on a solid footing for end-users with a bright future ahead; Fedora 22 might even ship on time for a change while not sacrificing quality! Fedora 21 brings back a lot of good memories for me of the early Fedora days.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi robot and hobby kit robot guide part 1

      The rise of our robot overlords is well underway – give it another five years and we’ll all be watched over by Pi-powered machines of loving grace. In the meantime, though, we’ve rounded up the very best DIY robotics kits available to buy right now that are designed to work with your Raspberry Pi, so you can get a head start on the inevitable revolution. Whether they’re Arduino or Raspberry Pi-based, we’re getting all of our robots to listen to our master Pi controller and showing you how to do the same with your kit. We’ll also be scoring these robotics kits to identify their strengths and weaknesses in terms of their build quality, functionality out of the box, the construction process and of course their programmability, to help show you which kit is right for you and where you can get hold of your own.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • 2014 was a record-breaking year for Android smartphones

          Apple may be selling more iPhones than ever before, but 2014 was a record-breaking year for Android too: New analyst figures show that one billion smartphones running Google’s mobile OS were shipped over the 12 month period. That’s a rise of 30 percent over the previous year and means that 81 percent of the mobile phones shifted in 2014 were running Android.

        • Android Wear just got very, very smart

          Google’s Android Wear software just got smart – very smart – simply because it integrates Google Now top to bottom. With an update to Google Now comes an update to Android Wear, and what we’re seeing today is an explosive update that’ll make the suggestions for directions and sports scores you’ve been getting so far seem like drops in a barrel of friendly, and I daresay helpful, updates from apps of all kinds. Everything from eBay auction updates to the ability to “Download Venice” – all on your wrist, very soon.

        • Some HTC One versions will get Android 5.0 later than expected

          Some carrier versions of HTC One (M8) and One (M7) will get updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop a bit later than expected. HTC initially promised to update all versions of its 2013 and 2014 flagship smartphone within 90 days of receiving the Android 5.0 code.

        • New Nexus 7 Android 5.0.2 Lollipop Updates Imminent

          After nearly three months of silence, Google’s finally spoken. The missing Nexus 7 Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for the cellular versions of the Nexus 7 2012 and Nexus 7 2013 will start rolling out soon and the two models will be getting bumped from Android 4.4 KitKat to Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, Google’s newest update.

        • Nexus 7 2012 Android 5.0.2 Update Review

          The Nexus 7 2012 Android 5.0.2 update is one that many users could not wait to install, but after a week of using the latest version of Android Lollipop on the oldest Nexus 7 tablet we came away less than impressed. It’s not out of the ordinary for old devices to run new software at a slower pace, but the Nexus 7 2012 exhibits annoying lag while using common functions like switching apps and opening apps for the first time since a restart.

        • Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Android 5.0 Lollipop update rolls out in Russia

          Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in Russia finally received the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop OS update, according to reports. XDA developers reminded Russian users to constantly check the notifications panel as the much awaited major Android update is now rolling out.

        • You can print 3D objects from Android App

          Makerbot has some of the most popular 3D printers which are powered by Linux. The company is now offering an app for Android devices which allows users to control your 3D printer right from your palm.

        • Android apps 2014 – A year in review

          2014 was an exciting year. We saw the release of Lollipop and with it, a whole new design standard we now call Material Design. It saw the release of Android Wear and the second themer revolution with the Android Wear watch faces. Games are slowly becoming higher quality with better graphics, controls, and premises than any prior year. It was the most successful year in Android apps and games of all time. Let’s take a look at just how it good it was on paper.

Free Software/Open Source


  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • A new kind of DDoS threat: The “Nonsense Name” attack

      There’s a new species of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack targeting name servers, which could be called the “nonsense name” attack. It can wreak havoc on recursive and authoritative name servers alike, and some of our customers at Infoblox have fallen victim to it—but it’s not always clear whether they were actually the targets.

    • Key rotation in OpenSSH 6.8+

      Something that’s bugged me about the SSH protocol is its lack of key continuity – key algorithm changes and key rotations are basically unsupported, as there is no in-protocol way for a client to learn updated host keys for hosts that the user already trusts. About the best one can do is cat /etc/ssh/*.pub once logged in to manually learn the host’s other keys, but this only works if you have shell access and is a kludge anyway…

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Retroactively Authorizing War

      They went largely unnoticed, four words President Obama ad-libbed during the State of the Union address last month as he asked lawmakers to provide legal cover for America’s military intervention in Iraq and Syria.

      “We need that authority,” the president said, adding a line to the prepared remarks on his teleprompter that seemed to acknowledge a reality about which his administration has been inexcusably dishonest.

      As the new Congress gets settled in, the debate over the scope and legal authority of Washington’s new war in the Middle East has resurfaced amid strikingly disparate views. The White House is consulting with lawmakers from both parties on the parameters that would retroactively establish ground rules for the bombing campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria that began in September.

    • Drones Are Now Appearing on Afghan Rugs

      When it comes to what to depict on rugs, Afghan weavers traditionally turn to what’s most familiar. So in the 1980s, when the Mujahedeen were fighting back the Soviet occupation, some local weavers abandoned flowers and water jugs to illustrate what their days consisted of back then: war.

    • Kadyrov Says CIA is Recruiting Russians for Islamic State

      Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has accused the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies of using fake social media accounts to draw young Russian men into the Islamic State and other terrorist networks.

    • Drone strikes kill at least ‘45 militants’ in Somalia

      At least 45 suspected al-Shabaab militants have been killed in drone strikes in Southern Somalia on Saturday, a government official said.

    • Book review: A Theory of the Drone – the morality of killing by remote control

      In May 2009, a former adviser to General David Petraeus named David Kilcullen wrote an op-ed in The New York Times calling for a moratorium on drone strikes carried out by the US against al-Qaeda and its associates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The military advantages of using drones (the US Army defines a drone as a “land, sea or air vehicle that is remotely or automatically controlled”) are outweighed, Kilcullen argued, by their costs.

    • Conor Friedersdorf: Research on killer drones could backfire on Americans

      Americans would react no differently to a commencement of drone attacks on our soil.

    • Droning the truth

      For Pakistan, drone attacks have become something like the forbidden fruit. These attacks, which have suddenly increased since December 16, 2014, are decidedly illegal, immoral and they undermine the country’s sovereignty. A United Nations (UN) resolution urges member states “to ensure that any measures taken or means employed to counterterrorism, including the use of remotely piloted aircraft, comply with their obligation under international law, including the Charter of the UN human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality.”

    • CIA tested 25 bombs before helping Mossad kill top Hezbollah figure – report

      The US helped Mossad assassinate a top Hezbollah figure in Syria in 2008 by lending bomb expertise and surveillance on the ground, Washington Post reported. The joint operation marked CIA’s post-9/11 drift toward modern-day drone killings.

    • Focus on Research: Drone strikes: Legal weapon against terror or violation of the right to life? [pro-drones]
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • 100,000 flock to Madrid for Podemos rally against austerity

      Four years ago, Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square belonged to los indignados – an impromptu revolt of thousands, camping out for weeks and rallying against a political establishment felt to be out of sync with the people.

      On Saturday, up to 100,000 people again filled the square, determined to show the world that 2015 would be the year that the change demanded by the indignados would come about.

    • Thousands Attend Spain’s Left-Wing Podemos Anti-Austerity March

      Spain’s new party believes that politicians should “serve the people, not private interests,” and has gained huge support.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Facebook censors images of Muhammad

      Only two weeks after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a strongly worded “Je suis Charlie” statement on the importance of free speech, Facebook has agreed to censor images of Prophet Muhammad in Turkey – including the very type of image that precipitated the Charlie Hebdo attack.

    • How Mark Zuckerberg Should Have Responded to Turkey’s Censorship Order

      On Monday, Reuters reported that a Turkish court ordered Facebook to remove pages the government deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed. They even threatened to block Turkish access to Facebook entirely if it did not comply. As a result, Facebook has prohibited access to at least one page already.

      There was an alternative to compliance: Facebook could have refused to honor Turkey’s court order. And Mark Zuckerberg could have delivered the message himself. After all, who better to stand up for freedom of expression than the head of the world’s biggest social network?

    • Does Censorship Make Us Safer?

      Democratic societies are always exploring the proper relationship between security and liberty. We should not lose sight of the fact that our right to view websites such as North Korea’s, or to look at dirty pictures, however tawdry they might be, constitute important liberties that should not be surrendered without constituting a clear and present danger.

    • Thailand junta squelches forum on media censorship

      Thailand’s junta has effectively forced a German foundation to cancel a forum discussing new restrictions on the media, scheduled to be held Friday in Bangkok, raising concerns among journalists and right advocates about the junta’s efforts to curtail press freedom and political dissent in what has long been a relatively open society in the region.

    • Thailand Internet Censorship: Junta Defends Cybersecurity Laws, Orders Press Freedom Briefing Canceled

      Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is pushing for the country’s business and government sectors to be better integrated with the Internet, but he has brushed aside criticism that his junta government’s recent attempts to introduce cybersecurity laws infringe on freedom of expression and the press. At the same time, the junta has also ordered a German rights group to cancel a press freedom briefing scheduled to be held in a Bangkok hotel Friday.

    • Opinion: Bill to ban a word is just censorship

      But the willingness to violate the First Amendment and censor politically incorrect speech is not confined to academe. And proof of that is found in Assembly Bill 30, which would bar California high schools from using “Redskins” as sports team names.

    • The state of online censorship around the world

      In the UK, policies that restrict the flow of information across the Internet are generally met with outcry and consternation for contradicting our fundamental right of free speech, but for many individuals widespread Internet censorship is the norm.

      However, online censorship is much more pervasive than one might initially think, with Ethiopia, Russia and even the UK currently listed as Enemies of the Internet by the French non-governmental group Reporters without Borders (RWB).

    • China doubles down on counterproductive censorship

      China operates the world’s largest and most sophisticated Internet censorship infrastructure. Colloquially called the “Great Firewall,” this infrastructure blocks a huge amount of content deemed contrary to China’s interests as a nation. However, as with any such censorship infrastructure, people will try to access content despite the restrictions–creating a game of cat and mouse between censors, citizens, and online service providers.

  • Privacy

    • What Uber Still Won’t Say About Your Data

      Uber has since refocused its attention on riders’ privacy, rewording its data policy and hiring an outside attorney to conduct an investigation.

    • Shameless: rogue Lords sneak Snooper’s Charter back in AGAIN

      Last Friday, four rogue Lords copy/pasted the repeatedly defeated “Snooper’s Charter” spying bill into a pending bill as an amendment, only to withdraw it on Monday after the Lords were bombarded by an aghast public — and now, incredibly, these Lords have reintroduced the same language as a new amendment.

    • The Intercept’s Invitation to Criminality—and to Intelligence Agencies

      But let’s say I were with some other intelligence agency, either one allied with our forces or one hostile to it. I might noticed that The Intercept is trafficking in really neato stolen goods. They’re soliciting more. And what’s more, they’re advertising what could be a really great, so to speak, phishing hole—that is, a mechanism to send them files and maybe get them onto their computers. If I were a foreign intelligence agency, I’d be looking at this as a great way to send enticing-looking documents, maybe even real ones, that contain some nifty bits of executable code that offered visibility for me onto the activities of people with access to the Snowden materials, people who are talking to and recruiting other leakers. Or maybe I’d be drop some honey-pot files, some files that beacon their location. Or maybe I’d just use the opportunity to drop disinformation on journalists who have shown they will believe just about anything if it’s disparaging of U.S. intelligence.

    • iPhones Can Rat You Out To NSA, Snowden Claims

      iPhones have been getting a lot of heat from privacy advocates for years. It’s likely that privacy concerns will continue to be a public relations nightmare for Apple iPhones despite company efforts to include encryption features in its mobile operating system iOS8. Recent comments from Edward Snowden’s lawyer reveal that the NSA whistleblower doesn’t use iPhones due to professional concerns over security.

    • 45 Percent Of British Consumers Think Online Privacy Is More Important Than National Security
    • Mississippi Action Alert: Help Stop NSA Spying, Support SB2753

      Mississippi SB2753 would deny much-needed material support and resources to the NSA and all federal illegal spying operations. The bill must pass through the Senate Judiciary, Division A Committee before it can receive a vote in the Senate.

  • Civil Rights

    • Prosecutors used the same legal strategy against Barrett Brown as they did me. Are you next?

      When it happened to me, I dismissed it as an anomaly. The government – while trying to access the private emails of my company’s 410,000 users – made material misrepresentations to the courts in a coordinated campaign to portray me as obstinate and uncooperative. Their intent? To manipulate a judge into accepting an unconstitutional legal theory. It cost me my business.

    • Ladar Levison Weighs in on Barrett Brown Case

      Okay, Ladar has a piece in the Guardian today that you should read. As of 9:49 a.m. Central Standard, the piece appears to link to the same cache of hacked Stratfor information that Barrett got busted for linking to. (!) But that’s not really the most interesting part of Ladar’s story. Ladar reveals that the FBI agents that forced him to shut down his business (the email service that Edward Snowden used) were the same agents that busted Barrett.

    • My Post Cyberpunk Indentured Servitude

      Not long ago I was a mild-mannered freelance journalist, activist, and satirist, contributing to outlets like the Guardian and Vanity Fair. But last Thursday I was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison in a case that Reporters Without Borders cited as a key factor in its reduction of America’s press freedom rankings from 33 to 46. As inconvenient as this is for me, the upside is that for the first time in the two and a half years since I was arrested, I am at last able to speak freely about what has been happening to me and why—and what it means for the press and the republic as a whole.

    • The government loves the policy ‘technology for me but not for thee’

      Three seemingly unrelated events explain a lot about the federal government’s complicated and hypocritical reaction to the proliferation of drones and other technology – technology they love to use to track millions of citizens but to which they don’t want citizens to have access.

    • At retreat, Dem staffers escort reporters to restroom

      Reporters covering the House Democrats’ retreat in Philadelphia this week are having a much different experience than when they’re on their home turf on Capitol Hill.

      Reporters are being escorted to and from the restroom and lobby and are being barred from entering the hotel outside of scheduled events, even if they’ve been invited by a member of Congress.

      During Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks at the retreat Friday, reporters were required to have a staff member, usually a junior member of the press team, escort them when going to the bathroom or to the lobby. The filing center for reporters was at a separate hotel from where the retreat was taking place, so access was limited to members of Congress specifically made available to the press.

    • What it’s like to come home to America if your name is “Ahmed”

      Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is a respected journalist who holds US citizenship. Every time he returns to his home in New York, he is detained for many hours by the DHS, subjected to humiliating questioning and detention without evidence or charge, because he fits a “profile” that seems to consist entirely of “brown dude with Arabic name who visits the middle east.” He recently returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos and found himself detained for hours, despite having been assured that his name had been removed from the DHS’s watch-list.

    • CIA did use United Kingdom territory for secret terror interrogations, says top US official

      Terror suspects held by the CIA were interrogated on the British‑owned island of Diego Garcia despite the repeated denials of London and Washington that any such incidents took place, a senior American official said today.

    • Cameron hints at new independent inquiry into Britain’s role in CIA torture

      David Cameron has raised the prospect that Britain’s alleged role in torture could be the subject of a second investigation by an independent inquiry.

      The move, which would be applauded by human rights groups, could see the intelligence and security services forced to give evidence before a judge, which may present an unwelcome distraction for MI5 and MI6 as they seek to combat the growing threat from radical Islamist groups.

    • Westminster child abuse scandal: KGB and CIA kept secret dossiers on Britain’s VIP paedophiles

      Russian and US spies compiled their own secret dossiers on paedophile MPs and other VIP abusers , it has been claimed.

      Police are investigating missing files put together by UK campaigners which allege a powerful network at the heart of Westminister in the 1970s and 80s.

      The Sunday People can reveal that agents from the Russian KGB and the American CIA were also said to have compiled their own intelligence in search of “dirt” on key individuals at the height of the Cold War.

    • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, Updated Edition, by William Blum
    • Feinstein and CIA step up war over spying on Senate

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein intensified her long-running battle with the CIA on Tuesday, accusing the agency of trying to whitewash its spying on Senate computers when the California Democrat was leading an investigation into the government’s use of torture.

    • Tony Abbott dismisses social media as ‘electronic graffiti’, again

      The Prime Minister has dismissed as “electronic graffiti” a medium that his own government and corporate Australia spend millions of dollars a year monitoring and engaging in.

    • Australian Prime Minister: Social Media Is Like Electronic Graffiti

      That acceleration, and the loss of control it implies, probably goes a long way to explaining the fear and loathing that many leading politicians display towards digital technologies — and not just in Australia.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The NFL wants you to think these things are illegal

        The Super Bowl is the NFL’s flagship event each year, and the league has invested a lot in the event’s branding and broadcasting. In light of that investment, it’s understandable that the NFL would be protective of its trademarks and copyrights surrounding it. But that protectiveness has led to the NFL, and other businesses around it, perpetuating a number of myths about what you can and can’t do with the Super Bowl—including the words “Super Bowl.”


Links 31/1/2015: Open Lunchbox, Librem 15 at Around $400,000

Posted in News Roundup at 8:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • HGI Publishes New Open Source Tool for Smart Device Modelling
  • Breaking out of the ‘comfort zone’ with open source

    The PHP community here is really strong, and we have Rafael Dohms to thank for that. Getting in contact with those amazing folks inspired me to get out of my comfort zone, and that little world where I used to live before started to look too small for me.

  • Events

    • Get a paycheck in open source, be a social activist

      Ross currently serves as director of member services with the Linux Professional Institute. He has over 15 years of experience as Linux trainer and has authored several books on Linux and open source software.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice spruces up, adds new features in 4.4

      One of the major complaints levelled against free and open source software is that it looks bad. The user-interfaces for many applications are not geared towards being pleasing visually and this is not surprising as the software is merely meant to do a job.

    • Oracle Releases Node.js Tools

      Back at its OpenWorld event in 2014, Oracle announced it was working on a Node.js driver for its database products. The resulting code was released last week, as open source code with an Apache 2.0 license.

      The driver is now available from GitHub, and includes tools for working with JavaScript objects and arrays, and for translating between Oracle and JavaScript data types. It’s designed to handle transactions, and to work with Oracle’s built-in scaling tools. This includes the ability to quickly end transactions in the event of server failures – allowing Node.js applications to quickly failover to another database, without losing user data.

    • Pondering the Fate of Open Source & Software Licenses

      Having used OpenOffice for several years on the Panasonic Toughbooks I use in the field, I’ve avoided buying into traditional or subscription-based services. While enterprises may have a different view on licensing, cost most always figures into the decision-making process. So if they go the subscription route, they’ll have to then ask what strategies they can use to lower those costs. Will they be able to haggle on price?

      If the subscription model does become the norm, will OpenOffice and other open-source software thrive, dive, or stay the same in market share? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  • CMS

    • Sydney developer brings open source e-commerce to WordPress

      Sydney-based WPCommerce has launched a hosted cloud e-commerce platform on the open source WordPress and WooCommerce platforms.

      WPCommerce automates the integration, localisation and deployment requirements to provide business owners with a fully hosted local solution that allows them to start selling online without manual setup or configuration.

    • Mark Morton: Why we chose an open source website

      Platforms like WordPress and Drupal, which are maintained by a community of users, can be a cost-effective and flexible option for charities, writes the digital media manager at Epilepsy Action

  • Project Releases

    • YAY! A New, Improved Inkscape!

      I like SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). I use it a lot on this blog because I don’t need thumbnails and the viewer gets the size he wants.

    • Inkscape Version 0.91 is Released!

      The Inkscape community proudly announces the release of Inkscape 0.91.

    • Bugzilla 5.0 Is Coming Soon With New Features

      Bugzilla 5.0 is gearing up for a release in the next few weeks and with this big version bump will come a number of new features to this popular open-source bug tracking software.

      Bugzilla 5.0 RC2 was released this week in preparation for an official Bugzilla 5.0 release in “the next few weeks” for general availability.

    • Calamares 1.0 Distribution-Independent Installer Framework Released

      Calamares 1.0 is a completely modular design with three plug-in interfaces, C++ and Python API support, 25 different modules for extending the base framework, a self-contained branding component, an advanced partitioning tool, and various other features.

    • Sometimes you need to reinvent the wheel

      On behalf of the Calamares team and Blue Systems, I am proud to announce the immediate availability of Calamares 1.0.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Weekly Top 5: The big R, 30 on Twitter, and open source jobs
    • HabitRPG to-do list, OUYA gets support, Linux games, and more
    • Open Data

      • Open Addresses: Location, Location, Location

        As I mentioned last summer, it’s scandalous that the privatisation of the Royal Mail resulted not only in the public being short-changed by a billion quid or so, but also – arguably even worse – in the loss of one of the most precious UK datasets: postcodes. These are crucially important because geolocation data is central to providing services to mobile devices; giving a monopoly on this information to a company was irresponsible in the extreme.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware

      • The future of devices for health is not wearables

        Existing open hardware tools now make it easy for anyone to greatly contribute to this change. For example, the team at BITalino recently completed a series of anti-wearable biohacking projects that resulted in things like a bicycle handlebar fitted with a 3-axis accelerometer and an Electrocardiography (ECG) sensor. The ECG sensor leads are connected to conductive textile electrodes on the left and right grips of the handlebar. Whenever the rider holds the grips with each of his/her hands, the data is streamed via Bluetooth to a smartphone that shows the heart rate.

      • Open Source 3D Printing

        Mark Bonenfant and students from Calumet High School will present “Open Source 3D Printing” at the Calumet Public Library.

      • Spanish Tech Company BQ Releases Open Source Horus Software to Complement Their Ciclop 3D Scanner

        Spanish tech firm BQ manufactures smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and 3D printers, but it’s their entry into the 3D scanner market that’s turning heads. The company’s new Ciclop 3D scanner uses laser triangulation technology and a rotating turntable, and it’s billed as “the first DIY 3D scanner.”

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Security

    • Huge Security Flaw Leaks VPN Users’ Real IP-Addresses

      VPN users are facing a massive security flaw as websites can easily see their home IP-addresses through WebRTC. The vulnerability is limited to supporting browsers such as Firefox and Chrome, and appears to affect Windows users only. Luckily the security hole is relatively easy to fix.

    • D-Link routers subject to backdoor hacking, again

      D-LINK ROUTERS have been found to contain a software bug which could allow traffic hijacking and DNS rerouting.

      The bug is in ZynOS, designed by ZyXEL, which also features in products from TP-Link, ZTE and ZyXEL itself.

      However, it was the D-Link DSL2740R that was subject to a proof-of-concept hack this week by a Bulgarian white witch hacker collective called Ethical Hacking, mailed to Computerworld.

      The miscreant wouldn’t even need credentials to make the changes, just access to the remote set-up page or the local network.

    • Why Network Segmentation is Imperative on the Internet of Things

      I’m speaking on a frequent (and increasing) basis with customers about the opportunities and risks that they need to prepare for as they continue to support new business models related to mobility, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT).

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Tomgram: Nick Turse, A Shadow War in 150 Countries

      From the point of view of the U.S. military and the national security state, the period from September 12, 2001, to late last night could be summed up in a single word: more. What Washington funded with your tax dollars was a bacchanalia of expansion intended, as is endlessly reiterated, to keep America “safe.” But here’s the odd thing: as the structure of what’s always called “security” is built out ever further into our world and our lives, that world only seems to become less secure. Odder yet, that “more” is rarely a focus of media coverage, though its reality is glaringly obvious. The details may get coverage but the larger reality — the thing being created in Washington — seems of remarkably little interest.

    • British army creates team of Facebook warriors

      The British army is creating a special force of Facebook warriors, skilled in psychological operations and use of social media to engage in unconventional warfare in the information age.

      The 77th Brigade, to be based in Hermitage, near Newbury, in Berkshire, will be about 1,500-strong and formed of units drawn from across the army. It will formally come into being in April.

    • New British Army unit ‘Brigade 77′ to use Facebook and Twitter in psychological warfare

      The British military is setting up a specialist force modelled on the Chindits, the commandos who gained renown through their daring missions behind enemy lines in Burma during the Second World War.

      They will specialise in “non-lethal” forms of psychological warfare, using social media including Facebook and Twitter to “fight in the information age”.

    • Spanish Peacekeeper Is the Latest Example of Israel Killing United Nations Personnel

      On January 28th a barrage of Israeli artillery fire struck near the South Lebanese village of Ghajar, killing United Nations peacekeeper Francisco Javier Soria. Soria, 36, was a Spanish citizen deployed with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, a peacekeeping mission tasked with maintaining the ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon in the occupied Golan Heights.

    • Under Suspicious Circumstances, FBI Places Brother of No-Fly Litigant on Most Wanted Terrorist List

      In late December 2010, 18-year-old Somali-American Gulet Mohamed was detained in Kuwait without charges and tortured, almost certainly at the behest of U.S. officials. Through a cellphone smuggled into the detention camp by another inmate, Gulet was able to call me and New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti and recount what happened; that morning, we both published articles reporting on the detention, and (with Gulet’s consent) I published the recording of the 50-minute call I had with him, showing him in extreme distress as he described his ordeal.

    • Don’t Blame Islam

      Al-Qaeda and ISIS are products of US and Saudi imperialism.

    • McCain rips protesters during Kissinger hearing, calls them ‘low-life scum’

      The protest broke out at the opening of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on national security and global challenges, where Kissinger and other prominent former secretaries of state were testifying. Standing inches behind the Nixon-era diplomat, the protesters shouted, “Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A quarter of the world’s marine species in danger of extinction

      The world’s ocean species are up to nine times more likely to become extinct than previously thought, according to new research.

      The alarming study by the University of Sheffield, said to be the most thorough analysis of marine conservation data yet, comes as campaigners accused the Government of “watering down” plans to protect England’s marine life.

  • Finance

    • Spain rally: Podemos holds Madrid mass ‘March for Change’

      Tens of thousands of people have massed in central Madrid for a rally organised by radical Spanish leftists Podemos.

      The “March for Change” is one of the party’s first outdoor mass rallies, as it looks to build on the recent victory of its close allies Syriza in Greece.

      Podemos has surged into the lead in recent opinion polls, and says it will seek to write off part of Spain’s debt if it wins elections later this year.

    • Leftist Syriza Party Victory in Greece Strengthens Anti-Austerity Movement Across Europe

      Running on an uncompromising anti-austerity platform, Greece’s Syriza party, the Coalition of the Radical Left, won a decisive victory over the conservative New Democracy party in the economically battered nation’s Jan. 25 election. Syriza fell only two seats short of winning an absolute majority in Greece’s 300-seat Parliament, prompting party leader Alexis Tsipras to form an alliance with the small, center right Independent Greeks party to form a governing coalition.

  • Censorship

    • More Comcast customers write in, report name changes of “whore,” “dummy”

      As if Comcast’s recent account name change to “asshole” wasn’t bad enough, there are new reports of more rude names like “whore,” “dummy,” and “Fakoe Boz.”

      According to the travel website BoardingArea, which first broke the story this week of the earlier vulgar naming incident, more users have written in with their own reports of Comcast naming chicanery.

  • Privacy

    • Are you already violating the feds’ new anti-terror bill?

      And Harper introduced Bill C-51, a sweeping piece of legislation that covers everything from what you’re allowed to say and write to who can board a plane, what happens to your tax information and how long you can be detained without charge, he cited fatal attacks last fall in Ottawa and St. Jean Sur Richelieu.

    • Statement from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada following the tabling of Bill C-51
    • Facebook Tests Bluetooth ‘Beacons’ to Feed Users Local Content

      Facebook Thursday said it would begin testing a service to deliver information about shops and landmarks to users who are nearby, in part by using localized transmitters known as “beacons.”

    • Just four credit card clues can identify anyone

      Drop the disguise: your metadata still gives you away.

    • Warning – Microsofts Outlook app for iOS breaks your company security

      Microsoft has released their iOS for Outlook today. And it will break your companies security for mobile PIM access in multiple ways! No matter if you’re a Microsoft Exchange or IBM Notes Traveler customer.

    • Submission filed by ORG and Privacy International in DRIPA case

      ORG and Privacy International have filed a second submission in the judicial review proceedings against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA). We argue that the legislation is contrary to EU law, in particular Article 15 of the E-Privacy Directive. The intervention draws the Court’s attention to (i) the substantial and carefully calibrated EU rules in the field of data retention, (ii) the seriousness of data retention as an interference with the relevant Charter of Fundamental Rights and European Convention on Human Rights rights and (iii) the inconsistency between the relevant provisions and the strict requirements of EU law.

    • Breach of trust

      Each year, recruiters from the National Security Agency (NSA), said to be the largest employer of mathematicians in the United States, visit a few dozen universities across the country in search of new talent. It used to be an easy sell. “One of the appealing aspects that they pitch is that you’ll be working on incredibly hard and interesting puzzles all day,” says one mathematician who requested anonymity. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, he adds, “I felt that if there was any way I could use my mathematical ability to prevent such a thing from ever happening again, I was morally obligated to do it.” Several times over the past decade, he has set aside his university research to work for the agency.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP and digital rights

      A major problem with the TTIP negotiations so far has been the disturbing lack of transparency. General summaries of what has been discussed in each round of negotiations are released, but the negotiating texts are not. Because the talks are shrouded in secrecy, proper scrutiny by the public, media, law-makers and civil society of what is being negotiated on our behalf is not possible. The negotiating texts should be made public. We cannot move ahead with a process where the first time the details of TTIP are made public is when the text is final and the opportunity for constructive input has passed. This is clearly an undemocratic and unacceptable way for trade negotiations to be carried out.

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