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Links 23/1/2015: Red Hat on IBM Power, Meizu Leaks With Ubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 7:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • MediaFire Launches Open Source Toolkit for Linux
  • ‘Windows Must Go Open Source’: What Happened?

    It was a bold prediction in 2009 that Microsoft would take its Windows operating system open source. The advent of Windows 10 says it hasn’t come true — yet.

  • It’s Windows *10*, Because It’s 10 Years Behind Open Source

    I don’t write about Microsoft much here. That’s largely because, as I noted recently, open source has won. Well, it’s won in the field of supercomputers, cloud computing, Web servers, mobile systems, embedded systems and the Internet of Things. Of course, it hasn’t won on the desktop – although there are some interesting indications that even there things may be changing. That means Wednesday’s launch of Windows 10 is still important, since it affects the daily lives of many people – far too many. Here, I want to focus on a few key aspects that emerged.

  • Events

    • Weekend Viewing: Catch up on LCA 2015

      With many of the videos from linux.conf.au now available, and a three-day weekend about to hit Australia, there’s no excuse not to watch the best talks from last week.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Platform9 Claims its OpenStack Private Clouds Can Spin Up in Minutes

      Platform9, which many people have taken note of as a virtualization-focused startup, is making news this week after it announced the availability of Platform9 Managed OpenStack, a SaaS solution that leverages an organization’s existing servers into an AWS-like agile, self-service private cloud. Platform9 claims it can allow organizations to spin up an OpenStack private cloud deployment within minutes.

    • Hortonworks’ Hadoop Platform Now on Google Cloud Platform

      On the heels of its introduction as a hot new publlic company a few weeks ago, Hortonworks, which focuses on the open source Big Data platform Hadoop, is expanding its reach. Recently, Hortonworks extended its technology partner program with the addition of three new certifications it offers. Hadoop-related certification is a very hot commodity in the tech job market at the moment.

    • Federal Agencies Cautious of Cloud Commitment

      Meritalk’s new report, Cloud without Commitment, underwritten by Red Hat and Cisco, examined federal barriers to cloud adoption including migration, data portability, integration and future agility.

    • Federal Agencies Using Open Source Solutions More Satisfied with Cloud Security: MeriTalk

      Seventy-five percent of federal IT workers want to move more services to the cloud, but are held back by data control concerns, according to a survey released this week by MeriTalk. According to “Cloud Without the Commitment,” only 53 percent of federal IT workers rate their cloud experience as very successful, the same number as are being held back by fear of long-term contracts.

  • Healthcare

    • Living near more trees means fewer antidepressants

      Trees are incredibly smart. They run on sunshine, provide shade in summer and ever so kindly drop their leaves to allow the winter sun through. And now a team from the University of Exeter has determined that they are good for our mental health, too. Londoners who had more trees on their street popped fewer antidepressant pills.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 10.1.1 To Bring New System Updater, Qt5 Utilities

      The PC-BSD crew that base their desktop-focused BSD operating system off of FreeBSD put out their 10.1.1. release candidate this week.

      This quarterly update to PC-BSD (v10.1.1) is set to bring a new system updater that supports automatic background updating, improvements to the boot environments / GRUB support, GPT partition installation improvements, all PC-BSD desktop utillities have been converted to Qt5, OVA files for virtual machines, and various other improvements over the original PC-BSD 10.1 release.

    • PC-BSD Releases Updated Lumina Desktop Environment

      Besides working toward PC-BSD 10.1.1′s release, the PC-BSD crew have also been working on improving their Lumina Desktop Environment.

      Nearly a year ago I wrote about PC-BSD developing its own desktop environment and months later it was out in alpha form. The new PC-BSD desktop is called Lumina and it’s a homegrown environment catered toward the BSDs. The Lumina desktop is FreeDesktop.org/XDG-complaintand they’re hoping for it to be an alternative to GNOME or KDE.


  • Openness/Sharing

    • Linus Torvalds on security, AI tools by Facebook, and more
    • Powering the Open-Source Cloud: What Tesla Motors Can Teach IT

      Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk posted a blog entry on June 12 that was far from typical, but not unexpected for those who know him. He discusses the “wall of patents” his company owns for the manufacturing of electric cars and argues that “these days they serve merely to stifle progress.” The result? Tesla has made all of its patents public, paving the way for an open-source electric car. There’s a similar movement underway in IT: The open-source cloud. What can IT professionals learn from Musk’s recent move?

    • Open Access/Content

      • Find a greater audience for your creative work

        There was a time not long ago when publishing was difficult and expensive. Thanks to services like Lulu.com and Lulujr.com, that’s changing. Open source and Creative Commons licensing has also opened the door for teachers and students to inexpensively and easily find a new and authentic audience for their work.

  • Programming


  • ‘It just works’? Not so for too many Apple users

    Apple’s journey from ‘it just works’ to ‘it just needs more work’ may undermine the company’s reputation for quality

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Ebola Was Only A Warm-Up: The Measles Outbreak Is For Real

      Nearly 80% of Americans — 80%! — even wanted doctors and nurses that treated Ebola patients to be locked into quarantines, despite lack of medical evidence.

      Of course, a mass Ebola outbreak in the United States never materialized.

      But a major measles outbreak is already here. And it’s only going to get worse.

  • Security

    • UK Firms’ Faith In Security Tools And Policies Is Misplaced

      Less than half of firms regularly take basic measures like installing patches and updating software, Cisco research finds

      Cisco has warned that many businesses’ faith in their security tools and policies is misplaced, as just 42 percent of UK firms have highly sophisticated measures in place – less than India, the US and Germany.

      The networking firm’s Annual Security Report found that 75 percent of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) believe their tools are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ effective yet less than half take standard steps like patching and updating software to the latest versions, increasing their protection.

    • Adobe fixes Flash flaw in Windows, Mac and Linux

      Adobe has rushed out an emergency fix for a flaw that was affecting users of its Flash Player tool on Windows, Mac and Linux systems.

      Adobe said in a notification about the fix that it was aware that the flaw was being abused by criminals to carry out attacks against Flash Player.

      “Adobe is aware of reports that an exploit for CVE-2015-0310 exists in the wild, which is being used in attacks against older versions of Flash Player,” the firm said.

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

    • ‘We Were Arrogant’: Interview with New York Times Editor Baquet

      SPIEGEL: One of the reasons Snowden didn’t approach the New York Times was that the paper had refused to publish the initial research about the NSA’s bulk collection in 2004. The story was only published almost a year later. Was it a mistake to have held back on that reporting?

      Baquet: I wasn’t even at the New York Times then and I don’t know what the discussions were like. It’s easy to look at it now and say, “how could the New York Times not have published the story,” but I won’t judge them because I wasn’t here, and I don’t know what the discussions were like. Bill Keller, the former editor in chief, has said the story was not as good as the one they published.

      SPIEGEL: There are other cases where the New York Times showed a lot of consideration for the US government. In 2011, for example, you didn’t print a story about drone bases in Saudi Arabia. Can you give us an insight into what your criteria are for not publishing those kinds of stories?

      Baquet: It was my decision not to publish the drone research — and it was a mistake. The circumstance was that the American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki had been killed by a drone strike. We were writing a story on deadline. A high-ranking CIA official called me up and made the case to leave out where the drone base was. It was Saudi Arabia. I accepted it. And I was wrong. I made a decision on deadline that I regretted almost the next day. We then published the information later. It taught me a lesson. But there are instances where I think you do have to hold things back, and I can think of some instances where I don’t regret it.

      SPIEGEL: For example?

      Baquet: During WikiLeaks, there was one specific instance in which there was a really remarkable cable. Moammar Gadhafi was still in power and it was a greatly detailed cable, which clearly came from somebody with firsthand knowledge of Gadhafi’s activities. It felt like a great thing to publish, but the government made the case that if we published it, it would be very clear to Gadhafi where it came from, and that the source would be killed. Once I reread that cable in light of that, I think it was pretty clear that the government was making a compelling case not to publish it. As I recall, everybody involved agreed not to use that particular cable.

    • Hollywood uses ‘American Sniper’ to destroy history & create myth

      The moral depravity into which the US is sinking is shown by the movie American Sniper glorifying the exploits of a racist killer receiving six Oscar nominations, whereas ‘Selma’ depicting Martin Luther King’s struggle against racism has received none.

      American Sniper is directed by Clint Eastwood, and tells the story of Chris Kyle, a US Navy Seal who served four tours of duty in Iraq as a sniper credited with 160 confirmed “kills”, and earning him the dubious honor of being lauded the most lethal sniper in US military history.


      Anything resembling balance and perspective is sacrificed in American Sniper to the more pressing needs of US propaganda, which holds that the guys who served in Iraq were the very best of America, men who went through hell in order to protect the freedoms and way of life of their fellow countrymen at home. It is the cult of the soldier writ large, men who in the words of Kyle (Bradley Cooper) in the movie “just want to get the bad guys.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Memo To The Media: GOP-Led Senate Is Still Denying Climate Science

      On January 21, 98 U.S. senators voted to affirm that “climate change is real and not a hoax.” But the media should not misconstrue that vote as evidence that the Republican-led Senate is now seeing eye-to-eye with scientists on the issue. Moments later, 49 senators voted to deny that “human activity significantly contributes to climate change” – the position held by the vast majority of climate scientists.

    • A small Australian town hit with ridiculously hot temperatures

      The town, with a population in the low hundreds, was forecast to swelter through a whopping 49 degrees Celsius (120.2 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). By 1:30 p.m., Marble Bar had reached a high of 48.4 degrees Celsius. At 2:30 p.m. local time, the mercury dropped a measly point to 48.3 degrees Celsius, while by 4 p.m. it had only slid to 48.2 degrees Celsius.

    • Benzene found in Montana water supply after Yellowstone oil spill

      A cancer-causing component of oil has been detected in the drinking water supply of an eastern Montana city downstream from a crude oil spill

    • Montana Oil Spill Renews Worries

      Oil spill into Yellowstone River renews concerns about pipeline safety.

    • Big Coal Destroys the Great Barrier Reef and Caley Wetlands

      Instead of protecting it, the Queensland and Australian federal government have traded the crown jewel of the Seven Wonders of the World for exporting more heat-trapping gas and coal and more poisonous mercury vapor.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Muslim-Bashing Not a No-Go Zone for Bobby Jindal

      But Iftikhar was merely suggesting that there is prejudice based on skin color in our political culture–hardly a far-fetched claim–and that non-white politicians like Jindal may tend to bash other minorities (in this case, Muslims) in order to avoid the consequences of this prejudice. (Iftikhar’s use of the skin-scrubbing metaphor indicates that he finds this a futile endeavor.)

    • A Cheat Sheet For Obama’s 2015 State Of The Union Speech

      On the other hand, it’s equally hard to argue that Obama has done much to slow the boom down. The administration has resisted pressure from environmental groups to regulate hydraulic fracturing, and Obama’s current energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, has been a fairly outspoken defender of the technique. If anything is holding back drilling, it’s falling prices, not administration policies.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Privacy is dead, Harvard professors tell Davos forum

      That is the terrifying dystopian world portrayed by a group of Harvard professors at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, where the assembled elite heard that the notion of individual privacy is effectively dead.

      “Welcome to today. We’re already in that world,” said Margo Seltzer, a professor in computer science at Harvard University.

      “Privacy as we knew it in the past is no longer feasible… How we conventionally think of privacy is dead,” she added.

    • Abuse of Parliamentary procedure: introducing the Comms Data Bill into the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill

      Laying eighteen pages of clauses before the Lords to insert the Snoopers’ Charter into an already complicated bill is an abuse of procedure. The Lords cannot have time to properly consider the bill, and would deny the Commons the opportunity to consider the clauses as well.

    • Snooper’s Charter – the Zombie Bill that just won’t go away

      Four members of the House of Lords have attempted to bring back from the dead the Communications Data Bill – otherwise known as the Snoopers’ Charter. The entirety of the bill that had previously been rejected (or at least put on hold) by Parliament – some 18 pages in all – was added as a late ‘amendment’ to the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill currently passing through the Lords. This is utterly cynical at best, and a total abuse of parliamentary procedure at worst.

    • “Is this 21st Century farming?”

      The Technological boom has touched nearly every industry; it may now be taking over the farming industry. Monsanto and John Deere, two big Agribusiness giants, have started services that allow them to collect minute by minute data from farms as crops are being planted and harvested. Currently available to Midwestern farmers, both companies pledge that the data will benefit the farmers by increasing profits.

    • Wyden, Chaffetz Stand Up for Privacy with GPS Act

      In order to create clear rules about when law enforcement agencies can access and track Americans’ electronic location data Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, reintroduced the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (GPS Act) today.

      The bipartisan, bicameral bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and in the House by Reps. Peter Welch, D-VT and Jon Conyers Jr., D-MI.

  • Civil Rights

    • Anonymous hackers turn fire on global paedophile menace

      They are best known for hacking government and corporate websites, but in the wake of the Westminster child abuse scandal and allegations of establishment cover-ups, the Anonymous internet collective has a new target: exposing international paedophile networks.

    • US reporter jailed for linking to stolen data

      A journalist with connections to the hacking collective Anonymous has been sentenced to five years in jail after posting online links to stolen data.

      Barrett Brown originally faced charges punishable by more than 100 years in prison, but the sentence was reduced after he pleaded guilty last year.

      He said he broke the law to reveal details of illegal government activity.

      The case drew criticism from advocates of free speech and media rights organisations.

    • British Spy Agency Considers Journalists a Threat, Vacuums Up Their Emails

      Terrorists, hackers, and journalists. According to a recent Guardian article covering new Snowden documents, British spy agency GCHQ considers all of these individuals threats—various levels of threats, but threats nonetheless. One intelligence report goes so far as to say, “Of specific concern are ‘investigative journalists’ who specialise in defence-related exposés either for profit or what they deem to be of the public interest.”


      It shouldn’t need to be said, but journalists’ communications need to be safe from government hands. And yet, we see example after example of the British government going after this important check to power. (The US has done its fair share of targeting journalists as well.) The Guardian, for example, was forced by GCHQ to destroy their hard drives containing Snowden documents. That was soon after David Miranda, partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained and interrogated at Heathrow for nine hours. England has notoriously abused its surveillance laws to spy on journalists, prompting over 100 editors to sign a letter to the British prime minister calling for a stop to the spying and passage of a strong freedom of expression law.

    • US government faces fine after spoofing a citizen’s Facebook profile

      THE US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DoJ) will pay $134,000 to a woman who was the victim of a spoof Facebook page that featured her in varying states of dress.

      The fine relates to a case from 2010 when a waitress called Sondra Arquiett was arrested as part of a drugs bust.

      The BBC reports that Arquiett complained after she realised that images, including some with her in short shorts, had been posted online by a third party.

      She sued the government for its actions and the DoJ set about considering it. The DoJ has admitted what it did, but has not accepted that it acted improperly.

    • Sotomayor to Justice Department Lawyer: ‘We Can’t Keep Bending the Fourth Amendment to the Resources of Law Enforcement’

      The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in the Fourth Amendment case Rodriguez v. United States. At issue is whether an officer “unnecessarily prolonged” an otherwise legal traffic stop when he called for backup in order to safely walk a drug-sniffing dog around the stopped vehicle. According to a previous Supreme Court ruling, the use of drug dogs during routine traffic stops poses no constitutional problems so long as the traffic stop is not “prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete that mission.”

    • Sen. Burr is wrong to recall CIA torture report

      It didn’t take long for North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr to stir up his Democratic colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee he now chairs. He has sent the White House a letter, The New York Times reports, demanding that copies of an internal CIA report on torture be “returned immediately.”

      Burr and some other Republicans didn’t like the report released under the previous Intelligence Committee chair, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat. In it, the CIA’s use of torture was detailed and documented, and it embarrassed the agency and, for that matter, the country.

    • SSCI Chairman to CIA: We’ll Hide Your Documents if You Hide Ours

      Shortly after he became chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in January, Senator Richard Burr told reporters in his home state that he had no intention of trying to rewrite the committee’s 6700-page, $40 million torture report. Burr said that despite his disagreements with the report, he wanted to “look forward and do oversight in real time.”

      It turns out that Burr’s statement was half true: he doesn’t want to rewrite the torture report. But he does want to help the CIA slip it into a memory hole—along with the Panetta Review, an internal CIA study that confirms the Senate report’s conclusions.

    • Saudi Arabia: King’s Reform Agenda Unfulfilled

      King Abdullah’s reign brought about marginal advances for women but failed to secure the fundamental rights of Saudi citizens to free expression, association, and assembly.

    • Greek leftists Syriza extend poll lead two days before election

      Greece’s anti-bailout Syriza party has widened its lead over the ruling conservatives to 6.7 percentage points from six points previously, a survey showed on Friday, two days before a national election.

    • The lesson of the Charlie Hebdo murders is to double down on the Bill of Rights

      The British, forever bragging about how attuned to irony they are, are responsible for some of the most hilariously ironic free speech and privacy violations in the world. There was the man charged with a “Racially Aggravated Crime” because he made a statement criticizing Islam—which turned out to be a direct quote from Winston Churchill. There’s the flat in London surrounded by 32 CCTV cameras—it once belonged to George Orwell.

    • FBI Agent: No Direct Evidence Ex-CIA Man Leaked to Reporter

      There is no direct evidence that an ex-CIA officer leaked details of a classified mission to a journalist, but phone and email records show the two were in frequent contact, an FBI agent testified Wednesday.

      Prosecutors wrapped up their case with a web of circumstantial evidence based on the phone and email contacts.

      Former CIA man Jeffrey Sterling, 47, of O’Fallon, Missouri, is charged with leaking information about a purportedly botched operation to thwart Iran’s nuclear program to New York Times reporter James Risen, who wrote about the mission in the 2006 book “State of War.” Risen has refused to disclose his sources.

    • Compare and Contrast: Obama’s Reaction to the Deaths of King Abdullah and Hugo Chávez

      Hugo Chávez was elected President of Venezuela four times from 1998 through 2012 and was admired and supported by a large majority of that country’s citizens, largely due to his policies that helped the poor. King Abdullah was the dictator and tyrant who ran one of the most repressive regimes on the planet.

      The effusive praise being heaped on the brutal Saudi despot by western media and political figures has been nothing short of nauseating; the UK Government, which arouses itself on a daily basis by issuing self-consciously eloquent lectures to the world about democracy, actually ordered flags flown all day at half-mast to honor this repulsive monarch.

    • Saudi Arabia’s Tyrant King Misremembered as Man of Peace

      It’s not often that the unelected leader of a country which publicly flogs dissidents and beheads people for sorcery wins such glowing praise from American officials. Even more perplexing, perhaps, have been the fawning obituaries in the mainstream press which have faithfully echoed this characterization of Abdullah as a benign and well-intentioned man of peace.

      Tiptoeing around his brutal dictatorship, The Washington Post characterized Abdullah as a “wily king” while The New York Times inexplicably referred to him as “a force of moderation”, while also suggesting that evidence of his moderation included having had: “hundreds of militants arrested and some beheaded”. (emphasis added)

      While granting that Abdullah might be considered a relative moderate within the brazenly anachronistic House of Saud, the fact remains that he presided for two decades over a regime which engaged in wanton human rights abuses, instrumentalized religious chauvinism, and played a hugely counterrevolutionary role in regional politics.

      Above all, he was not a leader who shied away from both calling for and engineering more conflict in the Middle East.

    • The best story about the Queen and King Abdullah you will read today

      King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died yesterday aged 90, and there has been some controversy over the tributes paid by world leaders to the ruler of a repressive regime that carries out public beheadings and bans women from driving.


      You are not supposed to repeat what the Queen says in private conversation. But the story she told me on that occasion was one that I was also to hear later from its subject – Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia – and it is too funny not to repeat. Five years earlier, in September 1998, Abdullah had been invited up to Balmoral, for lunch with the Queen. Following his brother King Fahd’s stroke in 1995, Abdullah was already the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. After lunch, the Queen had asked her royal guest whether he would like a tour of the estate. Prompted by his Foreign Minister, the urbane Prince Saud, an initially hesitant Abdullah agreed. The royal Land Rovers were drawn up in front of the castle. As instructed, the Crown Prince climbed into the front seat of the front Land Rover, with his interpreter in the seat behind. To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off. Women are not – yet – allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a queen. His nervousness only increased as the Queen, an Army driver in wartime, accelerated the Land Rover along the narrow Scottish estate roads, talking all the time. Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead.

    • Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes

      Documents published online for the first time Thursday indicate that the FBI opened an inquiry into New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez on August 1, 2012, focusing on repeated trips he took to the Dominican Republic with longtime campaign contributor and Miami eye doctor Salomon Melgen. TheDC reported in November that Menendez purchased the service of prostitutes in that Caribbean nation at a series of alcohol-fueled sex parties.

    • Saudi Arabia: Activist Raif Badawi ‘may not serve whole 10-year prison sentence’

      Saudi Arabian activist blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for advocating free speech, may not have to serve the full decade in prison.

      Badawi family’s spokesperson, Dr Elham Manea, who is also an associate professor specialising in the Middle East at University of Zurich, said on Facebook that the news was delivered by a Saudi ambassador in Germany.

      She wrote: “Saudi ambassador in Germany informed NDR-TV that flogging will not continue and ‪#‎RaifBadawi‬ maybe not have to serve the whole time in prison.”

    • Barrett Brown Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison After Reporting on Hacked Private Intelligence Firms

      A journalist and activist accused of working with Anonymous has been given a five-year prison term and ordered to pay nearly $900,000 in restitution and fines. Barrett Brown was sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty last year to charges of transmitting threats, accessory to a cyber-attack, and obstruction of justice. Supporters say Brown has been unfairly targeted for investigating the highly secretive world of private intelligence and military contractors. After his sentencing on Thursday, Brown released a satirical statement that read in part: “Good news! — The U.S. government decided today that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.” We discuss Brown’s case with Kevin Gallagher, a writer, activist and systems administrator who heads the Free Barrett Brown support network. He says that the public should not believe what the government says about Brown.

    • Families of disabled men slam Legoland in the Trafford Centre for decision to ‘ban’ adults without children

      Campaigners blast policy as ‘discrimination’ but attraction cites ‘child protection’ rules after turning away adults and their carers

    • In Victory for Gov’t Whistleblowers, Supreme Court Sides with Fired TSA Air Marshal Who Spoke Out

      A major U.S. Supreme Court decision has upheld the right of federal employees to become whistleblowers. The case centers on former Transportation Security Administration Federal Air Marshal Robert MacLean. In July 2003, MacLean revealed to an MSNBC reporter that the Department of Homeland Security had decided to stop assigning air marshals to certain long-distance flights in order to save money, despite warnings of a potential plot to hijack U.S. airplanes. MSNBC’s report on the story sparked outcry, and the policy was quickly reversed. MacLean was fired three years later after admitting to being the story’s source. He filed a lawsuit over his dismissal, sparking a multi-year legal battle that ended earlier this week when the Supreme Court ruled on his behalf in a 7-to-2 decision. At issue was whether MacLean’s actions could be protected by the U.S. Whistleblower Protection Act, a law that protects employees if a disclosure exposes unlawful conduct, gross mismanagement or threats to public safety. We speak to Robert MacLean and attorney Neal Katyal, who argued MacLean’s case before the Supreme Court. Katyal is the former acting solicitor general of the United States.

    • Lagarde calls King Abdullah ‘advocate of women’ – despite ban on driving

      Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, has praised King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as a “strong advocate of women”, but human rights campaigners said his reign only brought marginal advances for women, while failing to secure fundamental rights of free expression, association, and assembly.

      In paying tribute to the king who died on Thursday aged 90, Lagarde – who has expressed her concerns over gender inequality – described the monarch as a great leader who implemented many reforms.

      “In a very discreet way, he was a strong advocate of women. It was very gradual, appropriately so probably for the country. I discussed that issue with him several times and he was a strong believer,” said Lagarde, who is attending the Davos economic forum in Switzerland.

    • Louise Mensch Just Told David Cameron And The Queen To ‘F**k Off’ Over Saudi King Abdullah

      Former Conservative MP Louise Mensch has unleashed an extraordinary tirade on Twitter, instructing both David Cameron and the Queen to “fuck off”.

      Mensch became enraged after the British Government declared all UK flags be flown at half mast to mourn the death of King Abdullah on Thursday.

      She began by criticising US President Barack Obama for paying tribute to the late royal, whom Mensch said “whipped women for driving & is currently starving his daughters.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Apple must make BlackBerry apps under net neutrality laws, claims BlackBerry CEO

      The chief executive of BlackBerry has claimed that Apple should be forced to make apps for BlackBerry users under net neutrality laws currently being debated in the US.

    • The Cobweb

      Two weeks before the crash, Anatol Shmelev, the curator of the Russia and Eurasia collection at the Hoover Institution, at Stanford, had submitted to the Internet Archive, a nonprofit library in California, a list of Ukrainian and Russian Web sites and blogs that ought to be recorded as part of the archive’s Ukraine Conflict collection. Shmelev is one of about a thousand librarians and archivists around the world who identify possible acquisitions for the Internet Archive’s subject collections, which are stored in its Wayback Machine, in San Francisco. Strelkov’s VKontakte page was on Shmelev’s list. “Strelkov is the field commander in Slaviansk and one of the most important figures in the conflict,” Shmelev had written in an e-mail to the Internet Archive on July 1st, and his page “deserves to be recorded twice a day.”

    • Blogger who uncovered GOP leader’s white supremacist ties had home Internet lines cut

      Earlier this month, Lamar White, Jr. woke up to discover his Internet connection wasn’t working. He had just gotten a new cable box installed at his Dallas, Texas, home and figured his lines should still be in ship shape because it hadn’t been long since they were last checked.

      Rather than just assume he had crappy Internet service, like you or I might, he thought his home computer system was on the receiving end of a denial of service attack. White, you see, is something of a major figure in the political media. And there are a good many people who may want revenge for the things he’s dug up.

    • Media Shouldn’t Be Fooled By Fake Neutrality Bill Backed By Broadband Industry

      What The Media Should Know About The GOP Bill That Is Net Neutrality In Name Only

    • Net Neutrality: the Member States and Commission about to turn their back on the Parliament’s Vote!

      On January 20th, La Quadrature du Net along with other European organisations co-signed an open letter [pdf] calling once more the EU’s Member States to adopt clear and strict rules to protect Net Neutrality. However, a negociation document shows that at the same moment, Member States were one towards the end of a free Internet. It is time for the European Parliament to get back to work on this issue and defend a real protection of Net Neutrality, against oligopolistic strategies of the large Internet actors backed by governments.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Torrent Site Blockades Are Disproportional, Greek Court Rules

        A Greek anti-piracy group has lost its bid to have various torrent sites blocked by local Internet providers. The Athens Court ruled that barring access to torrent sites such as KickassTorrents and The Pirate Bay is disproportionate and unconstitutional, while hindering the ISPs’ entrepreneurial freedoms.

      • Bomber Tries Copyright Troll Argument to Unmask Critic

        A man jailed for 50 years in the United States for multiple bombings, drug smuggling and felony perjury, is attempting to leverage copyright troll cases to his advantage. Brett Kimberlin says that since a court has already revealed the identities of BitTorrent users, it should also unmask his critics.

      • Transparency is Necessary to Ensure the Copyright Industry Won’t Sneak Policies Through the Back Door

        Policy makers intending to promote creativity have always overemphasized the importance of “copyright protection” without addressing the wide range of other concerns that are necessary to consider when making comprehensive innovation policy. In an era where everyone, with the use of their computer or mobile device, can easily be a consumer, creator, and a critic of art, we can not afford to ignore this digital ecosystem of artistry and innovation. Yet copyright remains completely out of touch with the reality of most creators today, while the rules that do pass seem to stray even further from addressing their needs.


Links 23/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Manjaro 0.9-pre1

Posted in News Roundup at 10:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The most obvious user for Linux isn’t who you think

    And then it dawned on me … just who the ideal candidate for Linux should be. It’s not the developer (though they probably get more benefit out of the platform than any user type), it’s not the gamer, it’s not the geek, and it’s not the administrator. The ideal candidate is the average user.

  • Designing with Linux

    3-D printers are becoming popular tools, dropping in price and becoming available to almost everyone. They can be used to build parts that you can use around the house, but more and more, they also are being used to create instruments for scientific work. Although a growing library of objects are available in several on-line databases, there is nearly an infinite number of possible things you might want to build. This means you likely will want to design and build your own creations.

  • Desktop

    • Librem 15, the first free software GNU/Linux laptop, makes funding goal

      Purism, the company behind the Librem 15, promises that it will ship an Intel CPU fused to run unsigned BIOS code. The hope is that this will allow a future where free software can replace the proprietary, digitally signed, BIOS binaries.

    • Acer Designs Chromebooks for Students’ Rough Handling

      Acer on Wednesday announced two new ruggedized Chromebooks geared for classroom use. Both will go on sale in February.

      The Acer Chromebook C910 and C740 have a durable design built around reinforced covers and hinges. The new models support multiple user sign-ons and offline file access.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.2 – The Quintissential Breakdown

        KDE is one of the oldest open-source desktop projects which can be found today, and over the years it has established a rich history of highs and lows. During some points it has been the undisputed ruler of the desktop world, while other times it had fallen behind or faced hard trials.

        A memory everything but forgotten, just over 6 years ago KDE tore itself apart in spectacular fashion to assemble itself anew. Brave users who wandered through the rubble and wreckage saw developers rebuild the KDE before their eyes, witnessing the birth of ‘Plasma Desktop’ and it’s sister project ‘KDE Development Platform’. It was universally understood that this twisted gnarled creature of a computing experience was both hideous yet full of potential, and over 5 years of refining Plasma it had struggled, crawled, hobbled, walked, run, and eventually mature into a fine desktop.

      • KDEGames kf5

        My objective was to release some games for the ’15.04′.

      • GSoC student digikam sprint experience
      • Season of KDE 2014 Post #2: Nearing Completion
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Makes Progress On Sandboxed Applications

        GNOME has quietly been working on sandboxed applications support and for GNOME 3.16 they hope to ship an initial reference runtime implementation of their new technology.

        Matthias Clasen wrote a lengthy blog post tonight detailing the sandboxed applications for GNOME. The goal of sandboxed applications is to make it easy for third-parties to distribute applications that work on multiple distributions, give the applications as little access as possible to the host system, and to also make it easier to write applications.

      • GNOME 3.15.4

        GNOME 3.15.4 is out. This is a development snapshot, so use it with caution.

      • Cinnamon 2.6 Will Be Systemd-Compatible

        Not long ago, the Linux Mint team has decided to change their release policy and adopt only the LTS versions of Ubuntu, the systems released between to LTSs being only point releases that update the main components. Also, they have moved Linux Mint Debian Edition’s (LMDE) code base from Debian Testing to Debian Stable.

  • Distributions

    • A Look at Pentoo Linux and Its Security Analysis Tools

      There is no shortage of security-focused Linux distributions on the market, and among them is Pentoo Linux. While some security-focused Linux distributions concentrate on privacy, like Tails, others like Kali Linux and Pentoo focus on security research, providing tools that enable research and penetration testing. Pentoo Linux differentiates itself from other security Linux distributions in a number of ways. The primary difference is the fact that Pentoo is based on Gentoo Linux, which is a source-based Linux distribution that uses the Portage package-management system. Gentoo has capabilities known as “Hardened Gentoo,” which Pentoo also inherits, providing users with additional security configuration and control for the Linux distribution itself. Pentoo 2015 RC 3.7 was released Jan. 5, providing updated tools and features. Among the new features is the integrated ability to verify that the distribution files have not been corrupted. Pentoo provides many applications for security analysis, including wireless, database, exploit, cracking and forensic tools. In this slide show, eWEEK looks at key features and tools in the Pentoo 2015 RC3.7 release.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat: Security Makes Paying for Open Source Software Worth It

        Open source software vendors do something akin to selling air: They get people to pay for something that easily, and perfectly legally, can be had for free. But added security is becoming an increasingly important part of the value proposition, as Red Hat (RHT), maker of one of the leading Linux enterprise distributions, emphasized this week in a statement on its software subscriptions.

      • Red Hat Is Hiring More Developers To Work On Wayland, Open-Source Graphics

        Red Hat is hiring more developers that will focus on Fedora, especially the Fedora Workstation product, that in turn will flow back into RHEL and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation. Among the type of work that Red Hat is looking for in the candidates include experience with Wayland, LLVMpipe, X.Org, compiler optimizations, graphics driver enablement, etc.

      • Why A Maturing OpenStack Platform Will Lift Red Hat

        OpenStack is an open-source IaaS cloud platform that was developed through the collaborative efforts of Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX) and NASA with the objective of countering the dominance of Amazon.com’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) AWS. The platform has AWS-like features including EC2 and S3 compatibility that allows businesses to build their own Amazon-like cloud services in their datacenters.

      • Fedora

        • More Changes Are In The Works For Fedora 22

          Ahead of evaluation by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo), more of the planned changes for Fedora 22 are being discussed on the Fedora developers’ list. Here’s some more of the likely Fedora 22 changes that haven’t been covered by our earlier articles on F22 feature work.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Samsung Z1 SM-Z130HWRD Listed in Samsung India estore

          The Samsung Z1 is the first Tizen based Smartphone to be launched and we are hoping it is the first of many Tizen Smartphones to come. The Z1 has now made its way to the Samsung eStore in India and can be yours for the price of 5,700 INR, which is a very competitive price for such tech.

        • Tizen OS 2.3 Samsung Z1 Review

          This is an Interesting little video that I found on the net. Created by YouTube user TheGarchaHD, it walks you through the User Interface of the Tizen based Samsung Z1 and shows you some of the features of the Tizen 2.3 Operating System.

        • WhatsApp now has a Chrome web client

          Messaging apps these days don’t have to just live in your smartphone or your tablet, they need to be with you wherever you are, and that might be sitting with you at your computer. Messaging apps like facebook, WeChat and Line already have this option and it seems to be the best you really do need to include the PC in your platform choices.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Newsrooms see the light of open source

    Have you heard the one about the big media house whose new, proprietary content management system (CMS) handles its every need, worked straight out of the box and with which all the journalists are in love? No?

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Pays Big Bug Bounties in Chrome 40 Fix

        Google is out with its first stable Chrome browser update of 2015, with security vulnerabilities fixes topping the list of improvements in the new release. In total, Google is patching 62 different security flaws in the update.

        In contrast, Microsoft has yet to provide a single security patch for its Internet Explorer browser in 2015, while Mozilla’s Firefox 35 had nine security advisories attached to it.

      • Chrome 41 Beta: New ES6 Features and Improved DevTools for Service Workers and Web Animations

        Today’s Chrome Beta channel release includes new Javascript ES6 features and improved workflows for debugging Service Workers and Web Animations. Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to Chrome for Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Has IBM made (hard) Hadoop easier?

      IBM pays analyst firm Evans Data Corporation for what are widely regarded as worthy reports — in this role, Evans has cited IBM as an “industry leader” for making Hadoop more accessible, scalable and reliable for developers in a new analyst survey.


  • Public Services/Government

    • Danish open source early warning system for schools

      A system for smartphones, tablet computers and PCs that can warn students, teachers and school personnel of emergencies is to be developed for the Norwegian Akerhus county. The solution will be built by the Danish ICT service specialist Magenta, using open source components.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Mirantis Broadens OpenStack Training, Certification

      Mirantis, focused on the OpenStack cloud computing platform, has expanded its ambitious Mirantis Training for OpenStack course collection with two new courses and a Certificate Verification portal. Mirantis’ training platform has been running since 2011, and is differentiated from some other training platforms in that the coursework is OpenStack distribution-agnostic. According to Mirantis, Eighty eight percent of students rate it as better than other professional industry training offerings due to the quality of its instructors, its hands-on format, and its curriculum that is removed of vendor bias.


  • Science

    • Moscow to Beijing in 2 days: China to build $242bn high-speed railway

      The railway will be 7,000 kilometers long and go through Kazakhstan, reports Bloomberg citing Beijing’s city government on the social networking site Weibo, China’s alternative to Twitter. The railway will make travel easier between Europe and Asia, the statement said.

  • Security

    • Our South Korean Allies Also Hack the U.S.—and We Don’t Seem to Care

      South Korea’s online espionage program may be primarily focused on the North, but it’s also targeting the United States—and the U.S. government isn’t making a stink about it.

    • Thursday’s security advisories
    • Just WHY is the FBI so sure North Korea hacked Sony? NSA: *BLUSH*

      The NSA wasn’t much interested in North Korea at the time but that changed – partly because the spy agency managed to get its hands on useful zero-day exploits used against the Norks, according to recently disclosed files. NBC News adds that US intel agencies had no forewarning of the Sony hack. After Sony reported the breach to the FBI’s cyber unit on 24 November, it became possible to trace back the attack.

      So even after comprehensively bugging North Korea’s ‘net connection, the best the spy agency had was the equivalent of a CCTV camera rather than a burglar alarm capable of detecting a crime in progress.

    • Doubts Persist Over North Korean Link to Sony Hack Despite NSA Claim

      “The pieces don’t add up,” said Tal Klein, vice president of strategy for Internet-security firm Adallom. “I cannot dispute the fact that the NSA hacked the North Koreans, because that is the ultimate trump card—there’s empirical evidence that I will never be able to see. But the attack does not fit the mold of a nation-state attack, but of a revenge-oriented attack.” – See more at: http://www.eweek.com/security/doubts-persist-over-north-korean-link-to-sony-hack-despite-nsa-claim.html#sthash.8k1lwUtf.dpuf

    • Steptoe cyberlaw podcast – interview with David Sanger

      Our guest for Episode 50 of the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast is David Sanger, the New York Times reporter who broke the detailed story of Stuxnet in his book, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power. David talks about his latest story, recounting how North Korea developed its cyberattack network, and how the National Security Agency managed to compromise the network sufficiently to attribute the Sony attack. We talk about how understanding the White House helped him break a story that seemed to be about NSA and the FBI, North Korean hackers’ resemblance to East German Olympic swimmers, and the future of cyberwar.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Trainers To Deploy To Ukraine

      American soldiers will deploy to Ukraine this spring to begin training four companies of the Ukrainian National Guard, the head of US Army Europe Lt. Gen Ben Hodges said during his first visit to Kiev on Wednesday.

    • Video: Hillary Does a Putin Impression

      Did you hear the one about Hillary doing an impression of Vladimir Putin in Canada? Because it actually happened, Jackie Kucinich reports. During a wide ranging policy speech to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, Hillary answered a question about the American electoral system with an impression. The moderator began asking her “if for some reason you decided to be president” and then quickly corrected himself, “actually run for that because there is a process.”

      “There is a process, it’s not like Putin,” she said.

      Cue the laugh track.

    • The Threat of an Imploding Yemen

      It has taken decades of deteriorating politics and security for Yemen to reach its current level of crisis, though now the costs might come not just in the form of the suffering of the Yemeni people but also in regional instability and the proliferation of international terrorism. While the causes of Yemen’s crisis are intensely local—having to do with longstanding issues of corruption, tribal and North-South differences, and a constitution in need of amending—it is being amplified both by meddling regional actors and a menacing terrorist group with international reach.

    • Hezbollah, Iran threats to avenge ‘Israeli strike’ have Lebanon on edge

      The tensions in the North that have been heightened following this week’s alleged Israeli airstrike that killed senior Hezbollah officials in the Golan Heights are also being felt in Lebanon, where apprehension is growing over the specter of another cross-border war.

    • Obama’s State of the Union sidesteps mounting foreign policy setbacks

      Since Barack Obama’s previous State of the Union address, the US president has relaunched the Iraq war – this time with a Syrian appendix – ensured the presence of US troops in Afghanistan through 2024 and continued drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan. Yet if Obama’s 2015 State of the Union is to be believed, “tonight, we turn the page”.

      On foreign policy and national security, Obama cannot be blamed for wanting the page turned. Unlike in his previous States of the Union, there is no dead Osama bin Laden or Muammar Gaddafi to tout. His strongest foreign achievement in 2014 – an admittedly historic one – has been to normalize relations with Cuba, though, as with all things Obama does, congressional Republicans vow opposition.

    • Dirty Harry Goes To Iraq

      A similar observation might be made of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper about Iraq. Like the Iraq War itself, Eastwood’s movie begins by exploiting a historically inaccurate delusion and, then, sustains itself for two hours on the mission to protect US soldiers against the insurgency that arose in opposition to the US invasion and occupation based on the initial delusion.

    • Flogging of Saudi blogger delayed again on medical grounds

      The planned flogging of a Saudi blogger convicted of insulting Islam has been delayed for a second straight week, a leading international rights group said Thursday, a move that comes amid mounting pressure from Saudi Arabia’s Western allies for authorities to cancel the punishment.

      The London-based Amnesty International said that around eight doctors carried out medical tests on Raif Badawi, 31, and recommended that he not be flogged this Friday. Saudi authorities postponed his flogging last week after a doctor concluded that his wounds from the first 50 lashes had not yet healed, according to Amnesty.

    • Saudi King Abdullah dies aged 91

      The announcement, made early on Friday, said his brother, Salman, had become king.

    • The drone operator who said ‘No’

      He was told that he helped to kill more than 1,600 people, but as time went by he felt uneasy with what he was doing. He found it hard to sleep and started dreaming in infra-red.

    • Drone attacks have become a hallmark of Barack Obama’s presidency, and the talk of ‘precision’ is deeply problematic

      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 United States against al-Qaida 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.

    • GUEST OPINION: Shining light on U.S. drone policy

      An estimated 3,500 people — hundreds of them children — have been killed by drones. While some of those killed were undoubtedly violent terrorists, fewer than 50 (2 percent) were confirmed to be high-level targets, according to a study undertaken by Stanford Law School and New York School of Law. There are numerous allegations, some confirmed by reliable news sources, of entire wedding parties and extended families being killed by U.S. drones.

    • Federal Prison Sentence Begins for Anti-Drone Activist

      On January 23, Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, will begin a three-month jail sentence in federal prison for a protest against drones (also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles”) at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. I had a chance to interview her before she had to turn herself in.

    • ‘We didn’t even really know who we were firing at’ – former US drone operator

      Former US drone sensor operator Brandon Bryant admits he “couldn’t stand” himself for his participation in the country’s drone program for six years – firing on targets whose identities often went unconfirmed.

    • The 2014 Drone Wars Death From the Sky

      In closing, here is a quote from the ACLU regarding the use of drones:

      “The executive branch has, in effect, claimed the unchecked authority to put the names of citizens and others on “kill lists” on the basis of a secret determination, based on secret evidence, that a person meets a secret definition of the enemy. The targeted killing program operates with virtually no oversight outside the executive branch, and essential details about the program remain secret, including what criteria are used to put people on CIA and military kill lists or how much evidence is required.

    • Mystery motive for Qunaitra drone strike

      While Lebanon and Israel await Hezbollah’s response to Sunday’s deadly Israeli drone strike in the Golan Heights, the motive for the provocative attack, which could yet trigger further violence, remains shrouded in confusion.

      The continued silence from the Israeli government and military over the airstrike combined with some ambiguous comments in the media from Israeli security sources have only added to the puzzlement and drawn criticism in Israel.

    • Despite ambiguity, Netanyahu must answer for Syria attack

      The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee devoted itself to an important issue on Tuesday: the Israel Defense Forces’ decision to stop stationing soldiers in communities near the Gaza Strip. But if these Knesset members aren’t too busy with the election campaign, perhaps they should also make some time in the near future to discuss what is beginning to look like a major security crisis: the open threats by Iran and Hezbollah to take revenge for Sunday’s assassination of senior officials from both Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which they attribute to Israel.

    • Obama’s YouTube Interview Highlights: From Cyberbullying to SportsCenter

      The president said it was important to have legal constraints on the controversial drone program but that the program was aimed at minimizing casualties. “Under that our goal has always been: how do we target very specific terrorists who are proven to be trying to kill us — or more frequently kill innocent Muslims in their home countries,” he said.

    • Drone Warfare

      Yet there is something about drone warfare that is profoundly disturbing. How do our military and intelligence officials know if someone is a potential terrorist? Do we know the criteria by which a person or persons are targeted? Is it someone who is poised to kill, or is it someone who once killed? Is it prevention or revenge?

    • America’s Counterterrorism Policy Is Failing

      Our tactics produce more dangerous, more committed extremists

    • Don’t believe the U.S. military when it says it doesn’t keep body counts

      Since the Vietnam War, with its gruesome and inflated U.S. tallies of enemy dead, the Pentagon has denied keeping body counts. But, in fact, the military does add up the number of enemy fighters it believes it has killed — and proudly boasts of the totals in official documents that it never intends for public circulation.

    • American Sniper mirrors the war on terror propaganda

      American Sniper retells the story about four Iraq combat tours of the most lethal sniper in US military history, Chris Kyle. Despite having been nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the Clint Eastwood directed film was better than I expected, and I still hated it.

      With a record breaking $105 million in box office earnings in its opening weekend, the film has arguably generated more controversy in the US than any movie I can recall.

      Much of the controversy has centred on the portrayal of the late Chris Kyle himself. Veterans who served with Kyle have praised the accuracy of actor Bradley Cooper’s impersonation, but a number of liberal journalists have lambasted the film for not staying true to Kyle’s autobiography. In fact, the film came close to portraying Kyle as a reluctant warrior. You know, the whole “I’m just doing my job” routine. In the book and in Kyle’s own words, however, killing 160 Iraqis, who were mostly the “civilian by day, soldiers by night” type, was something Kyle actually took great satisfaction from.

      “I don’t shoot people with Qurans. I’d like to but I don’t,” Kyle told a military investigator after being accused of killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian. In other parts of his book, Kyle writes: “I couldn’t give a fuck about the Iraqis” and “I hate the damn savages.”

    • American Justice?
    • 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.

      That’s why websites like TomDispatch matter. They offer the larger picture of a world that’s being built right before our eyes but is somehow seldom actually seen — that is, taken in meaningfully. America’s Special Operations forces are a striking example of this phenomenon. The commando is, by now, a national culture hero, the guy who stands between Hell and us. But what special ops forces really do all — and I mean all — over the planet, doesn’t seem of any particular interest to Americans in general or the mainstream media in particular. The way those “elite” forces have parlayed their popularity into a staggering growth rate and just what that growth and the actions that go with it actually mean in terms of, say, blowback… well, that’s something you’re simply not going to read much about, other than at a website like this one.

    • As Fox News Apologizes, Jeremy Scahill on Fake “Terror Experts” & Challenges of Real War Reporting

      Fox News has apologized for broadcasting false information about Muslims in the wake of the Paris attacks. Last weekend, self-described terrorism expert Steve Emerson claimed on air that parts of Europe, including the entire English city of Birmingham, were totally Muslim areas where non-Muslims do not go. Emerson was forced to apologize, but the claim about so-called “no-go zones” was repeated by other Fox guests and anchors. On Saturday, according to a CNN Money tally, Fox News took time out of four broadcasts to apologize for reports on Muslims. Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept, discusses the rise of so-called “terrorism experts” by Fox News and other major cable networks. In two recent interviews with CNN, Scahill has criticized the news giant and others for their use of “on-air analysts who also work in the private sector and make money on the idea that we should be afraid.” He also responds to blistering criticism from FBI chief James Comey of using an anonymous al-Qaeda source in reporting on the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and analyzes what al-Qaeda’s claim of responsibility will mean for the U.S. drone war in Yemen.

    • Who speaks for an anti-war position?

      War, then, is to be sustained and expanded. Put simply, Western governments with large-scale militaries and jihadist organizations with violence central to their strategies are engaged in an asymmetric exchange of violence, wherein killing of both combatants and civilians is routine. Drone strikes and bombing raids over Iraq and Syria generate reciprocal responses from al-Qaeda and groups now associated with ISIS in the form of beheadings, kidnappings and killing of civilians through various means.

      It is an “a-symmetric” conflict because Western states’ strikes are far more lethal than those of jihadi organizations and ISIS. For every innocent civilian murdered by ISIS, U.S. drones and air strikes — and now French bombing raids — kill many, consequently rallying new recruits against the United States and France with each raid.


      Who among our congressional leaders speaks for an anti-war position? Will we see an anti-war presidential candidate in 2016? It seems unlikely.

    • UK to launch enhanced “anti-terror measures” and domestic use of troops

      The former head of Britain’s intelligence agency MI5, Lord Evans, has added his voice to demands for a clampdown on the Internet and e-communications in the wake of the terror assaults on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris and a Jewish supermarket, in which 17 people were killed.

    • Charlie Hebdo: A Missed Bottom-Up, Kumbaya, Opportunity?

      We have allowed fear and hate to foster the rise of paranoiacs, demagogues, opportunists and fools, driving our attention and resources away from immediate, dire situations: climate change, globalism, economic inequality and the degradation of education and the national infrastructure.

    • Foreign Policy and the State of the Union: What to Expect, or Not

      White HouseWhite HouseWhat can we expect in President Obama’s State of the Union with regard to U.S. foreign policy in 2015? Not much. As in every every State of the Union since 2002, the president is expected to address foreign policy largely within the framework of the war on terror and counterterrorism operations. But the State of the Union is largely a vehicle for rhetoric, not honest explanations of policy. President Obama mentioned drones in a State of the Union for the first time last year, claiming his administration had “imposed prudent limits” on their use.

  • Finance

    • Ex-Swiss banker found guilty in WikiLeaks trial, avoids jail

      Tethong said she would appeal the ruling.

      During the trial, which began in December but was halted when Elmer collapsed outside the Zurich courtroom, Tethong argued that Elmer had not broken any Swiss laws because he had not obtained the information as an employee of a Swiss bank.

    • Inequality is at top of the agenda as global elites gather in Davos

      A new report from the anti-poverty group Oxfam has helped put inequality back near the top of the global agenda, just in time for the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of global elites in Davos, Switzerland. In particular, one striking claim from the Oxfam report has generated headlines: By next year, the top 1% of the world’s population could own more wealth than the other 99%. The Oxfam report – just one of many attempts at measuring worldwide economic disparities – fits into a broader pattern of growing interest in, and concern about, inequality.

    • Braintree now lets all U.S. merchants accept Bitcoin

      Braintree first announced the v.zero SDK back in July last year. The SDK allowed automatic shopping cart integration with PayPal among other payment types. In September, Braintree revealed a partnership with Coinbase to accept Bitcoin, but this is the first implementation of their collaboration.

    • Oil jumps after Saudi king’s death amid huge market shifts

      Oil prices jumped in early Asian trading on Friday as news of the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah added to uncertainty in energy markets already facing some of the biggest shifts in decades.

      Abdullah died early on Friday and his brother Salman became king, the royal court in the world’s top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam said in a statement carried by state television.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • 5 Years After Citizens United, Newspapers Fail To Cover Its Impact On Judicial Elections

      Five years after the Supreme Court opened the floodgates of campaign spending with its Citizens United decision, top newspapers in the three states with the most expensive judicial campaigns, Ohio, Alabama, and Texas, have largely failed to connect Citizens United with major changes in these races. The influx of money into state judicial elections following the decision has accelerated negative advertisements and campaign financing that may influence judges’ decisions.

    • Progressive Policies Are Popular–So Why Should Democrats Be Afraid of Them?

      CNN’s post-speech discussion of Barack Obama’s State of the Union address included anchor Wolf Blitzer’s reaction to colleague Jake Tapper’s view that the president had outlined a liberal economic agenda. Blitzer’s analysis illustrates the logic behind corporate media’s longstanding efforts to dissuade politicians from advocating for progressive policies…

    • Poll Finds Agenda Gap Between Leaders, American People

      Republicans are trying to burnish their party’s image–and Congress’–by promising to “get things done” now that the GOP controls both the House and Senate. But a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that the public doesn’t care much about some of the first things the GOP, or President Barack Obama, is trying to do.

    • Fox News Shows Ignore Scott Walker’s ACA Remarks After Months Of Gruber Coverage

      Despite dedicating numerous segments to comments made by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber about tax credits established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that appear to support a right-wing challenge to their legality, Fox News’ programming on weeknights has ignored remarks made by Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) that undermine the legal theory behind this upcoming Supreme Court case.

  • Censorship

    • Charlie Hebdo, The Interview, and Censoring Torture Photos

      In France and the United States, there seems to be near-universal agreement that to self-censor because of threats of violence is unwise and cowardly. The slogan “Je Suis Charlie,” which millions adopted in the wake of the Paris attacks, meant different things to different people, but its core, defiant message was that terrorists shouldn’t get to decide the boundaries of our political debate.

      This was also the perspective of many Americans when, at the end of last year, a mysterious group said to be associated with North Korea threatened to wreak havoc if Sony didn’t cancel “The Interview,” a comedy about a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un. Political leaders of both national parties criticized Sony for withdrawing the film. Some particularly outraged Americans urged their fellow citizens not just to watch the film but to pay for the privilege on the theory that their doing so would convey an appropriate message to the dictator. President Obama weighed in, too, saying, “we cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States.”

  • Privacy

    • German TV documentary on the hunt for Edward Snowden

      The revelations of Edward Snowden have exposed to the world a massive breach of democratic rights by the US intelligence agencies and their allies. They have also unleashed protests and expressions of sympathy for Snowden’s efforts among broad social layers.


      The documentary begins with a dramatic statement by US Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California). The Senate Intelligence Committee chairman declares: “I want him to be captured. The hunt is on!” The programme assumes the guise of a spy thriller. The measures taken by the US authorities to remove Snowden from circulation are extraordinary and menacing. This is not only the view of the documentary, but of the protagonists themselves: Edward Snowden, as well as Julian Assange and Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks.

    • Banning encryption is digital equivalent of banning books

      The widespread dissemination of ideas can disrupt society and subvert the power of those at its top.

      Gutenberg’s printing press, for example, helped spur the Protestant Reformation that over time helped overturn the religious and political order of Europe.

      In an often-bloody process that took about 400 years, the authoritarian empires that ruled the continent gave way to modern, democratic nation-states.

      Books have been banned (and burned) precisely because new ideas are a threat to the people in charge.

    • Sam Adams Award

      I am in Berlin for the annual Sam Adams Award – this time to William Binney, formerly Technical Director of the NSA. There will be an address by Edward Snowden (and a short contribution from me). It really is a tremendous event, with some very senior former intelligence professionals making revelations about the extent to which the security state is out of control, a tool of immoral governments dominated by corporate interests.

    • Snowden Documents Show NSA Can’t Keep Its Eyes On Its Own Papers; Harvests Data From Other Surveillance Agencies

      Another pile of Snowden documents has been released by Der Spiegel, detailing more of previously revealed NSA/GCHQ activities — like the harvesting of exploits and hardware shipment “interdiction” — along with some new stuff, including the NSA’s piggybacking on other countries’ surveillance to further buttress its massive haystacks.

    • NSA: We’re in YOUR BOTNET

      The NSA quietly commandeered a botnet targeting US Defence agencies to attack other victims including Chinese and Vietnamese dissidents, Snowden documents reveal.

    • Chris Christie, Port Authority Official Abused E-ZPass Data For Their Own Ends

      What data is harmless in the hands of the government? Apparently, not much. Case in point: the data collected by E-ZPass transponders. While the system helps alleviate traffic congestion, it also tracks drivers’ movements. If you thought it just triggered toll payments, you’re drastically underestimating the government’s desire for data.

    • A Little Snooping Never Killed Nobody: South Korea Spying on the US

      Edward Snowden, the infamous former NSA employee, leaked a number of secret documents. Just recently Der Spiegel released another one, revealing that South Korea’s cyber espionage program has been targeting the US for a while now, despite officially being aimed against North Korea.

    • New Snowden documents show that the NSA and its allies are laughing at the rest of the world

      A team of nine journalists including Jacob Appelbaum and Laura Poitras have just published another massive collection of classified records obtained by Edward Snowden. The trove of documents, published on Der Spiegel, show that the National Security Agency and its allies are methodically preparing for future wars carried out over the internet. Der Spiegel reports that the intelligence agencies are working towards the ability to infiltrate and disable computer networks — potentially giving them the ability to disrupt critical utilities and other infrastructure. And the NSA and GCHQ think they’re so far ahead of everyone else, they’re laughing about it.

    • How The NSA Gets Around Oversight

      Whistle-blowers like Bill Binny, Thomas Drake, and Edward Snowden, along with wrongly accused U.S. citizens, have been fighting for their rights. Not from terrorists, but from the U.S. government.

      While they fight, many Americans have become complacent with their diminished rights and lack of privacy.

      The Patriot Act passed 6 weeks after 9/11 in a climate of fear and imminent threat. It diminished freedom in the U.S., providing the government sweeping powers to spy on, arrest, and detain individuals. The original legislation provided little oversight. Since 2001, there has been a major struggle between protecting constitutional rights and increasing government powers to battle imminent terror.

    • Obama promises to release new NSA spying report next month
    • Obama: I haven’t forgotten NSA reform
    • Guest column: The NSA is hurting more than helping
    • Kim Dotcom launches NSA-proof MEGAchat with E2EE to take on Skype
    • ‘Anti-NSA’ messaging service MegaChat debuts in beta version
    • America’s Surveillance State: Docu-series exposes NSA’s long reach
    • Four and Counting: States Consider Bills to Turn off Resources to NSA
    • Alaska Bill Would Ban Material Support or Resources to NSA

      A bill filed in Alaska late last week would ban “material support or resources” to the NSA. This would not only support efforts to turn off NSA’s water in Utah, but have practical effects on federal surveillance programs if passed.

      Alaska Sen. Bill Wielechowski prefiled SB13 on Jan. 16. The legislation would prohibit the state and its municipalities from using assets, including personnel, to assist a federal agency in collecting certain telephone records or electronic data without a warrant, making it the fourth state to introduce legislation similar to a bill up for consideration in Utah this year.

    • NSA Cyber War Will Use Internet of Things as Weapons Platform; Your Home is the Battlefield

      “World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” – Marshall McLuhan, Culture is Our Business, 1970

      New Snowden documents recently revealed that the NSA is getting ready for future digital wars as the agency postures itself in an aggressive manner towards the world. “The Five Eyes Alliance“, a cooperation between United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, is working hard to develop these weapons of Cyber Warfare.

      So called “D” weapons, as reported by Der Spiegel, will paralyze computer networks and infrastructure that they monitor. Water supplies, factories, airports, as well as the flow of money are all potential targets.

    • The Latest Rules on How Long NSA Can Keep Americans’ Encrypted Data Look Too Familiar

      Does the National Security Agency (NSA) have the authority to collect and keep all encrypted Internet traffic for as long as is necessary to decrypt that traffic? That was a question first raised in June 2013, after the minimization procedures governing telephone and Internet records collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act were disclosed by Edward Snowden. The issue quickly receded into the background, however, as the world struggled to keep up with the deluge of surveillance disclosures. The Intelligence Authorization Act of 2015, which passed Congress this last December, should bring the question back to the fore. It established retention guidelines for communications collected under Executive Order 12333 and included an exception that allows NSA to keep ‘incidentally’ collected encrypted communications for an indefinite period of time. This creates a massive loophole in the guidelines.

    • ‘Citizenfour’ Hinted to the 2nd NSA ‘Whistleblower’

      The new Documentary ‘Citizenfour’ revealed the existence of another ‘whistleblower,’ someone even higher ranking than Snowden who came forward.

    • Surveillance Is Just First Phase as NSA Plans ‘Guerilla’ Tactics for Global Cyberwar

      As the team of journalists reporting for Der Spiegel describe it, “the US government is currently undertaking a massive effort to digitally arm itself for network warfare.” And, they report, the NSA—along with its intelligence partners around the world—”have adopted ‘plausible deniability’ as their guiding principle for Internet operations.”

    • ‘Snooper’s charter’: four Lords in bid to pass changed version before election

      A cross-party alliance of former defence ministers, police chiefs and intelligence commissioners will try to force a revised “snooper’s charter” into law before the general election.

      The proposals to amend the counter-terrorism bill currently in the Lords and due for debate on Monday have been tabled by a group led by former Conservative defence secretary Lord King. The other supporters are the Liberal Democrat former reviewer of counter-terror laws, Lord Carlile, the former Labour defence minister, Lord West, and the former Metropolitan police commissioner, Lord Blair.

    • Dutch secret services work for America: Edward Snowden

      Dutch intelligence services AIVD and MIVD walk on the leash of USA’s National Security Agency (NSA) and are “extremely docile” and seen as “subordinates”, says former NSA and CIA employee Edward Snowden in an interview to Volkskrant and Nieuwsuur.

    • Dutch security services ‘work for the US’, says whistleblower Snowden

      The Dutch security services AIVD and MIVD do whatever the US security service NSA tells them, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden in an interview with the Volkskrant.

    • ‘Social media encourages people to live lives online and accept Big Brother’s all seeing-eye’

      RT: Are people taking their privacy more seriously after all the Snowden revelations? Or are they just making a joke of it?

      AM: Yes, one of the jokes, of course, is “GCHQ is always listening to its customers.” I think people are beginning to take their privacy more seriously. It depends on which country you live in though because depending on the media coverage and the degree of media coverage people are more or less aware of what’s going on.

      For example, in Germany there is a historic understanding of the importance of privacy as the last defense against sliding towards tyrannical government. And also people are very conscious still of more recent history, things like the Stasi secret police. So they take these issues very seriously and in fact there are a number of initiatives in Germany to up the protection of citizens’ rights.

      However in places like the UK for example where the media has been largely censored around reporting some of the very serious disclosures which Mr. Snowden produced, there is less awareness; there is more a sort of complacency that the spies are always the good guys, that … if you do nothing wrong you have nothing to hide. But I think even in the UK people are waking up to this, so all we can do is thank Edward Snowden for all he has done for raising awareness of these various issues around the world.

    • A Spy in the Machine

      How a brutal government used cutting-edge spyware to hijack one activist’s life

    • Snowden: French spying didn’t stop terror attacks

      Edward Snowden is pointing to the recent terror attacks in Paris as proof that government surveillance can’t stop terrorism.

      “The problem with mass surveillance is that you’re burying people under too much data,” the government leaker said in an interview with a Dutch public broadcaster.

      “We see that France passed one of the most intrusive, expansive surveillance laws in all of Europe last year, and it didn’t stop the attack,” he added. “This is consistent with what we’ve seen in every country.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Press release: Barrett Brown will finally be sentenced tomorrow

      Concluding a controversial case that has dragged on for over two years, on Thursday morning the jailed journalist Barrett Brown will go before a federal judge to receive his sentence. He faces up to 8.5 years in prison.

    • EFF Statement on Barrett Brown Sentencing

      The charges relating to the hyperlink represented a serious threat to press freedom. EFF and other press organizations planned to file an amicus brief supporting Brown’s motion to dismiss eleven of the hyperlinking charges, noting that journalists routinely link to documents that, while illegally obtained, are of interest to the public. Thankfully, the government came to its senses in March 2014 and (before we could file our brief), dismissed eleven of the charges based on hyperlinking. The next month, Brown signed a sealed plea agreement that significantly reduced the remaining charges. Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to three crimes: being an accessory after the fact to the unauthorized access to Stratfor’s computers; interfering with the execution of a search warrant by hiding a laptop; and, most seriously, threatening an FBI agent.

    • European Court fast-tracks decision on challenge to state surveillance of journalists

      A campaign to stop the UK Government spying on journalists and their sources has today been given “priority” by the European Court of Human Rights (pictured, Shutterstock).

      The Bureau of Investigative Journalism submitted a legal challenge to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act prompted by Edward Snowden’s revelations over state mass electronic surveillance.

      It claims that the UK state is breaching European law by accessing the electronic communications and telecoms records of journalists.

      Today the Bureau learned that the ECHR has prioritised its legal challenge, meaning a judgment is expected with around a year rather than the usual four or five years.

    • Every UK national newspaper editor urges Prime Minister to stop RIPA spying on journalists

      Every national newspaper editor has backed the Press Gazette Save Our Sources campaign and signed a joint letter of protest to Prime Minister David Cameron over police spying on journalists’ phone records.

      Around 100 editors have signed a letter co-ordinated by Press Gazette and the Society of Editors to warn that the draft code of practice on use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act puts journalists’ sources at risk.

      Politicians promised new controls in the code, but instead the new draft guidance states that police can continue to secretly view journalists’ phone records provided they give “special consideration” to the “proportionality” of doing so.

      The joint letter (full text below), submitted as part of the RIPA code consulation, states that the draft code “provides wholly inadequate protection for journalists’ sources”.

      And it warns that there is nothing in the new code to stop police again targeting the phone records of journalists in order to uncover lawful sources, as they did with The Sun.

      The draft code appears to encourage police to access journalists’ phone records by stating that they are not “privileged information”.

    • Israeli Government Watchdog Investigates Military’s Conduct in Gaza War

      Israel’s government watchdog, the state comptroller, said on Tuesday that he had opened an investigation into decisions made by military and political leaders during last summer’s 50-day war with the Hamas militant group in Gaza.

      The announcement was Israel’s latest effort to head off an International Criminal Court inquiry into its conduct during the war, and came days after prosecutors at the court opened a preliminary examination of possible war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, the first formal step that could lead to charges against Israelis.

    • Your Home Is Your Prison

      On January 27th, domestic violence survivor Marissa Alexander will walk out of Florida’s Duval County jail — but she won’t be free.

      Alexander, whose case has gained some notoriety, endured three years of jail time and a year of house arrest while fighting off a prison sentence that would have seen her incarcerated for the rest of her life — all for firing a warning shot that injured no one to fend off her abusive husband. Like many black women before her, Alexander was framed as a perpetrator in a clear case of self-defense. In November, as her trial date drew close, Alexander accepted a plea deal that will likely give her credit for time served, requiring her to spend “just” 65 more days in jail. Media coverage of the development suggested that Alexander would soon have her “freedom,” that she would be “coming home.”

    • CIA leak trial enters final showdown

      But earlier Wednesday, the seventh day of the trial, defense attorneys poked holes in the government’s case. Hunt testified that around the time Risen began asking questions about the program in May 2003, she believed the most likely source for the leak was someone on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Sterling had talked to the panel’s staffers in March of that year about his concerns that Iran might be able to take advantage of flaws in the designs, in part because they were too obvious.

    • ISIS v. Saudi Arabia, Implementation of Sharia Law

      One is an enemy of America, a group of evil Sunni terrorists who ruthlessly employ their own twisted vision of Islamic Sharia Law to behead people, punish homosexuality and criminalize adultery.

      And the other’s one of America’s staunchest Sunni allies in the Middle East, on the road to democracy, albeit one that employs its own twisted vision of Islamic Sharia Law to behead people, punish homosexuality and criminalize adultery.

    • The CIA’s Most Important Overseer Is Abetting Its Torture Coverup

      Senator Richard Burr is acting like a man who doesn’t understand the role or duties that he now has. With the Republican Party assuming control of Congress, the North Carolinian is chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, the body charged with overseeing the CIA. His responsibilities are momentous. All senators are called to act as power-jealous checks on the executive branch. And the particular mission of the Senate intelligence committee, created in the wake of horrific CIA abuses, obligates Burr to “provide vigilant legislative oversight over the intelligence activities of the United States” and “to assure that such activities are in conformity with the Constitution and laws.”

    • ‘US govt trying to pursue those who show courage’ – Former CIA officer
    • ‘Politicians use the attacks in Paris for their own benefits’

      Edward Snowden blames politicians who ask for more powers for intelligence services after the Paris attacks of ‘seizing a catastrophe for their own benefits’. They need to remember recent history, he says, pointing to the Patriot Act as the American response after 9/11. ‘A quick law is never a good law’, Snowden says in an interview with Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant.

    • Thoughts – How is the NSA preparing the U.S. for a digital arms race and future battles?

      According to top secret documents from the archive of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden seen exclusively by SPIEGEL, they are planning for wars of the future in which the Internet will play a critical role, with the aim of being able to use the net to paralyze computer networks and, by doing so, potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money.

    • Government Tries to Convict Jeffrey Sterling for Retroactively Classified Documents about Rotary Phones

      A court officer handed out a packet of these same documents with bright red SECRET markings on the front to each juror (the government had tried to include such a warning on the binders of other exhibits, but the defense pointed out that nothing in them was actually classified at all). Judge Leonie Brinkema, apparently responding to the confused look on jurors’ faces, explained these were still-classified documents intended for their eyes only. “You’ll get the context,” Judge Brinkema added. “The content is not really anything you have to worry about.” The government then explained these documents were seized from Jeffrey Sterling’s house in Missouri in 2006. Then the court officer collected the documents back up again, having introduced the jurors to the exclusive world of CIA’s secrets for just a few moments.

    • CIA leak trial now in jury’s hands

      Prosecutors asked a federal jury Thursday to convict former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on leak charges to send a message that the spy agency’s secrets can be protected and that those who cooperate with the U.S. intelligence can be confident the government will do all it can to keep their identities under wraps.

      But in its closing statement, the defense argued that government lawyers were long on conjecture and short on proof — and a lawyer for Sterling presented an alternative theory of who leaked top-secret details of a CIA operation aimed at undermining Iran’s nuclear program.

    • Leak Trial Shows CIA Zeal to Hide Incompetence

      Six days of testimony at the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling have proven the agency’s obsession with proclaiming its competence. Many of the two-dozen witnesses from the Central Intelligence Agency conveyed smoldering resentment that a whistleblower or journalist might depict the institution as a bungling outfit unworthy of its middle name.

    • ‘Guantánamo Diary,’ by Mohamedou Ould Slahi

      “Guantánamo Diary” is the most profound account yet written of what it is like to be that collateral damage. One fall day 13 years ago Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a 30-year-old electrical engineer and telecommunications specialist, received a visit at his house in Noakchott, Mauritania, from two officers summoning him to come answer questions at the country’s intelligence ministry. “Take your car,” one of the men told him, as Slahi stood in front of his house with his mother and his aunt. “We hope you can come back today.” Listening to these words, Slahi’s mother fixed her eyes on her son. “It is the taste of helplessness,” he writes, “when you see your beloved fading away like a dream and you cannot help him. . . . I would watch both my mom and my aunt praying in my rearview mirror until we took the first turn and I saw my beloved ones disappear.”

    • Family Seeks Release of a Guantánamo Detainee Turned Author

      On one of the roughest days in Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s 14 years of captivity at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an American interrogator initially suggested that he pray out loud, then ridiculed him when he began reciting the Quran.

      Chained, barefoot and wearing only a thin uniform in an interrogation room chilled to 49 degrees, Mr. Slahi found himself on the receiving end of a barrage of questions. “Yes or no?” one interrogator shouted at him.

    • C.I.A. Report Found Value of Brutal Interrogation Was Inflated

      Years before the release in December of a Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing the C.I.A.’s use of torture and deceit in its detention program, an internal review by the agency found that the C.I.A. had repeatedly overstated the value of intelligence gained during the brutal interrogations of some of its detainees.

      The internal report, more than 1,000 pages in length, came to be known as the Panetta Review after Leon E. Panetta, who, as the C.I.A.’s director, ordered that it be done in 2009. At least one of its authors won an agency award for her work, according to a recent briefing that the agency’s inspector general gave to staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    • Cooperation between British spies and Gaddafi’s Libya revealed in official papers

      Britain’s intelligence agencies engaged in a series of previously-unknown joint operations with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s government, and used the information extracted from rendition victims as evidence during partially-secret court proceedings in London, according to an analysis of official documents recovered in Tripoli since the Libyan revolution.

      The exhaustive study of the papers from the Libyan government archives shows the links between MI5, MI6 and Gaddafi’s security agencies to have been far more extensive and than previously thought, and to have involved a number of joint operations in which Libyan dissidents were unlawfully detained and allegedly tortured.

    • NY Attorney General Proposes Not Terrible Cybersecurity Legislation

      Most legislation that includes the word “cyber” is nothing more than an excuse to give the government a larger piece of the action — generally by redefining the term “information sharing” to mean a one-way street of data collection running from private companies (and their customers) to various law enforcement and security agencies.

    • ‘US government was subverting entire US constitution’ – NSA whistleblower

      Award winning whistleblower William Binney says his new job is to make the US government honest, make them face the truth publically, and to prevent further violation of the rights which America has never intended to stand for.

      The Sam Adams Award for Integrity and Intelligence is to be given in Berlin this Thursday. This is an annual ceremony where intelligence professional are rewarded for their contribution in sharing light on governments’ wrongdoings. Such whistleblowers as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning have got this award in the past. This year the prize goes to William Binney, retired NSA technical director. He left his high profile job in order to try to bring the NSA to account.

    • Snowden files reveal how GCHQ spies tracked iPhone users

      Former NSA contracter-turned-whistleblower, Edward Snowden gave the documents to a team of nine journalists including Laura Poitras, who directed the documentary Citizenfour, and they were published by Der Spiegel.

    • Here’s Why Edward Snowden Refuses To Use An iPhone
    • NSA leaker Edward Snowden refuses to use Apple’s iPhone over spying concerns – report
    • Edward Snowden News: NSA Whistleblower Reportedly Believes the Apple iPhone Spies on Users
    • Playing NSA, hardware hackers build USB cable that can attack

      Just over a year ago, Jacob Appelbaum and Der Spiegel revealed pages from the National Security Agency’s ANT catalog, a sort of “wish book” for spies that listed technology that could be used to exploit the computer and network hardware of targets for espionage. One of those tools was a USB cable with embedded hardware called Cottonmouth-I—a cable that can turn the computer’s USB connections into a remote wiretap or even a remote control.

    • Journalist Barrett Brown sentenced to 63 months in federal prison, must pay $890K in restitution

      A court in Dallas has sentenced Barrett Brown to 63 months in federal prison, minus 28 months already served. For count one in the case, he receives 48 months. For count 2, he receives 12 months. And for count 3, he receives 3 months. He is also ordered to pay $890,000 in restitution.

      The government’s charges against the intelligence and security reporter stemmed from his relationship with sources close to the hacker group Anonymous, and the fact that Brown published a link to publicly-available copies of leaked Stratfor documents.

    • Here’s the speech Barrett Brown will deliver at his sentencing

      His original indictment carried a maximum sentence of 105 years. But as per the terms of a 2014 plea deal, the journalist and firebrand now faces a maximum sentence of eight and half years in prison.

    • The Sterling Closing Arguments: Who Is the Hero, Who Is the Storyteller?

      “Jeffrey Sterling was the hero of Risen’s story,” prosecutor Eric Olshan finished his closing argument in the Jeffrey Sterling trial. “Don’t let him be the hero of this one.”

      “They are patriots,” prosecutor Jim Trump ended his remarks, speaking of the many CIA officers the jury had heard from. “They do their work without accolades.” He then compared Sterling with those patriots. “Sterling is not a patriot,” he described after accusing Sterling of betraying the CIA and his colleagues. “He is the defendant, he is guilty.”

    • British spy agency intercepted emails of journalists, considers them ‘threats’ alongside terrorists and hackers

      This is yet another outrageous violation of press freedom by the British government, which has increasingly shown contempt for newsgathering and the rights of journalists.

    • British Spy Agency Swept Up Emails of Major U.S. and UK Media Outlets; Investigative Journalists Viewed as Threat

      Britain’s cyber intelligence agency collected emails from numerous media outlets from Britain, the United States and other countries while also declaring in internal communications that investigative reports should be considered a threat to government operations.

      With documents provided by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Guardian reported that Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intercepted emails from journalists working for American and European news sources. Those affected by the email sweep included the BBC, Reuters, The Guardian, The New York Times, Le Monde, The Sun, NBC and The Washington Post.

    • Obama will fundamentally reshape the internet. But he hasn’t said how

      The president will have to address net neutrality, the Patriot Act and cybersecurity this year. The platitudes in the State of the Union aren’t reassuring

    • Barrett Brown sentenced to 63 months for ‘merely linking to hacked material’

      In a rebuke to a legion of online supporters and what the journalist and one-time member of Anonymous called a “dangerous precedent”, Barrett Brown was sentenced to 63 months in prison by a federal judge in Dallas on Thursday.

      Brown’s backers from across the web had hoped he would be able to walk free with his 31 months of time served for what they insist was “merely linking to hacked material”. But the 33-year-old, who was once considered something of a spokesman for the Anonymous movement, will face more than twice that sentence. The judge also ordered him to pay more $890,000 in restitution and fines.

    • Barrett Brown Sentenced To 63 Months In Jail For Daring To Do Journalism On Hacked Info

      We’ve written a few times about the ridiculous case against Barrett Brown, a journalist who took a deep interest in Anonymous and various hacking efforts. As we noted, a key part of the initial charges included the fact that Brown had organized an effort to comb through the documents that had been obtained from Stratfor via a hack. The key bit was that Brown had reposted a URL pointing to the documents to share via his “Project PM” — a setup to crowdsource the analysis of the leaked documents. Some of those documents included credit card info, so he was charged with “trafficking” in that information. Brown didn’t help his own cause early on with some immensely foolish actions, like threatening federal agents in a video posted to YouTube, but there were serious concerns about how the government had twisted what Brown had actually done in a way that could be used against all kinds of journalists.

    • Police to probe Leon Brittan’s alleged Westminster paedophile cover-up beyond the grave

      Child sex abuse campaigners have spoken of their fury that Leon Brittan has taken secrets of an alleged Westminster paedophile cover-up to his grave.

      The former Tory Home Secretary has died after a long fight with cancer – leaving unanswered questions about his role in the disappearance of a dossier said to reveal the existence of an abuse network at the top of government.

      And detectives declared they would still be investigating claims Lord Brittan raped a teenager in 1967.

      The dossier was handed to him in 1983 by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens and the row over its “loss” led to Home Secretary Theresa May launching a wide-ranging public inquiry into the allegations of a paedophile ring.

    • British Company under Investigation for Offering Services to Guantanamo Base

      Internationally recognized agencies such as Amnesty International and Scotland Yard have undertaken an investigation into individuals who allegedly participated in acts of torture carried out in Cuba.

      I came across this startling bit of news in the British newspaper The Independent on January 14. There, I read that the British human rights group Reprieve submitted a report to the renowned police agency, asking that it investigate a British company for alleged complicity in extremely serious human rights violations.

      The accused company is named “G4S.” The British government, the newspaper adds, has been investigating G4S for some time to determine whether it has violated principles established by international conventions. According to the charges, the company offered administrative services to a harrowing prison, notorious for its abuses and for confining human beings without previous or due process: the United States’ Guantanamo Naval Base.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Boss Chris Dodd Talks About Sony Hack & Free Speech… Ignoring How It Revealed MPAA’s Plan To Undermine Free Speech

        First of all, I’m not quite clear on how the Sony Hack was really an “attack on free speech” unless you really believe the point of the hack was to get Sony to not show The Interview (a storyline that only showed up well after the hack). But, considering that some of the only real news to come out of the hack was an elaborate mulit-pronged strategy by the MPAA to censor the internet by twisting various laws, that statement is kind of ridiculous.

      • UK Prime Minister’s special advisor wants prison for people who watch TV programmes the wrong way

        The UK Conservative MP Mike Weatherley spoke at a second reading of the Intellectual Property Bill in Parliament and called for prison sentences for “persistent” downloaders. Mr Weatherley is a former entertainment industry executive and is Prime Minister Cameron’s Intellectual Property advisor. He also defended the idea of disconnecting families from the Internet if their router is implicated in accused acts of copyright infringement.

Links 22/1/2015: GNU/Linux Sysadmin Opportunities, TraceFS Introduced

Posted in News Roundup at 8:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • University’s Virtual Reality Setup Runs on Linux and Open Source Software

    Virtual reality may be best known for its entertainment value, but its practical applications are at least as compelling. With Cave automatic virtual environments (CAVE), for instance, engineers can save time and resources by testing out products and solutions in the lab to see which are best-suited to a particular problem or site in the real world.

  • From the Blogosphere With Love: A FOSSy Farewell

    It is with no small sense of regret that Linux Girl brings you this week’s Linux Blog Safari, dear readers, because in writing it she must convey some very difficult news.

    Namely, Linux Girl is departing LinuxInsider — her home away from home for lo all these years — and so must hang up her cape for good. By the time you read this, she’ll be off on new adventures — traveling new lands, telling new tales and testing new tequilas.

  • Desktop

    • Are Linux Graphic Apps Ready for Professionals?

      Yet the apparent reasonableness disappears on closer investigation. Blender, for one, was originally an in-house application for the Dutch design house Neo Geo and Not a Number Technologies (NaN) – a bit of history that immediately refutes any claim that it is not ready for professionals.

      Similarly, Krita owes its increasingly popularity to the project’s habit of consulting designers about each feature. Boudewijn Rempt, Krita’s maintainer, adds that ImagineFX, a major print magazine for illustrators and concept artists, recently gave Krita its Artist’s Choice Award.

    • Acer Unveils 2 New Chromebooks for Education

      Acer has unveiled two new Chromebooks aimed at schools and students, featuring durable construction to hold up under rough treatment and a myriad of technology features to help students get their schoolwork completed at home or at school.

    • Amazing Amazon.com

      That’s a testimony to how far Wintel has fallen as a force in consumer-IT. Wintel used to have >90% of the market. Intel used to have 80% of the legacy PC market. Now they have to sell Atoms and Celerons to remain relevant because Chromebooks do more computing on servers. Of course Intel is doing great on servers but so is GNU/Linux. Acer struggled to make a living with Wintel but is thriving with ChromeBooks. Acer has 35% of that market and is making a 15.6″ ChromeBook.

    • Why Chromebooks are killing Microsoft

      Chromebooks have generally been cheaper than Windows-based laptops…

    • Should You Use Linux for A Start Up?

      My personal experiences with Linux in the workplace actually started shortly after I adopted Linux on my home PC (well I was am still am dual booting Windows). I was at a startup who had installed Ubuntu on all the desktops, other than a few, and had no idea what they were doing. Luckily the IT guy and myself both were familiar enough with it to work through some of the early problems (mostly on the fly problem solving). Once we got past the growing pains that all start ups go though, we were in the clear. It saved the company a lot of money and, even though the new people we eventually hired did grumble about having to learn a new OS, it eventually worked out for the best.

  • Server

    • ​Get on the Linux job train with a new system administration class

      Want a good job in tech? Then learning Linux is well worth your time. In 2013, the tech job site Dice reported that senior Linux administrators were making $90,853. Last year, Dice stated that Linux jobs were more in demand than ever and that salaries and bonuses were going up.

    • Linux system administrators make big bucks

      The Linux job market has been hot for a while, and system administrators make top dollar. But being a successful Linux system admin requires some education and training.

    • How OpenPOWER Went From Zero to 80 in Its First Year

      In its first year, the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community created to leverage IBM’s POWER processor, went from zero to 80—figuratively and literally. After its formation in December 2013, the foundation now has more than 80 members across the full hardware and software stack from 20 different countries.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Foundation Delivers 2015 Guide to the Open Cloud
    • Linux Foundation publishes open-source cloud guide
    • TraceFS: The Newest Linux File-System

      So basically TraceFS provides the same functionality now for kernel traces that is done currently via DebugFS. With TraceFS though you don’t need to worry about enabling the potentially security-prone DebugFS and by having their own file-system it can implement features not supported by DebugFS (e.g. mkdir and rmdir support). Assuming it clears developer review fine, it’s possible we could see TraceFS for Linux 3.20 or another near-term kernel update.

    • CoreOS Moves From Btrfs To EXT4 + OverlayFS

      CoreOS developers have had enough issues with the Btrfs file-system that they’ve decided to move from using the Btrfs file-system to instead use EXT4 plus OverlayFS.

      Since December the CoreOS developers and stakeholders have been debating switching off Btrfs due to issues. The original proposal mentioned, “We chose btrfs because it was the most straightforward Docker graph driver at the time. But, CoreOS users have regularly reported bugs against btrfs including: out of disk space errors, metadata rebalancing problems requiring manual intervention and generally slow performance when compared to other filesystems.”

    • Google Admin Encourages Trying Btrfs, Not ZFS On Linux

      Last year at LinuxCon a Google administrator was talking up Btrfs and encouraging attendees to try it. That Google admin, Marc Merlin, traveled down to New Zealand last week for LCA2015 to further promote the Btrfs file-system.

      Marc Merlin’s presentation at Linux.Conf.Au 2015 was entitled “Why you should consider using Btrfs, real COW snapshots, and file level incremental OS upgrades.” The talk was much like the one last August at LinuxCon Chicago where he was trumpeting Btrfs. Aside from openSUSE beginning to ship with Btrfs by default, most Linux distributions still tend to be EXT4/XFS based and leaving Btrfs as just an experimental install-time option. In fact, CoreOS switched away from Btrfs to EXT4+OverlayFS. Whether or not this next-generation Linux file-system is ready for production use remains a very controversial topic.

    • SDN Series Part VI: OpenDaylight, the Most Documented Controller

      Modular application development, in which a set of loosely coupled modules can be integrated into one large application, has been one of the most successful software development practices. The term “loosely coupled” highlights the fact that the modules are both independent and can communicate with one another. OSGI (the Open Services Gateway Initiative), a dynamic module system for Java, defines one such architecture for modular application development. The SDN controller OpenDaylight (ODL), which we will be discussing in this article, is one such controller (apart from Beacon/Floodlight) that is based on the OSGi architecture. ODL is an open-source collaborative project that focuses on building a multi-vendor, multi-project ecosystem to encourage innovation and an open/transparent approach toward SDN. We need to look at these terms, “open,” “multi-vendor,” “multi-project,” “innovation,” etc., in detail to really appreciate the strengths of ODL.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel’s Open-Source Graphics Team Poaches A Top Nouveau Driver Developer

        Martin Peres is now one of the newest members of Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center, working to improve the open-source Linux graphics support. On Monday there was a trivial Mesa commit but what was interesting is that it marked Martin Peres’ new email address as coming from “linux.intel.com.” After checking, on the X.Org BoD page it also now lists Martin’s affiliate as Intel. I’ve also confirmed Martin working for Intel through a source at XDC2014 last year in France where he originally heard this information, which was organized by Martin. (To be clear, Martin isn’t replacing Keith, the timing is just a coincidence.)

      • Mir 0.11 Working On Better Performance, Android External Display Support

        Earlier this month we covered new Mir features that ended up being incorporated into the Mir 0.10 release. Mir 0.11 is now under development and it’s already packing significant improvements.

      • 2D and 3D graphics with WebGL

        OpenGL is a well-known standard for generating 3D as well as 2D graphics; it’s extremely powerful and has many capabilities. OpenGL is defined and released by the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB) and is a big state machine. Most calls to OpenGL functions modify a global state that you cannot directly access. WebGL is a JavaScript implementation of OpenGL ES 2.0 that runs on the latest browsers. The OpenGL ES (Embedded Subsystem) is the mobile version of the OpenGL standard and is targeted towards embedded devices. OpenGL ES is a C-based, Platform-Neutral API. The OS must provide a rendering context that accepts commands as well as a framebuffer that keeps the results of the drawing commands.

      • The Raspberry Pi Gallium3D Driver Has Made Much Progress In Less Than A Year

        It was just last June that Eric Anholt left Intel for Broadcom to focus on creating the Broadcom VC4 open-source graphics driver stack for the Raspberry Pi to have a new DRM/KMS driver and a Gallium3D driver. In less than one year, he’s made a lot of progress.

      • VMWare X.Org Driver Updated To v13.1
    • Benchmarks

      • Disk Encryption Tests On Fedora 21

        If you’ve been wondering about the impact of enabling full-disk encryption when doing a fresh install of Fedora 21, here’s some reference benchmarks comparing the Anaconda option of this latest Fedora Linux release.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Enlightenment’s Elementary 1.13 Beta 1 Released

      One week after the Elementary 1.13 Alpha release, Enlightenment developers have released the first beta of v1.13.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akademy 2015 – A Coruña, Spain – 25-31 July

        For more than 1800 years, the Tower of Hercules has guided ships sailing near A Coruña. Soon it will beckon KDE users and contributors, when Akademy—the annual KDE community meeting—is held in A Coruña (Galicia, Spain) 25–31 July. The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees from the global KDE Community to discuss and plan the future of the Community and its technology. Many participants from the broad free and open source software community, local organizations and software companies will also attend.

      • KDAB Continues Its Overview Of Qt3D 2.0, Demos Custom Rendering Effects

        KDAB has continued their interesting blog series about Qt3D 2.0 and what’s coming for this new component to Qt5.

      • Theme “Leaves” added to “KDE – Pairs”

        “Leaves” is the newest theme I created for KDE-Pairs as a part of my ongoing project ‘Theme Designing of Pairs’. This is done under the guidance of my mentor “Heena Mahour” who initially gave the idea about leaf structures. This will only work in 3 game modes namely, pairs, relations and logic.

      • Kolab Enterprise 14 Released with Advanced Tagging and Notes

        Following a month of usage at a group of pre-selected customers, Kolab Systems is happy to announce general availability for Kolab Enterprise 14. This latest feature release of Kolab Enterprise will be supported until 2019 and packs a whole set of new capabilities including tags, notes, better resource management, task delegation capabilities, usability improvements for deployments with very large numbers of shared groupware folders and much more.

      • Kolab Enterprise 14 Released
      • KWin on speed

        With the 5.2 release basically done, I decided to do some performance investigation and optimizations on KWin last week. From time to time I’m running KWin through valgrind’s callgrind tool to see whether we have some expensive code paths. So far I hadn’t done that for the 5.x series. Now after the switch to kdecoration2 I was really interested in the results as in the past rendering the decoration used to be a bottle neck during our compositing rendering loop.

      • KWin 5.3 To Have New Speed Optimizations

        Martin Gräßlin has fixed some outstanding bugs and further tuned the performance of the KWin window manager for the KDE Plasma 5 stack.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Moving update information from the distribution to upstream

        For a real-world example, see the GNOME MultiWriter example commit that uses this.

      • GNOME Shell 3.15.4
      • GNOME Shell Adds VP9 Screencasting, Mutter Improves Wayland

        Mutter 3.15.4 was checked in this morning by Florian Müllner and it has Wayland improvements and other exciting changes with GTK+ now drawing all window decorations, a change to replicate the monitor EDID parsing for Mutter on Wayland so it acts the same way as under X11, Mutter now handles input device configuration, and there’s support for pointer barriers with Mutter on Wayland. The pointer barriers on Wayland will ensure that the pointer never enters “dead areas” of the screen due to different monitor sizes, etc.

      • GNOME Now Lets Mutter Handle Input Device Configuration

        GNOME now has support in Mutter to synchronize and apply input device settings via a session-wide configuration.

      • Sandboxed applications for GNOME

        It is no secret that we’ve been interested in sandboxed applications for a while. It is evident here, here, here or here, to name just a few.

        What may not be widely known yet is that we have been working on putting together a working implementation of these ideas. Alexander Larsson has made steady progress, and we’re now almost at the point where it is useful for other people to start playing with it.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

      • Want to join our innovative development team doing cool open source software?

        So Red Hat are currently looking to hire into the various teams building and supporting efforts such as the Fedora Workstation, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation and of course Fedora and RHEL in generaL. We are looking at hiring around 6-7 people to help move these and other Red Hat efforts forward.

      • The European Space Agency Builds A Private Cloud Platform With Red Hat
      • Fedora

        • Getting Linux Adopted and Fedora 22 Previewed

          Today in Linux news Matt Hartley has the key to getting Linux adopted. Christian Schaller discusses some of the coming attractions of Fedora 22 and Phoronix.com is reporting that KDE 5 may also be coming to Fedora 22. Elsewhere, Jamie Watson gives Tumbleweed a roll and Softpedia.com is reporting that Steam is safe for Linux again.

        • Fedora’s 32-Bit Scare
        • Fedora Workstation 22 To Have Better Wayland Support, Better Battery Life

          Fedora 21 was just released last month but already there’s a lot to get excited about for Fedora 22 when it’s released around the middle of May.

        • Fedora 23: 64-bit Only?

          For those of you keeping score at home, Smoogen is a long-time Fedora contributor who now serves on Fedora’s EPEL Steering Committee. And EPEL? That’s what’s commonly known as Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux, “a Fedora Special Interest Group that creates, maintains, and manages a high quality set of additional packages for Enterprise Linux, including, but not limited to, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS and Scientific Linux (SL), Oracle Linux (OL),” according to their wiki.


          My guess is that this proposal will be debated among those in the Fedora Project, and my hope is that it crashes and burns. Smoogen made a “Devil’s Proposal,” but I hope he was prepared to catch hell for it.

        • See what’s coming in Fedora 22 Workstation

          Even though Fedora 21 is just over a month old, the Fedora Workstation developers are already hard at work planning the next release, Fedora 22. In a detailed post on his blog, Christian Schaller details some of the areas that the developers are focusing on for Fedora 22.

        • Mea Maxima Culpa

          I would like to apologize for my last blog post. My original intention was to make an absurd point by proposing to drop 32 bit architectures from being primary in Fedora. I didn’t communicate clearly that this was meant to be absurd. It also did not clearly state that the problem I am worried about is that with many core developers only focusing on x86_64 and hardware that is less than 4 years old that people using x86_32 and ARM32 are in effect on borrowed time.

        • Special update information for Fedora 21 users: PackageKit errors

          We have found some bugs in PackageKit and related components which require an update to fix. Unfortunately, the bugs can prevent Fedora Workstation’s default update mechanism – the ‘offline update’ system, where a notification of new updates appears, and you reboot to install them – from working correctly. The bugs can also cause problems with software installation and/or removal when using GNOME Software or Apper (the KDE software manager).

        • Python 3 Is Close To Becoming The Default In Fedora 22

          For Python stakeholders using Fedora, the Fedora 22 release is preparing to ship Python 3 as the one and only Python implementation on the installation media.

        • GCC 5 Will End Up Coming To Fedora 22

          Earlier this month it didn’t look like GCC 5 would be added to Fedora 22 unless the release was delayed and at least week’s FESCO meeting, the committee decided not to delay Fedora 22. After this week’s FESCo meeting, GCC 5 will now be added as the Fedora 22 compiler while still aiming for a mid-May release.

    • Debian Family

      • Expired keys in Debian keyring

        A new version of Stellarium was recently released (0.13.2), so I wanted to upload it to Debian unstable as I usually do. And so I did, but it was rejected without me even knowing, since I got no e-mail response from ftp-masters.

      • Derivatives

        • Systemd Will Be Adopted Starting With Linux Mint 18 And LMDE 3

          Not long ago, the Linux Mint team has decided to change their release policy and adopt only the LTS versions of Ubuntu, the systems released between to LTSs being only point releases that update the main components. Also, they have moved Linux Mint Debian Edition’s (LMDE) code base from Debian Testing to Debian Stable.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Wants To Power Your Open Source Robot Servants Of The Future

            Earlier today, Canonical (“the company behind Ubuntu”) announced the arrival of Snappy Ubuntu Core, an operating system for the Internet of Things. The lightweight OS is designed to power things like drones, robots, appliances, and home automation platforms.

          • Canonical Extends Snappy Ubuntu Core to Smart Devices
          • Opening up the Internet of Things, Robots and Drones

            As I’ve noted before, open source is perfect for the currently-fashionable Internet of Things, where you need an extremely lightweight, low-cost, customisable but secure and rock-solid operating system that can be easily ported to thousands of devices. Only free software fits that bill. I’ve written a couple of times about AllSeen’s bid to become the de facto operating system for the Internet of Things. But of course, it would be too simple – and not necessarily advisable – if there were only one solution, even an open source one. And so it’s probably a good sign that other projects are starting to pop up to address this important sector.

          • Ubuntu Wants To Power Your Open Source Robot Servants Of The Future

            After years of hype, the Internet of Things is finally making its way into this here reality of ours. The array of connected devices trying to integrate themselves into our lives—from watches and workout clothes to kitchen appliances and cars—only seems to grow as time marches futuristically onward. And if the company behind Ubuntu Linux has anything to say about it, this vast array of intelligent objects will all be open source.

          • Canonical unveils Snappy Ubuntu Core, a lightweight operating system for your home
          • Open source Ubuntu Core connects robots, drones and smart homes
          • Canonical Embeds Ubuntu Linux Into Devices to Secure IoT

            The new effort will extend Ubuntu’s Snappy Linux technology to help enable the Internet of things.

          • What the heck are Ubuntu Unity’s Scopes?

            One of the elements of Ubuntu Unity that I have been able to handle the least is Scopes. Part of that is due to the fact that Canonical has done a pretty terrible job of properly showing people what Scopes are and what they do. The other part is… no… actually, that’s really the whole problem. Here is how Ubuntu defines this feature:

          • Ubuntu Aims to Make the IoT Snappy
          • Smart things powered by snappy Ubuntu Core on ARM and x86

            “Smart, connected things” are redefining our home, work and play, with brilliant innovation built on standard processors that have shrunk in power and price to the point where it makes sense to turn almost every “thing” into a smart thing. I’m inspired by the inventors and innovators who are creating incredible machines – from robots that might clean or move things around the house, to drones that follow us at play, to smarter homes which use energy more efficiently or more insightful security systems. Prooving the power of open source to unleash innovation, most of this stuff runs on Linux – but it’s a hugely fragmented and insecure kind of Linux. Every device has custom “firmware” that lumps together the OS and drivers and devices-specific software, and that firmware is almost never updated. So let’s fix that!

          • Canonical Brings Ubuntu to the Internet of Things

            The Internet of Things promises to immerse us in a world of intelligent everyday objects, from self-regulating heating systems and chargers than know when your device is fully charged to weight-watching kettles to the cliched “internet refrigerator”.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Why Jeff Hoogland Returned to Bodhi

              Not going to lie, talking with you a few weeks ago had me feeling a bit nostalgic about the project. This past weekend was one of my first full weekends at home in the last four months. I sat down to finish cleaning up the Bodhi build scripts and before I knew it I was spinning up some fresh ISO images.

              My schedule in the future is looking to be less hectic and I was able to set aside more time in the next six weeks to get things really ironed out for the new release. The new folks are still helping with the project, but I feel I asked too much of them by dumping the responsibility of a new major release on them.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • PC/104 “OneBank” option targets SoC-based SBC designs

      The venerable PC/104 stackable connector/mezzanine form-factor has gone through half a dozen major updates during its 24-year history. This time, the advancement takes the form of the addition of a significantly more compact OneBank bus connector option, added as part of rev 3.0 of the PC/104 Consortium’s “PCI/104-Express and PCIe/104 Specification.”

    • Smart Cars are the New Smart Phone

      While this is certainly exciting, virtualization remains a roadblock to some in the smart car industry. I personally had the opportunity to demonstrate GlobalLogic’s Nautilus platform for automotive virtualization at GENIVI’s CES demo and networking event. Leveraging a TI J6 SoC, I demo’d a dual-screen virtual cockpit with one screen emulating a Linux-powered driver information display, and the other screen emulating an Android-powered IVI system. The entire configuration ran on Xen Project Hypervisor 4.5 with three domains: Dom0 (thin control), DomU (Linux), and DomU (Android).

    • Social Robot Jibo Fueled for Mass Production With $25.3 Million

      The infusion comes just a few weeks after investors backed Rethink Robotics Inc. and highlights the latest in a string of artificial intelligence startups leveraging algorithms based on user preferences that deliver different results as the user evolves.

    • Phones

      • Smartphone Market Set To Mature In 2015

        General-purpose PCs have long since made a mature market and everyone in the food-chain is desperately trying to wring “value” from the legacy PC while they still can. There will continue to be a need for large screens, keyboards and mice but with voice-input becoming feasible in mobile, it won’t be long before keyboards will be optional on desktops. In such a market, adoption of GNU/Linux is one of the few ways forward that can still provide income to most of the food-chain. GNU/Linux costs less to buy and less to maintain but there’s still enough maintenance to provide a living to retailers and IT-types.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • 50 Open Source Mobile Tools

    In a relatively short period of time, mobile devices have become ubiquitous in the workplace. A recent survey of enterprise and small business workers found that just 3 percent of organizations ban their employees from using personal iPads or iPhones for business use, and only 7 percent ban Android devices. In fact, 40 percent of organizations provide iPhones for more than a quarter of employees, and 25 percent provide Android-based smartphones.

    The open source community has responded to this trend with a host of new projects, including solutions that help enterprises track and manage mobile devices, mobile development tools for creating new apps and open source apps that enable greater productivity. This month, we’ve put together a list of 50 of these tools that are worth notice. While there are many good open source mobile apps for home users, this list focuses instead on those that would be most useful in the workplace.

  • How the New York Times uses open source

    Marc Frons, senior vice president and chief information officer of the New York Times, discusses how The Times actively contributes to open source communities.

  • Open-source Java pals Groovy and Grails seek moneybags backer

    Two major open source Java projects, Groovy and Grails, are looking for new sponsors.

    Pivotal, a company which supplies tools for big data analytics and cloud-oriented agile development, has announced the end of its funding for Groovy (a dynamic language that runs on the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and Grails (a web application framework which uses Groovy) from March 2015.

  • 7 questions to ask any open source project

    Whether you’re starting an open source project or deciding whether to participate in one, you don’t want to waste time in an endeavor that imposes arbitrary restrictions that will stop you in your tracks down the line.

    The Open Source Initiative, of which I am president, has successfully focused on copyright licensing as a concrete expression of software freedom. OSI does not only provide guidance in the form of the Open Source Definition; it also manages a process by which the copyright licenses used for outbound licensing by open source authors can gain OSI approval.

  • 007 DevOps: Ansible’s secret agentless route to IT automation

    AnsibleFest comes around at an interesting time i.e. every major software player from CA to HP to IBM and onwards is currently trying to sex-up the abilities of its software orchestration engines, configuration management tools and continuous delivery offering — and the term DevOps is never far away.

  • Events

    • The Daala Video Codec Still Needs At Least Another Year Of Development

      The Daala open-source, royalty-free video codec being developed by Xiph.Org and other organizations continues to be developed as an alternative to H.265 and VP9. While much progress is being made, it looks like another year of heavy development will be needed before Daala is ready for primetime.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Interview: Mirantis Co-Founder Boris Renski Talks OpenStack

      Earlier this month, Mirantis announced the launch of Mirantis OpenStack 6.0, the latest version of its OpenStack cloud computing distribution. According to the company, it is based on OpenStack Juno, and version 6.0 is the first OpenStack distribution to let partners write plugins that install and run their products automatically.

    • Mirantis Expands OpenStack Cloud Computing Training

      “Pure-play” OpenStack vendor Mirantis believes existing cloud computing training programs for OpenStack don’t meet the soaring demand for expertise in the open source cloud platform. That’s why it’s expanding its OpenStack training offerings with two new courses and a certificate verification portal.

    • Platform9 Launches Managed OpenStack Private Cloud Solution

      Platform9 is hoping to make it easier for organizations to adopt private cloud with the introduction of Platform9 Managed OpenStack. The company is describing the new solution as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that “transforms an organization’s existing servers into an AWS-like agile, self-service private cloud within minutes.”

    • Building a successful OpenStack group

      A conversation on the OpenStack-Community listserv caught my eye this week, which started with a simple question: “I’ve been contemplating starting a new OpenStack meet-up and am excited about meeting with and hearing what folks are doing in the local area. While continue working on this, I’m wondering how others who have created user groups got the word out and evangelized?”

    • A New Service Discovery Tool for Use with Apache Mesos

      Recently, Mesosphere has been covered here on OStatic in a series of posts, including an interview with the company’s Ben Hindman, in which he discusses the need for a “data center operating system.” Mesosphere’s data center operating system is built on the open source Apache Mesos project, which is being leveraged by many organizations for distributed resource and network management.

    • Targeted Tools Proliferate in the Hadoop, Big Data Ecosystems
    • IBM scores a $500M deal to build a hybrid cloud for Anthem

      IBM is announcing a significant stride in its bid to be the best cloud company with a $500 million services contract today with Anthem.

      Under the deal, IBM will build a hybrid cloud environment for Anthem, transforming that company’s information technology infrastructure. IBM recently formed its IBM Cloud business unit, bringing together a team of services, software, development, and research initiatives to further fuel IBM’s momentum in this market and accelerate new innovations into the marketplace.

  • CMS

  • Business

    • Open Source Strategies Releases Opentaps CRM2

      Open Source Strategies has released opentaps CRM2, a new free extension for online stores running Magento.

      Using big data analytics, the opentaps CRM2 extension for Magento automatically links email with orders. All past customer communications, support requests, and tasks for a customer are right where the customer’s orders are.

  • BSD

    • afl-fuzz – American Fuzzy Lop

      So, I dug in to how to set this up in an OpenBSD environment. First of all, whatever porting effort needed to make it run was already fixed, so “sudo pkg_add afl” takes care of that. Then you need to have a space to run the tests in, and since the fuzzer is going to create a huge amount of junk files to throw at your program, you really want this to be inside a tmpfs or mfs. This affects the speed a lot. It doesn’t need to be very big, just fast in creating and deleting files.

    • Apple Works To Bring Loop Distribution/Partial Vectorization To LLVM

      Adam Nemet as part of Apple’s compiler team is looking to work out loop distribution and partial vectorization for upstream LLVM. He explained, “We’d like to propose new Loop Distribution pass. The main motivation is to allow partial vectorization of loops. One such example is the main loop of 456.hmmer in SpecINT_2006. The current version of the patch improves hmmer by 24% on ARM64 and 18% on X86. The goal of the pass is to distribute a loop that can’t be vectorized because of memory dependence cycles. The pass splits the part with cycles into a new loop making the remainder of the loop a candidate for vectorization.”


  • Project Releases

    • Whatsapp now available to use in Linux through web browser

      Popular messaging service WhatsApp over 700 million monthly active users has now launched a new services called WhatsApp web. “Today, for the first time, millions of you will have the ability to use WhatsApp on your web browser”, Jan Koun, founder of WhatsApp posted on facebook. Let’s see how to use this on our PC or Chromebook.

    • Stellarium 0.13.2 Is a Premium Planetarium App Available for Free

      Stellarium is an open source planetarium software that displays a realistic and accurate sky in 3D that is built for multiple platforms. The supported platforms include Linux and the developers have added a large number of features and they’ve also ported some of the changes to an older version.

    • NetworkManager Now Supports WiFi Power Savings

      The latest feature added to NetworkManager is support for WiFi power-savings.

      With devices that support WiFi powersave for WiFi adapters that support a power saving mode, NetworkManager will now enable it when appropriate.

  • Public Services/Government

    • City of Arnhem aims to increase open source use

      The Dutch municipality of Arnhem wants to increase its use of free and open source solutions, says Martijn Leisink, municipal executive councilor responsible for ICT. The primary aim is to replace proprietary server solutions by open source alternatives. Getting rid of IT vendor lock-in on the desktop workstations will be difficult, and is deferred until later.

  • Licensing

    • What is a software forge?

      As we know, use of the term “infographic” generally causes involuntary gagging and may result in unwelcome skin irritation.

      Paradoxically, open source licensing and vulnerability management solutions company Protecode (pron: pro-ta-code) appears to be using the “information graphic” (to use the old school expression) approach to good effect.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Haptics Kit Aims to Democratize Force Feedback

      If you’ve been keeping up with augmented and virtual reality news, you’ll remember that spacial haptic feedback devices aren’t groundbreaking new technology. You’ll also remember, however, that a professional system is notoriously expensive–on the order of several thousand dollars. Grad students [Jonas], [Michael], and [Jordi] and their professor [Eva-Lotta] form the design team aiming to bridge that hefty price gap by providing you with a design that you can build at home.

    • Tap sat app gap, yaps Inmarsat chap: Orbiting bird API opened to devs
    • Open Data

      • Open Source Data and the Future of Mineral Exploration

        As a former database manager of a junior exploration company, I have had the run-down of how data should be kept: a secret. The majority of mining data is proprietary and companies carefully guard this data for a variety of different reasons. One of these reasons is the sheer cost of obtaining this data. My company spent over $20 million in exploration and at the end of the day what remains valuable is the data. Another reason that data is guarded so carefully is that it needs to go through a careful vetting process before it can get released to the public. Geologists must qualify for professional designation before being eligible to release technical reports to the public, in Canada; those technical reports are referred to as 43-101s. This requirement is in place to stop market scandals and hold geologists accountable for their scientific integrity. I agree that geological data should be released to investors and the public with ethical standards. The last reason that mining data and methods are kept proprietary is to maintain an edge over competitors. Logically speaking, it does make sense to avoid leaking trade secrets, however, the world is a rapidly changing place and we should consider radically new approaches to one of the oldest industries.

    • Open Access/Content

      • A shift in education: Teachers who create content, not consume

        I first met Stephen O’Connor, a fifth grade public school teacher at Wells Central School, at the New York State Association for Computers and Technology in Education Conference in 2007. I don’t recall the exact subject of his presentation, but I came away from his presentation with some new information that helped me implement Moodle in my classroom. He pointed me in the direction of a good hosting company that allowed me to work on Moodle, Drupal, and WordPress development, which I was most interested in at the time.

    • Open Hardware

      • The year in open hardware computers

        An open hardware computer is a computer for which all the specifications for manufacturing the computer are provided, not just the source for the software that runs on it. Software source code of an application enables experienced developers to rebuild, modify, and extend that software application. Similarly, the source code for an electronics printed circuit board (PCB) or mechanical drawings for a computer enclosure enables experienced developers to build, modify, and extend the hardware. By hardware, I mean that computer board in a case you put on your desktop, by your television, in your car or wherever you might be using it, even in your thermostat or water sprinkler.

  • Programming

    • MediaFire File Sharing Adds Open-Source Linux Support

      At MediaFire, it’s no secret that we are huge fans of the open source community. From server management, to building next generation storage applications, open-source tools enable us to do great things.

    • Got an open source project? SimplyBuilt has a website for you

      Open source has helped shape the team at PushAgency.io into the programmers and developers we are today. We’ve used it throughout our educations and careers, and now incorporate it into the products and services we deliver.

      We look up to people like Linus Torvalds and companies like 37Signals for their contributions to the open source movement, and it’s a goal of ours to give back to the community in some way. Now that our business has reached a level of maturity, we feel we’ve made it to the point where we can devote some development time to open sourcing small parts of our product, SimplyBuilt. This is how our first open source project materialized.

    • New open source dependency manager on the scene

      When biicode began, almost two years ago, many risks were taken by both the founders and investors. Our funders invested a lot of money with just a simple prototype in their hands. Our founders quit their safe and well-paying job positions at prestigious universities. The opportunity was huge though, because there are approximately 4 million C/C++ developers, and both languages represent up to almost 20% of the world’s code. Moreover, these tools easily become standardized. Once the most popular and reused libraries of a specific programming language are handled with ease and effectiveness by a given dependency manager, this tool naturally becomes the standard.

    • Facebook Releases HHVM 3.5 As A PHP Alternative

      Facebook developers have released version 3.5.0 of HHVM as a faster alternative to the reference PHP implementation.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Science

    • Wild pollinators at risk from diseased commercial species of bee

      A new study from the University of Exeter has found that viruses carried by commercial bees can jump to wild pollinator populations with potentially devastating effects. The researchers are calling for new measures to be introduced that will prevent the introduction of diseased pollinators into natural environments.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • BBC Make Me Vomit

      The BBC led their 10 O’clock News today with a five minute piece on the delay to the Chilcot report. It gave a retrospective on the Iraq War that did not mention, once, Weapons of Mass Destruction as the raison d’etre but told us the war “removed a brutal dictator”. They said the dead of the war were in thousands – not hundreds of thousands, not even tens of thousands. “Thousands died”, they said. Literally true, but diminishing the scale. They could equally have said dozens died, also literally true – just an awful lot of dozens.

    • Inevitable Payback

      We caused it by our invasions, occupations and bombings of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, none of which had ever attacked the UK. We caused it by all the dead women and children that British bombs, missiles or bullets killed accidentally. We caused it by the terrible deaths of the people we killed deliberately, who were only defending their country from foreign invaders, just as most of us would do. We caused it by the detainees killed or tortured. As a country, the United Kingdom caused it.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • What Corporate Media Don’t Want You to Know About Joni Ernst

      CNN offered just a tiny bit more, saying that “she was a tea party favorite for her positions on everything from abortion to the federal minimum wage”–on the latter, “she doesn’t believe in a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’”; her position on abortion, and on everything else, went undescribed.

    • Bill O’Reilly Lies About His Role Pushing Debunked “No-Go Zones” Myth

      Fox News host Bill O’Reilly falsely claimed that he had no role in hyping the myth that Muslim “no-go zones” exist throughout France, just days after Fox News apologized for spreading the fiction. In fact, O’Reilly previously cited the so called “no-go zones” as one of the contributing causes of the Paris terror attacks.

    • Koch Party Delivers SOTU Response

      Newly-elected Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) will give the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, perhaps providing further proof that the Koch political network has evolved into an independent political force.

    • Obama’s SOTU: Not Enough Blood, Sweat or Tears

      The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank complains that Obama’s State of the Union address didn’t have enough terrorism in it. Why, it only mentioned “terrorism,” “terror” or “terrorists” nine times!

    • This Washington Post Writer Has A Million Dollar Ethics Problem

      Rogers is a Republican strategist who chairs and co-founded the BGR Group with former Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) in 1991. As the Post itself has reported, the firm is one of the top Washington D.C. lobbying firms, having banked more than $15 million in 2014. The newspaper’s reporters have described Rogers as a “Republican mega-lobbyist,” “lobbyist extraordinaire,” and “a go-to guy for Republicans.”

    • 5 Years after Citizens United, Democracy Is for Sale

      This week, Republican presidential hopefuls like Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul will travel to an exclusive resort near Palm Springs, Florida to kiss the rings of David and Charles Koch.

    • Curious Cure: WI GOP Injects Partisan Politics into Nonpartisan Elections Board

      After a scorching two-year controversy involving a “John Doe” criminal investigation into potential illegal coordination between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s campaign and outside big money groups, state GOP leaders are readying a legislative package to dismantle the nonpartisan elections board.

  • Censorship

    • Sky wants to know if you watch porn

      BROADCASTER SKY is joining the puritanical push for pornography filters and, like the rest of the industry, is throwing up a thick curtain in front of the more salacious elements of the web, and some of its security risks.

      Such curtains, we’ll call them sainted aunt filters, are employed by the majority of ISPs because that is how the UK government likes it.

  • Privacy

    • HealthCare.gov Sends Personal Data to Dozens of Tracking Websites

      The Associated Press reports that healthcare.gov–the flagship site of the Affordable Care Act, where millions of Americans have signed up to receive health care–is quietly sending personal health information to a number of third party websites. The information being sent includes one’s zip code, income level, smoking status, pregnancy status and more.

    • Legislating For Unicorns

      I remain convinced her and the Cabinet’s position on encryption is based on a non-technical misinterpretation of detailed advice from within the Home Office. Her response, and other responses by her colleagues and by the US government, imply that the security officialdom of the US & UK believes it can resurrect “golden key” encryption where government agencies have a privileged back door into encryption schemes.

    • Opinion: Show us your internet search history if you’ve got nothing to hide

      “I guess seeing your passwords on someone else’s computer screen generates some strong feelings,” cyber expert Markus Alkio said to me, as I stared at the results of what he’d managed to dig up.

      He was right. After two weeks of having my personal information raked over by researchers tasked with digging out as much as possible, I was indeed bewildered by just how much of what I’d thought was private turned out to be nothing of the sort.

  • Civil Rights

    • #Gamergate: Victim of video games trolling launches anti-harrassment network

      Video games developer Zoe Quinn is fighting a hate-filled online campaign against her by launching Crash Override – a service dedicated to helping other whose lives are made miserable by online abuse and threats

    • Child abuse inquiry panel member accuses counsel of intimidation

      The chaos behind the scenes of the official inquiry into child abuse has been laid bare with accusations of bullying and silencing members as the investigation struggled to get off the ground.

      One panel member, Sharon Evans, an abuse survivor and chief executive of the Dot Com children’s charity, told MPs the inquiry’s counsel, Ben Emmerson QC, had in effect taken it over in the absence of an appointed chairman, and had made threats and intimidated panel members.

      She made the accusations to the Commons home affairs select committee as the home secretary, Theresa May, considers whether to disband the independent panel and create a fresh statutory inquiry.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Broadband Industry Takes To Congressional Hearing To Praise Wimpy, Neutrality-Killing Proposal It Helped Write

      To derail February’s expected unveiling of Title II-based neutrality rules, the broadband industry is engaged in a last ditch effort to pass some of the flimsiest net neutrality rules we’ve seen yet. Spearheaded by Senator John Thune and Representative Fred Upton (the latter a particular magnet of Comcast campaign contributions), the goal appears to be to propose intentionally awful neutrality rules, offer a few meager concessions, then insist the marginally-less-awful result was crafted only after a long “public conversation” and with bipartisan support.

    • Proposed net neutrality bill is a ‘solution in search of a problem’

      The Senate and House are holding hearings today on a legislative proposal to prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or throttling online traffic. It is encouraging that the bill’s sponsors, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), now recognize that net neutrality is a legitimate public policy concern rather than a “solution in search of a problem,” as Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, described it last year. However, as is often the case in policymaking, the devil is in the details.

  • DRM

    • Cory Doctorow To Push For Ending DRM

      This is Copyright Week, in which various people supporting more reasonable copyright laws highlight some of the problems with existing laws and important concepts that should be in copyright reform efforts. Today’s topic is “you bought it, you own it,” — a concept that is often held back due to bad copyright laws. A few months ago, a bill was introduced in Congress called YODA — the You Own Devices Act — which would allow the owner of computer hardware to sell the devices with the software on it without creating a copyright mess. It was a small attempt to take back basic property rights from copyright law which often stamps out property rights. Hopefully, a similar bill will show up in the new Congress, and become law. Even better would be for copyright law to actually recognize true property rights, rather than limiting them at nearly every turn.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • European Commission’s Clever Ruse To Introduce Corporate Sovereignty Regardless Of Ratification Votes In EU

      Because of the complicated nature of power-sharing in the European Union, some international agreements require the approval of both the European Parliament and of every Member State — so-called “mixed agreements.” It is generally accepted that both the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA) and TAFTA/TTIP are mixed agreements, and will therefore require a double ratification: by the full European Parliament, and all the EU governments. Indeed, the European Commission has frequently cited this fact to bolster its assertion that both CETA and TAFTA/TTIP are being negotiated democratically, since the European public — through their representatives — will have their say in these final votes.

    • Copyrights

      • Who Will Own the Internet of Things? (Hint: Not the Users)

        From phones to cars to refrigerators to farm equipment, software is helping our stuff work better and smarter. But those features come at a high hidden cost: the rapid erosion of ownership. Why does that matter? Because when it comes to digital products, owners have rights. Renters on the other hand, have only permission.

      • Pirate party founder: ‘Online voting? Would you want 4chan to decide your government?’

        In 2012, a contest for US schools to win a gig by Taylor Swift was hijacked by members of the 4chan website, who piled ​on its online vote in an attempt to send the pop star to a school for deaf children.

        Now, imagine a similar stunt being pulled for a general election, if voting could be done online. Far-fetched? Not according to Rick Falkvinge, founder of Sweden’s Pirate ​party.

        “Voting over the internet? Would you really want 4chan to decide your next government?” he said, during a debate about democracy and technology in London, organised by the BBC as part of its Democracy Day event.

      • Fair Use Is Not An Exception to Copyright, It’s Essential to Copyright

        Over the past two years, as talk of copyright reform has escalated, we’ve also heard complaints about the supposed expansion of fair use, or “fair use creep.” That kind of talk woefully misunderstands how fair use works.

      • Where Copyright Fails, New Laws and Guidelines Help Secure Your Right to Tinker

        It may seem odd to say so during Copyright Week, but copyright in itself isn’t very important. Sure, EFF expends a lot of time and energy arguing about copyright law, and some of our adversaries spend even more. But we don’t do so because copyright has any independent value. Rather, its value is derived from its ability to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” (in the words of the US Constitution), as well as to promote other important values such as the rights to freedom of expression, privacy, education, and participation in cultural life.


Links 21/1/2015: Andrew Tridgell, Torvalds Being Baited

Posted in News Roundup at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Linux Foundation Announces Lineup for Vault Open Source Storage Event

      Open source storage now has a convention all its own in the form of Vault. Organized by the Linux Foundation, this event will take place for the first time in March with speakers and sessions focused on distributed storage, the Btrfs and Ext4 file systems, memory management and much more. Read on for details.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird 31.4.0 Lands in Ubuntu Repos

        Canonical published details about a number of Thunderbird vulnerabilities in its Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating systems, which means that a new version is now available.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Names Leon Panetta to the Board of Directors

      The Oracle Board of Directors today announced that it has unanimously elected the Honorable Leon Panetta, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to the company’s Board of Directors. The election is effective as of January 19, 2015 and increases the size of the Board to 12 directors.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Finnish open source map service platform

      A public competition has been launched to boost the development of Oskari – a collection of map tools made available as open source by National Land Survey of Finland. Interested software developers have until the end of this month to submit proposals for applications using Oskari or for improvements to the existing tools. National Land Survey of Finland will award EUR 3,000 to the best application and EUR 1,000 for the best concept. Two more prices, EUR 1,000 each, will go to the next best projects.

    • Peterborough City Council wants to drop ‘expensive’ Microsoft for open source and collaborative tools

      Peterborough City Council is looking to drop Microsoft and its “expensive” user agreements in favour of other, more open source applications and collaborative tools.
      That’s what Richard Godfrey, ICT, strategy, infrastructure and programme manager for Peterborough Council, revealed to Computing in a recent interview.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Tim Berners-Lee applauds UK government for ‘open data transparency’

      NON-WRESTLING ORGANISATION the World Wide Web Foundation (WWWF) has published its latest Open Data Barometer and awarded the UK government the ‘most open’ crown.

      However, Tim Berners-Lee, head of the WWWF, said that it is a shallow win, and does not mean that the UK government is really open, just more open than others.

      Openness, in these instances, relates to the way in which governments make official data available and usable.


  • No more Page Three: The Sun newspaper drops topless pics after 44 years

    Page Three has split opinion in recent years. A ‘No more Page Three’ campaign, started in 2012 by Lucy-Ann Holmes and featuring the tagline “boobs aren’t news,” has attracted more than 200,000 signatures. It’s also been backed by MPs and anti-sexism charities.

  • 14 nightmare clients — and how to defang them

    Here are 14 nightmare clients you may very well encounter on your quest for success as an independent software developer. May you have strength in recognizing, avoiding, and neutralizing them, when possible. Please feel free to add your own in the comments below.

  • Questions Raised about Apple Software Quality

    Jean-Louis Gassée writes in Monday Note that the painful gestation of OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) with its damaged iWork apps, the chaotic iOS 8 launch, iCloud glitches, and the trouble with Continuity, have raised concerns about the quality of Apple software. “It Just Works”, the company’s pleasant-sounding motto, has became an easy target, giving rise to jibes of “it just needs more work”.

  • Apple Software Quality Questions

    For the past six months or so, I’ve become increasingly concerned about the quality of Apple software. From the painful gestation of OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) with its damaged iWork apps, to the chaotic iOS 8 launch, iCloud glitches, and the trouble with Continuity, I’ve gotten a bad feeling about Apple’s software quality management. “It Just Works”, the company’s pleasant-sounding motto, became an easy target, giving rise to jibes of “it just needs more work”.

  • Will the Mac dump Intel for the same chip as the iPad?

    The rise of iPad apps such as Microsoft Office would make the transition easier than you might expect, but it’s still no slam-dunk

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Contagious Courage; Countering the Banality of Evil

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (2012) predicted this banality of evil in the digital age, alerting us to how the internet has been transformed into a “threat to human civilization” (p. 1). In his recent book When Google Met WikiLeaks (2014), Assange exposed Google’s part in the hijacking of large swaths of the Internet for surveillance in collusion with the U.S. government. He pointed out how by getting close to Washington halls of power, this Silicon Valley tech giant lost the “language to see, much less to express, the titanic centralizing evil they are constructing” (p. 60).

  • Finance

    • Bank of Canada shocks markets with cut in key interest rate

      The Bank of Canada surprised markets today by cutting its key overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point, citing the economic threat posed by plunging oil prices.

      Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz will hold a news conference at 11:15 a.m. ET Wednesday from Ottawa to comment on the bank’s rate cut as well as the lowered growth outlook. CBC is livestreaming his remarks.

    • Bitcoin ‘Could Be Helping Terrorists’, Says Major Banking Group

      The British Bankers Association (BBA), which represents organisations including Barclays, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, has written to the Chancellor warning that his push to make Britain a haven for virtual currencies could be putting the country at risk.

    • Richest 1% wealthier than the rest of the world combined

      By 2016 the richest 1% of people in the world will own over 50% of its wealth, according to a study by Oxfam.

      The latest calculation shows an increase on the 48% of wealth owned by the wealthiest 1% in 2014.

    • 1,700 Private Jets Descend on Davos For World Economic Forum

      Billionaires, world leaders and pop stars are clogging up the skies with their private jets as they descend on the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to liaise over issues such as terrorism, the central banks and growing economic inequality.

      Over the course of this week, approximately 1,700 private jets are expected to fly into the region, resulting airport traffic increasing by 10% which means that landing spots are in short supply.

    • Switzerland: Whistleblower Found Guilty of Giving Offshore Banking Docs to WikiLeaks

      In Switzerland, a whistleblower has been found guilty of violating bank secrecy laws by giving information on offshore accounts to WikiLeaks. Rudolf Elmer headed the Cayman Islands office of the bank Julius Baer until his firing in 2002. In 2011, he publicly handed compact discs containing information on offshore account holders to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a bid to reveal what he called the “damaging” impact of hiding money offshore. Elmer’s attorney has vowed to appeal the guilty verdict, which comes with a suspended fine, but no prison time.

    • Rudolf Elmer, former Swiss banker, fined $20,000 for giving Wikileaks tax data

      A former private banker found has been found guilty in Switzerland of breaking the country’s strict secrecy laws by passing confidential client data to WikiLeaks in 2007.

      Rudolf Elmer claims he was trying to expose rich tax evaders banking with his former employer, Julius Baer, which fired him in 2002.

      Elmer’s lawyer, Ganden Tethong, says Zurich’s district court also found her client guilty of forging a document purporting to be a letter from the bank to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Paris mayor: I’m suing Fox News over false report on Muslim ‘no-go’ zones

      The mayor of Paris plans to sue Fox News for its reporting on the city in the wake of the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

      “When we’re insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced.”

  • Censorship

    • Default censorship is wrong and unfair to Sky’s customers

      Sky Broadband have announced they will force web-filters on all customers, starting this week, unless the account-holder opts out.


      All ISPs promised David Cameron they would make all customers choose whether to use filters or not. Sky is not offering a choice however – they are imposing filtering unless customers opt out – an approach that the government rejected after running their own consultation. In addition, most households do not contain children so, Sky’s default-on approach seems over-reaching.

      Could Sky Broadband be seeking to increase adoption of web filters through “nudge” tactics in order to avoid Government criticism for a lack of uptake? Public interest in activating filters has been low since the Government started pressuring ISPs to introduce them in summer 2013. Ofcom said in July 2014 that just 8% of Sky Broadband subscribers had switched them on. The same report showed a 34% adoption-rate for competitor TalkTalk, who promote filters aggressively, and have made them the default option for new subscribers for a long time. Nudge tactics rely on the principle that most people don’t bother changing defaults.

    • Sky will soon switch on adult broadband filters for indecisive customers

      As part of David Cameron’s plan to protect young internet users, broadband providers have been forced to offer an “unavoidable choice.” This impels new subscribers to decide whether they want to enable or disable blocks on adult content. However, UK consumers have already highlighted their dislike for such filters, with only one in every seven customers letting the big four UK ISPs guard them from porn and the darker parts of the internet. One of those major providers, Sky, saw just eight percent of customers enable the option before July 2013, but that statistic could change drastically as part of new measures announced today.

  • Privacy

    • Crypto Won’t Save You Either

      “cryptography is bypassed, not penetrated”

    • Microsoft Outlook hacked following Gmail block in China

      Microsoft’s Outlook email service was subject to a cyberattack over the weekend, just weeks after Google’s Gmail service was blocked in China.

      On Monday, online censorship watchdog Greatfire.org said the organization received reports that Outlook was subject to a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack in China. A MITM attack intrudes on online connections in order to monitor and control a channel, and may also be used to push connections into other areas — for example, turning a user towards a malicious rather than legitimate website.

    • The Whole Haystack

      The N.S.A. claims it needs access to all our phone records. But is that the best way to catch a terrorist?

    • You’ll Never Guess Who’s Trying to Hack Your iPhone

      The FBI wants to search through your electronic life. You may think it’s a given that the government is in the business of collecting everyone’s personal data — Big Brother run amok in defiance of the Constitution. But under the limits of the Fourth Amendment, nothing it finds can be used to prosecute its targets. Now the FBI is taking steps to carry out broad searches and data collection under the color of authority, making all of us more vulnerable to “fishing expeditions.”

    • The never-ending quest to dethrone email

      Inbox has the right idea, in that the protocol and API set it has devised are open source (GNU Affero GPL licensed), and the project is designed to appeal most directly to developers of email applications building on mobile platforms. A similar project both in its approach and its design is JMAP, a protocol proposed by FastMail. JMAP uses JSON to encompass and package all the possible requests and responses used for email: sending and receiving, calendaring, contacts, and so on.

    • New police radars can ‘see’ inside homes

      At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

    • Palantir CEO Alex Karp To Become A Billionaire As Data-Mining Company Raises Millions

      In the past, Alexander Karp, the CEO of data analytics firm Palantir, has called wealth “culturally corrosive.” A former money manager for high-net-worth individuals, the cofounder of the CIA-backed data analytics firm has maintained that personal riches were of little importance to him, despite associating with some of the world’s wealthiest to raise funds for his company.

  • Civil Rights

    • Don’t Believe What the Government Says About Barrett Brown

      On January 22, jailed American journalist Barrett Brown will finally learn his sentence. This had been expected to happen last month, on December 16, but the government unleashed a torrent of exhibits, supposedly to demonstrate “relevant conduct”, and wasted the day with testimony from an FBI agent, eventually leading the judge, Sam A. Lindsay, to decide that he needed more time to make his decision.

      Judge Lindsay should sentence Mr. Brown to time served. The man has been in jail for 28 months now, and I’ve been advocating for him at each step of the way. By now, many people have heard his name, and much has been written about him. The popular perception of Mr. Brown is based on his work with Anonymous and his crowd-sourced research outfit Project PM. He’s noted as an activist who made an impact to exact greater transparency: helping to overthrow Middle Eastern dictatorships, and investigating private intelligence firms.

      Not a spokesperson for the group, but one who thoroughly understood its potential for collaboration and effecting change, Brown holds some Anonymous operations closest to his heart: OpTunisia, OpBahrain, the hack of HBGary’s Aaron Barr and the investigation that followed, which was termed OpMetalGear. He focused on the secret surveillance regime at a time when it was regarded as a paranoid conspiracy, as in before Snowden. Because of his activist brand of journalism, people messed with him – starting with security contractors and confidential informants, and rising to the FBI. This is all true and known information.

    • GCHQ captured emails of journalists from top international media

      GCHQ’s bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK’s largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

      Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency’s intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.

    • Man says police probing Biden shooting ‘accosted’ him

      A Hockessin man arrested about 30 minutes after multiple gunshots were fired near Vice President Joe Biden’s Greenville home says he was “accosted” during an altercation with New Castle County Police.

      Rock Peters, 57, was not charged in connection with the shooting incident, The News Journal has learned. But he faces reckless endangering and resisting arrest charges after fleeing from an officer near the Biden estate and scuffling with two others just before 9 p.m., according to a police affidavit.

      “They’re lying through their teeth,” Peters said Monday night during an interview at his Hockessin home, saying the officers were the aggressors.

    • Why the CIA Is So Eager to Demolish Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling

      Midway through the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, one comment stands out. “A criminal case,” defense attorney Edward MacMahon told the jury at the outset, “is not a place where the CIA goes to get its reputation back.” But that’s where the CIA went with this trial in its first week — sending to the witness stand a procession of officials who attested to the agency’s virtues and fervently decried anyone who might provide a journalist with classified information.

    • Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab sentenced to 6 months in prison for a tweet

      In another tweet, the activist explained that he has to pay 200 BHD (£350) bail if he wants to stay out of prison until the appeal.

      Rajab, who is president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) was freed in May 2014 after serving two years in prison for his role in the pro-democracy uprising. He was arrested again last October and charged with publicly “insulting a public institution” on the microblogging site.

      The Bahraini ministry of interior said they summoned Rajab “to interview him regarding tweets posted on his Twitter account that denigrated government institutions”.

    • Government Pioneers Hairdresser Venue-Shopping in Jeffrey Sterling Case

      “There is no hairdresser privilege,” the judge presiding over the case, Leonie Brinkema, ruled.

    • Why the CIA Is So Eager to Demolish Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling
    • CIA’s Small World at the Jeffrey Sterling Trial: Racial Profiling and Leaked Identities

      While the jury will likely neither note nor learn of them, there were details from last week’s testimony in the Jeffrey Sterling trial that resonated with two other notable cases involving the CIA: the New York Police Department’s spying on Muslims and the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity.

    • First Published Book by a Guantanamo Prisoner Vividly Recounts Torture & Rendition

      The 466-page handwritten manuscript was written in his single cell at Camp Echo in 2005. The Guardian and Canongate Books worked together to publish a declassified version. It still was censored by the United States government, and 2,500 black bars appear throughout the text accentuating the criminality described vividly by Slahi.

    • Guantánamo Diary exposes brutality of US rendition and torture

      Memoir serialised by Guardian tells how Mohamedou Ould Slahi endured savage beatings, death threats and sexual humiliation

    • Dutch Court Blocks Extradition to US Over Torture Concerns

      A Dutch court on Tuesday blocked the extradition of a man accused of having fought against U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying it could not be ruled out that the CIA had been involved in his torture after his arrest in Pakistan.

      Dutch court documents showed the suspect, a Dutch-Pakistani dual citizen named Sabir Khan, was tortured after his arrest by Pakistan’s ISI security service.

      He faces charges in New York of conspiracy to commit murder and of supporting al-Qaida.

      The court said the Netherlands could not transfer him because Dutch and international law prohibits the extradition of torture victims to countries that played a role in abuse.

    • Prison Dispatches from the War on Terror: Ex-CIA Officer John Kiriakou Speaks

      John Kiriakou is the only CIA employee to go to prison in connection with the agency’s torture program. Not because he tortured anyone, but because he revealed information on torture to a reporter.

      Kiriakou is the Central Intelligence Agency officer who told ABC News in 2007 that the CIA waterboarded suspected al-Qaeda prisoners after the September 11 attacks, namely Abu Zubaydah, thought to be a key al Qaeda official. Although he felt at the time that waterboarding probably saved lives, Kiriakou nevertheless came to view the practice as torture and later claimed he unwittingly understated how many times Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding.

    • John Conyers, who first proposed an MLK holiday, marks 50 years in Congress

      Four days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., a junior member of Congress introduced a bill to establish a federal holiday to honor the slain civil rights leader.

      Five decades later, the holiday is on the calendar, and that lawmaker, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), is now the longest-serving member of Congress.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Which of UK’s major ISPs will let you have exotic p0rn? NONE OF THEM

      Virgin Media, Vodafone and EE have promised to be more upfront with their subscribers about traffic management policies two and half years after rival, big name UK ISPs signed up to the voluntary “Open Internet Code”.

      The telcos have also vowed not to choke the services of competitors, such as over-the-top players – Microsoft’s Skype for example, and the BBC’s iPlayer.

      However, the code has long made it clear that it is perfectly acceptable for ISPs to throttle traffic to “manage” congestion or block sites and services based on a court order to, for example, cut off access to pirated material or to prevent illegal child abuse images from being served up on broadband networks.

      BT, Sky, EE, KCOM, giffgaff, O2, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone are signatories of the code, trade body the Broadband Stakeholders Group said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Failed MPAA / Xunlei Anti-Piracy Deal is Shocking

        After signing an anti-piracy deal with Xunlei last year the MPAA is already suing the Chinese file-sharing giant. What went wrong is unclear but documents obtained by TorrentFreak reveal the toughest and most shocking set of anti-piracy demands to be found anywhere on the planet.

      • Pirate MEP Proposes Major Reform of EU Copyright

        Julia Reda, a politician for the German Pirate Party and member of the European Parliament, has this morning released her draft report for the overhaul of EU copyright. In her role as rapporteur, Reda says that EU copyright rules are “maladapted” to the increase of cross-border cultural exchange facilitated by the Internet.

      • Reform Agenda for Overhaul and Updating of EU Copyright

        It would be something of an understatement to say that European copyright is a mess, with different rules applying in each of the 28 Member States, making cross-border cultural exchange and business hard to the point of impossibility. But worse than that inconsistency is the fact that European copyright is simply not fit for the digital age. There is now a huge gulf between what copyright allows, and what the public would like to do – and, in many cases, is already doing online, irrespective of the law. That was revealed in the results of the European Commission’s consultation on copyright last year – shown most dramatically in this interesting visual representation of the widely-differing views on various aspects.


        As that small sample makes clear, this is pretty heady stuff. The copyright industries will doubtless fight very hard against practically everything here, as is their wont when any change to copyright in favour of the public is proposed.


Links 20/1/2015: Linux 3.19 RC5, 30 Years of FSF

Posted in News Roundup at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Microsoft Can’t Sell Laptops or Phones

    To make matters worse, Microsoft finds itself competing in mobile with companies it thought it had eliminated from the market — like Nokia for instance.

    Microsoft may have bought the Finnish company’s mobile division back in 2011, but that hasn’t kept the “old” Nokia from keeping a hand in the mobile game, where it had once excelled.

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Watch Videos From Linux.Conf.Au 2015 (LCA2015 Auckland)

      For those interested in the annual Linux.Conf.Au conference that’s filled with tons of Linux/open-source technical talks but weren’t down in New Zealand last week for the event, the videos are available.

    • Buggy? Angry? LET IT ALL OUT says Linus Torvalds
    • Fake Linux fork pokes fun at feminism and diversity

      Open source has come under fire by some recently for lacking enough diversity. Now some jokesters have responded by creating a fake Linux fork that pokes fun at feminism and diversity in software development.

    • On Linus Torvalds and communities

      Not being a jerk doesn’t just mean tolerating noobs, though. Communities should have an established code of conduct which addresses both annoying and mean actors. When the code of contact is being repeatedly breached, the violator needs to be nudged in the right direction. When a community is welcoming and actively works to remain that way, it thrives. That’s how it can get the diversity of ideas and grow the technical competency that Linus Torvalds so desires.

    • Linux 3.19-rc5 Kernel Released
    • Linux 3.19-rc5

      Another week, another -rc.

      Fairly normal release, although I’d wish that by rc5 we’d have calmed down even further. But no, with some of the driver tree merges in particular, this is actually larger than rc4 was.

    • Audio in Linux becomes annoying again (continued)

      Despite sounding fine when played by SMPlayer, the audio clips that sounded distorted/scratchy and too loud when played by Thunderbird also sounded that way when played by VLC. Then I discovered several other .wav files on various Web sites that sounded distorted when played by the browser’s Windows Media Player plug-in (Gecko Media Player). So the problem clearly was not caused by Thunderbird itself. I began to wonder if PulseAudio was the cause. So I adjusted PulseAudio’s sampling frequency, number of fragments and fragment size, and all the clips that previously sounded distorted and too loud now play fine. Here is what I did to fix the problem…

    • What you missed in tech last week: BlackBerry blunder, Linux bug terror

      The Paris Observatory has confirmed that, on the appointed day, atomic clocks will be programmed to add in 11:59:60 to compensate for the idiosyncratic nature of the Earth’s orbit. Linux- and Unix-based systems are expected to go tits up.

    • Security problems need to be made public: Linus Torvalds

      People are less willing sometimes to brush the problem under the mat, and leave it up to vendors that have disclosures, like infinity long disclosure times,” he said. “I’m a huge believer in just disclosing, still somewhat responsibly, but security problems need to be made public — and there are people who argue, and have argued for decades, that you never want to talk about security problems because that only helps the black hats — and the fact is that I think you absolutely need to report them, and you need to report them in a reasonable time frame.

    • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 3.19 RC5, Says Go Forth and Test

      Linus Torvalds has released yet another update for the Linux kernel 3.19 branch and this is the fifth Release Candidate in the series. The development cycle is getting closer to its end and that can be observed from the changelog.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Many Linux Desktop 2D Benchmarks Of NVIDIA vs. AMD Drivers

        Like the reasoning for the mass OpenCL Linux comparison, the 2D benchmarks were done since having all of these graphics cards out and testing them on the latest proprietary drivers for the Unreal Engine 4 / Metro Redux game comparison. With not having done any big 2D performance comparison in a while, I ran these few extra tests to look at the 2D performance with the NVIDIA 346.22 driver compared to Catalyst 14.12 for the many different graphics cards.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Python3 Backend has been finished
      • Interview with Andreas Antoniadis

        Around 1999 I discovered an SUSE Linux live CD and I was fascinated with the open source communities who were behind this operating system and the different applications. But I was young and inexperienced. I thought that I had to use the industry standard tools to be competitive. As I grew up, I realised that they were just tools and I was the artist. These days I think that open source communities are more important than ever! They are like a torch in the dark.

      • Notes From the PIM Sprint: A Vision for the KDE PIM Framework

        I know I know, the PIM sprint has already been last November, but in my defence (@David: !!!), the VDG and KDE as a whole has been so buzzing with activity in the meantime that I didn’t find the time to write the blog post I had meant to write about it. So here it is, better late than never.

      • Adobe’s Photoshop Ditched for Krita at French University Due to Lack of Support

        Krita is considered to be a digital painting application, but it’s best described as a raster graphics editor. No matter what you call it, the Paris 8 University has decided to drop Adobe’s Photoshop and to adopt Krita instead.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 16th November 2014
      • Theme ‘Stationery’ added to ‘KDE – Pairs’

        As a part of my ongoing project “Adding new themes for KDE Pairs game”, a new theme ‘Stationery’ is added. The motivation behind selecting the particular theme lies on its simplicity. Stationery objects are very much familiar with pre-school children rather than other objects. Hence these stationery items can be used in the ‘Pairs’ game to develop their logical skills, rather than worrying about their familiarity with the domain.

      • Notes From the PIM Sprint: A Vision for the KDE PIM Framework
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Developers Close GTK+ Bug in Ubuntu That Allowed Users to Bypass the Lock Screen

        The Ubuntu developers have corrected a small issue with GTK+, which would allow users to bypass the lock screen in certain conditions. It might be a trivial matter, but it had to be fixed nonetheless.

        According to the security notice, “Clemens Fries discovered that GTK+ allowed bypassing certain screen locks by using the menu key. An attacker with physical access could possibly use this flaw to gain access to a locked session.”

      • Cinnamon 2.6 to Get Systemd Support

        The Linux Mint developers are not only working on the next iteration of the operating system, they are also trying to improve upon the Cinnamon desktop environment, which is also built by them.

  • Distributions

    • Analysis Of The Top 10 Linux Distributions Of 2014

      For the average desktop computer user I would recommend Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Zorin, Elementary and openSUSE as first choices with Debian, Fedora, Mageia and CentOS as secondary options. I would only choose Arch if you really want to control every aspect of your computer from top to bottom or you have an interest in learning more about the underpinnings of using Linux.

    • Manjaro Xfce 0.9.0 Pre1 Shows How Open Source Collaboration Works

      Manjaro Xfce 0.9.0 Pre1, a Linux distribution based on well-tested snapshots of the Arch Linux repositories and 100% compatible with Arch, is now ready for testing and download.

    • Reviews

      • Manjaro 0.8.11 – The lonely goatherd

        How shall I put it? Let there be no doubt. Manjaro 0.8.11 is a better version than 0.8.5 that I tested a while back. But calling it the best and most awesomest KDE around, as I’ve seen here and there in various forums and social media sites is literally pushing it. Now, it does deserve a lot of praise, A LOT, regarding its visual appearance. However, that is not enough to distract from or reduce the impact of the underlying system bugs.

        Desktop effects, printing, broken Steam packages, weird menu entries, misbehaving media player, an identity-confused collection of software, installation issues, missing swap use and very high memory consumption, all of these are big problems that the Manjaro dev team needs to address. But overall, the important thing here is progress.

        But if you’re asking me, the distro needs to simplify its mission statement, and focus on the core message of practicality. Hopefully, we will see that happen soon. Let’s call it the emergence of Manjaro into its own rightful place. At the moment, it’s trying to do so much, at the same time, it’s like a juggler with one ball too many. Grade wise? Hmmm, well, something like 7.5-8/10, and I am being generous. However, if all else fails, it so damn beautiful. Definitely one of the top three. Imagine Plasma 5 there. Looking forward to the next version.

      • The Mir display server and ReactOS

        I downloaded the most recent development snapshot of Ubuntu 15.04 “Vivid” which is said to feature Unity 8 running on Mir. I then tried running the technology preview in VirtualBox and on a desktop machine. When running in VirtualBox, at first Ubuntu with Unity 8 seemed quite similar to Ubuntu running the classic Unity desktop. The system booted, asked if I would like to try running the desktop in live mode or if I would like to install the operating system. Attempting to try the live desktop mode brought me to a login screen. I was unable to login or reach a terminal from the login page and so I rebooted my VirtualBox instance and tried installing Ubuntu’s Vivid preview.

      • Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” KDE Review: The Best KDE spin I have used!

        If you are looking for a trouble free KDE distro for long term use, look no further than Linux Mint. The Linux Mint 17.1 KDE is perhaps the best KDE distro I’ve used in quite sometime. Though it presents the stock KDE DE but it irons out a lot of bugs and presents a really stable, smooth to use and super efficient distro. The RAM and CPU consumption is one of the lowest I have noted among KDE spins, the boot time is decent and the battery life is simply the best among Linux operating systems. It symbolizes the amazing work done by the developers before releasing a distro. I wish all other distros were like Linux Mint.

        So, by now you have understood that Mint 17.1 KDE is definitely recommended from my side for all users looking for a good KDE distro devoid of bloat and is very efficient. I go with the highest score I ever gave to a KDE distro for Linux Mint 17.1 KDE.

    • New Releases

      • Manjaro XFCE 0.9.0-pre1 edition released

        Some of you might already noticed that some of our developers started in September last year to work on our next release series we call Bellatrix (0.9.0). With this series we switch over to a more modern graphical installer framework called Calamares.

      • Makulu Cinnamon 2.0 is Live !

        MakuluLinux Cinnamon Edition 2.0 [MCDE] is now live, Read the release notes and grab your copy by clicking here, or via the Cinnamon section in menu above. Please take a minute to read the release notes, they give vital information about the release.

    • Screenshots

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • What’s new in SUSE LINUX 12?

        It’s been more than five years since SUSE delivered its last full release, and a lot has happened to the company during that time. In our testing we find that SUSE Linux 12 has been worth the wait. SUSE 12 is a broad set of Linux distributions ranging from desktop through enterprise level. We tested several instances and found them quite ready for enterprise use. All in all, SUSE 12 is a worthy competitor to Red Hat and Ubuntu in the enterprise Linux market.

      • SUSE Linux 12 challenges Red Hat
    • Red Hat Family

      • Submissions Open for 2015 Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year Award
      • A Proposal To Go 64-bit Only With Fedora 23

        An ambitious proposal is seeking to make Fedora 23 — the Linux distribution release due out around October — 64-bit-only for both x86 and ARM architectures.

      • Fedora

        • Playing with plymouth themes

          So Fedora Workstation 21 is done and out and I am extremely pleased to see the positive reception and great reviews. But we are not resting on our laurels here and are already busy planning for the Fedora Workstation 22 release. As many of you might know Fedora Workstation 22 is going to come up relatively fast, so we only have about 6 more weeks of development on it feature the freezes starts to kick inn. Luckily we have a relatively long list of items that we started working on during the Fedora Workstation 21 cycle that is nearing completing and thus should make the next release. We are of course also working on bigger long term developments that you should maybe see the first outline of in Fedora 22, but not the final version. I thought it would be nice to summarize some of the bigger items we expect to land and link to the relevant blogs and announcements for each one.

        • Fedora 21: problems with offline updates, other PackageKit stuff

          Since the middle of last week we’ve been aware of some bugs with the PackageKit stack. The initial bug report was for offline updates failing, but during testing of the fix for that, various other bugs were identified which could potentially cause problems with many PackageKit transactions – that’s mostly documented in this report. Mostly, though, folks only seem to have been noticing issues since libhif 0.1.7 came out as an update in late December.

        • Fedora Infrastructure DB dumps

          In Fedora Infrastructure, all our applications are Free software. It’s one of our base requirements, allowing anyone out there to examine source, improve or modify things. Sometimes, just having the source of an application isn’t enough, you need the raw data to figure out some issue or generate some metric or support a theory.

        • Fedora 23 Likely To Pursue Wayland By Default

          While Wayland by default replacing the X.Org Server as the default display environment has been talked about for a while within the next-generation Fedora world, it looks like Fedora 23 could finally be the time that the switch happens.

          Fedora 23 already has ambitious possibilities like only supporting 64-bit software while one of the more likely proposals is enabling Wayland by default. With Fedora 21, Wayland is shipped with Fedora Workstation as a log-in-time switch for GNOME, but the X.Org Server is still depended upon. With Fedora 22, the Wayland experience will be even better and then for Fedora 23 is when there might be the switch.

        • Fedora 22 Schedule (3×), Elections, and the state of Schrödinger’s Cat

          Fedora is a big project, and it’s hard to keep up with everything that goes on. This series highlights interesting events in five different areas every week. Here are the five events for January 16th, 2015:

    • Debian Family

      • Spamassassin Updates

        Spamassassin hasn’t been providing rules as part of the upstream package for some time. In Debian, we include a snapshot of the ruleset from an essentially arbitrary point in time in our packages. We do this so Spamassassin will work “out of the box” on Debian systems. People who install spamassassin from source must download rules using spamassassin’s updates channel. The typical way to use this service is to use cron or something similar to periodically check for rule changes via this service. This allows the anti-spam community to quickly adapt to changes in spammer tactics, and for you to actually benefit from their work by taking advantage of their newer, presumably more accurate, rules. It also allows for quick reaction to issues such as the one described in bug 738872 and 774768.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Could Be the First OS on Planet Mars
          • Unzip Vulnerability Closed in Ubuntu OSes

            Canonical has announced that an unzip exploit has been found and fixed for Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS operating systems.

          • Microsoft Azure Update Brings Docker Image on Ubuntu Server
          • Ubuntu Could Be the First OS on Planet Mars

            Mars One is a project that aims to put people on planet Mars by 2025, before NASA and everyone else. The kicker is that it’s designed as a one-way trip for the colonists. The good news, if you can call it that, is that they seem to be favoring Linux.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18 Could Adopt Systemd

              The Linux Mint project is using Ubuntu as its base and there is even a branch that’s using Debian, but it looks that for the moment it won’t be using systemd as the default init system.

            • Bodhi Founder Returning as Ubuntu Heads to Mars

              Bodhi Linux founder, who recently resigned from the project, has announced that he’s decided to return. Accompanying that news was also the announcement for Bodhi Linux 3.0 RC2. Elsewhere, Gary Newell briefly recaps the top 10 distributions of 2014 and Phoronix.com is reporting that Fedora 23 is likely to default to Wayland. Adam Williamson introduces Updatrex™ in response to PackageKit bug and Softpedia.com said today that Ubuntu will probably be the first operating system on Mars.

            • Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 RC2 Reloaded

              Just over four months ago I announced that I was stepping down from the active role I had maintained in the Bodhi Linux project since it started a little over four years ago. Today I am happy to share that I am returning in my full capacity as project manager/lead developer and I come bearing gifts!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • The TrackingPoint 338TP, the Linux Rifle that’s accurate up to a mile

      First, the 338TP uses the .338 Lapua Magnum long-range rifle for its base. This rifle started as a design for a US Marine sniper rifle. Then, to acquire the target, the rifle uses a laser to enable you to “tag” your target. More than just a laser-targeting system, its sensors also track wind speed, direction, temperature, and barometric pressure. As serious shooters know, all of these factors must be taken into account for an accurate shot at great ranges.

    • BeagleBone SBC beefs up Lego Mindstorms EV3

      An “EVB” Kickstarter project replaces the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot’s ARM9 brick with a BeagleBone Black, adding performance, expandability, and sensors.

    • Samsung set to sell 30 Million Tizen TVs in 2015

      Samsung Electronics Co. have revealed that they plan to sell 30 million Tizen TVs in 2015, according to an Industry source. Samsung aim to ship an estimated 60 million TVs in 2015 with Tizen TVs expected to be over 50% of that figure. These will be using the new quantum-dot display technology which has the capability of showing 1 billion colours, which is 64 times more than what current TV models can perform.

    • CompuLab aims to put a Mint in your pocket

      Israel’s maker of small fanless computers CompuLab has revealed a tiny computer for Linux lovers, the MintBox Mini. A fifth of the size of the original MintBox, which was based on the company’s fit-PC3 and launched in 2012, the silent, fanless Mini will come with a quad-core processor, solid state storage and be available in the second quarter of 2015 for US$295.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Interview: Mesosphere’s Ben Hindman on the Need for a Data Center OS

    One of the most interesting new companies leveraging an open source Apache project has to be Mesosphere, which OStatic covered in a recent post. The company offers a “data center operating system” (DCOS) built on the open source Apache Mesos project, and has announced a recent round of $36M in Series B funding. New investor Khosla Ventures led the round, with additional investments from Andreessen Horowitz, Fuel Capital, SV Angel and others.

    According to Mesosphere’s leaders, the tech industry now needs a new type of operating system to automate the various tools used in the agile IT era. They argure that developers and operators don’t need to focus on individual virtual or physical machines but can easily build and deploy applications and services that span entire datacenters.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Fix Add-ons not working in Firefox 35

        Firefox 35 has been pushed to the Stable channel recently by Mozilla and while the majority of users did not notice any incompatibilities or issues, some users noticed that one or multiple of installed browser add-ons stopped working suddenly.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack as a social contract, what’s new in Nova, and more

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

    • Big data, big growth

      Open source NoSQL companies are making headlines for investment figures, but they’re offering knowledge and building communities too

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Saying Goodbye to Java the Hard Way

      Google is rapidly becoming our Internet overlords, if they aren’t already. Gmail and Chrome are not Google products…we are the products. We are the marketable items. Gmail and Chrome are simply the useful playgrounds given to us in order for them to collect our data. Why does the choice between a red pill and a blue pill come to mind?

  • BSD

    • Snippets: Io.js, FreeBSD in the Cloud and 6502 Basic

      FreeBSD hasn’t been out in the clouds that much but that may be changing. DigitalOcean has announced FreeBSD on their cloud and thats a company who has till now only done Linux as their OS. Someone quickly posted the Dmesg output to show it was a real thing too. This could be a very special year for FreeBSD.


  • Project Releases

    • whatmaps 0.0.9

      This release fixes the integration with recent systemd (as in Debian Jessie), makes logging more consistent and eases integration into downstream distributions. It’s available in Debian Sid and Jessie and will show up in Wheezy-backports soon.

    • QEMU 2.3 To Bring An Ivy Bridge CPU Model, New MIPS CPUs

      QEMU 2.2 was just released last month while already for QEMU 2.3 is a long list of changes.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Carl Turner Architects designs open source Floating House
    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware

      • 5 favorite Raspberry Pi and Arduino projects

        First, what do I mean by open hardware? I mean that the components that make up a device are available for the user to see. No secret formulas. The ingredients are completely transparent, and if you chose, you can source the raw parts and assemble them yourself. You can also learn from the process of assembly and with a team spirit share any problems encountered, then improving the formula of the device. For example, you could suggest better parts or improve the code to make it run faster.

  • Programming

    • A Launchpad Module for Ruby

      At some point last year I started to write a Launchpad API client in Ruby, for the very simple reason that Kubuntu CI tooling is almost entirely written in Ruby and I wanted to avoid round tripping into Python to use launchpadlib for trivial things such as querying the version of a package in a PPA. Not only would that be slightly slower it also raises the ever so unfortunate problem of how to exchange data between Ruby and Python.


  • Security

    • N.S.A. Drilled Into North Korean Networks Before Sony Attack, Officials Say

      The trail that led American officials to blame North Korea for the destructive cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in November winds back to 2010, when the National Security Agency scrambled to break into the computer systems of a country considered one of the most impenetrable targets on earth.

    • L3A My impromptu speech about what went wrong at the NSA

      To do the controlling the NSA has to replicate the total world in realtime in their computer model!! The whistleblowers I read about and spoke to had in fact suggested to only filter the massive incoming flow of surveillance data, to extract certain patterns, and NOT STORE IT or keep files updated about all individual citizens. The generals decided to do that total storage We already see the first symptoms by USA and the five eyes countries of ‘simplification’ by law enforcement and legal system that perform arrests, judgement and jailing based on secret info provided by the NSA. Many other things are already going wrong in conflict with the Constitution and Human Rights. Civilisation is only a thin layer, can be gone in minutes.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • January 17, 1961: President Eisenhower Warns of the ‘Military-Industrial Complex’ in His Farewell Address

      When Dwight D. Eisenhower left office in January 1961 he warned against the growing menace to democracy of “the military-industrial complex,” to which The Nation devoted an entire issue in October of 1961 authored by Fred Cook, who more or less single-handedly revived the muckraking tradition in the United States with his issue-length investigations in the 1950s of the CIA, the FBI and the culture of political corruption in New York City. Here, in “Juggernaut: The Warfare State,” Cook investigated and expanded on Eisenhower’s warning, which had, up to that point, received relatively little attention in the mainstream press.

    • Scahill: Cable News ‘Terror Analysts’ Profit from Fear

      On Sunday morning’s Reliable Sources, The Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill reiterated his critique of cable news’ habit of hosting “terror experts” who have financial stakes in prolonged and expanded military conflicts.

      The concept of terror experts/analysts was heightened in the past couple weeks following the Paris attack, and some outlandish statements by the likes of “terror expert” Steve Emerson.

      “CNN has some great reporters on the ground,” Scahill said. “When you get into this kind of fear-generating territory is when you have these so-called ‘terror analysts’ on the air, many of whom also work for risk consultancy firms that benefit from the idea of making us afraid.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Putin’s Unreported Genius On Ukraine: Currency Warfare

      Putin did not invade Ukraine to invade Ukraine, but as a genius invasion against the U.S. Dollar. Almost all media have missed the high-level geopolitical chess at play and focused so narrowly on the individual moves, that they’re completely missing the big picture. There’s currently a war about what reserve currency the world should use – and the U.S. is poised to lose.

    • Wikileaks collectors demand bankruptcy for Valitor

      Two companies, handling the collection of the funding for Wikileaks, have demanded that Valitor, which handles VISA in Iceland, should be made bankrupt due to an unpaid claim for damages, amounting to about 10 billion kronas (approx: 75 million dollars) with interests.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Opinion: Raoul Wallenberg Day is a time to remember the power of an individual to confront evil

      Prior to Wallenberg’s arrival as a Swedish diplomat in Budapest in July 1944, some 430,000 Hungarian Jews had been deported to Auschwitz in only 10 weeks — the fastest, cruelest, and most efficient mass murders of the Nazi genocide. Yet Wallenberg rescued more Hungarian Jews than any single government, notably saving 20,000 by issuing Schutzpasses, documents conferring diplomatic immunity. He even went to the trains as mass deportations were underway, distributing Schutzpasses to people otherwise consigned to death.

      Wallenberg saved an additional 32,000 by establishing dozens of safe houses in a diplomatic zone protected by neutral legations. He organized hospitals, soup kitchens and childcare centres, and when thousands of Jews were sent on a 200-kilometre death march in November 1944, he followed alongside, distributing improvised Schutzpasses, as well as food and medical supplies.

    • Perpetuating Guantánamo’s Travesty

      “Guantánamo is a betrayal of American values,” the former military officers wrote. “The prison is a symbol of torture and justice delayed. More than a decade after it opened, Guantánamo remains a recruiting poster for terrorists, which makes us all less safe.”

    • Doxing victim Zoe Quinn launches online “anti-harassment task force”

      On Friday, Depression Quest developer and doxing victim Zoe Quinn launched an online “anti-harassment task force” toolset, staffed by volunteers familiar with such attacks, to assist victims of a recent swell of “doxing” and “swatting” attacks.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • White House Leaves FTC To Decide Net Neutrality Laws

      The new rules triggered a lively debate by the US public, with users leaving four million online comments on the FCC website.

    • The Biggest Foes of Obama’s High Speed Internet Plan

      ​President Obama’s strong support for community internet networks drew sharp criticism on Wednesday from cable and telecom industry groups, as well as Republican lawmakers who called the White House’s plan to boost local internet coverage and speeds an unacceptable breach of “states’ rights.”

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Party Delivers on Copyright

        EU copyright rules simply aren’t suited to cope with the increase of cross-border cultural exchange facilitated by the Internet…

      • Pirate Bay’s Fredrik Neij Wants You to Write Him a Letter

        Former Pirate Bay operator Fredrik Neij is currently the last person serving his sentence for his involvement with the notorious torrent site. To make his stay in prison a little easier he’s hoping to receive letters, cards and other goodies from people around the world.

      • Why Kim Dotcom hasn’t been extradited 3 years after the US smashed Megaupload

        Kim Dotcom has never been shy. And in December 2011, roughly a month before things for Dotcom were set to drastically change, he still oozed with bravado: Dotcom released a song (“The Megaupload Song”) in conjunction with producer Printz Board. It featured a number of major pop stars—including the likes of Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, and Serena Williams—all singing that they “love Megaupload.” If the star power wasn’t enough, Dotcom placed an exclamation point at the end. In the lyrics, he claimed that Megaupload comprised four percent of all Internet traffic. He rapped that the site received 50 million hits daily.

      • MPAA Wants to Censor OpenCulture’s Public Domain Movies

        With a rather peculiar takedown request Hollywood is going after OpenCulture.com, one of the largest collections of cultural and educational media online. According to a takedown notices the MPAA sent to Google, Open Culture’s list of 700 free public domain movies contains copyright infringing material.


Links 18/1/2015: Sailfish OS RoadMap, ownCloud Turns 5

Posted in News Roundup at 4:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Dear Computer Makers: I Want an Ubuntu Notebook!

    I want to buy an inexpensive, low to medium-end notebook that comes preinstalled with Ubuntu. I want it to have hardware that is supported by the latest Linux kernel so I can put any GNU/Linux distribution on it that I want. I want it to look nice, you know, like all those fancy HP Stream notebooks and Chromebooks that you’re selling. I want it to cost $300 to $450.

  • Desktop

    • Given The Choice, Consumers Prefer GNU/Linux

      We need that choice everywhere to make the world of IT a very different place. Go ahead, retailers, offer GNU/Linux and that other OS on more or less identical hardware and see what your customers want. Aren’t they always right? I believe when consumers first got a crack at GNU/Linux on the netbook, that movement should have spread to all PCs but was stifled by M$ and “partners”. It’s time that was revisited and the supply chain starts producing what the consumer wants.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds and the cults of niceness and diversity

      Sometimes in life YOU have to be the wolverine, and fight for what’s yours with tooth and claw! Reach inside and unleash your inner wolverine. It’s in there and it’s waiting for you to use it when the need arises to defend yourself or what’s yours. So if you go into open source or anything else, stand up for yourself when you need to and don’t let anybody walk all over you.

    • Handheld Linux Terminal Gets an A+

      Are you all thumbs when it comes to Linux? If you follow [Chris]’s guide to building a handheld Linux terminal, that particular condition could work to your advantage. His pocket-sized machine is perfect for practicing command line-fu and honing your scripting skills on the go.

    • Asynchronous Device/Driver Probing For The Linux Kernel

      While Google’s Chrome OS supports asynchronous device/driver probing, the mainline Linux kernel does not. However, patches are working toward this feat in order to speed up the kernel’s boot process for hardware/drivers that are slow at probing.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Improving KDE’s support for Korean (and other CJK languages)

        In addition to my usual work on things like Plasma and Konversation, I’ve been hacking away on bugs that pose barriers to the use of the Korean language and writing system in KDE/Qt systems lately (I took up studying Korean as a new hobby last year). As a bonus, many fixes also tend to help out users of other CJK (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) languages, or even generally of languages other than English.

      • GCI-2014

        These and more features and bug fixes are available on latest master version of Marble. It still needs some polishing and improvements but you can start using/testing it already.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • First ownCloud lustrum

    This weekend ownCloud turns 5 (5 years old, not 5.0 :P), congratulations to Frank Karlitschek and the entire ownCloud community!


  • Public Services/Government

    • Castilla-La Mancha nurtures open source sector

      The government of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain) continues to strengthen the region’s free and open source ICT service providers. The region’s Technology Support Centre (BILIB) is helping companies pilot cloud solutions based on this type of software.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • ‘Open source’ textbooks provide many benefits

        When Professor Jonathan Tomkin went looking for a textbook to use in his introductory Earth Systems class, nothing was quite right.

        He couldn’t find a book that he felt was worth the high price tag for students. So he put one together with a few colleagues — for free.


  • Science

    • Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

      We next tried to define what characteristics distinguished the smarter teams from the rest, and we were a bit surprised by the answers we got. We gave each volunteer an individual I.Q. test, but teams with higher average I.Q.s didn’t score much higher on our collective intelligence tasks than did teams with lower average I.Q.s. Nor did teams with more extroverted people, or teams whose members reported feeling more motivated to contribute to their group’s success.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • David Cameron and his freedom hypocrisy

      Before it was shadowed by the heinous attacks in Paris, France last week, it emerged that the NHS is in a grim state. Numerous hospitals across the UK declared major incidents.

    • A Drug Warrior’s Inside Look at the War on Afghanistan’s Heroin Trade

      One of the many messes the United States is leaving behind as it formally withdraws from Afghanistan is that it’s more or less a narco state. Despite the United States spending nearly $8 billion to fight the Afghan narcotics trade, the country is producing more opium than ever. It’s unlikely to get better anytime soon: Last month, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reported that counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan “are no longer a top priority.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Months of Airstrikes Fail to Slow Islamic State in Syria

      Militant Group Has Gained Territory Despite U.S.-Led Strikes, Raising Concerns of the Obama Administration’s Mideast Strategy.

    • Evidence Points to Syrian Push for Nuclear Weapons

      At 11 p.m. on Sept. 5, 2007, 10 F-15 fighter bombers climbed into the sky from the Israeli military base Ramat David, just south of Haifa. They headed for the Mediterranean Sea, officially for a training mission. A half hour later, three of the planes were ordered to return to base while the others changed course, heading over Turkey toward the Syrian border. There, they eliminated a radar station with electronic jamming signals and, after 18 more minutes, reached the city of Deir al-Zor, located on the banks of the Euphrates River. Their target was a complex of structures known as Kibar, just east of the city. The Israelis fired away, completely destroying the factory using Maverick missiles and 500 kilogram bombs.

      The pilots returned to base without incident and Operation Orchard was brought to a successful conclusion. In Jerusalem, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his closest advisors were in a self-congratulatory mood, convinced as they were that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was seeking to build a nuclear weapon and that Kibar was the almost-completed facility where that construction was to take place. They believed that their dangerous operation had saved the world from immense harm.

    • Gorbachev Interview: ‘I Am Truly and Deeply Concerned’

      In a SPIEGEL interview, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev discusses the dangers of poor relations between Russia and the West in the Ukraine crisis, saying there is a danger that things could get worse. Germany, he says, has a significant role to play.

    • Chinese attacks cost U.S. Defense Department over $100M

      Chinese army hackers apparently caused more than $100 million worth of damage to U.S. Department of Defense networks, according to NSA research detailed in documents from the Edward Snowden cache.

    • White House to explain changes to NSA surveillance

      Notwithstanding the president’s endorsement, a legislative attempt at rewriting the rules for metadata collection and storage by way of Congress came two votes short of advancing when the USA Freedom Act failed in the Senate in November.

      According to Volz, however, the forthcoming report will indeed include details about what’s been accomplished as far as adjusting policies for metadata collection goes, along with information concerning a proposed technological solution to the dragnet surveillance issue described in a report released on Thursday by the National Research Council. That report – assembled in response to the Presidential Policy Directive 28 the White House issued one year ago in concert with Obama’s Jan. 17 remarks – concluded that “no software-based technique can fully replace the bulk collection of signals intelligence, but methods can be developed to more effectively conduct targeted collection and to control the usage of collected data.”

    • Former NSA Director Says US Private Sector Cyber-Retaliation Possible

      Allowing US private sector actors to conduct offensive, retaliatory cyber attacks deserve some consideration, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden said at a cybersecurity conference.

    • FBI considered recruiting blogger who was killed in drone attack

      A CIA drone strike that killed Anwar Al-Awlaki also killed another US citizen, Samir Khan – the FBI had considered recruiting him as al-Qaeda informant.

    • US drone strike kills seven in South Waziristan

      PESHAWAR: At least seven suspected militants have been killed while four others were injured in a US drone strike near the Pak-Afghan border in South Waziristan Agency.

    • U.S. airstrike in Syria may have killed 50 civilians

      The civilians were being held in a makeshift jail in the town of Al Bab, close to the Turkish border, when the aircraft struck on the evening of Dec. 28, the witnesses said. The building, called the Al Saraya, a government center, was leveled in the airstrike. It was days before civil defense workers could dig out the victims’ bodies.

    • U.S. Airstrike Inside Syria Reportedly Killed 50 Civilians

      Eyewitnesses and a Syrian opposition human rights organization claim an unannounced U.S. airstrike killed at least 50 civilians in in a government building located in a small city in the country’s north.

    • Drone strikes in Pakistan declined: Report

      The number of drone strikes carried out in Pakistan by the United States dropped by more than 32 per cent in 2014 as compared with the previous year, according to the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies’ (PIPS) Pakistan Security Report 2014. A total of 21 strikes were reported last year, killing an estimated 144 and wounding 29 over a period of six months.

    • The CIA finds targeted drone murders counterproductive

      When the U.S. targets a person for murder, it kills 27 additional people.

    • While the world has been looking elsewhere, Boko Haram has carved out its own, brutal country

      You might not have noticed, but the world has acquired a new country. With its own capital, army and self-styled “emir,” this domain possesses some of the features of statehood. But don’t expect an application to join the United Nations: the consuming ambition of this realm is to reverse just about every facet of human progress achieved over the past millennium.

    • Drones create terrorists & media ignores 2,000 killed by Boko Haram (E161)
    • U.S. will investigate reports of civilian deaths in drone strikes against ISIL

      For more than a decade, there have been drone and aircraft strikes in countries including Yemen and Pakistan and allegations that hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of civilians have been killed. For the first time, the U.S. government has admitted that there may be civilian deaths in the campaign against ISIL as well. CCTV America’s Jim Spellman reported this story from Washington, D.C.

    • Assassination Nation

      Imagine living in a town or neighborhood where a serial killer is on the loose. The killer’s primary weapon is a pipe bomb filled with small metal projectiles like BBs and nails. The bombs are designed to kill and maim those in the vicinity of the explosion. The killer’s weapons are usually aimed at male targets, but quite often several others in the vicinity are also killed, including women and children. Oftentimes, a note is sent to the media after the attacks warning of future attacks unless the people being targeted give in to the killer or killers’ demands. The fact of the attacks’ unpredictability has created a perennial fear in the region, leaving every resident uncertain of their future and their family’s safety.

    • At least 10 killed in Niger protests against publication of cartoons
    • Tear gas used at banned protest

      Security forces in Niger used tear gas to disperse hundreds of opposition supporters taking part in a banned demonstration in the capital Niamey.

      The political altercation came after 10 people were killed in two days of violent protests against a French publication’s cartoon depicting Islam’s prophet.

    • Four dead and dozens wounded in protests in Niger against Charlie Hebdo cartoon
    • How Targeted Killing Has Become Tactic Of Choice For Both Governments And Terrorists

      The U.S. might at this point retain close to exclusive control over deadly drone warfare but it has neverthless created an easy to imitate model of targeted violence where the claimed legitimacy of the violence is not defined by its instruments or the authority of its perpetrators but simply by the idea that the targets are not innocent.

    • Mother ‘set fire to baby in road’

      A woman accused of setting fire to her newborn baby girl in the middle of a road has been charged with murder.

      Burlington County prosecutors said Hyphernkemberly Dorvilier, 22, of Pemberton Township, New Jersey, was in custody on 500,000 dollars (£331,000) bail. She tried to flee after starting the fire but was detained by residents, according to a witness.

    • Bad policies make us more vulnerable to terrorists

      From the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union until that crisp September morning of 2001, Americans lived without the specter of fear. Our sense of security was shattered on that day and our country has spent the better part of the past decade striving and fighting to restore what was lost.

    • What’s the Connection Between Suicide Bombers and Suicide Rates?

      Isolation and desperation are the likely cause of young men becoming “terrorists,” argues Larry Beck.

      The “terrorists” have struck again, offering up last week’s version of mindless violence in the name of some cause. When this happens, I am appalled at the violence, heartbroken that innocents usually die and always left wondering what it is about some causes that seemingly provide a framework for destruction. This is particularly so when I can’t figure out what the cause really is.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • FAQ: Investigative journalism now – and its future

      1. How would you describe the current situation of investigative journalism in the UK?

      I think it’s a mixed situation as always. There’s certainly a lot of interest in investigative journalism, with a lot of people taking the initiative to launch their own projects. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has been particularly notable in that respect, but also the work of Brown Moses stands out.

      Crowdfunding in particular is playing an increasing role (one of my distance learning students at Birmingham City University raised over $6000 for her investigation), but also campaigners and activists publishing their investigations, and data journalism techniques being used by a wider number of people.

    • Charging Jeffrey Sterling but not David Petraeus captures the hypocrisy of government leaks

      One of the grossest hypocrisies of Washington officialdom is the willingness to denounce leaks of some classified information and to countenance leaks of other classified information. But the gap between indignant pretense and standard practice has widened into a chasm in recent years, with Barack Obama’s administration prosecuting leakers in record numbers while protecting its own. Selective prosecution of leaks in the name of national security has never been more extreme.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Dallas Safari Club follows controversial rhino hunt with bids to shoot elephant

      A Texas hunting club was once again scheduled on Saturday to auction off a chance to kill a large animal whose numbers are dwindling, a year after it faced international criticism over doing the same with a permit to shoot an endangered black rhino.

    • Everything You Need To Know About Cyberterrorism In One Chart

      I don’t know how we missed this chart on its first go-around (it was created by Eli Dourado in May 2014, using data extrapolated from a 2013 op-ed by Jon Mooallem, who spent the summer of that year keeping track of power outages caused by squirrels), but it is everything, and you deserve to know that it exists.

  • Finance

    • Searching for Radical Democracy in the Ruins of Capitalism’s Economic Depravity

      The future demands a new political consciousness. We can’t just wait for neoliberal economics to tear apart society and then build from scratch. Cultural critic Henry Giroux published his thoughts in the Truthout analysis article Authoritarianism, Class Warfare and the Advance of Neoliberal Austerity Policies. Author and cultural critic Henry Giroux holds the Global Television Network Chair in English and Cultural Studies.

    • Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty

      For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation.

    • Mitt Flips On The Very Poor

      Nearly three years after he famously said he was “not concerned about the very poor,” former presidential nominee Mitt Romney told Republicans in a speech Friday night the party must focus on helping “lift people out of poverty.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Help! I’m censored on Famine sitcom by anti-censorship mag

      Here is what they say about themselves: “Index on Censorship is an international organization that promotes and defends the right to freedom of expression.”

      Reidy wrote a scathing article about me and others who dared to question the right of people to object to an Irish Famine sitcom. The idea for the sitcom was recently made public.

      Padraig waxed eloquently and with lots of anger against people who would dream of censoring such a remarkable project as a sitcom about Ireland’s Holocaust that Britain’s Channel 4 is considering.

      He continued his rant in the Irish Examiner newspaper during the week, slamming those who dared to think that the Famine was not a fit subject for humor.

      I decided to write a response to the Index on Censorship, given that he had certain facts wrong about my contribution, especially the one that I had called for the show to be banned.Help! I’m censored on Famine sitcom by anti-censorship mag

    • Turkey Is Blackmailing Twitter Into Censorship (Again)

      Twitter and Turkey have a bit of a love-hate-hate-hate-hate relationship, insofar as Twitter users love to publish unflattering facts about the government, and the government hates that and tries to get Twitter to censor messages. In this particular case, the government is threatening to outright block Twitter unless it takes down “offending” messages.

    • We must never censor ourselves for fear of offending the faithful

      On his way to the Philippines this week, the Pope was asked to pronounce on the question that has been on everyone’s minds: What limits should we draw around freedom of expression? The Pope answered, quite sweetly, that he would punch in the nose anyone who swore at his late mother. Then, more troublingly, he said, “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith. … There is a limit.”

    • Censorship brings down democracy

      Regarding Leon Pitt’s letter (“The Interview,” Jan. 6 Review-Journal), it seems he would like some form of censorship for movies and how the media portray certain aspects of a war we did not ask for. The fact that he is able to express his opinion in a daily publication shouldn’t be lost on him.

      “Saturday Night Live” isn’t a movie, but every weekend since 1975, it has lampooned every sitting president, former presidents and many other elected officials. Although the show never did an assassination skit, the political skits aired on “SNL” would not be seen in North Korea — or many other countries, for that matter — because of the basic lack of freedom.

    • David Cameron: There is a right to cause offense

      British Prime Minister David Cameron said that “in a free society, there is a right to cause offense about someone’s religion,” taking issue with Pope Francis’ assertion that there are “limits” to free speech.

    • Mark Zuckerberg defends Facebook censorship despite Charlie Hebdo support

      Says his condemnation of Paris attack was to support freedom of expression but sees ‘tricky calculus’ in countries where that’s restricted

    • Facebook’s hypocrisy, between the Charlie Hebdo massacre and China’s censorship
    • China’s censorship of period drama cleavage provokes outrage

      China’s most popular television drama has been re-edited to get rid of the plunging necklines featured in the show.

    • There Should Be No Censorship for Anyone Above 16 Years of Age, Says Shekhar Kapur

      Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur said there should be no censorship for anyone above the age of 16. The director, who was in Delhi for a panel discussion with FICCI Ladies Organisation, said if a person can vote, he can censor a film too.

    • Sky News showcases Charlie Hebdo self-censorship in real time

      On Sky News, former Charlie Hebdo journalist Caroline Fourest was trying to explain how “crazy” it is that certain journalism mills in the United Kingdom won’t show the cover of the latest edition of the magazine. Well, Sky News provided a stronger explanation than Fourest ever could have. Watch some memorable seat-of-the-pants censorship, live.

    • The French are honoring the satirists of Charlie Hebdo by prosecuting satirists

      In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the principal message has been, quite rightly, to defend free expression and to condemn those who would use violence to respond to messages they dislike. Yet at the same time, the French Ministry of Justice has ordered prosecutors to enforce with “utmost vigor” a law that itself imposes violence, albeit of the state-sanctioned variety, on speech whose messages the French majority dislikes.

    • On Charlie Hebdo Pope Francis is using the wife-beater’s defence

      On the day another cartoonist victim was buried at Père Lachaise cemetery, the pope came as near as dammit to suggesting that Charlie Hebdo had it coming. “One cannot provoke; one cannot insult other people’s faith; one cannot make fun of faith,” he said.

      Oh yes, you can. You may not choose to. It may not be wise or polite or kind – but you can. And to show you can, without being gunned down, Charlie Hebdo has just gone on sale in the UK, in bolder outlets, proudly defiant with an image of Muhammad on the cover – though with a tear and a kindly thought: “All is forgiven.”

    • French Government Shows Stunning Hypocrisy on Free Speech

      Arrests for speech at a march in support of free speech? Mais oui!

    • ​Saudi Arabia flogs free speech, Nigeria’s corrupt legacy & CIA goes on trial

      Abby Martin discusses the flogging of a Saudi Arabian blogger for insulting Islam and the State Department’s non-reaction to the event, plus the hypocritical arrest of a French comedian for his controversial social media comments in the wake of a mass demonstration in Paris defending free speech.

  • Privacy

    • The Digital Arms Race: NSA Preps America for Future Battle

      The NSA’s mass surveillance is just the beginning. Documents from Edward Snowden show that the intelligence agency is arming America for future digital wars — a struggle for control of the Internet that is already well underway.

    • U.S. kept secret law enforcement database of Americans’ calls overseas until 2013

      The U.S. government amassed a secret law enforcement database of Americans’ outbound overseas telephone calls through administrative subpoenas issued to multiple phone companies for more than a decade, according to officials and a government affidavit made public Thursday.

    • Justice Department Kept Secret Phone Database
    • Court filing reveals secret database of phone records kept by Justice Department

      The database only stored metadata, which is the information regarding what phone number is calling where, when the call took place and the duration of the call. The content of the calls was not stored. The data was collected for the Drug Enforcement Administration to be able to monitor calls made by U.S. citizens connecting with people in countries “determined to have a demonstrated nexus to international drug trafficking and related criminal activities.”

    • The DEA secretly snooped on American phone records for 15 years

      Yet another secret U.S. government database containing the phone records of American citizens has been revealed this week.

      Disclosed in a new court filing, a database maintained by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is said to contain a record of calls made to and from foreign countries by Americans. Metadata from the calls are collected through the use of administrative subpoenas, which can be issued by the DEA without prior judicial oversight.

    • The New Imitation Game

      …fear that the spread of encryption globally would cause NSA to “go dark.”

    • Democracy in the digital era

      We live in remarkable, transformative times. We have the library of Alexandria at our fingertips; all the recorded knowledge of the world is being digitized and made available through the Internet Archive, a free, non-profit digital library offering universal access to books, music, knowledge, news and web pages.

    • The Criminalization of Cryptography

      Following the recent data breaches at Sony and the attacks at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, certain politicians have wasted no time calling for increased government surveillance, broader anti-hacking statutes (with stiffer penalties), and, in the case of British Prime Minister David Cameron, a call to limit non-government use of encryption technologies. Oddly enough, a leaked cybersecurity report from the U.S. government pointed out just how important crypto is to everyday internet functionality.

    • Obama Sides with Cameron in Encryption Fight

      President Barack Obama said Friday that police and spies should not be locked out of encrypted smartphones and messaging apps, taking his first public stance in a simmering battle over private communications in the digital age.

    • United States intelligence Agency,NSA, laughing at the rest of the world in The New Snowden documents

      New Snowden documents show that the NSA and its allies are laughing at the rest of the world. National Security Agency and its allies are methodically preparing for future wars carried out over the internet.The new documents presented by Der Spiegel show that NSA surveillance programs are at the foundation of efforts to create sophisticated digita

    • New Snowden documents show that the NSA and its allies are laughing at the rest of the world

      A team of nine journalists including Jacob Appelbaum and Laura Poitras have just published another massive collection of classified records obtained by Edward Snowden. The trove of documents, published on Der Spiegel, show that the National Security Agency and its allies are methodically preparing for future wars carried out over the internet. Der Spiegel reports that the intelligence agencies are working towards the ability to infiltrate and disable computer networks — potentially giving them the ability to disrupt critical utilities and other infrastructure. And the NSA and GCHQ think they’re so far ahead of everyone else, they’re laughing about it.

    • The surveillance machine

      We meet a former FBI undercover agent, Edwards Snowden’s lawyer, and journalists including Andy Greenberg of Wired magazine and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, who are publicizing his findings. Greenberg speaks of a cat-and-mouse game in which the “mice” are challenging the secrecy of the surveillance state. We also meet and hear from Snowden himself, as well as officials from inside the intelligence community.

    • Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf

      Incidentally, the NSA is only one of 16 US intelligence services, together employing perhaps some 200,000 spies.

    • Universal Surveillance

      When it comes to intelligence, everybody, be they democracies, dictatorships, or in between, wants it all.

    • Ex-NSA director: Support for insecure cryptography tool “regrettable”
    • The Fallout From the NSA’s Backdoors Mandate

      It’s difficult to establish an exact dollar amount, but “experts have estimated that losses to the U.S. cloud industry alone could reach (US)$180 billion over the next three years. Additionally, major U.S. tech companies like Cisco and IBM have lost nearly one-fifth of their business in emerging markets because of a loss of trust,” said Robyn Greene, policy counsel at New America’s Open Technology Institute.

    • NSA mathematician apologizes for agency’s support of flawed security tool

      ​A top NSA researcher has gone on the record to condemn the agency’s long-standing endorsement of a controversial cryptographic tool even after learning of its flaws – including a vulnerability that could be exploited by hackers and spies.

    • NSA admits ‘regret’ over backing dodgy cryptography standard

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) has offered some sort of apology for pushing insecure cryptography solutions to businesses, describing it as a “regrettable” move.

      Michael Wertheimer, former director of research at the NSA, made the admission about the agency’s support of the widely criticised Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual EC DRBG) in a letter published by the American Mathematical Society (PDF).

    • Clegg: UK terror laws need update but snooper’s charter implies guilt on all

      DPM backs ex-MI5 chief’s statement that UK needs to ‘retain the ability to intrude on the privacy’ of terrorists but rejects blanket power to retain records of every website visited by general public

    • Indiana vs NSA: New Bill Would Ban “Material Support or Resources”

      With Congress not only failing to rein in National Security Agency (NSA) spying, but actually expanding its power in a recent funding bill, many privacy activists are looking to the states to take action to block warrantless surveillance programs. A bill filed this week in Indiana would not only support efforts to turn of NSA’s water in Utah, but have some practical effect in the Hoosier State should it pass.

    • NSA-Led Panel Says There’s No Alternative To NSA Data Collection

      Surprise! An academic advisory panel, chaired by director of national intelligence James Clapper — yup, the same guy who lied to Congress — has concluded that there’s no alternative to bulk data collection. Sorry, citizens.

    • Privacy advocates say NSA reform doesn’t require ‘technological magic’

      “The report doesn’t provide justification for continuing mass surveillance programs,” says Neema Singh Guliani, the American Civil Liberties Union’s legislative counsel.

    • NSA: SO SORRY we backed that borked crypto even after you spotted the backdoor

      The NSA’s former director of research Michael Wertheimer says it’s “regrettable” that his agency continued to support Dual EC DRBG even after it was widely known to be hopelessly flawed.

      Writing in Notices, a publication run by the American Mathematical Society, Wertheimer outlined the history of the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual EC DRBG), and said that an examination of the facts made it clear no malice was involved.

    • A French Patriot Act? How not to pass anti-terror laws

      Metadata collection also failed to prevent attacks such as the Fort Hood shooting of 2009 and the 2013 Boston Marathon attack, and has proved massively detrimental to public trust.

    • FBI Uses E-mail Communications Collected by NSA without Warrants
    • Report: The FBI Oversaw the NSA’s Email Surveillance

      The 231-page report, obtained by the New York Times, explains that “in 2008… the F.B.I. assumed the power to review email accounts the N.S.A. wanted to collect through the “Prism” system.” It also developed the protocols that were used to ensure that the email accounts that were targeted didn’t belong to U.S. citizens.

    • US drug squad cops: We snooped on innocent Americans’ phone calls too!

      Much like the secret NSA and FBI databases, the DEA got its information under subpoena from American telecommunications companies, irrespective of whether or not the target had committed any crime. The dialing and receiving number were stored, along with the data and time of the call, and who it was billed to.

    • DEA maintained secret database of Americans’ phone calls

      The Drug Enforcement Administration formerly maintained a secret database of Americans’ telephone calls to some foreign countries, the Justice Department revealed this week.

    • No, the NSA Isn’t Like the Stasi—And Comparing Them Is Treacherous

      Calling the Stasi “secret police” is misleading. The name is an abbreviation of STAatsSIcherheit, or State Security. Founded in 1950 as the East German Communist Party’s “sword and shield,” it never hid the fact that it was spying. By the late 1980s, more than 260,000 East Germans—1.6 percent of all adults in the country—worked for the organization, either as agents or as informants. (If the NSA employed as many analysts to spy on 320 million Americans, it would have 5 million people on the payroll.) It wanted you to constantly wonder which of your friends was an informant and, ideally, tempt or pressure you into the role of snitch too.

    • The D.C. Public Library can teach you how to avoid NSA spying

      Do you want a hands-on lesson on staying clear of NSA snooping? If you live in the Washington, D.C., area, you’re in for a treat. Later this month, you could be part of a seminar on how to keep your personal information private.

    • Want to hide from the NSA? Washington, DC public library can help

      Do you want to use the Internet without fear of the National Security Agency or other government operatives snooping on your business? The public library in our nation’s capital is here to help.

    • Why David Cameron’s crusade against encryption could backfire on business

      A secret US cybersecurity report warned that government and private computers were being left vulnerable to online attacks from Russia, China and criminal gangs because encryption technologies were not being implemented fast enough.

    • Charlie Hebdo shows why the NSA always wins

      As Sargent says, the Patriot Act is coming up for reauthorization this year (which may or may not be necessary to keep operating the dragnet). It would be relatively straightforward to design an NSA reform (or better yet, a top-to-bottom reorganization of the whole intelligence community) that preserves the ability to surveil genuine suspects while protecting innocent Americans’ constitutional rights. Indeed, there is a strong case that doing so would improve the quality of their work.

    • Will NSA bulk phone records program continue after June 1?
    • Contractors ‘raping’ government for profit, & do sanctions on Russia work?
    • UK Banking System Sitting Duck For Cyber Attacks

      Although today’s agreement between the US and the UK to step up intelligence-sharing to defend their financial services sectors against cyber-crime, it is ironic that it is the taxpayers of both countries who are – once again – forced to step in and save the bankers, who have left themselves wide open by outsourcing data to save money and make profits.

    • US, UK agree to closer collaboration on cyberwarfare

      The countries’ intelligence agencies will work together and conduct cyberwar games later this year to test the security of financial institutions.

    • UK And US To Stage Cyber War Games To Test Banks
    • UK startups join Cameron in Washington as he talks cyber warfare with Obama

      UK security startups like Darktrace and Surevine have been invited on the trip to discuss cyber terrorism and grow their businesses in the US.

    • Cambridge company advises Obama on cyber security
    • UK cyber security firm Darktrace to open US HQ early after Sony hack drives demand

      One of the UK’s fastest growing cyber security companies has pushed forward plans to open its US headquarters after seeing a surge in demand following the Sony cyber-attack.

    • NSA, GCHQ plan to step up cybersecurity cooperation efforts in 2015
    • GCHQ, NSA cyber war games will test bank security
    • NSA leaker to speak via video
    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to speak at Hawaii conference

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden lived in Hawaii before leaking classified information about the government’s secret surveillance programs.

    • NSA Whistleblower Snowden to Speak at ACLU Hawaii Conference
    • Boehner Credits NSA Wiretap for Capturing Cincinnati ‘Jihadist’

      The FBI claimed the man, Christopher Cornell, plotted to bomb the Capitol building, and had cited “tipsters” who told them about Cornell’s Twitter posts, crediting their own informants for the arrest. They never mentioned the NSA.

    • “Shut it Down!” Fourth State to Consider Resource Ban to NSA, South Carolina

      A bill filed in South Carolina this week would not only support efforts to turn off NSA’s water in Utah, but would have practical effects on federal surveillance programs if passed.

      South Carolina Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) introduced the South Carolina Fourth Amendment Protection Act on Jan. 13. S.275 would ban “material support or resources” from the state to warrantless federal spy programs, making it the third state to introduce legislation similar to a bill up for consideration in Utah this year.

    • Missouri Action Alert: Help Nullify NSA, Support HB264
    • MN bill would ban NSA, local agencies from seizing electronic data without a warrant
    • Leaked NSA document shows how GCHQ trailed iPhone users

      Leaked documents from the U.S.-based National Security Agency (NSA) published in a German weekly have shown that data from the famously malware-resistant iPhone can be accessed even when the device itself has not been compromised.

      The documents detailing ways employed by the British GCHQ to track targets through their phones revealed that when an iPhone syncs with a compromised computer, any data on the phone can be pulled out, reported The Verge.

    • Court rules NSA doesn’t have to divulge what records it has

      The case served as an early test of the limits for researchers who had hoped to use the National Security Agency’s phone records collection program as a treasure trove for their efforts. But Judge James A. Boasberg, sitting in the federal district court in Washington, D.C., said the NSA is within its rights to refuse to say what kinds of records it has, and unless researchers can specifically prove the agency has them, the NSA doesn’t have to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests.

    • Terrorists made their emails look like spam to avoid detection

      The NSA was obviously aware of the trick, and Wertheimer says they are constantly changing their algorithms, which means it is likely that nowadays spam email is the domain of bad marketeers rather than jihadists.

    • Minnesota Legislation Would Send Question of Electronic Data Privacy to Voters
    • Minnesota Bill Would Ban NSA Activity Called The “Biggest Threat Since The Civil War”

      Introduced by Sen. Branden Petersen (R Dist. 35), SF33 stipulates that “a government entity may not obtain personal identifying information concerning an individual without a search warrant

    • Leaked Palantir Doc Reveals Uses, Specific Functions And Key Clients

      Since its founding in 2004, Palantir has managed to grow into a billion dollar company while being very surreptitious about what it does exactly. Conjecture abounds. The vague facts dredged up by reporters confirm that Palantir has created a data mining system used extensively by law enforcement agencies and security companies to connect the dots between known criminals.

    • Here’s What Really Goes On Inside Palantir, The Secretive Data Analysis Company Used By The NSA And FBI

      Leaked documents obtained by TechCrunch have shed new light on Palantir, a secretive data analysis company whose tools are used more than a dozen U.S. government agencies, including the NSA and FBI.

    • Leaked documents: Bernie Madoff convicted thanks to mysterious Palantir technology
    • ProtonMail Is Making ‘NSA-Proof’ Encrypted Email A Reality

      Privacy has never been so important, but in a digital age where personal information made public is easily retrievable, and even private data isn’t necessarily safe, what alternatives have been produced to respond to the growing demand for online solitude?

    • Obama Supports U.K. Request to Pressure Tech Giants on Security Cooperation

      During a joint press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday, President Obama agreed with his plan to pressure U.S. tech companies to cooperate with intelligence and law enforcement agencies in fight against terrorism.

    • ​NSA develops cyber weapons, ‘attacker mindset’ for domination in digital war – Snowden leaks

      Mass surveillance by the NSA was apparently just the beginning. The agency is now preparing for future wars in cyberspace, in which control over the internet and rival networks will be the key to victory, documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal.

      The National Security Agency’s aim is to be able to use the web to paralyze the enemy’s computer networks and all infrastructures they control – including power and water supplies, factories, airports, and banking systems, Der Spiegel magazine wrote after viewing the secret files.

    • Patriot Act Idea Rises in France, and Is Ridiculed

      The arrests came quickly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. There was the Muslim man suspected of making anti-American statements. The Middle Eastern grocer, whose shop, a tipster said, had more clerks than it needed. Soon hundreds of men, mostly Muslims, were in American jails on immigration charges, suspected of being involved in the attacks.

    • Justice Department Declassifies Additional Portions of Inspector General Reports on Using Patriot Act Section 215 for Business Records Collection

      In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The New York Times, the Justice Department has declassified additional portions of these two inspector general reports about the government’s use of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which is the legal basis for the once-secret National Security Agency program that systematically collects records in bulk about Americans’ domestic and international phone calls.

    • A guide to state surveillance, the ‘snoopers’ charter’ and government hacking

      A major row between the political parties is brewing over demands by David Cameron and the intelligence services for even more surveillance powers in the wake of the terrorist atrocities in Paris last week.

      David Cameron has promised new legislation so that terrorists no longer have “safe spaces” to communicate.

    • David Cameron preying on our fears after Charlie Hebdo massacre with encryption ban calls

      Cameron is essentially calling on companies like WhatsApp and Apple to install backdoors in their systems to allow the UK authorities access them whenever they want.

      Not only is this a huge invasion of people’s privacy, it will also mean that such services will now be much more vulnerable to attack from everyone from cyber-criminals to hacktivists.

    • Cameron Seeks Obama’s Help in Crackdown on Online Encryption
    • Edward Snowden is an American hero

      The USA is called the land of the free, but there is no freedom in the analysis of a citizen’s conversation.

    • StingRay, Dirtbox Tracking Order Template Authorizes U.S. Marshals to Investigate Any Identified Cell Phone

      The document at issue is not an order issued by a judge, but an order template used by law enforcement in San Bernardino County (CA) to draft anticipated order applications seeking authority to operate cell site simulators. It is common practice for law enforcement to create order applications from templates prepared by state or federal prosecutors. These templates have wording such as “Detective Name” and “Crime Definition,” which are replaced with case-relevant information before filing the applications in court. Requiring law enforcement to use templates, rather than letting them write their own legal documents, allows prosecutors to use preset legal strategies while defending the legitimacy of the resulting orders in court.

    • Has terrorism already claimed its next victim in Britain: our right to privacy?

      Following last week’s tragic events in France, the world has spoken out in solidarity against religious extremism, and in support of the freedom of expression. But alongside this, another narrative has emerged. In the name of safety, British officials have begun arguing in favour of stronger powers for the security services to intercept personal data.

    • DEA kept secret record of Americans’ phone calls before NSA program

      The US Department of Justice has been maintaining a secret record of all phone calls in and out of United States even before the start of its National Surveillance Programs, according to a new report.

    • DEA kept records of US phone calls for nearly 15 years

      The NSA isn’t the only American government agency keeping track of phone call metadata… or rather, it wasn’t. A Department of Justice court filing has revealed that the Drug Enforcement Administration maintained records of every call made from the US to Iran and other nations for nearly 15 years, stopping only when the initiative was discontinued (prompted at least partly by leaks) in September 2013. The DEA didn’t get the content of those calls, but it also didn’t get court oversight — it used administrative subpoenas that only required the approval of federal agents. And unlike the NSA, this program was meant solely for domestic offenses like drug trafficking.

    • The question of traitor or hero is pointless

      When the rights of a people are violated, what do you do? Do you do nothing, or do something, even if that something is unpopular or illegal. Edward Snowden chose to do something, making information that needed to be known public. In doing so he opened the eyes of the American people to living in a “fishbowl of constant surveillance” (Turley). Though many believe the leaks to be dangerous, the release of data was reviewed and contained little that could damage national security. It also opened debate on the legality of unconstitutional spying. But the discussion quickly switched to Snowden’s personality, an irrelevant and distracting subject. Whatever his personal motives, the information Snowden divulged will have ramifications for years to come.

    • The Guardian view on mass surveillance: missing the target

      Kalashnikovs trained on free speech, police protection for Jewish schools and 10,000 troops out on “sensitive” streets in Britain’s nearest neighbour. The last few days in Paris stir searching questions about the nature of European society, the values it holds dear, and the right way to protect them. One might hope for answers reflecting fresh thinking, but the emerging response of SW1 is drearily familiar – mass surveillance on the assumption that “the gentleman from Whitehall knows best”.


      The Paris gunmen had been on watchlists for years. Building up extra intelligence on all 66 million residents of France would not have helped; keeping an unflinching eye on the few thousands who provoke serious fears might have done. If the question were resources, the spies would deserve a fair hearing. But they seem more interested in the power to add hay to the stack, a perverse way to hunt the needle. For all the claims made for untargeted sifting, the sole “plot” that the US authorities can hold up as having been disrupted by it is a taxi driver’s payment of a few thousand dollars to al-Shabbab. Terrorists, from 9/11 to the Woolwich jihadists and the neo-Nazi Anders Breivik have almost always come to the authorities’ attention before murdering. Society can’t afford too many scruples about the privacy of those who provoke such suspicions.

    • UK PM wants to ban unbreakable encryption! OK but only if …

      Presumably for anyone to use encryption in Cameron’s world would require escrowing decryption keys so the government could examine any and all communications as they pleased.


      If Western governments want that kind of control over their citizens then it has to be symmetrical which would mean that all government activities other than those that could be proved to be truly in the national interest (for example, how to make nuclear bombs) should become, in turn, completely transparent. That means every government committee meeting, every government memo, every government phone call, every donation to any politician, every political deal, all of it … completely and immediately transparent with severe consequences for any kind of evasion or failure to do so. No more backroom deals, no more horse trading, no more obfuscation. And along with that all surveillance by a government would have to be justified and authorized and documented.

    • Ecstatic NSA spooks delight in spying on spies who are spying on spies

      A trenche of fresh Snowden leaks published in Der Spiegel by Laura Poitras, Jacob Appelbaum and others detail the NSA’s infiltration of other countries’ intelligence services, detailing the bizarre, fractal practices of “fourth-party collection” and “fifth-party collection.”

  • Civil Rights

    • On press freedom, Eric Holder makes the right call

      On Wednesday, Mr. Holder announced revisions in Justice Department guidelines for issuing subpoenas and search warrants to journalists or for their newsgathering materials. The revisions are being made to an earlier update of the guidelines, an effort that followed the uproar over leak investigations involving the Associated Press and Fox News. The new revisions reflect nearly a year’s discussions between the Justice Department and a coalition of news organizations and journalists, including the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Newspaper Association of America, the Associated Press and this newspaper, among others.

    • CIA manager testifies more than 90 knew about covert mission

      A CIA manager testified under cross-examination in a trial near Washington that more than 90 people knew about a covert Iranian mission that was leaked to the media.

    • Caning of Saudi Blogger Is Delayed Amid Protests

      A lawyer in Saudi Arabia who founded a human rights group was sentenced to 15 years in prison. His wife, a women’s advocate who won a courage award from the State Department, says she is barred from leaving the country. Her brother, a writer who ran a liberal online forum, is also in jail and was sentenced to be caned regularly in a public square over the next few months.

      International condemnation of the writer’s sentence, which also included a prison term and a heavy fine, has mounted since a video of him receiving his first round of blows appeared on YouTube, and the State Department and the United Nations have called for the caning to stop.

      The Saudi authorities did not administer the second round of blows as scheduled on Friday. But the case of the writer, Raif Badawi, has nonetheless drawn new attention to the Saudi government’s harsh treatment of dissidents for acts that are considered anything but criminal in the West.

    • Woman Is Publicly Beheaded in Saudi Arabia’s Tenth Execution of 2015

      Gruesome footage circulating on social media shows Saudi authorities publicly beheading a woman in the holy city of Mecca earlier this week. The execution is the tenth to be carried out in country in the last two weeks; setting 2015 up to be even more bloody than last year, when 87 people were punitively killed by the state.

      Rare video of Monday’s killing shows the woman, a Burmese resident named as Lalia Bint Abdul Muttablib Basim, screaming while being dragged along the street. Four police officers then hold the woman down before a sword-wielding man slices her head off, using three blows to complete the act.

      In the chilling recording, Bashim, who was found guilty in a Saudi Sharia court of sexually abusing and murdering her seven-year-old step-daughter, is heard protesting her innocence until the very end. “I did not kill. I did not kill,” she screams repeatedly.

    • Al-Marri’s End and the Failed Experiment of Domestic Military Detention

      In the coming days, Ali al-Marri, former enemy combatant, is scheduled to be released from federal criminal custody, clearing the way for his removal by immigration officials to Qatar, and thus ending a legal odyssey that began more than 13 years ago with Mr. al-Marri’s arrest by the FBI in Peoria, Illinois. [Disclosure: I served as al-Marri’s lead counsel in his habeas corpus challenge to his military detention]. Al-Marri’s case raised issues central to the war on terrorism, including the distinction between combatants and civilians, the legitimacy of responding to terrorism through a military, as opposed to law enforcement, approach, and the geographic scope of the armed conflict itself. Above all, al-Marri’s legal challenge raised the important question—never definitively resolved—whether the president’s detention authority under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) extended to individuals lawfully present in the United States. Below, I offer some lessons to be drawn from his case and suggest why it provides a cautionary tale against domestic military detention.

    • Israel lobbies foreign powers to cut ICC funding

      Israel is lobbying member-states of the International Criminal Court to cut funding for the tribunal in response to its launch of an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, officials said on Sunday.

      ICC prosecutors said on Friday they would examine “in full independence and impartiality” crimes that may have occurred since June 13 last year. This allows the court to delve into the war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza in July-August 2014 that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and 70 Israelis.

    • Former NSA Condoleezza Rice testifies at CIA leak trial

      Sterling denies leaking any information to Risen. Defense lawyers say the leak could have come from anywhere and that Sterling has faced unfair suspicion because he sued the CIA for racial discrimination.

    • Feds Paint Dark Image of Suspected CIA Leaker
    • Saudi blogger’s wife says global pressure could force his release

      The wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi has called on the international community to pressure the Saudi Arabian authorities to release her husband, after his public flogging was postponed this weekend.

    • The New CISPA Bill Is Literally Exactly The Same As The Last One

      The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over expecting different results. That’s a cliche, but politicians often follow the hoariest routes to power, and attempting to enact change by doing the same thing repeatedly is one of them.

    • The police rely on fear and lobbying to defeat reforms. Protestors can’t let them do so again

      For the first time in a long time, American police departments are on the defensive. They’re on the defense in New York, where, after the NYPD’s open insurrection against the mayor, 69% of New York “voters, black, white and Hispanic” disapprove “of police officers turning their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio at funerals for two police officers” according to a Quinnipiac poll – and now, even some cops have started openly airing their disgust with their own union leadership. They’re on the defense in Washington, where they’re “on the hot seat” at President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. And they continue to be on the defense in municipalities across the country, as every new police shooting sparks intense national scrutiny on social and in traditional media.

    • Obama: Europe must better integrate Muslims

      “Our biggest advantage, major, is that our Muslim populations – they feel themselves to be Americans,” Obama told a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

    • The Paris March of hypocrisy

      Indeed, there are so many legitimate reasons questioning the moral credibility of the huge march.

    • British complicity in US drone war could be ‘one step from illegal act’, warns MP David Davis

      Senior Conservative MP David Davis has issued a stark warning about Britain’s possible role in the US’s secret drone war against militants in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

      The former Shadow Home Secretary told the Bureau that any British complicity in the US drone campaign is “in the same moral space, as far as I’m concerned, as collusion in torture”.

    • Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire with Love Peace and Nonviolence

      It is particularly appropriate that we are gathered here around International Human Rights Day and our theme is Peace and Living It. I believe that Peace is a Human Right for everyone, and its presence is necessary in order to protect and sustain all the other rights enshrined in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I am sure we can agree that although we have a Universal Declaration, we have a long way to go to ensure that our Governments implement and uphold all these rights. In spite of this I am full of hope because I believe that we, the human family, are at a turning point in history.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter mysteriously killed in 1997 after finishing script that revealed the ‘real reason’ for US invasion of Panama had been working for the CIA… and both his hands were missing

      When the skeletal remains of Hollywood screenwriter Gary Devore were found strapped into his Ford Explorer submerged beneath the California Aqueduct in 1998 it brought an end to one of America’s most high profile missing person cases.

    • Scottish police demand uncensored version of CIA torture report

      The police are poised to tell US authorities they want to see the uncensored version of a CIA torture report as part of their investigation into extraordinary rendition flights.

      Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, Scotland’s top prosecutor, has confirmed that the force has been “instructed to request and consider the unredacted version” of the US Senate study.

      SNP MSP Kevin Stewart urged the US authorities to co-operate fully with Police Scotland and “hand over an unadulterated copy”.

    • CIA exonerates CIA of all wrongdoing in Senate hacking probe
    • CIA board clears staff of snooping Senate computers
    • CIA investigates CIA, says CIA did nothing wrong
    • Behind whitewash of CIA spying: The trail leads to the White House
    • White House Knew CIA Snooped On Senate, Report Says
    • CIA finds no wrongdoing in agency’s search of computers used by Senate investigators
    • The CIA Will Not Discipline Anyone For Spying On Senate Torture Probe
    • The US has no excuse not to prosecute CIA torturers
    • Revealed: Only 29 detainees from secret CIA torture program remain in Guantánamo Bay
    • A list of the 28 detainees held by CIA’s detention program in 2006 – its ‘final’ year
    • CIA torture programme cast a wide net

      Less than a quarter of the 119 detainees named in the US Senate’s summary report into the CIA’s secret torture programme remain in the military prison for the most ‘hardline’ terror suspects—Guantánamo Bay—the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has established.

    • The Revenge of the CIA

      Hearing the testimony from CIA operatives, it’s clear that the agency is extremely eager to make an example of Sterling. Despite all the legalisms, the overarching reality is that the case against Sterling is scarcely legal — it is cravenly political.

    • CIA-Friendly Jury Seen in Sterling Trial

      When the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling got underway Tuesday in Northern Virginia, prospective jurors made routine references to “three-letter agencies” and alphabet-soup categories of security clearances. In an area where vast partnerships between intelligence agencies and private contractors saturate everyday life, the jury pool was bound to please the prosecution.

      In a U.S. District Court that boasts a “rocket docket,” the selection of 14 jurors was swift, with the process lasting under three hours. Along the way, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema asked more than a dozen possible jurors whether their personal connections to the CIA or other intel agencies would interfere with her announced quest for an “absolutely open mind.”

    • Times Reporter Prevails in Three-Year Fight Over CIA Leak

      New York Times reporter James Risen prevailed over the U.S. government in its three-year effort to force him to testify at trial about a confidential source as part of a CIA leak prosecution.

      The request by prosecutors that Risen be dropped as a witness capped a longer battle to avoid revealing his sources. The fight reached the U.S. Supreme Court, focusing attention on the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of leaks. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder reacted to the controversy by issuing guidelines last year restricting the use of subpoenas and search warrants for journalists.

    • US reporter will not have to testify in CIA leak case
    • The New York Times’ James Risen Won’t Go To Jail For Reporting This Spectacular CIA Screwup

      For the past seven years, New York Times journalist James Risen has been embroiled in a legal battle with two presidential administrations over his refusal to reveal an inside government source.

    • Guantanamo Bay staff sergeant claims three men believed to have committed suicide were actually tortured to death
    • Guantanamo guard claims CIA killed detainees, made it look like suicide
    • Ex-Army Sergeant Claims CIA Killed Gitmo Detainees, Called It Triple Suicide (Video)
    • How US Prison Officials Rubber-Stamped a CIA Torture Chamber
    • New Evidence Shows CIA Held Prisoners In Lithuania
    • CIA Held Detainees at Lithuania Black Site, Investigators Claim

      The CIA held prisoners in a secret Lithuanian prison despite official denials, a detailed investigation by human rights investigators claims to show.

    • The CIA’s Willingness To Lie About Our Torture Regime: The Architecture Of Unbelief

      In the most recent New York Review Of Books, there’s an excellent interview about the now-largely-forgotten report from the Senate about how the United States government’s regime of torture was developed, and about how it was operated, with Mark Danner. Along with Marcy Wheeler, Jane Mayer, Charlie Savage and very few other reporters, Danner was one of the people who thought that this country’s decision to torture people — in contravention of treaties, American law, and over 200 years of military custom — was worthy of extended acts of journalism. In one of the more striking passages in the interview, Danner explains how a complicated infrastructure of mendacity was constructed and how it became equally as vital to the torture program as were the waterboard and the rectal feeding tube. Not only did the CIA arrange this infrastructure in order to lie to the American people about what was done in their name, but also the CIA built this infrastructure to provide an institutional basis for the American government to lie to itself.

    • Local artist protests CIA torture, arrested in D.C.

      For the last three years, Bozeman artist Deb Vanpoolen has taken part in an annual fasting and protest against torture and perceived American imperialism in Washington, D.C. This was the first year she got arrested for it.

    • Letter: Shut down the CIA

      You just renewed your oath to support the Constitution. Please make sure that things get done which are constitutional.

    • Iranian Global Centre To Support Human Rights Exposes U.S. CIA Torture

      Human rights campaigners criticise American media hypocrisy

    • Is Torture As Ineffective As It Is Abhorrent?

      As with the two protestors arrested on a “Torturers Tour” outside Dick Chaney’s residence on January 10th, we must place our hopes that Hoffman won’t be easily silenced, and he will be equally ruthless and fearless should the accusations against the APA hold true, whether the torture techniques were effective or not.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Movie DRM fails again as Oscar DVD screeners appear on torrent sites

      Remember when the entertainment industry was thrilled about its temporary defeat of the Pirate Bay? Well, the victory – such as it was – hasn’t stopped the pirates from removing the DRM that was supposed to protect this year’s Oscar movie screeners. Yep, the pirates simply stripped the watermarking and uploaded the files anyway to many other torrent sites.


Links 17/1/2015: Lennart Poettering in Headlines, Mageia 5 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 12:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • ‘IN DOG WE TRUST,’ Says New Sheriff’s Rugs

    The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida has gone to the dogs. Well, at least its rugs have.

    Department spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said Wednesday that a new, $500 rug at the sheriff’s administration building said “In Dog We Trust” instead of “In God We Trust.”

  • Science

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • OpenSSL: trust and purpose

      Those following me on various Intarweb Media may have noticed I’ve spent half the week staring at openssl source code and weeping. Here’s one of the results of that.

      OpenSSL has two somewhat different mechanisms for deciding what uses a certificate is good for: trust and purpose. This is quite subtle and not terribly well documented, so I thought I’d write it up here.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Worried about Russia? Lithuania says ‘Keep calm and read the war manual’

      Lithuania is publishing a manual to advise its citizens on how to survive a war on its soil as concerns grow that Russia’s intervention in Ukraine heralds increased assertiveness in its tiny Baltic neighbors.

      “Keep a sound mind, don’t panic and don’t lose clear thinking,” the manual explains. “Gunshots just outside your window are not the end of the world.”

      The manual, which the Defence Ministry will send to libraries next week and also distribute at army events, says Lithuanians should resist foreign occupation with demonstrations and strikes, “or at least doing your job worse than usual”.

    • Satellite Images Show Ruin Left by Boko Haram, Groups Say

      Thousands of buildings were burned, damaged or destroyed in northern Nigerian towns in recent days when Boko Haram militants stormed through, using scorched-earth tactics against civilians, according to a new analysis of satellite images by human rights groups.

      In a succession of attacks, fighters from Boko Haram, an Islamist insurgent group that has gripped northern Nigeria and battled the government for years, have swept through a cluster of villages along the shores of Lake Chad in a “systematic campaign of arson directed against the civilian population in the area,” according to Human Rights Watch.

    • Musharraf Indicted Over Bugti Murder

      An anti-terror court on Wednesday indicted Pervez Musharraf over the 2006 killing of a separatist leader, the latest legal hurdle facing the former military ruler since his return from self-imposed exile two years ago.

      The charges by the court in Quetta are unlikely to cause any immediate problems for the 71-year-old, who has not attended a single hearing in the case since it began in 2013. He was previously indicted for treason in March last year over his imposition of emergency rule in 2007, but proceedings have stalled since then as the country’s civil authorities and judiciary appear to lack the will to take on the military.

      “The anti-terrorist court has indicted Musharraf along with former interior minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao and former home minister [of] Balochistan province Shoaib Nosherwani in Nawab Akbar Bugti’s murder case,” said public prosecutor Taimur Shah. He added the court would resume hearings in the case on Feb. 4.

      Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed in a military operation in 2006, sparking deadly nationwide protests and inflaming a separatist insurgency in resource-rich but impoverished Balochistan.

    • Saudi Arabia Publicly Beheads Burmese Woman by Sword; Woman Shouts ‘I Did Not Kill, I Did Not Kill’

      Reports that emerged on Thursday evening that a Burmese woman was publicly beheaded in Mecca by Saudi authorities for allegedly killing her step-daughter has outraged social media users.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • And Now, a Word From Our Climate Denier…

      Is this the right way or the wrong way to cover the news of the record heat? That depends. Is the purpose of an article like this to convey how open-minded the New York Times is? If so, then the piece is a success, managing to give one-third of its quotes to a proponent of a fringe theory without giving any indication that his eccentric views are virtually absent from peer-reviewed science.

    • There is less than a 1-in-27 million chance that Earth’s record hot streak is natural

      Although it may not have been warm where you live, scientists announced Friday that 2014 was the Earth’s hottest year since record-keeping began in 1880. The climate milestone was made possible in large part by exceptionally mild ocean temperatures and above-average temperatures on most continents.

      Remarkably, the warmth came without the assistance of an El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean. These events are naturally occurring ocean and atmospheric cycles that tend to boost global temperatures. Previous El Niños have been responsible in part for the prior warmest years, such as 1998 and 2005, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    • Record! 2014 was Earth’s warmest year

      The planet’s warmest year on record was 2014, federal scientists announced Friday.

      “Humans are literally cooking their planet,” said Jonathan Overpeck, an atmospheric scientist from the University of Arizona.

      The global temperature from 2014 broke the previous record warmest years of 2005 and 2010 since record-keeping began in 1880.

      Two separate data sets of global temperature — from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — confirmed the record. Another data set released last week by the Japan Meteorological Agency also found 2014 was the planet’s warmest.

  • Finance

    • Apple, Google give high tech workers an extra $90 million in “no-poach” suit

      On Thursday afternoon Apple, Google, Adobe, and Intel filed a settlement in a class-action lawsuit [PDF] involving former employees of the companies, agreeing to pay them $415 million. The 64,000 employees and former employees who made up the class alleged that their employers had agreed not to cold call or poach each others’ employees, creating artificially low wages for the employees for years.

    • Richard Wolff on the Greek Crisis, Austerity and a Post-Capitalist Future

      In the following interview, New School professor and economist Richard Wolff provides his analysis of the causes of the economic crisis in Greece and in the eurozone, debunks claims that the Greek economy is recovering and offers his proposal for what a post-capitalist future could look like for Greece and the world.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Turkey Tells Twitter To Block Turkish Newspaper’s Feed; Twitter Plans To Push Back

      The Turkish government has been battling with Twitter for quite some time. It’s gone after citizens for comments on Twitter, blamed Twitter for social unrest and even tried (temporarily) banning Twitter entirely in the country. There was even a lawsuit by the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, filed with the Constitutional Court, over his own government’s “failure” to implement rules for removing content on Twitter.

    • Alabama Legislators Say You Must Be A Salaried Employee Of Old School Media To Get Approved For Press Credentials

      The only people who still feel they can clearly define who is and isn’t a journalist are legislators. They’re almost always wrong. Journalism isn’t a career. It’s an activity. Anyone can do it and, thanks to the internet, anyone can find a publishing platform and readers. But, according to many politicians, it ain’t the press unless it involves one.

    • Wrong Responses to Charlie Hebdo

      Leaders in Europe are justifiably trying to figure out what they should be doing to prevent terrorist attacks like the recent massacre at the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Regrettably, some politicians are proposing the kind of Internet censorship and surveillance that would do little to protect their citizens but do a lot to infringe on civil liberties.

      In Paris, a dozen interior ministers from European Union countries including France, Britain and Germany issued a statement earlier this week calling on Internet service providers to identify and take down online content “that aims to incite hatred and terror.” The ministers also want the European Union to start monitoring and storing information about the itineraries of air travelers. And in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron suggested the country should ban Internet services that did not give the government the ability to monitor all encrypted chats and calls.

    • French Rein In Speech Backing Acts of Terror

      The French authorities are moving aggressively to rein in speech supporting terrorism, employing a new law to mete out tough prison sentences in a crackdown that is stoking a free-speech debate after last week’s attacks in Paris.

    • Why porn is exploding in the Middle East

      More recently, the Saudi Arabian government announced that it had hacked and disabled about 9,000 Twitter accounts associated with the publication of pornography and arrested many of the handles’ owners. The move was organized by the Commission for the Promotion and Prevention of Vice, also known as Haia, the Saudi religious police.

    • Saudi Arabia, Free Raif Badawi

      Raif Badawi was flogged in public 50 times last week. He has 950 lashes and nearly a decade in prison left to serve – simply for blogging about free speech.

    • Governments Around the World are Cracking Down on the Latest Charlie Hebdo Cover

      The latest issue of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has ignited controversy in the Middle East and elsewhere due to a caricature of the prophet Muhammad depicted on its cover.

      Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed the journal’s central Paris headquarters last week and murdered 12 people, they said to avenge the publication’s regular lampooning of Muhammad. Many Muslims regard depictions of the Prophet as blasphemous and the decision to again publish a cartoon of Muhammed has caused widespread debate.

      The cartoon itself depicts the Prophet shedding a tear while holding a sign that says “Je suis Charlie” — the slogan which has become popular around the world as a declaration of solidarity with the victims of the attack — under a headline that reads “All is forgiven.” It was drawn by the weekly’s cartoonist Luz, who escaped the massacre because he was late arriving for work.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Republican net neutrality bill allows ‘reasonable’ network management

      Draft net neutrality legislation released Friday by Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or selectively slowing legal Web content, but it would allow them to engage in “reasonable” network management.

      The proposal would give broadband providers wide latitude to engage in network management, with a management practice deemed reasonable “if it is appropriate and tailored to achieving a legitimate network management purpose.”

      The draft legislation would also prohibit the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from reclassifying broadband as a regulated public utility, and it would stop the agency from creating any new net neutrality rules.

    • Republican net neutrality bill would gut FCC’s authority over broadband

      Net neutrality legislation unveiled by Republicans today would gut the ability of the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the broadband industry.

      As expected, the bill forbids the FCC from reclassifying broadband as a common carrier service, preventing the commission from using authority it has under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. This is the statute the FCC uses to regulate landline telephone providers.

    • Netflix “refused” to answer encryption allegation, FCC commissioner says

      Ajit Pai, part of the commission’s Republican minority, has clashed with Netflix over its use of technology that is not compatible with “open caching software” used by Internet service providers. Netflix says that it “obscured certain URL structures to protect our members from deep packet inspection tools deployed to gather data about what they watch online,” which apparently had the side effect of forcing ISPs to use different caching systems. Netflix does offer caching appliances to Internet service providers, but the bigger carriers have refused, demanding payment for connections to their networks.

    • Tucows Hopes To Kickstart U.S. Broadband Competition One Town At A Time

      Last month I noted how longtime domain registrar Tucows had decided to try and kick-start stagnant broadband competition by buying a small Virginia ISP by the name of Blue Ridge InternetWorks (BRI). Operating under the Ting brand name, the company said the goal was to bring a “shockingly human experience and fair, honest pricing” to a fixed-line residential broadband market all-too-often dominated by just one or two giant, apathetic players. Ting promised to offer 1 Gbps speeds at a sub-$100 price point, while at the same time promising to respect net neutrality.


Links 16/1/2015: Chapeau 21, Tails 1.2.3

Posted in News Roundup at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Moving steam’s .local folder deletes all user files on Linux

    Failing to add a check for an empty variable has left some Steam users on Linux running a recursive delete of their entire filesystem with user privileges.

  • 6 Linux Apps to Watch For in 2015

    The Linux landscape is ever changing. Over the last few years, the flagship open source tool has found levels of acceptance thought unreachable for software running on a free platform. That momentum isn’t going to let up. In fact, 2015 promises to be a very bright year in Linux land ─ from enterprise Linux all the way down to the desktop. In fact, the Linux desktop should find 2015 to be a rather exciting time.

    Why? Applications. There are some outstanding projects on the horizon that could easily bring the Linux desktop into a realm of relevancy it has yet to enjoy.

    Let’s take a look at six such projects and see what they have to offer.

  • Linux Investments Looking Up for 2015

    Now that Linux has essentially gained parity with Windows across the enterprise, solution providers have a vested interest in where customers who will make use of the open-source platform in 2015 are headed. In a new survey of 115 customers, Red Hat finds that, in general, optimism concerning IT spending in 2015 is relatively high with investments in mobile computing and big data topping the priority list. Just over half those customers are planning new application deployments on Linux, but perhaps most interesting to the solution providers in the channel is the fact that 26 percent are planning on migrating application workloads from Windows to Linux and another 15 percent are planning to migrate from Unix to Linux. Most of the application workloads also appear headed for private or hybrid clouds rather than public clouds. Also of note to solution providers should be the fact that 33 percent either already have or plan to embrace containers as an alternative form of virtualization in 2015 for reasons, ranging from the ability to deploy applications faster to streamlining testing and development.

  • You’ll get sick of that iPad. And guess who’ll be waiting? Big daddy Linux…

    After such a banner year of Linux releases it might seem overly pessimistic to pause and ask this question: is there a future beyond this?

    The answer is, of course, “yes” – or rather it’s yes, but… The qualifying “but” can take many forms, depending on who you talk to and what their stake is in the game.

    Even if you take the most optimistic outlook for the future of the Linux desktop, to what end do all these distros continue turning out all these great releases year after year? Are we waiting for the day when there are no more laptops or desktops left?

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Disk expansion

      My current setup at home involves a HP Microserver. It has four drive bays carrying two SSDs (for home directories) and two Western Digital RE4 2TB drives for bulk data storage (photos, source tarballs and other things that don’t change often). Each pair of drives is mirrored. I chose the RE4 because I use RAID1 and they offer good performance and error recovery control which is useful in any RAID scenario.

    • VIDEO: Interview with ESET about Windigo & Advanced Linux Server-Side Threats

      iTWire interviews ESET Malware Researcher Olivier Bilodeau, on his way to be one of the speakers at the 2015 Linux.conf.au conference, presenting on advanced Linux server-side threats.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds on why he isn’t nice: “I don’t care about you”

      Following his keynote speech at the Linux.conf.au Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, Torvalds opened a Q&A session by fielding a question from Nebula One developer Matthew Garrett that accused Torvalds of having an abrasive tone in the Linux kernel mailing list. “Some people think I’m nice and are shocked when they find out different,” Torvalds said in response (quoted via multiple Twitter accounts of the event). “I’m not a nice person, and I don’t care about you. I care about the technology and the kernel—that’s what’s important to me.”

    • Linus Torvalds responds to Ars about diversity, niceness in open source

      On Thursday, Linux legend Linus Torvalds sent a lengthy statement to Ars Technica responding to statements he made in Auckland, New Zealand earlier that day about diversity and “niceness” in the open source sector.

      “What I wanted to say [at the keynote]—and clearly must have done very badly—is that one of the great things about open source is exactly the fact that different people are so different,” Torvalds wrote via e-mail. “I think people sometimes look at it as being just ‘programmers,’ which is not true. It’s about all the people who are more oriented toward commercial things, too. It’s about all those people who are interested in legal issues—and the social ones, too!”

    • Torvalds Only Cares about the Kernel
    • Linux Foundation Helps Launch IoTivity Collaboration Project

      If there is strength in numbers, there is a whole lot of strength in the open source movement for Internet of Things technology. On January 14, the IoTivity open source project announced a preview release of of its technology that is being developed as a Linux Foundation Collaboration Project.

      The Linux Foundation is also the home of the AllSeen Alliance IoT project that is based around Qualcomm’s open-source AllJoyn framework. It is unclear if there is any overlap between IoTivity and AllSeen’s inititiatives. The Linux Foundation did not respond to a request for a comment from Datamation on any potential overlap between the projects. That said, there has always been a lot of choice within the Linux and open source ecosystem and having multiple IoT options isn’t a surprise.

    • Learning systemd

      Systemd is coming to a linux distro near you.

      In fact, if you’re using RHEL 7+, CentOS 7+, Fedora 15+ or Arch, you’re already using systemd. You can always stick to a distribution that stays clear of systemd, but chances are you’ll eventually run into systemd — so we may as well learn to get along with it.

    • Linux Kernel 3.12.36 LTS Officially Released

      The latest version of the stable Linux kernel, 3.12.36, has been announced by Jiri Slaby and it has arrived with a fair number of changes and improvements.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • ‘Goodbye Photoshop’ and ‘Hello Krita’ at University Paris 8

        According to François, “we don’t want to let ourselves be pushed around and make choices that go against our beliefs. This freedom of choice is exactly the advantage that a public institution has over a private school.” All other animation schools in France, fellow members of RECA (the network of French schools of animation), are watching ATI avidly to see how this new methodology works out.

      • Professional Software for Digital Painting Krita Receives Numerous Fixes

        Krita, an application that is used to make digital painting files from scratch, has been updated to version 2.9 Beta 2 and it comes with a large number of improvements and various fixes.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • gnome-battery-bench

        gnome-battery-bench is basically usable as is. The main remaining thing to do with it is to spend some time designing and recording a couple of sequences that better reflect actual usage. The current tests I checked in are basically just placeholders.

      • GNOME 3.15.4 unstable tarballs due

        Tarballs are due on 2015-01-19 before 23:59 UTC for the GNOME 3.15.4…

      • GNOME Puts Out A Laptop Battery Testing Program

        The newest GNOME application is for testing your laptop’s battery power use under various scenarios.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Short Interest of Red Hat Inc Increases by 12.3%
      • Fedora

        • Chapeau 21 released!

          I am delighted to announce the release of Chapeau 21 “Obree”.

        • Fedora 21 review: Linux’s sprawliest distro finds a new focus

          Like most Linux distros, Fedora is a massive, sprawling project. Frankly, it’s sprawl-y to the point that it has felt unfocused and a bit lost at times. Just what is Fedora? The distro has served as a kind of showcase for GNOME 3 ever since GNOME 3 hit the beta stage. So Fedora in theory is meant to target everyday users, but at the same time the project pours tremendous energy into building developer tools like DevAssistant. Does that make Fedora a developer distro? A newbie-friendly GNOME showcase? A server distro? An obscure robotics distro?

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Elive Is a Debian and Enlightenment Distro Mix with Some Cool Features

          Elive, a Linux distribution based on Debian that uses Enlightenment as the default desktop environment, has been upgraded to version 2.5.2 Beta and is now available for download and testing.

        • Want to Stay Anonymous Online? Use the Tails 1.2.3 OS

          Tails, a live system that aims to preserve your privacy and that helps you use the Internet anonymously, is now at version 1.2.3 and is available for download and testing.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • `Caffeine` App Gets Its Indicator Back With New 2.8 Release

            Caffeine is a tool used to temporarily prevent the activation of the screensaver / lock screen / sleep mode when using full-screen windows. The application is useful when using video players that don’t do this automatically, when listening to music while not using the computer, etc.

          • Canonical Ports Unity Improvements from Ubuntu 14.10 to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

            It’s easy to think that Ubuntu developers are usually working only on the next version of the operating systems, but they also put a lot of effort into the distros they already released. For example, an important Unity update has been unveiled now for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

          • Firefox 35 Lands in Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

            Canonical has updated the Firefox packages for Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating systems. If you have this application already installed, you only need to update your system

          • Ubuntu Advances Juju Linux Magic Charms

            Juju first debuted in Ubuntu 11.10, the “Oneiric Ocelot,” back in October of 2011. The word “juju” is a word meaning magic in the African language from which the name Ubuntu itself was derived. Ubuntu Linux Server The promise of Juju is easier application and service deployment, which is enabled by way of a number of Juju components.

          • Proof Of Concept: LibreOffice’s Writer Tool Running On Ubuntu Touch

            While it already has many applications specially developed for it, Canonical’s Will Cooke has managed to make LibreOffice’s Writer tool (developed for X.org) run on Ubuntu Touch.

          • Ubuntu Touch’s Music App Is Yet Another Convergence-Ready Application

            For now, Ubuntu’s convergence concept has been previously demoed by Jono Bacon, Ubuntu’s former Community Manager, via the Weather App and the Karma Machine.

          • GParted Exploit Has Been Closed in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

            A single GParted vulnerability has been found and corrected in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin). The developers have issued a patch and the GParted app has been updated.

          • Ubuntu Devs Are Talking Whether to Let Software Update Delete Old Kernels

            One of the problems on Ubuntu platforms is that the Software Update tool doesn’t remove the old kernels after an upgrade, but the Ubuntu devs are now talking whether their tool should be used to perform this kind of cleaning.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Review: Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” Xfce

              Recently, the Xfce edition of Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” was released. It and the MATE edition are notable in featuring…Compiz! This really caught my eye, so I wanted to review it. There are several other changes too, so I figured that it would be worthwhile to review the Xfce edition rather than the MATE edition, given that I already tried the MATE edition of Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” not too long ago. Note that Ubuntu-based Linux Mint is sticking only to LTS releases, so a major release will roughly coincide (lagging by a month or so) with the Ubuntu LTS release, and then decimal point releases will be put out every 6 months or so and be given a new code name while still sticking with the last LTS release as its base. As far as this review goes, I tried this as usual as a live USB system made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see what it’s like.

            • Introducing the MintBox Mini

              We’re starting 2015 with exciting news. Linux Mint and CompuLab will be announcing a brand new unit called “MintBox Mini” in Q2 2015.

            • The Linux Mint Project Announces the MintBox Mini PC

              The Linux Mint project has announced the MintBox Mini, which is a mini PC that is basically small enough to almost fit into a pocket.

            • MintBox Mini coming in Q2 for $295

              CompuLab’s MintBox computers have always had a relatively small form factor, and have gotten very positive reviews from customers on Amazon. But now they are getting even smaller with the upcoming release of the MintBox Mini. The MintBox Mini is expected to debut sometime in the second quarter of 2015 and will sell for $295.


              Tails is a Linux distribution geared toward helping you protect your privacy and anonymity while you use the Internet. The latest release is version 1.2.3 and you can download it now.

            • MintBox Mini gives Linux users a pocket-sized PC
            • The MintBox Mini is a silent, quad-core Linux Mint PC that fits in your pocket
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Open-source IoT software framework releases preview

      The OIC’s “IoTivity” project released a v0.9.0 preview of its open source IoT framework software, with ready-to-test builds for Arduino, Tizen, and Yocto.

      IoTivity is a project sponsored by the Open Internet Consortium (OIC), an industry association formed last July in order to develop open source standards and software for providing “interoperability and services” to potentially billions of Internet-of-Things devices.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Adobe Lightroom Comes to Android Phones

          Android: A while back, Adobe released a Lightroom companion app for iOS phones and tablets. Now, Android is catching up with a version of the app for phones. And it starts with a 30-day free trial.

        • Adobe’s Lightroom Mobile Comes To Android

          It’s no secret that Adobe hasn’t exactly done a stellar job at keeping parity between its collection of apps for iOS and Android. iOS users, for instance, enjoy Adobe Illustrator Line and Draw, Color CC, Premiere Clip, Brush CC, and many more that have yet to see the light of day on the Play Store.

        • HP reportedly set to release its Android and Windows tablets sometime this year

          Originally discovered by Notebook Italia, both tablets are powered by an Intel quad-core Bay Trail Atom Z3735F processor. Accompanying the processor package is 2GB of RAM, as well as 32GB of internal storage. Both the Pro Slate and Pro Tablet come with 10.1-inch displays, as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC.

        • Where’s My Lollipop? When’s Your Phone Getting Android L?
        • ODG Wants To Put Android On Your Face For Less Than $1000 Later This Year

          In terms of specs, the tablet description isn’t far off. The consumer model is powered by a Snapdragon 805 system-on-a-chip, which frequently appears in flagship phones and tablets from Android OEMs. The current demo unit is running Android Kit Kat, though the final release will sport Lollipop.

        • OnePlus One Android 5.0 Lollipop Update Coming Next Month

          If you’re still waiting for your OnePlus One to make the official jump to Android 5.0 Lollipop we have some good news. The Cyanogen-powered phone is getting its own specialized version of Google’s latest mobile OS in February, according to Cyanogen founder Steve Kondik.

        • Android customization – how to use Android Device Manager to find your lost phone

          Last week on our Android customization series, we went a little crazy with device security, rigging things up using Tasker to take a photo of anyone accessing your device. We were sure to save the device’s current GPS coordinates as a part of the file name of the photo, making it as likely as possible you can recover a lost device.

        • Nexus 7 (2013) and Nexus 10 Android 5.0.2 factory images arrive

          Back in December, the Nexus 7 (2012) received a new factory image with the build number LRX22G, containing an update to Android 5.0.2. Now the Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi and Nexus 10 are following suite, as factory images have just landed for both of these tablets.

Free Software/Open Source


  • Science

    • How today’s young IT talent is different from previous generation

      For the past 10 years, I’ve had a front row seat to the transition of they way young adults approach IT work. As a professor teaching software architecture at the National Technology University, I’ve witnessed a lot of changes in students today.

      First, I need to point out that my class is an elective for students in the final year of their degree. They typically enroll in my “IT Project Architecture” class because they want to learn and they want to get a job after they graduate, which tends to eliminate any slackers from my class.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Hottest year on global record was Canada’s coolest in 18 years

      Last year broke another global heat record, becoming the hottest since 1880. But did it feel that way to you? Probably not, since it was Canada’s coolest in 18 years.

      NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today that last year broke the global temperature record for the third time in a decade.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Only ‘No-Go Zones’ Are Found in Fox News’ Fantasyland

      Fox News pundit Steve Emerson drew international ridicule for claiming Birmingham, England, was a “no-go zone” for non-Muslims (FAIR Blog, 1/12/15). But he was far from alone on Fox in advancing this xenophobic fantasy of urban areas lost to Western civilization.

    • First Female S.F. Chronicle Editor-In-Chief Speaks Out On The Industry’s Glass Ceiling

      Audrey Cooper does not believe it should have taken a century and a half for the San Francisco Chronicle to name its first female editor-in-chief.

      And she should know. She’s that editor.

      Cooper, who was named to the top post at the Chronicle on Wednesday, said a glass ceiling still exists at news organizations and she’s personally had experiences where she felt she wasn’t treated equally because of her gender.

      “Obviously there is (a glass ceiling),” Cooper said. “I think all of the coverage of [New York Times editor Jill Abramson's 2014] departure laid bare a lot of things that other female editors felt but hadn’t really articulated. They’re much more subtle than people might think. Sexism in general is a lot more subtle than it used to be 20 years ago. Yes, I’ve had the experiences that I think that I was not treated the same as men based on my gender.”

  • Censorship

    • Pope Francis: Free expression doesn’t mean right to insult others’ faith

      Weighing in on last week’s terror in France and the debate over freedom of expression it stirred, Pope Francis said en route to the Philippines that killing “in the name of God” is wrong, but it is also wrong to “provoke” people by belittling their religion.

    • Charlie Hebdo’s Defiant Muhammad Cover Fuels Debate on Free Speech

      Immediately upon unveiling its new cover — a depiction of Muhammad — the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Tuesday reignited the debate pitting free speech against religious sensitivities that has embroiled Europe since 12 people were killed during an attack on its Paris offices by Muslim extremists a week ago.

      The cover shows the bearded prophet shedding a tear and holding up a sign saying, “I am Charlie,” the rallying cry that has become synonymous with support of the newspaper and free expression. Above the cartoon on a green background is the headline “All is forgiven.”

  • Privacy

    • Mass surveillance not effective for finding terrorists

      In response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, the UK government is redoubling its efforts to engage in mass surveillance.

      Prime minister David Cameron wants to reintroduce the so-called snoopers’ charter – properly, the Communications Data Bill – which would compel telecoms companies to keep records of all internet, email and cellphone activity. He also wants to ban encrypted communications services.

      Cameron seems to believe terrorist attacks can be prevented if only mass surveillance, by the UK’s intelligence-gathering centre GCHQ and the US National Security Agency, reaches the degree of perfection portrayed in his favourite TV dramas, where computers magically pinpoint the bad guys. Computers don’t work this way in real life and neither does mass surveillance.

      Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly, who murdered 17 people, were known to the French security services and considered a serious threat. France has blanket electronic surveillance. It didn’t avert what happened.

    • FBI has its fingers deep in NSA surveillance pie, declassified report shows

      The FBI had, and most likely still has, a much closer involvement with the NSA’s mass surveillance programs than previously thought – with access to raw foreign intelligence and data on Americans gleaned from the PRISM program.

      The 231-page report, from the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, was obtained – albeit in a heavily redacted form – after a Freedom of Information request by The New York Times, a request made possible using key details leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The report finds that in 2008 – almost since the inception of the PRISM program, which allows the NSA access to citizens’ information stored by Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Yahoo! among others – the FBI had access to slurped private data.

    • BBC uses RIPA terrorism laws to catch TV licence fee dodgers in Northern Ireland

      It has invoked the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to catch viewers evading the £145 charge.

      The Act, which regulates the powers of public bodies to carry out surveillance and investigation, was introduced in 2000 to safeguard national security.

      But a series of extensions mean it can now be applied to investigate minor offences, including not paying the licence fee.

    • Activist pulls off clever Wi-Fi honeypot to protest surveillance state

      The chairman of the youth wing of the Swedish Pirate Party successfully fooled attendees at a major Swedish security and defense conference into connecting to an open Wi-Fi network that he controlled—as a way to protest mass digital surveillance.

    • Thousands of German spies at risk after double-agent stole list of identities

      Double agent working for US, identified only as Markus R, may have sold top-secret details of 3,500 German intelligence officers posted abroad, according to Bild newspaper


      An employee of the BND, Germany’s equivalent of MI6, Markus R worked in the registry section of its overseas operations department, where he had access to top secret documents including the identities of operatives posted abroad.

    • The Inside Information That Could Have Stopped 9/11

      That the CIA did block him and Doug Miller, a fellow FBI agent assigned to the “Alec Station,” the cover name for CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, from notifying bureau headquarters about the terrorists has been told before, most notably in a 2009 Nova documentary on PBS, “The Spy Factory.” Rossini and Miller related how they learned earlier from the CIA that one of the terrorists (and future hijacker), Khalid al-Mihdhar, had multi-entry visas on a Saudi passport to enter the United States. When Miller drafted a report for FBI headquarters, a CIA manager in the top-secret unit told him to hold off. Incredulous, Miller and Rossini had to back down. The station’s rules prohibited them from talking to anyone outside their top-secret group.

    • How terrorism breeds bad thinking

      As we try to process our rage and grief after attacks like the one on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Chris Hayes examines how we are susceptible to mistakes that can have devastating consequences.

    • End of the Google Glass? – Can I say I told you so?

      It’s academic, Google Glass is reported to now be on the way out. I remember in May 2014 I voiced my concerns about the product, the dislike of its camera pointing at you and also mentioned the fan boys/girls who defended the device with cries of “Glass Hater”. Seems I was right, because the views I aired appear to have been echoed by potential consumers (or the lack thereof).

    • Oscar Nominations 2015: Laura Poitras on the Uncertainties Surrounding ‘Citizenfour’

      Laura Poitras’s “Citizenfour,” about Edward J. Snowden’s leak of National Security Agency documents, has long been seen as the front-runner for the best documentary Oscar. It plays out like a thriller while touching on one of the rawest nerves of our time – government surveillance of private citizens.

      Of course getting the actual nomination is another thing altogether. What had been seen as “Citizenfour’s” biggest challenger, the Roger Ebert film “Life Itself,” failed to get a nod.

    • British Government Wants To Outlaw Secure Communication (To Keep You Safe)

      In the wake of recent terror attacks in Europe, British Prime Minister David Cameron has called for an end to secure communications technology.

      In other words, he wants to ensure that you will never again be able to use encryption technology to maintain privacy.

    • Secret US cybersecurity report: encryption vital to protect private data

      A secret US cybersecurity report warned that government and private computers were being left vulnerable to online attacks from Russia, China and criminal gangs because encryption technologies were not being implemented fast enough.

  • Civil Rights

    • Justice demands equal treatment: Opposing view

      The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act to wage an unprecedented war on national security whistle-blowers.

    • Wyden Statement on CIA Accountability Board Report on Agency’s Secret Search of U.S. Senate Files

      “Both the CIA Inspector General and the review board appointed by Director Brennan have now concluded that the CIA’s unauthorized search of Senate files was improper. It is incredible that no one at the CIA has been held accountable for this very clear violation of Constitutional principles. Director Brennan either needs to reprimand the individuals involved or take responsibility himself. So far he has done neither.

    • CIA Won’t Punish Employees Who Spied On Senate Intel Committee

      The Central Intelligence Agency will not discipline any of the five agency employees who accessed Senate Intelligence Committee computer systems last year during the Senate investigation of abusive interrogation tactics by the CIA.

      While the CIA’s decision was in line with a review that the agency commissioned, it contradicts the agency’s own internal watchdog, the CIA Office of the Inspector General, which had concluded that the employees accessed Senate computers “improperly” and didn’t respond with candor when questioned.

    • CIA officials cleared in Senate spying flap

      No Central Intelligence Agency personnel will be disciplined for intruding into computers being used by the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of a highly-sensitive investigation into the agency’s use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects, the agency said Wednesday.

    • Reports detail White House role in CIA-Senate ‘spying’ flap

      Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan’s decision last year to quietly flag White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to a developing showdown with the Senate drew repeated warnings at the time from a CIA lawyer who said such contact was unwise because it might undermine a criminal investigation or appear to do so, a report released Wednesday revealed.v

    • White House Knew CIA Snooped On Senate, Report Says

      Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan consulted the White House before directing agency personnel to sift through a walled-off computer drive being used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to construct its investigation of the agency’s torture program, according to a recently released report by the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General.

      The Inspector General’s report, which was completed in July but only released by the agency on Wednesday, reveals that Brennan spoke with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough before CIA employees were ordered to “use whatever means necessary” to determine how certain sensitive internal documents had wound up in Senate investigators’ hands. The conversation with McDonough came after Brennan first issued the directive, but before he reiterated it to a CIA attorney leading the probe.

    • Condoleezza Rice testifies in CIA leaks trial

      Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a highly unusual public appearance Thursday — taking the witness stand for the prosecution in a criminal case against a former CIA officer on trial for leaking details of a top-secret spy program.

      Rice, who once traveled the globe as America’s top diplomat, found herself describing another type of diplomacy to a federal court jury: the Bush administration’s effort in 2003 to kill a New York Times story that threatened to reveal a CIA effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear program by secretly providing Tehran with flawed plans for an atomic weapon.

    • Condoleezza Rice Testifying at Sterling CIA Whistleblower Trial on WMD Claims
    • John Brennan Exonerates Himself with Sham Investigation

      The outrageous whitewash issued yesterday by the CIA panel John Brennan hand-picked to lead the investigation into his agency’s spying on Senate staffers is being taken seriously by the elite Washington media, which is solemnly reporting that officials have been “cleared” of any “wrongdoing“.

    • The Revenge of the CIA: Scapegoating Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling

      This week, in a federal courtroom, I’ve heard a series of government witnesses testify behind a screen while expounding on a central precept of the national security state: The CIA can do no wrong.

    • U.S. Moves Five Yemenis From Guantánamo

      The United States transferred five more detainees — all of them Yemenis — from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on Wednesday, the Defense Department announced. Their release intensified the dispute between the Obama administration and several Republican senators over President Obama’s recent flurry of transfers as he seeks to empty the American-run prison.

    • Freedom of the Press a Key Issue in Trial of Former CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling

      In the aftermath of a series of brutal terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 17, including eight journalists at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police officers and hostages at a kosher food market, more than three million people marched in Paris in solidarity with the victims and in support of freedom of the press. Forty heads of state also joined the march, but as many critics pointed out, some of the nations they represented, such as Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Russia and Israel, have poor records when it comes to press freedom at home. The U.S., criticized by some for not sending a high-level representative to participate in the Paris march, also has a flawed record on freedom of the press.

    • Glenn Greenwald: With Calls to Spare Petraeus, Feinstein Plea Shows that Not All Leaks are Equal

      The FBI and federal prosecutors have recommended felony charges against former CIA director David Petraeus for allegedly providing classified information to a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair. Petraeus resigned in 2012 after admitting to cheating on his wife with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The recommendation of charges stems from a probe into whether Petraeus gave Broadwell access to his CIA email account and other sensitive material. Attorney General Eric Holder was supposed to have decided by the end of last year on whether to indict. According to The New York Times, the delay has frustrated some federal officials “who have questioned whether Petraeus has received special treatment at a time Holder has led a crackdown” on government whistleblowers. On Sunday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California urged the Department of Justice not to bring criminal charges against Petraeus, saying “the four-star general of our generation” and “very brilliant man” has “suffered enough.” We are joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, who calls Feinstein’s comments “one of the most disgusting you will ever hear. What she’s actually saying is that because David Petraeus is a really important person, that he should be immunized from consequences for his lawbreaking … Dianne Feinstein has called for the prosecution of all sorts of leakers, and yet she exempts David Petraeus.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • China expands Internet backbone to improve speeds, reliability

      Even as China cuts access to some foreign online services, it is laying more fiber optic cables to improve its connection to global Internet networks.

      China recently added seven new access points to the world’s Internet backbone, adding to the three points that connect through Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced on Monday.

    • Obama wants to help make your Internet faster and cheaper. This is his plan.

      Frustrated over the number of Internet providers that are available to you? If so, you’re like many who are limited to just a handful of broadband companies. But now President Obama wants to change that, arguing that choice and competition are lacking in the U.S. broadband market. On Wednesday, Obama will unveil a series of measures aimed at making high-speed Web connections cheaper and more widely available to millions of Americans. The announcement will focus chiefly on efforts by cities to build their own alternatives to major Internet providers such as Comcast, Verizon or AT&T — a public option for Internet access, you could say.

    • Get coding or you’ll bounce email from new dot-thing domains

      Expansion in DNS means you may struggle to handle email from Chinese or Arabic domains

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