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Links 12/2/2015: Black Lab Linux KDE Edition, Android SmartWatches

Posted in News Roundup at 6:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Is GNU/Linux becoming too complex for its own good?

    A Debian developer, who faced issues with some minor tasks on his own machines, has now raised the question whether the distribution being built is too complex to understand and debug.

  • Server

    • Docker Popularity A Game-Changer For Cloud, Linux?

      What’s the next step for Docker, one of Silicon’s Valley’s hottest startups?

      It’s not an initial public offering — at least not this year, apparently. The well-funded, lean company says that it’s in no rush to go public.

  • Kernel Space

    • Top 10 Features of Linux Kernel 3.19

      Linux kernel 3.19 has been officially announced by none other than its father, Linus Torvalds, on February 8, 2015. It is a great release that brings some very interesting features. Because we didn’t have access to a complete list of its features at the moment of writing the news article about its availability, we have decided to drop another one that highlights Linux 3.19 kernel’s prominent features.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • A eulogy to CrunchBang, the Linux distro that time passed by

      DistroWatch.com is currently tracking 287 active Linux distributions. That’s a lot, but not every Linux distribution is a massive project. For every Ubuntu or Fedora, there are many more hobbyist distributions created and run by one or two people. Sometimes they grow into their own large projects, like Linux Mint did. And sometimes a developer decides to pull the plug, as CrunchBang’s developer recently did.


      In the end, hobbyist Linux distributions are created to scratch an itch. Developers may eventually find that itch has been solved elsewhere, or may not want to put the long hours into scratching it anymore. CrunchBang no doubt has users who use and love it, even today—but the end of CrunchBang doesn’t have to be sad. CrunchBang’s developer now believes the larger Linux ecosystem has improved so much that CrunchBang is no longer necessary.

      That’s good news for everyone, including Newborough, who now gets to spend his valuable time on something else. Thanks for a killer run, Philip.

    • Security Onion: A Linux Distro For IDS, NSM, And Log Management

      Security Onion is a Linux distribution for intrusion detection, network security monitoring, and log management. It’s based on Ubuntu and contains Snort, Suricata, Bro, Sguil, Squert, Snorby, ELSA, Xplico, Network Miner, and many other security tools. Security Onion is a platform that allows you to monitor your network for security alerts. It’s simple enough to run in small environments without many issues and allows advanced users to deploy distributed systems that can be used in network enterprise type environments.

    • Getting Started with Linux: Another Look at UberStudent

      Time flies. It’s hard to believe it, but it’s been four years since I first took a look at a Linux distribution called UberStudent. Back then it was in its 1.0 release, called “Cicero.” The latest release, “Epicurus,” came out in mid-January, with a version number of 4.1.

      There are a lot of Linux distributions out there. What makes this one worth checking out?

      As with previous releases, what makes UberStudent unique is its target audience, and the software and little added touches it has as a result.

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab Linux Releases 32-bit Edition of Their KDE-Based Distro

        In a world where everyone tries to drop 32-bit support for their OSes, Black Lab Linux developers have announced on Twitter that they’ve released a 32-bit version of their KDE-based distribution in order to support installations of the Black Lab Linux KDE Edition 6.0 SR1 operating system on low-end computers or machines with old/semi-old hardware components.

    • Arch Family

      • Satire: Linus Torvalds awarded Arch Linux as the most consumer friendly distribution

        Richard M Stallman congratulated Arch for their achievement but also pointed out the areas where he thinks Arch needs improvement, “Arch’s lack of support of DRM and binary blobs are the only areas where I see hurdles in the wide-spread adoption of Linux. We have elevated the DRM implementation project at FSF to boost work on it. Today Arch is the second most popular operating system and this gap is only due to Arch’s bad philosophy of pure Open Source software. I think they should start offering proprietary and patented applications in their repositories.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • UAE Exchange consolidates data centres with Red Hat Linux

        Red Hat, Inc. (RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that UAE Exchange, a leading foreign exchange and money transfer brand, has successfully created a scalable, secure, robust and high-performance datacenter environment by consolidating its IT infrastructure on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

      • Red Hat Upgrades Virtualization Platform

        The prolific developers at Red Hat have been relatively quiet in the New Year. Now, the open source leader is picking up the pace with the introduction of the latest version of its enterprise virtualization tool.

        The company announced general availability this week of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.5 aiming to offer tighter integration with OpenStack while promising to ease deployment of IT infrastructures for traditional virtualization workloads along with enterprise-level cloud infrastructure.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • CrunchBang, Elementary, and other Linux Complications

          The top stories today are more thoughts on CrunchBang and Elementary OS’ move to raise capital. My Linux Rig spoke to Matthew Miller from Fedora about his desktop and Adam Williamson announced Fedora 22 Anacoda/DNF testing day. Canonical pats itself on the back for a job well done in media production and John Goerzen hits the complexity nail on the head.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi robot’s explained

      Is the Pi robot a specific product or just a concept? An easy answer for some, but not everyone knows the score

    • Hackable Pi-like SBC opts for 1.6GHz quad-core STB SoC

      Shenzhen Xunlong has launched a $59 open-spec “Orange Pi Plus” SBC with a 1.6GHz quad-core Allwinner H3 SoC, 40-pin Pi-compatible expansion, WiFi, and SATA.

      In December when Shenzhen Xunlong Software announced its open-spec, Linux- and Android-ready Orange Pi and Orange Pi Mini SBCs, both of which use the dual-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner A20 system-on-chip, the company also briefly noted an upcoming, quad-core Orange Pi Plus. The Plus was said to offer a quad-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner A31 SoC with a PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU. Instead, the shipping version, now available at AliExpress for $59, arrives with Allwinner’s new quad-core Cortex–A7 based H3 SoC and a Mali-400 MP2 GPU.

    • Linux-based mobile manipulation robots due soon

      Former Unbounded Robotics execs have launched “Fetch Robotics” with $3 million in funding, and will ship a ROS-on-Linux mobile manipulator bot in Q2 2015.

      A startup called Fetch Robotics has announced $3 million in Series A financing from O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) and Shasta Ventures, along with a development team that jumped from the apparently now defunct Unbounded Robotics. Fetch Robotics plans to announce and ship two mobile manipulation robots in the second quarter that are aimed principally at the logistics and light industrial markets, “as well as for other human-robot collaboration opportunities,” says the company.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Russian Federation to help Tizen and Sailfish battle Android and iOS

          The Tizen Operating System has got unexpected interest from the Russian Federation, as the Minister of Communications and Mass Communications Nikolai Nikiforov showed his enthusiasm for the Tizen based Samsung Z1 and the “de-monopolization of the global IT-ecosystems”. When prompted about the lack of software, Nikiforov said that conditions will be created to promote the independent mobile OS.

        • Tizen Operating System in Samsung 2015 Smart TVs

          Samsung’s 2015 TV Line up will be Tizen, and they have confirmed that they will be dropping Android as a suitable TV platform for them. Using Tizen and EFL for its User Interface, Tizen TVs will have great multitasking between applications and movie streaming services, and great gaming potential with Sony’s PlayStation Now service, and much more!

        • Sony SmartWatch 3 Review: The Best-Performing Android Smartwatch Yet

          Sony’s been trying the smartwatch thing for years, but the original SmartWatch and the SmartWatch 2 both… what’s the word I’m looking for here? Sucked? Yeah. But the SmartWatch 3 has solid performance and two nifty features you won’t find on any other Android Wear. It’s the first with built-in GPS and a screen you can read without backlighting.

          Android Wear watches are off to a pretty decent start. The Moto 360, the LG G Watch R, and the Asus ZenWatch are all lovely and useful in their own ways. So why might you buy a Sony smartwatch instead?

      • Android

        • How Secure is Your Android? Mobile Antivirus Apps Tested

          Most of us will never see our Android antivirus apps spit out a warning because most of us will never encounter malware on our phones. So how can you tell if your Android antivirus is actually protecting your phone against the malware that sometimes sneaks onto Google Play or is installed by an overbearing spouse? Independent testing lab AV-Test is here with the answers.

        • Nokia’s HERE maps updated on Android and Windows Phone

          Nokia has announced that an update for its Windows Phone and Android Here mapping apps will be rolling out from today.

        • How to automatically unlock your Chromebook when your Android phone’s nearby

          Google is working hard to kill the password. If you want to live in that future now, you can turn on a feature that automatically unlocks your Chromebook whenever you wander near it with your Android phone in your pocket.

        • How to Download Android 5.0.2 Lollipop for Nexus 5?

          The Android Lollipop 5.0.2 update has been made available to some Nexus devices, including the Nexus 7 2012 and 2013 models and the Nexus 10. However, there is still no sign of the update for the Nexus 5 or the Nexus 4. While both the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 9 come with Android 5.0, apparently, the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update has been suspended because it was reported that the update causes the device’s battery to drain at a faster than normal rate.

        • Unofficial app opens up PS4 remote play on Android devices

          To this point, the PlayStation 4′s novel Remote Play function was only accessible on the PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV, and certain Xperia mobile phones. That’s no longer the case, thanks to an unofficial port that lets the official PS4 Remote Play app work on practically any modern Android device.

        • HTC One M8 and LG G3 pick up Android 5.0 Lollipop

          AT&T began deploying Android 5.0.1 for its LG G3 variant on Tuesday. The carrier will automatically push the roughly 700MB update over the air, but eager users can also manually search for the file by navigating to Settings>General>About phone>Software Update.

        • Here are all of the phones that can get Google’s massive new Android update today

          Google started pushing out its latest version of Android in November, but most Android phone owners are still waiting for the update.

        • What’s Up With Android Wear?

          Research firm Canalys says just 720,000 smartwatches powered by Android Wear, Google’s operating system for wearable devices, shipped in the last six months of 2014.

        • HTC Could Be The Next Android Partner To Ditch Google In Smartwatches
        • JW Player Brings Its Video Player To Android Apps

          JW Player, the streaming video company that (in the words of its president Chris Mahl) helps online publishers find “life after YouTube, or life beyond YouTube,” has made a big move onto mobile with the general release of its Android SDK.

          The player already worked in mobile web browsers, so it wasn’t entirely absent from Android. But this will allow publishers to include the players directly in their apps, to customize its appearance, and to include video advertising.

        • Android Lollipop Review: Google’s Material Design Delivers The Goods

          Regardless of the tinkering Google’s engineers have done under the bonnet, the most noticeable improvement has to be the overall look. Google is calling Android’s fetching new aesthetic “Material Design” and it’s all about giving the OS a more welcoming look. It’s mostly flat colours, clever use of shadow and UI elements which look like layers of paper stacked on top of one another. Google has left behind the world of skeuomorphic design ­–– just like Apple did with iOS 7 –– and the end result is something that looks less cluttered and more eye-catching.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Finally: The best phablet in the world is getting Android Lollipop

        After releasing Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for a variety of top flagship handsets in the past weeks, including the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3, Samsung has started rolling out the one official Lollipop ROM certain smartphone buyers were waiting for, the one made for the Galaxy Note 4.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Puppet Labs community manager on setting expectations

    The other side of community involvement in an open source project is the end users. It’s hard to be a successful open source project if no one is using it! But aside from providing documentation and forums, how else can projects and users connect?

    Kara Sowles, community manager for Puppet LabsOne way is a users group, a type of club where the members all share an interest in a particular arena. SHARE is one of the oldest computer users group around. The basic idea behind a users group is to provide more resources and share information among a local cell, provide support, encouragement, new ideas, mailing lists, and more. There are some challenges with belonging to a users group, managing a users group, and representing your open source project in a users group.

  • Cisco Takes Open Source Route to Policy Revamp

    Cisco is developing open source tools designed to allow network operators to describe policy in more meaningful terms.

    The Noiro Networks team inside Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is trying to solve the problem of network policy that doesn’t make sense in an application-centric world. Typical networking policy uses networking language — describing traffic flows or or whether specific ports are allowed to connect with each other. Instead, the Noiro Networks team is looking to describe policies in terms of how applications are allowed to interoperate, says Thomas Graf, a principal software engineer at Cisco working on Noiro Networks.

  • Without open source, there would be no DevOps

    If we’re going to do DevOps, we have to give up open source. Right? Wait, we’re an Agile shop, so we have to give that up, too. Right?

    Over the last five years or so, I’ve talked with a lot of people confused about what it means to “do DevOps,” and clearly concerned about having to give up other things that have already proven their value in order to adopt DevOps. The bad news is, we’ve not done a good job in the DevOps community of nailing down what DevOps is and what it isn’t at an earlier stage in our development.

  • Google Launches Open-Source, Cross-Cloud Benchmarking Tool

    Google today launched PerfKit, an open-source cloud-benchmarking tool that, in Google’s words, is an “effort to define a canonical set of benchmarks to measure and compare cloud offerings.” The PerfKit tools currently support Google’s own Compute Engine, Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure clouds. Google says it has worked on this project with over 30 researchers, companies and customers, including ARM, Canonical, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Rackspace and Red Hat.

  • Events

    • Oregon State University Open Source Lab hosts 160 projects

      The South California Linux Expo (SCALE) is an annual event aiming to provide educational opportunities on the topic of open source software. This is SCALE13X, and prior to the event I caught up with one of the speakers, Emily Durham, who will give a talk called Human Hacking.

      Emily Dunham of Open Source Lab at OSUEmily is currently finishing her final year in computer science at Oregon State University (OSU), where she is the student systems engineer at the OSU Open Source Lab. Previous to that gig at OSU, she helped run the Robotics Club, Linux Users Group, and Security Club. Emily has 7 years of experience in open source communities, and I talked with her regarding her career and life, open hardware, community psychology, and of course, her upcoming talk at SCALE13X.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Myriad Project Marries YARN and Apache Mesos Resource Management

      There are a lot of interesting announcements arriving as the O’Reilly Strata event rolls out. In one notable example, MapR and Mesosphere have announced a new open source Big Data framework (called Myriad) that allows Apache YARN jobs to run alongside other applications and services in enterprise and cloud datacenters. The initiative was kicked off by a developer at Ebay and turned into a collaborative effort between multiple companies. The project is now approaching Apache incubation.

  • Funding

    • Hitachi’s Acquisition of Pentaho Makes it a Big Data Analytics Player

      We’ve been watching the Big Data space pick up momentum as 2015 begins, and now Hitachi Data Systems Corporation has announced its intent to acquire Pentaho in what is being billed as “the largest private Big Data acquisition transaction to date.” Hitachi claims that the acquisition will accelerate enterprise adoption of Big Data technologies and solutions through “easier, faster deployment, leading to faster ROI.”

  • BSD

  • Licensing

    • Open Source Debate: Copyleft vs. Permissive Licenses

      Most discussions of free software licenses bore listeners. In fact, licenses are usually of such little interest that 85%of the projects on Github fail to have one.

      However, one aspect of licensing never fails to stir partisan responses: the debate over the relative advantages of copyleft licenses such as the GNU General Public License (GPL), and permissive licenses such as the MIT or the Apache 2 licenses.

      You only have to follow the links to Occupy GPL! that are making the rounds to see the emotions that this unending debate can still stir. Calling for an end to “GPL purism,” and dismissing the GPL as “not a free license,” the site calls on readers to use permissive licenses instead, describing them as “truly OSS [Open Source Software] licenses and urging readers to “Join the Fight!”

      Occupy GPL! itself is unlikely to have a future. Anonymous calls to actions rarely succeed; people prefer to know who is giving the call to arms before they muster at the barricades. Nor is the site’s outdated name and inconsistent diction, nor the high number of exclamation and question marks likely to inspire many readers. Still, the fact that the site exists at all, and the counter-responses in comments on Google+ show that the old debate is still very much alive.

    • Confessions of a Recovering Proprietary Programmer, Part XIII

      As a recovering proprietary programmer, I can assure you that things work a bit differently in the open-source world, so some adjustment is required. But participation in an open-source project can be very rewarding and worthwhile!


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Wikileaks shows US funded Mamasapano operation – solon

      Secret embassy cables leaked by WikiLeaks in 2010 reveal the United States’ heavy involvement in the Philippines’ counter-terrorism efforts including the botched police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, a party-list congressman claimed on Wednesday.

      Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said the cables, which were from 2005 to early 2010, show how the US government planned to operate covertly within the ranks of Philippine forces.

    • Killing of 3 Muslims in US elicits criticism over media blackout

      A shooting in the US, which has reportedly left three Muslims dead in a North Carolina university town, has set social media buzzing over accusations of double standards, with major media outlets failing to report the story.

    • U.S. Dumps Massive Load, of Weapons and Ammunition, in Lebanon

      The U.S. ambassador to Lebanon announced a new shipment of weapons and ammunition have arrived in Beirut, the latest American assistance to Lebanon’s army as it fights ISIS along its border with Syria. The Ambassador said the equipment includes more than 70 M198 howitzers and over 26 million rounds of ammunition and artillery “of all shapes and sizes, including heavy artillery.”

      “We are very proud of this top-of-the-line equipment. This is the best that there is in the marketplace. It’s what our soldiers use,” the Ambassador continued. “I know that in a matter of days it’s going to be what your brave soldiers are using in the battle to defeat terrorism and extremism.”

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Ecuador to Take Assange Case to UN Human Rights Council

      The Republic of Ecuador will take the case of its most famous asylum seeker, Julian Assange, to the U.N. Human Rights Council, according to reports this week.

    • Britain: Julian Assange Duty Is Draining Police Coffers, London Chief Says

      London’s police chief said Tuesday that the cost of keeping watch on Julian Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy there, was draining resources and must be reviewed. Mr. Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, sought refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual assault allegations, which he denies. London’s Metropolitan Police have been standing guard around the clock to prevent him from fleeing, at a cost of about $15 million since the operation began. Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told LBC Radio that officials were considering “how we can do that differently in the future, because it’s sucking our resources in.” Mr. Assange says the allegations were trumped up to facilitate his extradition ultimately to the United States, where he could be put on trial over huge leaks of information to WikiLeaks.

    • Cameras could cut £10m bill for watching Assange

      A review of the round-the-clock operation to guard Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy, was announced by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe yesterday.

    • Met Chief considering pulling the plug on £10m Assange operation

      The UK’s most senior police chief says he is reviewing the operation to guard WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because it is “sucking” their resources. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg last week revealed the cost of the surveillance operation outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London had reached around £10m. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told LBC radio: “We are reviewing the way forward there.” Mr Assange, who has been granted political asylum by Ecuador, has been living at the embassy since June 2012.

    • Julian Assange security ‘sucking Met Police resources’

      Security costs for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are to be reviewed, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has said.

      Maintaining a guard for Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in central London has cost £10m, according to figures disclosed to LBC radio.

  • Finance

    • Hidden cards in HSBC game of leaks

      The newspaper argued that similar policies would be followed by journalists in other parts of the globe, saying that it wouldn’t be responsible to just dump information on all account holders, as this could unnecesarily expose them to criminals after the extent of their wealth became public. Although no relevant accounts were tied to government officials by La Nación yet, investigations were said to be ongoing.

    • HSBC files show Tories raised over £5m from HSBC Swiss account holders

      Conservative donors, peers and a high profile MP are listed among the wealthy who legally held accounts in Switzerland with HSBC’s private bank, for a wide variety of reasons.

      Their ranks include Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, plus his brother the financier Ben Goldsmith, and a Swiss resident, German-born automotive heir Georg von Opel, who has donated six-figure sums in the past two years.

      Peers named in the HSBC files include Lord Sterling of Plaistow, the P&O shipping and ports entrepreneur who was ennobled by Margaret Thatcher, and Lord Fink, who was a party treasurer under David Cameron and has given £3m to the Conservatives.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How Reality TV Is Teaching Us to Accept the American Police State

      February 04, 2015 “ICH” – Americans love their reality TV shows—the drama, the insults, the bullying, the callousness, the damaged relationships delivered through the lens of a surveillance camera—and there’s no shortage of such dehumanizing spectacles to be found on or off screen, whether it’s Cops, Real Housewives or the heavy-handed tactics of police officers who break down doors first and ask questions later.

  • Privacy

    • Google is ‘privatized NSA’, unexamined deaths, & C of E censorship (E173)

      Afshin Rattansi goes underground on Google’s shady privacy record. Kristinn Hrafnsson, lawyer for WikiLeaks, warns that it appears Google is “not a benign company, it has sinister aims,” and reveals that it wants to be a dominant part of the military intelligence complex, handing information to the US government. Dr. Suzy Lishman, president of the Royal College of Pathologists, warns up to 10,000 deaths every year should be referred for further investigation, but are not due to massive numbers of death certificates being filled out minimally or wrong. We look into why the Church of England is removing the right to free speech for one of its vicars. Boris Johnson meets Hillary Clinton to discuss ISIS in New York. And if you’re a war-wounded veteran, you’d better hope you were injured after April 2005 – or you may lose most of your compensation to pay for basic care.

    • Philip K. Dick Warned Us About the Internet of Things in 1969

      Be careful about what you say in your living room if your new TV is on. News broke earlier this week that Samsung’s Web-connected SmartTV can listen to, record, and send what the television hears to a third-party company. The television doesn’t watch you watch it back, but it is listening.

    • Mayor Muriel Bowser Orders D.C. Fire to Lift Radio Encryption

      D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered the D.C. Fire Department to lift the encryption of the department’s radios.

      News4′s Mark Segraves broke the news on Twitter Tuesday night.

      She has instructed the fire chief to stop encrypting the department’s radio transmissions beginning Friday morning. Encryption of the radios prohibits anyone except fire personnel from listening to the radio transmissions.

    • Obama asks Germany “to give us the benefit of the doubt” on NSA spying

      President Barack Obama asked Germans to give the United States the “benefit of the doubt” when it comes to snooping by the National Security Agency.

      In a Monday joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel held at the White House on Monday, Obama said he recognizes “the sensitivities around this issue.”

      In October 2013, German media reported that Merkel had “strong suspicions” that her personal cellphone was being monitored by American authorities.

      White House spokesman Jay Carney unequivocally told reporters at the time that such surveillance was not continuing, but he did not directly deny the allegations of past conduct. The next year, Germany decided not to renew its government contract with Verizon, citing concerns over spying by the National Security Agency.

    • Laura Poitras on Citizenfour, Edward Snowden and whistleblowers

      The first glimpse the world had of Edward Snowden was in a short video in a dark Hong Kong hotel room. But film-maker Laura Poitras’ journey with the NSA whistleblower began much earlier.

    • Oscar-Nominated Edward Snowden Documentary CITIZENFOUR to Debut on HBO 2/23
    • Court Says NSA Spying too Secret to Stop

      In a ruling handed down Tuesday, a federal district judge in California refused to rule that NSA collection of Internet and phone content without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment, and dismissed part of a lawsuit challenging the spy agency program.

    • Judge White Makes Crucial Error While Capitulating to State Secrets, Again

      Ah well, all that discussion probably counts as a state secret. A concept which is getting more and more farcical every year.

    • Surveillance and the Vanishing Right to Know

      Despite the continuing torrent of disclosures concerning previously secret and wide-ranging government surveillance efforts, many criminal defendants are not getting notice of the secret surveillance authorities used in their cases. This is a serious problem—one felt acutely by defendants, but one that also has immense consequences for the public at large in an age of mass surveillance. To those whose liberty is not on the line, the right of criminal defendants to notice might seem like a narrow, procedural issue. It is not. In a world of multiplying surveillance techniques used in secret, the criminal defendant’s right to notice of surveillance used against him is vanishing—and this shift presents a fundamental obstacle for defendants, and a basic, structural problem for courts and the public.

    • EFF Vows to Continue the Fight Against Mass Surveillance After Disappointing Ruling

      EFF will keep fighting the unlawful, unconstitutional surveillance of ordinary Americans by the U.S. government. Today’s ruling in Jewel v. NSA was not a declaration that NSA spying is legal. The judge decided instead that “state secrets” prevented him from ruling whether the program is constitutional.

    • Judge rules for NSA in warrantless search case

      A U.S. judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the National Security Agency in a lawsuit challenging the interception of Internet communications without a warrant, according to a court filing.

      U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland, California wrote the plaintiffs failed to establish legal standing to pursue a claim that the government violated the Fourth Amendment.

    • Surveillance and Freedom of the Media

      These findings are the result of the exposure of mass surveillance that seriously undermines the safety of journalistic sources, the safety of whistleblowers and freedom of the media, in stark contrast with a meaningful democracy where access to information, privacy and freedom of expression is protected.

    • Twitter Reports a Surge in Government Data Requests

      Twitter on Monday released its twice-yearly transparency report, showing a surge in government requests for users’ Twitter information.

      The report, which discloses the frequency with which government agencies from around the world ask Twitter to hand over data on specific users, said total requests rose by 40 percent, to about 2,871, compared with the company’s last report, in July. The latest requests came from more than 50 countries.

    • If the NSA has been hacking everything, how has nobody seen them coming?

      The Snowden docs show us that high value targets have been getting compromised forever, and while the game does heavily favour offence, how is it possible that defence hasn’t racked up a single catch? The immediate conclusions for defensive vendors is that they are either ineffective or, worse, wilfully ignorant. However, for buyers of defensive software and gear, questions still remain.

    • The state most excited for “Fifty Shades of Grey” will surprise you

      TheWrap in conjunction with Facebook took a look at some of the chatter about the film — and its stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan — online. The data came from likes, comments and shares about the movie on Facebook. “For the past seven days, 3.7 million people had over 6 million interactions related to the Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson romp on Facebook,” TheWrap reported.

    • Breaking smart TV surveillance capabilities may be a felony

      Customers who are concerned about the surveillance capabilities of Samsung’s smart TVs have another headache to worry about: Tampering with the machine to disable such components may be a felony.

      Samsung’s privacy policy raised concerns with privacy activists who spotlighted the warning: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.” Now there are concerns that tinkering with the software by tech-savvy customers may run afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

      “Most smart TVs on the market have taken technological measures to prevent users from accessing or modifying firmware in order to prevent illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted material. But users could technically face felony charges for circumventing lockdown restrictions — even if the modifications they’re trying to make are legal under copyright law,” Slate reported Tuesday.

    • Who Else Listens To Your TV?

      That’s not exactly what the Terms say; they note that “if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted”. So we’re not just talking about the sort of data Google Now or Siri sends to their service provider (the phrase after you have started the voice recognition). Samsung also sends the commands themselves, plus any conversation around them. From that description, it seems the whole stream of conversation is likely to be sent.

  • Civil Rights

    • Jeffrey Sterling’s trial by metadata: Free speech stories

      When a Washington, DC, area jury convicted Jeffrey Sterling of multiple counts of espionage, the smoking gun wasn’t a key bit of classified information found in the former CIA officer’s possession; it was a trail of phone calls and emails of unknown content.

      The information about where those calls and emails went, however – to a New York Times reporter – was enough to convince a jury to send Sterling to prison for up to 80 years.

      According to the US Justice Department, Sterling was providing Risen with details of a failed CIA attempt to undermine Iran’s nuclear programme by having a Russian scientist code-named Merlin pass along intentionally flawed blueprints. Risen then exposed the operation in his 2005 book, State of War.

    • Map of 73 Years of Lynchings

      The most recent data on lynching, compiled by the Equal Justice Initiative, shows premeditated murders carried out by at least three people from 1877 to 1950 in 12 Southern states. The killers claimed to be enforcing some form of social justice. The alleged offenses that prompted the lynchings included political activism and testifying in court. FEB. 9, 2015 Related Article

    • Lynching as Racial Terrorism

      It is important to remember that the hangings, burnings and dismemberments of black American men, women and children that were relatively common in this country between the Civil War and World War II were often public events. They were sometimes advertised in newspapers and drew hundreds and even thousands of white spectators, including elected officials and leading citizens who were so swept up in the carnivals of death that they posed with their children for keepsake photographs within arm’s length of mutilated black corpses.

      These episodes of horrific, communitywide violence have been erased from civic memory in lynching-belt states like Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. But that will change if Bryan Stevenson, a civil rights attorney, succeeds in his mission to build markers and memorials at lynching sites throughout the South as a way of forcing communities and the country to confront an era of racial terror directly and recognize the role that it played in shaping the current racial landscape.

      Mr. Stevenson’s organization, the Equal Justice Initiative, took a step in that direction on Tuesday when it released a report that chronicles nearly 4,000 lynchings of black people in 12 Southern states from 1877 to 1950. The report focuses on what it describes as “racial terror lynchings,” which were used to enforce Jim Crow laws and racial segregation. Victims in these cases were often murdered without being accused of actual crimes but for minor social transgressions that included talking back to whites or insisting on fairness and basic rights.

      The report is the result of five years of hard work. Researchers reviewed local newspapers, historical archives and court records; interviewed local historians, survivors and victims’ descendants; and scrutinized contemporaneously published articles in African-American newspapers, which took a closer interest in these matters than the white press. In the end, researchers found at least 700 more lynchings in the 12 states than were previously reported, suggesting that “racial terror lynching” was far more common than was generally believed.

    • Watch one of Jon Stewart’s most famous moments: his epic Crossfire appearance

      Crossfire’s whole premise was a debate between left and right, one that at times degenerated into a shouting match. Stewart often criticized the show as dumbing down American public discourse. And, when Crossfire’s hosts invited him on to debate, he embarrassed them.

      “You’re partisan — what do you call it — hacks,” Stewart said, to a stunned Carlson and Begala. “Stop hurting America.” Here’s the clip…

    • Privacy experts question Obama’s plan for new agency to counter cyber threats

      White House to unveil on Tuesday the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center but critics fear an expansion of government monitoring of online data

    • Judge Nap on New Cybersecurity Agency: ‘Lost Liberties Don’t Come Back’

      “I believe that the people who build these things have the ability to make them absolutely attack-proof, but in order to do that, they have to make them impervious to government intrusion,” Judge Nap said, adding that any government agency big enough to protect us is big enough to surveil us.

      “The Internet cannot be protected by the government, because the government will never permit a system that it can’t zero into,” Judge Nap said, concluding that he would “absolutely not” establish this agency.

      Watch Judge Nap and Stuart

    • Torture and the CIA’s Unaccountability Boards

      Last Saturday, January 31, CIA Inspector General David Buckley resigned after a little more than four years in office. His departure came at the end of the same month his office published a scathing report that found the agency committed serious wrongdoings in connection to its rendition, detention, and torture program. It was also the same month that his report was swept aside by a parallel investigation conducted by a CIA “Accountability Board” that was hand-picked by agency leadership. Unsurprisingly, the Accountability Board recommended holding no one accountable for any failings.

    • Guantánamo Bay: wheels of justice turn slowly – at $7,600 a minute

      The Guantánamo Bay war court is now costing US taxpayers over $7,600 per minute, according to new Pentagon figures.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google is seriously taking on US telecom

      First it conquered search. Then it was online video and advertising. Now Google is turning its attention toward telecom — and it’s no experiment.

      In recent months, Google has said it’s bringing ultra-fast Internet to at least 18 US cities, including Atlanta and Nashville. It announced pilot tests of a low-cost, modular smartphone. The company’s joined an influential lobbying group for upstart telecom firms. And now Google is considering an entry into wireless service, as first reported by The Information, a technology news site founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin.

    • Hello HTTP/2, Goodbye SPDY

      HTTP is the fundamental networking protocol that powers the web. The majority of sites use version 1.1 of HTTP, which was defined in 1999 with RFC2616. A lot has changed on the web since then, and a new version of the protocol named HTTP/2 is well on the road to standardization. We plan to gradually roll out support for HTTP/2 in Chrome 40 in the upcoming weeks.

    • Wall Street Knows Darn Well That FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Won’t Harm Broadband: Stocks Went Up

      And, indeed, it appears the stock market acted accordingly. Following Tom Wheeler’s official announcement that the FCC would move to reclassify under Title II, all the key broadband players saw their stocks jump up, not down. If it was really that bad, you would have seen the opposite.


Links 11/2/2015: First Ubuntu Phone on Sale Today, Tizen 2.3 Source Code Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Node v0.12.0 (Stable)

    We are excited to announce the availability of Node.js v0.12! It has been a long process, and we want to thank contributors and all of the community who waited patiently for this event. Node.js has such a vibrant and enthusiastic community, and we’re very lucky to have you all supporting us.

  • A Foundation for Node.js as a Community Struggles with Reconciliation

    In a bid to quell an uprising within the Node.js ranks, vendor sponsor Joyent has announced an independent foundation to provide an open governance structure for the project.

    Though big players including IBM, PayPal and Microsoft will be involved, CEO Scott Hammond said the foundation will help ensure all voices are heard.

  • Node.js is getting its own open-source, independent foundation

    Node.js, the popular server-side JavaScript framework, is getting its own open-source foundation and will no longer be governed by Joyent, the cloud-infrastructure provider plans to announce on Tuesday. It should take around two to three months before the foundation is formally established, and until then, Joyent will remain the corporate steward of the Node.js open-source project, according to Joyent.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Making the Case for Open Source Browsers

      In the past, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was the go-to Web browser for Internet users. But end-user confidence in Internet Explorer appears to be waning.

      Last summer, Google Chrome passed Internet Explorer in combined U.S. desktop and mobile Internet market share for the first time. Chrome now holds 31.8 percent of total market share compared to Internet Explorer’s 30.9 percent share. Furthermore, Chrome has been growing at a rate of 6 percent year over year from 2008, while Explorer has been decreasing at a rate of 6 percent during the same time frame.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox OS dongle redesign to add quad-core SoC, DRM

        The Firefox OS-based “Matchstick” media player has been delayed a half year to August, and will receive an overhaul to move to a quad-core SoC and add DRM.

      • Outspoken on Open

        One thing I am trying to convince folks though is that working in the open is not so hard that we ignore the principles of working in the open and avoid trying to build a good foundation of open processes. One thing I am finding when I have these discussions though is people do not always feel empowered to speak out about working in the open. Simply put teams and organizations will get in these status quos where they put off this hard work and nobody really comes around often to challenge the status quo because often the debates that pursue of working in the open are filled with disagreement.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 3D Robotics unveils Tower, its open-source, customizable drone flight-control app

      Are you the kind of drone pilot that wants to do things with your aircraft no one’s thought of before? If so, then Tower, the new open-source flight control app from 3D Robotics, could well be for you.

    • 3D Robotics Opens Its Flight Control App For Drones To Developers

      3D Robotics, the largest U.S.-based drone manufacturer, today announced the launch of its open-source Tower flight control app for drone copters and planes on Android phones and tablets. The app gives users a few new ways to talk to their drones, but far more importantly, it offers developers a new way to build new features for drones into the app without having to reinvent the wheel by starting from scratch.

    • MAGEEC energy reduction – open start-ups column

      Modelling energy usage is not enough, so an energy measurement board (the ‘MAGEEC Wand’) has been created, which can be applied to a range of embedded architectures. MAGEEC was presented at GNU Tools Cauldron – the annual gathering of GNU tools developers (CC- licensed video and slides at gnu.org) – this July in Cambridge, on the Atmel AVR. Since this, further work has completed the “proof of concept” framework, which fits both GCC and LLVM compilers – a working system that currently awaits further optimisations.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Virtual Reality gains 13 more partners, gives away VR kits to universities

        Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR), the initiative from Razer and Sensics to connect multiple VR software and hardware partners together, had a good handful of partners at CES 2015, and 13 more have been announced today. The new partners include Jaunt — a maker of cinematic VR experiences that already has apps for Google Cardboard — plus a few game developers, audio and interface accessory companies.

      • Open Source Virtual Reality grows even bigger with a dozen new partners

        Open Source Virtual Reality, a Razer-spearheaded coalition that was introduced at CES 2015 in January, has announced 12 new partners.

        OSVR aims to build an open source VR platform that developers and hardware makers can use to create virtual reality devices and experiences across multiple operating systems


  • Health/Nutrition

    • US Healthcare Is So Screwed I Fly to Britain for My Medication

      Every six months, like clockwork, I fly home to the UK for three days for one reason: to pick up my supply of prescription medication.

      I consider myself lucky—drugs are cheap there, where a national health service exists that I can partake of as a UK citizen. The very vast majority of Americans are not as fortunate. John Oliver, fellow Brit, comedian, and host of Last Week Tonight, said Sunday in a skit about Big Pharma that the cost of drug spending in the U.S. last year “works out to be about a thousand dollars per person.”

    • xKoch Cartel Blocking Medicaid Expansion, Denying Hundreds of Thousands Care

      Radical right-wingers in a series of red states are punishing hundreds of thousands of low-income people by blocking efforts by Republican governors to expand Medicaid—state-run health care—by modifying Obamacare to include Republican ideas.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • REPORT: Women Are Underrepresented In Cable News Segments On Foreign Affairs, National Security

      Enormous Gender Disparity Present Across All Three Outlets. Fox News featured women in roughly 25 percent of recorded segments, while MSNBC and CNN each featured female guests in just over 20 percent of segments discussing foreign affairs and national security.

    • The U.S. Media and the 13-Year-Old Yemeni Boy Burned to Death Last Month by a U.S. Drone

      On January 26, the New York Times claimed that “a CIA drone strike in Yemen. . . . killed three suspected Qaeda fighters on Monday.” How did they know the identity of the dead? As usual, it was in part because “American officials said.” There was not a whiff of skepticism about this claim despite the fact that “a senior American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, declined to confirm the names of the victims” and “a C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment.”

      That NYT article did cite what it called “a member of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” (AQAP), who provided the names of the three victims, one of whom was “Mohammed Toiman al-Jahmi, a Yemeni teenager whose father and brother were previously killed in American drone strikes.” The article added that “the Qaeda member did not know Mr. Jahmi’s age but said he was a member of the terrorist group.”

      In fact, as the Guardian reported today, “Mr. Jahmi’s age” was 13 on the day the American drone ended his life. Just months earlier, the Yemeni teenager told that paper that “he lived in constant fear of the ‘death machines’ in the sky that had already killed his father and brother.” It was 2011 when “an unmanned combat drone killed his father and teenage brother as they were out herding the family’s camels.” In the strike two weeks ago, Mohammed was killed along with his brother-in-law and a third man.

    • We dream about drones, said 13-year-old Yemeni before his death in a CIA strike

      Mohammed Tuaiman becomes the third member of his family to be killed by what he called ‘death machines’ in the sky months after Guardian interview

    • Obama’s Christian Right Critics Agree with Islamic State

      At least part of the reason for this is that many American officials have continued in Bush’s tradition of defining the U.S. conflict with extremist Middle Eastern groups as a grand civilizational and religious battle, thus playing in to the same sharply polarizing narrative those groups seek to promote.

    • Ukraine: Artillery Fire, Not ‘Tactical Nuke’ Attack, Sets Off Large Donetsk Explosion

      On Sunday night, a series of YouTube videos appear to show a large explosion in Donetsk, Ukraine (several can be watched here). However, it wasn’t a “tactical nuclear weapon,” as some social media users claimed, but just a big blast–reportedly Ukrainian army artillery fire hitting an ammunition depot held by the rebel Donetsk People’s Republic.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The Importance of Whistleblowers

      …in-depth look at the vital role of whistleblowers in ensuring public safety and government accountability.

    • Julian Assange ‘sucking police resources’: UK cop

      British police are reviewing the operation to guard WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the UK’s most senior officer has said.

      Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told LBC radio that the force is assessing its options due to the pressure the operation at the Ecuadorian embassy in London is putting on resources.

      “We won’t talk about tactics but we are reviewing what options we have. It is sucking our resources,” he said.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 2015 Could Be The Year Canada Elects A Prime Minister Who Actually Cares About Climate

      Harper, who assumed office in 2006 and who has been a staunch supporter of Canada’s tar sands industry, has tried to silence activists who speak out against the industry. But he hasn’t stopped there: his administration has been accused of muzzling its scientists and meteorologists in an attempt to stop certain information on climate change or environmental issues from reaching the public. Under Harper, Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol — which the prime minister once referred to as a “socialist scheme” — in 2011 and cut about 500 jobs from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in 2013. The government also closed seven scientific libraries in 2014.

  • Finance

    • Billionaire’s Paper Hopes Well-Off Will Identify With Wealthy

      Given this lopsided distribution of income gains, it’s not irrational for people who make quite a bit more than the median income to identify with the middle class and applaud policies that are aimed at curbing the accumulation of wealth by the super-wealthy. But Edsall’s argument for the failure of middle-class populism depends on better-off voters who think of themselves as middle class not really being middle class–and knowing somehow that when politicians talk about the “middle-class,” they aren’t talking about them.

    • HSBC Swiss leaks: Spain’s Podemos party hires whistleblower Falciani to combat tax evasion and fraud
    • Global Capitalism’s Terrifying New Math

      McKinsey, one of the world’s preeminent business consultants, released a sobering new report this week detailing that, worldwide, total debt has risen by 40.1 percent — or $57 trillion — since the financial crisis of 2008. “Debt,” here, can mean many things: debt to other countries and international institutions, as in Greece and Italy, which were bailed out by the troika; it also means debt to financial institutions, or household and personal debt of the kind those of us paying off mortgages, medical debt or student loans here in the states know all too well. It all means bad news for the economy.

    • A game of Chicken

      On Wednesday, the European Central Bank announced that it would no longer accept Greek government debt as collateral for loans. This move, it turns out, was more symbolic than substantive. Still, the moment of truth is clearly approaching.

    • New Evidence That Half of the US Is Broke

      Half of our nation, by all reasonable estimates of human need, is in poverty. The jubilant headlines above speak for people whose view is distorted by growing financial wealth. The argument for a barely surviving half of America has been made before, but important new data is available to strengthen the case.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Brian Powell: New GOP Hearing Will Feature Notorious Right-Wing Media Misinformers

      An upcoming House Oversight Committee hearing features two conservative media darlings infamous for their anti-immigrant rhetoric and peddling misinformation about voter fraud and election law.

    • The New York Times’ Nuclear Uncertainty Principles

      I don’t know that there’s anyone who seriously argues that there’s any actual doubt that Israel has nuclear weapons; if there were any lingering questions, they were resolved by the revelations of Mordechai Vanunu, a whistleblower who exposed details of Israel’s nuclear warhead lab in 1986 and was imprisoned by Israel for 18 years as punishment. Later on in the piece, in fact, the Times notes that “the Arms Control Association, a research group in Washington, says Israel is believed to have 100 to 200 warheads.”But it’s still treated as claim to be attributed to a source rather than a verified fact.

    • Tell Us How You Really Feel About Fast Track Opponents, New York Times

      A hundred and fifty plus 72 is 222 congressmembers, or 51 percent of the House of Representatives. That’s a pretty big “fringe.”

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Is smart technology really a threat to our privacy?

      Fitness trackers and even Samsung televisions are becoming more advanced, and that data can inadvertently reveal sensitive things we never meant to make public

    • Addresses, SSNs, phone numbers released by former Gov. Jeb Bush in e-mail dump

      On Tuesday, former Florida governor Jeb Bush published Volume 1 of an e-book detailing all of his official correspondence while in gubernatorial office. Although the e-book is edited and e-mail addresses have been redacted, the Governor’s Office also published six Outlook files full of all of Bush’s unredacted correspondence—creating a trove of full names connected with personal e-mail addresses, home addresses, phone numbers and even social security numbers, as The Verge first reported.


      The scope of the e-mails is vast and includes everything from automated messages to brief summaries of the state of Cuban refugees who arrived on Florida’s shores to oddly personal e-mails from constituents. Some e-mails include correspondence that had not been addressed to Bush originally but showed up when part of an e-mail was forwarded to him. Other e-mails include personal information about people who aren’t involved in the e-mail thread at all. “Did you get this? Eric’s wife is being induced tomorrow a.m. so we’ll be out of town for a while. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!” one cheerily reads.

    • After months of silence from feds on flying phone surveillance, EFF sues

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit Monday in order to learn more about the United States Marshals Service’s use of airborne cell-site simulators.

      The San Francisco-based advocacy group filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the USMS’ parent agency, shortly after the revelations came to light in November 2014. However, the DOJ has not produced any responsive documents and has long exceeded the 30-day deadline as defined under the FOIA law.

      In the suit, which was filed in federal court in Washington, DC, the EFF asks the court to compel the DOJ to immediately produce the documents. The DOJ did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

    • No One Can Stop Craigslist, but Facebook Is Trying Again

      Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the only one in Silicon Valley with Craigslist envy. A decade ago, Google tried to meld classified ads with other crowdsourced content in a website called Google Base. The service never took off, and it now redirects to a site soliciting retailers to list on Google’s shopping search engine. Along with the big companies, countless startups have set out to make prettier, more functional versions of Craigslist, only to fail.

    • FBI really doesn’t want anyone to know about “stingray” use by local cops

      If you’ve ever filed a public records request with your local police department to learn more about how cell-site simulators are used in your community—chances are good that the FBI knows about it. And the FBI will attempt to “prevent disclosure” of such information.

      Not only can these devices, commonly known as “stingrays,” be used to determine a phone’s location, but they can also intercept calls and text messages. During the act of locating a phone, stingrays also sweep up information about nearby phones. Last fall, Ars reported on how a handful of cities across America are currently upgrading to new hardware that can target 4G LTE phones.

    • NSA Claims Iran Learned from Western Cyberattacks

      The U.S. Government often warns of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks from adversaries, but it may have actually contributed to those capabilities in the case of Iran.

      A top secret National Security Agency document from April 2013 reveals that the U.S. intelligence community is worried that the West’s campaign of aggressive and sophisticated cyberattacks enabled Iran to improve its own capabilities by studying and then replicating those tactics.

      The NSA is specifically concerned that Iran’s cyberweapons will become increasingly potent and sophisticated by virtue of learning from the attacks that have been launched against that country. “Iran’s destructive cyber attack against Saudi Aramco in August 2012, during which data was destroyed on tens of thousands of computers, was the first such attack NSA has observed from this adversary,” the NSA document states. “Iran, having been a victim of a similar cyber attack against its own oil industry in April 2012, has demonstrated a clear ability to learn from the capabilities and actions of others.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Nude body scanner now present on Norwegian airport

      Aftenposten, one of the largest newspapers in Norway, today report that three of the nude body scanners now is put to use at Gardermoen, the main airport in Norway. This way the travelers can have their body photographed without cloths when visiting Norway. Of course this horrible news is presented with a positive spin, stating that “now travelers can move past the security check point faster and more efficiently”, but fail to mention that the machines in question take pictures of their nude bodies and store them internally in the computer, while only presenting sketch figure of the body to the public. The article is written in a way that leave the impression that the new machines do not take these nude pictures and only create the sketch figures. In reality the same nude pictures are still taken, but not presented to everyone. They are still available for the owners of the system and the people doing maintenance of the scanners, as long as they are taken and stored.

    • The Guardian Hires Chelsea Manning

      Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 after being convicted of leaking classified national security documents to WikiLeaks.

    • FBI monitored and critiqued African American writers for decades

      Newly declassified documents from the FBI reveal how the US federal agency under J Edgar Hoover monitored the activities of dozens of prominent African American writers for decades, devoting thousands of pages to detailing their activities and critiquing their work.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Peter Sunde: Pirate Bay Still Has The Right To Defend Itself

        Today it was revealed that a Swedish prosecutor is trying to force the .SE registry, via a court case, to ban ThePirateBay.se and PirateBay.se from being in use. He even wants to go so far as to claim the domains for the state in order to put up a ‘stop’ logo on them.

      • File-Sharing Icon RapidShare Shuts Down

        RapidShare, once the most popular file-hosting service in the Internet, has announced that it will shut down next month. The company doesn’t cite a reason for the surprising shutdown, but losing the majority of its users in recent years after the implementation of tough anti-piracy measures is likely to be connected.


        RapidShare fought many legal battles with entertainment companies seeking to hold the company liable for the actions of its users, and to top it off the site was called out by the U.S. Government as a “notorious market.”

      • Megaupload Programmer Arrested in The U.S.

        Andrus Nomm, one of the seven Megaupload employees indicted by the United States, has been arrested. The U.S. authorities have yet to comment on the arrest of the programmer but Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken believes that he may have cut a deal with the FBI.


Links 10/2/2015: Linux 3.19, LXQt 0.9

Posted in News Roundup at 7:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • How About a Chromebook on Steroids?

      There’s been a lot of interesting Linux news of late. Not just GNU/Linux, but all types of Linux, Android, Chrome OS, Firefox OS, embedded (IoT), cloud computing, cars, TVs, just about anything you can think of. But truth be told, I’d like to see more Linux on the desktop — just as Linus Torvalds said he would like to see that.

      The recent purchase of a Chromebook for my son got me thinking about a new opportunity for Linux on the desktop. This is not an idea for getting a standard GNU/Linux desktop to automagically replace all existing Windows desktops, but to leverage the cloud computing paradigm with a bulked­-up Chromebook-­like system that would be workable for 80 to 90 percent of personal, school, and business needs.

  • Kernel Space

    • VLC Gains Support For Systemd’s Journal

      The latest open-source desktop program making optional use of systemd is the popular VLC media player.

      As of this morning, there’s now a native logger module for the systemd journal within VLC.

    • The Best Changes & Features Of The Linux 3.19 Kernel

      Last Sunday when releasing Linux 3.19-rc7, Linus Torvalds mentioned he was looking at doing the official 3.19 release in one week. It seems to have been a relatively calm week to end out 3.19 development with no nasty regressions turning up, so chances are in a few hours he’ll have the new release out the door.

    • Linux 3.19 Kernel Released

      The Linux 3.19 kernel was tagged in Git close to an hour ago now. Surprisingly, as of writing this news post, Linus Torvalds has yet to issue any Linux 3.19 release announcement but things went according to plan as per last week with the plans for 3.19 final.

    • Linux 3.19 released for your computing pleasure

      News of the release emerged in a typically economical Sunday evening post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, in which Torvalds noted there are still a couple of bugs in this release but they were pretty obscure so “… while I was tempted a couple of times to do an rc8, there really wasn’t any reason for it.”

    • Linux Kernel 3.19 Officially Released, Merge Window for Linux Kernel 3.20 Now Open

      Good news for all users of a GNU/Linux operating system, as Linus Torvalds announced the immediate availability for download of the Linux 3.19 kernel, which brings interesting features, the usual bugfixes, and general performance improvements.

    • The AllSeen Alliance’s Philip DesAutels on the Internet of Things

      As the AllSeen Alliance’s senior director of IoT, Philip DesAutels (shown) works with Alliance members to advance the Internet of Everything by building out an open source software framework, AllJoyn, to seamlessly connect a range of objects and devices in homes, cars and businesses. He oversees and guides all aspects of the Alliance, from governance and technology, to the developer community and marketing efforts.

    • Live Kernel Patching Support Called For Linux 3.20 Kernel

      It looks like the infrastructure to facilitate live kernel patching will be added to the Linux 3.20 kernel, the result of collaboration for SUSE’s kGraft and Red Hat’s Kpatch.

      Last year SUSE and Red Hat introduced their own live kernel patching mechanisms after not knowing each company was independently working on a solution for patching running versions of the Linux kernel against basic security/bug fixes. In the months since the unveiling of kGraft and Kpatch, the kernel developers have been working together to come up with a common base that addresses the needs of each implementation. That common work for supporting Kpatch and kGraft is now what’s ready for merging into Linux 3.20.

    • Linux Kernel 3.19 stable released, Install/Upgrade in Ubuntu/Linux Mint
    • Best Software Ever isn’t systemd

      Today in the Linuxsphere the systemd controversy doesn’t seem to be subsiding as the main reason for it is no more. Jim Zemlin blogged about The Linux Foundation’s efforts to save small but key projects from starving to death as well as contributing to the security process. Speaking of security, a new trojan has been identified that can open backdoors on Linux servers that can, among other things, participate in DDoS attacks. Matt Hartley shares his list of the best software ever for Linux and Leif Lodahl declares LibreOffice better than the competitors.

    • Linux 3.20 To Support New HID Hardware, Improve Logitech HID++ Support

      The HID subsystem work for Linux 3.20 includes improvements to the Logitech HID++ protocol implementation, support for composite RMI devices, a new driver for the BETOP force feedback controller, new hardware support in the Wacom driver, and various fixes. The fixes and new device ID additions are “all over the place” for HID drivers.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Core i3 5010U NUC5i3RYB Broadwell Benchmarks On Ubuntu Linux

        While my full Linux review of the NUC5i3RYH / Core i3 5010U will come in the days ahead on Phoronix, this weekend I uploaded some preliminary benchmark data for those curious. The Intel Core i3 5010U features a dual-core processor with Hyper Threading and is clocked at 2.1GHz for its frequency without Hyper Threading. The i3-5010U has a 15 Watt TDP, 3MB cache, and supports DDR3L/LPDDR3 1600/1333MHz memory. The graphics processor is Intel HD Graphics 5500 with a maximum frequency of 900MHz.

      • Intel Iris Graphics Performance On Linux 3.19 Shows Some Regressions

        For any Intel Haswell Linux users with Iris Graphics thinking of switching to the Linux 3.19 kernel when it’s released in what might just be a few hours, be forewarned as testing this weekend revealed there looks to be an OpenGL performance regression attributed to this new kernel.

  • Applications

    • MKVToolnix 7.6.0 Out Now, Helps You Split, Convert and Merge MKV (Matroska) Files

      Version 7.6.0 of the powerful MKVToolNix software is now available for download, still providing computer users with one of the best collection of tools for analyzing, converting, merging, and splitting Matroska (popularly known as MKV) files on GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

    • CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System) 2.0 .2 Now Available for Download

      For hardcore geeks, Common UNIX Printing System or simply CUPS is an open-source printing layer for UNIX-like operating systems, including GNU/Linux, BSD (FreeBSD, OpenBSD), Solaris, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. For end users, CUPS is that piece of software that lets them add printers, manage printers, as well as print documents on their computers.

    • Graphical profiling under Linux

      The Oyranos library became quite slower during the last development cycle for 0.9.6 . That is pretty normal, as new features were added and more ideas waited for implementation letting not much room for all details as wanted. The last two weeks, I took a break and mainly searched for bottlenecks inside the code base and wanted to bring performance back to satisfactory levels. One good starting point for optimisations in Oyranos are the speed tests inside the test suite. But that gives only help on starting a few points. What I wished to be easy, is seeing where code paths spend lots of time and perhaps, which line inside the source file takes much computation time.

    • Best Linux Software of All Time

      Over the years, there have been a number of claims that the Linux desktop is lacking in terms of good, highly useful software. Today, I’m aiming to put this myth to bed once and for all. Continue reading for my list of the top ten best applications for Linux.

    • Icemon 3.0 release

      It is my pleasure to finally release Icemon 3.0 to the public. If you don’t know it — Icemon is a GUI monitor for Icecream, a distributed compiler system.

    • regexProgram: Add to your education
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Distributing games and applications

        Within a short period, two people showed up with proposals for games for inclusion with GNOME 3.16. One is a 2048 clone, the other is a revival of Atomix (last maintenance was GNOME 2.14). Both proposals seem to be maintained by just one person.

      • You Only Live Once: But you share many lives

        As a story-based adventure it’s a decent attempt, even if it has some omissions or streamlining that work against its overall purpose. It’s not the finest thing ever to grace the screen of my lowly Pentium 4, but I wouldn’t mind trying it again, just for fun.

      • Dead Island Patch Released For Linux, Finally Playable (Updated)

        Dead Island has been patched to fix multiple issues in the Linux version, so it looks like it’s properly playable now months after release. It may have taken over 3 months for the game to get these fixed, but it’s good to see the port wasn’t forgotten about as we thought previously.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXQt 0.9.0 released with new theme

      LXQt 0.9.0 has been released, dropping compatibility with Qt 4 and setting the minimum version required to be Qt 5.3. This release features lots of internal cleanups and refactorings which should make it faster. The release also utilise KDE Frameworks for the first time, KWindowSystem replaces the XFitMan library, KGuiAddons replaces a dependency on xlib in lxqt-panel.

    • LXQt 0.9 Released, Now Requires Qt5 & KDE Frameworks 5

      Version 0.9 of the lightweight LXQt desktop environment was released this Sunday. LXQt is the next-generation, lightweight desktop derived in part from the LXDE and Razor-Qt desktops. LXQt 0.9 is the release that begins to enforce Qt5.

      LXQt 0.9 abandons Qt4 compatibility and now requires Qt 5.3 or newer. LXQt 0.8 that was released last October had full Qt5 support while maintaining Qt4 compatibility, but this new version focuses exclusively on modern Qt5 library support.

    • Manjaro Linux LXQt 0.8.12 Is Now Available for Download – Screenshot Tour

      Three days after the official announcement of Manjaro Linux 0.8.12, a point release that brings only a couple of changes, such as out-of-the-box support for Microsoft’s exFAT filesystem and Pacman 4.2 package manager, the Manjaro community released today the LXQt edition of the acclaimed Arch Linux-based computer operating system. At the moment of writing this article, only the 32-bit Live image was available for download, but that’s more than enough for us to take a quick screenshot tour of the release.

    • EFL 1.13 is Out

      After three months of development work we are proud to announce the release of version 1.13 of EFL, Elementary, Evas Generic Loaders and Emotion Generic Players.
      In this 12 weeks we got over 700 commits from 68 authors in EFL alone. Doing 111275 line insertions and 28292 line deletions. Elementary has another 370 commits by 48 authors.

    • Enlightenment EFL 1.13 Released
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Season of KDE 2014 Post #3: Mission Accomplished!

        I started off my Project under Season of KDE 2014 with a motive to design and revamp KDE’s own blog aggregator, PlanetKDE. Initiated by my mentor Jonathan Riddell, back in 2008, this website did an amazing job of scraping off content from KDE’s bloggers.

      • Plasma 5.2 review – Fire all weapons!

        Plasma 5 has the potential to revitalize the Linux world, it’s that important and meaningful. Of course, we must not forget that applications play their critical role, but if you need to sell your product, the first look, the very first impression is important. And in that regard, Plasma has everything to gain and lose. After what happened with Gnome, it’s the one remaining bastion of sanity in the Linux desktop world. And so we begin.

      • A Masterpiece In The Making

        A 15 minute review of the forthcoming Plasma 5 distro

      • What I can say about KDE Plasma 5 that I can’t say about Windows 8

        I’ve never really had the time to explore KDE Plasma 5 since it was released back in July 2014. I’ve played with it a bit, but not much.

        Now that it’s at version 5.2 and at that stage when its deemed almost ready for primetime, that is, ready to replace all aspects of KDE Plasma 4, I decided to kick the tires a little bit harder.

        To do that, I had to download and install an ISO image of a release candidate of KaOS – KaOS-kf5 ISO 2015.01.25.

        KaOS is a KDE-centric Linux distribution that uses a rolling release development model. It was inspired by Arch Linux and uses that distribution’s package manager. Tt also makes use of the Calamares graphical installer, which I wrote about recently (see Calamares will be the graphical installer on the next OpenMandriva edition).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Bugzilla upgraded to 4.4.

        Dear GNOME community, you all owe Krzesimir Nowak, Andrea Veri, and Olav Vitters some icecream and drinks: The Bugzilla software running on bugzilla.gnome.org has been upgraded to the latest stable version available.

  • Distributions

    • When Linux Distros Are Abandoned

      We’ve had some fairly high profile Linux distros fold up their tents and move along. Whether due to a lack of financial support or the project growing larger than a one man dev team can manage, distros do go away. It’s never for a good reason but the fact remains: When a distro ceases to exist, a lot of people get left in the lurch.

    • Reviews

      • Review: Manjaro Linux 0.8.12 “Ascella” Xfce

        It has been a while since I reviewed Manjaro Linux. In fact, my last review of it was almost 2 years ago. Since then, I have seen a lot of news about how much it has grown and how good it has gotten. I figured I should give it another review.

        For those who don’t remember, Manjaro is a distribution that based on Arch Linux. It maintains a rolling-release base, and it is compatible with most Arch repositories, though some of its repositories are its own. It officially supports KDE and Xfce, though community editions exist for other DEs as well.

      • First impressions of ArchBSD 2014.09.04

        From a practical point of view, I’m sure most people will stick with running either Arch Linux or vanilla FreeBSD. However, as an experiment into what is possible, ArchBSD does provide us with something interesting, something a little different. With some work to flesh out the documentation and more volunteers to keep the base operating system up to date, I think ArchBSD could be a viable server operating system.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Calamares will be the graphical installer on the next OpenMandriva edition

        News from OpenMandriva has it that the next release of the distribution will feature the Calamares graphical installer.

        Calamares is a “distribution independent installer framework” that features a modular design with 25 modules already implemented. It has plugin interfaces for C++, Python and a generic process, and an advanced partitioning tool with support for DOS and GPT partition tables.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • systemd Or Poettering, Name Your Poison

        The issue is the same as I have with the boot-times for my desktop PC, systemd makes assumptions that break Debian systems. In my case, systemd insists on every other service starting and running before attempting to start X, the thing I want up ASAP. In the case of the bug reported above, how the system time was handled over a reboot is changed with systemd. The old behaviour was that the clock was stored and retrieved so things survived reboots nicely. No more. Poettering et al have decided that time should be set by NTP or other means and systemd should not have anything to do with that although systemd is replacing the old init that did… BREAKAGE!!! Now I know why Linus swears so much! If a change to systemd breaks user’s systems, it’s a bug in systemd, not that the world needs to change to be the way Poettering wants. Putting folks who break things in charge of millions of systems is a tragedy of huge proportions. People should not have to rewrite init scripts to switch to systemd. Otherwise, systemd should get the Hell out of our way… or go away…

      • Has modern Linux lost its way? (Some thoughts on jessie)

        For years, I used to run Debian sid (unstable) on all my personal machines. Laptops, workstations, sometimes even my personal servers years ago ran sid. Sid was, as its name implies, unstable. Sometimes things broke. But it wasn’t a big deal, because I could always get in there and fix it fairly quickly, whatever it was. It was the price I paid for the latest and greatest.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • High end dev board taps Allwinner’s octa-core A80 SoC

      Merrii announced a high end, Android- and Linux-ready “H88 Hummingbird” SBC based on the octa-core Cortex-A15/-A7 Allwinner A80 SoC.

      The second-generation Raspberry Pi 2 managed to maintain its $35 price despite moving to a quad-core Cortex-A7 system-on-chip, but faster, pricier quad- and octa-core ARM SoCs haven’t seen as much traction in the single board computer scene. Yet, just as we’ve seen a lot of SBCs based on the Cortex-A7 based Allwinner A20 or Cortex–A9 based Allwinner A31, several companies and community projects are now trying out the octa-core Allwinner A80. The A80 combines four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 cores in a Big.Little configuration.

    • February Exeter Linux user group write up and prevew of the Feb Torbay Pi jam
    • Linaro launches open ARM SBC spec, and an octa-core SBC

      Linaro has launched an open-source spec for ARM SBCs called “96Boards,” first available in a $129 “Hikey” SBC, featuring a Huawei octa-core Cortex-A53 SoC.

      Linaro, the ARM-backed not-for-profit engineering organization that has aimed to standardize open source Linux and Android software for Cortex-A processors, is now trying to do the same thing for hardware.f Linaro, which is owned by ARM and many of its top system-on-chip licensees, has launched 96Boards.org, a cross between a single board computer hacker community and an x86-style hardware standards organization.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Netflix airs its developers’ Dirty Laundry

    Netflix has developed a platform, using soon-to-be open source tools, that probes for vulnerabilities and monitor data leakage.

    One initiative dubbed the “Dirty Laundry Project” monitors for Netflix assets unintentionally exposed by its staff.

  • 4 open-source monitoring tools that deserve a look

    Network monitoring is a key component in making sure your network is running smoothly. However, it is important to distinguish between network monitoring and network management. For the most part, network monitoring tools report issues and findings, but as a rule provide no way to take action to solve reported issues.

  • Best open source monitoring tools

    We found all four products to be capable network monitoring tools that performed well in our basic tasks such as checking for host availability and measuring bandwidth usage. Beyond the basics, there were quite a few differences in terms of features, granularity and configuration options.

  • Building a better matching solution with Mensa

    I’ve been designing and developing commercial software for more than 30 years, and I’m pleased to announce that for the first time, some of my software has been released as a new open source project. For open source at Dell, it’s a Java project called Mensa.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack’s inflection point, developer tools, and more
    • ownCloud Server 8 Officially Released, a Self-Hosted Dropbox Alternative

      ownCloud reached version 8 today, February 9, 2015. We’re talking about the ownCloud Server, a powerful, open-source, free, and self-hosted file sharing solution that offers easier and faster file syncing and sharing functionality, along with numerous other attractive features. ownCloud Server is considered by many a Dropbox replacement and it is distributed in two editions, ownCloud Community Edition and ownCloud Enterprise Edition.

    • With version 8, ownCloud becomes a viable Google Drive replacement

      When you put your data in the public cloud — whether it be Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, or other services. It’s dictated by the terms and services of the service provider and is subject to laws that may give the government full access to your data without giving you the slightest hint of any compromise.

    • VMware Builds a Cloud Bridge Between Open Source, Proprietary Tools

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

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Continues Moving Along With C++11 Adoption

      With the recent release of LibreOffice 4.4 there was a significant bump in compiler requirements in order to begin allowing LibreOffice developers to use basic C++11 functionality. Going forward, the compiler requirements will continue to rise as the developers of this open-source office suite seek to utilize more modern C++ features.

    • Is LibreOffice better than the competitor?

      Let’s have a look at some of the areas where LibreOffice is actually BETTER than the competitor Microsoft Office.

  • CMS

    • What’s New in February for Open Source CMS

      It goes without saying that WordPress is big — the Goliath of free and open source content management systems (CMS). WordPress is the number 1 CMS system currently in use, and increased its usage on more than 2 million domains since June 2014.

  • Funding

    • Answering the Call for Werner Koch’s Everywhere

      This past week the person who manages one of the world’s most important cryptography projects, Werner Koch, went from going broke to raising more than $100,000 for his project, GNU Privacy Guard. This is in addition to the $60,000 The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) dedicated to Werner last month. GnuPG is used not just to encrypt and authenticate email but provides the confirmation that software packages and releases are what they claim to be. Facebook, Stripe and others are answering the calls to support the individuals who are developing the world’s most critical digital infrastructure.

    • Mission: ​Funding all those small but important open-source projects

      In 2014, OpenSSL had a gigantic security problem: Heartbleed. Its root cause? A combination of blind trust in the open-source programming method and a shoe-string budget. Less than a year later Werner Koch, author and sole maintainer of the popular Gnu Privacy Guard (GnuPG) email encryption program, revealed he was going broke supporting GnuPG.

      Koch’s story had a happy ending. First, The Linux Foundation, via its Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), donated $60,000 to GnuPG. Then, e-payments vendor Stripe and Facebook agreed to sponsor the program’s development to the tune of $50,000 a year.

    • To avert another Heartbleed, group narrows list of projects in need of support
    • Linux Foundation’s CII Continues to Fund Open-Source Security Efforts
  • BSD


  • Project Releases

    • Google Drive for Linux may be coming soon
    • Postfix 3.0 Released With SMTP UTF8 & Other New Mail Server Features

      The Postfix open-source mail server software reached the big 3.0 milestone on Sunday with various improvements to this Sendmail alternative.

      The release of Postfix 3.0.0 stable brings SMTP UTF8 support for internationalized domain names and address local parts, support for Postfix dynamically-linked libraries and database plug-ins, support for operations on multiple look-up tables, support for pseudo-tables, table-driven transformations of DNS lookup results, an improved configuration file syntax, and per-session command profiles.

      More details on Postfix 3.0 can be discovered from Postfix.org.

    • RPushbullet 0.2.0

      A new releases of the RPushbullet package (interfacing the neat Pushbullet service) arrived on CRAN today.

      It brings several weeks of extensions, corrections and cleanups—with key contributions by Mike Birdgeneau and Henrik Bengtsson.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Athens region considers switch to open source

      The Greek region of Attica, encompassing Athens, is considering a switch to free and open source solutions. Representatives of the regional authority discussed the move with the Greek Free/Open Source Software society. GFOSS has offered to help modernise Attica’s ICT policies.

    • DISA rolling out new open source, online collaboration tool for DoD employees across globe

      A new open source, online collaboration tool will allow Defense Department employees to easily and securely web conference and instantly chat from anywhere around the world.

      The Defense Information Systems Agency is expanding the capability called Defense Collaboration Services, or DCS, across the department, according to a Feb. 6 press release from the Air Force.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Measuring the value of open hardware design

        With the rise of distributed manufacturing of 3D printing, hardware designs released under open source licenses are increasing exponentially. These designs—for everything from phone cases to prosthetic hands for children—can have an enormous value for those who need and want them.


        The results of Pearce’s case study analysis were shocking. “Millions of dollars of value can be created by designers if they share their work under open licenses, says Pearce. “For individuals or funding organizations interested in doing the most good and maximizing value for the public it is clear that supporting open designs should be a top priority.”

      • ONetSwitch Networking Open Source Hardware (video)

        Makers, developers and hobbyists looking to add networking functionality to their projects in the form of NAS, VPN and Firewall features may be interested in a new piece of open source hardware called the ONetSwitch developed by MeshSr.


  • Fire department called after robot vacuum “attacks” sleeping owner

    One day the robots may rebel against humans, taking control of the world and turning us into a relatively green source of energy. But today is not that day, even if one such robot did “attack” its owner in South Korea.

  • Behind RadioShack’s Collapse Is a Tiny Distressed Lender

    To most outside observers, the collapse of RadioShack Corp. was set in motion years, if not decades, ago.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Isis is cruel but so are bombs and drones

      • If the video of a prisoner being burned to death displays “a level of brutality shocking even by the standards” of Islamic State, how should we describe the actions of the US and UK around the world? According to a 2012 joint report from the NYU and Stanford University law schools on US drone strikes in Pakistan, “the missiles fired from drones kill or injure in several ways, including through incineration”. Similarly barbaric, in 2008 the Sunday Times reported British forces were using Hellfire missiles in Afghanistan, creating “a pressure wave which sucks the air out of victims, shreds their internal organs and crushes their bodies”.

    • Amid New Claims, Calls Intensify to Declassify Saudi Chapter of 9/11 Report

      ‘I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,’ says former senator and commission member

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Whistleblower? Thief? Hero? Introducing the Source of the Data that Shook HSBC

      Hervé Falciani’s long, strange journey from bank computer expert to jailed fugitive to candidate for office to spokesman for whistleblowers

      They almost had him.

      On December 22, 2008, Swiss federal police handcuffed 36-year-old Hervé Falciani, a systems specialist they suspected of stealing data from HSBC Private Bank (Suisse), his employer, and trying to sell it to banks in Lebanon. They seized his computer, searched his Geneva home and interrogated him for hours.

      Then – on the condition that he return the next day for more questioning – they let him go.

    • HSBC helped clients ‘avoid taxes and hide millions’

      According to a report released on Sunday, files analyzed by 140 reporters in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) have revealed that British banking giant HSBC provided accounts to international criminals, corrupt businessmen, politicians and celebrities.

      “HSBC profited from doing business with arms dealers who channeled mortar bombs to child soldiers in Africa, bag men for Third World dictators, traffickers in blood diamonds and other international outlaws,” ICIJ reported.

    • HSBC bank ‘helped clients dodge millions in tax’

      Britain’s biggest bank helped wealthy clients cheat the UK out of millions of pounds in tax, the BBC has learned.

      Panorama has seen thousands of accounts from HSBC’s private bank in Switzerland leaked by a whistleblower in 2007.

      They show bankers helped clients evade tax and offered deals to help tax dodgers stay ahead of the law.

      HSBC admitted that some individuals took advantage of bank secrecy to hold undeclared accounts. But it said it has now “fundamentally changed”.

    • HSBC sheltered murky cash linked to dictators, arms dealers

      Secret documents reveal that global banking giant HSBC profited from doing business with arms dealers who channelled mortar bombs to child soldiers in Africa, bag-men for Third World dictators, traffickers in blood diamonds and other international outlaws.

    • New Claims That HSBC Aided Tax Evaders

      HSBC found itself under fire again on Monday after news reports over the weekend provided more details about long-running accusations that its Swiss private banking arm helped clients hide billions of dollars in assets from international tax authorities before 2007.

      In a report released on Sunday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, an organization based in Washington, said that secret documents revealed that bank employees had reassured clients that HSBC would not disclose details of their accounts to tax authorities in their home countries and discussed options to avoid paying taxes on those assets. Also contributing to the report were the newspaper Le Monde in France, The Guardian in Britain, the BBC program “Panorama” and CBS News’s “60 Minutes.”

    • US government faces pressure after biggest leak in banking history

      The US government will come under intense pressure this week to explain what action it took after receiving a massive cache of leaked data that revealed how the Swiss banking arm of HSBC, the world’s second-largest bank, helped wealthy customers conceal billions of dollars of assets.

      The leaked files, which reveal how HSBC advised some clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities, were obtained through an international collaboration of news outlets, including the Guardian, the French daily Le Monde, CBS 60 Minutes and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

      The files reveal how HSBC’s Swiss private bank colluded with some clients to conceal undeclared “black” accounts from domestic tax authorities across the world and provided services to international criminals and other high-risk individuals.

    • HSBC Swiss files: leading Australian figures held offshore bank accounts

      Prominent Australian political and business figures are among thousands of people identified as Swiss bank account holders, a cache of leaked documents from the Swiss arm of the HSBC bank shows.

      They include the late media mogul Kerry Packer and the former ANZ Bank chairman Charles Goode.

      The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the Guardian has accessed data on the accounts, which reveal unprecedented insights into offshore banking with the Swiss arm of the bank.

    • HSBC sheltered murky cash linked to dictators, arms dealers

      Secret documents reveal that global banking giant HSBC profited from doing business with arms dealers who channelled mortar bombs to child soldiers in Africa, bag-men for Third World dictators, traffickers in blood diamonds and other international outlaws.

    • Banking Giant HSBC Sheltered Murky Cash Linked to Dictators and Arms Dealers

      Team of journalists from 45 countries unearths secret bank accounts maintained for criminals, traffickers, tax dodgers, politicians and celebrities

      Secret documents reveal that global banking giant HSBC profited from doing business with arms dealers who channeled mortar bombs to child soldiers in Africa, bag men for Third World dictators, traffickers in blood diamonds and other international outlaws.

      The leaked files, based on the inner workings of HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm, relate to accounts holding more than $100 billion. They provide a rare glimpse inside the super-secret Swiss banking system — one the public has never seen before.

    • HSBC files show how Swiss bank helped clients dodge taxes and hide millions

      HSBC’s Swiss banking arm helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets, doling out bundles of untraceable cash and advising clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities, according to a huge cache of leaked secret bank account files.

    • Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: “TTIP will lead to Contraction of GDP, Personal Incomes, Employment, Increase in Financial Instability”

      Some projections endorsed by the European Commission point to positive, though negligible, gains in terms of GDP and personal incomes. Others make greater claims, asserting that the deal will add over £100 billion to the UK and European economies every year.

    • TTIP talks – Africa remains left out

      The EU and the US are negotiating their proposed free trade agreement behind closed doors. Third countries, for instance in Africa, have no say in these talks, although the deal could have a far-reaching impact on them.

    • HSBC list: Switzerland says it’s ‘stolen data’, may not share info with India

      With a new ‘HSBC list’ of Swiss bank accounts revealing over 1,000 Indian names, Switzerland today said these are from “stolen data” — an assertion that might make it difficult for India to get details on these accounts without any additional evidence.

    • The Breaking HSBC Scandal Reveals UK Govt Is Chief Henchman Of The Mafia Banking System

      An international collaboration of media outlets have leaked HSBC files which prove the Bank has actively sought to undermine domestic tax laws and keep millions of pounds from reaching the UK Treasury – but what is truly remarkable, it the complicity of the UK government in helping the 1% avoid paying their dues.

    • Israelis held $10 billion in secret Swiss bank accounts

      The only countries that held more money in the HSBC branch were 11,235 Swiss with $31 billion, 8,844 Britons with $21.7 billion, 1,138 Venezuelans with $14.7 billion, 4,193 Americans with $13.4 billion and 9,187 French with $12.5 billion.

    • R23bn stashed in Swiss banks

      Hundreds of South Africans have stashed more than $2-billion (about R23-billion) in accounts at Swiss banking group HSBC, details of which have now emerged in a leak that shines a new spotlight on the secretive world of Swiss banking.

    • 200,000 people were prosecuted for not having a TV licence last year but HMRC won’t prosecute Swiss tax cheats

      Last year more than 200,000 people were prosecuted for not having a TV licence.

      More than fifty – many of them women – went to prison for it.

      But HMRC say it is not in the public interest to prosecute tax criminals and the bankers and accountants who set arrangements for them.

  • Censorship

    • KickassTorrents Taken Down By Domain Name Seizure

      KickassTorrents has lost access to its Kickass.so domain name and is currently offline. The Somalian domain of the most-visited torrent site on the Internet is now listed as “banned” by the .SO registry, forcing the site’s operators to find a new home.

  • Privacy

    • Samsung: watch what you say in front of our TVs, they’re sending your words to third parties

      Part of the Samsung Smarttv EULA: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

    • Guest Post: The Library Freedom Project: Bringing privacy and anonymity to libraries

      My name is Alison, and I’m the founder of the Library Freedom Project, an initiative that aims to make real the promise of intellectual freedom in libraries. It’s a partnership among librarians, technologists, attorneys, and privacy advocates to teach librarians about surveillance threats, privacy rights, and privacy-protecting technology tools. So far, we’ve been all over Massachusetts and parts of New England, and we have been awarded a generous grant from the Knight Foundation to bring privacy training to libraries across the United States.

      We teach librarians three things. Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts teaches the current state of digital surveillance. Jessie Rossman, an attorney and surveillance law expert also from the ACLU of Massachusetts, offers a privacy-focused “know your rights” training. I teach technology tools – like Tor and Tails .

    • We’ll ask GCHQ to DELETE records of ‘MILLIONS’ of people – Privacy International

      Campaigning group Privacy International is preparing to help “potentially millions” of people request that their GCHQ records be deleted, following a landmark ruling by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal on Friday.

      The IPT ruled that the intelligence-sharing relationship between the US and UK had been unlawful prior to December 2014, because the rules governing the UK’s access to the National Security Agency’s PRISM and UPSTREAM programmes had been kept secret.

    • GCHQ snooping ruling does not go far enough, says Open Rights Group

      The recent ruling that mass surveillance of UK citizens’ internet communications by the UK intelligence services was unlawful until the end of 2014 does not go far enough, according to Open Rights Group.

      The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled that UK intelligence agency GCHQ had breached the Human Rights Act by using intelligence on UK residents from the US National Security Agency (NSA).

    • Osgerby: Iowa’s important attempts to block the NSA

      For the state of Iowa to step forward, alongside others, in mitigating the powers of the NSA comes as a pleasant surprise. The federal agency has shown that it has no intention of reining in their surveillance.

    • Shy, retiring British spies come out as MEGA HACKERS

      The UK government slipped out consultation documents on “equipment interference” and “interception of communications” (read: computer hacking by police and g-men) on Friday.

      They were made public on the same day that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that the spying revelations exposed by master blabbermouth Edward Snowden had accidentally made British spooks’ data-sharing love-in with the NSA legal.

    • Snowden documentary CitizenFour wins DGA award for director Laura Poitras

      A documentary about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has won the prestigious Directors Guild Award as best movie in the category. Laura Poitras, the director of Citizenfour, received her award at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Saturday.

    • Professor Big Brother and his radical students – who should we fear most?

      The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill 2014-15, having been rushed through the House of Commons with alarming speed and ease, has passed its second reading in the House of Lords. It is now in the final committee stages and on course to become law within a matter of weeks.

    • U.S.-German Spy Spat Unresolved as Merkel Visits Obama

      The unresolved fallout between the U.S. and Germany over espionage and mass surveillance has slid to the background ahead of a visit today by Chancellor Angela Merkel to Washington, according to her top aide.

    • Merkel, Obama ponder Ukraine and security in Washington

      As Chancellor Merkel visits President Obama on Monday, the US sees Europe as a continent in crisis. Two experts take on the roles of Germany and the US to tease out the countries’ views on key international issues.

    • Merkel, Obama to Meet During Trying Times for U.S.-German Relations

      Polarizing divisions will color President Barack Obama’s discussions with German Chancellor Angela Merkel when the supposedly staunch allies meet at the White House on Monday for talks expected to primarily address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

      The meeting comes after a year of lingering tensions in a relationship that, at least publicly, was tested by reports of CIA spying and National Security Agency surveillance of the phone calls of Merkel and other European leaders.

    • Firm that vetted Snowden files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

      Altegrity Inc, owner of the company that carried out background checks on former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday as it implements a restructuring deal with its lenders.

      Altegrity, which owns USIS Investigations Services, listed assets and liabilities of more than $1 billion, according to court documents.

      The company said some of its lenders, including funds managed by Third Avenue Management, Litespeed Management LLC and Mudrick Capital Management LP, have committed to provide $90 million in debtor-in-possession financing.

    • DNI Report on Implementation of Signals Intelligence Reforms: Some Highlights

      These enhanced minimization procedures collectively represent a response to heavy criticism that Section 702 constitutes a “backdoor” that would allow the intelligence community to monitor the communications of American citizens, without a warrant, if these communications were incidentally collected as a result of surveillance on foreign persons.

    • WATCH OUT, it’s WATCHING YOU as you WATCH IT! (Your Samsung TV that is)

      Let’s go to another room so that the telly can’t hear us! Samsung’s smart TVs don’t just respond to your spoken commands any more – they also tell unspecified third parties what you’re saying while you sit in from of them.

    • Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet

      Indonesians surveyed by Galpaya told her that they didn’t use the internet. But in focus groups, they would talk enthusiastically about how much time they spent on Facebook. Galpaya, a researcher (and now CEO) with LIRNEasia, a think tank, called Rohan Samarajiva, her boss at the time, to tell him what she had discovered. “It seemed that in their minds, the Internet did not exist; only Facebook,” he concluded.

    • How to Create an Anonymous Email Account

      Not long ago, the sharing economy seemed to have taken over. Privacy was dead, and no one cared. But that was until revelations about government spying and worse came to light. Today, it seems just as many people are sharing…but many do so with more caution.

      For some of us, the need to go truly anonymous is more important than ever. But when you go to a service online and its first three choices for signup are to use your existing Google, Facebook, or Twitter account credentials, it’s almost like a subtle background check. Other services—like Google—expect you to share a phone number and older email address—to sign up (and if not at initial signup, you’ll need them for activations later). So you’re not exactly hiding your tracks.

    • Inside the Strange Fight Over Mark Zuckerberg’s Bedroom

      The e-mail was blunt: Mark Zuckerberg had no interest in playing nice with the guy from next door.

      “How do we make this go away?” a Zuckerberg adviser wrote to his real estate agent. “MZ is not going to take a meeting with him … ever.”

      Now that 2013 e-mail, and others like it, are at the center of property war gone rogue. On one side is Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder of Facebook Inc. On the other is the businessman from next door, a real estate developer who hoped to profit from Zuckerberg’s desire for privacy.

    • Samsung’s Smart TVs Are Collecting And Storing Your Private Conversations

      Guess who’s eavesdropping on you now? It’s not some nefarious government agency (although, rest assured, there has been no downturn in surveillance). Nope, it’s that smart TV you paid good money for and invited into your home.

    • Samsung smart TV policy allows company to listen in on users

      The new privacy policy for Samsung’s smart TVs allows the company and its partners to listen in on everything their users say.

      The policy has drawn the ire of internet users, who compared it with George Orwell’s dystopian fiction 1984.

    • How to lose a job BEFORE you even start: Teen fired after complaining on Twitter about starting ‘f*** a** job’ at pizza parlor

      A Texas teenager has been fired from her job at a pizza parlor before she even started after she sent out a tweet complaining about the gig and her new boss saw it.

    • There are other funding options than the USG

      Some folks have taken issue with this, going so far as to call Tor employees “government contractors.” On the one hand, this is pretty sensational talk: In much of Europe, for example, public funding of advocacy isn’t uncommon. On the other hand, there are real issues with implicitly supporting what is ultimately an imperialist agenda by taking US government funds.

    • California Introduces Bill To Ban Warrantless Spying

      Backed by a number of tech companies, California is eyeing state legislation to protect its citizens from warrantless government surveillance of e-mails, text messages and cellphone communications. The proposed legislation is being backed by state senators Mark Leno, a Democrat, and Joel Anderson, a Republican.

    • Tor: the last bastion of online anonymity, but is it still secure after Silk Road?

      The Silk Road trial has concluded, with Ross Ulbricht found guilty of running the anonymous online marketplace for illegal goods. But questions remain over how the FBI found its way through Tor, the software that allows anonymous, untraceable use of the web, to gather the evidence against him.

      The development of anonymising software such as Tor and Bitcoin has forced law enforcement to develop the expertise needed to identify those using them. But if anything, what we know about the FBI’s case suggests it was tip-offs, inside men, confessions, and Ulbricht’s own errors that were responsible for his conviction.

      This is the main problem with these systems: breaking or circumventing anonymity software is hard, but it’s easy to build up evidence against an individual once you can target surveillance, and wait for them to slip up.

    • Advanced German Technology: How a German-Arab Shell Corporation Tries to Sell a New State Trojan “Made in Germany”

      A German-Arab web of companies advertises a new government spyware “made in Germany” at international surveillance industry trade shows. In a lengthy investigation, we gathered background information on companies and actors involved. It remains unclear, whether the company even has a finished product for sale, nevertheless they continue to promote the product – directly to law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

  • Civil Rights

    • The NYPD’s chief supports harsher penalties for resisting arrest. That’s a horrifying idea.

      During widespread protests in New York last summer after the killing of Eric Garner by police officer Daniel Pantaleo (who was not charged in Garner’s killing), New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton had this message for protesters: “You must submit to arrest, you cannot resist …The place to argue your case is in the courts, not in the streets.”

    • Surviving the Nazis, Only to Be Jailed by America
    • One dead in police shooting

      A 74-year-old man is dead and an officer is on administrative leave pending an investigation into the fatal shooting. Police say Officer Josh Lefevers shot and killed James Howard Allen after Allen pointed a gun at the officer in his home and refused to drop the weapon.

    • Case Dismissed Against Man Aggressively Arrested on Video for Drinking Iced Tea in Public

      It took nearly two years, but a North Carolina judge dismissed a case against a man who was arrested for drinking a can of Arizona Iced Tea in a parking lot of a liquor store.

      And only because it was captured on video.

      Otherwise, the cop’s word would have been treated as gospel, resulting in a conviction of trespassing and resisting arrest against Christopher Lamont Beatty, a former soldier who is also a hip hop musician known as Xstravagant.

      But even despite the video evidence, prosecutors along with his own lawyer, tried to get him to agree to a plea deal where he would accept probation and community service.

      In other words, they wanted him to admit to a crime he did not commit without even having the chance to be tried for that crime.

    • CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou: Prosecute CIA Case Officers Who Flouted the Law & Tortured Detainees

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who was released from a federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, last week, after serving about 23 months in jail, called for CIA case officers to be prosecuted for “flouting” the law when they tortured detainees.

      In an interview for “Democracy Now!”, Kiriakou addressed the shocking details in the executive summary of the Senate intelligence committee report on the CIA’s torture program. He said he understood that President Barack Obama was not going to pursue the prosecution of CIA officials who carried out torture. Obama was not going to prosecute officers who carried out the “day-to-day torture program.” Lawyers at the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department were going to get a pass too. However, there are officers, who clearly violated the law, when they carried out interrogations.

    • Exclusive: Freed CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Says “I Would Do It All Again” to Expose Torture

      In a broadcast exclusive interview, we spend the hour with John Kiriakou, a retired CIA agent who has just been released from prison after blowing the whistle on the George W. Bush administration’s torture program. In 2007, Kiriakou became the first CIA official to publicly confirm and detail the agency’s use of waterboarding. In January 2013, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. Under a plea deal, Kiriakou admitted to a single count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing the identity of a covert officer involved in the torture program to a freelance reporter, who did not publish it. In return, prosecutors dropped charges brought under the Espionage Act. Kiriakou is the only official to be jailed for any reason relating to CIA torture. Supporters say he was unfairly targeted in the Obama administration’s crackdown on government whistleblowers. A father of five, Kiriakou spent 14 years at the CIA as an analyst and case officer, leading the team that found high-ranking al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah in 2002. He joins us from his home in Virginia, where he remains under house arrest for three months while completing his sentence. In a wide-ranging interview, Kiriakou says, “I would do it all over again,” after seeing the outlawing of torture after he came forward. Kiriakou also responds to the details of the partially released Senate Committee Report on the CIA’s use of torture; argues NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden did a “great national service,” but will not get a fair trial if he returns to the United States; and describes the conditions inside FCI Loretto, the federal prison where he served his sentence and saw prisoners die with “terrifying frequency” from lack of proper medical care.

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

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

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

    • Is Your Child a Terrorist? U.S. Government Questionnaire Rates Families at Risk for Extremism

      Are you, your family or your community at risk of turning to violent extremism? That’s the premise behind a rating system devised by the National Counterterrorism Center, according to a document marked For Official Use Only and obtained by The Intercept.

      The document–and the rating system–is part of a wider strategy for Countering Violent Extremism, which calls for local community and religious leaders to work together with law enforcement and other government agencies. The White House has made this approach a centerpiece of its response to terrorist attacks around the world and in the wake of the Paris attacks, announced plans to host an international summit on Countering Violent Extremism on February 18th.

    • New Jeb Bush Chief Technology Officer Deleting Old Tweets About “Sluts”

      Ethan Czahor’s tweets began disappearing today after news broke that he had been hired by Jeb Bush. A spokesperson for Bush told BuzzFeed News: “Governor Bush believes the comments were inappropriate. They have been deleted at our request. Ethan is a great talent in the tech world and we are very excited to have him on board the Right to Rise PAC.” Czahor also apologized in a tweet on Monday.

    • Guantánamo hearing halted by supposed CIA ‘black site’ worker serving as war court linguist

      The 9/11 trial judge abruptly recessed the first hearing in the case since August on Monday after some of the alleged Sept. 11 plotters said they recognized a war court linguist as a former secret CIA prison worker.

      Alleged plot deputy Ramzi bin al Shibh, 42, made the revelation just moments into the hearing by informing the judge he had a problem with his courtroom translator. The interpreter, Bin al Shibh claimed, worked for the CIA during his 2002 through 2006 detention at a so-called “Black Site.”

    • The Reporter Resists His Government

      In early 2003, James Risen, an investigative reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times, prepared a story about a covert CIA effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. Before publishing it, he informed the CIA of his findings and asked for comment. On April 30, 2003, according to a subsequent Justice Department court filing, CIA Director George Tenet and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice met with Risen and Jill Abramson, then the Times’s Washington bureau chief. Tenet and Rice urged the Times to hold Risen’s story because, they said, it would “compromise national security” and endanger the life of a particular CIA recruit. (The agent is referred to in the Justice filing as “Human Asset No. 1.”) Eventually, the Times informed the CIA that it would not publish Risen’s story. Abramson said recently that she regrets the decision.

    • US contractor wants Abu Ghraib lawsuit scrapped

      A US defense contractor that provided interrogators to Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq sought to have a federal judge dismiss a lawsuit because its employees were working under military control in wartime.

      Four former inmates of the notorious prison, where horrific abuses took place during the Iraq war that damaged US credibility, have sued CACI International Inc. for torturing them ahead of interrogations.

    • Greenwald: Shedding Light on the Exercise of Power in the Dark

      I do think there have been some very significant changes as a result of [our] reporting. There hasn’t been a lot of legislation passed. But I never thought that the place to look for restrictions on the power of the U.S. government would be the U.S. government itself, because human beings generally don’t walk around thinking about ways to restrict their own power.

      I think the much more significant changes are the changes in consciousness that people have, not just about surveillance but about privacy, the role of government, their relationship to it, the dangers of exercising power in the dark and the role of journalism as well.

      There are all kinds of ways that surveillance is now being curbed, from other governments acting in coalition to impede U.S. hegemony over the Internet to technology companies like Facebook, Yahoo and Google knowing that, unless they make a real commitment to protecting their users’ privacy, they’re going to lose a generation of users to other countries’ companies.

    • Waterboarding Whistleblower Released From Prison, Two Months After Torture Report’s Release Vindicated His Actions

      It wasn’t former director Leon Panetta, who was ultimately responsible for the actions of his agency. It wasn’t any number of agents, officials or supervisors who directly or indirectly participated in the ultimately useless torture of detainees. It wasn’t the private contractors who profited from these horrendous acts committed in the name of “national security.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • One small step for the FCC …

      In the excitement following FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s announcement that he would propose Title II classification for Internet service providers, it’s important that we understand a few things. First, this is not a done deal yet, though it looks likely to pass. Second, this is only the first step in a long and arduous journey.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Why We Should Rename TAFTA/TTIP As The ‘Atlantic Car Trade Agreement’

      Since the gains for this industry are expected to be so large, and those for other industries so small, why not drop all the contentious stuff that threatens to derail the whole deal, and concentrate on cars? In any case, it would be more honest to rename the TTIP proposal as the “Atlantic Car Trade Agreement,” since that’s what it is really about. We could even call it “ACTA” for short.


Links 8/2/2015: Fluxbox 1.3.7, GNU Lightning 2.1.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 10.1.1 Cinnamon review

      The last PC-BSD release I reviewed was PC-BSD 10.1. And that was actually just late last year. You may read that review at PC-BSD 10.1 review.

      It was the worst edition of any distribution I have even reviewed.

      An installation of the Cinnamon desktop, which shipped with Cinnamon 2.2, was especially bad. Out of the box, it was unusable. When PC-BSD 10.1.1 was released (on February 2 2015), I knew I had to take another look at a Cinnamon installation.

      So that’s what this article is about – a cursory review of an installation of PC-BSD 10.1.1 Cinnamon.



  • Sochi Winter Olympic stadiums lie empty and abandoned

    Pictures have emerged showing the Sochi Olympics Winter Park standing empty and neglected just a year after Russian president Vladimir Putin pumped billions into the venue.

    Many of the custom built stadiums, which cost an estimated $51 billion in total, now appear deserted and unused.

    The companies that maintain the facilities are reportedly struggling to stay afloat as tourist numbers plummet.

  • Nick Clegg to lose his seat at the next election, poll finds

    The Deputy Prime Minister is found to be trailing Labour by 10 points in his Sheffield Hallam constituency, according to a survey for the trade union Unite.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Security services capable of bypassing encryption, draft code reveals

      Britain’s security services have acknowledged they have the worldwide capability to bypass the growing use of encryption by internet companies by attacking the computers themselves.

      The Home Office release of the innocuously sounding “draft equipment interference code of practice” on Friday put into the public domain the rules and safeguards surrounding the use of computer hacking outside the UK by the security services for the first time.

      The publication of the draft code follows David Cameron’s speech last month in which he pledged to break into encryption and ensure there was no “safe space” for terrorists or serious criminals which could not be monitored online by the security services with a ministerial warrant, effectively spelling out how it might be done.

    • Did North Korea Really Hack Sony?

      The Obama administration has accused North Korea of hacking Sony in retaliation for “The Interview,” a goofball comedy about assassinating the country’s real-life leader, but the case may be another politicized rush to judgment by the U.S. government, writes James DiEugenio.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Over 100 Boko Haram fighters killed in group’s first Niger attack

      The government of Niger claims it killed over 100 fighters from Islamic militant group Boko Haram when the fighters attacked within the borders of the country for the first time.

    • Book review: ‘American Reckoning’ takes a look at Vietnam and the mistakes we keep making

      President John F. Kennedy increased U.S. involvement, and the CIA encouraged the assassination of South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem, which led to a succession of unstable and short-lived juntas.

      Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Baines Johnson embarked upon the massive escalation that would bring us the Vietnam War as we came to know it and that would bring an end to his presidency.

    • Obama’s Drones Have Killed More Than the Spanish Inquisition

      So Barack Obama has killed at least 2,500 in drone strikes during the six years of his presidency, not including those killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Spanish Inquisition reportedly killed 2,250 over 350 years. For comparative purposes, I would note, as I reported here at PJ Media last month, that Boko Haram reportedly killed 2,000 over several days in a massacre in Northern Nigeria.

    • U.S.-NATO Threaten Wider War in Ukraine

      Nothing good so far has come out of all the high-level meetings in Kiev and Moscow. US-NATO continue to threaten Russia with more and wider war in Ukraine. Russia is basically told they have to accept the US-NATO backed onslaught in eastern Ukraine. Russia must stop supporting eastern self-defense forces or expect even more of the west’s Strategy of Tension.

    • CIA job interview leads to criminal investigation of Green Beret

      A Green Beret officer who was stripped of a prestigious valor award and dropped from the Special Forces fell out of favor with Army officials after the CIA shared information it gathered about him while he was going through screening for a potential job, according to officials familiar with the case.

    • Ukraine Conflict Escalates as Poroshenko Requests Aid

      If a decision is made to honor Poroshenko’s request for aid in the escalating conflict in Ukraine, action will not be taken right away. An anonymous official said that a public effort to arm Poroshenko’s troops could cause tension between the United States and its allies in NATO and the EU. The official also said that it would take time to decide what to send. In the past, the government has sent Soviet-made weapons from a CIA warehouse in North Carolina. The official said that this could be a viable option in this case, if the United States decides to offer support.

    • Killing Fidel

      These were largely courtesy of the CIA, which reportedly devised no fewer than 638 plots to kill him, ranging from your typical poisoned handkerchief scheme to fungus-infected diving suits and exploding molluscs.

    • Is ‘American Sniper’ the perfect military recruitment film?

      While watching the film, I kept waiting for something to be said or even suggested, about the deeper reason our military was in Iraq other than the film’s repetitive message: “They are the bad guys and we are the good guys.”

      I kept hoping to at least see a Chevron Oil rig burning in the distance.

      One scene was quite effective in portraying even the women and children as evil, showing a veiled mother and child in an almost Madonna and child way, beautiful but evil and carrying a grenade. The message here was that all Iraqis were evil, men, women and children, and all of the American troops there were the good guys.

    • Oil, Empire, and False Paradox: Washington’s Contrasting Responses to the Deaths of King Abdullah and Hugo Chavez

      Obama and Washington had a very different response to the March 2013 death of Hugo Chavez, the democratically elected president of Venezuela who used his nation’s also remarkable oil wealth to reduce poverty and inequality in his nation. Chavez won respect and even adoration from much of his nation’s citizenry, including especially the poor, even as he offered remarkable tolerance and freedom to wealthy elites who hated him and his egalitarian agenda.

      Surely, then, the president of the world’s self-proclaimed greatest democracy, the United States, reacted to Chavez’s death with words of sympathy and respect that went beyond the reverence and compassion he expressed for the deceased king of an absolutist, arch-repressive, and ultra-reactionary dictatorship, right? Hardly. The White House responded with the following dismissive and disrespectful statement: “At Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights” – a commitment that finds curious expression in Washington’s longstanding support for the Saudi dictatorship.

    • Was the Saudi Government Complicit in the 9/11 Attacks?

      The brouhaha about possible Saudi Arabian funding of Al Qaeda in the run-up to the September 11, 2001, attacks is being fueled from two directions. It is being pushed by Zacarias Moussaoui, sometimes called the “twentieth hijacker,” now serving a life sentence in a federal supermax penitentiary. There are also allegations of Saudi funding in a congressional report on 9/11, a portion of which has not been released. That Saudi Arabia or its royal family were complicit in an attack on New York and Washington is completely implausible. The Saudi ruling class long ago decided that they would trade foreign policy independence for an American security umbrella, given that they preside over a small country with enormous petroleum wealth and resources, and could not protect themselves from external threats. Moreover, they are heavily invested in the New York stock market, and took an enormous bath on September 12 and after, as the latter suddenly lost half its value. The whole idea is a nonstarter.

    • Saudi Arabia, 9/11 and the “war on terror”
    • 9/11: Classified information on the Saudis

      A CIA leak and the a reading of the 28 pages by two US senators had revealed that there was enough evidence to show the involvement of the Saudis in the attack. A CIA leaked memo had gone on to show that it was not the Al-Qaeda or the Taliban that carried out this attack, but it was Saudi Arabia.

      Further the memo also went on to read that wealthy Saudis, diplomats and intelligence officials employed by the Saudi Royal family had helped the hijackers with both logistics and finances.

      The pages which had been blacked out by the Bush administration suggest that the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles had facilitated the arrival of two hijakers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi in 2000.

      A Saudi intelligence official named Osama Bassnan and a spy Omar Bayoumi established a base in San Diego which housed the hijackers. This was the same place where al Qaeda cleric Ankar Al-Awlaki met with the hijackers.


      Some of the pages even indicate that a huge amount of money had been sent to the hijackers. Specific information suggests the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar had sent $130,000 to Saudi intelligence agent Osama Bassnan.

      Although Prince Bandar had claimed that this money was a donation made to Bassnan who had an ailing wife, the US had managed to track that this money had infact reached the hijackers. There was also a trail that Prince Bandar had paid for the establishment of an Islamic Centre in Virgina which was incidentally close to the Pentagon.

    • US officials: 9/11 plotter’s claims Saudi royals aided al-Qaida ‘inconceivable’

      Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called ‘20th hijacker’ in the 9/11 plot, has alleged that Saudi diplomat discussed plans to shoot down Air Force One

    • Jailed al Qaeda operative makes explosive claims about Saudi royals funding pre-9/11 terror

      A convicted al-Qaeda operative has claimed that members of the terrorist network received extensive financial support from members of the Saudi royal family throughout the late 1990′s and into 2000, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

    • Venezuela: Media attacks part of US-backed coup

      There is a coup underway in Venezuela. The pieces are all falling into place like a bad CIA movie.

      At every turn, a new traitor is revealed, a betrayal is born, full of promises to reveal the smoking gun that will justify the unjustifiable. Infiltrations are rampant, rumours spread like wildfire, and the panic mentality threatens to overcome logic.

      Headlines scream danger, crisis and imminent demise, while the usual suspects declare covert war on a people whose only crime is being gatekeeper to the largest pot of black gold in the world.

    • Political conflict between Argentinian president and intelligence agencies intensifies

      The fallout in Argentina from the mysterious death of a prosecutor in January has exposed to the public a power struggle at the highest levels of the state.

      On February 1, a Buenos Aires newspaper reported that prosecutor Alberto Nisman—who was found dead on January 18 with a suspicious gunshot wound to the head—had prepared draft warrants for the arrest of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman, and Congressman Andres Larroque preceding his death.

    • GOP’s 2016 war primary
    • What Steven F. Cohen & Other Liberals Get Wrong About Obama & Ukraine’s War

      The founder of Stratfor, the “private CIA” firm, says that the overthrow of Viktor Yanokovych in Ukraine in February 2014 was “the most blatant coup in history.” The President of the Czech Republic contrasts that coup versus Czechoslovakia’s authentically democratic 1968 “Velvet Revolution,” and he says that “only poorly informed people” don’t know that the governmental overthrow in Ukraine in 2014 was a coup. America’s liberals, then, are indeed poorly informed, and they are so partly because they don’t want to know the truth about Obama; America’s conservatives, by contrast, simply hate Obama, merely because he’s a black Democratic politician (and any President who has been so good to Wall Street would be loved by them if he were a white Republican); they don’t mind (and they actually support) that Obama hates Russia and institutes an ethnic cleansing campaign in his aggressive war against Russia. Whereas conservatives don’t mind Obama’s ethnic-cleansing campaign to get rid of pro-Russians in Ukraine, liberals don’t want to know about it. The result is actually conservatives reigning in both Parties, not just in one: we now have one-party government, in all but name.

    • Op-Ed: Clashes continue in Libya in spite of ceasefire

      Clashes took place in Benghazi where pro-government forces led by CIA-linked General Khalifa Haftar have been trying to retake the city from an umbrella group of Islamist militias opposed to the Tobruk governent.

    • Mughniyeh assassination signals decline of NATO’s genocidal colonial rule over Middle East

      The cowardly NATO assassinations of Hezbollah’s top commander Imad Mughniyeh (2008) and his son Jihad Mughniyeh (2015) which both took place outside any battlefield, highlights the criminal nature of colonial militarism which does not recognize ‘military rules of engagement’ because it has never had any legal grounds for being in the Middle East.

    • This Is Reportedly The CIA’s Shadowy Car Bomb Facility In North Carolina

      In 2008, Lebanese terrorist overlord Imad Mughniyeh was killed by a car bomb in Damascus, Syria. Twisted metal wreckage was all that remained of his Mitsubishi Pajero. And according to a report from the Washington Post, the CIA built and tested the entire system at a secret facility, somewhere in North Carolina.

    • Unfortunate Timing: New NBC Show Will Have Scene of Man Being Burned Alive

      NBC’s new show Allegiance, debuting tomorrow night, starts out with a scene of a man being burned alive, which appears to be a case of very unfortunate timing, given what’s been in the news this week.

    • Departure of CIA’s top watchdog signals roadblocks to reining in agency

      When word recently leaked that the CIA inspector general was preparing to step down, agency Director John Brennan issued a glowing statement about his watchdog’s work.

      Left unsaid was the role CIA Inspector General David Buckley had in refereeing one of the most acrimonious disputes between a spy director and his congressional overseers in decades.

    • What the Warren Commission Didn’t Know

      A member of the panel that investigated JFK’s death now worries he was a victim of a “massive cover-up.”

    • Warren Commission Member: JFK Shooting Was a Conspiracy

      Lee Harvey Oswald may have been part of a conspiracy, according to investigative reporter Philip Shenon, whose book “A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination,” has just been issued in paperback.

    • Warren Commission a CIA Cover-up?

      However, David Slawson was a young lawyer who became a part of the Warren Commission in January, 1964. He is now 83-years of age. The retired law professor now believes that he and the other members of the commission victims of a ‘massive cover-up.’

      Slawson’s individual assignment within the Warren Commission was to investigate whether there was any involvement from a foreign nation in the assassination of President Kennedy. Until last year, he was certain that his reported findings were accurate. Recently he discovered that the CIA and other agencies withheld large amounts of information from his investigation. He has now determined that others were aware of Oswald’s plans before the shooting occurred. With the definition of ‘conspiracy,’ when at least two people conspire to commit a wrongful act, Slawson now is certain that a conspiracy did exist.

    • New JFK Conspiracy Theory: Warren Commission Lawyer Claim Of CIA Cover-Up Just More Disinformation?
    • Ukrainian forces already use US cluster munitions: Former CIA contractor

      A former CIA contractor says since the Ukrainian forces are using cluster bombs and illegal weapons against civilians, Washington’s decision to provide Kiev with further lethal aid does not make any difference.

    • U.S. Mulls Arming Ukraine Against Russian-Backed Separatists as Truce Talks Collapse
    • Islamic State: Is the US-led coalition working six months on?

      A series of recent setbacks underlines this point. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has quietly withdrawn from strike missions in Syria, with questions emerging about how far any country other than the US is now operating over it.

    • Former Church Committee Staffers Urge Overhaul Of Spy Agency Oversight

      It’s no secret that the mid-20th century was a dirty time for U.S. intelligence agencies. J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was waging personal wars through the government, infiltrating social movements and encouraging civil rights leaders to commit suicide. The CIA was working with the Mafia to assassinate foreign leaders, and had gotten into the business of overthrowing foreign governments, leaving a trail of fractured regimes through Africa and the Middle East.

    • Did the US Win the Greek Elections?

      In most countries controlled by the Emperor the most important “asset” are the military.

    • Chechen leader blames US & Western intel for Islamic State terrorists

      Kadyrov also suggested the West was backing IS in order to distract public attention from numerous problems in the Middle East, in the hope of destroying Islamic nations from inside.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • IRS is overwhelmed by identity theft fraud

      Rashia Wilson bought a $92,000 Audi, proclaimed herself a millionaire, and announced on her Facebook page that she was “the queen of IRS tax fraud,” as prosecutors told the story.

      But even more than her flamboyance, it was the seeming ease of her crime that was most stunning: She and an accomplice were alleged to have hijacked the identities of other taxpayers to get fraudulent refunds. They used stolen Social Security numbers, a computer, and basic knowledge of how to file a tax return, according to the government.

    • Economic Plan Is a Quandary for Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

      With advice from more than 200 policy experts, Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to answer what has emerged as a central question of her early presidential campaign strategy: how to address the anger about income inequality without overly vilifying the wealthy.

      Mrs. Clinton has not had to wade into domestic policy since before she became secretary of state in 2009, and she has spent the past few months engaged in policy discussions with economists on the left and closer to the Democratic Party’s center who are grappling with the discontent set off by the gap between rich and poor. Sorting through the often divergent advice to develop an economic plan could affect the timing and planning of the official announcement of her campaign.

    • Controversial tycoon Lajos Simicska on his estranged patron, Viktor Orbán

      Business tycoon and former Fidesz insider Lajos Simicska, speaking out as the key editors of his media group resigned, apparently in protest against Simicska’s threat to launch a “media war” against Orbán’s government.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The great illusion of free press

      William Colby, ex-director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is a man who should know Western media: “The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” Not long after becoming a whistle-blower Colby died in a freak canoeing accident.

    • CIA in the Crosshairs

      Not only did Williams lie just one time about the incident, he’d done it numerous times over the years.

    • Report: Brian Williams’ account of Hurricane Katrina coverage in question

      Further scrutiny of NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ other past statements began to surface Friday when the New Orleans Advocate reported that the newsman’s account of his experience covering Hurricane Katrina may not be entirely accurate.

      In a 2006 interview with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Williams said he witnessed a body floating in the French Quarter area of the city. “When you look out of your hotel window in the French Quarter and watch a man float by face down, when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country,” Williams told Eisner, who suggested in the interview that Williams emerged from former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw’s shadow with his Katrina coverage.

    • Anchors Aweigh

      But the caustic media big shots who once roamed the land were gone, and “there was no one around to pull his chain when he got too over-the-top,” as one NBC News reporter put it.

    • The Interview

      You don’t have to be North Korean to be annoyed by this film.

    • The Interview? Kim Jong-Un, you really shouldn’t have bothered

      There’s a whole host of people that’ll tell you that comedy can’t be insulting – by its very nature, it’s a joke, therefore it’s not an insult. What they forget is, if it’s not funny, it’s just sort of sad and offensive.

    • The Interview is another Rogan and Franco comedy… Take that for what you will
    • “The Interview”, Dangerous Lies, Propaganda For Imperialist Murder and Aggression

      As the South Korean government, which has executed hundreds of thousands of leftists and suspected leftists, now bans the Unified Progressive Party (UPP), which got 10% of the vote in the last election, so too the U.S. imperialists are ratcheting up their economic sanctions and cyber attacks on North Korea. They are doing this partially on unsubstantiated accusations of terrorist threats flowing from the idiotic movie “The Interview”.

      Korea was divided by the U.S. imperialists after WW II who imposed a far right capitalist dictatorship on South Korea that carried out mass executions of hundreds of thousands of leftists and suspected leftists. While in the south the new government employed the torturers and murderers of the Japanese occupation, in the north a new government was born out of the leadership that fought against Japanese occupation. Through social revolution they established a planned socialist economy that greatly benefitted the working class. In the 1950s the United States sent troops to Korea and carried out a brutal war against the Korean people in an attempt to destroy the social revolution in the north and protect the brutal capitalist dictatorship in the south. In that war, conservative estimates are that the U.S. murdered 3,000,000 people. North Koreans, perhaps more accurately, estimate 5,000,000 people.

      Korea is one country and discussion of reunification is popular. Leninist -Trotskyists also call for Korean reunification, but only through a social revolution in the South. Kim Il Sung’s illusions in a peaceful reunification after the imperialists murdered 5,000,000 people is a deadly pipe dream. The only reunification the imperialists and the capitalist government in the South will agree to is one that annexes the north and destroys the gains of the North Korean Revolution, much as was done to East Germany. For any useful reunification to occur, the brutally repressive capitalist state of South Korea must be smashed in a proletarian socialist revolution. In addition, the highly deformed Stalinist government in the DPRK that promotes these kinds of deadly illusions really needs to be swept away in a political revolution as well. That is a revolution that overthrows the Stalinist bureaucracy and establishes workers democracy and an internationalist revolutionary program, while at the same time maintaining the social gains of the revolution including the socialist planned economy, socialist food distribution, free education to higher grade levels than the South, and guaranteed free socialized healthcare.

    • Seth Rogan’s The Interview ‘wreaks of deluded arrogance and poor taste’

      JAMES FRANCO and Seth Rogen reteam for this infamous comedy romp that’s finally released after generating global headlines for all the wrong reasons.


      VERDICT: An abomination of a comedy, pitched to the lowest common denominator, with some seriously questionable intent to boot.

  • Censorship

    • What could be more absurd than censorship on campus?

      Last week, students at Goldsmiths College in London banned a performance by the fantastic feminist comedian Kate Smurthwaite in an act of neurotic prudery that bordered on the insane. Her show was on freedom of speech – yes, yes, I know. She told me that Goldsmiths did not close it because of what she had planned to say, but because she had once said that the police should arrest men who go with prostitutes and that she was against patriarchal clerics forcing women to wear the burqa. In the demonology of campus politics, these were not legitimate opinions that could be contested in robust debate. They marked her as a “whoreophobe” and “Islamophobe”, who must be silenced.

    • Spiked criticises Oxford’s “censorship”

      Online magazine Spiked has published a ranking of the attitudes of British universities towards free speech, placing Oxford in the “red” category. The website states that universities in this category, the “most censorious” one, have “banned and actively censored ideas on campus”.

    • How the academy green-lit student censorship

      Spiked’s Free Speech University Rankings, which launched this week, shows that many of the day-to-day restrictions on campus free speech emanate not from universities but rather from students themselves. This free-speech league table came out in the same week as a debate about the impact of the government’s proposed anti-terror legislation on higher education really took off. Vice chancellors have taken to the airwaves, started petitions, and penned letters to national newspapers in defence of academic freedom. It would be easy to get the impression that students have created an environment in which banning things on a whim is the new normal, while academics look on in horror and champion the cause of free speech.

    • The 3 places where Facebook censors you the most

      This isn’t about your photos or public messages violating Facebook’s own rules, like posting pornography. This is Facebook (FB, Tech30) acting as a government censor on that country’s behalf.

      It’s worst in India, Turkey and Pakistan, where thousands of pages and photos get pulled down every year for “blasphemy,” criticizing the government or posting something that’s religiously offensive.

    • India’s Censorship Board Bleeped Out ‘Bombay’ From a Music Video

      Mihir Joshi, an Indian musician recording his first album last year, needed a word to rhyme with today in one of his songs and found one that he thought fit perfectly. But India’s Central Board of Film Certification disagreed, and replaced it with a beep when the music video debuted on TV over the weekend.

    • China Widens Online TV Censorship Rules To Include Hong Kong Shows
    • How reporters are experiencing censorship on social media

      “As a correspondent, I just shared a piece of news that was true with my followers. Sharing this kind of news with people is my job,” Yazıcı said. Her colleague, Taraf’s political editor Dicle Baştürk, received a similar notification and did not delete her tweet. She says it’s still visible. Days later, Baştürk received another email from Twitter informing her that the company may still have to remove it.

    • All aboard the dox bus! Suburban Express owner keeps going after customers [Updated]

      Dennis Toeppen, the owner of the Illinois bus company Suburban Express, has become something of a legend for the way he manages his company’s reputation online and deals with customers who fail to play by his rules. Still facing a trial in Lake County for misdemeanor charges of electronic harassment, Toeppen has continued to police reviews of Suburban Express on Yelp and other services, using his company’s website as a way to call out those who he believes have wronged him. From his perspective, this is just digital self-defense; from the perspective of his targets, it’s Internet intimidation and an attempt to damage the reputations of anyone who complains about how Toeppen does business.

    • Judge orders action over photographs depicting US military abuse

      The US Department of Defense has been given a week to explain why it has not yet complied with a federal court order to list the individual exemptions for the disclosure of over 2,000 photographs depicting military abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • Court presses US govt to act on withheld photos of post-9/11 detainee abuse
  • Privacy

    • Facebook will soon be able to ID you in any photo

      Appear in a photo taken at a protest march, a gay bar, or an abortion clinic, and your friends might recognize you. But a machine probably won’t—at least for now. Unless a computer has been tasked to look for you, has trained on dozens of photos of your face, and has high-quality images to examine, your anonymity is safe. Nor is it yet possible for a computer to scour the Internet and find you in random, uncaptioned photos. But within the walled garden of Facebook, which contains by far the largest collection of personal photographs in the world, the technology for doing all that is beginning to blossom.

    • White House Seeks Boost In Spy Agency Funding

      The Obama administration requested $53.9 billion for its spy agencies in the year beginning Oct. 1, up sharply from its request of $45.6 billion last year.

      The money would be used to fund operations spread across six federal departments, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    • Ronald Bailey: Abolish the Intelligence-Industrial Complex

      In 1991, Senator Daniel P. Moynihan (D-N.Y.) introduced The End the Cold War Act that would have abolished the Central Intelligence Agency and transferred all of its functions to the Department of State. The Act declared that “the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency as a separate entity during the Cold War undermined the role of the Department of State as the primary agency of the United States Government formulating and conducting foreign policy and providing information to the President concerning the state of world affairs.”

    • Report: Britain’s GCHQ threatens to end work with Germany’s BND spy agency

      The German magazine Focus says Britain has threatened to cease cooperation with Germany’s BND intelligence service. The BND in turn has been accused by a Berlin inquiry panel of withholding documents.

    • US-German Intelligence Rift Hits New High

      Germany’s Parliament is getting ready to review the NSA with a Parliamentary inquiry. Both Britain and the U.S. are threatening to discontinue sharing intelligence with Germany as a result. This ‘threat’ has not been verified. However, with tensions as they are and a crisis meeting to discuss intelligence in Germany’s intelligence sharing, the threat may be genuine.

    • Britain ‘threatens to stop sharing intelligence’ with Germany
    • Good News! Your Samsung TV Is Probably Spying On You For Third Parties.

      This shouldn’t come as much of a shock, but your Smart TV is probably spying on you. This doesn’t mean it is out to do something malicious or that the machine has become self-aware, but it does mean that advertisers and third parties have another route to figure out how to reach you.

    • Before Snowden, There Was the Citizens Commission

      Director Johanna Hamilton talks about her latest documentary, “1971.” On March 8, 1971, The Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, as they called themselves, broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, took every file, and shared them with the American public. These actions exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans and helped lead to the country’s first Congressional investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies. Never caught, forty-three years later, these everyday Americans – parents, teachers and citizens – publicly reveal themselves for the first time and share their story in this documentary. Hamilton is joined by two members of The Citizens’ Commission, Bonnie Raines and John Raines. The film opens at Cinema Village February 6.

    • ‘Trust us’ mantra undermined by GCHQ tribunal judgment

      For more than 18 months the response from the security services to the disclosure by Edward Snowden of the mass harvesting of personal data of British citizens has been to say: “Trust us, nothing we are doing is unlawful.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Virginia House Committee Passes Anti-NDAA Indefinite Detention Bill, 20-0

      Yesterday, an important committee in the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill to take action against federal indefinite detention powers. The unanimous tally was 20-0.

    • Washington State Bill Takes Steps to Nullify NDAA Indefinite Detention

      A bill introduced in the Washington state legislature would prohibit the state from assisting the federal government in the indefinite detention without due process under provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) or any other federal acts purporting to authorize such powers.

    • Mississippi Bill a First Step to Nullify NDAA Indefinite Detention

      A bill up for consideration in the Mississippi Senate would prohibit the state from assisting the federal government in the indefinite detention without due process under provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), or any other federal acts purporting to authorize such powers.

    • Sweden Tells the UN that Indefinite Detention Without Charge is Fine

      The United Kingdom’s costs for its embassy “siege” against Julian Assange, who has not been charged with an offence, has hit 10 million pounds, Scotland Yard confirmed today.

    • The Saudis are every bit as sickening as Islamic State

      We’re all braced for another grotesque video clip from the fundamentalist nutters of the so-called Islamic State, because they’ve released a primer on the likely beheading of two Japanese hostages – unless Tokyo will hand over a $US200 million ransom in the coming days.

      IS’s video production values are sickeningly creepy – the prisoners in orange jumpsuits; their would-be executioner in black, wielding a knife and spewing bile.

    • How The Left Failed France’s Muslims – OpEd

      The real breeding ground for extremism stems from the treatment of immigrant groups within Europe. Racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination have driven a generation of young migrants to radical movements as a solution to an absence of job prospects, poor education, deteriorated neighborhoods, lack of respect, and repeated bouts in jail. Ironically, the crackdown on these communities in the aftermath of the attacks could potentially escalate the problem.

    • When Silencing Dissent Isn’t News

      So, what if I told you that an internationally known American – a 75-year-old Army veteran and a longtime official at the Central Intelligence Agency, someone who had famously questioned the imperious Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about his Iraq War lies in a public event that led evening newscasts in 2006 – was recently denied entry to a public speech by another Iraq War icon, Gen. David Petraeus, and – despite having paid for a ticket – was brutally arrested by the police and jailed?

      Wouldn’t that be a story? Wouldn’t that be something that the news media, especially the “liberal” news media, should jump all over? Wouldn’t a newspaper like the New York Times just love something like that?

      But what if I told you that the New York Times wasn’t interested at all? You might think that perhaps the event occurred in some distant hamlet, maybe a small college town where there wasn’t much media, so it just fell through the cracks.

      Yet, this story actually played out in New York City, the media capital of the world, on the Upper East Side at the 92nd Street Y in full view of hundreds of New Yorkers on the night of Oct. 30, 2014. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern was roughly arrested, with the police ignoring his howls of pain as they pulled his arms behind his back. (McGovern had recently suffered a painful shoulder injury from a fall.}

    • Video Shows NYPD Arresting Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern When He Tried to Attend Petraeus Event
    • Convicting Sterling to Chill Whistleblowing
    • Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Reacts to How Loretto Handled a Prison Guard’s Suicide

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who has been serving a prison sentence at the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, has written a letter reporting that a correctional officer committed suicide in January. How the prison officials handled the death stood in stark contrast to the treatment prisoners experience when an inmate dies or an inmate needs to go to a funeral for an immediate family member.

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

      Kiriakou writes in the letter dated January 22, 2015, that he did not know the officer or ever “have any contact with him,” however, it is his understanding that the man was a “nice guy,” someone “friendly, reasonable and honest.” He feels very sorry for his family, but the response from staff was “fascinating.”

      As a CIA officer, when he lost a colleague, a star would go up on the agency’s Wall of Honor. Everyone would move on. That is not how the prison chose to handle the death.

    • John Kiriakou Torture Whistleblower Released
    • Greek-American CIA Whistleblower Released From Jail
    • CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou released from prison
    • CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Released from Prison
    • CIA Torture Whistleblower Released From Prison, Subject to House Arrest
    • CIA Torture Whistleblower Released From Prison

      John Kiriakou was the first whistleblower to reveal that torture was the official policy of the the Goerge W. Bush Administration.

    • Whistleblower John Kiriakou, only person jailed over CIA torture program, is out of prison
    • CIA agent from New Castle who shared secrets released from prison
    • Ex-CIA agent, a New Castle native, starting over after prison sentence

      “I knew I was not guilty, and my attorneys knew I was not guilty, but a jury would convict a ham sandwich given a chance,” he said.

      The government pursued the prosecution on the leak because of the 2007 television interviews, he said.

      “I’ve maintained from the very beginning, as did my attorneys, that my case was not about a leak. My case was about torture,” he said.

      A Justice Department spokesman said Kiriakou has made the whistleblower retaliation claim since he was indicted.

    • Exiles from Chagos Islands given hope of returning soon to their lost paradise

      It is a scandal stretching across six decades: the forced removal of hundreds of native people from a British overseas territory to make way for a US military base. That Diego Garcia, the main island in the Chagos archipelago – seven atolls in the Indian Ocean – has played a part in the CIA’s torture programme has only added to Britain’s sense of shame.

    • War on terror shouldn’t justify torture: UN Rights Chief

      The United Nations, which is the legal guardian of scores of human rights treaties banning torture, unlawful imprisonment, degrading treatment of prisoners of war and enforced disappearances, is troubled that an increasing number of countries are justifying violations of UN conventions on grounds of fighting terrorism in conflict zones.

    • In his first interview since leaving prison, CIA torture whistleblower says it was ‘worth it’

      The ex-CIA officer who first blew the whistle on the agency’s waterboarding practice says the 30-month prison sentence he got for revealing classified information was “worth it.”

      “It’s been a terrible three years, and it’s ruined me financially and personally, but in the greater picture it’s all been worth it,” John Kiriakou told Fusion over the phone from Arlington, Virginia, where he just began serving an 85-day house arrest sentence. It was his first interview since leaving a federal prison in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

      “I’m proud I had a role in seeing that torture is now banned in the United States,” he said.

      For now, he’s only able to leave his home to go to a halfway house or to church, so Kiriakou, 50, is struggling to wrap his head around everything that happened while he was behind bars—namely the release of the Senate’s torture report less than two months ago.

    • Obama won’t return ‘torture report’ without court OK

      The Obama Administration is pledging that it won’t destroy or return copies of the full-length Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA detention and interrogation practices without permission from the federal courts.

      In a court filing Friday night, the Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg not to grant an American Civil Liberties Union motion seeking to block the government from returning the unabridged versions of the so-called torture report to the Senate as new Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has requested.

      However, Justice Department lawyers agreed not to send the report back to the Hill while the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit is pending, unless they seek Boasberg’s okay to do so.

    • Who? When? Why? 10 Times the Bible Says Torture is OK

      When conservative Christians claim that the Bible God condones torture, they’re not making it up. A close look at the good book reveals why so many Christians past and present have adopted an Iron Age attitude toward brutality.

    • Birth of a shadow doctrine: How a small group of lawyers launched a war against international law

      When the hijacked airplanes hit the World Trade Towers on 9/11, John Yoo was working in his Justice Department office in Washington, D.C. At the time, he was assigned to one of the most crucial legal departments in the federal government, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). Although he was an important lawyer in the administration of President Bush, Yoo himself was not well known outside of a close circle of Washington bureaucrats and policy wonks. He wasn’t famous. But all of that would change very quickly.

      Yoo had taken a leave of absence from Berkeley Law School to work for the Bush administration. His academic work had focused on constitutional law and foreign affairs, and he had earned a reputation for being a strong supporter of presidential war powers. According to Yoo, the president of the United States has virtually unlimited power as the constitutionally appointed commander in chief of the armed forces. Although Congress can play some role in times of war, Yoo had insisted in a series of law review articles that this role was secondary at best. In times of crisis, presidential power always trumps congressional deliberation.

    • Change of attitude from democratization to authoritarianism

      Everybody gets upset by the anti-democratic acts, the shelving of the Constitution, the non-compliance with judicial decisions and the pressure on the business world, civil society and opposition parties.

      Maybe we should just be sad about people who, after being humiliated in the past and imprisoned for exercising fundamental rights, embraced democratic reforms and standards, only to abandon this democratic stance. Maybe we should be just sad about a person or a group of people who have been against a single-party regime for many years but have started to implement one. We should be sad about people who, after arguing that they would subscribe to religious and ethical principles, violated all ethical rules and considerations once they acquired power.

    • Anti-Islam frenzy in France targets kids

      An 8-year-old boy in Nice, a small city on France’s Mediterranean coast near Italy, was hauled out of school to the police station. The boy’s father was called, television crews were summoned and headlines blared about the boy allegedly not respecting the minute of silence for Charlie Hebdo victims. An atmosphere of frenzied overreaction was created. (TV2, Jan. 28)

    • Political Dysfunction at Home Erodes US Leadership Abroad

      The US leadership role in the world is undermined by political dysfunction and polarization in the country, the US National Security Strategy released on Friday stated.


      A CIA torture report released in December detailed a wide range of practices used by the agency, including waterboarding, mock executions, prolonged sleep deprivation and threats of sexual abuse in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

    • DOJ Probe Into Alleged Senate and CIA Torture Report Crimes Is Shrouded in Secrecy

      Last year, government lawyers made inquires into allegations that CIA personnel and Senate Intelligence Committee staffers broke federal laws in connection with the committee’s work on the Senate torture report. But the Department of Justice has classified dozens of pages of documents related to that investigation.


      VICE News filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for those criminal referrals as well as all documents that “refer” to it. In a letter dated January 26, the Justice Department’s National Security Division said it identified about 85 pages — and that it was withholding all but two pages on grounds that disclosure would threaten national security, result in an unwarranted invasion of privacy, and reveal behind-the-scenes deliberations.

    • Focus of Feinstein’s Intelligence Committee uproar shifts from CIA to Democratic Senate staffers

      Many in Congress and the news media were surprised by a recent CIA Accountability Board report that cleared CIA personnel of wrongdoing in last year’s spying-on-Congress scandal, a finding that contradicted a July 2014 report by the CIA Inspector General. However, a close reading of both reports — which were released in unclassified form last month — indicates that the fault in this affair lies almost entirely with the Senate Intelligence Committee, whose staff appeared to have engaged in serious misconduct, including trying to smuggle a camera into a secure CIA facility, hacking into a CIA computer system, and stealing and misusing classified documents subject to attorney-client privilege.

    • Former undercover CIA man discloses Norway connection

      Mr Krongard was Executive Director of the CIA from 2001 to 2004 and a former chairman of Alex. Brown and Sons, a Baltimore investment bank.

      After being recruited, Hale says he helped run a fake company created under a legitimate corporation the Agency created.

      The fake company included shipping and trucking companies which Hale ran whilst leading the bank.

      Hale travelled extensively to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Israel, Poland, Denmark, and Norway. This was in order to provide cover to operatives supposedly working for the company.

    • Sen. Richard Burr, stop burying the CIA detention and torture report

      “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived,” wrote Maya Angelou, “but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” We call on U.S. Sen. Richard Burr to stop trying to unlive our nation’s ugly torture program, and face it with courage.

    • Torture and the CIA’s Unaccountability Boards

      Last Saturday, January 31, CIA Inspector General David Buckley resigned after a little more than four years in office. His departure came at the end of the same month his office published a scathing report that found the agency committed serious wrongdoings in connection to its rendition, detention, and torture program. It was also the same month that his report was swept aside by a parallel investigation conducted by a CIA “Accountability Board” that was hand-picked by agency leadership. Unsurprisingly, the Accountability Board recommended holding no one accountable for any failings.

    • Sen. Richard Burr, stop burying the CIA detention and torture report (COMMENTARY)
    • Gary Gloster and Christina Cowger: Burr should end efforts to bury torture report

      Winston-Salem’s own Sen. Richard Burr is at the center of an epic struggle over whether we will be allowed to know the truth about the taxpayer-funded torture that stains our nation’s soul. He has taken an astonishing action that appears at odds with both law and morality.

      Sen. Burr, now chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, recently wrote to the White House insisting that all copies of his committee’s 6,900-page report on CIA torture be “returned immediately.” The report had been distributed to many agencies and departments within the executive branch, and the idea of its being totally wrapped in secrecy again is ludicrous.

    • Enhanced Misinformation Techniques

      The FAIR study reviewed the guests of several popular news shows in the week when the report was most prominently discussed. The surveyed programs included the five Sunday talk shows (NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation, ABC’s This Week, Fox News Sunday, and CNN’s State of the Union) along with four weekday news shows (MSNBC’s Hardball, Fox’s Special Report, CNN’s Situation Room, and the PBS NewsHour).


      Only 18 guests articulated clear opposition to the CIA’s torture practices. That’s just half the number who spoke up in support.

    • UK to launch probe in country’s involvement in CIA torture: David Cameron

      British prime minister David Cameron has hinted that UK will launch an investigation by an independent inquiry into the country’s involvement in CIA torture.

      The Intelligence Security Committee (ISC) is already investigating whether British officials were complicit in torture overseas.

      Revelations were made recently that British overseas territory of Diego Garcia had been used to interrogate terrorist suspects.

    • UN human rights chief makes 1st official US visit since 2007

      He also has expressed concern at the “disproportionate” number of young black Americans who die in encounters with police officers and the high rate of blacks in U.S. prisons and on death row.

    • China Accuses Human Rights Watch Of Working For U.S. Government

      The article continues with a condemnation of a petition from Nobel Peace Prize winners Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Mairead Corrigan Maguire, with 129 other signatories, which criticized HRW for having “close ties to the U.S. government which call into question its independence.” There has been plenty of mudslinging back and forth about this, but in essence, the authors of the petition contend that Human Rights Watch employs too many former American officials, including veterans of the CIA and a former NATO Secretary General, thus compromising the independence of the group. They think this influence causes Human Rights Watch to go easy on American violations.

    • Don’t Call them Expats, They are Immigrants like Everyone Else

      According to Wikidpedia, “An expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”).”

      Defined that way, you should expect any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat regardless of his skin color, country, etc.

      That is not the case in reality: expat is a term reserved exclusively for western White people going to work abroad.

      Africans are immigrants.
      Arabs are immigrants.
      Asians are immigrants.
      However Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for inferior races.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality forever? Not if the lawyers can stop it

      After waffling for months on the question of Net neutrality, who would have guessed that former telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler would argue such a strong case for reclassifying broadband as a Title II common carrier? Though the FCC steered clear of onerous regulation, the reaction from telecoms has been largely a howl of distress.

    • Anti-Net Neutrality Propaganda Reaches Insane Levels With Bad Actors And Porn Parody

      There’s been plenty of propaganda concerning the net neutrality fight, but with FCC boss Tom Wheeler finally making it official that the FCC is going to move to reclassify broadband, it’s kicked into high gear of ridiculousness. An astroturfing front group that’s anti-net neutrality is trying to make a “viral” anti-net neutrality video, and it did so in the most bizarre way, by making an attempted parody porno video, based on the classic “cable guy” porno trope.

  • DRM


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

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

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

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

  • Cisco Helping Advance Open Source in Networking

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

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

  • Events

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

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

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

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

    • Wayland/Weston 1.7.0 RC2 Released

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

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

  • SaaS/Big Data

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

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

    • 4 Lessons for Every Entrepreneur Creating Big Data Solutions

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

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

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

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

    • Second OpenStack Kilo Milestone Now Available

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


    • The Bazaar has become Cathedral

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

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

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

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

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

    • GNU C library version 2.21 released

      The GNU C Library version 2.21 is now available.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

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

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

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

  • Licensing

    • Tips to Consider Before Using Open Source Code

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

  • Openness/Sharing

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

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

    • Risk of the Commons

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


  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Chomsky and Kissinger Agree: Avoid Historic Tragedy in Ukraine

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

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

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

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

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

      Saudi officials have denied this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • US drone kills al-Shabaab commander

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Technology, Weapons and the Future

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

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

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

    • Letter: Slow down acceptance of drones

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

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

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

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

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

    • No, I Will Not Watch American Sniper

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

    • Blowback: the failure of remote-control warfare

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

    • What is a defensive weapon?

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

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

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

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

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

    • Why Arming Ukraine Will Backfire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • America’s New Invisible Air Force

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

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

    • The invisible face of terror

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

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

    • White House seeks big increase in Pentagon budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • US drone watched Mamasapano debacle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • IHC grills cop for not registering drone strike murder case

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

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

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

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

    • US Drone Strike Kills Four in Yemen

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

    • Stop Using Drones in My Name

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

    • Drones a deplorable evil

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


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

    • Jordan Executes Two Militants After IS Kills Pilot

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

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

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

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

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

    • Ron Paul: The failed ‘Yemen model’

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

    • American Sniper: A Model American

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

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

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

    • Systemic Series of Monstrous Crimes (3-4)

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

    • Cozying up to dictators hurts American interests

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

    • Born at War

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

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

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

  • Transparency Reporting

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

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

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

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

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

    • Silenced: The War on Whistleblowers

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

  • Finance

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

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

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

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

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

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

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

    • The GOP: Still the Party of Stupid

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

    • Brian Williams taking himself off air temporarily

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

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

  • Censorship

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

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

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

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

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

    • What the CIA didn’t want Americans to know

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

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

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

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

    • Conservative Media Bash Obama For Mentioning Crusades At Prayer Breakfast

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

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

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

    • The Police State Is Upon Us

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

    • Armstrong given two tickets after car crash

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

    • Ignoring America’s true greatness

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

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

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

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

    • America desperately needs constitutional convention

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

    • CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Released to House Arrest

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

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

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

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

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

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

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

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


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

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Easing into open source

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

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

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

  • Coreboot Ports Over XGI Framebuffer Support From Linux Kernel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Lightning Strikes at Salesforce with DIY Development Platform

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

  • Is Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry open enough?

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

  • Events

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • The art of learning OpenStack

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

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

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

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

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle tosses its Linux into Docker’s repository

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

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


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

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

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

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

    • FSF JavaScript guidelines picked up by Posteo Webmail

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

  • Public Services/Government

    • Half of IT in Bizkaia province to be open source

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

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Science

    • Six Things Technology Has Made Insanely Cheap

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

  • Health/Nutrition

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

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

  • Security

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

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

    • Sneaky Linux malware comes with sophisticated custom-built rootkit

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

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

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

    • UK government asks: How’s our hacking?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Meet The Group That Now Rules Yemen

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

    • A Blackwater World Order

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

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

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

  • Transparency Reporting

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

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

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

    • Supreme Court Rules in Favor of TSA Whistleblower Robert MacLean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Finance

    • The Billionaires at Burning Man

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

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

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

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

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

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

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

  • Censorship

    • Google Chrome Dragged Into Internet Censorship Fight

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

    • France Implements Administrative Net Censorship

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

  • Privacy

    • WhatsApp security bug shows private pictures to strangers

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

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

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

    • The Newest Reforms on SIGINT Collection Still Leave Loopholes

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

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

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

    • Two things I’ve learned from using Tor Browser

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

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

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

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

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

    • Investigative Journalists and Digital Security

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

    • Russia might start blocking Internet anonymizers like Tor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Civil Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • An Elite That Has Lost the Impulse to Police Itself

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

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

      Yet he isn’t personally condemning the DEA.

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

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

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Undoing Michael Powell’s Mischief at the FCC

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

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

    • Morning Joe’s Net Neutrality Conflict Of Interest

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

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

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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

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

    • Copyrights

      • Data retention: the copyright mafia want laws in place

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

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

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


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

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux, Windows, Mac, and You

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

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

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

  • Desktop

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

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

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

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

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel386 psABI Version 1.0 Released

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

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

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Reviews

      • HandBrake Video Transcoder Gets a Grip on Linux

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

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • FESCo Election Results

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

        • Major Hayden: How do you Fedora?

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

    • Debian Family

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

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

      • OTRS 4 in Debian!
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

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

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

          • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Gets Important Linux Kernel Update

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

          • Unzip Exploit Closed in All Supported Ubuntu OSes

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

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

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

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

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

          • Flavours and Variants

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

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

            • Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 RC3 Release

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

  • Devices/Embedded

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

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

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

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

    • Pi Glass interview
    • Phones

      • Android

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

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

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

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

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

        • Apple is making its first Android app

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

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

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

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

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

        • Good and Samsung Partner to Harden Android Security

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

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

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

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

        • This Mechanical Keyboard Is Secretly An Android Computer

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

        • Five tweaks to make Android Lollipop even better

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

Free Software/Open Source

  • Save boring software from the brink

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

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

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

  • ownCloud Hooks Up Global Mesh Cloud for Universities, Researchers

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

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

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

  • Events

    • Under the SCALE Big Top

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

    • Open Source Containerization Focus of New ContainerCon Event

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

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Mirantis Expands OpenStack Offerings to Japan Market

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

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

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

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

    • Report Shows Apache Spark Gaining Momentum

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

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

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

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Linux Now Hosted on the Docker Hub Registry

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

    • Oracle Adds Oracle Linux Images to Docker Hun Registry

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


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

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

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

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

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

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Community open sources medical diagrams and animations

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

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

    • Open Hardware

      • Rapid open hardware innovation to redefine wireless

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


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

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

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

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

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

    • Burning Victims to Death: Still a Common Practice

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

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Julian Assange policing costs reach £10 million

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Censorship

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

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

  • Privacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Gaping Hole In Obama’s FBI Surveillance Reform

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

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

    • Examining the Stasi, Seeing the NSA

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

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

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

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

    • Australian government wants to quickly push through strict metadata laws

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Civil Rights

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

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

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

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

    • Will Anyone Pay for Abu Ghraib?

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

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

    • Obama Administration Frustrates Inspectors General on Records Access

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

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

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

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

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

    • Verizon is mad that its huge net neutrality gamble backfired

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

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

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

    • Net neutrality rules: Six key points

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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

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

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

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

    • Copyrights

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

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


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

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

GNOME bluefish



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

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

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

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu 14.10 running on my MacBook

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

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

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

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

    • The Linux Foundation Publishes Guide to the Open Cloud

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

    • Systemd has plans to include UEFI bootloader

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

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

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland’s Weston Now Supports Maximizing XWayland Windows

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

      • Libinput Looks To Dominate On Both X11 & Wayland

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

      • Gallium3D’s Direct3D 9 Support Is Coming Along Well

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

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

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

      • X.Org Server 1.17 Officially Released

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

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

      • More AMD RadeonSI Improvements Land In Mesa Git

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

    • Benchmarks

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

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

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • End of an Era

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • The Linux Setup – Jonathan Riddell, Kubuntu Developer

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

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

      • TaskWarrior with activities

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

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME’s OPW Women Program Becomes Outreachy

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

  • Distributions

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

      • OpenELEC 5.0.1 Is Based on Kodi (XBMC) 14.1

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

      • Q4OS 0.5.25 version released

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

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

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

    • Red Hat Family

      • Life-cycle of a Security Vulnerability

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

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Signal analyzer runs Linux on BeagleBone Black-like core

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

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

    • Introducing the Raspberry Pi 2, and a new resource

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hands-On: RaspberryPi NOOBS 1.3.12

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

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

    • Phones

      • Android

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

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

        • AnandTech reviews Google’s Nexus 9 tablet

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

        • The Google Nexus 9 Review

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

Free Software/Open Source

  • The best open-source software for serious Linux users

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

  • LinuxQuestions Survey Results Surface Top Open Source Projects

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

  • Top 7 Reasons Developers Contribute to Open Source Projects

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

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

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

  • Docker-Rocket Conflict is a Good Sign

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

  • OsmocomBB: open source baseband software

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

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

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

  • Events

    • Under the SCALE Big Top

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

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

    • Digital Jersey to hold first ‘open source’ day

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

    • 20150203 – FOSDEM talk

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

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

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

    • Linux Foundation creates ContainerCon to bring vendors together

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

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • FOSDEM Configuration Management: Open Source Infrastructure

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • VMware’s Cloud Strategy Matures, Focuses on OpenStack

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

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Paid development pays off for LibreOffice for Android

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

  • CMS

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • LLVM 3.6 Release Candidate 2 Now Available

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

    • Changes to the FreeBSD Support Model

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


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

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

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

    • GCC 5 Brings Some Performance Improvements For Intel Broadwell Systems

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

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

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

  • Project Releases

    • What is Shadow Daemon?

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

    • MongoDB 3.0 To Have WiredTiger, Big Performance Improvements

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

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing

    • Good news: Compatibility of LGPLv2 and LGPLv3

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

  • Openness/Sharing

    • GE’s Open-Source Smart Refrigerator

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

    • Open Data

      • Open up as much social-good data as possible

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

    • Open Access/Content

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

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


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

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

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

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

  • Science

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

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

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

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

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

  • Security

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

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

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

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

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A Pointed Letter to Gen. Petraeus

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

      Dear Gen. David Petraeus,

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

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

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

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

  • Finance

    • Robert Reich: The sharing economy is hurtling us backwards

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

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

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

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

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

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

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

  • Censorship

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

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

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

  • Privacy

    • The US government bids adieu to Clipper Chip

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

    • Chris Barton: Chilling privacy call from our Supreme Court

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

    • President Tweaks the Rules on Data Collection

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

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

    • Need benefits? Say goodbye to privacy

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

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

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

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

    • New site: Canarywatch

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Administration highlights surveillance reforms

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

    • Working Thread: New and Improved Dragnettery

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

  • Civil Rights

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

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

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

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

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

    • Eric Holder’s lawless legacy: Column

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

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

    • DEA teaches agents to recreate evidence chains to hide methods

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Moussaoui Calls Saudi Princes Patrons of Al Qaeda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Homeland Insecurity: Checkpoints, Warrantless Searches and Security Theater

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

    • The Invisible Man: Jeffrey Sterling, CIA Whistleblower

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

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

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

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

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

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

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

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

    • Web inventor warns against zero-rating net neutrality threat

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

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

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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