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02.05.16

Links 5/2/2016: Wine 1.9.3, Slackware 14.2 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • A love for technology leads to Linux and open source

    Presently, I support about 200 Linux virtual machines at work in a private cloud and am delighted to write software on my operating system of choice.

    More than a decade after my first Linux experience, all my computers at home now run it. I use GIMP to edit photographs I capture, listen to songs and watch movies on MPlayer, create and edit documents in LibreOffice, and use KVM and VirtualBox to run other Linux distros in virtualized environments.

  • MaruOS claims to turn your Android phone into a Linux desktop

    Odds are that the smartphone in your pocket is powerful enough to run some desktop apps like office suites, web browsers, and other productivity tools. But the software on most phones is designed for mobile devices, not desktop screens.

  • Desktop

    • Readers Say ‘No’ to Antivirus on Linux

      A few weeks back when Ken Starks wrote an anecdotal column on an experience with a false positive from Avast antivirus on GNU/Linux, we started thinking. We run antivirus on our LAMP servers with the intent of protecting poor suckers on Windows, but on our Linux desktops and laptops? Pretty much, no. Some of us had tried the open source ClamAV at one time or another, mainly out of curiosity, but none of us had stuck with it. To our knowledge, until Starks wrote his column none of us even knew anybody who had ever run proprietary AV on Linux boxes.

  • Server

    • CoreOS Launches Docker Rival Rkt 1.0

      CoreOS released today rkt (pronounced Rock-it) 1.0, providing container users with an alternative runtime to Docker. CoreOS first announced rkt in December 2014 after dissatisfaction arose with the state of the Docker runtime.

      While rkt is a competitor to the Docker runtime, users will still be able to run application containers that have been built with Docker tools. The promise of rkt is that of improved performance and security controls, as well as integration with CoreOS’ larger platform effort Tectonic, which provides orchestration.

    • Docker 1.10 Linux Container Engine Brings over 100 Changes, Removes LXC Support

      Docker, the open-source and powerful Linux container engine software, has reached today, February 4, a new milestone, version 1.10, which promises to introduce a whole lot of fresh features.

  • Kernel Space

    • IBM Supports Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Blockchain as Industry Standard, Plans Deployment

      In December Bitcoin Magazine reported that IBM and a group of top tech and finance companies are joining forces to develop a new open source blockchain separated from the Bitcoin blockchain. The group will work with the Linux Foundation to create a public network that lets blockchain applications built on top of it communicate with each other.

    • Unikernels

      When Linux applications have bugs that are difficult to diagnose (EG buffer overruns that happen in production and can’t be reproduced in a test environment) there are a variety of ways of debugging them. Tools such as Valgrind can analyse memory access and tell the developers which code had a bug and what the bug does. It’s theoretically possible to link something like Valgrind into a Unikernel, but the lack of multiple processes would make it difficult to manage.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Robert Hallock: GPUOpen is AMD’s Long-Term Open Source Strategy

        Last week AMD completed a major step in its initiative to open things up to the public under GPUOpen — a collection of tools for graphics, high performance compute and heterogeneous computing – as open source under the MIT license model. So when a company does something out of the ordinary, especially one with a large indirect influence in the mobile community, it’s worth looking further into it. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Robert Hallock, AMD’s Head of Global Technical Marketing, and ask a few questions about what this all means.

      • A Ton Of Direct3D 9 “Nine” State Tracker Improvements Hit Mesa
      • xf86-video-geode 2.11.18

        Yesterday, I pushed out version 2.11.18 of the Geode X.Org driver. This is the driver used by the OLPC XO-1 and by a plethora of low-power desktops, micro notebooks and thin clients. This release mostly includes maintenance fixes of all sorts. Of noticeable interest is a fix for the long-standing issue that switching between X and a VT would result in a blank screen (this should probably be cherry-picked for distributions running earlier releases of this driver). Many thanks to Connor Behan for the fix!

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux Benchmarks Of The C.H.I.P. $9 Computer

        While Next Thing Co is still working to fulfill orders on the C.H.I.P. $9 computer over the next several months, I noticed that some benchmarks of this cheap Raspberry Pi competitor have begun appearing on OpenBenchmarking.org via the Phoronix Test Suite. Here are some of those benchmark results for this ARB single-board computer.

        For those that don’t recall this crowd-funding campaign, the C.H.I.P. is a $9 computer with a 1GHz ARM single-core processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage. The C.H.I.P. is cheap. I hadn’t paid much attention to the campaign since I’m more into high-performance ARM chips than whatever the cheapest ARM SBC is around. However, these early benchmark results on OpenBenchmarking.org are rather interesting.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Project Br-Print3D at Campus Party Brazil

        Last week, between January 26 and 31, the ninth Campus Party Brazil (promo video on Facebook) was held in Sao Paulo. 8000 people inside an arena, with talks, workshops and hackathons, with the main subject being technology.

        The team from KDE project Br-Print3D was invited to participate of this event. To show our work on the Free Software stage and on the tables there are scattered all over of this arena.

      • Calligra 2.9.11 Office Suite Launches for Linux with New Krita and Kexi Bugfixes

        The developers of the KDE-oriented Calligra office suite have announced the release and immediate availability for download of the eleventh maintenance release in the Calligra 2.9 series of the open-source project.

      • Krita 2.9.11 to Be the Last in the Series, Krita 3.0 Gets Second Alpha Build

        The developers of the awesome Krita digital painting software for Linux, Mac and Windows platforms have announced the release of two new versions of the acclaimed open-source project.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • EggColumnLayout

        The widget behind the new preferences implementation in Builder was pretty fun to write. Some of the details were tricky, so I thought I’d make the widget reusable in case others would like to use it. I’m sure you can find uses for something like this.

      • Rio Design Hackfest

        A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a design hackfest in Rio de Janeiro, which was hosted by the good people at Endless. The main purpose of the event was to foster a closer relationship between the design teams at GNOME and Endless. Those of us on the GNOME side also wanted to learn more about Endless users, so that we can support them better.

      • Endless joins the GNOME Advisory Board

        The GNOME Foundation is pleased to announce that Endless, creator of the Endless computer and operating system, has joined the GNOME Foundation advisory board. The Advisory Board is a body of stakeholder organizations and companies who support the GNOME Project by providing funding and expert consultation. The board includes Google, Intel, the Linux Foundation, and the Free Software Foundation, among others.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux Lite 2.8 Review At A Glance

        Linux Lite is based on the Ubuntu LTS series of releases. LTS stands for Long Term Support, this means each release has a support period of 5 years. This is a great basis for stability, but not only that, you only need to install once every 5 years. During that period your system will continue to receive updates. Linux Lite is fully functional out of the box, this means that you won’t have to install extra software when you boot your computer for the first time. We believe that a computer should be ready to use straight away on the first boot after a new install. You’re going to need this kind of functionality on a daily basis when you are using your computer so we take the hassle out of trying to find the right software from the start.

    • New Releases

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Slackware Family

      • SlackEX Released with Linux Kernel 4.4.1 and KDE 4.14.3, Based on Slackware 14.2

        After announcing the availability of a custom Linux 4.4.1 kernel for Slackware 14.2 and derivative distributions, today Linux developer Arne Exton informs Softpedia about the release of a new build of his SlackEX GNU/Linux operating system.

      • Slackware 14.2 Beta 2 and the Ubuntu Tablet Revealed

        Slackware 14.2 is making progress as it has officially reached Beta 2. The big news of the day must be the announcement of new Ubuntu tablet Aquaris M10. This is being touted as the fulfillment of the convergence promise as the Aquaris M10 is said to be a tablet that can also be used as a really small PC or a really large phone.

      • Almost weekend again – what’s in store

        I updated my packages for calibre and chromium with new versions. I updated the set of “compat32” packages for a multilib setup on slackware64-current to match the Slackware packages contained in the new Slackware 14.2 Beta 2.

      • Slackware 14.2 Beta 2 Announced

        Good news for everyone. Slackware 14.2 is getting close to release as Pat now announced Slackware 14.2 Beta 2 on the latest changelog. This update also brings some security changes for all supported Slackware releases back to Slackware 13.0!!!

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat names country manager

        Open source solutions company Red Hat has appointed Hon-Loong Kok as the country manager of Malaysia.

        In his new position, Kok will play a strategic role leading the team in Malaysia to find ways to drive sustainable growth, as well as establish stronger relationships with Malaysian enterprise customers and partners.

      • FOSDEM 2016

        Lenny talked about systemd and what is going to be added in the near future. Among many things, he made DNSSEC stand out. I not sure yet whether I like it or not. One the one hand, you might get more confidence in your DNS results. Although, as he said, the benefits are small as authentication of your bank happens on a different layer.

      • systemd and Where We Want to Take the Basic Linux Userspace in 2016

        systemd is a system and service manager for Linux and is at the core of most of today’s big distributions. In this presentation I’d like to explain where systemd stands in 2016, and where we want to take it.

      • Fedora

        • PHP version 5.5.32, 5.6.18 and 7.0.3

          RPM of PHP version 7.0.3 are available in remi-php70 repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPM of PHP version 5.6.18 are available in remi repository for Fedora ≥ 21 and remi-php56 repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux.

        • Fedora Community Booth Live Stream from SCALE14x

          We streamed live from the Fedora Booth at SCALE14x to give people an inside look at scale from the expo floor. We had the chance to talk with many people including Corey Doctorow. So here we present all the hours of video we streamed and recorded from the expo hall floor.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Updated All-Snap Ubuntu Snappy Images, Urges Users to Reflash

            Canonical, through Michael Vogt, has informed all Snappy enthusiasts about the immediate availability for download of new, updated all-snap images for the Snappy Ubuntu Core operating system.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to Land with Older Nautilus Due to Bugs and Menubar

            Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) will have to use an older version of Nautilus, the file manager, the developers have decided.

          • Dell XPS 13 Ubuntu editions will be shipping soon

            As for Ubuntu, the most recent version is 15.10, and is code-named Wily Werewolf. Recent Ubuntu editions have a user interface that has placed attention on the touch interface. While Ubuntu is used in servers and PCs, it is regarded as an unpopular operating system. Dell had introduced its first Project Sputnik laptop as an experiment to bring Linux to ultrabook-style laptops with touchscreens, which were relatively new in 2012. Now that Project Sputnik lives on in the latest machines, it could mean that Dell will be slashing pricing for its previous generation notebooks, which will extremely advantageous for those on a budget and want to purchase an affordable laptop.

          • World’s First Ubuntu Linux Tablet Converts Into A Complete PC, Thanks To Convergence
          • BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition
          • Canonical Launches BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition Tablet
          • Canonical delivers on convergence with the Bq Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition

            Canonical has officially announced the first Ubuntu tablet, confirming weeks of rumors. The device is being manufactured by Bq, which already makes several Ubuntu phones. Far from being just another “me too” tablet, this hardware is a showcase for the latest Ubuntu software that can run traditional Linux desktop apps and offer a full Linux desktop experience when a mouse and keyboard are connected.

          • Ubuntu “convergence” brings PC-like features to mobiles

            Canonical has lifted the veil on its long-promised “convergence” version of Ubuntu, which enables a PC-like experience on a mobile device.

            Three years after Canonical unveiled its Ubuntu for Tablets platform, shortly after announcing the related Ubuntu Touch stack for phones, the company announced the first tablet to ship with Ubuntu Linux. The Ubuntu version of BQ’s 10.1-inch Aquaris M10 will go on sale in March at an unstated price (see below for tech details). The 64-bit, ARMv8 Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition will be the first product to ship with the long-promised “convergence” version of Ubuntu, enabling a PC-like experience with a mobile device.

          • Ubuntu Tablet to Be Available — Even in the U.S. — in March
          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-9.5 to Be Delayed for One Week, Devs Occupied with New Tablet

            We’ve been informed today, February 4, by Łukasz Zemczak of Canonical about the latest work done by the Ubuntu Touch developers in preparation for the upcoming OTA-9.5 update for Ubuntu Phone devices.

            According to Mr. Zemczak and as reported by us a few days ago, the Ubuntu Touch OTA-9.5 hotfix will be delayed for at least a week. Why? You might ask. Well, it’s because they’re still working on implementing the remaining fixes and they have their hands full with the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet unveiled today.

            “Work on OTA-9.5 continues with fixes still in the works. But as predicted, we will be delayed with this release for at least a week,” said Łukasz Zemczak. “Not to mention our developers are also busy with work related to the enablement of our first fully convergeable device announced today. Good times are nearing!”

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Few Pointers for Companies Going Open Source in 2016

    2016 is still in the beginning stages, and many companies and developers are considering going open source to maintain relevancy. If you’re an open source novice and are thinking of making the leap, it’s important to understand the boundaries and regulations before you get in too deep. Consider the tips below your beginner’s guide to open source.

  • Open Source Initiative celebrates anniversary, history of open source

    As a result of companies releasing their code to the public, the importance of having a solid community—one that understands how developers, contributors, businesses and governments interact and communicate—increases. One group has recognized this importance since the beginning, and yesterday it celebrated its 18th anniversary, along with a history of support for open source.

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI), a California-based non-profit, has been raising awareness and promoting adoption of open-source software since it was founded in 1998 as an educational, advocacy and stewardship organization.

  • The trials of certifying open source software

    Another way to say this is that well-run open source projects with neutral ownership may grow into an ecosystem that includes products, but standards tend to happen in mature markets where competing products already exist.

    [...]

    The Linux project is another good example. Linux distributions come and go. Some distributions are packaged as products and the companies that provide such products to customers for money have a myriad of ways of competing. But the Linux kernel community is where the core work still happens on what is the Linux operating system. Some companies have nuanced approaches to the variations on Linux they support. For example, Red Hat is a primary contributor to the kernel project. The Fedora distribution is a Red Hat-supported community project, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux is developed from the Fedora community. The CentOS distribution is a freely released community rebuild of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code, which provides a similar execution environment.

    Linux provides an interesting further example here. Linux was never certified as a UNIX operating system, despite its obvious lineage, and despite the fact that as the enterprise adoption of Linux servers grew and replaced expensive UNIX servers, the UNIX ISV world moved to several key enterprise distributions of Linux without such certification. I believe because Linux was close enough to UNIX, the ISVs moved their applications encouraged by Linux vendor ISV programs, and never looked back.

    [...]

    We have seen that with the Linux Standards Base. The standard was an application binary standard to support ISVs trying to target multiple Linux distro products in the marketplace with their applications. But the LSB was an ABI standard on parts of Linux, and not on the Linux code base itself.

  • Support the OSI´s Work on Behalf of the Open Source Community

    The Open Source Initiative turn 18 this year, and we´re running now our membership drive for the 2nd time. To coincide with our 2016 Board elections, we´ll be recruiting new members through the end of the elections on March 14, 2016.

  • Open source Java projects: Apache Phoenix

    Apache Phoenix is a relatively new open source Java project that provides a JDBC driver and SQL access to Hadoop’s NoSQL database: HBase. It was created as an internal project at Salesforce, open sourced on GitHub, and became a top-level Apache project in May 2014. If you have strong SQL programming skills and would like to be able to use them with a powerful NoSQL database, Phoenix could be exactly what you’re looking for!

  • Mirantis expands executive lineup, bags more customers

    Mirantis, the pure-play OpenStack company, is expanding its executive line-up by appointing COO, CFO and other key leadership roles. The key hires include: COO, Jim Dvorkin; CFO, Rik Thorbecke; EVP/GM, Enterprise Cloud Business Unit, Chris Keene; EVP/GM, Services, Parvesh Sethi; and SVP Worldwide Sales, Marque Teegardin.

  • Events

    • Samsung Opens Registration for Samsung Developer Conference 2016 #SDC2016

      Samsung has announced the registration for the Samsung Developer Conference 2016 SDC2016 is now open. Attendees can now register for the event that will take place April 27 – 28 at Moscone West Center, San Francisco, US. The Slogan of this particular event is “Connecting the Future Everywhere You Look”, and will feature more than 60 technical sessions, interactive workshops, keynotes and hands-on device experiences across 10 different topics, including: The Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR), Mobile, Wearables, Business Opportunities, Enterprise, Smart TV, Games & Entertainment, Tizen and Health & Medical.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • IceCat 38.6.0 release

        GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons. Also their trademark license restricts distribution in several ways incompatible with freedom 0.

        https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/

      • Mozilla officially kills Firefox OS for smartphones in favour of ‘Connected Devices’

        Firefox OS is open source, so in theory community work could continue, but without the backing of a major sponsor it is unlikely.

        The barriers to entry in the smartphone market are huge, so Mozilla’s retreat was perhaps inevitable. Nevertheless, it is a sad moment for those in search of an open smartphone platform.

        The thinking behind Firefox OS was to have a smartphone operating system based on browser technology, so that web apps would port easily and that everything would be built with open standards. Low-priced smartphones using the OS have been released by vendors including Alcatel OneTouch, LG, ZTE and Huawei.

      • Mozilla Tweaks The Firefox Release Schedule

        For the past few years Mozilla has been on a solid six week cadence for shipping new Firefox releases while for the remainder of the releases in 2016 they are tweaking that schedule slightly.

        Firefox releases will now be on a variable six-to-eight week release cycle while still delivering the same number of releases each year. This ensures that there is at least six weeks for every release and the cycles are adjusted for emerging user/market needs.

      • Mozilla Changes the Release Schedule of Firefox

        Mozilla is making some changes to the Firefox schedule, and it looks like they are going to give more time to developers between releases.

        One of the biggest changes for Firefox was the switch to a train model, which meant a lot more flexibility This happened four years ago, and the last version was 3.5 back then. Now we’re at Firefox 44, and they keep on going with this crazy schedule. The main difference is that they are no longer tied to a six-week release schedule.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • AtScale and Tableau Team on BI and Hadoop Mashup
    • Open Source or Open Architecture? Big Data Needs Both

      The act of publishing source code, in and of itself, doesn’t necessarily make a platform more useful. Making that source code extensible matters at least as much, especially in the era of open application programming interfaces (APIs), where many of the most useful apps are made so by other apps. Modern enterprises need both open source software and open architectures to take full advantage of Big Data.

      This article will focus on how we reached this point, and provide a blueprint for CIOs who are evaluating open source and Big Data tools.

  • Databases

    • Do Not Pass This Way Again

      Considering MySQL? Use something else. Already on MySQL? Migrate. For every successful project built on MySQL, you could uncover a history of time wasted mitigating MySQL’s inadequacies, masked by a hard-won, but meaningless, sense of accomplishment over the effort spent making MySQL behave.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Online Takes Another Step Forward

      “The first 100% open source, enterprise-grade cloud Office Suite” is how Collabora Productivity describes the goal of its recently announced collaboration with Kolab Systems. In fact, the goal has a longer history than the description implies, although its promise of free-licensed groupware has the potential to fill one of the few remaining gaps in open office productivity.

      Unless you have been following the topic, you might miss the fact that this new collaboration is the latest in a series of partnerships in which Collabora has been developing LibreOffice Online, aka CloudSuite, its own version of LibreOffice Online. Earlier partnerships include those with IceWarp and ownCloud.

  • CMS

    • More Resources for Finding the Perfect Content Management System

      Marking a true renaissance for tools that can help anyone run a top-notch website or manage content in the cloud, open source content management systems (CMS) have come of age. You’re probably familiar with some of the big names in this arena, including Drupal (which Ostatic is based on) and Joomla. As we noted in this post, selecting a CMS to build around can be a complicated process, since the publishing tools provided are hardly the only issue.

      The good news is that free, sophisticated guides for evaluating CMS systems have flourished, as well. We’ve covered many of the best guides for getting going with a good CMS system. Here, in this newly updated post, you’ll find several additional, good resources.

  • IBM Openwashing

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Ended 2015 With A Lot Of Open-Source Progress

      The FreeBSD project has issued their quarterly status report for Q4’2015 to highlight all the progress they made in ending out 2015.

    • OpenBSD on a MacBookPro8,2 with Intel GPU

      Some MacBooks have two graphics cards, the specific one this post is about is a MacBookPro8,2 (15-inch, Late2011) with an Intel HD Graphics 3000 and an AMD Radeon HD 6750M.

      If you boot any OS into legacy BIOS mode (only option supported by – at this time – most recent release version 5.8 of OpenBSD), it is always the Radeon card that gets activated (except for Windows OS, where Bootcamp/drivers should handle the automatic switching just like in Mac OS).

      You need an external USB WLAN card (or something else, if you want network access), because the internal one is not supported by OpenBSD.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • grep-2.23 released [stable]
    • guile compiler tasks

      We released Guile 2.1.2, including the unboxing work, and we fixed the slow bootstrap problem by shipping pre-built bootstraps in tarballs. A pretty OK solution in my opinion; check it out!

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Square’s guide to supporting female engineers goes open source
    • Belgium, Portugal exchange eGovernment ideas

      Fedict, Belgium’s federal IT service agency, and AMA, Portugal’s Agency for Administrative Modernisation, are exchanging views and activities on eGovernment services. On 19 January, a Fedict delegation visited the eGov Innovation Hub in the city of Guimarães in Portugal.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Why it’s essential to grow Indian-language Wikipedias

        On January 15, Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia celebrated its 15th birthday, meeting this milestone with 36 million articles in more than 290 languages (the English-language Wikipedia alone has crossed the 5-million article mark). But here I want to address some major questions that we need to ask as Indians. First, what is the state of Indian-language Wikipedia projects? What does India have to take from and give to Wikipedia?

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • ​How Uber Profits Even While Its Drivers Aren’t Earning Money

    “If I’m doing something useful for the company, I should be paid for that time,” Mark says to me as he drives me over the Brooklyn Bridge. “That’s what work is, right?”

    It seems like a simple enough principle. And yet when it comes to the nature of work in the digital platform economy, getting paid for that time is anything but a simple proposition.

  • Yahoo to slash jobs and close web properties in major turnaround plan

    Yahoo will cut 15 percent of its workforce and close some online services in a major turnaround plan announced Tuesday.

    The company plans to double down on search, Mail and Tumblr in hopes of attracting new users, and at the same time close some digital magazines as well as services like Games and Smart TV.

    After the job cuts, Yahoo will have a global workforce of about 9,000 employees—40 percent smaller than it was in 2012, it said.

  • Yahoo cutting workforce by 15% after announcing $4.4bn loss [Ed: Microsoft killed it]
  • Is this the perfect save icon?

    According to a survey taken in 2013: 1,000 children, from kindergarten through to 5th graders, were questioned about iconography. Among the findings was an interesting tidbit: Only 14 percent of the kids knew what the save icon represented.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • FBI probes Flint water scandal: Latest agency to join investigation of crisis that’s devastated city

      The FBI is the latest agency to join the Flint water crisis investigation, after weeks of public criticism over the Environmental Protection Agency’s conduct with respect to the probe.

      The statewide investigation into the Michigan city came after revelations the drinking water became contaminated with lead in April 2014, while under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager.

      Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, told the Detroit Free Press that federal prosecutors in Michigan are “working with a multi-agency investigation team on the Flint water contamination matter, including the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General … and the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.”

      Balaya confirmed the FBI was investigating wrongdoing late Monday, after being questioned whether there were ethical considerations in the EPA’s involvement, especially as its regional director resigned over the Flint scandal.

    • 5 Reasons Texas Should Decriminalize Marijuana, and One Reason It Shouldn’t

      If there’s one thing wrong with the decriminalization movement, it’s that it doesn’t go far enough.

      Last year, 11 separate marijuana-related bills were introduced in the Texas legislature, and next year we can probably expect 11 more. Candidates for local offices in Austin and Houston are running on marijuana decriminalization platforms, and the Dallas City Council is poised to implement a “cite and release” pilot program for low-level possession offenders. It’s beginning to feel like a movement, and forgive us for saying so, but it’s high time.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Australians stuck abroad and alleged sex crimes

      One is Julian Assange, holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in London. He is back in the news again today thanks to a UN panel finding that the UK is effectively detaining him, unlawfully, in the Ecuadorian embassy. The effort made to discredit and pursue Assange and other disruptive technologists, such as Aaron Swartz, has an eerie resemblance to the way the Inquisition hunted witches in the middle ages and beyond.

    • UN set to announce decision on Assange’s release on Friday – WikiLeaks

      Assange submitted a complaint against Sweden and the United Kingdom to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in September 2014.

      The WikiLeaks founder has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over three years, after being granted asylum by the South American country.

    • Julian Assange: UN panel on detention ‘rules in fugitive Wikileaks founder’s favour’

      Fugitive Wikileaks founder had said he was prepared to leave Ecuadorian Embassy, where he has been hiding for more than three years, if experts ruled against him

    • Julian Assange ‘will surrender’ if UN rules against him

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has said he will turn himself over to UK police on Friday if a UN panel rules he has not been unlawfully detained.

      He took refuge in London’s Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims.

      In 2014 he complained to the UN that he was being “arbitrarily detained” as he could not leave without being arrested.

    • Julian Assange is in arbitrary detention, UN panel finds

      A United Nations panel has decided that Julian Assange’s three-and-a-half years in the Ecuadorian embassy amount to “arbitrary detention”, leading his lawyers to call for the Swedish extradition request to be dropped immediately.

      A Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman confirmed that the UN panel, due to publish its findings on Friday, had concluded that Assange was “arbitrarily detained”.

    • Clinton’s Security Clearance Is Under Scrutiny

      Now that several e-mails on Hillary Clinton’s private server have been classified, there is a more immediate question than the outcome of the investigation: Should the former secretary of state retain her security clearance during the inquiry? Congressional Republicans and Democrats offer predictably different answers.

      The State Department announced Friday that it would not release 22 e-mails from Clinton’s private server after a review found they contained information designated as top secret. U.S. officials who reviewed the e-mails tell us they contain the names of U.S. intelligence officers overseas, but not the identities of undercover spies; summaries of sensitive meetings with foreign officials; and information on classified programs like drone strikes and intelligence-collection efforts in North Korea.

    • Julian Assange decision by UN panel ridiculous, says Hammond
    • UN Victory in Assange Case

      In a major legal victory for international human rights law, the UN acknowledged the risk of extradition to the United States faced by journalist Julian Assange. This decision marks a significant development in the law of detention, and has enormous consequences not only in Mr. Assange’s case, but also for the protection of whistleblowers and refugees worldwide.

      The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), the UN’s final authority on detention, issued a decision that Sweden and the United Kingdom are arbitrarily detaining Mr. Assange and must “ensure his safety.” That conclusion was reached after a 16-month independent investigation which took into account all evidence submitted by Sweden and the UK.

    • Olly Olly Oxen Free?

      A UN human rights panel decided on Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been detained in violation of international law. But how soon will he be able to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London?

    • Assange sex case sinks in international quagmire

      Now the case has mutated into a complicated international drama involving Britain, Sweden, the United States, Ecuador, a host of human rights lawyers and the United Nations.

      But when the dust settles from an unexpected U.N. working group’s finding Friday that Assange has been unlawfully detained, the painful stalemate is expected to continue, and Assange — though claiming full vindication — will most likely remain cooped up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

      The panel said his stay at the embassy — which he entered voluntarily in 2012 — constitutes arbitrary detention and that he should be set free and compensated for lost time.

    • Julian Assange: Before-And-After Pictures Show Profound Impact Of Exile Inside Ecuadorean Embassy
    • It’s Official: Julian Assange Should Be Set Free And Compensated, Says UN Panel

      The United Nations has ruled that the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is held arbitrarily in the embassy of Equador in London.

    • Assange – A Fundamental Vindication

      Julian Assange has never been charged with any offence. His detention has been unlawful since his very first arrest in the United Kingdom in 2010. There has never been any genuine attempt by the Swedish authorities to investigate the allegations against him. Those are the findings of the United Nations.

      The UK and Swedish governments both participated fully, and at great expense to their taxpayers, in this UN process which is a mechanism that both recognise. States including Iran, Burma and Russia have released prisoners following determination by this UN panel, which consists not of politicians or diplomats but of some of the world’s most respected lawyers, who are not representing their national governments.

    • Freeing Julian Assange: the last chapter

      One of the epic miscarriages of justice of our time is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – the international tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations – has ruled that Julian Assange has been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden.

      After five years of fighting to clear his name – having been smeared relentlessly yet charged with no crime – Assange is closer to justice and vindication, and perhaps freedom, than at any time since he was arrested and held in London under a European Extradition Warrant, itself now discredited by Parliament.

      The UN Working Group bases its judgements on the European Convention on Human Rights and three other treaties that are binding on all its signatories. Both Britain and Sweden participated in the 16-month long UN investigation and submitted evidence and defended their position before the tribunal. It would fly contemptuously in the face of international law if they did not comply with the judgement and allow Assange to leave the refuge granted him by the Ecuadorean government in its London embassy.

    • UN panel rules Julian Assange arbitrarily detained, entitled to liberty & compensation

      A UN panel has ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been ‘arbitrarily detained’ in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, calling upon the UK and Sweden to end Assange’s deprivation of liberty.

    • UN Rules Julian Assange is “Arbitrarily Detained”

      The illegal actions of the Swedish and UK governments were on the orders of Washington, the corrupt government of which is determined to get Assange for publishing leaked documents revealing the criminality and mendacity of the US government.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Smoke from 1997 Indonesian forest fires killed more than 100,000

      Global analysis of deaths from landscape fires has revealed in excess of 100,000 deaths can be attributed to the Indonesian forest fires of 1997. The fires of 2015 were bigger. As Fay Johnston explains, smoke and haze is a problem similar to the release of greenhouse gases. Those who produce the gases don’t necessarily suffer the consequences. Despite the existence of international agreements on smoke haze which drifts across borders, Fay Johnston says the management of smoke and haze remains a great challenge.

    • We’re drowning in cheap oil – yet still taxpayers prop up this toxic industry

      Those of us who predicted, during the first years of this century, an imminent peak in global oil supplies could not have been more wrong. People like the energy consultant Daniel Yergin, with whom I disputed the topic, appear to have been right: growth, he said, would continue for many years, unless governments intervened.

    • Climate Change This Week: The New Coal, Hot Water, Clean Energy Justice, and More!

      OO Global Deforestation Is Speeding Up – over 60% between 1990-2010, according to a new analysis of satellite imagery, countering a previous global UN FAO study, which looked at land use changes, not tree cover loss.

  • Finance

    • We’re ignoring an American apocalypse: While everyone obsesses about Trump, the middle class is still rapidly dying

      From 2009 through 2015, 2.2 million households signed up for a trial modification, the first step to getting a permanent reset, but close to 786,000 canceled. Of the remaining 1.4 million granted HAMP modifications through Treasury, some 467,000 ultimately redefaulted.

      These redefaults cost taxpayers $1.8 billion in TARP funds that were paid as incentives to the banks and mortgage servicers to participate in the program.

      As of September 2015 the U.S. Treasury set aside $9.6 billion for the HAMP program that funded 761,500 homeowner mortgage modifications. $7.7 billion of that was reserved to be paid to investors, banks and mortgage servicers as incentives to participate in the program.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • A Note to Readers

      An investigation into Thompson’s reporting turned up three instances in which quotes were attributed to people who said they had not been interviewed. In other instances, quotes were attributed to individuals we could not reach, who could not remember speaking with him, or whose identities could not be confirmed. In his reporting Thompson also used quotes that we cannot verify from unnamed people whom he claimed to have encountered at public events. Thompson went to great lengths to deceive his editors, creating an email account to impersonate a source and lying about his reporting methods.

    • Voter Fraud and ‘Missing’ Precincts: How Clinton Stole Iowa

      The media is reporting a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the Iowa Caucus. (The latest numbers give Clinton a miniscule edge, 49.8% Clinton, 49.6% Sanders).

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Italy’s municipalities to test new eID smartcard

      The new smartcard will contain users’ fingerprints, social security number and birth certificate details. Tampering and counterfeiting is prevented by security precautions such as holograms and microscopic inscriptions.

    • New Snowden Docs Reveal GCHQ’s Metadata Collection Details

      Speaking to Ars Technica, a GCHQ spokesperson said that, “We have no comment to make on the story. It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters.” The spokesperson took the time, however, to observe that all GCHQ activity is conducted within a strict legal framework.

      After exposing the extent of the spying apparatus used by the United States and United Kingdom in 2013, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia. He currently resides in Moscow.

    • Snowden leak reveals UK spies’ big data surveillance

      The open source Hadoop distributed data processing package is also used by the GCHQ.

      Hadoop is suggested for use “whenever you want to batch process a large amount of static data” such as the multi-terabyte datasets the GHCQ intercepts.

      Supervised and semi-supervised machine learning to churn through captured information “often produce functions with high accuracies on real-world data sets”, the document notes.

    • Uber’s new “Trip Experiences” – convenience at a cost?

      Uber has launched a new feature it hopes will bring entertainment to customer’s journeys. But will it have a cost to their privacy?

      The feature, known as “Trip Experiences”, will allow app companies to integrate with Uber, inviting users to click onto their app whilst on a journey. Uber has provided examples of how it may work, including apps offering users a music playlist to listen to and adverts of various promotions available at the destination. The examples given make use of the journey time and where the users end destination is, but app developers will have scope to come up with even more ideas.

    • Congress Might Actually Be Moving Forward On Fixing Outdated Email Privacy Law!

      We’ve been talking about and asking for ECPA reform for many, many years, and it might finally be moving forward. ECPA is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which details how the government can get access to your electronic communications. The law was written in the early 1980s, and as you’ve probably noticed, we live in a very different world these days as it pertains to electronic communications. One key example: the law says that messages left on a server for more than 180 days are considered abandoned and can be searched without a warrant. That may have made some sense (though, not really) in a client-server era, where everyone downloaded their messages leading to them being deleted from a server, but it makes no sense at all in an era of cloud computing.

    • How Tiny RFID Tagging Chips Will Change Our Lives

      The RFID technology has a long journey to cover, to be an integral part of the human body. People still feel more comfortable with their plastic cards. It is not much far when the RFID technology will replace the conventional payment methods and will be used to find missing persons, detecting explosives, or used by the government to chase whistleblowers like Edward Snowden or founders like Peter Sunde. For now, people don’t feel comfortable to have a glass capsule living in their body – of which they know nothing about – just to open doors and pay for coffee.

    • Where will the NSA place its hacking priorities?

      The choice is stark. Is the NSA of the future going to concern itself with offense or defense? Working as it currently does with hackers and companies, the NSA risks straining relationships and threatening its own internal operations no matter which route it goes down.

    • Rebuilding the NSA [Ed: hogwash]

      Most intelligence committee leaders on Capitol Hill are on board with the NSA’s forthcoming reorganization, part of what Adm. Mike Rogers dubs the most sweeping changes to the spy agency in nearly two decades. Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr and top Democrat Dianne Feinstein both told MC on Thursday that they don’t object to what they’ve seen so far. The overhaul will reportedly merge the agency’s Information Assurance and Signals Intelligence directorates while mixing intelligence and cybersecurity funding. Details, however, are scarce, and apparently still in flux.

    • Former CIA/NSA director Hayden supports strong encryption

      Former CIA and NSA director General Michael Hayden came out in favor of strong encryption but representatives in Congress and the Senate are continuing to pursue encryption backdoor legislation.

    • NSA Plans Controversial Restructure

      The United States National Security Agency is about to undergo considerable reshuffling.

    • Amazon’s bookstore trap: Come for the casual browsing, leave all your data in their hands

      Amazon is apparently slated to open hundreds of new stores around the country. “After dipping its toes into brick-and-mortar retailing last year with its first physical bookstore, online giant Amazon.com Inc. is poised to dive into the deep end,” The Wall Street Journal reports. The company may open as many as 400 new stores, inspired by its first bookshop, in Seattle. (More here.)

    • Dark web browser Tor is overwhelmingly used for crime, says study [Ed: King’s College London manufactures propaganda for government agencies that want to kill anonymity]
    • Safe Harbour 2.0: EU and US agree on Privacy Shield data-sharing framework

      EU AND US OFFICIALS have finally agreed on a new mechanism for transferring data across the Atlantic which will be known as the EU-US Privacy Shield.

      The deal was announced by Andrus Ansip, vice president of the European Commission, on Tuesday, and replaces the 15-year-old Safe Harbour agreement which was canned last year after concerns that it helped US intelligence agencies gain access to citizens’ personal data.

    • More Details on the NSA Switching to Quantum-Resistant Cryptography

      The NSA is publicly moving away from cryptographic algorithms vulnerable to cryptanalysis using a quantum computer.

    • New Technologies Give Government Ample Means to Track Suspects, Study Finds

      For more than two years the F.B.I. and intelligence agencies have warned that encrypted communications are creating a “going dark” crisis that will keep them from tracking terrorists and kidnappers.

      Now, a study in which current and former intelligence officials participated concludes that the warning is wildly overblown, and that a raft of new technologies — like television sets with microphones and web-connected cars — are creating ample opportunities for the government to track suspects, many of them worrying.

      “ ‘Going dark’ does not aptly describe the long-term landscape for government surveillance,” concludes the study, to be published Monday by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.

    • Going dark debunked: Boundless surveillance opportunities via the Internet of Things
  • Civil Rights

    • Solitary Confinement Is A Form Of Torture At Sharp Odds With Our Evolved Psychology

      We are people who evolved in small bands, living cooperatively with others, meaning our minds are adapted for social living — being amongst others.

      Evolutionary psychologist and psychiatrist Randy Nesse (though I can’t find the exact reference on deadline day morning) contends that we, in fact, seem to have a deep psychological need to be around others. In fact, it seems to be essential to our psychological health, which is why solitary confinement is a horrible punishment that we need to stop using.

    • Secret US flight flew over Scottish airspace to capture Snowden
    • The EU no longer serves the people – democracy demands a new beginning

      The aversion that many in Britain now feel towards the EU springs from the right instinct but leads to the wrong answer. Undoubtedly, Brussels disdains democracy and luxuriates in unaccountability. David Cameron’s hollow compromise will do precisely nothing to address this. Yet at the same time, a vote for “Brexit” in the forthcoming referendum is not the answer either.

      The European Community was, in its early incarnation, a magnificent undertaking. Its construction allowed for the revitalisation of national cultures in the spirit of European cosmopolitanism, disappearing borders, common institutions and shared prosperity. Despite different languages and diverse cultures, Europe began to pull together, in peace and ostensible harmony. Alas, the serpent’s egg was hatching inside the foundations of the emergent union.

    • Another Cop Treats Sexting Teens Like Child Pornographers

      As Reason’s Robby Soave points out, Detective Mohney is a walking contradiction. Apparently, it’s never occurred to him that bringing child porn charges against these young teens might result in bullying and suicide. Nothing makes the future look dim and hopeless like a long stint on the sex offender registry. Nothing destroys someone’s reputation faster than being listed alongside criminals who manufactured actual child porn, rather than just took a photo of their own adolescent body.

      For that matter, the preliminary charges make this teen’s decision to photograph his own body and send it to another teen a far worse crime than if he’d simply showed up at the girl’s house, stripped off his clothes and proceeded to engage in sexual activity with her.

    • Proposed Hungarian Law Would Allow Government To Suspend Key Human Rights Whenever There Is A ‘Terror Threat Situation’

      Amnesty notes that the proposed legislation would almost certainly fail the test of necessity and proportionality required to comply with Hungary’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. But something tells me that a government awarding itself near-totalitarian powers probably wouldn’t be too worried by a slap on the wrist from a bunch of human rights judges in some distant court.

    • Hungary: Proposed “sixth amendment” to the Constitution would be a frontal attack on human rights

      A draft proposal to combat terrorism, apparently authored by the Hungarian government and leaked in mid-January, recommends amendments to the Constitution and to several laws to streamline the process to call a state of emergency in the country. If adopted in its current form, the proposal would have profoundly negative consequences for human rights in Hungary, including the freedoms of expression, assembly, association, and movement, and the rights to privacy and security of person. The current proposal, referred to as the “sixth amendment”, devolves near absolute power on the executive in a so-called “terror threat situation,” the result of which would be a full frontal assault on human rights and the rule of law.

    • New Terrorism Blacklist Wields Power Over Millions of Lives

      Vice News revealed the details of a confidential database that banks, employers and others use to blacklist customers. The World-Check database also includes major charities, activists, and mainstream religious institutions under its category of “terrorism.”

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Vision, Urgency Of UN High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines Begins To Take Shape

      It came as a surprise to some when the United Nations Secretary General’s office announced in November the setting up of a high-level panel to urgently address access to medicines and other health technologies. After all, UN agencies in Geneva, most notably the World Health Organization, have been working on these issues for years.

      Yesterday at the UN in New York, an event was held to explain some of the vision and urgency behind the setting up of the panel, which includes an expert committee of representatives of some 10 international organisations and others. It also includes an open online call for contributed ideas until 18 February, and two public hearings.

    • Copyrights

      • David Bowie’s Legacy On Copyright And The Future Of Music

        Amid the steady stream of “hot takes” the past few weeks on the legacy of the late great David Bowie, The Washington Post’s Robert Gebelhoff dug up some of the rock legend’s contrarian views on copyright, if only to rebuke them thoroughly.

        Gebelhoff’s piece cited a 2002 interview Bowie gave to The New York Times in which he prophesied: “I’m fully confident that copyright…will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing…It’s terribly exciting.”

      • NBC, Filthy Pirates, Sued Over Use Of Photographer’s Work Without Permission

        NBC has made its views on piracy quite well-known over the years. For instance, we all know that it thinks that piracy is the most horrible damned thing that exists on this planet, so much so that it would please like ISPs to act as its personal police force. Oh, and because NBC also just cares so much — could we all just have our kids take a break from learning about stuff to listen to how awesome copyright is for a while? Also, however, piracy is pretty sweet when it’s convenient for NBC, or when it doesn’t want to bother coming up with its own images for its websites.

      • Europe’s top court mulls legality of hyperlinks to copyrighted content

        Europe’s highest court is considering whether every hyperlink in a Web page should be checked for potentially linking to material that infringes copyright, before it can be used. Such a legal requirement would place an unreasonable burden on anyone who uses hyperlinks, thereby destroying the Web we know and love.

        The current GS Media case examining hyperlinks builds on an earlier ruling by the European Union’s Court of Justice (CJEU) in 2014. In that case, known as Svensson, the court decided that netizens didn’t need a licence from the copyright holder to link to an article that had already been posted on the Internet, where previous permission had been granted by the copyright owner.

      • MPAA Takes Over Popcorn Time Domain

        The MPAA is now the owner of Popcorntime.io, the domain name which was the home of the most used Popcorn Time fork up until last November. The change of ownership suggests that the Hollywood group reached a settlement with one of the key developers, but has yet to comment on the recent developments.

02.04.16

Links 4/2/2016: Red Hat Upgraded, Ubuntu Tablet

Posted in News Roundup at 8:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • IoT in 2016: Open-Source, Better Tools, and Eclipse IoT

    The Eclipse IoT community had great momentum in 2015. Benjamin has done a nice summary of 2015. However, I often get asked where I see IoT and open source going into the future. Below are some of the trends I’d like to see within the Eclipse IoT community for 2016.

  • Orson Charts 1.5 is Open Source

    Orson Charts is Open Source software, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 3.

  • TNS Research: How Many Company Developers Should Work on Open Source?

    How many employees in your organization contribute to open source projects? Earlier this year, The New Stack asked this question to companies in the container ecosystem.

    Among the 36 responses we received, the median response was ten employees, which is a lot, but even more significant if we look at the size of the companies involved. Taking this into account, we found that the median company actually said 47 percent of their employees were contributing to an open source project.

  • How Well Do You Know the People of FOSS?

    How well do you know the people behind the different FOSS communities? Do you know the names of the people who are behind the software we use daily? Would you recognize the faces of the people who fight to keep free software free by helping enforce the GPL or by working on software patent reform? How much do you know about the people who diligently work to support free and open standards so that the digital age belongs to all of us instead of to a handful of corporations?

    Would you like to test your knowledge of the people of FOSS? Take our quiz. We have eighteen questions, each concerning a person considered to be a leader in the FOSS world. Have we left anyone out? You betcha — starting with you. The way we see it, each and every one of us, whether we merely use FOSS at home, work to keep FOSS software maintained or fight the good fight to keep free tech free, is equally as important.

  • Go phish your own staff: Dev builds open-source fool-testing tool

    The platform was written in Go and has been posted to GitHub where it’s had more than 300 commits at the time of writing. It differs from some other anti-phishing platforms in part because it is hosted on premise rather than in the cloud, “There are many commercial offerings that provide phishing simulation/training [but] unfortunately, these are SaaS solutions that require you to hand over your data to someone else,” the GoFish team says.

  • Hoodie aims to be one of open source’s most diverse and inclusive communities

    Too often web apps and the frameworks they’re built on support only the privileged—the always-online users and development teams with both front-end and back-end expertise. In open source, this support of privilege is usually reflected in the contributor community.

    Hoodie, a new web app architecture, does things a little differently. Simply put, Hoodie is a back end for front-end people. Started in 2013 as a spinoff of CouchDB, Hoodie provides a fast, easy, and accessible way for developers to focus on the front end of a project without getting caught up in the time sink of back-end administration.

  • Midokura Extends Enterprise SDN Insight with MEM 5.0

    MidoNet, Midokura’s SDN platform, was open-sourced back in November 2014. Midokura CTO Pino de Candia explained that the new MEM 5.0 release is based on MidoNet (MN) 5.0, which was first released in October 2015. Midokura’s product roadmap has MEM updates set to be released every 6 months, with MN updates every 3 months.

    [...]

    Looking forward, the next MEM release is version 5.2, currently scheduled to debut in July. Among the features that de Candia expects to be included are: Kubernetes and vSphere integration. Additionally, MEM Insights will likely benefit from integration with physical switches, starting with Cumulus Linux and other platforms in later releases. Another big item on the release roadmap is support for multi-site workloads.

  • Events

    • Meet on open source software

      International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) will organise an open forum on FOSS transition policy and strategies for government officials here on Saturday.

      The venue will be Padmam Hall, Institute of Management in Government, Vikas Bhavan. The Centre had released its open source software policy in March, 2015, that made it mandatory to explore use of FOSS in government organisations.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 49 Enters Beta, Adds MediaRecorder API To Record Audio & Video

        Google has released the Chrome 49 beta today for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, OS X, and Windows.

        Chrome 49 is bringing support for CSS custom properties to make it easy to define property variables in CSS, background sync support with service workers, improved ECMAScript 2015 support, the keygen element to generate a key-pair as part of an HTML form, a new MediaRecorder API for recording a user’s audio and video without the use of any plugins, WebAudio API additions, and a variety of other enhancements.

      • Google Chrome Will Soon Call out Websites Lacking HTTPS Security

        Can you shame website administrators into making their sites more secure? That’s what Google will soon start doing through its Chrome browser, which now prominently identifies sites that are not secured with HTTPS encryption.

      • Google Launches Best Ever Chrome Feature — Now You’ll Be Warned About Fake Download Buttons

        Google has updated the Safe Browsing feature in Chrome to protect your PC against the social engineering techniques that trick you into clicking the fake download buttons.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • MEM 5.0 Aims to Simplify OpenStack Management

      Midokura has released Midokura Enterprise MidoNet (MEM) 5.0, a network virtualization product designed for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) clouds. MEM 5.0 builds on Midokura’s open source, highly scalable, network virtualization system — MidoNet — to support network virtualization deployments with enhanced tools for OpenStack operators.

      According to the announcement, “MEM 5.0 offers an intelligent, software-based network abstraction layer between the hosts and the physical network, allowing operators to build isolated networks in software overlaying pre-existing, hardware-based network infrastructure.”

    • A Significant Fork of CloudStack is Making Waves

      It’s official: There is now a significant fork of the CloudStack cloud computing platform. If you don’t know its history, CloudStack had more momentum a few years ago as an open cloud platform than OpenStack has now. Citrix, which owned it, passed the open source CloudStack platform to the Apache Software Foundation, and CloudStack continues to advance and is widely used.

    • Getting Started With OpenStack [Webinar]

      The conversation around the adoption of OpenStack, the open source cloud technology platform, continues to gain momentum. Analysts at Forrester recently declared it “enterprise-ready” while many enterprise companies have taken the leap and deployed it. One thing that seems to be a dominant theme is that there are not enough professionals with OpenStack skills to keep up with demand.

    • OpenStack Adoption in the UK Hits 80 Percent, Claims SUSE

      But cost and complexity woes remain as public cloud adoption easily surpasses private cloud sales.

    • Cloud Skills are Valuable, and Mirantis and Others Are Ramping Up Training

      In case you’ve missed the trend, LinkedIn has become very central to how many people get hired these days, and it can be a conduit for upgrading your current job. LinkedIn also organically gathers a lot of job- and industry-related data, and that’s why it’s notable that according to the company’s newly published analysis of the 25 Skills That Could Get You Hired in 2016, cloud and distributed computing ranked as the most in-demand skill globally last year.

      Here are some of the related findings, and some tips on how you can pick up OpenStack skills to better your job-seeking fortune.

  • Databases

    • Gammu 1.37.0

      Today, Gammu 1.37.0 has been released. As usual it collects bug fixes. This time there is another important change as well – improver error reporting from SMSD.

      This means that when SMSD fails to connect to the database, you should get a bit more detailed error than “Unknown error”.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Illumos Continues To Let OpenSolaris Live On

      It’s been more than five years since the launch of Illumos as the concerted, community-based effort around the OpenSolaris code-base. This truly-open Solaris stack continues to be at the heart of OpenIndiana, SmartOS, Dyson, and other operating systems.

    • Watch Out Microsoft And Google, Cloud Version Of Open Source LibreOffice Is Here

      If you looking for an open source alternative of Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs, Kolab Systems and Collabora are working to address this issue. Known as CODE (Collabora Online Development Edition), this office suite is basically a cloud version of LibreOffice.

    • A cloud office suite alternative to Microsoft and Google

      Like the idea of having a cloud office suite, but not crazy about being locked into Microsoft Office 365 or Google Docs software-as-a-service (SaaS) ? Two open-source companies, ownCloud and Kolab Systems, are working on enabling an office suite for your own private cloud.

      Kolab, like ownCloud, is using Collabora’s cloud version of the open-source LibreOffice office suite, Collabora CloudSuite. The desktop version of LibreOffice is my favorite office suite.

    • There Is One Week To Go Until LibreOffice 5.1

      Among the features coming for next week’s LibreOffice 5.1 release is a much faster start-up time (up to twice as fast!), improved Microsoft Office file format support, PNG export support in Calc, OpenGL transition support for Impress, menu improvements, auto-accelerator in GTK has been enabled, faster Calc performance, and many other enhancements developed over the past several months.

  • CMS

    • Top 6 open source CRM tools for 2016

      When we first took a look at the top open source CRM systems back in 2014, there were many promising options. Now, let’s take a quick look at six of the top open source CRM systems of today. While this is by no means a definitive list, each CRM system covered in this article has been selected based on its rich or unique feature set.

  • Education

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Testing The LLVM SI Machine Instruction Scheduler

      Landing last month in the LLVM SVN/Git code-base was the SI machine scheduler for the AMDGPU LLVM back-end. This scheduler has the potential to improve the performance for some hardware/workloads, but not by the wide margins originally reported by some early testers.

      While the SI machine scheduler has been in the LLVM back-end, landing in Mesa Git a few days ago was an option for easily enabling it.

    • VIMAGE Coming Soon to FreeBSD

      I have to confess that I am still tying up loose ends from SCALE14X — the expo doesn’t end when the doors close for those of us who work the show. However, one interesting development popped up on my BSD radar this week that bears mentioning.

      Ed Maste gives a detailed report on it in the FreeBSD Foundation’s newsletter, reporting that Bjoern Zeeb gets the nod for a project grant “to finalize and integrate the work done to make the VIMAGE network stack virtualization production ready.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guile 2.1.2 released [beta]

      Guile 2.1.2 is the second pre-release in what will eventually become the 2.2 release series.

    • GnuTLS 3.4.9

      Released GnuTLS 3.3.21 and GnuTLS 3.4.9 which are bug fix releases in the previous and current stable branches.

  • Licensing

    • The case for educating judges on open source licensing

      Copyright is copyright, and open source licenses are just another license. What this case illustrates is the need for judges and lawyers to understand what open source software is: not just software made available under a license, but software that has an accompanying ethos.

    • Latest Windows 10 Spotted Having a Hidden Linux Subsystem

      Names of the latest discovered files are similar to Android subsystem from Project Astoria, i.e. ADSS.Sys. Where “LX” can only be taken for one thing, and that is LINUX.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • rLoop: We Are Pushing the Limits of the Open Source, Online Think Tank Model
    • Open Source Agriculture

      Open Source, normally referred to within the domain of computer software, also pertains to the availability of the inner workings of physical operations and technology in the modes of hardware and sociological being with my focus here in view of agricultural life and design. There is a wide variety of literature available online providing information on agricultural methods, but where food production is concerned, the most informative pathways towards gaining an understanding of farming is to see, firsthand, how farmers and ranchers operate in their seasonal tasks. I have visited several farms in the past couple of years that have operated in such a way that have allowed for guest study of their daily procedures and thus exist as open source sites of agriculture, with one in particular ringing out as the most appropriate to mention as an open source agricultural operation I have had personal experience with.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Source Torrent Books: Why some publishers are giving away their titles for free

        There are advantages to living in the age in which we can carry an entire library in our pockets. Much as the MP3 player revolutionized music consumption by making it possible to keep a jukebox on hand, so too has the e-reader ushered in a brave new world of reading. With this freedom to have the entire collected works of Alice Walker (or all seven Harry Potter books) with us at all times, however, have come concerns about digital rights management.

    • Open Hardware

      • The Furby is now a terrifying, open-source robot that you can program

        We get a lot of emails from public relations folks at Tech Insider. But one stood out today: a pitch from a group of roboticists in Poland working to turn the Hasbro toy Furby into an open-source robot for tinkering. That means anyone with a little coding knowledge can program a Furby to do and say basically anything. (We posted some examples below.)

      • Ourobotics releases completely open source Renegade 3D bioprinter

        Irish 3D bioprinting startup Ourobotics has just introduced their second ‘revolution’ to the bioprinting industry: an entirely open source 3D bioprinter called the Renegade that can be assembled for under $900. The Renegade 3D bioprinter was designed specifically to open up 3D bioprinting technology to the educational and biomaking communities, and the free, DIY instructions are now available to download via Ourobotics and 3Ders.org.

      • What’s New in 3D Printing, Part III: the Software

        This article is the third part of a four-part series that examines some of the changes in 3D printing that have occurred in the past three years since my first articles on the subject. Because this is Linux Journal, instead of discussing the entire 3D printing world, I’m focusing on the sections of the topic most relevant to open source and open hardware. In the first article, I gave a general overview on the current state of 3D printing. In the second, I covered what’s changed in 3D printing hardware during the past three years, including the shift away from open hardware and which printers still hold onto their open hardware roots. In this article, I discuss the changes in 3D printing software, and then in the final piece, I’ll walk through setting up OctoPrint on a Raspberry Pi to control your printer remotely.

  • Programming

    • Build2: Another New C++ Build Toolchain / Build System / Package Manager

      Build2 was announced today by Code Synthesis with an alpha release of this new cross-platform toolchain for building and packaging C++ code-bases.

    • Clever New GitHub Tool Lets Coders Build Software Like Bridges

      Jesse Toth says that upgrading an Internet service is like building a new bridge across San Francisco Bay.

      In building the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, engineers didn’t tear down the old one and erect the new one in its place. They built the new span alongside the old one, before making sure the new bridge could handle the same traffic. Only then did they switch all the cars over and start tearing down the old span. As Toth explains, when it comes time to rebuild software that underpins a service like Google or Facebook or Uber, the process should work in much the same way. “You battle-test this new bridge—this new code path—while the original one is still being used,” she says.

    • Go 1.7 Is Trading Much Slower Compile Times For Better Generated Code

      Go developers are warning that with the upcoming Go 1.7 release the compiler could be as much as two times slower, but will yield better quality — and hopefully faster — generated code.

      For the upcoming Go 1.7 development cycle, they plan to merge their SSA compiler back-end for their x86_64 platform. Their Static Single Assignment back-end is currently running much slower than their current back-end, but will yield better generated code.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Cross: Mike Masnick, Digging Up Dirt On More Than Tech

    A. First of all, who do you know who’s complaining about Techdirt?!? But, more seriously, that’s a really good question. I will say, however, that I *try* to make sure that if I’m ripping apart something, it’s their ideas, statements or actions, rather than them as a person. We may not always succeed at that, but it’s something I strive for. As an example, when talking about a musician, I’m pretty careful not to, say, make fun of their music. Because something like that is a taste thing, and if lots of people like it, even if I don’t, well, that’s a cheap shot to make fun of that. But if they say something I think is dumb about copyright or the internet, well that’s fair game.

    I’ve met some of the people that I’ve criticized and it can be an interesting experience. I once had the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company call me up and lecture me for an hour where I couldn’t get a word in edgewise (which was weird). A few years back someone actually engineered something of a surprise dinner between me and a well known author whom I’ve criticized repeatedly, and it was a pretty intense conversation, though it made me realize that much of what that guy wrote was to play the role of a character (i.e., he would raise a point from his book, and I would point out multiple examples of why his argument was wrong, and he’d immediately back down saying “well, you know more of the details about that than I do…” — and I kept thinking “but you’re the one who wrote the book!”). I once met a Congressional staffer whom I had written not very nice things about, and I recognized the name, but couldn’t place why I recognized it. And she told me that a committee she was on had been trying to call me to testify before Congress and “people” (never identified) had refused to give her my contact info (though I’m pretty easy to find). I gave her my card and only later realized who it was and how I’d basically gone sentence for sentence in attacking some comments she’d made (that, to be fair, were really dumb), and that the idea of having me testify was probably designed to make me look bad. But, whatever.

  • Near-Unlimited Cloud Storage Service Copy.com Is Shutting Down

    Copy.com, the cloud storage service that offered near-unlimited space and huge bonuses for referrals, announced today they’re shutting down on May 1st, 2016—leaving more than a few people with dozens or hundreds of gigs of data to migrate.

  • Science

    • Square’s guide to supporting female engineers goes open source

      If you’re looking for the definitive guide on how to empower women in engineering, then this book won’t immediately have all the answers. By being on GitHub, Square wants it to be crowdsourced — and what better way to reach engineers than by hosting it on one of the industry’s popular services?

      The book is organized into four main areas: introducing new hires to the group and ensuring that they feel welcome; growing the community internally; expanding the network beyond your company; and creating a presence at conferences.

  • Hardware

    • How Speedy Solid State Storage May Radically Change Data Center Design

      For as long as there have been data centers, they have been designed around the CPU. Now, thanks to speedy non-volatile flash storage, that topology is changing, and it may have major repercussions to the IT industry, warned an article in the Association for Computing Machinery’s flagship publication Queue.

      “The arrival of high-speed, non-volatile storage devices, typically referred to as Storage Class Memories (SCM), is likely the most significant architectural change that data center and software designers will face in the foreseeable future,” wrote Mihir Nanavati, Malte Schwarzkopf, Jake Wires, and Andrew Warfield. “Piles of existing enterprise datacenter infrastructure—hardware and software—are about to become useless (or, at least, very inefficient).”

    • Google doubles Cloud Compute local SSD capacity: Now it’s 3TB per VM

      Google boosts local SSD storage to 3TB per virtual machine and persistent disk to 64TB per virtual machine on its Cloud Compute Engine.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Terror of Flint’s Poisoned Water

      Less than one month after the attacks of Sept. 11, a senior FBI official, Ronald Dick, told the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, “Due to the vital importance of water to all life forms … the FBI considers all threats to attack the water supply as serious threats.” In 2003, a UPI article reported that an al-Qaida operative “(does not rule out) using Sarin gas and poisoning drinking water in U.S. and Western cities.’” Where the terrorists have failed to mount any attack on a water supply, the Michigan state government has succeeded. In the city of Flint, lead-poisoned water has been piped into homes and offices since 2014, causing widespread illness and potentially permanent brain damage among its youngest residents.

      Michigan has one of the most severe “emergency manager” laws in the country, allowing the governor to appoint an unelected agent to take over local governments when those locales or institutions have been deemed to be in a “financial emergency.” Republican Gov. Rick Snyder pushed for and obtained two bills that strengthened the law, and has used it aggressively to impose his version of fiscal austerity on cities like Detroit, Benton Harbor, several large school districts and, now most notoriously, on Flint. In every case but one, the emergency manager has taken over cities that are majority African-American. The emergency manager is granted sweeping powers to override local, democratically elected governments and to make cuts to budgets, sell public property, cancel or renegotiate labor contracts and essentially govern like a dictator.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Default settings in Apache may decloak Tor hidden services

      The information leak has long been known to careful administrators who take the time to read Tor documentation, but that hasn’t prevented some Tor hidden services from falling victim to it. To plug the hole, darkweb sites that run Apache must disable the mod_status module that by default sets up a server status page displaying a variety of potentially sensitive information about the servers. Details include the number of requests per second sent to the server, the most recent HTTP requests received, CPU usage, and in some cases the approximate longitude of the server.

    • WordPress Update Patches Pair of Vulnerabilities

      Automatic updates that patch the two flaws and fix 17 bugs are now rolling out to users of the open-source WordPress CMS.
      A new update to the WordPress open-source blogging and content management system (CMS) has been released that patches a pair of security vulnerabilities and includes 17 bug fixes that improve functionality.

    • Linux Computers Becoming Increasingly Malware Prone
    • 10 Mistakes to Avoid to Make Open Source More Secure

      Open source is becoming more popular in the enterprise. But so are open-source vulnerabilities. Here is how you can prevent open source-related mishaps in 2016.

    • Custom and Open-Source Code: A New Approach to Application Security Management

      Use of open-source software is ubiquitous across the Web, cloud, containers, enterprise apps, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT). Analysis from Black Duck, an IBM Security partner, showed that open-source code comprises about 30 percent of the average commercial software application; this figure can jump even higher for in-house applications. According to Gartner, open source will be included in mission-critical applications within 99 percent of Global 2000 enterprises by the end of 2016.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Tomgram: Ira Chernus, The Peace Movement’s War Story

      Who even remembers the moment in mid-February 2003, almost 13 years ago, when millions of people across this country and the planet turned out in an antiwar moment unique in history? It was aimed at stopping a conflict that had yet to begin. Those demonstrators, myself included, were trying to put pressure on the administration of George W. Bush not to do what its top officials so visibly, desperately wanted to do: invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, garrison it for decades to come, and turn that country into an American gas station. None of us were seers. We didn’t fully grasp what that invasion would set off, nor did we imagine a future terror caliphate in Iraq and Syria, but we did know that, if it was launched, some set of disasters was guaranteed; we knew beyond a doubt that this would not end well.

    • The Establishment’s Last Stand

      The good news for anti-interventionists out of Iowa is that Bernie Sanders has defied the conventional wisdom and effectively delayed the coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton. In spite of a ramped up effort to isolate the Vermont socialist from the Democratic mainstream, Hillary is in for a bruising fight that will only get bloodier when Sanders smashes her in New Hampshire, as seems likely.

    • 4409 Killed in Iraq During January

      Culling numbers from media reports, Antiwar.com found that 931 people, mostly Iraqis, were killed, and 580 more were wounded. The Islamic State, Naqshbandi Army, and other militant groups lost 3,478 in fighting or by execution. Another 261 were reported wounded.

      The United Nations also released its casualty figures for January. They estimate that 849 Iraqis were killed and 1,450 were wounded. At least 490 of those killed and 1,157 of the injured were civilians. They do not count casualties in Anbar nor among the militants. However, the numbers from Anbar province’s health department are 56 killed and 248 injured.

    • North Korea Launches Newest Offensive: Cigarette Butts

      North Korea likes to call South Korea a land of “political filth” and its leaders, including President Park Geun-hye, “human trash.” Now, apparently to highlight its contempt, it has begun sending balloons into the South loaded with an unusual payload, the police here said on Thursday: cigarette butts.

      North and South Korea have escalated their propaganda war across their heavily armed border since Jan. 6, when the North conducted its fourth nuclear test.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The FBI Says It Can’t Disclose Its Records Because Then the Public Would Know How the Bureau Works
    • There Is No Freedom Without Truth

      When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the “Soviet threat” was replaced with the “Muslim threat” and the “War on Terror” took over from the Cold War. Despite a succession of false flag attacks and warnings of a “thirty years war,” a few thousand lightly armed jihadists were an insufficient replacement for the Soviet Union and its thousands of nuclear ICBMs. It was an uncomfortable notion that the “world’s only superpower” could not dispose of a few terrorists.

    • Trade secrets bill passes US Senate Judiciary Committee

      The US Senate Committee on the Judiciary has passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act 2016, which included amendments that were suggested in hearings in December

    • Julian Assange being arbitrarily held – UN legal panel

      A UN panel has ruled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is being “arbitrarily detained”, the BBC understands.

      Mr Assange claimed asylum in London’s Ecuadorean embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex assault claims, which he denies.

      The Met Police said he will still be held if he does leave the embassy.

      He earlier tweeted he would accept arrest if the panel ruled against him, but called for his arrest warrant to be dropped if the decision went his way.

    • UN Ruling on Assange Case

      Here is an interview I did for RT today as the news broke that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention would announce tomorrow the findings of its report into the Julian Assange case.

    • Trade secrets up in the air

      Cloud services make storing and accessing large amounts of information easier and cheaper. This gives in-house IP counsel the perfect opportunity to refresh their trade secrets strategy, argue Mark Ridgway and Annsley Merelle Ward

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch-Fueled Playbook Against West Virginia Working Families Exposed

      West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole’s spokesman said Monday that Cole “will travel throughout West Virginia and beyond….” to talk about his legislative agenda that limits workers’ rights.

    • From Reef to Ridge

      The picturesque hillsides and vibrant blue waters of northeast Puerto Rico and nearby Culebra Island are home to marine and terrestrial ecosystems that make it a truly special place.

      This corner of Puerto Rico is NOAA’s only Habitat Blueprint Focus Area in the Caribbean. NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint is a national framework to improve habitat for fisheries, marine life, and coastal communities.

  • Finance

    • European Parliament will vote on TISA, the evil global services sibling of TTIP

      Tomorrow, the European Parliament will vote on what recommendations to offer the European Commission as the latter continues its negotiations with 22 countries around the world on the Trade in Services Agreement—TISA. This is a key opportunity for MEPs to lay down what their “red lines” will be—the things that they will not accept if and when it comes to a TISA ratification vote. Wednesday’s vote is therefore a critically important moment for the European Parliament to influence the European Commission, and for EU citizens to influence their MEPs.

      Last week, one of the European Parliament’s most important committees, the one dealing with international trade (INTA), published its report on TISA. The recommendations, drafted by MEP Viviane Reding, were approved by a large majority—33 votes to six, with one abstention. Two parties, the Greens and GUE/NGL, nonetheless hope to make amendments to the text during Wednesday’s vote.

    • A Tiny Cell With An Omnipresent Guard, Visitors Just Twice A Day: TAFTA/TTIP’s German Transparency Room

      One of the most problematic aspects of the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations is their lack of transparency. Although the European Commission, to its credit, has made available many of its initial offers and background papers, the key consolidated documents that show what’s really happening in the negotiations — and what deals are being cut — are reserved for the inner circle. Even national politicians within the EU have been denied access to these, and that has really rankled, particularly in Germany. In an effort to defuse the anger there over this manifestly anti-democratic approach, a special reading room has finally been set up in the German Ministry of Economy.

    • Top Hillary Clinton PAC Donation Amounts to 222,000 Bernie Sanders Donations

      FEC filings released Sunday provide an illustration of how dramatically the contributions of mega-donors eclipse those of normal citizens.

      For example, billionaire George Soros gave $6 million to the pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC Priorities USA last quarter. By comparison, the average donation to the Bernie Sanders campaign — the only one mostly funded through small donors — was $26.28, according to a spokesperson for the campaign.

      That means Soros gave as much money as a small city’s worth of small donors — 222,000 people, slightly larger than the population of Des Moines.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Donald Trump Is The New Face Of Loser.com

      The famous URL loser.com is currently redirecting to the Wikipedia page entry on Donald Trump. Donald Trump lost in recent Iowa Republican caucuses. This has given an iconic and ironic blow to Donald Trump, who in the recent times has identity off calling people losers.

    • Anti-Muslim CEO Is Key Walker Ally

      Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has positioned himself as an ardent supporter of “religious liberty.” When running for president he said that Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, who didn’t want to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, should be allowed a “reasonable accommodation.” He has stated that pharmacists should be allowed to refuse birth control prescriptions on religious grounds, and sponsored such a “conscience clause” bill as a state legislator.

      Walker’s commitment to religious liberty, though, is being tested as one of his top allies is accused of religious discrimination against Muslim workers.

    • Corporate Interests Take Aim at Local Democracy

      Across America, corporate interests are taking aim at local government.

    • The Clinton “Fluke”

      It is a plutocracy where 85 people own the same wealth as the other 50% of the population of the entire world, and the wealth gap still grows at astonishing pace. A reaction from the people who actually create that wealth is inevitable. The extraordinary concentration of capital has only been possible because of the existence of state mechanisms designed to promote it, and a popular movement to end that state bias was bound to happen. It was also predictable that it would be dominated by the young. To see youth mobilise for Scottish independence, for Corbyn or for Sanders has been life-affirming for me.

  • Censorship

    • We must have the freedom to hate

      The policing of hatred represents one of the greatest threats to freedom of speech in the 21st century. From coddled campuses, where student leaders ban speech they deem to be ‘hatemongering’, to the public sphere more broadly, where hate-speech laws govern what we can say about race, religion and sexuality, various ways of thinking have been rebranded as ‘hatred’ and are shamed or silenced into oblivion. It can be hard to stand up to this war on hatred; who wants to be known as ‘pro-hate’? But it is essential that we do, for the control and punishment of hatred represents an alarming intrusion of the state and others into the realm of ideas, and even emotions.

    • Tel Aviv Art Museum Nixes Ai Weiwei Exhibit; Israeli Artist Says Censorship at Play

      The exhibit by the Chinese artist and dissident, which was also expected to show portraits of Palestinians by Israeli photographer Miki Kratsman, was delayed repeatedly until being nixed.

    • Ares Rights Gets EFF Lawyer Suspended From Twitter For Posting Mild Criticism

      We’ve written a few times now (including just recently) about the Spanish firm Ares Rights, whose sole purpose and job in this world appears to be to abuse any and all systems to take down content to try to hide content that either Ares Rights or its clients dislike. Mainly, the takedowns seem to focus on the interests of what appears to be its main client, the government of Ecuador, and its main tool is totally bogus DMCA notices, that too many companies follow without looking at the details.

      However, Ares Rights also has a history of abusing takedowns to try to hide negative information about itself. And apparently, it will abuse other tools as well, such as Twitter’s policy on shutting down accounts for abuse.

    • Report sees dramatic increase in censorship

      Pakistani journalists and media houses during the year 2015 saw dramatic increase in censorship and silent, but potent crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression during the incumbent democratic setup which was never seen in previous civilian set ups.

    • Sounds of silence

      While the civil and military leadership boasts of tireless devotion to the cause of promoting democracy day and night, it has proceeded with a tyrannical regime of inaudibly silencing all opposing voices. After the onerous struggle to overcome the draconian censorship that had engulfed the public discourse for decades, Pakistan had only in recent years begun to breathe a sigh of relief when another round of dilapidating blows have been struck against freedom of speech. The very questions with their unadulterated veracity that sting those in power, are the ones most needed for a thriving democratic system. Unless these questions are raised, crucial debates will not be triggered, and consequent conclusions imperative for betterment will never be reached. Historically and currently, a free press remains a necessary condition for the success of any democratic state and society. This style of governance needs to be revisited, because if hijacking the nation’s liberties does not backfire, the denial that this self-aggrandising narrative has pushed the leadership into certainly will.*

    • Maryland Bill Would Protect Consumers’ Free Speech from Bad Contracts (H.B. 131)

      Should a company be allowed to use its own contractual fine print to take away its customers’ free speech? What fundamental rights should not be waivable?

      We’ve written in the past about companies putting clauses in their form contracts that ostensibly forbid customers from posting online reviews of those companies’ products and services. Members of the Maryland House of Delegates have introduced a bill (MD H.B. 131) seeking to end the practice in Maryland. The bill’s sponsors are Dels. Jeff Waldstreicher, David Moon, Benjamin Kramer, and C.T. Wilson.

    • Russia Blocks Another Archive Site Because It Might Contain Old Pages About Drugs

      The Russian block party continues. The government agency in charge of censoring the internet is still working its way backwards, hoping to erase the collective memories of the web… or at least, keep Russian citizens from seeing certain bits of the archived past.

      Last summer, Russia blocked the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine,” an extremely useful tool that allows users to see historical snapshots of websites. The government may only have intended to block a single page, but because the Internet Archive utilizes HTTPS, the only practical way for ISPs to block the targeted pages was to block it at the domain level.

    • Oscar Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland on Dorian Gray, censorship and posthumous pardons

      After years in the back room, Oscar has finally found his way onto the Oxford English syllabus,” says Merlin Holland, with both pride and indignation.

      Most of us in this noisy cafe off Carnaby Street wouldn’t be on first name terms with Oscar Wilde, but as his only living grandson and the sole executor of his estate, Holland has a greater claim than most.

    • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Reimagined
    • Moran: Mainland China’s censorship is oppressive to natives and visitors

      I just returned from two weeks of traveling in mainland China and Taiwan. I saw a lot of fascinating things — the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, the Forbidden City. Yet of everything I saw, our visit to Tiananmen Square was the most impactful.

      The Square is huge and some of the buildings are stunning. We saw Mao’s tomb and his infamous portrait on the wall of the Forbidden City, but something was lacking — it was the stuff the group didn’t talk about that interested me.

    • Beijing’s censorship is out of control, according to an ally of Deng Xiaoping

      A former deputy editor-in-chief of the People’s Daily, a Communist Party newspaper, has criticized Beijing for exerting too much control over its media (link in Chinese).

      Zhou Ruijin’s comments are noteworthy because, as a writer in the 1990s, he was closely aligned with Deng Xiaoping, China’s then-leader and whom is still highly respected. Often writing under the pen name Huang Fuping, Zhou’s commentaries directed the government to support Deng at a time when the party was divided over its direction.

    • ‘Censors have gone too far’: Influential voice of Deng Xiaoping era accuses China’s propaganda chiefs of too much intervention

      An influential voice for reform on the mainland says propaganda chiefs are overreaching and their intervention runs counter to rule by law.

      The commentary by Zhou Ruijin in Ifeng.com, an online news arm of Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, came as authorities further tighten their grip over the media and intensify political ideology across the spectrum. The piece was taken from a collection of his commentaries published on the mainland last month.

      Zhou agreed with President Xi Jinping that propaganda work needed to be stepped up but said censorship chiefs had gone too far, saying it was now “a mismatch to the whole picture of reform”.

    • Deng-era Reformist Warns of Overreaching Censorship

      At South China Morning Post, Nectar Gan reports a newly published warning from former People’s Daily deputy editor Zhou Ruijin that excessive censorship is “a mismatch to the whole picture of reform”.” Zhou supported Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in the early 1990s under the group pen name Huang Fuping.

    • Can Localization Be Called Censorship?

      If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Fire Emblem Fates on the 3DS next month, you may have noticed a veritable shitstorm that has boiled over in the community regarding the exclusion of certain content from the North American (and likely European) release. This is not the first time that this subject has been up for not-so-friendly debate; when the game was released in Japan last June, there was a similar controversy over the revelation that this content existed in the first place. Some are declaring the changes “censorship” and even vowing not to purchase the game, while others are expressing relief and deeming the game better off this way. Censorship has become a very pervasive subject within the gaming community, especially in the last few years, and so I really wanted to take a moment to address what censorship means and how it may or may not pertain to this particular franchise, which admittedly is dear to my heart.

    • PM left red nosed by censorship protest

      When Malaysian police warned activist and graphic designer Fahmi Reza that his Twitter account was under surveillance after he posted an image of the prime minister, Najib Razak, as a clown, they probably hoped such behaviour would stop.

      Instead, an artists collective that Fahmi belongs to, Grupa has responded with even more clownish images of the premier to express their solidarity with him and to champion the ideal of free speech.

    • Facebook censorship under the microscope

      But when people tried to post stories about these topics on Facebook, they were blocked.

      “The content you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe,” read one notification.

      What gives? That’s what nonprofit OnlineCensorship.org is trying to understand.

    • Valte questions Comelec censorship of gov’t officials
    • Comelec reminds gov’t execs: Campaign for candidates, face raps
    • Valte decries Comelec ‘ban’ on gov’t officials posting about candidates
    • Palace official gripes vs Comelec
    • Valte cries censorship over Comelec rules on Facebook posts, tweets
    • Comelec to Valte: ‘Ban’ for gov’t execs from campaigning ‘a good rule’
    • Valte twits Comelec over ‘unjustified, legally infirm censorship’
    • Israeli military reportedly seeks to censor private Facebook pages commenting on national security

      Change of approach in the military censorship; No more monitoring of Facebook texts following their publication: from now on account holders are required to pass on to the censorship any text regarding the security establishment; Blogger Yossi Gurvitz: I will not comply with the decree, I will apply to the court system.

  • Privacy

    • Napolitano Says She’s Always Wanted To Talk About The Secret Surveillance She Hasn’t Talked About Since Last August

      A Techdirt reader has sent us a copy of former DHS head/current University of California President Janet Napolitano’s official response to the outcry over the secret surveillance of UC staffers — surveillance she personally approved.

      Napolitiano’s letter to UC-Berkeley employees immediately ties the secretive surveillance implementation to the UCLA Medical Center cyberattack, just in case anyone (and it’s a lot of anyones) feels the effort was unwarranted.

    • Opinion: How NSA reorganization could squander remaining trust

      The coming reorganization of the National Security Agency may be a smart move for the agency but it’ll hurt America’s long-term national security interests.

      At a recent talk at the Washington think tank Atlantic Council, NSA director Adm. Michael Rogers said he wanted to better integrate the agency’s Information Assurance Directorate – its defensive arm that protects US systems and information – and the Signals Intelligence Directorate – the offensive branch that carries out spying operations.

      The reorganization is needed, he said, because with these two separate divisions “we created these two amazing cylinders of excellence and then we built walls of granite between them.”

    • Bill Gates Memorised Microsoft Employees’ License Plates To Monitor When They Came And Left
    • 200 Companies, Organisations Worldwide Promote Stronger Encryption

      Nearly 200 organisations, companies and others from 42 countries have signed an open letter to the international community demanding that stronger encryption tools be allowed to be developed and used. The letter describes encryption tools and services as vital components of maintaining a secure digital environment, where if users are allowed to use the strongest forms of encryption it can allow for the safest and most efficient ways to communicate across borders.

    • Why Did The Government Prosecute This Original NSA Whistleblower?

      A new initiative has been launched to uncover what really went on behind-the-scenes during the government’s high profile prosecution of Thomas Drake, a decorated National Security Agency whistleblower who disclosed details about a government domestic surveillance program.

      The James Madison Project filed a Freedom of Information Act suit before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Jan. 22 that sought documents about Drake’s highly unusual prosecution.

      Mark Zaid, executive director of the project, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the Drake case represented an attempt by government officials to send a chilling message to other national security whistleblowers, especially those concerned about domestic surveillance programs.

    • Lawfare thinks it can redefine π, and backdoors

      There is gulf between how people believe law to work (from watching TV shows like Law and Order) and how law actually works. You lawyer people know what I’m talking about. It’s laughable.

      The same is true of cyber: there’s a gulf between how people think it works and how it actually works.

    • Laura Poitras: using art to illuminate a world that would rather remain unseen
    • Snowden’s Chronicler Reveals Her Own Life Under Surveillance
    • Citizenfour Director Laura Poitras’ Whitney Exhibit Exposes NSA Surveillance From A New Perspective
    • Laura Poitras’s Astro Noise: indispensable book and gallery show about mass surveillance
    • Filmmaker Laura Poitras Brings Classified Documents to Art Museum Walls
    • In new art exhibit, Citizenfour director Laura Poitras shows you what surveillance feels like

      So says the disembodied voice of documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras to visitors of Astro Noise, her new solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Before Poitras introduced the world to Edward Snowden and made Citizen Four, the documentary about NSA surveillance, she had spent years being detained and searched at airports because of time she spent in Iraq making a documentary about an Iraqi family.

    • GCHQ Spies Collect Too Much of Our Data For Their Own Good

      Edward Snowden has shown that he’s still an almighty pain in GCHQ’s backside by leaking a document that describes the spy agency’s approach to data-collection. The ‘Data Mining Research Problem Book’ is essentially a top secret manual designed to help spies, well, spy.

      While there’s too much online information for GCHQ to properly sift through — meaning that the vast majority of content simply needs to be discarded — the doc explains that all metadata can be retained. That essentially means that GCHQ is pulling in absolutely everything it can pull in, because who’s going to stop it?

    • Big Data, Quantum Solutions [Ed: defecting attention from NSA itself]
    • NSA Says it “Must Act Now” Against the Quantum Computing Threat
    • NSA Plans to ‘Act Now’ to Ensure Quantum Computers Can’t Break Encryption
    • Row over GCHQ-built voice algo MIKEY SAKKE rumbles on

      GCHQ has defended its controversial MIKEY-SAKKE phone encryption protocol against criticism that it leaves a backdoor into systems that support the technology.

      The CESG assurance arm of the UK government’s signal intelligence agency has taken the unusual step of publishing a background document and FAQ in defence of the technology, summarised in a statement by a government spokesman.

    • Former DHS Boss Puts University Of California Employees Under Secret Surveillance

      Former DHS boss Janet Napolitano — who once stated she “doesn’t use email” (for many reasons, but mainly to dodge accountability) — is now showing her underlings at the University of California why they, too, might not want to “use email”: someone might be reading them over their shoulders.

      UC professor Christopher Newfield has the inside details of the recently-exposed monitoring system secretly deployed by the University of California (and approved by school president Napolitano) to keep tabs on the communications, web surfing and file routing of its employees. The SF Chronicle has an article on the secretly-installed spyware behind its paysieve [try this link], but Newfield has the internal communications.

    • Bryan Veloso Tells the Story Behind Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘I’m CEO, Bitch.’ Business Card

      One of the many Zuckerberg stories is about his legendary business card, “I’m CEO, Bitch”. The Social Network story is very real and the screenwriter Aron Sorkin took the original transcript from Zuckerberg’s LiveJournal blog which was used word-by-word, except the name of his girlfriend which was changed to Erica Albright in the movie. But that doesn’t play any of the roles in Zuckerberg’s “I’m CEO, Bitch” story.

    • UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill: Loopholes Within Loopholes Will Lead to Unbridled Surveillance

      The House of Commons Science and Tech Committee has published its report on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, influenced by comments submitted by 50 individuals, companies, and organizations, including EFF. The report is the first of three investigations by different Parliamentary committees. While it was intended to concentrate on the technological and business ramifications of the bill, their conclusions reflect the key concern of lawmakers, companies, and human rights groups about the bill’s dangerously vague wording.

      The Investigatory Powers Bill, as written, is so vague as to permit a vast range of surveillance actions, with profoundly insufficient oversight or insight into what Britain’s intelligence, military and police intend to do with their powers. It is, in effect, a carefully-crafted loophole wide enough to drive all of existing mass surveillance practice through. Or, in the words of Richard Clayton, Director of the Cambridge Cloud Cybercrime Centre at the University of Cambridge, in his submissions to the committee: “the present bill forbids almost nothing … and hides radical new capabilities behind pages of obscuring detail.”

    • The future of the NSA: fight the hackers or embrace the hackers

      With its well-known habit of uncompromising surveillance, the NSA has earned itself something of a poor reputation among internet users. But while the spying side of the agency is what it is most famous for, it is actually made up of two different divisions: offensive and defensive.

    • With Rand Paul out of the race, is there anyone left to fight the NSA?

      Rand Paul is dropping out of the race for the White House. With him goes the most substantial critic of the NSA in the Republican field.

      Paul’s libertarian position often put him at odds with other GOP candidates, who, during debates and public statements, tried to out-hawk other candidates on national security issues. In one particularly memorably debate, he traded jabs with Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor who proudly said that he was “the only person on this stage who’s actually filed applications under the Patriot Act.” Paul responded by saying he wanted “more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Utah Politician Looking To Tackle Doxing, DoS Attacks And Swatting With New Slate Of Cybercrime Amendments

      Three of the Four Horsemen of the Internet Apocalypse (*Revenge Porn not included) are being targeted by Utah legislator David Lifferth with a package of amendments to the state’s cybercrime statutes.

      [...]

      Considering it’s tied to “intent to annoy, alarm, intimidate, offend, abuse, threaten, harass, frighten, or disrupt the electronic communications of another,” the amended statute could be read as making the publication of personal information by news outlets a criminal activity — if the person whose information is exposed feels “offended” or “annoyed.” Having your criminal activities detailed alongside personally identifiable information would certainly fall under these definitions, which could lead to the censorship (self- or otherwise) of police blotter postings, mugshot publication or identifying parties engaged in civil or criminal court proceedings.

    • First Amendment Under Assault, Again

      NY’s current mayor, Bill Blasio, promised in April of 2014 to dismantle the so-called NYPD Demographics Unit, which was responsible for singling out one religious group among all others, apparently based on the twisted post-9/11 logic of “Muslim –> Likely Terrorist –> Spy on all Muslims.”

    • Pt 2: Michael Eric Dyson on “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America”
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • #BTdown – customers fume as BT’s broadband network crashes nationwide

      BT’s broadband network has crashed across the UK. The communications firm confirmed that its website and customer service platforms were also affected by the glitch, which it was yet to explain. After social media users reported problems, BT released a statement via Twitter that said: “Sorry if your are [sic] experiencing network problems. We will keep you updated.” A spokesman later said: “It is true that we are down at the moment. We are aware of the problems and are working on them as fast as we can.” BT later said it had restored services some three hours after the crash and added there was no indication it had been subjected to a “malicious attack”.

    • ICANN calls on APAC to help end US stewardship

      With the administrative functions for the world’s web traffic still under US jurisdiction, ICANN is urging Asia-Pacific nations to take a more active role in “facilitating the development of multi-stakeholder internet governance”.

    • Cruz missile slams into DNS overlord ICANN over Chinese censorship

      They also question whether accepting the role represents a conflict of interest, given that ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is under contract to the US government for the critical IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) functions.

      Back in December, Chehade surprised and infuriated the internet governance world when he agreed to head up a new “high-level advisory committee” that will develop the agenda for future World Internet Conferences, held in Wuzhen, China, as well as “contribute ideas for the development of the Internet.”

    • The US ranks 55th in terms of LTE download speeds

      The quality of a country’s mobile network is often decided by a recipe that’s two parts economics, and one part geography. While small, developed nations like South Korea and Hong Kong can easily provide complete coverage and fast speeds to their dense populations, larger, poorer countries often struggle to deliver full bars to all of their territory. Countries that are big and rich, like America, tend to get networks that are somewhere in the middle — good on coverage, for example, but not so great on speed, as a report into LTE in the US by OpenSignal showed earlier this week. Now, the network-testing company has released its worldwide report for Q4 2015, allowing us to see how America stacks up with the rest of the globe.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

02.03.16

Links 3/2/2016: Dell GNU/Linux Laptop, Wine 1.8.1

Posted in News Roundup at 12:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 14 Linux-based gifts ideas for your geeky valentine

    For Linux lovers, there is nothing better than getting a Linux running device. And if you’re the Linux fan, what better opportunity to plant the seed of Linux in your valentine’s heart? Here are 14 cool Linux-based devices that I would want to receive — and I bet you will too.

  • Giving Silos Their Due

    One was Linux on the Desktop (LOTD). Around the turn of the Millennium, I predicted big successes for LOTD and Linux on the Laptop (LOTL)—and continued to do the same, annually, until I gave up.

  • Desktop

    • Here is why Linux is much better than Windows 10

      The Windows vs Linux fight has been going on ever since Linus Torvalds build the first version in collaboration with the University of Helsinki in October 1991. And every time, Microsoft launches a Windows version this question gets shriller. The same has happened now when Microsoft released the latest Windows 10 operating system.

    • Dell to ship XPS 13 Developer Edition Linux laptop with Skylake

      Linux enthusiasts rejoice: Super-thin “Project Sputnik” XPS 13 laptops from Dell with Ubuntu and Intel Skylake chips should be just around the corner.

      Dell’s Project Sputnik laptops have attained something of a cult status with a segment of Linux users since their introduction in 2012. The XPS 13 Developer Edition will be the only dedicated, thin-and-light Linux laptop with Skylake from the top-five PC makers.

    • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Sold with $100 Discount to Make Way for New Model

      The Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is a very successful laptop that tends to sell really well. Only a limited number of units are made each year, and they also ship with Ubuntu.

    • Dell will ship XPS 13 Developer Edition “Project Sputnik” Linux laptops with Skylake chips
    • This Wrong Command Could Brick Your Linux Laptop [Ed: avoid UEFI]
    • Little warning: Deleting the wrong files may brick your Linux PC

      Here’s a friendly warning from El Reg: don’t wipe the wrong directory from your Linux system, or you may end up bricking the computer. This has happened to people, we’re told.

      The directory in question is /sys/firmware/efi/efivars which is a special filesystem that presents the configuration settings for the computer’s underlying UEFI firmware to the user. These configuration variables are used to control the way the motherboard firmware starts up the system and boots your operating system. Changing the files in this directory therefore changes these respective variables in the firmware.

    • Kids can refurbish computers for others at Kramden

      I’ve learned a lot from my time at Kramden, but what I love most is that the computers we refurbish go to underprivileged kids who would not otherwise be able to afford a computer of their own. I’ve realized that not all children have the resources they need to learn about technology, which will limit their future potential, but with Kramden’s refurbished computers, more kids will get access to computers in their homes.

  • Server

    • Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in January 2016

      As it did through the entirety of 2015, Linux has once again dominated as the most commonly used operating system amongst the top ten hosting company websites. The only two companies in January’s table not using Linux to host their websites are Swishmail (FreeBSD) and EveryCity (SmartOS).

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Fotoxx 16.02 Open Source Image Editor Released with Cartoon Effect, More

      Michael Cornelison informs us about the general availability of the February maintenance release of his open source image editor software Fotoxx for all GNU/Linux operating systems.

    • BitTorrent Talks Encryption, Improved Linux Support For Sync 2.3

      BitTorrent continues to support its file sharing and syncing application with the recent release of Sync 2.3.1. The 2.3.x update contains a number of bug fixes for stability, but the important news is the added support for encrypted folders and finally allowing selective file syncing on Linux systems. Additionally, the company put out a short brief on the information they collect and how they are securing your files synced by Sync which is available as a PDF.

    • Understanding digital signage with Screenly

      It was around New Year’s 2012, I stumbled into a position where we basically had to create a digital signage solution for a company that was acquired. Between just before Christmas, when the deal closed, and the first of January, roughly, we ended up having a digital signage network and no software. So that’s really how the very first version of Screenly came to be, the POC [proof of concept] – that ended up being a very rough-around-the-edges kind of solution where it just wrapped around a lot of tools like rsync, bash and a lot of baked-in Linux tools.

    • Proprietary

      • Arcserve Releases Latest Version Of UDP

        UDP introduces advancements such as data protection for Linux environments, instant VM recovery and instant Bare Metal recovery, unified installation and enhancements for third party integration.

      • New Vivaldi Web Browser Snapshot Has Changes to Tab Opening/Closing Behavior

        The Vivaldi team, through Ruarí Ødegaard, announced on February 2 the release and immediate availability for download and testing of a new snapshot build of the upcoming proprietary and cross-platform web browser.

      • Opera 35 Arrives with Better Downloads Interface, Improved Mute Tabs, More

        A new Opera stable release is now out, and the developers have introduced a number of new features that are going to be enjoyed by the community.

        The Opera project continues to improve the browser, and they have released quite a few versions since in 2016, covering all the available branches. Today’s release is in the stable branch, and that means that it’s time to see what’s new in the latest Opera 35.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • Steam Linux Usage Regressed To 0.95% In January

        Sadly, there were no post-holiday gains for Linux with the survey results for January pulling back by 0.01%. Valve’s reported Steam Linux gaming market-share for the past month is reported at a mere 0.95%.

      • Steam for Linux Still Below 1% with 40% of Users on Ubuntu

        The number of Linux users on Steam continues to hover just below 1%, but we now know that about 40% of these people are using Ubuntu for gaming.

        Since nothing of worthy of attention is happening with the Steam for Linux use, we might as well look at other interesting statistics provided by Valve, but before we do that, we need to explain why it is difficult to trust them.

      • Gaming: The Talos Principle – Road to Gehenna

        After finishing the Talos Principle I immediately started to play the extension Road to Gehenna, but was derailed near completion by the incredible Portal Stories: Mel. Now that I finally managed to escape from the test chambers my attention returned to the Road to Gehenna. As with the pair Portal 2 and Portal Stories: Mel, the challenges are going up considerably from the original Talos Principle to the Road to Gehenna. Checking the hours of game play it took me about 24h through all the riddles in Road to Gehenna, but I have to admit, I had some riddles where I needed to cheat.

      • Crusader Kings II: Conclave expansion now available

        Over the years, the highly successful Crusader Kings II has gotten a plethora of expansions which is a testament to its enduring popularity. With the last release in July of last year we were overdue for another expansion that adds more to the ambitious sandbox. In this case, Conclave seems to provide some of what fans have hoped for for years, namely more in-depth education options for your children and more intrigue with a more fleshed-out council and favors system. If a more dynamic mercenary system and combat mechanic changes don’t sound appealing to you, then you obviously haven’t spent hundreds of hours with the game like the average player does.

      • American Truck Simulator has an early release, day one for Linux

        American Truck Simulator is the latest driving and management simulator from SCS Software, and it’s great to see it have not only an early release, but a same day release for Linux.

      • Tomb Raider Reboot from 2013 Might Arrive on Steam for Linux

        Tomb Raider is the reboot of the franchise that was released back in 2013. It was developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix, and from the looks of it, a Linux version might be in the works.

      • Free-to-Play Winter Game SNOW Now Works on Linux

        SNOW is a new free-to-play open world winter game that’s developed and published by Poppermost Productions. The developers have also added Linux support in their latest patch.

      • Review of casual puzzle adventure Panmorphia, available DRM free on Itch.io

        If you forget what you’re supposed to do to solve one of the more complex puzzles, there’s an in-game journal which helps you keep track of the hints. There’s also a map, which marks your location and acts as the interface for the aforementioned hints. I kept wishing that I could use this map to fast-travel between locations, but unfortunately you’re stuck with having to walk back and forth quite a bit while playing. This is likely in part due to the complexity that comes from being able to morph between forms which can only travel to parts of the map, and because you have to visit each animal’s shrine to be able to switch forms.

      • Rememoried, a surrealist explorative first-person adventure game now on SteamOS & Linux
      • Want to play XCOM 2? The system requirements for Linux & SteamOS have been sent out

        The cogs are rolling, and XCOM 2 is extremely close to release. So close in fact that we finally have the XCOM 2 system requirements for Linux players. This is confirmed by 2K directly, but Feral have yet to confirm it directly.

      • Earth 2160, the RTS game looks like it’s getting a Linux version on Steam

        Earth 2160 is a game from quite a few years ago now, but it’s a classic strategy game. Looks like someone has begun bringing it over to Linux too.

      • Time-Based Shooter Game ‘Superhot” Coming on Feb. 25 for Linux, Mac & Windows PC [Gameplay & Details]
      • SUPERHOT will hit the PC, Mac and Linux on February 25

        In a recent announcement, the developers of “Superhot” first-person shooter video game have revealed that the game – which has received support and funds from Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign – will be launched this month. While the “time only moves when you do” mechanic gives SUPERHOT the complexion of a puzzle game, it’s the frenzied, John Woo-inspired combat that’s center stage in the new trailer.

      • Valve Makes Steam Controller a First-Class Citizen in Latest Steam Client Update

        Today, February 2, Valve has posted news on a new stable update for its Steam Client software, which users should receive right now on their PCs via the built-in update utility.

        From the looks of it, the Steam Client February 2 update is a big one, bringing all the features and fixes that Valve bragged about for a couple of months during the Beta phase of the software, with the exception of the Steam Client January 2 tiny release that updated the Steam Subscriber Agreement for 2016.

      • Vendetta Online MMORPG Game’s Capabilities Are Evolving, Devs Say

        Guild Software, the developers of the popular and cross-platform Vendetta Online MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), have recently announced the release of the Vendetta Online 1.8.368 update.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Luca Toma KDE Interview

        Google Code In is our annual project to give tasks to school pupils to contribute to KDE projects. One task this year is to write a Dot article and top Code In student Stanford L has interviewed WikiToLearn contributor and Sysadmin Luca Toma.

      • KDE Neon offers the latest and greatest KDE software on a stable Ubuntu base

        After a lengthy public spat with Canonical and the Ubuntu Community Council, Kubuntu founder Jonathan Riddell stepped down as release manager for that “flavor” of Ubuntu. He’s now back with a new project named KDE Neon, which provides stable Ubuntu systems with the latest KDE software.

  • Distributions

    • The top 10 Linux security distros

      Linux distros can be used for a lot of things, from games to education, but when it comes to security, there’s a whole mini-universe available.

      Not only can you find distros made to protect your privacy, making sure you leave no trace as you move around the web, but also those that help you test your network and system security.

    • Reviews

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The February 2016 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the February 2016 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Update 2016-02-02 (stable)

        I’m happy to announce our sixth update of Manjaro 15.12 (Capella)!

        Firefox 44.0 is out now. Also Pale-Moon 26.0 Plasma 5.5.4 and VirtualBox 5.0.14 hit our repositories. Additionally we updated python, haskell, spl/zfs, lightdm, deepin and fixed an issue with our new notification improvement for pamac.

      • Manjaro Devs Patch Zero-Day Linux Kernel Vulnerability with the Latest Update

        Today, Manjaro project leader Philip Müller has announced the general availability of the sixth update for the stable Manjaro Linux 15.12 (Capella) series of operating systems.

        The February 2 update for Manjaro Linux 15.12 is here to mainly patch a zero-day vulnerability in the Linux kernel packages that the distro currently supports. Among them are Linux 3.10.96, Linux 3.12.53 LTS, Linux 3.13.11.33, Linux 3.14.60 LTS, Linux 3.16.7.23, Linux 3.18.26 LTS, Linux 3.19.8.13, Linux 4.1.16 LTS, Linux 4.2.8.2, Linux 4.3.4, Linux 4.4.0, and Linux 4.5 RC1.

      • Arch Linux 2016.02.01 Available for Download, Still Powered by Linux Kernel 4.3

        It’s the first day of February, so guess what? A new ISO image for the powerful and highly customizable Arch Linux operating system is now available for download via the official channels.

        Arch Linux 2016.02.01 was released just a couple of hours ago for those of you who would like to deploy the independent Linux kernel-based operating system on new machines.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • SUSE and Others Find That Public Clouds Aren’t Getting Smacked By Private Ones

        A wave of new survey results is coming in, and the numbers make a clear case that the open cloud is going to remain one of the biggest tech stories of 2016. Not all of the results are totally rosy, though. There is brand new evidence that a lack of workers with OpenStack skills may be holding the cloud platform back, especially at enterprises. SUSE LLC’s survey on OpenStack adoption trends reports that over eighty percent of enterprises are either planning to, or have already, implemented OpenStack as a cloud computing solution within their organizations. That means the need and desire is there. However, more than half of all organizations that have tried to deploy OpenStack say they’ve failed to do so due to a lack of skills.

      • YaST Team: Highlights of development sprint 14

        Another three weeks period and another report from the YaST Team (if you don’t know what we are talking about, see highlights of sprint 13 and the presentation post). This was actually a very productive sprint although, as usual, not all changes have such an obvious impact on final users, at least in the short term.

      • openSUSE News: New openSUSE Board Elected

        The campaign is over; the votes are counted and three members of the openSUSE community will lead the overall project on the openSUSE Board.

        Tomáš Chvátal, Gertjan Lettink, and Bryan Lunduke take the helm with the existing board members of Michal Hrušecký, Kostas Koudaras and chairman Richard Brown.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Becoming a master of organizational jujutsu

        The first is something I attempted with my team at Delta Air Lines. We wanted to increase engagement—to more tightly connect associates to the organization’s mission so they felt like they were playing an active and important role in furthering it (a crucial component of open organizations). So we initiated an ongoing survey of everyone in the company. It asked people to respond to the following statement: “I know the company’s strategy, and I know what my department can do to make it successful.” And by tracking the results by area, we made managers—and their managers’ managers—responsible for their teams’ responses. Hierarchies excel at driving specific metrics to further their own interests, so we leveraged Delta’s hierarchy to point attention to the critical issue of engagement, and we utilized our bureaucracy’s strengths to really measure how effective everyone had become at generating that engagement around the company’s mission. While we didn’t take it quite this far at Delta, imagine what would happen if your response to that prompt determined the size of your manager’s bonus?

      • Google Announced to Launch Containers on Cloud with Red Hat
      • Traders Alert: Red Hat Inc (RHT), Skyworks Solutions Inc (SWKS)
      • Top Stocks of the day: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Red Hat Inc (RHT) Stake Increased by 1ST Source Bank
      • EPS Forecast Of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Fedora

        • I hate benchmarking

          Among development tasks, one of my least favorite is benchmarking and I tend to procrastinate on it (by writing blog posts, for example). Allow me to enumerate some reasons why I hate doing benchmarking.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 2.0 Linux Distro Improves Installation, Gets New Look

          Tails—an acronym for The Amnesic Incognito Live System—first rose to notoriety in 2013 as the Linux distribution used by U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden. Since the debut of Tails 1.0 on April 29, 2014, there haven’t been any major new releases of the Linux distribution—until Jan. 26, when Tails 2.0 debuted. Tails is a desktop Linux distribution whose goal is to help users stay private on the Internet, by way of multiple tools, including the use of Tor, The Onion Router network. With Tails 2.0, the big change comes by way of rebasing the distribution on the Debian 8.0 (code-named Jessie) Linux operating system, which provides new software packages. Users also will immediately notice that Tails 2.0 now makes use of the GNOME Shell desktop user interface, providing both a top-down menu and an activities window for desktop navigation. While Tails 2.0 boasts a new look, it is also now losing one of its past capabilities, which is the ability to look like a Windows desktop in what is known as Windows Camouflage mode. In this slide show, eWEEK examines key features of the Tails 2.0 release.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Top Open Source Firewalls for Small Business

    The Internet is a big, scary place, and so we must protect our small business networks with strong, reliable firewalls. Firewalls can range from a simple gadget that keeps bad data packets out of networks to sophisticated multi-function gateways.

    Open source operating systems like Linux, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD include tons of built-in networking and security features. That makes them natural platforms for building security products, and most commercial firewalls are built on one of them. You have a multitude of choice: from tiny embedded systems for broadband wireless routers, to giant enterprise firewalls with all the bells-and-whistles—from free community support to paid commercial support.

  • Now Seeking Nominations for the Open Source Initiative’s 2016 Board Elections

    The time is once more upon us to elect board members for the Open Source Initiative. This organisation is led by its members, and as such your participation both as a voter, or as a candidate, is essential to our continued success in protecting and promoting open source software, development and communities, and championing software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure. If you are not already a member, consider changing that now so you can participate in our upcoming elections!

  • 7 Things to Consider Before Fuzzing a Large Open Source Project

    One of the best practices for secure development is dynamic analysis. Among the various dynamic analysis techniques, fuzzing has been highly popular since its invention and a multitude of fuzzing tools of varying sophistication have been developed. It can be enormously fun to take the latest fuzzing tool and see just how many ways you can crash your favorite application. But what if you are a developer of a large project which does not lend itself to being fuzzed easily? How should you approach dynamic analysis in this case?

  • The Apache® Software Foundation Announces Strong Momentum; Enters 2016 More Influential, Innovative, Efficient, and with a New Look
  • The Apache Software Foundation Reaches Some Remarkable Milestones

    The Apache Software Foundation is out with some news and metrics on its size and reach, and it’s clear that the organization has advanced open source in enormous ways. In fact, this site runs on Apache tools.

    While not everyone realizes it, The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is an all-volunteer effort, and it incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, including Cordova, Flex, Lucene/Solr, Maven, OpenOffice, Tomcat, and the flagship Apache HTTP Server. Here are more details.

  • Google Open Sources Seesaw for Network Load Balancing

    Google has open-sourced another internal software project. This one, called Seesaw, is a load-balancing platform that is based on Linux. It’s now available under an Apache 2.0 license.

  • What’s the real reason Microsoft and Google are releasing open source?

    Although the general perception of open source has definitely advanced since Microsoft’s “un-American” comments, the best companies are not open sourcing things for the altruism. There are real, strategic reasons hidden behind the warm and fuzzy glow of open source.

    [...]

    To counter all that, Microsoft has to provide a better open source option so that people pick the product because it has the best features. They may or may not decide to run it on Azure, but it reduces the chances that Google’s platform will become the default choice.

  • Events

    • DevConf.cz, Brno, Czech Republic

      DevConf.cz (Developer Conference) is a free annual conference for all Linux and JBoss Community Developers, Admins and Linux users organized by Red Hat Czech Republic in cooperation with the Fedora and JBoss communities.

    • Highlights of SCaLE 14x

      2016 started off with a bang. Linux dominated CES, where many Linux-based products were showcased. The first month of the year also brought us one of the largest community-driven open source events of North America — the Southern California Linux Expo, aka SCaLE.

    • I love Free Software Day 2016

      In the Free Software society we exchange a lot of criticism. We write bug reports, tell others how they can improve the software, ask them for new features, and generally are not shy about criticising others. There is nothing wrong about that. It helps us to constantly improve. But sometimes we forget to show the hardworking people behind the software our appreciation. We should not underestimate the power of a simple “thank you” to motivate Free Software contributors in their important work for society. The 14th of February (a Sunday this year) is the ideal day to do that.

    • Linux Conference brings 560 delegates to Geelong, prompting calls for convention centre

      TECH experts from big guns including Google, IBM, ­Hewlett-Packard and Intel are among almost 600 delegates from 22 countries in Geelong for a major conference.

      But organisers say the event could be even bigger if the city had a purpose-built convention centre.

      The Linux Conference, which began on Monday and winds up on Friday, focuses on free and open source technologies and is the biggest of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region.

      Conference second-in-command Kathy Reid said the event would provide “technically in-depth” talks from world experts.

    • Open Networking Summit Will Highlight Enterprise Open Source SDN

      Making software-defined networking (SDN) scalable, deploying SDN-friendly containers, SDN’s role in IoT and lots more are on the list of topics that speakers will explore at next month’s Open Networking Summit, which promotes open source SDN technologies.

      The summit, sponsored by the Linux Foundation, will take place in Santa Clara from March 14-17. The Linux Foundation on Tuesday released the first list of speakers and topics. The complete program will be available next week.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Luxemo, Cloud Security Alliance and Others Ramp Up Secure Cloud Solutions

      As open source-centric cloud deployments have proliferated, so have concerns about the security of those deployments. Have you heard of the cloud access security broker (CASB) space? If not, we covered it here. Keeping cloud deployments and tasks secure is a big deal at many organizations, and CipherCloud, which focuses on data protection, and the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) have formed a Cloud Security Open API Working Group to jointly define protocols and best practices for implementing cloud data security.

    • Jos Poortvliet: Why use ZIP instead of TAR?

      In the beginning, we used tar.bz2. As ownCloud gained Windows Server support, we added zip. Once we dropped Windows support, we could have killed the zip files. But we had reasons not to: tar is, sadly, not perfect.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.4.2 Security and Maintenance Release

      WordPress 4.4.2 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

      WordPress versions 4.4.1 and earlier are affected by two security issues: a possible XSS for certain local URIs, reported by Ronni Skansing; and an open redirection attack, reported by Shailesh Suthar.

  • Education

  • Healthcare

    • Open source app takes on Ebola and mental health in Liberia

      The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Liberia already had an understanding of its frontline health workers capacity and ability thanks to the implementation of IntraHealth’s iHRIS, a simple, easy-to-use, open source software system that supplies health-sector leaders with information to track, manage, and plan with the health workforce. And thanks to UNICEF’s RapidPro, an open source SMS platform that allows anyone to build interactive messaging systems using an easy visual interface, Liberia has been able to reach health workers using basic talk and text mobile phones. The Liberian MOHSW was now able to use a new product, mHero, created during an interoperability hackathon sponsored by Intrahealth and UNICEF. Other participants in mHero development include USAID, K4Health, ThoughtWorks, and Jembi Health Systems.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • France Assembly encourages use of free software

      The French Parliament has last week approved a first draft law for a Digital Republic, which encourages the use of free software by the country’s public administrations. The Assembly (France’s lower house) rejected calls by proponents to make free software mandatory. However, the draft Digital Law does consider source code of software developed by or for public administrations to be public information, which should be made available on request.

    • European Parliament repeats call for open source

      For the second time in just three months, the European Parliament has called on the European Commission to to increase the share of free and open source software. On 19 January, in a so-called own-initiative report, the EP also urged the EC to use this type of software to promote reuse in and between public administrations as a solution to increase interoperability.

    • Open source at largest of German pension fund

      ‘Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund’ (German Federal Pension Insurance) the largest of the country’s 16 pension insurers, is increasing its use of open source solutions. The fund uses Linux servers and Apache solutions on its x86 and mainframe computers. The pension insurer last week published a call for tender, seeking assistance for its Linux and Apache-based services and for other open source solutions it has in use.

    • FLOSS And European Governments

      While the idea of making FLOSS mandatory went down the drain in France, it’s huge progress that the idea was even conceived and considered. Likely the only reason that requirement was rejected was the fear that certain applications would not be available as FLOSS. It’s time the tail quit wagging the dog.

  • Licensing

    • Linux: Not for license dodgers [Ed: GPL FUD]

      I am sure that this will have raised the question: “Should I use Linux?”

      Linux is a mature operating system that is proven as a viable operating system and can be very reliable. This is also true for your embedded system. So the answer is a positive “maybe”.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Future Thinking III: Make/Use and open source design

      Authorship has always been a divisive issue in design fields. In architecture the ownership, or at least attribution of the brilliant idea, has long been bound up in the personality cults of prolific marketers. Through the modern movement, architects like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright epitomized the heroic, iconographic, and hetero-patriarchal, persona of the architect in charge. They were regarded, and still are by many, as singular geniuses to whom exclusive authorship is easily attributed.

  • Programming

    • What would you do if GitHub shut down tomorrow?

      GitHub has become a major resource for many developers, but is it a good idea for them to be so dependent on one site? A Linux redditor recently asked the question “what would you do if GitHub shut down tomorrow?” and got some interesting answers from his fellow redditors.

    • 11 Skills And Programming Languages To Become A Professional Web Developer

      Apart from learning the basic skills like HTML and CSS, the road to becoming a successful web developer needs some extra skills. These qualities set you apart from the others and make you a hot commodity among the big companies looking for ninja developers.

Leftovers

02.02.16

Links 2/2/2016: Chimpbox Quad Core, UNICEF Supports FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 7:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Flip Your Desktop Over to Boot Linux

    The Linux sleeve could only slide on if the computer was flipped upside down. So he needed to detect when it was in this state. To do this he wired a switch into one of the com ports of his computer, and attached it to the top of the case mod. He modified the assembly code in the MBR to read the state of the switch. When the Linux sleeve is on (and therefore the computer is flipped over) it boots Linux. When the sleeve is off, Windows. Neat. It would be cool to put a small computer in a cube and have it boot different operating systems with this trick. Or maybe a computer that boots into guest mode in one orientation, and the full system in another.

  • February 2016 Issue of Linux Journal

    I love my job. I teach Linux by day and write about Linux at night. It’s easy to fall in love with your work when the things you do align with your passions.

  • Desktop

    • In A UEFI World, “rm -rf /” Can Brick Your System

      Running rm -rf / on any UEFI Linux distribution can potentially perma-brick your system.

      As a public service announcement, recursively removing all of your files from / is no longer recommended. On UEFI distributions by default where EFI variables are accessible via /sys, this can now mean trashing your UEFI implementation.

    • Running a single delete command in Linux can permanently brick some laptops [Ed: this is systemd and UEFI]

      It’s fairly stupid to run such a command, but usually not destructive to anything but the Linux installation. However, as it turns out, on MSI laptops it’s possible to completely wipe the EFI boot partition from inside Linux.

    • Running “rm -rf /” Is Now Bricking UEFI Based Linux Systems

      Running rm -rf / on any UEFI Linux distro can potentially perma-brick your system, Windows PCs also vulnerable

    • I bought my mom a Chromebook Pixel and everything is so much better now

      The problem: most of the Chromebooks on the market feel cheap. They’re generally marketed as secondary computers, so they’re made to be inexpensive, and that means almost all of them are made of cheap-feeling plastic. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I needed to pass the sleek test. The only viable option was Google’s own Chromebook Pixel, which is an amazingly beautiful machine that’s ridiculously expensive by most normal standards, because it’s a thousand-dollar computer that just runs Chrome. It sounds insane: most tech products that cost a thousand dollars do many, many more things than simply running a web browser. I spent weeks tossing the idea around every chance I got, just to see if it would ever sound less like I was slowly going crazy.

    • Neon Introduced, PCLOS ChimpBox, rm -rf /

      The top story today in Linux news was the warning not to use rm -rf / anymore. Anymore? In a bit of competition for the MintBox, the PCLinuxOS project announced a new mini computer with their OS factory installed starting at around $300. Jonathan Riddell revealed more about the new Neon project and the GNOME Foundation stated today that Karen Sandler did not bankrupt them.

    • Running ‘rm -rf –no-preserve-root /’ Command In Linux Can Kill Some Laptops Permanently

      The mere thought of permanently damaging your laptop is daunting. But, what if you are trying to erase your current Linux installation and you end up hard bricking your device? One such incident happened with a user who ran the ‘rm -rf –no-preserve-root /’ command and ended up breaking his laptop.

  • Server

    • Compatibility and a Linux Community Server

      I recently added support for IPv6 to the Linux Users of Victoria server. I think that adding IPv6 support is a good thing due to the lack of IPv4 addresses even though there are hardly any systems that are unable to access IPv4. One of the benefits of this for club members is that it’s a platform they can use for testing IPv6 connectivity with a friendly sysadmin to help them diagnose problems. I recently notified a member by email that the callback that their mail server used as an anti-spam measure didn’t work with IPv6 and was causing mail to be incorrectly rejected. It’s obviously a benefit for that user to have the problem with a small local server than with something like Gmail.

  • Kernel Space

    • Here Is A Linux 4.5-rc2 Kernel To Play With The New AMDGPU Functionality

      With a report that Linux 4.5-rc2 manages to improve the AMD R9 Fury (Fiji) performance, I spun up a Linux 4.5-rc2 kernel this morning for easing those wanting to test the AMDGPU driver atop Ubuntu.

      While the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA ships with the AMDGPU DRM driver enabled, it doesn’t yet enable the new PowerPlay Kconfig option for getting faster performance on hardware like Fiji, Tonga, etc. Their kernel also doesn’t ship with the experimental CIK GPU support enabled. Thus I spun a 4.5-rc2 kernel this morning that enables these extra AMDGPU tunables.

    • AMDGPU Driver Said To Be Much Faster With Linux 4.5-rc2 Kernel

      With Linux 4.5-rc2 that was released last night, the new AMDGPU DRM driver is supposedly much faster compared to last week’s 4.5-rc1 kernel.

      A Phoronix reader commented, “I read through the changelog and saw that there were several amdgpu patches. I just built this RC, rebooted, and ran some 3d benchmarks an the result is: a) double or quadruple the framerates that I got with RC1, and b) no more overheating. I have the same model R9 Fury that Michael excluded from the last round of benchmarks due to performance/stability problems.”

    • Kernel prepatch 4.5-rc2
    • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Now Officially Powered by Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS

      It’s finally here! We know that we’ve told you so many times about the fact that the upcoming Ubuntu 16.04 LTS operating system will get the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel someday, but that day is today, February 1, 2016.

      Just a few minutes ago, Canonical pushed the final Linux kernel 4.4 LTS packages into the stable repositories of the upcoming distribution for early adopters like us to upgrade and replace the old Linux 4.3 kernel from the Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) released.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14.60 LTS Released with PowerPC and AArch64 Improvements

      After announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.4.1 LTS and Linux kernel 3.10.96 LTS, kernel maintainer and developer Greg Kroah-Hartman published details about the availability of the sixtieth maintenance build of the Linux 3.14 LTS kernel series.

      Changing 65 files, with 375 insertions and 154 deletions, Linux kernel 3.14.60 LTS is here to add various improvements to the PowerPC (PPC), AArch64 (ARM64), x86, OpenRISC, and MN10300 hardware architectures, as well as to update several drivers, especially for things like PA-RISC, USB, Xen, ISDN, HID, connector, and networking (PPP, bonding, and Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP)).

    • Internet of Things in 2016 – It’s All About People

      The second was the continued momentum of the AllSeen Alliance, a Collaborative Project managed by the Linux Foundation, collaborating on a common technology framework and shared standards to deliver the common language needed for an open IoT.

      [...]

      The second was the continued momentum of the AllSeen Alliance, a Collaborative Project managed by the Linux Foundation, on behalf of the Alliance’s 200-plus member companies. This open community is collaborating on a common technology framework and shared standards to deliver the common language needed for an open IoT. Members of the Alliance pool their knowledge and technical resources to advance the open source AllJoyn® framework and deliver interoperable IoT products to market. At CES 2016, the AllSeen booth was filled with tons of real products that consumers can buy today, garnering heavy traffic, happy members and engaging conversations. Nearly two dozen products are now AllJoyn Certified, ensuring consumers that AllJoyn products will work seamlessly together to enable more than just a remote control.

    • Linux Kernel 4.1.17 LTS Is a Major Update, Brings Many x86, ARM64 and PPC Fixes

      After announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.4.1 LTS, Linux kernel 3.10.96 LTS and Linux kernel 3.14.60 LTS, renowned kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman informed users about the release of the seventeenth maintenance build of Linux kernel 4.1 LTS.

    • Graphics Stack

      • R9 Fury Performance Gains With Linux 4.5-rc2? I’m Not So Lucky

        When reading this morning of “double or quadruple the framerates that I got with RC1″ for an R9 Fury owned by a Phoronix reader, I immediately set out to run some R9 Fury benchmarks on Linux 4.5-rc2 compared to my 4.5-rc1 results last week and compared to Catalyst. I also did the same for an R9 285 Tonga on AMDGPU as well for reference purposes.

      • AMDGPU ACP Support Called For Merging Still Into Linux 4.5

        While the Linux 4.5 kernel’s merge window ended more than one week ago, it looks like the AMDGPU driver may get a late feature arrival: ACP support.

        ACP is the Audo Co-Processor support found in new AMD APUs/SoCs. AMD developers had been working on the support for several months while the audio and power management related ACP code landed during the Linux 4.5 merge window. With that code now mainlined, AMD’s Alex Deucher is looking to land the ACP driver support into the AMDGPU DRM driver.

      • The Intel Mesa Driver Has Gotten Faster Since Switching To NIR

        Eduardo Lima of Igalia spoke this weekend at FOSDEM about the work done over the past year on switching the Mesa Intel i965 back-end to using the NIR intermediate representation.

        The presentation by this developer covered GLSL IR vs. NIR, the Intel shader pipeline, what NIR is all about, and more. NIR is the new Mesa intermediate representation that was initially designed by a high school student. Besides Intel’s interest in NIR, Freedreno and VC4 Gallium3D drivers have also been actively interested in this IR.

      • The Open-Source Vivante DRM Driver Has A Promising Future

        With the upcoming Linux 4.5 kernel, one of the new hardware drivers is the long-in-development Etnaviv DRM driver for providing reverse-engineered, open-source support to Vivante GPUs found in use by multiple SoC vendors.

      • leaking buffers in wayland

        So in my last blog post I mentioned Matthias was getting SIGBUS when using wayland for a while. You may remember that I guessed the problem was that his /tmp was filling up, and so I produced a patch to stop using /tmp and use memfd_create instead. This resolved the SIGBUS problem for him, but there was something gnawing at me: why was his /tmp filling up? I know gnome-terminal stores its unlimited scrollback buffer in an unlinked file in /tmp so that was one theory. I also have seen, in some cases firefox downloading files to /tmp. Neither explanation sat well with me. scrollback buffers don’t get that large very quickly and Matthias was seeing the problem several times a day. I also doubted he was downloading large files in firefox several times a day. Nonetheless, I shrugged, and moved on to other things…

      • AMD’s Guide To Using Boltzmann ROCK/ROCR & HCC On Linux

        Last week AMD launched GPUOpen and began shipping their new and open code. Today the company has published a guide for taking advantage of the Boltzmann stack with their Radeon Open Compute Kernel and Runtime.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Jono Bacon Thinks About A Hybrid Desktop With GNOME Shell Atop Mac OS X

        Jono Bacon, the former Ubuntu Community Manager who is currently employed by GitHub, has proposed a hypothetical new open-source project that effectively comes down to bringing the Linux user-space — complete with the GNOME Shell — over to Mac OS X.

        Jono explained his new idea in a blog post, “You want the very best computing experience, so you first go out and buy a Mac. They have arguably the nicest overall hardware combo (looks, usability, battery etc) out there. You then download a distribution from the Internet. This is shipped as a .dmg and you install it. It then proceeds to install a bunch of software on your computer. This includes things such as: GNOME Shell, All the GNOME 3 apps, Various command line tools commonly used on Linux, An ability to install Linux packages (e.g. Debian packages, RPMs, snaps) natively.” Basically, GNU/OSX.

      • GTK+ 3.19.8 Out Now with New Radio and Check Implementation, Bugfixes

        Just a few days ago we announced the release of the seventh maintenance build for the stable GTK+ 3.18 series of the GNOME 3.18 desktop environment, but now the hard working devs behind the project released a brand-new development version.

      • GNOME Foundation was never bankrupt

        To clarify the matter, the Foundation was never bankrupt. Quite a while ago, there was a temporary cash flow issue which is now completely resolved. Funds that were committed by sponsors and earmarked for the Outreach Program for Women (OPW) were delayed in payment. GNOME Foundation’s board temporarily froze expenditures while it collected the funds and revamped its financial procedures to adjust for the additional cash flow going forward. Every cent of the funds was ultimately received. Additionally, GNOME collected administrative fees which covered the program’s expenses.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Lexumo Lands $4.89 Million Seed Round To Help Ensure Open Source Code Security

    What has Lexumo created to warrant that kind of financial attention? It indexed all of the open source code in the world and created a cloud security service aimed at helping companies using open source code inside embedded systems or enterprise software. These groups can submit their code to the Lexumo service and it checks for any known security vulnerabilities. What’s more, it will then continuously monitor the code for updates and inform developers when one is available.

  • Draper Spinout Lexumo Looks to Secure IoT With $4.9M From Boston VCs

    On the Internet of Things side, you can name a security startup for almost every letter of the alphabet: Attify, Bastille, CyberCanary, and so on. But most of these companies have very different approaches as compared with Lexumo. (As for Lexumo’s name: Gaynor says it is loosely connected to the Latin roots for “code” and “fix.” Fair enough.)

  • Measure magnetic field with open source teslameter

    A Slovenia-based start-up called Red Pitaya has created a programmable test and measurement instrument which runs open source software and it has posted its first test applications on the internet.

    The board can be configured as an oscilloscope, an arbitrary waveform generator or spectrum analyser by downloading software applications from the company’s online marketplace.

    One design project describes an open source app which can be used to identify unwanted electromagnetic emissions by performing magnetic field measurements.

  • UNICEF Innovation Fund to invest in open source technology start-ups

    To qualify for funding, projects must be open source and have a working prototype. They can involve developing a new technology, or expanding or improving an already existing one.

  • UNICEF launches Innovation Fund for open-source investment

    The United Nations has announced that it will provide some 60 start-ups with more than $9 million in funding to develop open-source technologies to improve the lives of children in developing countries.

  • UNICEF Aims to Drive Open Source Innovation that Helps Children

    The One Laptop per Child project — which aims to empower children worldwide through technology — didn’t end up being fully open source. But starting this week, UNICEF hopes to leverage open source code for the benefit of children once again by funding select open source projects.

    On Monday, UNICEF announced that it would award funding from the UNICEF Innovation Fund to support software projects that are creating or improving technologies designed to help children (or any “youth under 25″). To qualify, the projects must be open source.

  • UN invests $9m in ‘open source’ tech to save children’s lives

    The United Nations will fund 60 startups to create open source technologies to improve the lives of children in developing countries.

    Unicef, the children’s charity run by the UN, will channel more than $9 million into startups baed on venture capital style investing. But it isn’t concerned if the companies fail.

  • 6 Benefits of Using Open Source Software in Government (Industry Perspective)

    Open source software thrives in government and is in some ways a technical expression of democracy: engineers building common ground and forging a more open and free future for all.

    But it’s also often misunderstood in parts of the public sector, seen as a time-consuming and unsupported solution. So if you’re on the fence about open source, keep reading to learn about benefits, evaluation methods, support tools and a few packages to consider right away.

  • Google peddles Linux based load balancer to open sourcers

    Google has developed an open source infrastructure software build using its Go language.

    The ad-flinger has released the Seesaw load balancer for Linux, built to replace two existing systems.

    Code has been released to GitHub here.

    Google’s site reliability engineer, Joel Sing, blogged that Seesaw would increase the availability of service and reduce the management overhead.

    “We are pleased to be able to make this platform available to the rest of the world and hope that other enterprises will be able to benefit,” Sing wrote.

  • Google spotlights Go language with new open source load balancer

    Most of Google’s open source releases have centered on infrastructure-building projects, like Kubernetes, that stem from the company’s work with its public cloud infrastructure. But Google’s latest open source project — a load-balancing technology called Seesaw — instead comes from work done for the company’s corporate, in-house infrastructure.

  • We’re in a brave, new post open source world

    Two startups, in particular: GitHub and Stack Overflow. Together, they launched a new chapter for software technology. And the decisions we make from here will determine how the next 5–10 years of software unfold.

  • Kolab and Collabora team up to take on Google Apps and Office 365

    Collabora Productivity, a UK-based consulting firm that offers LibreOffice for enterprises, and Kolab Systems, a Switzerland-based provider of open source groupware solutions, have partnered to offer Collabora’s CloudSuite as an integrated component of Kolab.

  • Events

    • Spring 2016 ‘Big Tent’ Linux and FOSS Conferences

      Today linux.conf.au 2016 gets cranked up for a five day run in the land down under for a big tent show where registration is sold out. This comes on the heels of another big show which folded its tent last night, FOSDEM 2016, the two day event that ran this weekend in Brussels. Both of these came after the most hyped SCALE ever — and evidently rightfully so. The first-of-the-year Linux and FOSS lovefest vacated the Pasadena Convention center a little over a week ago, not to return until March 2-5, 2017, a very late date for that event.

    • OpenStack Summit Austin: CFS period extended

      Just a small update on the Call for Speakers for the OpenStack Austin summit.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • ownCloud Hits New Milestones: How You Can Get Going With It

      The ever popular ownCloud open source file-sharing and storage platform for building private clouds has reached some remarkable new milestones. You can move beyond what services such as Dropbox and Box offer by leveraging ownCloud, and you don’t have to have your files sitting on servers that you don’t choose, governed by people you don’t know.

      Now, ownCloud Inc. has announced that is has achieved 100% year-over-year growth in 2015 with its open source platform, and is on track to double that growth again in 2016. “For 2016, ownCloud is already on track to double bookings to more than $16 million,” the company reports. “Today, it has more than 300 customers across 47 countries, with downloads of the community and enterprise edition in 193 countries supporting more than 8 million users.” Here are more details, and info on how you can leverage ownCloud.

    • Free Hadoop and Spark Training Offerings Arrive

      These training programs promise to make a difference. According to Nick Heudecker and Lisa Kart, research directors, Gartner Inc., “As more organizations invest in big data, the shortage of available skills and capabilities will become more acute. Instead of facing a difficult recruiting market, organizations should focus on adapting available skills and engaging with established service providers to fill the skills gap.”

  • CMS

    • Sustainable Drupal: 10 ways to save energy by speeding up your CMS

      Web performance is important for sustainability. The less we have to transfer, the better. We can also do a lot to optimize how the content works with the browser so that the end user gets information as quickly as possible.

      As discussed in earlier articles, Green LAMP and Lean WordPress, there is a lot that can be done on the server level to speed up your site. However, the content management system (CMS) has a great deal of control over what and when code is presented to the screen. Ultimately, you want to present your main content as quickly as possible so that the browser can present it as quickly as possible.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • IBM Aims to Expand Open Source Community Surrounding Mainframes [Ed: openwashing campaign to make its proprietary overpriced mainframes seem more ethical]

      In addition to updating the systems that make up the IBM LinuxONE portfolio, IBM has announced that it is optimizing both its StrongLoop framework for creating application programming interfaces and the Cloudant NoSQL database that it provides as a managed service to run on IBM Linux. They also announced that they are collaborating with SUSE to leverage OpenStack to manage instances of the Linux on a mainframe and that the Go programming language developed by Google is now available on IBM Linux mainframes.

  • BSD

    • LLVM Continues To Dominate Across Many Operating Systems, Software Projects

      LLVM gets GPU exposure via NVIDIA’s CUDA, Mesa LLVMpipe, LunarGLASS, the AMDGPU open-source driver stack, SPIR / SPIR-V, and a majority of the OpenCL implementations in the world. Web projects around LLVM include Google’s Portable Native Client (PNaCl), WebKit FTL JIT, EmScripten, and WebAssembly, among others.

    • Haiku OS Powered By BSD? It’s A Possibility

      François Revol presented at FOSDEM this weekend about the prospects of Haiku OS ever becoming a BSD distribution. Haiku OS, the well known BeOS re-implementation, does currently rely upon some BSD components but more integration is possible.

      Haiku OS is the project that continues to be developed for more than the past decade as a open-source operating system compatible with BeOS.

    • ElectroBSD – Free as in free (electro) beer and freedom

      The Electro Beer Software Distribution (ElectroBSD) is an experimental operating system designed to be used in hostile environments like Germany.

      ElectroBSD is (supposed to be) free software but hasn’t been released yet.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Overthrowing the Tyranny of Software by John Sullivan

      As part of my master class on Free and Open Source (FOSS) Software at University Paris Diderot, I invite guest lecturers to present to my students the point of views of various actors of the FOSS ecosystem — companies, non-profits, activists, lawyers, etc.s

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Beyond Open Access And Open Data: Open Science — And No Patents

      This obsession with patenting that bedevils research at many academic institutions, and the poor returns it produces, is something that Techdirt has written about before. Eschewing patents, and sharing results, data, software and algorithms is bold enough, but arguably even bolder is the requirement that collaborators from other institutions must do the same…

    • Open Data

      • Stand with Diego. Support Open Access.

        There’s a battle taking place over the future of academic publishing, but the impact that battle will have on the world is anything but academic. The stakes are high, and there are real casualties.

        Today and tomorrow, there’s an oral hearing taking place for Diego Gomez, a Colombian student being prosecuted for sharing another student’s Master’s thesis with colleagues over the Internet—something that thousands of researchers do every day. Diego faces the possibility of years in prison, thanks to the steep penalties for copyright infringement that Colombia implemented as part of a 2012 trade agreement with the United States.

        EFF has long held that extreme criminal copyright rules chill people’s rights, especially in countries where copyright law doesn’t protect users’ freedom of speech through robust fair use exceptions.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO Board Debate: High Prices Sow Seeds Of Fake Medicines In Developing Countries

      Fake and poor quality medicines are still a growing public health concern particularly in developing countries, according to some World Health Organization members, who said at last week’s WHO Board meeting that the problem comes from the unaffordability of medicines and the lack of a strong surveillance system.

    • Special Feature: UN High Level Panel On Access To Medicines – First Reactions, Process Explained

      A high level panel of experts charged by United Nations secretary general to explore solutions to increase innovation and access to medicines in developing countries gave a briefing today to explain the process of the initiative. Intellectual property is often seen as both a barrier to the diffusion of health technologies and an innovation enabler.

      The UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, spearheaded by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UNAIDS, held a briefing at the World Health Organization to present its work to countries and various stakeholders.

    • Peter Byrne and the workings of the health-care system

      Despite its clean environment and health-concious residents, California’s Marin County has been called the breast-cancer capital of the world. But is the seemingly high incidence of the disease actually the result of high rates of screening, and tests that often yield false positives? And did some health officials allow the dubious reputation to continue, to keep research dollars flowing?

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Your Smartphone Can Be Hacked Due To A Backdoor In Your Processor

      A new security vulnerability has been reported in the smartphones which use MediaTek Processors. MediaTek company is a Taiwan-based company which manufacturers processors for the budget range smartphones. The security bug was found because a debug feature was not closed on the smartphone after testing.

      A new bug has surfaced lately on the Android smartphones or tablets which use a MediaTek processor. These devices are vulnerable to remote hacking via a backdoor. This security vulnerability was discovered by a security researcher, Justin Case. The MediaTek company has been informed about the flaw. This security vulnerability is apparently due to a debug tool which was left open by MediaTek in the shipped devices.

    • Using IPv6 with Linux? You’ve likely been visited by Shodan and other scanners
    • Trojanized Android games hide malicious code inside images

      Over 60 Android games hosted on Google Play had Trojan-like functionality that allowed them to download and execute malicious code hidden inside images.

      The rogue apps were discovered by researchers from Russian antivirus vendor Doctor Web and were reported to Google last week. The researchers dubbed the new threat Android.Xiny.19.origin.

    • Google fixes multiple Wi-Fi flaws, mediaserver bugs in Android
    • On WebKit Security Updates

      Major desktop browsers push automatic security updates directly to users on a regular basis, so most users don’t have to worry about security updates. But Linux users are dependent on their distributions to release updates. Apple fixed over 100 vulnerabilities in WebKit last year, so getting updates out to users is critical.

    • Redmond Admits Using Microsoft Supported Windows Is ‘Risky’ [Ed: back doors as standard]

      In previous visits to Claude and Jane’s house I had cautioned both of them that if the messages they got for any reason seemed to be pushy or if those messages are telling you that you are in danger of infection, that is more than likely malware designed to get you to click a link. Evidently, Jane had listened. Since the “Upgrade to Windows 10” was a clickable link, she stopped what she was doing and signed out of Windows and booted back into Linux. From those friendly confines she began to do a bit of research as to what malware might be threatening her.

      Turns out, she discovered that malware was Windows 10.

      She called me to see if I was busy and would I come over and take a look at this for her. She wanted to make sure she was going to be safe in Windows — or as safe as anyone can be in Windows anyway.

      Jane had taken it on herself to see what this was all about and in that look around the internet she found what she suspected to be true. Microsoft Windows it seems, is in the business of trying to scare old ladies or anyone else who doesn’t really feel comfortable in a technology environment. When I was able to get over there, she showed me what she had found.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Afghan Economy in Fragile Condition, Worsening

      Hey, did you wake up today wondering what was going on in Afghanistan, America’s 51st state, you know, the one we’ve been occupying for over 14 years, that one where thousands of Americans have died and where thousands still serve? Yeah, that Afghanistan.

    • Washington Is The Greatest Threat To World Order

      Naryshkin has a good point. Until the advent of the “war on terror,” torture was a rarely used tool of post-WW II governments in Europe and the US. But in the 21st century illegal torture became so commonplace that a magazine, Torture, was created to expose and combat torture. The magazine’s editorial board consists of Nilantha Ilangamuwa, Lauren Glenmere, and Eric Bailey.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • DOJ Lies To ‘FOIA Terrorist’ Jason Leopold; Claim They Have No Documents On Aaron Swartz

      Meanwhile, Jason Leopold, who uses FOIA requests so frequently and so effectively that the DOJ once labeled him a “FOIA Terrorist,” submitted a similar request with the Justice Department — specifically targeting the US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts — which is the office out of which Swartz’s case was prosecuted. Obviously, they have plenty of such documents. In fact, in Poulsen’s DHS Swartz files there are emails between DHS and DOJ folks. But, an astounding three years and 11 days after Leopold submitted his FOIA request, the DOJ has told him it has no responsive documents.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Saudi Arabia struggles to cope with cheap oil

      Saudi Arabia has managed to buy itself a couple of months.

      The global rout of oil prices is taking its toll on the kingdom’s bottom line. The country has been forced to cut government spending in its upcoming budget and increase production of crude oil—even though its hardly worth pulling it out of the ground.

      Still, the world’s largest producer of oil appears on a crash-course for bankruptcy as early as of 2018, according to a new Big Crunch analysis.

    • Green tech ready to step in when oil prices rise: Don Pittis

      As hard-hit investors in the energy sector hang on the latest price for crude and await news of this week’s oil company results, they aren’t the only ones. People in the green energy business also want to see an oil and gas price recovery.

      “Obviously, higher cost of fossil energy is beneficial to renewable energy because we typically replace fossil energy,” says Klaus Dohring, president of Green Sun Rising, based in Windsor, Ont.

      Dohring’s solar energy company has not only survived but prospered despite the plunge in the price of fossil fuels.

      According to a U.S. report out later this week, Green Sun is an example of a trend. And green advocates expect business will only improve as prices rise and governments get more serious about their their climate change commitments.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Eight Years Ago, The Iowa Caucus Convinced Me Of The Power Of Twitter… Today? Not So Much

      Of course, in the eight years since, Twitter has grown and changed and struggled. And I doubt I’ll have the same experience tonight. Already (unlike eight years ago), the press is pushing out lists of people to follow on Twitter to “get the full story” on the Iowa caucuses, and the list is mainly made up of professional journalists. And, at the same time, the company continues to try to reinvent itself to make itself more acceptable to Wall Street investors. The company stupidly shunned the developers and contributors who made the service so powerful in the early years, meaning that it’s getting increasingly frustrating to actually use Twitter. It’s been adding in “features” that the company thinks will benefit advertisers, but seem to negatively impact its best users. And there are all sorts of questions about how Twitter will survive (though it has a ton of cash on hand).

      For a long time I’ve argued that Twitter made a big mistake in focusing on being a platform instead of a protocol, and the struggles it’s facing today are just some evidence supporting that concern. As a “platform” they’re so focused on building the business, rather than being useful. And in scaring off or simply blocking or killing their developer community, the fact that the service has gotten more annoying than useful lately, is a real loss. If there were a thriving developer community there would be ample opportunities for those innovations to make the service better. But instead, it’s been left to Twitter alone, and the company is failing (badly) in that role.

    • VIDEO: Bernie Sanders Gives His Most Passionate Speech Yet After a ‘Historically Close’ Iowa Caucus

      As the final results for the Iowa caucus were coming in and it looked like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were in what he called a “virtual tie,” Sanders addressed Iowa and the nation.

      “I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and by the way, to the media establishment,” said the Vermont Senator in a rousing speech Monday night. “It is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics … What Iowa has begun tonight is a political revolution.”

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • New Report Debunks FBI’s ‘Going Dark’ FUD

      The way things are going, pretty soon FBI Director James Comey is going to be out there alone, flipping off light switches and blowing out candles, all the while cursing the going darkness.

      A new report by Harvard’s Berkman Society for Internet and Society debunks law enforcement’s fearful statements about encroaching darkness. (h/t New York Times) As the report points out, there may be some pockets that are darker than others, but the forward march of technology means other areas are brighter than they’ve ever been. In particular, the growing Internet of Things is pretty much just the Internet of Confidential Informants.

    • Falconer refers the MoJ’s criminal legal aid fiasco to the National Audit Office

      Below is a copy of the letter which was sent today.

    • Justice Department launches investigation into San Francisco police force

      The Justice Department said Monday it would investigate the San Francisco Police Department, an announcement that comes two months after officers fatally shot a man in an incident that provoked outrage and protests after video footage emerged.

      This review is meant to be a comprehensive examination of the police department’s policies and practices as well as how officers are kept accountable.

      It was announced as protests continue over the death of Mario Woods, a 26-year-old shot and killed by officers on Dec. 2.

      An account released by the police department said that Woods matched the description of a suspect wanted for an earlier stabbing that day and refused orders to drop his knife.

    • Anti-swatting US Congresswoman targeted in swatting attack

      This type of police report—using a disguised voice to allege false threats at a residence—is known as “swatting,” due to the likelihood that police departments will react by sending SWAT teams to respond to serious-sounding threats. In the case of the Sunday night call, however, Guilfoil confirmed that Melrose police followed “established protocols” to choose a de-escalated response of normal police officers, though the officers in question blocked traffic on both ends of Clark’s street with patrol cars. Guilfoil was unable to clarify whether weapons were drawn at the scene, and he did not answer our other questions about the incident, particularly those about the nature of the phone call received, “due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.”

    • A Yahoo Employee-Ranking System Is Challenged in Court

      One of Marissa Mayer’s signature policies as chief executive of Yahoo has been the quarterly performance review, in which every employee at the company is ranked on a scale of 1 to 5. The ratings have been used to fire hundreds of employees since Ms. Mayer joined the company in mid-2012.

    • Championing human rights for the internet – why bother? Part three; Some progress is better than nothing?

      There has also been a move towards at least a nominal recognition that human rights and the internet do and, indeed, should mix within powerful agencies opposed to direct forms of government control as a point of principle; e.g. the US-incorporated Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as it undergoes its own version of globalization. The ante has been upped thereby for governments, post-Snowden, claiming the higher moral ground by virtue of their legal responsibilities under international human rights law in the face of state-sponsored abuses of fundamental rights and freedoms.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Ultimate VPN Comparison Chart Featuring More Than 100 VPN Services

      Selecting the right VPN service to fulfill your needs is a monumental task. Keeping in mind the same, a Reddit user has made a massive VPN comparison chart that features 111 services at the moment. The chart compares these services on various parameters like privacy, data logging, pricing etc.

    • India Set To Ban Zero Rating As Facebook’s Misleading Lobbying Falls Flat

      That’s something the FCC refused to do here in the States, and as a result we’re witnessing telecom carriers rushing toward who can be the most “innovative” in the zero rating space. AT&T and Verizon are now formally charging companies for premium, cap-exempt status, T-Mobile is throttling every shred of video that touches its network to 1.5 Mbps (and lying about it), and Comcast is now exempting its own streaming video service from usage caps, much to the chagrin of smaller streaming competitors. So far, the FCC’s response has been to nod dumbly.

      In India, Facebook (lead by former FCC boss and neutrality waffler Kevin Martin), has been engaged in a blistering media and lobbying campaign to convince India that a curated walled garden run by Facebook was a great way to help the nation’s poor farmers. Indian activists and critics like Mozilla disagreed, arguing that the company was simply hiding its lust to control emerging ad markets under the banner of altruism, and if Facebook really wanted to help India’s poor, it should focus on improving the country’s actual Internet infrastructure.

    • Trai set to reject differential pricing; Free Basics to be hit

      Telecom regulator Trai is set to reject differential pricing for data services, a move that would mean the end of controversial services like Facebook’s Free Basics and Airtel Zero.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Homeless People Lose Internet Access Over Illegal Downloads

        People living in an encampment for the homeless in Florida have found themselves without Internet access following claims of illegal downloading. The operators of Dignity Village say that after several complaints from their ISP about piracy they had no choice but to stop providing free WiFi to all.

        In addition to providing shelter and sanitation facilities for homeless people, Dignity Village in Florida also provided its residents with free WiFi. This resource was invaluable for staying in touch with the outside world, attempting to find work and participate in training.

      • The Fine Bros Plan Is Actually Pretty Cool If You Get Past How They Announced It

        There are lots of details here, but it starts with the Fine Brothers, Benny and Rafi, who have built up a rather impressive empire in creating amusing internet videos. They have a bunch of shows, many of which are crazy popular. Among the most well-known is probably the “Kids React” series, in which they film kids reacting to things (often “old” things that the kids may not be familiar with, frequently pop culture related). Personally, I like the one where kids react to seeing the very first iPod. Warning, if you’re older than, like, 10, this video may make you feel really old.

      • PhD Student Seminar at CIPA

        Over the last twenty years, the dramatic popularity of the internet has transformed it into an interactive space filled with vast amounts of digital content, capable of being shared among its users. The carriers of this content on the Web are websites. Significant and functional components of websites are hyperlinks which have the ability to connect webpages together or direct users to downloadable digital files. In this respect, hyperlinks may be considered to have by nature an inherent capability of infringing copyright of protected digital content. For example, issues for copyright infringement may arise where a link directs to a work which is released online without the author’s consent. The presentation focused on the potential of hyperlinks to infringe the author’s exclusive right of communication expressed in Article 3 of the Information Society Directive, examining whether hyperlinking can be an act of communication. In addition to this, a comparative study of European cases, which were adjudicated before the landmark Svensson case, was presented. This indicated that most European national courts concluded that hyperlinking is not an act of communication to the public. However, acts of infringement by means of hyperlinking had generally been captured under provisions and doctrines on indirect liability, such as contributory infringement or authorisation. Discussing principles expressed in Svensson itself and drawing conclusions from national case law, the speaker argued that national laws on indirect liability, combined with the provision against the circumvention of technological measures of the Information Society Directive, are sufficient to determine liability in cases where copyright infringement takes place via hyperlinking.

02.01.16

Links 1/2/2016: Linux 4.5 RC2, KDevelop 5.0 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source contribution is not just code

    Contributing to open source technology is all about code contributions and code commits — right?

    Actually, no… it kind of goes further than that.

  • UNICEF is looking to invest in tech that helps children in need

    The United Nations Children’s Fund, more commonly known as UNICEF, wants to start investing more in technology startups. This new initiative is part of its Innovation Fund, which seeks to develop projects that can make life better for underprivileged children across the globe. But first, companies must meet a few requirements to qualify for UNICEF’s funding: The idea must be open source and have a working prototype, while the tech behind it can be novel or improve an existing one.

  • Unicef to invest in technology startups to help children

    Christopher Fabian, Unicef Innovation Co-Lead, said: “The purpose of the Unicef Innovation Fund is to invest in open source technologies for children. We’ll be identifying opportunities from countries around the world including some that may not see a lot of capital investment in technology start-ups. We are hoping to identify communities of problem-solvers and help them develop simple solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing children.”

  • UNICEF Innovation Fund to invest in open source technology start-ups

    “The purpose of the UNICEF Innovation Fund is to invest in open source technologies for children,” said Christopher Fabian, UNICEF Innovation Co-Lead. “We’ll be identifying opportunities from countries around the world including some that may not see a lot of capital investment in technology start-ups. We are hoping to identify communities of problem-solvers and help them develop simple solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing children.”

  • Farewell to a forebear of open source, Marvin Minsky

    Last week one of the founding fathers of personal computing, Marvin Minsky, died at age 88. It so happened that I’d been reading about some of Minsky’s work at MIT in Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy. Levy recounts how in 1961 Minsky encouraged and supported some of the first human encounters with real time computing, opening the door for undergrads to experiment with the DEC’s (Digital Equipement Corporation) first product, the PDP-1. These students formed a collectively brilliant group united by their obsessive love of computing, who came to call themselves hackers.

  • Web Browsers

    • Is Brave the new champion the open web needs?

      On January 20, Andreas Gal, former CTO of Mozilla, the company behind the popular open source browser Mozilla Firefox, announced in a blog post that former Mozilla CEO and Javascript founder Brendan Eich had launched a browser called Brave. “Brendan is back to save the web,” Andreas wrote, and I quickly went to the Brave GitHub repository and cloned the repository to build a binary from source so I could check out what Brave was all about.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • BSD

  • Standards/Consortia

    • IRCv3

      IRCv3 is a working group of client/server software authors and network operators from the community, set up to advance the IRC protocol.

      IRCCloud has been an active participant in the group since early on, and we’ve implemented the protocol enhancements where they’ve made sense.

      Today, we gave a big upgrade to our support and we now handle most of the IRCv3.2 specification. You can check our compatibility progress in the client support tables.

      We’re excited to be part of the future of IRC, and support for these enhancements represents our commitment to IRC as the best-suited chat protocol for open communities.

Leftovers

  • On American Indian reservations, challenges perpetuate the digital divide

    Recently, Sam Tenakhongva, a teacher living on the Hopi reservation in northern Arizona, bought a Chevrolet pickup truck equipped with integrated 4G LTE. As the company’s advertising boasts, the feature was novel for a commercial vehicle and unprecedented for a truck. Intrigued, Tenakhongva decided to take advantage of a free trial.

    It didn’t take long for him to eschew the service. The truck only connected when Tenakhongva was in a 4G network and, given the region’s limited broadband access, Tenakhongva knew such an occurrence would be too rare to justify the cost.

    Today, this situation rings true for an overwhelming majority of American Indians living on reservations. This year, the Federal Communications Commission reported that 41 percent of Americans living on tribal lands lacked access to broadband (which the FCC currently defines as 25Mbps for downstream speeds and 3Mbps for upstream speeds); that number leaps to 68 percent for those in rural areas of tribal lands.

  • WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE AMENDED DEFEND TRADE SECRETS ACT

    Last Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee favorably voted out the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”), which would amend the Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”) to give trade secret plaintiffs the option of filing civil claims for misappropriation directly in federal court. The vote reflected broad bipartisan support (there are now 27 cosponsors in the Senate) and followed a substantive hearing on December 2 at which I had the privilege to testify. Since that time a number of senators engaged in discussions about how to improve the legislation. The result was a series of amendments, all of which have been adopted. Because the bill is likely to proceed quickly at this point, it would be useful to describe what has changed and what those changes could mean for practitioners and companies.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Media Attacking Single-Payer Are Getting Paid Under Current Health System

      Seth Ackerman over at Jacobin wrote a good breakdown Monday of these attacks, detailing why the gatekeeper left media’s handwringing over Sanders’ single-payer proposal is disingenuous ideology-policing rather than an objective analysis based on the actual policy merits of the plan. The arguments being made by critics—specifically Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias at Vox, and by the Washington Post—basically boil down to two objections: Sanders’ single-payer proposal is not “realistic” and too “vague.”

    • Pork meatballs: Denmark’s latest bulwark against migrants

      Cultural diversity is framed as one of the main challenges in our contemporary societies, triggering socioeconomic tensions, provoking conflicts and prompting nationalist responses. Culturally based discourses have replaced older on race – an approach no longer seen as legitimate. How else to describe the welcoming of new Danish citiziens by serving a portion of the celebrated Danish roasted pork?

      But at the Randers City council the other day, former PM Helle Thorning Schmidt also delivered a press conference on her version of the ‘pork meatball war’ by warning against the practice of some public institutions to prefer serving halal meat and opt pork dishes out.

    • Flint’s toxic water crisis was 50 years in the making

      In the fall of 1966, African American activists from the impoverished North End of Flint, Michigan, turned out en masse for a series of hearings on racial inequality sponsored by the state’s Civil Rights Commission. One of those who testified, Ailene Butler, drew links between the segregationist policies that had created the North End and the corporate practices that had immiserated its inhabitants.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • You Won’t Believe What This US Ambassador Said About al-Qaeda’s Syrian Allies

      Robert Ford was US Ambassador to Syria when the revolt against Syrian president Assad was launched. He not only was a chief architect of regime change in Syria, but actively worked with rebels to aid their overthrow of the Syrian government.

      Ford assured us that those taking up arms to overthrow the Syrian government were simply moderates and democrats seeking to change Syria’s autocratic system. Anyone pointing out the obviously Islamist extremist nature of the rebellion and the foreign funding and backing for the jihadists was written off as an Assad apologist or worse.

      Ambassador Ford talked himself blue in the face reassuring us that he was only supporting moderates in Syria. As evidence mounted that the recipients of the largesse doled out by Washington was going to jihadist groups, Ford finally admitted early last year that most of the moderates he backed were fighting alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda.

    • If Only the Nuclear Arsenal Were Fool Proof

      In his book Atomic Accidents (Pegasus, 2014), James Mahaffey reports that the US has lost, destroyed or damaged nuclear weapons 65 times between 1945 and 1989. Jan. 24 was the anniversary of a B-52 crash in N. Carolina where two 6,500-lb hydrogen bombs fell from the plane and nearly detonated when the bomber broke up in the air. Two recent accidents highlight the dangers today’s weapons still pose to the people who pay for them.

    • Can the Saudi-led coalition win the war in Yemen?

      Defence Minister Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, April 2014. Wikicommons/Mazen AlDarrab. Some rights reserved.In 1934 the newly established Kingdom of Saudi Arabia went to war against Imamate Yemen, resulting in the Saudis taking control of the provinces of Aseer, Jizan and Najran. King Abdul Aziz withdrew his forces as soon as he had achieved his basic goal.

    • The Five Lamest Excuses for Hillary Clinton’s Vote to Invade Iraq

      That war not only resulted in 4,500 American soldiers being killed and thousands more permanently disabled, but also hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, the destabilization of the region with the rise of the Islamic State and other extremists, and a dramatic increase in the federal deficit, resulting in major cutbacks to important social programs. Moreover, the primary reasons Clinton gave for supporting President George W. Bush’s request for authorizing that illegal and unnecessary war have long been proven false.

      As a result, many Democratic voters are questioning – despite her years of foreign policy experience – whether Clinton has the judgment and integrity to lead the United States on the world stage. It was just such concerns that resulted in her losing the 2008 nomination to then-Senator Barack Obama, an outspoken Iraq War opponent.

    • Half the Foreign Policy Experts Signing Clinton’s Anti-Sanders Letter Have Ties to Military Contractors

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a letter this week in which 10 foreign policy experts criticized her opponent Bernie Sanders’ call for closer engagement with Iran and said Sanders had “not thought through these crucial national security issues that can have profound consequences for our security.”

      The missive from the Clinton campaign was covered widely in the press, but what wasn’t disclosed in the coverage is that fully half of the former State Department officials and ambassadors who signed the letter, and who are now backing Clinton, are now enmeshed in the military contracting establishment, which has benefited tremendously from escalating violence around the world, particularly in the Middle East.

    • Obama’s Iranian Missile Sanctions Were Deceptive and Hypocritical

      Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the two leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, have clashed over Iran policy, but not over the new sanctions announced immediately after Implementation Day. Clinton called for new sanctions against Iran over its missile test after the lifting of the old sanctions. Sanders has not made a specific statement on the issue.

    • Quotations From Madame Hillary
    • Bill to Block Syrian and Iraqi Refugees Stalls in the Senate

      THE PUBLIC DEBATE about accepting refugees from the Middle East rages on. But legislative action has been stalled for now, after the U.S. Senate on Wednesday defeated a bill that would have made it effectively impossible for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to find safe haven in the United States.

      H.R.4038, also known as the American SAFE Act, needed 60 votes to clear the Senate, but failed to proceed after receiving only 55 votes. The bill had passed the House of Representatives last November by a vote of 289 to 137, leading to fears among many that the gratuitously anti-refugee bill might become law.

      Opponents of the SAFE Act have characterized it as an attempt to manufacture an administrative backlog that would prevent Iraqi and Syrian refugees from ever being cleared to come to the United States. The text of the bill states that refugees who are nationals of Iraq or Syria “may only be admitted to the United States after the secretary of homeland security, with the unanimous concurrence of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the director of national intelligence, certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the covered alien is not a threat to the security of the United States.”

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Copenhagen to drop all fossil fuel investments

      The Danish capital’s 6.9 billion kroner ($1 billion, €925 million) investment fund will sell off all its stocks and bonds in coal, oil and gas if the proposal passes as expected.

      “Copenhagen is at the forefront of the world’s big cities in the green transition and we are working hard to become the world’s first CO2-neutral capital by 2025. Thefore it seems totally inappropriate for the city to still be investing in oil, coal and gas,” Mayor Frank Jensen told Information.

  • Finance

    • Tories lobbying to protect Google’s £30bn island tax haven

      Britain has been privately lobbying the EU to remove from an official blacklist the tax haven through which Google funnels billions of pounds of profits, the Observer can reveal.

      Treasury ministers have told the European commission that they are “strongly opposed” to proposed sanctions against Bermuda, a favoured shelter for Google’s profits and one of 30 tax jurisdictions in Brussels’ sights.

    • Bernie Sanders Vows to Crack Down on Greedy Corporate Tax Dodgers

      Singling out what he dubs the “top 10 corporate tax dodgers,” Bernie Sanders on Friday pledged to close loopholes that let huge corporations avoid paying their fair share in taxes.

      The list (pdf) includes General Electric, Boeing, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Merck, and notes that several of the companies’ CEOs, even as they sit on massive retirement savings, want to raise the eligibility age for—and make significant cuts to—social safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security.

      “In America today we are losing $100 billion in revenue every single year because large corporations are stashing their profits in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens,” Sanders said during a swing through eastern Iowa three days before the state holds its first-in-the-nation caucuses.

    • Tomgram: Nomi Prins, The Big Money and What It Means in Election 2016

      Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up. How do you respond to a rampaging bull of a billionaire in the political arena? In America in 2016, the answer is obvious. You send in not the clowns, but the matador: another billionaire, of course. So Michael Bloomberg is now threatening to enter the race as a third-party candidate. According to the New York Times, he’s considering spending at least $1 billion of his $36 billion (or is it almost $49 billion?) fortune if it looks like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders (just about the only candidate in the race not backed by billionaires and so an obvious threat to any billionaire around) might truly be nominated for president. Of course, if he wanted to, Bloomberg could dump billions into an election run, since he may be worth 11 or more Donald Trumps. (And he could potentially tip the election to the Republicans or, if no one ends up with a majority in the Electoral College, even put it in the House of Representatives, making Paul Ryan the equivalent of the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore.)

    • Trump Is Going to Raise Taxes on the Rich!

      I really want to know more about this. They “plugged” Trump’s tax plan into their “software”? What software is that? And how does it tell them that Trump’s plan means “a little higher” taxes on the rich? On average, Trump’s plan would cut taxes on the rich by more than a million dollars.

    • Swiss should not have disclosed 1MDB probe, says Zahid

      The Swiss attorney-general should not have made public his request for Malaysia’s help with its investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

      He said such details should have been kept private between the two governments.

      “I had hoped that information like that would be conveyed through official government channels because it is on a G-to-G (government to government) basis.

      “By making a public statement, in my opinion, it is not good because it not only strains ties between the two countries, but also creates bias in media reports,” Zahid told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today.

    • The Times Endorses Hillary Clinton with a Banner Ad from Citigroup

      Today’s digital edition of The New York Times captures the essence of the cancer eating away at our democracy: a leading newspaper is endorsing a deeply tarnished candidate for the highest office in America while a major Wall Street bank that has played a key role in her conflicted candidacy runs a banner ad as if to salute the endorsement. The slogan on Citigroup’s ad, “cash back once just isn’t enough,” perfectly epitomizes the frequency with which the Clintons have gone to the Citigroup well.

      According to the Center for Responsive Politics, among the top five largest lifetime donors to Hillary’s campaigns, Citigroup tops the list, with three other Wall Street banks also making the cut: Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. (The monies come from employees and/or family members or PACs of the firms, not the corporation itself.)

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Hollywood’s Pathetic Treatment of Women Is Ready for Its Close-Up

      The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has taken a lot of heat lately for its failure to nominate any actors of color for the Oscars, two years running. But race may not be Hollywood’s biggest diversity problem.

      The number of women directing big-budget films and TV series is stunningly low. Only 9 percent of the directors of last year’s 250 top-grossing movies were female, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. And women accounted for just 12 percent of the directors on more than 225 shows on prime-time TV and Netflix during the 2014-15 season.

    • Paul Krugman Unironically Anoints Himself Arbiter of “Seriousness”: Only Clinton Supporters Eligible

      For years, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has repeatedly complained about the DC orthodoxy-enforcing tactic of labelling only those who subscribe to Washington pieties as “Very Serious People,” or “VSPs.” It’s a term Krugman borrowed (with credit) from the liberal blogger Atrios, who first coined it to illustrate how Iraq War opponents were instantly marginalized in establishment discourse and only war advocates are deemed to be Serious. Krugman mockingly uses it so often that The New York Times created a special tag for the term. The primary purpose of the “VSP” tactic is to malign anyone who dissents from DC establishment pieties as non-Serious or un-Serious, thus demeaning them as someone who can (and should) be ignored as residing on the fringe, unworthy of engagement or a real platform regardless of the merits of their position.

    • Huffington Post’s Anti-Trump Disclaimer Falsely Implies Other GOP Candidates Aren’t Also Xenophobes

      After abandoning its previous attempts to cover GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump only in its “entertainment” section, the Huffington Post said Thursday that it will now carry a disclaimer on all Trump stories highlighting Trump’s extreme anti-immigrant views.

      At the bottom of a story Wednesday night, the online news site wrote: “Note to our readers: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”

      A Huffington Post spokesperson told Politico that they were doing this only for Trump: “Yes, we’re planning to add this note to all future stories about Trump … No other candidate has called for banning 1.6 billion people from the country! If any other candidate makes such a proposal, we’ll append a note under pieces about them.”

    • Trump just proved: it’s possible to win a debate you didn’t attend
    • CNN’s Double-Dealing in Des Moines
    • Where Did the Years Go? NYT Dismisses Experience of ‘Fringe’ Candidates
  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Ban internet anonymity – says US Homeland Security official

      Internet anonymity should be banned and everyone required to carry the equivalent of a license plate when driving around online.

      That’s according to Erik Barnett, the US Department of Homeland Security’s attaché to the European Union.

      Writing in French policy magazine FIC Observatoire, Barnett somewhat predictably relies on the existence of child abuse images to explain why everyone in the world should be easily monitored.

    • DHS Official: Balance Rights to Anonymity with Rights to Public Safety
    • The day Google went evil

      Now, it will activelly prevent you from using it unless you enable cookies (with excuse of european data protection laws).

    • If You Go Near the Super Bowl, You Will Be Surveilled Hard

      Super Bowl 50 will be big in every way. A hundred million people will watch the game on TV. Over the next ten days, 1 million people are expected to descend on the San Francisco Bay Area for the festivities. And, according to the FBI, 60 federal, state, and local agencies are working together to coordinate surveillance and security at what is the biggest national security event of the year.

      The Department of Homeland Security, the agency coordinating the Herculean effort, classifies every Super Bowl as a special event assignment rating (SEAR) 1 event, with the exception of the 2002 Super Bowl, which got the highest ranking because it followed the September 11 terror attacks—an assignment usually reserved for only the Presidential Inauguration. A who’s-who of agencies, ranging from the DEA and TSA to the US Secret Service to state and local law enforcement and even the Coast Guard has spent more than two years planning for the event.

    • No one has been able to solve this cryptic puzzle by a British spy agency
    • British intelligence and security agency’s brain teasing puzzle stumps readers
    • GCHQ Back ‘Hacking Course’ To Train Next Generation Of Frontline Cyber Defence Staff [Ed puff pieces aplenty]
    • There’s only a few hours left to solve the GCHQ Christmas puzzle
    • Time’s up for cryptographers who tried to solve GCHQ challenge
    • What Is The Difference Between HTTP And HTTPS?

      In your browser’s address bar, the URL of every website you visit always starts with either HTTP or HTTPS, the latter one considered more secure. You might have noticed that numerous times while you were busy with your internet life, didn’t you? Even Facebook with almost a billion daily active users flaunts its status as of a HTTPS website and you confidently post your personal information without giving it a second thought. What if it gets into the wrong hands? Well, you know chances are less such blunder ever happens on the Facebook planet.

    • How a Small Company in Switzerland Is Fighting a Surveillance Law — And Winning

      A small email provider and its customers have almost single-handedly forced the Swiss government to put its new invasive surveillance law up for a public vote in a national referendum in June.

      “This law was approved in September, and after the Paris attacks, we assumed privacy was dead at that point,” said Andy Yen, co-founder of ProtonMail, when I spoke with him on the phone. He was referring to the Nachrichtendienstgesetzt (NDG), a mouthful of a name for a bill that gave Swiss intelligence authorities more clout to spy on private communications, hack into citizens’ computers, and sweep up their cellphone information.

      The climate of fear and terrorism, he said, felt too overwhelming to get people to care about constitutional rights when people first started organizing to fight the NDG law. Governments around the world, not to mention cable news networks, have taken advantage of tragedy to expand their reach under the guise of protecting people, even in classically neutral Switzerland — without much transparency or public debate on whether or not increased surveillance would help solve the problem.

    • Canada Cuts Off Some Intelligence Sharing With U.S. Out of Fear for Canadians’ Privacy

      Canada’s CBC network reported Thursday that the country is slamming on the brakes when it comes to sharing some communications intelligence with key allies — including the U.S. — out of fear that Canadian personal information is not properly protected.

      “Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan says the sharing won’t resume until he is satisfied that the proper protections are in place,” CBC reported.

      Earlier on Thursday, the watchdog tasked with keeping tabs on the Ottawa-based Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Jean-Pierre Plouffe, called out the electronic spying agency for risking Canadian privacy in his annual report.

    • Canada stops sharing intelligence with Five Eyes partners over data breach

      Canada says it will stop sharing certain types of intelligence with some of its closest international allies until it ensures that Canadian citizens’ information is not included in the data given to foreign spy agencies. The announcement follows an official admission, made earlier this week, that a Canadian intelligence agency failed to remove Canadian citizens’ data from information it shared with member-agencies of the so-called Five Eyes Agreement. The pact, which is sometimes referred to as the UK-USA Security Agreement, has been in existence since World War II. It provides a multilateral framework for cooperation in signals intelligence (SIGINT) between the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

  • Civil Rights

    • How Michael Gove won the cabinet row about the Saudi prison contract

      On the morning of Tuesday 13 October 2015 the UK Prime Minister David Cameron had a serious political problem – a problem which seemed to many political observers to have almost come from nowhere.

      The problem was about a proposed commercial relationship between the UK’s Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for courts and prisons services in England and Wales, and the government of Saudi Arabia.

      The contract – for providing training to the Saudi prison system – had not even been signed and was still at bidding stage. And the value of the deal at £5.9 million was not that significant in the context of UK-Saudi relations.

    • The “Star Wars” Kids Aren’t Alright: The Movie Gets Millennials Right — Our Fight Isn’t With “The Man,” but With Each Other

      The bad guys, the Empire, are the Establishment, the Man. They’re a bevy of middle-aged white guys with British accents in uniforms who seem in love with bureaucracy and procedure. There’s precious little passion in them, compared to the Rebels; instead they’re driven mostly by an officious sense of duty and sneering contempt for their inferiors. Stormtroopers idly chitchat about nonsense while pulling tedious shifts of guard duty, with no particular emotions about the Rebels except as “scum” to be exterminated. Middle-aged Imperial officers bicker over status at staff meetings, and the only time we see young faces among them it’s as a sight gag–the field-promoted Admiral Piett nervously stepping into the place of his recently Force-choked predecessor, the put-upon, in-over-his-head Moff Jerjerrod–pathetic figures, sellouts, the 1960s stereotype of a gormless milquetoast Young Republican.

      [...]

      Our enemies, the ones that matter, aren’t our parents or grandparents–the real enemies will be our classmates, our colleagues, our brothers and sisters, our friends. The real test of our generation won’t be our ability to overthrow the last generation–every generation succeeds at that, in the end, if only through the passage of time. It will be our ability to overcome ourselves.

    • The Origins of Totalitarianism: Interlude on Right-Wing Authoritarianism

      I think the important question is not whether many Trump supporters are authoritarians, it’s whether the circumstances facing a many people encourage acting out authoritarian impulses at a national political level. That’s a good reason to look at Arendt’s description of the rise of the Nazis as I did in Part 4.

    • Cartoonist Is Arrested as Egypt Cracks Down on Critics

      A popular Egyptian cartoonist was arrested Sunday on charges of running a website without a license, the Interior Ministry said, in the latest escalation of a campaign to silence the government’s online critics.

      The cartoonist, Islam Gawish, 26, who has 1.6 million Facebook followers, was arrested during a police raid on the offices of a news website based in Cairo. Although his satirical cartoons have been published online, Mr. Gawish was not seen as an especially vehement critic of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

      It was the most prominent arrest since the Jan. 25 anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ultimately toppled President Hosni Mubarak, which had been preceded by a wave of arrests and closures that focused on democracy activists and well-known cultural spaces in downtown Cairo.

    • Sweden’s border controls: the domino effect

      This is the first time since the 1950s that travellers from Denmark to Sweden have to present a valid photo ID in order to complete their journey. The decision also marks a turning point for the Social Democrat and Green coalition in Sweden, which had previously welcomed asylum seekers into the country. While many commentators say that this may be the beginning of the end for Schengen, a more pressing question arises. What does this mean for Europe as a project and for the people coming here in search of safety?

    • Did Reporting on Snowden Docs Deny a White House Advisor His Security Clearance?

      Barely a month after his appointment, security reseasrcher and former FTC chief technologist Ashkan Soltani is leaving his post as a White House senior advisor, apparently unable to get security clearance from the US government.

      Government officials have not commented on the nature of Soltani’s departure, or why he was not cleared—a White House spokesperson merely told The Guardian’s Danny Yardon that “his detail has ended”—but many have speculated it is due to his work reporting on documents leaked by former NSA intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

    • Father charged with homicide after police fatally shot his 12-year-old daughter

      The father of a 12-year-old Pennsylvania girl accidentally shot and killed in her home by a police officer earlier this month has been charged in her death, The New York Times reported Friday.

      Ciara Meyer was fatally shot while standing behind her father, 57-year-old Donald Meyer Jr., during a confrontation with Constable Clark Steele as he attempted to evict the family from their home outside of Harrisburg around 10 a.m. on Jan. 11.

    • Obama’s Justice Department Likes Criminally Prosecuting People, But Not Corporations

      Fewer than one in eight federal agency criminal referrals of corporations led to actual criminal prosecutions between fiscal years 2010 and 2014, according to Justice Department data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube Wins This Round In Germany In The Stupid Neverending War With GEMA Over Streaming Rates

        For many, many years, the big German music performance rights organization GEMA has been at war with YouTube over what rates YouTube must pay for any streamed music. It started with GEMA more or less arguing that a stream on YouTube was effectively the same as a purchased download on iTunes, and that it should get $0.17 per stream (yes, per stream). For anyone who understands even basic economics you’d recognize that’s not even remotely in the realm of reality. The battle has gone on ever since, and unlike basically every other country in the world GEMA has refused to budge. Because of this YouTube has blocked most major label music from its service in Germany, while GEMA has filed a variety of lawsuits against YouTube in the country arguing that YouTube is somehow responsible for what YouTube users upload.

      • Completely Ignoring the DMCA an Option for Torrent Sites?

        Removing content when asked to by copyright holders enables file-sharing sites to comply with the DMCA and its European equivalents. However, with many large platforms now of interest to the police, is there any point in them complying with copyright law? Or does compliance ensure that sites live to fight another day?

01.31.16

Links 31/1/2016: OpenELEC 6.0.1, Linux Lite 2.8

Posted in News Roundup at 1:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Get your own copy of Torrent search engine as Strike search engine goes open source

    Now everyone can have their own torrent search engine as Strike torrent search goes open source

    Somebody’s loss is always somebody’s gain. The same happened in the case of the popular torrent search engine Strike which has just gone open source. Now, torrent lovers and film fans can build their own custom torrent search engine based on Strike code.

  • Strike Torrent Search Goes Open Source, After RIAA Debacle

    The popular torrent search engine Strike has shut down permanently. Following a lawsuit from the RIAA, developer Andrew Sampson decided to stay away from torrent released projects. To mark the end of a turbulent period, he has now released the search engine’s source code to the public.

  • TiddlyWiki: A free, open source wiki revisited

    TiddlyWiki has become a very polished piece of free, open source software engineering and I was delighted to find that the latest version could even import my ancient version’s content. My old TiddlyWiki was a fairly large collection of recipes and other than some minor formatting issues (the latest version supports a type of markdown called WikiText so my old version’s content wasn’t correctly formatted) everything was easily imported and upgraded.

  • Snowden Leak Proves That NSA And GCHQ Spied On Israeli Drones Using Open Source Tools

    GCHQ used open source software like AntiSky to break down commercial satellite encryption. AntiSky was developed by Dr. Markus Kuhn, Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. The software allows anyone to peep through the satellite signals and then use his expertise to come up with some meaningful outcome. However, digital video signals used by some drones might pose difficulty for the analysts appointed by the security agencies.

  • Events

    • OpenStack Summit Austin: Call for Speakers

      The next OpenStack Summit will take place in Austin, TX, US from April 25-29, 2016. The Call for Speaker period is still open and will close on February 1st , 2016, 11:59 PM PDT (February 2nd, 08:59 CEST). You can submit your presentations here.

  • BSD

    • Exploiting The Full Potential Of ZFS On BSD Systems

      With ZFS file-system support continuing to spread via OpenZFS, you may be one of the many out there still wondering about the benefits of ZFS.

      Allan Jude, a FreeBSD server administrator, is presenting at FOSDEM this weekend about “interesting things you can do with ZFS.” His presentation covers ZFS features like data integrity checking, multi-level cache, copy-on-write behavior, snapshots, quotas, transparent compression, incremental replication, and more.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

Leftovers

  • The End of Twitter

    It wasn’t that long ago that I—and many other people I know—would have argued that Twitter was more than just another social network. I would have told you that Twitter was more like a utility, a service so fundamental that I could imagine a scenario in which it was literally underwritten. Twitter needed to exist. A stream of those hundred-and-forty-character tweets was how you found the most crucial, critical, and thought-provoking stories of the moment.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • OpenSSL patches a severe but not widespread problem

      The OpenSSL project has patched a problem in the cryptographic library but one that likely does not affect many popular applications.

      OpenSSL enables SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption. Most websites use it, which is indicated in Web browsers with a padlock symbol.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • What’s In A Name? Iraqis Change Names to Avoid Being Targeted by Militias

      Fear of those Shiite Muslim militias is driving many locals in Diyala Province, where the population is mixed, to change their names to more neutral formulations.

      The reason is simple survival. “Just over the past two months our department has received between 150 and 200 applications for a name change,” said an official working for Diyala’s Directorate of Nationality. “Most of the applications are being submitted by people whose names reveal their sect or the areas from where their family or tribe comes.”

    • Bombs Damage Pipelines in Iraq as 41 Are Killed

      A pair of bombs near Kirkuk damaged a pipeline that delivers gas used for electricity production in Kurdistan and caused power outages.

    • The Grim Fight Against War

      Every candidate running for president accepts war as a necessity.

    • ISIS Kidnap 30 Children; 139 Killed in Iraq
    • Saudi Arabia funding 24,000 Pak madrassas, says American senator

      About 24,000 madrassas in Pakistan are funded by Saudi Arabia which has unleashed a “tsunami of money” to “export intolerance”, a top American senator has said, adding that the US needs to end its effective acquiescence to the Saudi sponsorship of radical Islamism.

      Senator Chris Murphy said Pakistan is the best example of where money coming from Saudi Arabia is funnelled to religious schools that nurture hatred and terrorism.

    • Airmen get computer ‘weapon system’ just in time for Colorado Springs symposium

      Air Force Space Command has declared its first cyber “weapons system” operational as a conference of computer warfare experts gets ready to kick off in Colorado Springs.

      The weapon, deemed fully operational this month, is basically a big firewall designed to protect the Air Force’s internal 1 million-user network from hackers. It will be a hot topic at the Rocky Mountain Cyber Symposium, which is expected to draw hundreds of computer experts to The Broadmoor for a four-day confab starting Monday.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The Leak Hypocrisy of the Hillary Shadow Cabinet

      Now, as I have said before, one thing that is going on here is that CIA is acting just like CIA always does when it declares publicly known things, including torture and drones, to be highly secret. It appears likely that these Top Secret emails are yet another set of emails about the worst kept secret in the history of covert programs, CIA’s drone killing in Pakistan. And so I am sympathetic, in principle, to Hillary’s campaign claims that this is much ado about nothing.

    • 22 Clinton Emails Deemed ‘Top Secret’ by State Department (VIDEO)

      Confirming that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private computer server held highly classified material, the U.S. government Friday censored 22 emails.

      The seven email chains from the Democratic presidential front-runner will be withheld from the public because information in them has been deemed “top secret,” announced John Kirby, State Department spokesman. However, “These documents were not marked classified at the time that they were sent,” he said, having been upgraded at the request of intelligence agencies.

    • Hey, Have You Heard About the Top Secret US Drone Program?

      Hmmm. A news article? Here’s a Politico piece from a couple of weeks ago, when we heard that the inspector general’s office was concerned about some of Clinton’s emails.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Cloud blanket warms up melting icecap

      Researchers have identified another piece in the climate machinery that is accelerating the melting of the Greenland ice cap. The icy hills are responding to the influence of a higher command system: the clouds.

      An international research team led by scientists from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium report in Nature Communications journal that cloud cover above the northern hemisphere’s largest single volume of permanent ice is raising temperatures by between 2° and 3°C and accounting for 20-30% of the melting.

    • Here is the weather forecast for the next five years: even hotter

      Global temperatures will continue to soar over the next 12 months as rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions and El Niño combine to bring more record-breaking warmth to the planet.

      According to the Met Office’s forecast for the next five years, 2016 is likely to be the warmest since records began. Then in 2017 there will be a dip as the effects of El Niño dissipate and there is some planet-wide cooling.

      But after that, and for the remaining three years of the decade, the world will continue to experience even more warming. The forecast, which will be released this week, is the first such report that the Met Office has issued since it overhauled its near-term climate prediction system last year.

  • Finance

    • Same as the old boss: Justin Trudeau ready to sign Harper’s EU free trade deal

      CETA is a Canada/EU “free trade agreement,” negotiated in secret and containing the notorious “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) clause, which lets corporations sue governments in confidential tribunals in order to force them to repeal their environmental, safety and labour laws.

      If that sounds familiar, it should: CETA was negotiated in the same corrupt, secretive process that the old Harper government deployed for the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Canada/China deal.

    • The Perils of Privatization

      Make no mistake: The purpose of privatization is to make a profit. The promise of privatization is efficiency. But in its pursuit of both profits and efficiency, privatization creates perverse incentives. It encourages privately managed charter schools to avoid or get rid of “expensive” students” (unless the reimbursement formula makes them profitable to keep); it encourages for-profit hospitals to over diagnose patients and perform unnecessary surgeries; it encourages private preschool providers of special education to misdiagnose children as in need of services to produce profits.

    • Hillary’s Corporate Democrats Taking Down Bernie Sanders

      Before announcing for President in the Democratic Primaries, Bernie Sanders told the people he would not run as an Independent and be like Nader—invoking the politically-bigoted words “being a spoiler.” Well, the spoiled corporate Democrats in Congress and their consultants are mounting a “stop Bernie campaign.” They believe he’ll “spoil” their election prospects.

    • Some Things Change With Time … While the Gender Wage Gap Remains Relatively the Same

      Despite the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, the equal pay needle hasn’t moved much at all.

      It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first piece of legislation to become law during his presidency. Back in 2009, we celebrated the law’s potential for turning the rallying cry of “equal pay for equal work” into a reality.

      But sadly – as President Obama’s announcement today to hold companies accountable for paying women and people of color less makes evident – the momentum created by Ledbetter’s namesake legislation hasn’t moved the equal pay needle all that much.

      Who was Lilly Ledbetter? In 2007, the Supreme Court threw out a jury’s verdict that she suffered pay discrimination during her nearly 20 years as one of the only female managers at an Alabama Goodyear Tire plant. In a 5-4 opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the court found that Ledbetter waited too long to sue, even though she didn’t know about the disparity between her pay and that of her male peers until she was close to retirement.

    • The West Is Reduced To Looting Itself

      Accountable government in the West is history. Nothing but failure and collapse awaits Western civilization.

    • New York Times Gets it Wrong: Bernie Sanders Not “Top Beneficiary of Outside Money”

      The New York Times caused a stir by publishing a classic man-bites-dog style campaign finance story in its Friday editions titled “Bernie Sanders Is Top Beneficiary of Outside Money.” The article charges that despite his fiery campaign rhetoric against Super PACs and big money in politics, Sanders has gained much more from Super PAC spending than his Democratic opponents.

      “In fact,” the Times reports, “more super PAC money has been spent so far in express support of Mr. Sanders than for either of his Democratic rivals, including Hillary Clinton, according to Federal Election Commission records.”

    • How the Homeless Population Is Changing — and Becoming Much More Vulnerable

      On any given night in the United States, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, over half a million people are without a home. That number may have decreased nationwide in the past few years, but California remains on the forefront of the problem, accounting for 20 percent of the country’s homeless in 2014.

      [...]

      The common perception of homelessness is that it is a problem that afflicts only those with mental health and substance use problems. But this description doesn’t describe the experience of older adults, particularly those who first experienced homelessness late in life.

    • The ugliest Bernie smear yet: Washington Post shows its corporate colors with new Sanders hit piece

      The Washington Post has been on something of an anti-Sanders kick lately. Its latest editorial, Bernie Sanders’s fiction-filled campaign, is somehow worse than its last one, which derided his single-payer plan in tabloid-like terms. It’s entirely predictable that an establishment gatekeeper publication like The Post would not approve of Sanders’ relatively radical policy proposals, but the degree to which it keeps offering up hysterical, and often times totally disingenuous critiques, is surprising even by its standards.

    • Cheap cab ride? You must have missed Uber’s true cost

      To understand why we see so few genuine alternatives to US technology giants, it’s instructive to compare the fate of a company like Uber – valued at more than $62.5bn (£44bn) – and that of Kutsuplus, an innovative Finnish startup forced to shut down late last year.

      Kutsuplus’s aspiration was to be the Uber of public transport: it operated a network of minibuses that would pick up and drop passengers anywhere in Helsinki, with smartphones, algorithms and the cloud deployed to maximise efficiency, cut costs and provide a slick public service. Being a spinoff of a local university that operated on a shoestring budget, Kutsuplus did not have rich venture capitalists behind it. This, perhaps, is what contributed to its demise: the local transport authority found it too expensive, despite impressive year-on-year growth of 60%.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Is Bernie Sanders the American Jeremy Corbyn?

      He is the veteran socialist that no one gave a prayer to – but now Bernie Sanders is starting to be seen as a serious contender to be the Democrats’ presidential candidate. Does that remind you of anyone?

    • Hillary, Bernie and Jill

      Lest anyone begin to believe that this writer is indicating support for Mr. Sanders, please disabuse yourself of any such notion. The fact that Mrs. Clinton is an unabashed corporate shill, and Mr. Sanders, perhaps, isn’t, or is less so, doesn’t cause this writer to reject the one and embrace the other. He agrees that Mr. Sanders is probably the lesser of the two Democratic evils, but there are alternatives.

    • Trump and the Conservative Establishment Deserve Each Other

      The bankrupt political establishment has given us Trump as surely as Victor Frankenstein gave his community the monster. I’m all for revolting against the establishment, but we will regret making the authoritarian and boorish Trump the standard bearer of that revolt.

    • INFOGRAPHIC: The Conservative Civil War Over Donald Trump

      Conservative pundits are bickering over Donald Trump’s campaign, especially after National Review’s “Against Trump” issue and the backlash it engendered. On one side are pundits who want to stop Trump’s candidacy in its tracks.

    • Can the new Charter protect the BBC’s independence

      Let’s be frank: the status quo does not offer sufficient safeguards for BBC independence.

  • Censorship

    • Rowena Kincaid: Cancer patient attacks Facebook over ‘censorship’

      A terminally ill woman has hit out at Facebook after a “potentially life-saving” photograph showing one of her nipples was removed from her page.

      Rowena Kincaid, who has secondary stage-four breast cancer, said the decision to remove the image could prevent thousands people from learning about the symptoms of the disease.

    • Facebook Cracks Down On Private Gun Sales

      Still, this marks another step by the company to limit the sale of firearms on its service. As the Verge reported in 2014, Facebook previously limited posts about gun sales to people over the age of 18.

    • Elite students receive a lesson in self-censorship

      Teeraporn Suwanvidhu had a tough decision to make five years ago as president of the Thai Student Association in the UK: remove an article, or lose all support from the Thai Embassy next year.

    • Reformers to demand censorship from Facebook, Line

      Executives of the giant social media outlets Facebook and Line have been called to a meeting by the national reform assembly over monitoring and removing content considered a security threat to Thailand.

      The meeting called by the assembly’s media reform committee follows a similar one with Google executives on Jan 22 in which they were asked to remove content without a court order.

    • Thai junta wants online content removed without order

      A report claims that a Thai junta-appointed committee is to ask Facebook and online communication device Line to immediately remove content deemed threatening to national security or the monarchy, if it wants to continue operating in the Kingdom.

      The removal would be carried out without the need for a Computer Crime Act court order — previously needed before any action is taken against anyone posting “threatening” content online.

      The Bangkok Post reported Sunday that a document claimed to have been leaked and obtained by Thai cyber activists reveals details of the February plans.

    • Confirmed: 1984-style censorship in Sweden

      Here is a screenshot of a story in the Daily Mail, titled EXCLUSIVE – Swedish social worker was stabbed in the back and thigh as she tried to break up a fight between two teenage migrants: Police officer reveals shocking new details of the killing. Note how it appears just fine through my regular Internet service:

    • Bill Gates sold rights to the Tiananmen 1989 pictures to a Chinese company

      The photos went as part of the deal that sold Corbis Entertainment’s licensing arm to Visual China Group.

      Few subjects are more heavily censored in China than mention the 1989 Tiananmen uprising and massacre.

    • Bill Gates has sold a set of iconic images to a Beijing firm—including of Tiananmen in 1989

      The sale of politically sensitive pictures to a Chinese company raises the question of whether they will become harder to access. The answer depends partly on your location. Within mainland China the issue of who owns sensitive images is a somewhat academic matter. Censorship—both government-led and self-imposed—means that images such as “Tank Man” rarely see the light of day anyway.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • James Ridgeway’s Solitary Reporting

      Each week, Ridgeway leaves his home in Washington, D.C., walks to his local post office, and returns with about fifty letters from men and women locked in solitary-confinement units in prisons around the country. The letters began arriving in 2010, soon after Ridgeway launched a Web site, called Solitary Watch, with an editor named Jean Casella. “When we started, there was nobody writing about this,” she said. Ridgeway was then seventy-three years old. He dug into his retirement fund to help cover startup costs, and now, when he goes to the post office each week, he pushes a walker.

    • Watch An Atheist Voter Confront Ben Carson About Separation Of Church And State

      Asked by an atheist voter about how his Christian faith would play a role in his presidency, Republican candidate Ben Carson said he believes there is inherently “no conflict” between God’s law and the laws of America.

      “Fortunately, our Constitution, the supreme law of the land, was designed by men of faith, and it has a Judeo-Christian foundation,” the retired neurosurgeon told a packed room of potential caucusgoers in Iowa City on Friday afternoon. “Therefore, there is no conflict there. So it is not a problem.”

    • Discriminatory New Visa Law Keeps German-Iranian Professor Out of U.S.

      ON JANUARY 29, Dr. Amin Shokrollahi was planning to do something he had done many times before: take a flight from his home in Switzerland to the United States. Shokrollahi, a dual German-Iranian citizen, is a renowned mathematician, computer scientist, and a professor at the prestigious École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne. Once in the U.S., he was to deliver an address at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSC) in San Francisco.

    • State Rep. Praises KKK, Wants New Holiday To Honor Confederacy

      The Ku Klux Klan has gotten a bad rap, according to one Georgia lawmaker. He says the terror group “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order” that “made a lot of people straighten up.”

      That leader is now hellbent on stopping the “cultural cleansing” of the South’s heritage. So far this year, State Rep. Tommy Benton (R) has co-sponsored two bills to preserve the Confederate’s legacy.

    • Cops Caught on Camera in Cowardly Gang-Style Beating of an Unarmed Man Lying Face Down

      In August of 2014, multiple deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s office conducted a drug bust. During the bust, Derrick Price ran from deputies Jesse Terrell, Trevor Fitzgerald, James Amideo, Cody Hoppel and Adam Crawford. However, once he realized he could not outrun the pickup truck, he quickly stopped, put his hands up, and laid face down on the ground — completely surrendering.

      Upon reaching the unarmed, nonviolent, completely compliant, and prostrate man, the deputies proceeded to unleash a furious beating composed of kicks to the head, knees to the body, and countless blows from fists.

    • Father Arrested For Theft After Taking Daughter’s Phone Vindicated

      Arrested on a theft charge for disciplining his daughter by taking her cell phone away, a North Texas father said “justice” was finally served.

      Ronald Jackson was arrested by Grand Prairie police after investigators attempted to retrieve the phone, but were never successful in their efforts.

      A judge at the Dallas County Courthouse found Jackson not guilty on Tuesday, citing a lack of evidence to move forward with the case.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Party Risks Future to Protect Hyperlinks

        Earlier this week it was revealed that the Czech Pirate Party is being prosecuted for running a pirate TV show site. The party faces 200,000 euros in damages and could even be dissolved as a legal entity, but according to the chief of the party’s International Department, defending Internet hyperlinking is worth the risk.

      • Welcome to the divergence

        And it is a huge trend — vinyl sales are at a 26-year high in the US, and they represent more revenue to the music industry than streaming right now.

      • The Commerce Department Has Good Recommendations For Fixing Copyright Law – But More is Needed

        This paper grew out of a series of hearings in 2013 and 2014 in which EFF and other public interest organizations and academics gave evidence, along with people from the media and publishing industries. The Commerce Department panel deserves praise for inviting many different viewpoint. It covers three issues: remixes, the ability to re-sell and lend digital goods (called “first sale” rights), and copyright’s civil penalties (called “statutory damages”). The paper makes some recommendations to Congress that will help promote innovation and free speech, and will hopefully help begin a conversation about other needed fixes. And the Commerce Department panel did a good job of inviting and hearing many different viewpoints. Still, their recommendations in these three areas don’t go far enough to fix the problems they identify.

      • Could you be a Local Pirate?

        In 2014 we stood in the North-West Region for the European Elections. At last year’s General Election we had candidates in Manchester, Sheffield, South Wales and London. This year we want to consolidate in those areas, and branch out to new ones as well. This means that even if you are the only Pirate in your area it’s still worth standing as a candidate as a way of putting the Pirate name and brand out there – hopefully it will lead to kick-starting a branch in your area if people come forward and are interested.

01.30.16

Links 30/1/2016: Neptune 4.5, *buntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus Alpha 2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Digital Signage for Small Business

    If you’ve spent any time shopping for digital signs for your small business, you might be a tad discouraged at the cost and complexity. But thanks to Linux and Android, you can enjoy a whole new generation of software, services, and devices that range from free to inexpensive, and that offer all kinds of great features.

    Amazingly flexible, digital signs can display simple images, slideshows, movies, Web pages, and dynamic content pulled in from the Internet, or whatever sources you want to use. Anything you can do on a computer you can put into digital signage.

  • How to safely bet your business on open source to support apps

    Companies are building new applications everyday – whether it is to meet their own requirements or to serve their customers. Open source platforms are increasingly being used to support these applications, moving from initial development and experimentation into production.

    For example, Apache Hadoop provides support for storage of huge volumes of data and companies are now looking at how to get more from their ‘data lakes.’ Meanwhile, new stacks of tools are being developed to help developers build their applications faster.

  • NSA, GCHQ used open source software to spy on Israeli, Syrian drones

    There was no supercomputing magic involved in at least most of the video interceptions. As part of an operation codenamed “Anarchist,” NSA and GCHQ analysts used Image Magick (an open source image manipulation tool) and other open source software developed to defeat commercial satellite signal encryption. One of the tools, called antisky, was developed by Dr. Markus Kuhn of the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory. The tools could be used by anyone able to intercept satellite signal feeds then exhibit the patience and skill to sort through the pixels. However, the conversion to digital video feeds on some drones has apparently made video interception more difficult.

  • Open source plugin aims to defeat link rot

    A new open source plugin designed to prevent the creation of dead content links online – so called “link rot” – has launched.

    Amber has been designed by Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and it provides what it calls a “persistent route” to information on the internet by automatically taking and retaining a snapshot of every page on a website and storing it on the same website’s server.

  • Pentaho Expands Data Analysis with Python

    Will Gorman, VP of Pentaho Labs, explains how the new Python integration will benefit data scientists and what’s coming next.

  • How to understand your team’s irrational behavior

    In this video, Jono Bacon describes a singular passion that motivates his career in open source: “Figuring out how we can build strong, inclusive, effective communities that build really cool things.”

  • Google’s ‘Seesaw’ Load Balancer Goes Open Source

    If you’re a network or systems administrator, you’re likely familiar with the concept of a load balancer. It’s a hardware device or software stack that distributes network application load across all the machines and servers connected to it in order to help mitigate network congestion. Google’s software solution, called Seesaw, was created in 2012 in response to a lack of adequate load balancing software for Google’s own use. Coded in Google’s own Go language, the software boasted a flexible Linux backbone and was used to manage Google’s own network needs, which entailed things like automated deployment and ease of use and maintenance.

  • Google Open Sources Its Seesaw Load Balancer

    Google announced today that it is open-sourcing Seesaw — a Linux-based load balancing system. The code for the project, which is written in Google’s Go language, is now available on GitHub under the Apache license.

    As Google Site Reliability Engineer Joel Sing, who works on the company’s corporate infrastructure, writes in today’s announcement, Google used to use two different load balancing systems back in 2012. Both, however, “presented different sets of management and stability challenges.” So to fix this, he and his team set out to find a new solution and because the ones available at the time didn’t meet Google’s needs, they started writing their own.

  • SourceForge’s New Owners, Mint’s New Apps & More…

    Thank goodness this week is over. After our Larry Cafiero spent last week “putting out fires,” as he puts it, at SCALE 14x, I’ve spent the last couple of days doing the same here at FOSS Force. It seems our article on Slashdot’s sale attracted some unruly types to the comments, forcing us to put the shields up on our comments site-wide for the first time in our nearly six year history. You can still comment, but you might have to wait a while for us to notice it and approve it for publication. We’ll take the shields down as soon as we determine it’s safe to do so.

  • Events

    • Sarah Sharp talks about increasing diversity in open source

      The Southern California Linux Expo 14x (SCaLE 14x) concluded on January 24 with a keynote from open source developer Sarah Sharp, who made waves in October, 2015 with a blog post explaining why she stepped down as a Linux kernel developer. Here are some highlights from her presentation.

    • Heading Out To linux.conf.au

      I am excited to be joining the conference. The last time I made the trip was sadly way back in 2007 and I had an absolutely tremendous time. Wonderful people, great topics, and well worth the trip. Typically I have struggled to get out with my schedule, but I am delighted to be joining this year.

    • 5 ways to have a more inclusive event
    • Texas Linux Fest
    • Unikernel Profiling: Flame Graphs from dom0

      Is a unikernel an impenetrable black box, resistant to profilers, tracers, fire, and poison? At SCaLE14x this weekend there was a full day track on unikernels, after which I was asked about unikernel profiling and tracing. I’m not an expert on the topic, and wasn’t able to answer these questions at the time, however, I’ve since taken a quick look using MirageOS and Xen.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Open Source: Is it Right for Your Database?

      Today, however, MySQL in particular has evolved into a serious contender as an enterprise-capable database engine, powering many websites and commercial applications. Aided in large part by Oracle’s acquisition of the company behind MySQL, we have seen over the past several years the growth of a number of very interesting and viable MySQL derivatives.

    • Top 10 MySQL GUI Tools

      Many third parties create rich applications to facilitate database management, database development and database administration. Here are ten outstanding graphical interfaces for MySQL.

    • CenturyLink Adds MySQL-Compatible DBaaS to Managed Cloud Services

      CenturyLink’s new MySQL-compatible DBaaS platform, Relational DB Service, highlights the company’s growing investment in managed cloud solutions.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing

    • The Internet Has a New Standard for Censorship

      The introduction of the new 451 HTTP Error Status Code for blocked websites is a big step forward in cataloguing online censorship, especially in a country like India where access to information is routinely restricted.

    • The real censorship in children’s books: smiling slaves is just the half of it

      It seems the definition of censorship becomes more fluid and convenient with each new use. If free speech groups feel the need to cry censorship about editorial decisions, there are many, many stories of slavery that don’t feature smiling enslaved people or white saviours in the rejected folders of the 79% white publishing industry that they could start with. They could look into the even wider array of stories about our anger, our resistance, our power, that have never made it out of the slush pile, let alone to the shelves of major bookstores.

      But the free speech advocates haven’t devoted much energy to the alarmingly un-diverse publishing industry and its very real effect on literature. (Pen American, of which I’m a relatively new and usually proud member, has been doing more recently and hosted an excellent series of panels on the subject last year.)

      What we’re left with is a palpable sense of selective outrage. Pulling a book because it’s historically inaccurate and carries on the very American tradition of whitewashing slavery is classified as “censorship”, while maintaining an ongoing majority white industry that systematically excludes narratives of color is just business as usual.

    • Driven to Tears – GPLv3 and the Automotive Industry

      The automotive industry is moving toward the use of Free and Open Source software (FOSS) in vehicles. GPLv3 is currently presenting a roadblock to greater adoption. Specifically the Installation Information requirement in GPLv3 Section 6 (sometimes called the “Anti-Tivoization” clause) is causing some car makers to fear GPLv3. These car-makers want to lock down all software installed on their cars against user modifications, but fear that using GPLv3 software will prevent them from doing so. Although there may be good reasons to lock down some software on cars, car-makers should not fear GPLv3. One solution the industry may wish to consider to allay concerns about the Installation Information requirement in GPLv3 is to adopt and advocate for use of an “Additional Permission” that excepts users from having to comply with that requirement.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Just Solutions International caused a £1.1 million loss to the Ministry of Justice

    It now can be revealed that “Just Solutions International” – the Ministry of Justice commercial venture promoted by former Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling – caused an overall £1.1 million LOSS to the MoJ.

    JSI was closed by Grayling’s successor Michael Gove last October.

  • When Sony Accidentally Launched Camcorders That Could “See Through” People’s Clothes

    It’s an outrage — I think it would outrage anyone. You go out in the street you don’t expect people to look under your clothes. It’s such a basic expectation that any court in the country would find that this violates that right.

  • Screen-saver rant

    In the 70s and 80s people used text command line interfaces at the computers and mainly black and white or green CRT monitors. This CRT monitors had a problem. If they show the same interface for a long time like for example Wordstar or Visicalc then the interface is burned into the screen and the screen is basically damaged. This was not good.

  • Sorry slacktivists: The Man is shredding your robo responses

    Last week the UK government ripped up a public consultation into the future of the BBC because almost all the responses came from one source, the pressure group 38 Degrees.

  • Replacing Windows Media Center

    If you used Windows Media Center only for playing DVD movies and music, you can find alternatives if you upgrade to Windows 10 and do not have a serious loyalty to the old software. For example, VideoLAN’s VLC media player can play many types of video and audio files. If you want more of a “media center” experience, programs like Kodi, MediaPortal or Plex may offer a range of functions similar to the old, discontinued Microsoft software.

  • Science

    • The Challenger disaster: 30 years ago I was working at mission control

      Thirty years ago I was at mission control at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for the launch of the Challenger. I was working data communications. My job was making sure all the telemetry links between the space shuttle and NASA’s ground communications system (NASCOM) were working. Everything was green on my board, the shuttle launched, and a few seconds later everything went to hell. I stared at my controls, tried to get things to reconnect, and then I finallly looked up at the TV display.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Here’s How Hard It Will Be to Unpoison Flint’s Water

      It is possible to trace every drop of toxic water spewed from Flint, Michigan back to two terrible decisions. The second was switching the city’s supply from treated Lake Huron water to the corrosive broth in the Flint River. Left untreated, that water unleashed the disaster stored in the walls of the city’s first bad decision: its lead pipes.

      In the past few weeks, the nation’s attention has increasingly focused on Flint’s public health disaster. At least 15 percent of the city’s homes have water with lead levels exceeding the safe limit established by the federal government. Several of those homes had water with lead levels 900 times above the safe limit. Poor political decisions caused the crisis, but it wouldn’t have happened at all if the lead pipes weren’t there to begin with. The current solution is a stopgap—spiking the water supply with an anticorrosive chemical. But if the powers that be want to eliminate the risk completely, they will ultimately have to replace all the lead plumbing. A September estimate, only recently released by Michigan governor Rick Snyder, puts the cost of replacing all the lead pipes in Flint at $60 million. And the project will take 15 years.

    • Flint Weighs Scope of Harm to Children Caused by Lead in Water

      Quayana Towns’s 2-month-old daughter wriggled on an exam table last week as her pediatrician ticked off questions that have become essential for every parent of young children here.

      “So what are you guys doing for water — what are you drinking?” asked the doctor, Mona Hanna-Attisha.

      “I have a whole bunch of bottled water that I picked up,” said Ms. Towns, 26, assuring the doctor that the family had been drinking it for a few months, since the gravity of Flint’s water crisis came to light.

      “And before that you were using tap water?”

    • 10 Things They Won’t Tell You About the Flint Water Tragedy. But I Will.

      News of the poisoned water crisis in Flint has reached a wide audience around the world. The basics are now known: the Republican governor, Rick Snyder, nullified the free elections in Flint, deposed the mayor and city council, then appointed his own man to run the city. To save money, they decided to unhook the people of Flint from their fresh water drinking source, Lake Huron, and instead, make the public drink from the toxic Flint River. When the governor’s office discovered just how toxic the water was, they decided to keep quiet about it and covered up the extent of the damage being done to Flint’s residents, most notably the lead affecting the children, causing irreversible and permanent brain damage. Citizen activists uncovered these actions, and the governor now faces growing cries to resign or be arrested.

    • Letter to the editor: Local media didn’t whiff on Flint coverage

      James Warren, chief media writer for Poynter, wrote a column Friday that suggests news media bears a share of the responsibility for the lead poisoning scandal that has afflicted the city of Flint and engulfed the state government that caused it to happen.

      And he quotes two sources — one of them is a former, longtime environmental writer for our company — who suggest local journalists were lax in following the story, or too inexperienced to know how to handle it, due in part to cuts in staffing in newsrooms.

    • While Flint Was Being Poisoned, State Workers “Quietly” Provided Water Coolers

      Following release of new document and emails, Gov. Snyder told he must ‘explain to the people of Flint why his administration trucked water into a state building while allowing residents to drink unsafe water’

    • We Failed in Flint. Here’s How to Avoid Making the Same Mistakes in Climate Policy

      The same four mistakes that led to tragedy in Flint are repeated in other cities and, dangerously, in the realm of global climate policy. To create a just and sustainable world we must learn to recognize and rectify each of them.

    • WHO Discusses Polio, Hepatitis C, Vaccines, Affordability

      The World Health Organization Executive Board this week noted a number of reports on communicable diseases, such as poliomyelitis, and vaccines. Developing countries underlined the affordability and accessibility of treatments. The board also agreed on the setting up of an open-ended intergovernmental meeting to come to agreement on the organisation’s governance reform.

    • Evaluation Starts On WHO Global Strategy For Public Health, Innovation, IPRs

      “Things seem very abstract,” the representative said, citing the high prices of drugs, such as cancer drugs. It is important, he said, that local generic manufacture of drug be supported.

    • TRAPping Access to Safe, Legal Abortions

      This week, a Houston grand jury returned a surprise indictment. It was tasked with investigating videos that purported to expose Planned Parenthood for selling the body parts of aborted fetuses. The grand jury found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, but instead charged the video producers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt from the anti-abortion group The Center for Medical Progress, with tampering with a government record, a felony.

    • Steffie Woolhandler on Media Attacks on Single-Payer Healthcare

      This week on CounterSpin: The consensus of Beltway media seems to be that a single-payer healthcare system, similar to those in other industrialized countries is “excellent in theory,” but “dead on arrival” in Washington, making its proponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, naive at best. Americans make life-altering healthcare choices, in which worry over cost plays a big part, every day, but serious public discussion about how to address that crisis is a sometimes thing. So we should care what media are saying about single payer—as a lesson in policing possibilities, even apart from what it means for the presidential race.

  • Security

    • Could an Open-Source Approach Make Cars Hacker-Proof?

      While organization like the Linux Foundation, through its Automotive Grade Linux platform and GENIVI, have pushed for an open-source approach to in-car infotainment, the same principles could be applied to vehicle code at large to help prevent hacking. And given the rapid pace of self-driving technology and the lines of code that will be required—100 million or more for a modern vehicle, compared to 60 million in all of Facebook or 50 million in the Large Hadron Collider—perhaps it’s time for automotive software to become more transparent and therefore more tamper-proof.

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Critical OpenSSL Patch Available. Patch Now!

      All versions of OpenSSL are vulnerable to CVE-2014-0195, but this vulnerability only affects DTLS clients or servers (look for SSL VPNs… not so much HTTPS).

    • Linux Trojan That Takes Screenshots and Records Audio Has a Windows Brother

      The Linux trojan that spied on users by taking screenshots of their desktop has now a Windows variant, as Kaspersky’s security team has found out.

      The trojan, first discovered by Dr.Web and named Linux.Ekocms, and later also identified by Sophos as Linux/Mokes-A, and then by Kaspersky as Backdoor.Linux.Mokes.a, has caused some stir in the Linux community because it was one of the first spyware threats detected in the wild on the platform.

    • Forcing out bugs with stress-ng

      I’ve also tried to make stress-ng portable, so it can build fine on GNU/Hurd and Debian kFreeBSD (with Linux specific tests not built-in of course). It also contains some architecture specific features, such as handling the data and instruction cache as well as the x86 rdrand instruction and cache line locking. If there are any ARM specific features than can be stressed I’d like to know and perhaps implement stressors for them.

    • OpenSSH and the dangers of unused code

      Unused code is untested code, which probably means that it harbors bugs—sometimes significant security bugs. That lesson has been reinforced by the recent OpenSSH “roaming” vulnerability. Leaving a half-finished feature only in the client side of the equation might seem harmless on a cursory glance but, of course, is not. Those who mean harm can run servers that “implement” the feature to tickle the unused code. Given that the OpenSSH project has a strong security focus (and track record), it is truly surprising that a blunder like this could slip through—and keep slipping through for roughly six years.

    • Why Is Usable Security Hard, and What Should We Do about it?
    • Linux-Based Botnets Accounted for More than Half of DDoS Attacks in Q4 2015
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UN Report Finds ‘Systematic’ Saudi Targeting of Yemeni Civilians

      A leaked report by a UN panel of experts is calling for a formal inquiry into Saudi human rights abuses, saying the nation is “deliberately starving” Yemeni civilians in its war, and targeting civilians in airstrikes in a “widespread and systematic manner.”

    • Yemeni-American Tells How the U.S. Separated Him from His Wife and Three Children

      Qarwash Mohsn Awad was already aboard his flight to Jordan at Chicago’s O’Hare airport in May 2015 when he was pulled off and escorted to a small room by two individuals – a man and a woman.

      The agents questioned him – asking him for his documents, how much money he had, how many bags he had. Every time Awad answered, they responded, “You are lying, you are lying.” Agitated, Awad had no idea what was going on, he says. He was accused of having fake paperwork and told he would be locked up.

    • Pentagon Wastes $800 Million On Businesses in Afghanistan

      Sopko’s office has unleashed critical reports about Pentagon spending in Afghanistan — especially TFBSO, which was finally disbanded in a mercy killing last year. Financial records show that the task force spent $43 million on a compressed natural gas filling station that has been widely mocked as the world’s most expensive. It also spent upwards of $150 million on private villas and associated security, bankrolled a multi-million dollar Afghan start-up incubator that is now defunct, and even paid to import Italian goats in order to jumpstart the country’s cashmere industry.

    • Suicide Bombers Stage Mass Attack; 200 Killed in Iraq

      In Baghdadi, five suicide bombers attacked a guesthouse belonging to a town councilman; they killed a tribal fighter acting as a guard and wounded 10 other people. Two more suicide bombers attacked first responders, killing the police chief and two policemen. In a second attack on the outskirts of twon, a dozen suicide bombers attacked a barracks and killed 25 security personnel.

    • Hillary’s West African Footprint

      To any informed observer, the motivation for the increased frequency of these attacks, and their growth into new countries, is abundantly clear. Western imperial ambitions, especially those in Islamic-majority countries, lead to a perceived lack of self determination on the part of the body politic of those people living under dictators friendly to Western governments. When attempts to resist authoritarian leaders beholden first to foreign interests fail, frustration within the social order builds among members of that nation’s populace. This, in turn, validates the narratives of the most violent groups opposing Western rule, and attracts the young, the restless, and often the jobless elements of society most hungry for change and willing to take the most dramatic steps to initiate it. This is a phenomenon that Chalmers Johnson labeled”blowback” in a now-famous article published in The Nation in late September of 2001. Its existence has become an accepted fact in the realm of military planning, and Hillary Clinton herself warned of its possibility in March of 2011. More important to her, however, were her political ambitions, a chance to grease the palms of friendly arms dealers, and a good deed done for the domestic politics of the Clinton Foundation’s gulf supporters. If there is any action an American Secretary of State ought to take in attempting to quell violence aimed at Western targets, it is to facilitate peace talks rather than engage in fruitless military escapades overseas to intervene in conflicts about which American bureaucrats understand nothing. And, even then, such enterprises carry with them the threat of backfire. In tracing the footsteps of unrest across the whole of North and West Africa, one finds that all roads lead to Hillary Clinton and her Libyan regime-change operation. The best of all solutions is the complete withdrawal of Western military forces from the foreign lands they occupy. Only under these conditions will peace in the Sahel become an achievable outcome; and until then, the peaceful citizens of the tiny nation of Burkina Faso will be asked to foot her bill.

    • Video Of Oregon Occupier’s Final Moments Contradicts Claims Police Killed Him With His Hands Up

      The FBI says Finicum appeared to be reaching for a gun in his jacket when he was killed. The video is aerial footage, and the distance and high angle of the shot make it hard to speak conclusively about what it shows. But at the very least, Finicum did raise and lower his hands repeatedly, and had his hands lowered and near his torso when he was killed.

      The agency has released both the full 26-minute aerial video of the stops, and a briefer clip showing Finicum’s attempt to run a barricade and subsequent death. Greg Bretzing, the top FBI official in Oregon, told reporters that they’re limited in discussing the encounter because of an ongoing outside review of the shooting by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s office.

    • Finland’s Patria sells armoured vehicles to UAE

      The majority state-owned company has been granted an export license despite the UAE’s involvement in the Yemeni conflict, and its own series of corruption scandals.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • US Police Organisation Hacked, Documents Posted Online

      Documents related to a US police association have been dumped online, as well as a database of personal information and member-only forum backup.

      The affected organisation is the “Fraternal Order of Police” (FOP), which describes itself as “the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 325,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges.”

      “We have learned today that our data system has been hacked by the Group known as Anonymous,” said a statement posted on Facebook by the FOP national president Chuck Canterbury on Thursday. The attack “appears to have originated outside of the United States,” the statement continued.

    • DOJ Agrees To Hand Over Document To EPIC, But Only Because The Document Has Already Been Made Public

      Two days after this announcement, EPIC filed expedited FOIA requests on both sides of the pond for the text of this agreement, arguing (logically) that the people this would affect had a right to know what their governments were agreeing to. EPIC specifically had concerns that the US would offer less protection to foreign citizens’ data than to its own citizens, given that it has historically refused to extend these niceties to those residing elsewhere on the planet.

    • Former FTC CTO Ashkan Soltani Denied Security Clearance, Perhaps Because He Helped In Reporting On Snowden Docs

      Ashkan Soltani is a well known privacy expert who (among other things) worked with Barton Gellman at the Washington Post to analyze the Snowden documents for story worthy information — an effort that won that series a Pulitzer Prize. Soltani has been hugely instrumental in reporting on other privacy-related issues as well, including being a part of the team that also a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the Wall Street Journal’s excellent What They Know series on digital privacy issues. Basically he has a long history of doing great journalism around privacy. For most of the last year, he was also the Chief Technology Officer at the FTC. Back in December, it was announced that he had moved over to work for the federal government CTO, Megan Smith, in the White House as a senior advisor. The CTO’s office has been collecting some fairly amazing tech talent recently.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • In 50-49 vote, US Senate says climate change not caused by humans

      The Senate rejected the scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change, days after NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2014 the hottest year ever recorded on Earth.

      The Republican-controlled Senate defeated a measure Wednesday stating that climate change is real and that human activity significantly contributes to it. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, offered the measure as the Senate debated the Keystone XL pipeline, which would tap the carbon-intensive oil sands in the Canadian province of Alberta.

  • Finance

    • Japan’s Top TPP Negotiator Resigns After It’s Alleged He Accepted Bribes

      Over in Japan, there’s been a big political scandal brewing over the last few days, leading the country’s economy minister Akira Amari to resign amid charges that he received significant bribes from a construction company. What makes that relevant to us here is that Amari was also Japan’s leading negotiator on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and his resignation and the bribery charges are raising additional (and fairly serious) questions about whether or not Japan really should support the TPP. So far, the bribery that’s been discussed does not appear to directly impact that TPP, but it at least raises other questions about whether or not the TPP itself was compromised by similar corruption (of course, some may argue that the entire process, in which big companies basically helped write the thing, is itself corrupt). Amari had been expected to travel to New Zealand in the next few days for the TPP signing ceremony, but obviously someone else will now have to go.

    • Japanese economy minister Akira Amari quits over bribery claims

      Japan’s Economy Minister Akira Amari has said he is resigning amid corruption allegations.

      Mr Amari unexpectedly made the announcement at a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday.

      But he again denied personally receiving bribes from a construction company, as had been alleged by a Japanese magazine.

    • Paul Krugman Doubles Down on Defense of Clinton Over Sanders—Questionably

      Krugman’s latest column suggests that such establishment media figures are leveraging this climate to launch spurious attacks against the left and progressive movements.

    • Washington Post’s Wild Swings at Sanders

      It’s not surprising that the Washington Post (owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos) would be unhappy with a presidential candidate running on a platform of taking back the country from the millionaires and billionaires. Therefore the trashing of Sen. Bernie Sanders in an editorial, “Bernie Sanders’ Fiction-Filled Campaign” (1/27/16), was about as predictable as the sun rising.

    • Even after years of TTIP talks, new study still unable to point to any major benefits

      Last year, Ars provided an extensive introduction to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and the US. This massive deal—it involves half the world’s GDP and a third of its trade—was launched back in 2013, largely on the basis that it would provide a significant fillip to both economies. The previous EU commissioner responsible for trade, Karel de Gucht, claimed it would be “the cheapest stimulus package you can imagine.” A study published in 2013 by the London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) on behalf of the European Commission predicted that the EU’s economy would be boosted by €119 billion, and the US’s by €95 billion.

    • Elizabeth Warren Challenges Clinton, Sanders to Prosecute Corporate Crime Better Than Obama

      Three days before the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has released what might have been her closing argument had she been a candidate in the presidential race.

      It’s a thorough indictment of a rigged system in Washington that allows corporate criminals to go free while those without the same power and influence get severely punished.

      The report — a 12-page booklet titled “Rigged Justice: How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy” — cites 20 well-documented civil and criminal cases from 2015 “in which the federal government failed to require meaningful accountability.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Virgin Birth of Obama’s Wonk Core

      There’s a telling paragraph in this post from Ezra Klein, one of a series of posts written lately by self-described “wonks” defending the electoral and political approach Hillary Clinton embraces.

    • Seizing on Establishment Panic, Sanders Sharpens Contrast with Clinton

      With just a few days to go until the Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders spoke to an evening rally in Burlington, Iowa on Thursday and made some of his boldest statements yet criticizing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s political track record and Wall Street ties.

      Sanders, who has faced an escalation of establishment ire in recent weeks, made a sharp contrast between his principles and his rival’s—such as his early and consistent opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Keystone XL pipeline, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton.

      “Check the record, find out where my opponent was on all of these issues,” Sanders said. “It is great to be against the war after you vote for the war. It is great to be for gay rights after you insult the entire gay community by supporting DOMA.”

    • Black lives like my father’s should matter. That’s why I’m endorsing Bernie Sanders.

      A year and a half ago, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo barbarically choked my father, Eric Garner, on a Staten Island sidewalk in broad daylight. My father died that day. His death was ruled a homicide. Despite viral video footage of the incident, international media attention and widespread protests, our justice system failed to find Officer Pantaleo guilty of any crime. In fact, until a few weeks ago, the only person indicted in relation to the case was Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed it all.

      As a daughter, I was devastated. As a citizen, I remain outraged — my father’s death was an absolute injustice, but not an uncommon one. By now, we know many of the other names all too well: Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Rekia Boyd. But it’s only thanks to the tireless work of organizers and protesters, who take to the streets and disrupt business as usual, that we know their names at all.

      [...]

      I trusted establishment Democrats who claimed to represent me, only to later watch them ignore and explain away the injustice of my father’s death. I trusted the system; then I watched as politicians on both sides of the aisle — from Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder — disregard the will of the people they were elected to represent and abdicate their responsibility to protect them. I’ve watched as our system criminalizes blackness while allowing Wall Street to bilk the American people with impunity.

    • I thought Sanders was bad for black people. These women changed my mind.

      Six months ago, I was a Bernie Sanders skeptic. In July, I wrote about how Sanders had bungled his outreach to the black base. Though he spent a lot of time talking about economic inequality, his message seemed aimed at the thousands of white liberals who attended his rallies. A month later, I accused his white online supporters of condescending to black people who weren’t sold on his civil rights record.

      [...]

      But now, I’m beginning to rethink my position. That’s thanks, largely, to Sanders’s black women supporters. Over the last week, I’ve spoken with people like Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, Trayvon Martin family lawyer Natalie Jackson and several black female Sanders staffers, like Tezlyn Figaro. No one shaped my thinking more than Erica Garner. She’s the daughter of Eric Garner, an unarmed African American who died after being put in a choke hold by an NYPD officer in 2014.

    • The Anti-Democratic Structure of Two Party Elections: Chomsky, Bloomberg and and the VotePact Solution

      I’ve been a critic of Sanders. I think his main problem is a lack of radicalness, especially on foreign policy.

    • “Black Americans for a Better Future” Super PAC 100% Funded by Rich White Guys

      New FEC filings show that all of the $417,250 in monetary donations to a Super PAC called “Black Americans for a Better Future” comes from conservative white businessmen — including $400,000, or 96 percent of the total, from white billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Mercer.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • The School Choice Myth and Our (Literal) Case Against It

      Parents have every right to send their children to a religious school, but not on the public dime.

      Opportunity in education. Effective education options for every child. Stimulating educational environments. Every year at the end of January, the proponents of National School Choice Week emphasize these ideals as reasons that parents, educators, and policymakers should support school voucher and tax credit programs.

      By appealing to the core aspirations for reform desired among the education community, the school choice movement masks the fact that these programs do not actually offer the benefits their supporters tout. Instead, voucher and tax credit programs typically funnel taxpayer funds into private and often religious schools that are free to discriminate against students on a variety of grounds and are exempt from meeting the same educational requirements as public schools.

    • Tibetan, Muslim Students Join in Protest For Equal Education

      In a display of cooperation across ethnic lines, Tibetan and Muslim students and their parents came together this week in a public protest to demand better funding for the education of minority groups in northwestern China’s Qinghai province, Tibetan sources said.

      Gathering on Jan. 24 outside government offices in the provincial capital Xining, protesters called especially for an investigation into the activities of the education department head of the Bayan Khar (in Chinese, Hualong) Hui Autonomous County in Qinghai’s Tsoshar (Haidong) prefecture, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

      “The protesters were parents and students of Tibetan and Muslim origin belonging to a local school called the Gangjong School,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    • Georgia Lawmaker Defends KKK: “It Made a Lot of People Straighten Up”

      A Georgia state representative has triggered anger on social media after he made several statements that appear to defend the actions of the Ku Klux Klan, a group he insists “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order.”

      “It made a lot of people straighten up,” Republican State Rep. Tommy Benton said, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.”

    • Disney’s princesses spoke more in the 1950s. So much for ‘feminist’ heroines

      In Aladdin, female characters speak only 10 per cent. While in Mulan, despite the eponymous character saving China, female characters utter 23 per cent of the dialogue.

    • Clinton emails labeled ‘top secret’

      The Obama administration will entirely withhold 22 emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server because they have been classified as “top secret,” the State Department said on Friday.

      The existence of multiple top secret emails in the Democratic presidential front-runner’s inbox will only increase public scrutiny on the former secretary of State’s unusual email arrangement, mere days before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation nominating contest on Monday.

      The 37 pages of emails are the first time the Obama administration has confirmed that messages within Clinton’s server while she was at State merit one of the highest levels of classification. Although the State Department has previously classified more than 1,300 of Clinton’s emails upon release, the vast majority of those were at lower classification levels.

    • State to release some Clinton emails on Friday; thousands still delayed

      The State Department on Friday will release roughly 2,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails but will delay the final batch of messages until after voters go to the polls in the first several primary states.

      In a court filing late on Thursday evening, the department insisted that it “regrets” its inability to publish the final 7,000 pages on Friday, as a federal court ordered it to do last year.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Nightmare

      Hillary Clinton’s nightmare is not the sudden resurgence of Bernie Sanders. It is the fidelity to the rule of law of the FBI.

      The recent revelations of the receipt by Clinton of a Special Access Program email, as well as cut and pasted summaries of state secrets on her server and on her BlackBerry nearly guarantee that the FBI will recommend that the Department of Justice convene a grand jury and seek her indictment for espionage. Here is the backstory.

    • APNewsBreak: US declares 22 Clinton emails ‘top secret’

      The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton’s home server contained closely guarded government secrets, censoring 22 emails that contained material requiring one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes three days before Clinton competes in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

    • Facebook Says It Will Ban Gun Sales Between Users

      Social networking giant Facebook announced Friday that it would ban the private sale of guns on its site, and on its photo-sharing platform Instagram.

      Although the site itself does not act as a retailer of firearms, it has allowed users to sell guns on Facebook pages or in Instagram posts. The new prohibitions will affect only private and person-to-person sales, and not licensed gun sellers.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • New Report To FCC Details How Binge On Violates Net Neutrality

      Stanford Law professor Barbara van Schewick, one of the leading scholars on net neutrality, has filed a report with the FCC detailing how T-Mobile’s Binge On clearly violates net neutrality. As we’ve been highlighting, Binge On has numerous problems when it comes to net neutrality, and appears to clearly violate some of the FCC’s rules. There’s also the fact that T-Mobile flat out lied about it and claimed that it was “optimization” when it’s really throttling.

    • The Trouble with the TPP, Day 20: Unenforceable Net Neutrality Rules

      One of President Barack Obama’s selling points for the TPP has been claims that it helps preserve “an open and free Internet.” The references to an open and free Internet, which is closely linked to net neutrality, may strike a chord with those concerned with digital issues. However, the Trouble with the TPP is that a close examination of the text and a comparison with existing net neutrality rules in many TPP countries reveals that it doesn’t advance the issue. In fact, the standards are so weak and unenforceable that at least half of the TPP countries already far exceed them.

    • Google admits to how much it paid the brief owner of its domain name

      Back in October 2015, an admin error caused the ownership of its main domain “google.com” to lapse and a lucky fellow managed to snap it up.

      Sanmay Ved, a researcher managed to buy google.com through Google domains for a brief moment, which led to Google having to buy it back for around $12,000 USD.

      Although this was seemingly done as a moment of opportunity rather than a means to get quick rich. Google paid the sum for the domain which Sanmay went onto donate to charity.

    • T-Mobile’s Binge On violates net neutrality, says Stanford report

      The debate over whether or not Binge On violates Net Neutrality has been raging ever since the service was announced in November. The latest party to weigh in is Barbara van Schewick, law professor at Stanford University.

      In a new report published today — and filed to the FCC, as well — van Schewick says that Binge on “violates key net neutrality principles” and “is likely to violate the FCC’s general conduct rule.” She goes on to make several arguments against Binge On, saying that services in Binge On distorts competition because they’re zero-rated and because video creators are more likely to use those providers for their content, as the zero-rated content is more attractive to consumers.

    • Open source optical network could create a new Internet

      Key elements for their Internet are optical white boxes and bare metal optical switches. Bare metal switches use merchant chips rather than custom silicon, and can be cheaper and easier to use. Open source software can be used.

      Data Centers are embracing these cheaper open switches that can be programmed like Linux computers, explains Computerworld in a 2015 article.

      I wrote about merchant chips in April 2015 in ‘Open source a driver for merchant chips.’

      [...]

      Add to this the idea of a special network virtualization mechanism that lets multiple networks use the same infrastructure, plus the aforementioned open source elements and high-speed light-based networks, and the Internet will be able to move forward with exciting new applications a la Google and iOS, they reckon.

    • Internet may soon carry traffic at speed of light
    • Internet traffic may soon travel at the speed of light
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • When Even The Wall Street Journal Calls Out The USTR’s Misleading Propaganda About The TPP…

      Not too surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal has been a big booster of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement over the past year, repeatedly praising the deal and claiming it will save the world in all sorts of ways. Most of that is based on the faulty belief that the TPP is actually a “free trade” deal (it’s actually the opposite), with some of it just being the standard WSJ faith-based belief that “if big businesses like it, it must be good.”

    • Copyrights

      • Monkey See, Monkey Do, But Judge Says Monkey Gets No Copyright

        However, as we’ve explained time and time again (much to the chagrin of David Slater, the photographer whose camera was used to take the photo), the photo is clearly in the public domain, as it’s long been held that the Copyright Act only applies to human authors. In court a few weeks ago, the judge made it clear he didn’t believe PETA had any case at all, but Judge William Orrick has now come out with his written opinion in the case explaining his reasoning why. Not surprisingly, it more or less tracks with what he said in court: there is no evidence that the Copyright Act applies to monkeys, and thus, case dismissed — with leave to amend.

      • Be more lenient in copyright cases, US government says

        The US Copyright Act should be amended to become more favourable towards fair use and change the way that damages are awarded in cases, a report from the US Department of Commerce has argued.

        In a white paper released yesterday, January 28, the Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) at the department outlined ways judges and juries could be given more guidance when assessing damages.

      • U.S. Govt: Excessive Piracy Punishments Should Be Avoided

        The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force has released a set of copyright reform proposals. The Government recommends Congress to implement various changes to avoid excessive damages awards and stresses that copyright trolling should not be tolerated.

      • Pick A Side: Video Of Creepy Girls Singing To Donald Trump Taken Down Over Copyright On WWI Song

        Yeah, it was taken down by EMI. But why, you ask? While many of us would thank anyone or anything that could tear the existence of this horror show away from wherever unsuspecting innocents might happen across it, what stake does EMI Music have in this song sung by The USA Freedom Kids?

      • Commerce Department Wants To Fix Some Of The Worst Problems Of Copyright Law: Reform Crazy Damages

        A couple of years ago, the Commerce Department put out a somewhat problematic “Green Paper” on copyright, that at times seemed to have been pretty heavily influenced by the maximalist view of the world, without recognition of how widely copyright is abused. Lots of people responded to it with their concerns — including an excellent response from (believe it or not) Hollywood screenwriters who actually pointed out the problems of copyright maximalism, statutory damages, abusive takedowns and attacks on fair use. I don’t know if it was that letter that really influenced things, but the Commerce Department has now come out with its follow up “White Paper” and it’s really quite good. It basically says that copyright’s statutory damages are a huge mess and need to be fixed.

      • Rather a double life: 26 extra years of copyright for Beatrix Potter

        In a real-world fairytale story this week, the discovery was announced of a previously unpublished work by beloved mycologist (also children’s author) Beatrix Potter, 150 years after her birth.

01.29.16

Links 29/1/2016: Controversy at the Linux Foundation, Tor Browser 5.5

Posted in News Roundup at 8:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Free Pathways to Running Linux Right

    If you’re new or relatively new to Linux, you may be looking around for good educational resources and perhaps some tutorials. Whether you’re new to Linux or looking to become a more advanced user, there are a lot of free online books and tutorials that can give you guidance. In this post, you’ll find our newly updated collection of many good Linux reference guides and tools online–all available at no cost.

  • Desktop

    • 8 Ways to Make Use of Your Old PC with Linux

      Most people throw away their old computers when they get new ones. Don’t be one of those people. Instead, turn your old PC into a Linux file server, a smart TV hub, a web caching proxy, Network Attached Storage, or even your own private cloud solution. With Linux, the possibilities are endless.

      Here are 8 things you can do with an old PC and Linux. Keep in mind that these are just eight picks. It’s not the be-all-end-all list. There is no doubt that there are other things that can be done on Linux that simply didn’t make the list.

  • Server

    • IBM mainframes get open source revamp with Ubuntu Linux support

      IBM has revealed new technology features and collaborations for its LinuxONE family of Linux systems, with a particular focus on hybrid cloud capabilities.

    • ​The mainframe lives on in IBM’s LinuxONE

      IBM invested a billion dollars in Linux in 2002. Some things remain the same. Last year, IBM introduced LinuxONE, a new pair of IBM mainframes along with Linux and open-source software and services. These new systems are the LinuxONE Emperor, which built on the IBM z13 mainframe and its z13 CPU, and its little brother, Rockhopper, which is now moving from the older z12 processor to the z13.

    • Linaro provides go-to Linux-based software stack for ARM servers

      Recognizing that challenge, standards organization Linaro is pushing a new open-source software reference platform that will provide easy access to firmware and common software tools for easier integration of ARM servers in data centers.

      Linaro is a major player in the development of Linux and Android software for ARM-based devices and servers. The organization is handling the development of Android for Google’s Project Ara custom smartphone, and has adapted the Chrome browser for mobile devices.

    • Linaro announces Software Reference Platform for ARM servers
    • The History of Linux Containers from chroot to the Future

      Linux containers are an operating system level virtualization technology for providing multiple isolated Linux environments on a single Linux host. Unlike virtual machines (VMs), containers do not run dedicated guest operating systems. Rather, they share the host operating system kernel and make use of the guest operating system system libraries for providing the required OS capabilities. Since there is no dedicated operating system, containers start much faster than VMs.

    • Build a better web server – Part 1

      Up your computing power with an upgraded or brand new server that you can build yourself

      While big business and big data may be utilising mainframes more of late, the concept of servers is not going away any time soon. Servers are an integral part of any system, however large your IT infrastructure is. Whether it’s inside the data centre or tucked away in your (well-ventilated!) cupboard at home, there are still a lot of uses for servers in 2015.

      For the office you may want to save a bit of money and create something perfect for your needs that you know exactly how to maintain. For home you may just want to enhance your setup and make the entire network more efficient. For both it’s a great way to separate certain aspects of your network to control it in a more efficient way.

      There are many components of a server that you need to keep in mind, but it boils down to an appropriate hardware selection and a good distro for the task at hand. In this tutorial, we are going to concentrate on file and web servers, two base server systems that can be expanded and modified in multiple ways to best fit the situation you are in.

      As we’re teaching you how to build a better web server, we will first take a quick detour to tell you what you should know if you want to upgrade your current server so that it can compete with the new tech.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 4 Episode 02

      In this episode: Good news from Qt and bad news for 32 bit Google Chrome users. The Linux Foundation ditches individual membership and Microsoft MITs more code. Plus loads of Finds, Neurons, Voices, Competition Prizes and An Important Announcement.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.5 AMDGPU/Radeon vs. Catalyst OpenGL Performance

      With the first test release out this week for the Linux 4.5 kernel I have carried out some fresh benchmarks on different AMD Radeon graphics cards for comparing the very latest open-source driver performance against that of the proprietary AMD Linux driver. Here are how the competing AMD OpenGL Linux stacks are comparing to one another for starting off 2016.

    • Linux Kernel 3.18.26 LTS Has Btrfs Improvements, Updated Network and USB Drivers

      After the release of the Linux 4.3.4, 4.1.16 LTS, 3.14.59 LTS and 3.10.95 LTS kernels, today we would like to inform our readers about the immediate availability for download of the long-term supported Linux kernel 3.18.26.

    • The Linux Foundation and the Uneasy Alliance

      Meanwhile, the comments on Garrett’s blog suggest that, whatever else happens, Garrett has tapped into a general perception. For instance, the community site FOSS Force discussed the issue under the headline “Linux Foundation Sells Out.”

      Clearly, to many, the Linux Foundation represents the community poorly. However, the accuracy of that perception seems more mixed that either side seems willing to acknowledge.

    • ‘Unikernels will send us back to the DOS era’ – DTrace guru Bryan Cantrill speaks out

      Some heralded Docker’s acquisition of UK-based Unikernel Systems last week as the golden dawn of a post-container era. Others showed healthy skepticism.

      One person firmly in the latter camp is Bryan Cantrill, who typed up a long blog post on why he believes unikernels are “unfit” for production. Cantrill is chief technology officer of San Francisco-based Joyent, which builds software to manage containers across whole data centers.

    • Controversy at the Linux Foundation

      Linux has seen more than its fair share of controversy through the years. And, that’s not so surprising. For one thing, the operating system flies in the teeth of deeply entrenched multinational companies. The fact that it stands for users instead of vested interests has drawn more than a little ire as well.

      And, let’s be honest. Sometimes the controversy comes from within our own camp. Although the Open Source community is generally very welcoming and accepting, there always will be conflicts when a large group of people works together on a big project. It happens in offices. It happens in universities. And it has certainly happened on the Linux Kernel Mailing list.

      It shouldn’t be so surprising that tempers occasionally flare. People may come to the Open Source world with rose-tinted spectacles, expecting to join a utopia. I guess it can be disappointing to realize that we’re human after all (yes, even Linus Torvalds).

    • Jumping Bean to partner with Linux Foundation to deliver Linux Training in Southern Africa

      Jumping Bean today announced it is partnering with The Linux Foundation to deliver the nonprofit organisation’s sought after, vendor-neutral Linux training and certification courses in Southern Africa. The demand for the Linux training has seen unprecedented growth in recent years as companies scramble to move their businesses to the Linux dominated cloud.

    • Linux Kernel 3.12.53 LTS Introduces x86 and Blackfin Fixes, Updated Drivers

      Linux kernel developer Jiri Slaby informs us all about the immediate availability for download of the fifty-third maintenance version for the long-term supported Linux 3.12 kernel series.

      Linux kernel 3.12.53 LTS is an important milestone, and according to the appended shortlog, it changes a total of 45 files, with 197 insertions and 138 deletions. Among the most important improvements, we can mention bugfixes for the x86, m68k, Blackfin, m32r, and PowerPC (PPC) hardware architectures, along with updates to the networking stack, especially for things like IPv6, IPv4, and SCTP (Stream Control Transmission Protocol).

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Xeon E3-1270 v5 Skylake Linux Benchmarks

        Our latest Intel Skylake processor to benchmark is a Xeon E3-1270 v5 processor that boasts a boost speed of 4.0GHz.

        A new server was commissioned this week for the new OpenBenchmarking.org. Prior to transitioning the OpenBenchmarking.org infrastructure to it this weekend, I ran some benchmarks on it since it has a shiny new Xeon E3-1270 v5 Skylake processor. This new server has the Xeon E3-1270 v5 processor, Supermicro X11SSL-F motherboard, 64GB of memory (4 x 16GB Kingston DDR4-2133MHz), and 240GB Micron M510DC solid-state drive. Its running CentOS 7 with the Linux 3.10 kernel and XFS file-system.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Instrumenting the GLib main loop with Dunfell

        This screenshot is of a trace of the buffered-input-stream test from GIO, showing I/O callbacks being made across threads as idle source callbacks.

      • Project Templates

        Now that Builder has integrated Template-GLib, I started working on creating projects from templates. Today, this is only supported from the command line. Obviously the goal is to have it in the UI side-by-side with other project creation methods.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Home theatre distros group test

        Raspbian is really unsuited to your HTPC needs. It’s not designed to either, but it was interesting to see if the extra UX considerations that were added this year made it more suitable for the task. Unfortunately, they didn’t.

    • New Releases

      • Apricity OS Is Getting a Cinnamon Flavor Soon, Both KDE and Xfce Flavors Delayed

        The developers of the Arch Linux-based Apricity OS computer operating system announced a few minutes ago, January 28, 2016, that the first Beta build of Apricity OS for 2016 is now available for download and ready for testing.

      • OPNsense 16.1 released

        Welcome back!

        No, we would not say it was easy getting here, but booting into 16.1 for the first time sure is as relieving (and exciting) as it could get for our project growing beyond what we had ever imagined. It has been more than a year since OPNsense first came out. Back then it was FreeBSD 10.0. Not even two months after, 10.1 was introduced along with the opnsense-update utility. Today is the day for FreeBSD 10.2, the latest and greatest release currently available for broader driver support and stability improvements.

      • FreeBSD-Powered Firewall Distro OPNsense 16.1 Released

        OPNsense, the open-source firewall project powered by FreeBSD that began as a fork of pfSense, is out with a new release.

      • BackBox Linux 4.5 OS comes with pre-installed new hacking tools

        The release of BackBox Linux 4.5 has been announced by the developers of the BackBox Linux operating system, which assures to bring a new kernel and lots of upgraded packages, plus it is also immediately available for download.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Lx 2015 Finally Reaches Beta State

        The OpenMandriva Lx camp has released their 2015 Beta release in time for this weekend’s FOSDEM conference happening this weekend in Brussels.

        While we are now into 2016 and its been a number of months (April of 2015 since the alpha release, OpenMandriva Lx 2015 Beta was finally made public today. The latest stable release of OpenMandriva remains at 2014.2.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Update 2016-01-27 (stable)

        I’m happy to announce our fifth update of Manjaro 15.12 (Capella)!

        Most work went into preparations for Manjaro 16.03 (Daniella) release. Particularly we are working on some settings packages, so it would be possible to install our desktop-configurations on your already running system. This will also reduce the files the overlays of our manjaro-iso-profiles.

      • Manjaro 15.12 (Capella) Receives New Update with Important Kernel Fixes

        The Manjaro developers have pushed out the door yet another update for Manjaro 15.12 (Capella), and it brings a lot of important fixes.

        This is the fifth update for Manjaro 15.12 (Capella), and it looks like the developers will continue to provide this packs for the coming months. If the past is any indication, we’ll probably get about 5 or 6 update packages if everything goes according to plan.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Expands Partner Reach With New Insight Enterprises Deal
      • Red Hat CEO to deliver Discovery Lecture on organizational openness

        Jim Whitehurst, president and chief executive officer of Red Hat Inc., will give the talk, The Power of Openness, at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 4 in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121. A book signing will follow at 2:30 p.m. in the nearby Venture Café. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is a part of the Discovery Park Distinguished Lecture Series.

      • 3Reasons RedHat, Inc. Stock Could Fall

        And what if Oracle stopped optimizing every product for maximum revenue, instead flooding the market with affordable database tools of unbeatable quality? And maybe the remnants of that near-forgotten Sun Microsystems buyout could come up with another Solaris-branded operating system that puts Red Hat’s best efforts to shame?

      • Red Hat, Inc. See Large Inflow of Money

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) traded negative at $71.3. On an intraday basis, the price dropped -0.44 points or -0.61%. The composite uptick value was $15.81 million while the combined downtick value was $15.22. The net money flow was $0.59 million while the up/down ratio was not very comforting at 1.04. The shares on a weekly note has seen a change in share price of -1.6%.According to the trading data, the shares saw a block trade with $3.57 million in upticks and $2.86 million in downticks. The up/down ratio for the block was calculated to be 1.25. The net money flow for the block trade was 0.71.

      • Promising stocks in today’s market: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Sentiments And Ratings Alert Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)

        Zacks Research gets the recommendation of multiple brokerage firms to reach a consensus rating on the stock. Following the same methodology, which measures a stock on a scale of 1-5, the stock of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)’s has been given a mean rating of 1.5 compared to an ABR of 1.5 three months ago. A rating between 1 and 2 highlights a Buy, 3 suggests a Hold while a reading of 4 and 5 typically implies a Sell call by the analysts.

      • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) Falls 4.57% for January 27

        Red Hat Inc. is centered in Raleigh, NC, and has 7,300 employees.

      • Analyst’s Roundup: Red Hat Inc
      • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) Short Interest Update
      • Price Target Update On Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Red Hat Inc (RHT) Rating Lowered to Neutral at Bank of America

        Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) was downgraded by equities research analysts at Bank of America from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday, The Fly reports. They currently have a $80.00 target price on the open-source software company’s stock, down from their previous target price of $90.00. Bank of America’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 18.71% from the stock’s current price.

      • Fedora

        • Remote group merging for Fedora

          One of the major features of the Fedora Server Edition is the Cockpit administrative console. This web-based interface provides administrators with a powerful set of tools for controlling their system. Cockpit relies upon low-level tools like polkit and sudo to make authorization decisions to determine what a user is permitted to do. By default, most operations on a Fedora system are granted to users in the ‘wheel’ group. People granted administrator access to Cockpit (and other tools through shell access) are generally added to the wheel group in the /etc/group file.

        • Fedora looks back and ahead on Women in Computing

          This past week, the Community Operations (CommOps) team wrote a report on the Fedora Community Blog about some of Fedora’s most recent activities working towards improving outreach and increasing the diversity of the Project. Over the past year, there have been increased movements and activism towards improving the presence of women in computer science fields. Free and open source software is no exception to the rule, with FOSS being one of the areas with the least participation of women. In 2009, 28% of proprietary software development was done by women, but only 1.5% of contributions in free and open source software projects were made by women. While a lot has changed since 2009 and many great advancements have been made, the numbers are still low, and Fedora is helping give back to the world of free and open source software by working to improve its own diversity and outreach.

        • DevConf 2016: Pungi 4 and the Fedora compose / validation cycle

          Hi folks! Just a quick note for anyone who might be wondering – I’ll be at DevConf 2016 in Brno next week. (I’ll also be at the mostly-Red Hat-only-I-think QEcamp event before that). I’m expecting to spend most of the time running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to talk to people about the pending move to Pungi 4 for Fedora composes and the consequences / opportunities for release validation and so on. There will probably be quite a bit of change, hopefully for the better!

        • Mono SIG – Year in Review

          The Mono SIG (Special Interest Group) is a group of Fedora contributors that maintain Mono (and related) packages in Fedora. The goal of the Mono SIG is to provide high-quality and usable Mono software packages to Fedora users and developers and to support others in creating and maintaining Mono packages.

    • Debian Family

      • Ian Murdock to be Remembered at FOSDEM 2016

        The Debian Publicity team is planning to hold a memorial for founder Ian Murdock who tragically took his own life December 28 after altercations with police. The event will take place during FOSDEM this coming weekend. The team has been collecting pictures, stories, and video in order to compile a short video for the event in Brussels, Belgium Saturday.

      • Becoming a Debian contributor

        Over the past two months or so I have become a contributor to the Debian Project. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. Firstly, just because I’ve got so much out of Debian over the last five or six years—both as a day-to-day operating system and a place to learn about computing—and I wanted to contribute something back. And secondly, in following the work of Joey Hess for the past three or four years I’ve come to share various technical and social values with Debian. Of course, I’ve long valued the project of making it possible for people to run their computers entirely on Free Software, but more recently I’ve come to appreciate how Debian’s mature technical and social infrastructure makes it possible for a large number of people to work together to produce and maintain high quality packages. The end result is that the work of making a powerful software package work well with other packages on a Debian system is carried out by one person or a small team, and then as many users who want to make use of that software need only apt-get it. It’s hard to get the systems and processes to make this possible right, especially without a team being paid full-time to set it all up. Debian has managed it on the backs of volunteers. That’s something I want to be a part of.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 2.0 Gets GNOME Shell As Default Desktop Environment And Debian 8 “Jessy” Upgrades And More

          Tails 2.0 is one of the most popular Linux distributions based on Debian. Tails is Live CD/USB that aims to provide freedom by making its users anonymous on the web. All the applications’ traffic such as Internet browser, email client, IM etc. is sent through the Tor network that is very hard to trace. Recently Tails team released Tails 2.0 with some major changes, some security fixes and lots of other improvements.

        • The ultra-secure Tails OS beloved by Edward Snowden gets a major upgrade

          Edward Snowden’s favorite secure operating system just got a major upgrade. Version 2.0 of the Amnesic Incognito Live System, better known as Tails, rolled out recently. Tails 2.0 brings a new desktop environment, sandboxing for services via the always controversial systemd, and a new build of the Tor Browser.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 Is Officially Released

            The Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 has finally arrived, and users should start to get the new update in the next 24 hours, in a phased manner.

          • Ubuntu Phone OTA-9 Makes Available New Features, Finally Has Custom Ringtones
          • Ubuntu Phone OTA-9 Update Received Well by Users, Nexus 10 Port to Be Removed

            Canonical, through Łukasz Zemczak, today announced that the highly anticipated Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 update for Ubuntu Phone devices has been officially released and that the phased upgrades kicked in.

          • Canonical teams with Oracle to drive enterprise cloud adoption

            Canonical today announced that it is working with Oracle to provide enterprises with greater flexibility in the way they develop and deploy large-scale workloads on Oracle Cloud. Certified Ubuntu images are now available on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, providing Oracle enterprise customers with increased choice, velocity – a true “grab and go” approach – and new and innovative ways to manage and scale their enterprise workloads, using the number one cloud operating system.

          • Canonical and Oracle partner to make cloud adoption via Ubuntu even easier

            CANONICAL and Oracle have announced a joint venture aimed at speeding up cloud adoption.

            The companies have made an agreement to provide enterprises with greater flexibility in the way they develop and deploy large-scale workloads on Oracle Cloud.

          • Canonical to Provide Certified Ubuntu Images for Oracle Cloud
          • Canonical and Oracle team up to boost enterprise cloud use

            Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, has announced a collaboration with Oracle to make Ubuntu images available on Oracle Cloud.

            Under the deal, Certified Ubuntu images will be available on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, providing Oracle enterprise customers with increased choice and new and innovative ways to manage and scale their enterprise workloads, using the number one cloud operating system.

          • Canonical and Oracle bring certified Ubuntu images to Oracle Cloud customers

            Ubuntu developer Canonical has disclosed that certified Ubuntu Linux images are now available on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace for customers to access.

            The move is part of a collaboration between the two firms to provide greater flexibility for companies developing and deploying large-scale workloads on Oracle Cloud.

            Ubuntu Linux has become a popular choice for scale-out workloads in the cloud thanks to its performance, stability and regular updates, according to Canonical. The firm has in fact tied its refresh cycle to that of the OpenStack cloud computing framework, which is now included with Ubuntu as standard.

          • Watch: Mark Shuttleworth Talks Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Snappy at UbuCon Summit 2016

            Since we “failed” to show you guys a live video stream or even a recording of Mark Shuttleworth’s opening keynote at UbuCon Summit 2016 during SCALE 14x, we’re continuing our “Watch” series of articles today with an interview of Canonical and Ubuntu founder at the said event.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 Alpha 2 to Land with Very Few Participating Flavors

            The second Alpha for Ubuntu 16.04 flavors is landing tomorrow, and it looks like most of the important names are missing, with a few exceptions.

            The Ubuntu developers have been discussing for the past few days about this latest Alpha, and it took some convincing to get the thing rolling. The thing is that most of the distros chose not to participate in this Alpha release, and there is a good chance that things are going to change in the next cycle.

            Canonical dropped intermediary releases a couple of years ago for Ubuntu, and they only cover the final Beta version. They still offer daily builds for most of the six months interval between two releases, so naming something Alpha 2 is somewhat arbitrary. The only advantage for an Alpha is that developers freeze the process for a couple of days and make sure that the OS is booting and can be used.

          • Ubuntu Make Now Helps You Easily Install Apple’s Swift Language in Ubuntu Linux

            The UbuCon Summit 2016 has ended and now the Ubuntu developers have returned to their workspaces to continue working on their great projects. Didier Roche informs us today, January 28, about the release of a new version of his awesome Ubuntu Make tool.

          • Major Unity 8 Update to Land for Ubuntu Phones in OTA-9.5, Mir 0.19 Too

            We have just been informed by Łukasz Zemczak of Canonical about the latest work done by the Ubuntu Touch developers in preparation for the forthcoming OTA-9.5 hotfix update for Ubuntu Phones devices.

          • Containers Become a First Class Citizen in Ubuntu 16.04, Says Mark Shuttleworth

            It seems like a whole lot of Mark Shuttleworth interviews are starting to pile up these days, and today we would like to inform our readers about a recent one where the Ubuntu founder talks about the latest cloud technologies coming from Canonical.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint Is Getting Its Own Apps Starting with the 18.x Branch

              The Linux Mint project is about to get a lot more interesting because, with the 18.x branch, the developers are going to introduce the so-called X-Apps, which are designed to work across Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce.

            • Mint 18′s New Themes and Applications, New Mint Box

              Clement Lefebvre today added some additional tidbits from early Mint 18 planning in his monthly newsletter. A few weeks ago he’d said version 18 would finally feature a new theme and today he said they would be developing new applications as well. In addition, a new mini PC featuring Mint was introduced.

            • Monthly News – January 2016

              Hello everyone! Before I start with the news, I’d like to share a few words about the donations we received in December. You sent us an unprecedented number of donations for an all-time high total of $16,736! We had to check the stats twice to make sure this wasn’t a mistake. This follows the release of Linux Mint 17.3, so not only does it help our funding, it’s also extremely gratifying and motivating for us. Many many thanks to the 714 people who supported us, and to our partners and sponsors for being here for us.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How Google backed an open source winner

    It’s hard to fault the pedigree of Google’s Kubernetes container management tool, and it seems many of the world’s cloud-forward enterprises agree.

    Inspired by Borg – Google’s internal container management software, which manages the two billion-plus containers the web giant starts each week – Kubernetes has scale in its DNA.

  • 6 starting points for open source beginners

    To help navigate your first open source contribution, I’ve put together a list of what I think are the most beginner-friendly open source starting points, as well as, a few other helpful resources. To make sure the list contains well-maintained projects, I’ve only included projects with over 1,000 stars on GitHub (unless otherwise stated).

  • Good leaders know what economics can’t explain about open source

    Whatever the reason, economic rationality won’t illuminate it. But open leaders need to discover it. And they can turn once again to open source communities for insight. Yet again, they likely have something important to teach us about the reasons we organize today.

  • How to increase online privacy with open source tools and best practices

    Privacy on the Internet is… well, let’s just say it’s complicated. In this article, I’ll analyze a few open source tools and concepts that you might use to increase privacy on the Internet for yourself. It will not be an exhaustive list of all possible avenues, nor does it pretend to ensure complete privacy even in the fact of a concentrated, personal attack. Some of the tips you will find useful, others you will discard, and still others you might use in conjunction with other policies to construct your own privacy model.

  • 5 Top Open Source Contributions for React Native (and What’s Needed)

    Since being open sourced by creator Facebook, React Native has garnered more than 26,000 “stars” on GitHub — making it No. 23 in the all-time rankings — and has been forked more than 4,600 times. Clearly, it’s taking the mobile app dev arena by storm.

  • 4 myths about agile

    It stung—but she learned from it. Proponents of agile “have failed to deliver the message in a way the open source community understands,” she tells her audience in this video. So Krieger took to the stage to dispel four common myths about agile and “get to the truth of what it’s intended to be.”

  • 10 Open Source Vulnerability Assessment Tools

    Vulnerability assessment tools are an essential part of enterprise security strategies, as scanning applications for known vulnerabilities is a key best practice. Using open source vulnerability assessment technologies can help organizations save money and customize software to suit their needs.

    Many open source vulnerability assessment tools are conveniently bundled in security distributions such as Offensive Security’s Kali Linux. Here is a selection of 10 useful open source vulnerability assessment tools, including general vulnerability assessment tools, Web server and application vulnerability scanners, analysis tools and fuzzers.

  • How open source could save us from ad-served hacking

    Yesterday I wrote of how Adblock Plus isn’t necessarily the best, and certainly isn’t the most ethical of all possible open-source adblocking solutions; but rather that it predominates because it grew a massive user-base in a time of diversity and transition. And so it is with its opposite number – the ad-serving industry whose domains form the basis of adblockers’ blacklists and whitelists.

    It’s a rotten, but established solution. It’s just ‘what people do’.

    To boot, the ad-serving industry as it stands has billions in turnover to spend defaming or undermining any alternative system, should one arise.

  • The dangerous “UI team”

    Customers do not want to click on UI controls. Nor do they want to browse a web site, or “log in,” or “manage” anything, or for that matter interact with your product in any way. Those aren’t goals people have when they wake up in the morning. They’re more like tedious tasks they discover later.

    [...]

    The “UI team” has “UI” right there in the name (sounds user-friendly doesn’t it?). But this is a bottom-up, implementation-driven way to define a team. You’ve defined the team by solution rather than by problem.

  • New framework needed for open source switching

    According to Cardenas, the development of open source switching has proved challenging given Broadcom’s dominance in the market. Obtaining the vendor’s software development kit (SDK) isn’t necessarily easy nor does receipt of it guarantee that a vendor’s subsequent product will be as full-featured as it should be, Cardenas said. He suggests that to make open source switching a reality, developers and competitors should escalate the pressure. Cardenas cites Mellanox’s Linux kernel derived project, switchdev, as an example of what can be done. Bottom line, writes Cardenas: “Without an open source framework to drive merchant silicon, we won’t truly have an open source NOS.”

  • HFOSS: The First Flight

    This past year, I enrolled as a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. For me, this is quite a distance from my hometown just outside of Atlanta, GA. Part of the motivation that led me to choose RIT as my university of choice was its participation in Free and Open Source Software education and communities. RIT is one of the few schools in the United States to offer a minor in Free and Open Source Software.

  • SourceForge and Slashdot Have Been Sold

    Slashdot Media, which owns the popular websites SourceForge and Slashdot, has been sold to SourceForge Media, LLC, a subsidiary of web publisher BIZX, LLC. Financial terms of the sale were not revealed in the press release announcing the sale, which was published today on the website EIN News.

    This afternoon I exchanged a few emails with Logan Abbott who is one of the owners of BIZX and the president of the SourceForge Media subsidiary which he said “was formed for the purposes of this transaction.”

  • Slashdot and SourceForge Sold, Now Under New Management
  • 8 non-code ways to contribute to open source

    Whether you’re a novice programmer, a seasoned veteran, or not an engineer at all, there are many ways to contribute to open source projects beyond coding.

    Compared to proprietary software, open source projects tend to be relatively short-handed when it comes to non-engineering contributions, so don’t shy away from open source just because you’re not a coder. Your blog post or design skills could be much more meaningful to the right project than just another line of code.

  • SCALE14x – and 8 million users for ownCloud!

    After covering openSUSE and KDE booths at SCALE in my previous blog, let’s talk ownCloud. Note that, despite the awesomeness of this blog post, our biggest news right now is probably the announcement that ownCloud has an estimated 8 million users!

  • Events

    • LibreOffice India First Meetup – A Big Small Step!

      It was a historical meetup of LibreOffice Community in India indeed! It was the first LibreOffice meetup in India. We ideated for starting LibreOffice activities in India during my Red Hat days. Last year, few of us participated in LibreOffice Conference, Aarhus, Denmark. We saw the level of real volunteer participation from all over the world for LibreOffice and no doubt several of us were inspired much. I discussed with Chandrakant and decided that it is already late and we should start as soon as possible on our own level. And this small meetup is the output of what we discussed. We have planned for much more in this year.

    • IndiaHacks online code sprint includes month-long open source track

      Open source software contributions often spring from passion—the passion to give back to the community, or simply the burning desire to create something new. The same passion that drives individual contributors also drives the team behind IndiaHacks to help develop the skills and networks of those individual contributors.

      From January 30 to March 2, the Open Source Track of IndiaHacks challenges contributors from all over the world to make the most of their efforts. Originally focused on algorithmic programming, IndiaHacks added eight more tracks for this year. The open source track follows the model of Hacktoberfest and other similar events: Contributions are measured by accepted pull requests and commits to open source software projects.

    • Brussels CentOS Dojo

      This Friday (2016-01-29) there will be a great CentOS dojo in Brussels Belgium. I am going mostly to help out run the cameras and announce different talks. I will also be wanting to listen to people use who use EPEL about what they use it for and what they are wanting to see in growth. This will help me prepare for the talk on Sunday at FOSDEM which I will be moderating.

      If you have questions please try and find me. I will probably be the one fellow in a tie and sports coat. [And because I am from the desert.. no rain coat which sounds like a minus currently in Belgium].

    • Whither EPEL (Talk at FOSDEM 2016)

      If you are going to FOSDEM 2016 and use CentOS, Scientific Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux or even Oracle Enterprise Linux.. you should be interested in a round-table talk we are having on Sunday to talk about the Fedora Project’s Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) . EPEL is a repository which has a curated set of Fedora packages rebuilt for EL-5, EL-6, and EL-7.

    • Linux Foundation announces 2016 events, adds OpenIoT

      The Linux Foundation announced its 2016 event calendar, and issued a CFP for the Apr. 4-6 Embedded Linux Conference, which features an OpenIoT Summit.

      It’s once again time to check your calendar to see if you can carve out a few days to network with your geeky peers — the Linux Foundation has revealed its extensive lineup of 2016 events. In 2015, LF events attracted “nearly 15,000 developers, maintainers, sysadmins, thought leaders, business executives and other industry professionals from more than 3,100 organizations across 85 countries,” says the nonprofit Linux advocacy organization.

    • BSD at SCALE 14x

      As I may have mentioned during the SCALE 14x coverage, one of the disadvantages of the glorious burden of working for a great event such as SCALE is that I don’t get out of the media room enough. The fact is, I can’t — herding the cats known as the tech media and processing various social media posts around the event keeps me in the room.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 44.0 Has Just Landed in All Supported Ubuntu Linux OSes

        If you’re reading the news lately, you would know by now that Mozilla has pushed the Firefox 44.0 web browser to the stable channel for all supported operating systems, including Linux, Mac and Windows.

      • It’s International Data Privacy Day: Help us Build a Better Internet

        Today is International Data Privacy Day. What can we all do to help ourselves and each other improve privacy on the Web? We have something for everyone:

        Users can greatly improve their own data privacy by simply updating their software.

        Companies can increase user trust in their products and user privacy by implementing Lean Data Practices that increase transparency and offer user control.

        By taking action on these two simple ideas, we can create a better Web together.

      • Firefox 44.0 Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        The official launch announcement for Firefox 44.0 has finally landed, and it details the changes and improvements that have landed in this latest release.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • A new open source cloud management tool… from Walmart

      If you want evidence of just how different Internet retail and brick-and-mortar retail are, you just have to look at what’s going on with the world’s largest retailer. In the same week that Walmart announced the closing of over 100 physical stores, the company’s e-commerce unit announced that it is releasing a piece of its cloud-management infrastructure as open source—publishing the OneOps platform on Github. The company’s internal e-commerce development unit, @Walmartlabs, has released OneOps under the Apache 2.0 license.

    • 13 frameworks for mastering machine learning

      Over the past year, machine learning has gone mainstream in an unprecedented way. The trend isn’t fueled by cheap cloud environments and ever more powerful GPU hardware alone; it’s also the explosion of frameworks now available for machine learning. All are open source, but even more important is how they are being designed to abstract away the hardest parts of machine learning, and make its techniques available to a broad class of developers.

      Here’s a baker’s dozen machine learning frameworks, either freshly minted or newly revised within the past year. All caught our attention for being a product of a major presence in IT, for attempting to bring a novel simplicity to their problem domain, or for targeting a specific challenge associated with machine learning.

    • Filling Out Your Free Web Development Toolkit

      Web site and application development is becoming in reach for nearly everyone, thanks to easier and better tools. Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are increasingly either employing open source or are built entirely on it. And all of this adds up to an increasing need for web development toolsets focused on the open source community. The good news is that there are many open source tools to help you with your web project, and given the costs of web development environments and the like, they can save you a lot of money. Here are many good examples of tools and tutorials, with a few that we’ve covered before appended at the end, in case you missed them.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Is Deprecating The Java Web-Browser Plugin With Java 9

      For anyone still relying upon Java web-plugins in their browser, they are going to be deprecated with the upcoming Java 9.

      Oracle announced today in a blog post that they will be moving to a plugin-free Java by deprecating the once common Java web plug-in in Java 9. The plug-in support will then be dropped in a later Oracle JDK/JRE release.

    • Java is going to die a slow painful death

      Java browser plugin, just like Adobe Flash has contributed heavily to making the web an insecure place. Both these technologies have compromised billions of PCs and Macs around the globe.

      The good news is that Oracle is finally pulling the plugs on Java, the browser plugin. Many people are freaking out, confusing it with Oracle’s Java language, which Linus Torvalds believes is a horrible language either way. Folks, this is about the Java browser plugin!

    • Oracle deprecates the Java browser plugin, prepares for its demise
    • Here’s Why Oracle Is Killing The Java Browser Plugin – A Good News For Plugin-free Web

      Oracle has announced that it’s removing the Java browser plugin from its future releases. In its whitepaper, the company said that the rise of web usage on mobile devices has inspired the browser vendors to look for plugin-free technologies. This plugin has been repeatedly exploited to install malware and attack users during its lifetime.

  • CMS

    • On owning blogosphere

      Then inevitable happened: my server died, so I have to rebuild my site. My colleagues from work shared rented VPS so I joined them and pointed my domain to it. However, when I started to work on installing WP, I was caught again by my suspicions about WP. Do I really want to fight with pulverized HTML, zillion upgrades, comment spam, etc., when all I want from the server is to render my posts to HTML? So, I started to look for static web generators. After a brief affair with Hexo (Server-side JavaScript looks like such a good idea, but it still so immature and unuseable!) I ended up with pelican.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Wikimedia in Google Code-in 2015

      Google Code-in 2015 is over. As a co-admin and mentor for Wikimedia (one of the 14 organizations who took part and provided mentors and tasks) I can say it’s been crazy as usual. :)

    • Wercker raises $4.5 million to open-source CLI container development tool

      When it comes to automating the containerization, configuration and deployment of services the right tools for the job go a long way, which is what Wercker BV’s business is all about. Today the company announced that it has raised $4.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Inkef Capital with participation from existing investor Notion Capital. The company also announced that it will open source its flagship command line interface (CLI) developer tool that facilitates the containerization and deployment of applications and microservices on the desktop.

      This investment led by Amsterdam-based Inkef Capital brings the company’s total funding to $7.5 million.

      “We’re excited to join the Inkef Capital portfolio and continue to bridge the gap between the innovative communities in Amsterdam and Silicon Valley,” said Micha Hernández van Leuffen, founder and CEO at wercker. “We’re fortunate to have a passionate developer community behind us: a community that will only continue to grow and improve with access to our open sourced CLI technology.”

  • BSD

    • Qt 5.5.1 has landed in FreeBSD

      The Qt5 (meta-)port and all its dependent ports have been updated to Qt 5.5.1 in FreeBSD. Special thanks to Yuri Victorovich, who did an independent Qt 5.5.1 port and whose work has been gratefully incorporated into this update. Thanks also to Ralf Nolden for pushing for better upgrade-paths and co-installability.

    • PC-BSD / FreeBSD 11.0-CURRENT Performance

      Last week I had plans to run some fresh FreeBSD vs. Linux gaming benchmarks using the FreeBSD’s Linux software binary compatibility layer.

      For those that don’t know, FreeBSD boasts a Linux binary compatibility initiative. Five years ago I did some Linux gaming tests on FreeBSD within FreeBSD: A Faster Platform For Linux Gaming Than Linux?. I wanted to do some modern tests atop the latest FreeBSD/PC-BSD code and the latest NVIDIA driver.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Edward Snowden will kick off LibrePlanet 2016 in Cambridge, Massachusetts

      The annual free software conference will kick off at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Stata Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts on the morning of Saturday, March 19th with “The last lighthouse: Free software in dark times”, in which Snowden (who will appear via a free software live video stream) and Daniel Kahn Gillmor will discuss free software, surveillance, power, and control of the future.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: January 29th
    • GNU Binutils 2.26: Linker Gets Experimental Garbage Collection, LLVM Plugin Support

      GNU Binutils 2.26 has been released as the first major release in more than one year since Binutils 2.25.

      This collection of binary tools was updated this week and the release announcement sent out this morning. In digging through the Git change-log and then the Bintutils NEWS, libmpx is now enabled by default, more patches from GCC mainline were imported, some new configure switches added, there is now support for the ARC EM/HS and ARC600/ARC700 architectures, objcopy improvements, and more.

    • Inside the FSFE

      Mike Saunders and Graham Morrison popped by the FSFE head office in Berlin to see how the organisation is spreading the word about FOSS.

      You’ve almost certainly heard of the Free Software Foundation before. This is a US-based non-profit organisation set up by Richard Stallman, the creator of GNU, in 1985. Originally it was established to fund programmers, but over the years it has moved into other realms, handling legal issues and promoting Free Software.

    • StreamComputing launches GEGL-OpenCL project

      This week, StreamComputing launches an educational initiative that aims to get more developers to study and use OpenCL in their projects. Within this project, up to 20 collaborators will port as many GEGL operations to OpenCL as possible.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Galicia shares training kit on open source for NGOs

      The government of Galicia (Spain) has made available conference videos, presentation slides and training material that focus on the use of free and open source software by Non-Governmental Organisations.

    • South Tyrol open source school project to spur teachers

      Three teachers and a handful of volunteers working on the decade-old project that introduces schools in the Italian province of South Tyrol (Alto Adige) to free and open source software, are starting a campaign to get new teachers involved.

    • Bernie Sanders’ campaign is right, Microsoft could hurt election — open source is needed

      When it comes to government agencies at all levels, and things like the voting process, I am a hardcore believer in open source being necessary. To truly know that votes are being counted correctly by machines, only open source would allow independent auditing. It will also help to prevent unknown backdoors in secure government computer systems.

      Closed source technologies from companies like Microsoft could, in theory, contain backdoors or vulnerabilities that hackers and evildoers could exploit. Even worse, Microsoft or its employees could purposely alter voting software to influence outcomes. Am I saying the company is doing this? Not at all. But with closed source software, there is no way to know for sure. Now, Bernie Sanders’ campaign is questioning Microsoft’s technologies being used in Iowa Caucuses. You know what? They have a point.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • European data portals implement EC’s DCAT validator

        Open data portals in Italy, Sweden and Belgium are working on validators for the EC’s DCAT-AP. Data portals that use the World Wide Web Consortium’s Data Catalog Vocabulary make it easier for others to search and use their datasets, including across borders.

        By methodologically listing where datasets can be downloaded and what formats are available, W3C’s DCAT instructions make its easier for others to discover these data collections. Instead of stockpiling data, DCAT-enabled repositories can be federated, with search results pointing to data available on other web sites.

        The DCAT-Application Profile for data portals in Europe (DCAT-AP) describes datasets created by European public administrations. Work on the DCAT-AP began in 2013. Initiated by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (DG Connect), the EU Publications Office and the EC’s ISA Programme, the creation of this specification involved representatives from 16 European Member States.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Pagure: DIY git project hosting

      Pagure is a new, full featured git repository service for the web, written in Python. It is similar to other popular git forges like Github and Gitlab, allowing open source contributors to share and collaborate on code and content. By the way, pagure is French for “hermit crab,” as reflected in the logo on the project documentation.

      Pagure is the brainchild of Pierre-Yves Chibon, a member of the Fedora Engineering team. The Fedora Engineering team focuses on Python based solutions because the language is easy to learn and thus presents less barrier to entry for contributors. Pagure is therefore a perfect fit not just for hosting projects, but for encouraging contribution to the service itself.

    • Beep Beep Yarr!

      For too long, computer programming has seemed like a secret world, sealed off from all but the geekiest of maths geniuses. Normal people never needed to know what went on inside their mysterious black boxes: it might have well as been voodoo. That’s changing now though. Because computers are essential to the way we live now, computer programmers are essential too. Kids growing up today need to have at least an idea of how computers work to make them useful (and well paid) members of the workforce of tomorrow.

    • Fortran: coding for scientists, by scientists

      FORTRAN (it dropped the caps in 1990) is the oldest high-level language still written today. It’s now over 55 years old and still in widespread use in the sciences, in high-performance computing, and in supercomputers. Its real strength is in numerical computation and complicated mathematical models (making it also popular in finance); and its position is hard to assail given the vast Fortran code library of numerical computation routines that’s available. There are even people still using fixed-format F77 (see below), although most modern users have shifted to the easier free-format. It’s probably not your language of choice for shiny Web 2.0 development, but it’s fascinating to have a look at something with such a venerable and successful history.

    • GitHub falls offline, devs worldwide declare today a snow day

      Updated Popular and widely used source-code hosting service GitHub is, for the moment, no longer a widely used source-code hosting service. It has fallen offline.

      Since 1632 PT (0032 UTC, 1132 AEDT), the website has been down. Right now, the San Francisco-headquartered upstart reports: “We’re investigating a significant network disruption affecting all github.com services.”

    • First Release Candidate Arrives For Go 1.6
  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Are teenagers addicted to screens because their whole social life is online?

    There are some domestic issues on which men and women will never agree: the ideal ambient temperature of the sitting room, why it’s more important to remember the date of your wedding anniversary than the Battle of Agincourt, the pressing need for your daughter to have her phone in her bedroom after 9pm.

    In a week when parents have been told in no certain terms that “night texting” is not only A Thing, but a thing that is damaging our children’s exam performance, school grades and life chances, I must hold up my hands and admit I am drowning, not waving, or even signalling to the invigilator that I need more paper. I wish.

  • Science

    • New Drone Racing League Wants to Be the Next Nascar

      That’s the bet Nick Horbaczewski is making by starting the Drone Racing League, with the backing of investors who include Stephen Ross, owner of the National Football League team Miami Dolphins, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures, a New York venture capital firm. Horbaczewski expects most fans to watch races online, much as they do competitive gaming in the U.S., using their phones, computers—eventually even virtual-reality headsets. Ultimately, he has ambitions of becoming a digital Nascar for drones.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Berkeley’s cell phone radiation warning law can go into effect, judge rules

      After complying with a federal judge’s order on Wednesday, the city of Berkeley, California, will now be allowed to go forward with its cell phone radiation warning law, as it has cut out one controversial line. It is not clear when the new notice will go into effect.

    • I Farm Crickets, The Future Of Human Food: 7 Insane Truths

      If you’re reading this from the civilized world, most of your insect encounters boil down to emotionally scarring spider cameos and annoying flies. But in roughly 80 percent of the countries on Earth, people eat insects. Cracked sat down with one man who has made it his life’s work to get Americans to eat more bugs; Kevin Bachhuber, cricket farmer, told us …

    • Flint All Over Again? Lead Poisoning Scandal Strikes Ohio Town

      Schools in Sebring, Ohio were closed for a third day on Tuesday and pregnant women and children have been advised not to drink the water, after tests showed elevated levels of lead in the local water supply.

      Though the village of about 4,300 in northeastern Ohio is much smaller than Flint, Michigan, the drinking water crises in the neighboring states share troubling aspects.

      According to local news station WKBN: “Correspondence from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Village of Sebring show concerns with water testing, beginning in late September. Elevated lead levels were noted by the EPA in November, but customers didn’t learn of the issues until Thursday, meaning that some people could have been drinking water containing lead for months.” WKBN has a full timeline of events here.

    • VIDEO: ‘Days of Revolt’: Chris Hedges, Detroit Activists Describe the Death of the American City

      In this week’s episode of teleSUR’s “Days of Revolt,” Chris Hedges and two Detroit activists, Darryl “Waistline” Mitchell and Roshaun Harris, trace Detroit’s socio-economic apocalypse, which has taken forms specific to that city but also mirrors other communities around the country.

      In his opening comments, Hedges refers to “the sacrifice zone that Detroit has become” and calls the catastrophic changes there “a consequence of unfettered, unregulated capitalism.”

      Mitchell traces the arc of Detroit’s fate along his own life line, remembering when it was possible to make a living wage in the auto industry there. He also points to the many ways in which the systemic racism corroding the city is connected to America’s economic history.

    • Activists File Suit Asking For Lead Free Pipes As Polluted Water Corrodes The System

      Melissa Mays realized Flint’s water was toxic long before Michigan declared a state of emergency earlier this month.

      “After the water switch, I ran the kitchen tap and it came out just yellow, just disgusting yellow,” said Mays, a mother of three who is now becoming an activist and a plaintiff in lawsuits against the state.

      Her first sight of foul water happened in the summer of 2014 — some two months after the economically challenged city switched its water supply as a cost saving measure. Months of calls and inquires followed. All the while, city officials told residents like Mays that their water was safe.

    • The Flint Water Disaster: a Perfect Storm of Downplaying, Denial and Deceit

      Flint, Michigan, the city portrayed as the embodiment of a rust belt city abandoned by deindustrialization in Michael Moore’s allegorical documentary, Roger & Me, has recently become a morality play of a different sort as it captures national headlines highlighting a controversial series of decisions creating a major public health crisis that threatens the health of Flint’s children.

    • I Grew Up in Flint. Here’s Why Governor Snyder Must Resign.

      But now, if you’re a poor kid growing up in Flint today, forget economic mobility—you don’t even deserve clean water.

    • NHS campaigners say ‘No’ to NHS Commission

      Why MPs must oppose the NHS and Social Care Commission Bill.

      As grassroots campaigners, we care about the NHS and we know that our friends, families and the general public are fast becoming aware of the profit-seeking private companies operating behind the blue logo that we all trust as a standard of excellence, equality and world class care.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • A Single Comma Is All That Stands Between The Public And FOIA’ed Law Enforcement Documents

      The terrible tale of the missing comma and the damage done may soon come to an end. The EFF is calling on Congress to legislate this apparently missing punctuation back into its list of FOIA exemptions.

    • UK government retreats on plans to water down the Freedom of Information Act

      The UK government is backing away from its original plans to weaken the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Financial Times reports. Last year, the government set up a commission to review the law, composed mostly of people who had expressed scepticism or concern about the scope of the FOIA, and with a clear brief to add restrictions to its workings. It was widely expected that their report would recommend weakening the UK public’s right to access government information by imposing charges for requests, and making it easier for them to be refused.

      But according to an article in the Financial Times, strong media and political opposition has led to the changes being dropped or postponed: “Mr Cameron is likely to back off from making substantial changes to the FOI Act, settling instead for some minor technical amendments to protect government advisers, two ministers have told the Financial Times.”

    • REPORT AND ANALYSIS OF RECENT AMENDMENTS TO S. 1890 (The Defend Trade Secrets Act 2016)

      The Defend Trade Secrets Act (S. 1890) passed out of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary today, but not before it was amended to address a number of concerns that were voiced by opponents over the past two years.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Noam Chomsky Says GOP Is ‘Literally A Serious Danger To Human Survival’

      Noam Chomsky, the noted radical and MIT professor emeritus, said the Republican Party has become so extreme in its rhetoric and policies that it poses a “serious danger to human survival.”

      “Today, the Republican Party has drifted off the rails,” Chomsky, a frequent critic of both parties, said in an interview Monday with The Huffington Post. “It’s become what the respected conservative political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein call ‘a radical insurgency’ that has pretty much abandoned parliamentary politics.”

    • Do palm oil financiers care about sustainability?

      Within the sustainability sector, finance is increasingly being seen as a powerful lever to help companies “green” their operations. In response to NGO and consumer pressure, a growing number of corporate banks and investors over the past few years have begun using both positive and negative screening methods to improve the sustainability of their portfolios and client companies. Positive screening methods preferentially provide capital to sustainably-run companies, and include socially responsible investment (SRI) funds and green bonds that are dedicated to responsible companies. On the other hand, negative screening methods focus on weeding out unsustainable companies, generally by using environmental, social and governance (ESG) screens that grade companies on a number of metrics, such as carbon footprint and fair labor policy.

      Sustainable finance is still regarded as a niche market, but its share of the financial industry continues to grow. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, from 2012 to 2014, the global sustainable investment market expanded from $13.3 trillion to $21.4 trillion.[1] Reflecting this trend, consortiums such as the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are attracting an increasing number of signatories.[2] Much of this demand for sustainable investment is being driven by millennials[3] and institutional clients.[4] Some of these institutional clients, such as the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), may be ethically or religiously obligated to pay attention to such concerns when making investing decisions.[5]

    • What Happened to Jane Mayer When She Wrote About the Koch Brothers

      Out of the blue in the fall of 2010, a blogger asked Jane Mayer, a writer with The New Yorker, how she felt about the private investigator who was digging into her background. Ms. Mayer thought the idea was a joke, she said this week. At a Christmas party a few months later, she ran into a former reporter who had been asked about helping with an investigation into another reporter on behalf of two conservative billionaires.

      “The reporter had written a story they disliked,” Ms. Mayer recounts in “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right,” out this month from Doubleday. Her acquaintance told her, “‘It occurred to me afterward that the reporter they wanted to investigate might be you.’”

  • Finance

    • The Populist Revolution: Bernie and Beyond

      Today’s populist revolt mimics an earlier one that reached its peak in the US in the 1890s. Then it was all about challenging Wall Street, reclaiming the government’s power to create money, curing rampant deflation with US Notes (Greenbacks) or silver coins (then considered the money of the people), nationalizing the banks, and establishing a central bank that actually responded to the will of the people.

    • The Facebook founder’s “philanthropy” lets him stash his billions without paying taxes.

      Let us now praise “Lord Zuckerberg, The Magnificent!”

      Mark Zuckerberg, the wunderkind of Silicon Valley who co-founded Facebook and amassed roughly a gabillion dollars in personal wealth, is now being hailed as a new giant of American altruism.

      This started after the tech titan and his wife Priscilla Chan announced the birth of their first child. While delivering what could have been routine news, they announced that in honor of baby Maxima’s birth, they intend to donate $45 billion — 99 percent of their Facebook wealth — to charity.

      The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other media outlets swooned at Zuckerberg’s selfless act: “Philanthropy Pledge Sets New Giving Standard,” gushed Bloomberg. Lost in the fog of media adulation are two important facts: (1) the $45 billion didn’t actually go to charity, and (2) it wasn’t really a donation.

    • Yet More TPP Studies Predict Slim Economic Gains, Highlight Dubious Underlying Assumptions

      It’s striking that from a situation where there were very few studies of the likely effects of the TPP agreement, we’ve moved to one where they are appearing almost every week. Recently Techdirt wrote about a World Bank study, and one from Tufts University; now we have one from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which calls itself “a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution devoted to the study of international economic policy.”

    • Deadly crash kills five in Kampong Speu

      Five female garment workers, one of them pregnant, were killed and 68 others injured yesterday morning after a truck overloaded with garment workers plunged into a ditch. The accident raises questions yet again about the perilous state of the Kingdom’s transportation system for more than 700,000 labourers in its clothing industry.

      The accident happened at 6:45am on the border of the Kong Pisei and Samrong Tong districts in Kampong Speu province, according to Touch Phearith, Kong Pisei district police chief in charge of traffic.

    • Microsoft Continues to Obscure Its Real Cloud Revenue [Ed: creative accounting to hide a crisis]

      At first glance, it appears that Microsoft is making far more on its cloud services than Amazon, which made $2.41 billion last quarter from its Amazon Web Services division. The problem is that, in reporting its results, Microsoft bundles its Azure line of cloud services with Windows Server and other traditional enterprise software sales together under the label “Intelligent Cloud” without revealing what percentage of that total actually comes from Azure. That makes an apples to apples comparison with Amazon Web Services impossible.

    • Silicon Valley’s poorest workers tell government ‘we can’t live like this’

      At Intel’s corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, California, the highly paid engineers and developers directly employed by the computer chip company wear blue identification badges.

      Janitors, electricians, gardeners, security guards and cafeteria workers employed by various subcontractors wear green badges.

      It’s an important distinction for Nahima Aguiniga, 34, who works as a cashier and dishwasher at a cafe on the Intel campus. Blue badges get free coffee, soda and fruit; green badges have to pay.

      Free food is just one of the perks Intel’s blue badge employees enjoy. Like other Silicon Valley tech firms, the company competes for employees with perks like ping-pong tables, on-site spa services, dry cleaning and gyms with personal trainers.

      “The way they treat green badges, it’s like we’re second-class citizens,” said Aguiniga. A single mother of two, Aguiniga earns just $13.50 per hour. She can’t afford her own apartment in an area that has such a high cost of living that even highly paid tech employees and venture capitalists are balking. For the past 10 weeks, she and her children have been sharing a single room in her ex-mother-in-law’s house.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Dumb and Dumber: Trump, Palin and the Celebration of Stupidity in U.S. Politics

      This last election cycle has revealed an increasing divide over how segments of the population understand political issues. According to Pew, “Partisan polarization — the vast and growing gap between Republicans and Democrats — is a defining feature of politics today.” The problem is not simply connected to opposing ideologies, though. Today polarization is the defining feature of Tea Party politics. From the Bundy gang to Donald Trump’s rallies, we are witnessing a rise in aggressive and divisive politics.

    • Ha Ha: Hillary Clinton’s Top Financial Supporter Now Controls “The Onion”

      Onion staffers may think twice before they produce more stories like Hillary Clinton Tries To Woo Voters By Rescinding Candidacy, Hillary Clinton To Nation: ‘Do Not Fuck This Up For Me’, Hillary Clinton: The Merciless, Unrelenting March To The Presidency, or the signed Hillary Clinton editorial titled I’m Weighing Whether Or Not I Want To Go Through The Hell Of Appealing To You Idiotic, Uninformed Oafs.

      Many news outlets covered Univision Communications’ purchase last week of a stake in The Onion, the world’s leading news publication. According to NPR, Univision bought a 40 percent controlling interest in the company, and also acquired the option to buy the remainder of The Onion in the future.

    • WaPo’s Wemple Explains How The “Great Conservative Tradition” Of Bemoaning Media Bias Has Now Backfired On Fox

      During a January 26 press conference GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump announced that he will not participate in Thursday night’s Fox News-hosted GOP presidential primary debate, because of alleged bias against him by Fox News host and debate moderator, Megyn Kelly.

      Fox has given Trump over 24 hours of free airtime since May, significantly more than his fellow GOP candidates and has furnished several of the talking points Trump uses on the campaign trail. However, the network has stood by Kelly and several Fox News figures have attacked Trump over his decision to pull out of the debate.

    • Megyn Kelly throws love fest for Michael Moore on Fox News

      On “The Kelly File” Tuesday, host Megyn Kelly welcomed in liberal documentarian Michael Moore for what turned out to be a surprisingly cordial chat about President Barack Obama’s legacy, as well as her ongoing feud with Donald Trump — which resulted yesterday in the GOP front-runner pulling out of the Fox News/Google debate, which she will be moderating.

      Moore began by offering genuine praise for the Fox News host, asking her “What does this [Trump fiasco] feel like to you? Because you don’t want to be the story — you’re a journalist.”

    • Clinton’s New Pitch to Iowa Voters: Republicans Want Sanders to Win

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign has recently turned to a new tactic to convince Iowa Democrats that they should caucus for her over Sen. Bernie Sanders: Republicans, the campaign says, want Sanders to win.

      Clinton and her surrogates have taken to pointing out that Republican super-PACs and donors have started to air ads that appear intended to boost Sanders’ campaign. “The best evidence that I have the best plan is that the Republicans and their billionaire allies are running ads against me,” Clinton told a crowd at a middle school in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Tuesday night. Clinton was referring to the news that Joe Ricketts, a major Republican donor, is funding a super-PAC to air ads in Iowa that could serve to bolster Sanders’ caucus bid by describing him as “too liberal.”

    • Hillary Clinton Doing Back-to-Back Finance Industry Fundraisers Just Before Iowa

      Despite being dogged with questions about her ties to Wall Street, Hillary Clinton will take a detour from the campaign trail in Iowa to do back-to-back finance industry fundraisers in other states later this week.

      Clinton will appear in Philadelphia at a “gala” fund-raiser hosted by executives at Franklin Square Capital Partners, a $17 billion investment fund. Rocker Bon Jovi will reportedly play an acoustic set for “friends” who pledge $1,000 and hosts who bundle up to $27,000.

      The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that “Franklin Square employs Ivy League-educated money managers and salespeople with experience at big Wall Street firms – plus four personal trainers and a dietitian to keep staff happy and productive amid the gym, yoga and nap rooms, Sol LeWitt art installations, and fancy cafeteria.”

    • Donald Trump in 2000: “I Support the Ban on Assault Weapons”

      Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has campaigned as an ardent advocate of expanding gun rights, but in the past he called for banning assault weapons and a longer waiting period for gun purchases.

      Trump’s new gun plan calls for a national right to concealed carry and criticizes “opponents of gun rights” for coming “up with scary sounding phrases like ‘assault weapons,’ ‘military-style weapons,’ and ‘high capacity magazines’ to confuse people.” He has vowed to undo President Obama’s modest gun executive orders and even called for the elimination of all “gun-free zones” at schools.

  • Censorship

    • Singapore: Bloggers, Internet Users Increasingly Targeted

      In the 659-page World Report 2016, its 26th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that the spread of terrorist attacks beyond the Middle East and the huge flows of refugees spawned by repression and conflict led many governments to curtail rights in misguided efforts to protect their security. At the same time, authoritarian governments throughout the world, fearful of peaceful dissent that is often magnified by social media, embarked on the most intense crackdown on independent groups in recent times.

      The People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled Singapore since 1959, won 83 out of 89 parliamentary seats in the September general elections. The PAP government uses vague and overly broad legal provisions on public order, morality, security, and racial and religious harmony to sharply limit what its citizens can express and to prosecute those who earn the government’s displeasure.

    • Notable & Quotable: Campus Censorship

      ‘Yes, we should mock these little tyrants who fantasize that their feelings should trump other people’s freedom. But we must go further.’

    • ‘Green Day’ Rocker Billie Joe Armstrong Calls Out School Censorship

      Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong has spoken out about censorship after Enfield High School in Connecticut said it will no longer put on an adaptation of the Broadway hit “American Idiot.”

      Based on the band’s 2004 album, the musical apparently contains more profanity, sex and drug use than the school’s staff (and certain parents) could stomach.

    • Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong Warns of Censorship After School Drops ‘American Idiot’

      A decision by officials at a Connecticut high school to drop a student production of the Green Day rock opera American Idiot drew an online rebuke from the band’s frontman.

      Enfield High School’s drama club posted fliers at the school announcing auditions.

    • Censorship and Sensibility

      Idaho must answer for its speech-chilling statute

    • ‘Easily offended students reported me to the police’

      Last year, Oxford student Jacob Williams decided he had had enough of debate-dodging campus politicos. He founded No Offence, a student mag which would air the views that students are no longer allowed to. The campus authorities weren’t happy. Watch Jacob discuss the rise of illiberal liberals and the importance of questioning your assumptions.

    • Meet the students fighting campus censorship

      If there’s one thing that really gets on my nerves, it’s the idea that students today are uniquely intolerant. The explosion of campus censorship in recent years has made bashing campus politicos a kind of commentariat pastime, with fortysomething columnists wheeling the little blue-haired pillocks out each week to give them a good kicking. But while the students’ union censors deserve everything they get, all too often campus censorship has been painted as a generational phenomena – as if undergraduates appeared from the womb with a Safe Space policy in hand.

    • ‘Students don’t need to be taught about consent’

      Warwick student George Lawlor made international headlines when he spoke out against compulsory consent classes.

    • Watching paint dry: how artists have challenged censorship

      A team of unfortunate BBFC censors was recently forced watch paint dry for ten hours. The unusual movie, crowdfunded by filmmaker Charlie Lyne, was a protest against alleged censorship by the classification board.

    • Medium Stands Up To Malaysia’s Attempt To Take Down Investigative Reporting; Gets Entire Site Blocked In Malaysia

      We’ve seen an increasing effort by governments around the globe to censor content they don’t like. This takes many different forms, but one fairly typical one is for governments to send official looking documents to websites and webhosts demanding that certain content be taken down. Many smaller companies, often with no official policy in place on how to handle such requests, will cave and just take the content down to avoid the hassle. However, recently we’ve seen a growing number of sites reject such requests, unless they’re accompanied by a valid court order. The latest is Medium, the increasingly popular content publishing platform.

      In this case, the issue involves the government of Malaysia and the investigative journalism site Sarawak Report, which has been writing a bunch of stories, many based on apparently leaked documents, exposing corruption in Malaysia. Last summer, the website was blocked in Malaysia after a series of reports related to claims of $700 million magically appearing in the Malaysian Prime Minister’s personal bank account. After having its own website blocked, Sarawak also started republishing all its articles on Medium.

    • Medium’s Sitewide Encryption Confronts Censorship in Malaysia

      Blogging platform Medium is now blocked in Malaysia, apparently in an effort to censor an investigative news outlet critical of the government. The Sarawak Report has mirrored its articles on Medium at least since its own site was blocked in mid-2015, when it published allegations of corruption.

      Medium’s legal team has done an admirable job keeping the relevant post online in the face of government demands. It’s published an account saying the company “stand[s] by investigative journalists” and that the post will stay up until it “receive[s] an order from a court of competent jurisdiction.” But this story also demonstrates the censorship-resistant properties of online encryption like HTTPS, which Medium has enabled across its entire site.

    • Ecuador Continues To Use US Copyright Law To Censor Critics

      A few years ago, we highlighted an absolutely ridiculous claim by a pro-copyright expansion think tank, arguing that it was a myth that copyright could ever be used for censorship. In that article, we listed out a number of examples of copyright being used absolutely for reasons of censorship, including a few by government actors. But, by far, one of the worst abusers of copyright law (and US copyright law specifically) to censor critical speech is the government of Ecuador. We’ve written a few times about Ares Rights, a Spanish company that was regularly sending DMCA notices in the US to try to suppress any kind of criticism of Ecuador’s government (and also on criticism of Ares Rights).

    • Indonesian telecom provider blocks access to Netflix
    • Netflix blocked by Indonesia in censorship row
    • Indonesia Telecoms Firm Blocks Netflix Over Local Laws, Censorship
    • Indonesia’s biggest telecom operator blocks Netflix
    • Free Speech Row As Radical Islam Documentary Given ’18 And Over’ Rating
    • Documentary on radical Islam raises hackles in France
    • Jihadi film that sparked censorship row in France released with 18 certificate
    • France Restricts ‘Salafistes,’ Film on Islamic Radicals
    • France bars minors from seeing controversial documentary
    • French documentary on Salafists gets rare ’18 and over’ rating
    • France bars teens from seeing documentary on radical islam
    • “Salafists” a shocking French documentary risking censorship
    • Cartoonists are mocking Italy’s censorship of nude statues for Rouhani
    • Italian Government Censors Nude Statues in Rome for Iranian President’s Visit
    • Italians Protect Iranian President’s Virgin Eyes from Nude Art During Museum Visit
    • Pakistan Orders ISPs To Block 429,343 Websites Completely, Because There’s Porn On The Internet
    • Porn sites targeted in major crackdown by Pakistan authorities

      Pakistan is reportedly preparing to launch a major crackdown on internet pornography and the country’s telecoms regulator has ordered internet providers to block 400,000 adult websites.

      The action follows a recent order passed down by the Supreme Court in Pakistan requiring the telecom sector to “take remedial steps to quantify the nefarious phenomenon of obscenity and pornography that has an imminent role to corrupt and vitiate the youth of Pakistan”.

    • Thailand asked Google to make censorship easier – leaked document

      AS online censorship concerns mount in Thailand, activists in the country released a document Wednesday that purportedly details a meeting in which government officials urged Google staff to comply with content removal requests without waiting for court orders.

    • Thailand Asks Google to Bend Censorship Rules

      Thai officials asked Google to make an exception and remove content without a court order, according to leaked details of a meeting this past Friday with top executives from the U.S.-based search giant.

      The second meeting between Google legal reps and a junta censorship committee was detailed in a document leaked by Thai net freedom advocates hours before Anonymous-aligned hacktivists shut down 20 Department of Corrections websites Thursday morning.

    • Cecil Rhodes statue to be kept by Oxford University college

      A college at Oxford University says it has decided not to remove a statue of the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

      Campaigners want the statue torn down, arguing that Rhodes, a 19th Century businessman and politician in southern Africa, represented white supremacy.

      Oriel College began a consultation last month and said the “overwhelming” response was that Rhodes should stay.

      It said the statue was a reminder of the complexity of history and of the legacies of colonialism.

    • Supinya slams ‘self-censorship’

      Journalists must refrain from self-censorship, despite the restrictions on media freedom imposed by the ruling junta, an activist-turned-media regulator said Thursday.

      Supinya Klangnarong, a member of the state-run National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said the media was obliged to “dare to cross the line” on public interest issues, especially in a society with limited freedom of expression.

    • After Sculpture Censorship Fiasco, Italian Officials Fail to Uncover the Naked Truth

      Earlier this week, the Musei Capitolini in Rome found itself at the center of a controversy as news spread worldwide of the censorship of some of its famous nude statues in anticipation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the institution. While widely reported as a means to avoid offending the dignitary, the measure has stirred trouble of another kind in the Italian capital, with — unsurprisingly — all parties denying responsibility for it and an internal investigation now underway.

      According to The Local, both Rouhani and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi denied knowing about the seemingly Minimalism-inspired transformation, in which someone ordered that the marble sculptures be hidden beneath white boxes during Rouhani’s tour. Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini labelled the deed “incomprehensible,” and attempted to distance Renzi’s office from the matter.

  • Privacy

    • Data Privacy Day: Take Charge of Your Family’s Privacy

      Thursday, January 28, is Data Privacy Day—a day dedicated to promoting and raising awareness of privacy and data protection around the globe. It commemorates the January 28, 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. And it’s a great day to take charge of not only your own privacy, but also the privacy of any school children in your life.

      We recently launched Spying on Students—an online resource dedicated to helping students, parents, teachers, and school administrators learn more about the privacy issues surrounding school-issued devices and cloud services. The website—part of our new campaign to promote student privacy—provides useful guides for adjusting privacy settings on mobile devices. It also answers common questions about the legal and technological landscape regarding student privacy and offers suggestions on how you can connect with other concerned parents.

    • 25 Civil Liberties Organizations Call for Open Hearings on Section 702 Surveillance

      The House Judiciary Committee has plans for a “members only” meeting next week to discuss Section 702 of the FISA Amendment Acts, the law the NSA relies on to operate its notorious PRISM surveillance program and to tap into the backbone of the Internet, also known as “upstream” collection.

      While we wish that “members only” meant that Congressional watchdogs would all don vintage jackets from the 1980s while reining in the NSA, the sad truth is that our elected representatives are once again cutting out the public from an important debate over mass surveillance.

    • New Evidence of Racial Profiling on Florida Roadways

      Black motorists in Florida almost two times more likely to be ticketed for seat belt violations than white motorists.

      Sam Dubose. Walter Scott. Sandra Bland. 2015 showed in terrible and vivid detail how even routine police traffic stops carry the risk of escalating to arrest or the use of force — even lethal force. Traffic stops are not simply innocuous encounters. They can be deadly, particularly for Black people.

      When evidence suggests that certain communities are targeted for traffic stops because of their race or ethnicity, we need to take heed. Today the ACLU is releasing a report providing just that. “Racial Disparities in Florida Safety Belt Law Enforcement” is the first report to analyze publicly available seat belt citation data reported by law enforcement agencies across the state to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in 2014 and 2011.

    • Congressional Hearings on Surveillance Programs to Kick Off — in Secret

      The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing next week on two of the NSA spying programs revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden that vacuum up domestic content despite being ostensibly targeted at foreigners: PRISM and Upstream.

      But, to the great consternation of 26 government accountability groups who wrote an angry letter to committee leaders on Wednesday, the public is not invited. The entire hearing is classified, and closed.

      Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008, which has been cited as the legal authority for those two programs, lapses next year.

    • Canadian Spies Get Spanked Again For Sharing Citizens’ Data With the NSA

      They won’t tell us what it means, but the Canadian government has confirmed that its spy agencies have a real problem with mass-collecting its citizens’ metadata.

      They won’t say how many Canadians were affected, what processes led to the mass-spying, how many information was shared with international intelligence agencies like the NSA, or even how they define “metadata.” But they’re confident everything will be okay.

      After news broke that untold number of Canadians had their private information collected by a top-secret intelligence agency, Minister of National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan told reporters even he didn’t know how far it went.

    • Canada Temporarily Drops Out Of Five Eyes Spying Coalition, After Realizing It Wasn’t Properly Protecting Information

      Of course, by now you know about the “Five Eyes” coalition of the signals intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all sharing certain intelligence information between them. Some of the Snowden docs have made clear that this collaboration helps the various countries get around restrictions on “domestic” surveillance by effectively offshoring it to other “friendly” electronic spy agencies. Well, at least for now, it appears that that the Five Eyes effort has lost an Eye.

      Canada’s signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), has stopped sharing data with the other Four Eyes after realizing that it hadn’t done a particularly good job of protecting the metadata it collected on Canadians.

    • Meet the private companies that sell spy tech to the NSA and Sudan

      The multi-billion dollar private surveillance industry does some of the U.S. government’s most critical electronic snooping. From “deep packet inspection” — that includes tracking and filtering emails — to phone taps, private contractors play a key role for law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

    • Pssst, Your PGP Is Leaking

      Ever since the Snowden revelations, more and more people have been educating themselves on how to use encryption. One of the first programs people might turn to is Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP, a version of which was thrust further into the public consciousness when it was explicitly credited in Citizen Four, Laura Poitras’ documentary on the National Security Agency and her meeting with Snowden.

    • Cops Getting Free License Plate Readers In Exchange For 25% Of The ‘Take’ And All The Driver Data Vigilant Can Slurp

      As has been discussed here before, turning law enforcement agencies into revenue-focused entities is a bad idea. Case in point: asset forfeiture. Further case in point: speed trap towns. Improper incentives lead to improper behavior. Agencies may like the idea of a “free” license plate reader, but the price still has to be paid by someone — and that “someone” is going to be the general public.

      As priorities shift towards ensuring ongoing use of the “free” ALPRs, other criminal activity is likely to receive less law enforcement attention. Unpaid fines and fees are in law enforcement’s wheelhouse, but should never become its raison d’etre. Once it does, the whole community suffers. Anything that could be implemented to lower crime rates would also serve to lower revenue, making it far less likely to be implemented. Fewer infractions mean fewer opportunities to collect court fees. And while the legislators pushing the new law Vigilant is leveraging talked a good game about sending fewer people to overcrowded jails, the governments overseeing these agencies still have budgets to meet and law enforcement to lean on to ensure this happens. Actually achieving the bill’s stated aims would mean a steady reduction in court fees, which would lead to the loss of “free” plate readers. And no one wants that, at least not on the government side of things.

    • GCHQ certified course to improve cyber-attack response and recovery [Ed: Danielle Correa, “Production Editor”, is just a ghostwriter/parrot]
    • Near Inevitability of Cyber Breaches Calls for Greater Focus on Response and Recovery Through Security Training
    • This is the kind of brain we look for at GCHQ [Ed: the spies took over British media again]
    • Thousands puzzle over GCHQ’s festive test
    • No one has cracked GCHQ’s Christmas card and there are only 2 days left
    • Nobody has cracked GCHQ’s crypto Christmas Puzzle
    • With just three days left to crack GCHQ’s ‘impossible’ puzzle, will you be the first person to solve the code?
    • GCHQ’s Christmas card puzzle ‘not yet solved’
    • Nobody has managed to solve GCHQ’s cryptographic Christmas puzzle yet
    • No one has cracked GCHQ’s Christmas card and there are only 2 days left
    • Spy agency’s ‘fun’ quiz still not cracked
    • Three Days Left To Solve GCHQ Xmas Puzzle
    • GCHQ’s Christmas puzzle continues to baffle as deadline looms
    • Can you solve the world’s hardest puzzle?
    • Thousands baffled as GCHQ’s Christmas puzzle deadline looms
    • USENIX Enigma 2016 – NSA TAO Chief on Disrupting Nation State Hackers
    • NSA Hacker Chief Explains How to Keep Him Out of Your System
    • Pompeo wants to give NSA authority to collect mass info.
    • NSA’s top hacking boss explains how to protect your network from his attack squads

      The United States National Security Agency (NSA) is a notoriously secretive organization, but the head of its elite Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacking team has appeared at Usenix’s Enigma conference to tell the assembled security experts how to make his life difficult.

      Rob Joyce has spent over a quarter of a century at No Such Agency and in 2013 he became head of TAO, with responsibility for breaking into non-US computer networks run by overseas companies and governments. Joyce’s presentation on network security at the event boiled down to one piece of advice.

      “If you really want to protect your network you have to know your network, including all the devices and technology in it,” he said. “In many cases we know networks better than the people who designed and run them.”

    • NSA Hacking Chief: Internet of Things Security Keeps Me Up at Night

      The leader of the National Security Agency’s hackers says that putting industrial control systems online has made America less secure.

    • USENIX Enigma 2016 – The Golden Age of Bulk Surveillance
    • An Unprecedented Threat to Privacy

      A private company has captured 2.2 billion photos of license plates in cities throughout America. It stores them in a database, tagged with the location where they were taken. And it is selling that data.

    • Your social data is doomed, and don’t count on Facebook to save you

      Your status updates, your uploaded photos, your videos, all of it is going to be inaccessible sometime in the future. Not just by you, but by your descendants as well.

    • Facebook’s quarterly earnings surpass $5bn for first time thanks to ad sales

      Facebook signalled its increasing power and influence with an emphatic set of financial results that showed quarterly revenue passing $5bn for the first time, and putting it in a position to challenge Google’s dominance of Silicon Valley.

    • Facebook denies Belgian court privacy ruling because it used word ‘cookie’
    • Facebook appeals Belgian cookie rule because it says ‘cookie’

      The court’s ruling contained some English words — like cookie, homepage and browser — which could violate a Belgian law that says all rulings must be in the official languages of the country: French, Dutch and German. Facebook has said this means the whole ruling must be annulled.

      Privacy lawyers not associated with the case told POLITICO this is a “desperate, petty and last-ditch” attempt to avoid Belgian justice. Previously, Facebook tried to fight the verdict by claiming the Belgian data protection authority did not have jurisdiction because the company’s European headquarters is in Ireland.

    • The myth of the ISIS encrypted messaging app

      Despite widespread media reports to the contrary, an app created for Islamic State militants to send private encrypted messages does not exist, a Daily Dot investigation found.

      On Jan. 12, Defense One reported that the Islamic State allegedly built a new Android app called Alrawi for exchanging encrypted messages, based on claims from self-proclaimed online counter-terrorism outfit Ghost Security Group (GSG). The claim was quickly reprinted by Newsweek, Fortune, TechCrunch, and the Times of India—the largest English-language newspaper in the world—among many others.

      However, it seems as though hype and fear, rather than concrete evidence of a genuine tool for orchestrating terrorists attacks, played the primary role in propagating word of its existence.

    • How to Make Your Own NSA Bulk Surveillance System

      Of all the NSA surveillance documents Edward Snowden leaked, some of the most important exposed the spy agency’s so-called XKEYSCORE program, a massive system for vacuuming up and sifting through emails, chats, images, online search activity, usernames and passwords, and other private digital data from core fiber optics cables around the world.

      XKEYSCORE, which the NSA calls its “widest reaching” surveillance program, was established around 2008 and consists of more than 700 servers that store data sucked from the internet’s backbone and mine this data for patterns and connections.

      Only a well-resourced party like the NSA could deploy such a grandiose surveillance program. But if your spy needs are more modest, there are a number of existing tools available that offer similar surveillance capabilities, albeit at a smaller scale, says Nicholas Weaver.

    • Daily tests of torbrowser-launcher, and on every git commit too
    • CESG Certified Training rebranded as GCHQ Certified Training
    • GCHQ targets EM vulnerability of military systems

      GCHQ’s information security arm and the UK’s National Technical Authority for Information Assurance has appointed an accredited laboratory in the UK to perform Tempest first-of-type platform testing.

    • TÜV SÜD Product Service Appointed as UK’s Only CESG Tempest First-of-Type Platform Test Facility
    • GCHQ-developed software for secure phone calls open to ‘eavesdropping’

      MIKKEY-SAKKE is currently being promoted by GCHQ for both government and industry as the gold standard.

      In fact, they have said they will only certify encryption products that implement MIKKEY-SAKKE, and are also pushing to implement it on the public’s mobile phones.

    • NSA Chief Warns of More Hacks Like Those That Hit OPM
    • Cops hate encryption but the NSA loves it when you use PGP

      Usenix Enigma Although the cops and Feds wont stop banging on and on about encryption – the spies have a different take on the use of crypto.

      To be brutally blunt, they love it. Why? Because using detectable encryption technology like PGP, Tor, VPNs and so on, lights you up on the intelligence agencies’ dashboards. Agents and analysts don’t even have to see the contents of the communications – the metadata is enough for g-men to start making your life difficult.

    • Why Do We Expose Ourselves?

      Exposed is a welcome addition to the current spate of books about technology and surveillance. While it covers familiar ground — it opens with brief accounts of Facebook’s methods of tracking users, USAID’s establishment of ZunZuneo (a Twitter-like social network) in Cuba, and Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s PRISM program — Harcourt’s contribution is uniquely indebted to critical theory. Riffing on the work of another French philosopher, Gilles Deleuze, and his evocative 1992 fragment “Postscript on the Societies of Control,” Harcourt settles upon the phrase “Expository Society” to describe our current situation, one in which we “have become dulled to the perils of digital transparence” and enamored of exposure. This new form of expository power, Harcourt explains, “embeds punitive transparence into our hedonist indulgences and inserts the power to punish in our daily pleasures.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Obama Puts Solitary Confinement on Notice

      His reforms treat solitary as an inherently dangerous practice that should only be used as a last resort.

      The American people got a wake-up call yesterday from President Barack Obama about solitary confinement, a barbaric practice that’s routine in our country’s prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers. The White House delivered a new report on solitary from the Department of Justice and a simultaneous pledge in an op-ed by the president to sharply reduce federal prisons’ reliance on this inhumane practice.

      For state and local jails and prisons across the country, the Justice Department presents its first-ever guide to cutting back on solitary — principles the president endorsed.

      On any given day, as many as 100,000 people in U.S. prisons are held in solitary, where they are deprived of almost all human interaction, often sustaining permanent psychological damage. Many solitary survivors — like Reginald Dwayne Betts, Anthony Graves, and James Burns — left prison long ago but remain haunted by their days, months, and years in the hole.

    • Corrupt US Government Accuses Putin Of Corruption

      The most corrupt government on earth, a government so utterly corrupt that it allows former executives of a handful of corrupt mega-banks to run the economic policy of the US solely in the interest of their banks, denying tens of millions of American retirees any interest income on their savings for 7 years and denying hard-pressed Social Security recipients any cost-of-living adjustments by falsifying inflation measures, a government so totally corrupt that it has destroyed seven countries and millions of Muslims solely on the basis of lies, this irredeemably corrupt government has accused the most admired political leader on earth of corruption.

    • Guantánamo Parole Board Clears Victim of Mistaken Identity — After 13 Years

      The Guantánamo parole board approved the release of a Yemeni “forever prisoner,” dismissing intelligence that imprisoned the man for 13 years without trial. And if that level of evil and scorn for justice doesn’t radicalize a 100 people to join ISIS, then nothing can.

    • Kuwait Creating Mandatory DNA Database Of All Citizens, Residents — And Visitors

      The DNA will not be used for medical purposes, such as checking for genetic markers of disease, which will avoid issues of whether people should be told about their predisposition to possibly serious illnesses. Nor will the DNA database be used for “lineage or genealogical reasons.” That’s an important point: a complete nation’s DNA would throw up many unexpected paternity and maternity results, which could have massive negative effects on the families concerned. It’s precisely those kinds of practical and ethical issues that advocates of wider DNA sampling and testing need to address, but rarely do.

    • Lawyer: 16-Year-Old Shouldn’t Be Upset By Explicit Photos Cop Sent Her Because She’s Probably Seen Penises On The Internet

      Please note that if a classmate had sent a photo of his penis to this 16-year-old girl, he might be facing child pornography charges and a lifetime on the sex offender registry, rather than “annoying and accosting,” which would net Guzman a maximum $200 fine and 6 months in jail.

    • Courts Pretty Much OK With FBI’s Occasional Stints As Child Porn Distributors

      Law enforcement agencies commit criminal acts while conducting criminal investigations. It happens all the time. With the blessing of their handlers, confidential informants routinely engage in criminal activity. Investigators act as co-conspirators in the planning of terrorist attacks and the robbing of imaginary “stash houses.”

      But many people are taking issue with the FBI’s decision to use seized servers loaded with child pornography as honeypots rather than immediately shut them down. For some, this is the one unforgivable criminal act — the possession and distribution of child porn.

    • The FBI’s Two Weeks of Peddling Kiddie Porn and Section 702

      As you may have heard, from February 20 to March 4, 2015, the FBI was operating the world’s largest kiddie porn site, during which point it hacked the site and thereby IDed the IP address of up to 1,500 users, both in the US and abroad.

    • BPD sergeant may plead guilty, job on the line

      Sgt. Edwin Guzman is accused of sending sexually explicit Facebook messages to a minor.

      Guzman was promoted to sergeant in August 2014, around the same time he allegedly sent the messages to the teenager who says she considered Guzman a family friend and father figure.

      “It started off we regularly chat and it’s mostly about school and how life is,” the teenager who was 16 at the time told 5 Investigates’ Mike Beaudet.

    • Al Jazeera files claim for damages against Egypt

      Network registers complaint at World Bank arbitration court accusing Egypt of targeting its journalists and offices.

    • Ex-Department of Justice Lawyer Faces Penalties in Leak of NSA Program
    • Administration Pursues Charges Against Another Whistleblower

      Another whistleblower is facing charges brought by this administration — one that has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined. Thomas Tamm, a DOJ lawyer during the Bush era, exposed the NSA’s super-secret domestic surveillance program, whose authorization ran directly from the Attorney General to the Chief Judge of the FISA Court.

      His whistleblowing led to a Pulitzer for the New York Times. The information Tamm gave to NYT reporters detailed something referred to only as “the program.” The two-person approval process eliminated much of the paper trail and allowed the NSA to perform warrantless domestic surveillance. Colleagues of Tamm’s at the DOJ’s Office of Intelligence Programs and Review even told Tamm this was “probably illegal.”

    • Pre-Snowden Whistleblower Faces Misconduct Charges, 12 Years Later

      Thomas Tamm exposed the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Fellow Justice Department whistleblower Jesselyn Radack, right, waited a decade for a misconduct complaint against her to be dismissed.

    • NYPD Tells Public Record Requester It Will Cost $36,000 To Process A ‘Sampling’ Of Body Camera Footage

      The NYPD is once again in the middle of a transparency/accountability controversy. The law enforcement agency has achieved the dubious distinction of being more difficult to obtain public records from than federal three-letter agencies like the CIA and NSA. The latest news does nothing to improve its reputation.

      Some of this is due to its in-house classification system, which allows it to arbitrarily declare potentially-responsive documents “secret” — something it does quite often with no apparent oversight. Some of it is due to the department’s general antagonism towards transparency and openness, which keeps documents not marked secret out of the public’s hands just because. Its steadfast belief that the only entity truly entitled to information is the NYPD has seen this attitude carried over to discovery requests in civil lawsuits and criminal cases, much to the general disgruntlement of presiding judges.

    • E-voting won’t solve the problem of voter apathy

      As the old English proverb has it “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Such thoughts spring to mind with the launch of the report Secure Voting by campaigning group WebRoots Democracy. WebRoots are volunteers who ‘campaign for the introduction of online voting in Local and General Elections’. We know where they stand on this issue, but how informed is their argument that online voting can be secure?

    • Asylum seekers made to wear coloured wristbands in Cardiff

      Asylum seekers in Cardiff are being issued with brightly coloured wristbands that they must wear at all times, in a move which echoes the “red door” controversy in Middlesbrough and has resulted in their harassment and abuse by members of the public.

      Newly arrived asylum seekers in the Welsh capital who are housed by Clearsprings Ready Homes, a private firm contracted by the Home Office, are being told that they must wear the wristbands all the time otherwise they will not be fed. The wristbands entitle the asylum seekers, who cannot work and are not given money, to three meals a day.

    • Criminal Defendants Sue State Of Utah For Blowing Off The Sixth Amendment

      So much for those “inalienable rights.” The Sixth Amendment — among other things — guarantees representation for criminal defendants. This guarantee has been declared null and void in two states: Utah and Pennsylvania.

      The problem isn’t that these states aren’t willing to comply with both the Sixth Amendment and the Supreme Court’s Gideon v. Wainwright decision. It’s just that they’re not going to spend any of their money doing it. In these states, funding for indigent defense is left up to local governments, with no additional support coming from the state level.

    • Silencing Whistleblowers, 12 Years Later

      As reported by Zoe Tillman, Thomas Tamm, the first whistleblower to go to Eric Lichtblau with reports of Stellar Wind, is being investigated for ethical violations by the DC Bar. The complaint alleges he failed to report that people within DOJ were violating their legal obligations to superiors, up to and including the Attorney General, and that he took confidences of his client (which the complaint defines as DOJ) to the press.

      The question, of course, is why the Bar is pursuing this now, years after Tamm’s actions became public. Tillman describes the complaint as having had some kind of virgin birth, from Bar members reading the news accounts rather than someone complaining.

    • Lawrence Lessig: Why I Ran For President

      In the spring of 2015, before I decided to run for President, two things were clear to me. First, the need to focus America on the failure of its democracy was as urgent as ever. Second, no plausible candidate for President was going to do that.

    • Why I Dropped Out

      I decided to raise the money contingently. We set a target that we thought would be large enough to make the campaign credible, but not so large as to be impossible to hit in a short period. If we hit the target, I’d run. If we didn’t, we’d return the money we had raised.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • SDN Internet Router – Part 1

      This is the first part of a series of posts about a project we have been working with for a while now that we call SIR (SDN Internet Router). To give some context to this we will first introduce how the Internet route packets, what peering is and how Spotify connects to the rest of the Internet. Feel free to skip this post if you feel you know these topics already.

    • Internet in Cuba

      Unfortunately, I have been connected to the internet only through the the Varadero airport and the WiFi of a “full included” resort near Jibacoa. I have to come to assume that this network is likely to be on a segregated, uncensored internet while the rest of the country suffers the wrath of the Internet censorship in Cuba I have seen documented elsewhere.

      Through my research, I couldn’t find any sort of direct censorship. The Netalyzr tool couldn’t find anything significantly wrong with the connection, other than the obvious performance problems related both to the overloaded uplinks of the Cuban internet. I ran an incomplete OONI probe as well, and it seems there was no obvious censorship detected there as well, at least according to folks in the helpful #ooni IRC channel. Tor also works fine, and could be a great way to avoid the global surveillance system described later in this article.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WHO Board Debates Framework On Engagement With Non-State Actors

      The World Health Organization routinely works with a number of outside actors, such as non-governmental groups, philanthropic organisations, industry and academics. Member states have been trying to establish a framework to regulate such engagement and are still working to produce a consensus document. This week they are trying to extend the mandate of an intergovernmental meeting in the hope that an ultimate meeting in April can solve remaining issues.

    • The Shittiness Of IP Law Has Taught The Public That Everything Is Stealing And Everyone Is Owed Something

      In an article that’s actually a bit (but just a bit) more thoughtful than the headline applied to it (“How Corporations Profit From Black Teens’ Viral Content”), Fader writer Doreen St. Felix tackles the cultural appropriation of creative works. Sort of.

      While the article does quote from a 2008 essay about the historical cultural appropriation of black artists’ works by record labels, etc., the article does not point out any specific appropriation occurring here — at least not in terms of the two creators St. Felix has chosen to write about. And it has nothing to say about how these corporations are “profiting” from this supposed appropriation.

    • WHO Members Commit To SDGs For 2030, Despite Some Differences

      During the Executive Board meeting at the World Health Organization this week, member states agreed on committing to the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. The consensus reached by member states was that direct health development goals such as the continuous effort to rid the world of malaria, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C are at the forefront of pressing issues. But goals for health and those for related issues should be worked on together as they are mutually beneficial, they said.

    • Trademarks

      • Parody bag maker demands $400k legal fees from ‘trademark bully’ Louis Vuitton

        Louis Vuitton is facing a potential $400,000 legal bill after lawyers representing parody bag company My Other Bag filed a motion at a US court asking it to rule that the case is “exceptional”.

        Earlier this month, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected the luxury brand’s complaint that MOB infringed its intellectual property rights.

        California-based MOB sells tote bags that on one side state “My Other Bag …” and on the other have a Louis Vuitton design. The company also sells bags that have other luxury brands’ designs on them.

      • Sad Raiders Fan Tries To Keep Team In Oakland By Squatting On Trademark

        I’m not certain why people think this will work, but there seems to be an idea floating around a few of our fellow citizens that they can simply force their favorite sports teams to do what they want by filing trademarks for things they never intend to use. You may recall the story about a jackass in North Dakota who wanted to prevent the University of North Dakota from changing its name from The Fighting Sioux to, well, anything else that had been suggested by filing for trademarks on all the other things that had been suggested. Such a strategy was doomed to fail from the beginning for any number of reasons, but mostly because you actually have to be using what you’re trying to trademark in commerce in order to get it approved, and trolling isn’t a commercial enterprise as far as I know.

      • Oakland Raiders fan seeks to trademark “San Antonio Raiders”
    • Copyrights

      • “Piracy Harms” Are Now Part of U.S. Education Law

        Last month President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, making $1 billion dollars available for educational technology spending. In addition, the new law ensures that educators are aware of the piracy harms new technologies introduce.

      • Pissed Consumer Gets To Go After Roca Labs For Its Bogus DMCA Takedowns

        Remember Roca Labs? The somewhat shady manufacturer of some goop that the company claimed was an “alternative to gastric bypass surgery.” This was the company that initially sued the site PissedConsumer.com because it was hosting negative reviews of Roca’s product — and Roca claimed that because it pressured buyers into a gag clause saying they wouldn’t say anything bad about the product, that PissedConsumer was engaged in tortious interference. There was a lot more as well, including threatening to sue us at Techdirt (more than once!) for reporting on the case, suing Pissed Consumer’s lawyer Marc Randazza for defamation and a variety of other shenanigans (even including some bizarre side stories on Nevada politics, despite it being a Florida company). Anyway, late last year the FTC smacked down Roca for its misleading marketing and its non-disparagement clauses. Roca is still fighting that fight, but soon after it also lost the case against PissedConsumer.

      • Internet Policy Task Force Seeks Changes To US Copyright Statutory Damages Law

        The United States Copyright Act should be amended in a “very careful” way to change the way statutory damages are awarded to successful copyright owners against infringing individuals and online services, Shira Perlmutter, US Patent and Trademark Office chief policy officer and international affairs director, said today.

      • Cox Should Expose Pirating Subscribers, Court Hears

        After winning a $25 million judgment last month, music publisher BMG has requested a permanent injunction against Cox Communications, requiring the Internet provider to expose the personal details of pirating subscribers. For its part, Cox has asked the court to reconsider the guilty verdict or grant a new trial.

      • Writer Claims Libel, Copyright Infringement When Screencap Of Her Tweet Is Used In An Online Article

        A person can undo the damage of a particularly stupid assertion by acting quickly and contritely. Too bad far too many people opt for making the situation much, much worse.

        David Paxton included a screenshot of Forbes contributor Frances Coppola touting her own personal conspiracy theory about the rash of sexual assaults by immigrants in Cologne, Germany, in his article for Quillette.

        [...]

        There’s nothing “personal” about a Twitter account. Any tweet viewable by the public can be screencapped or quoted without permission of the account owner. If a Twitter account holder doesn’t care to have their tweets quoted or posted elsewhere in any form, they can always lock their account, making it only viewable by their followers. Coppola’s account was public then and — after briefly taking it private — it is public once again.

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