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01.23.13

Links 23/1/2013: Cinnarch 2013.01.23, BackBox 3.01

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux pros saw a giant salary leap in 2012: Dice

    Following up on its January 2012 study that found tech salaries had finally started to climb again, IT careers site Dice today published an annual update showing not just a continuing trend in that respect, but also a huge boost for those in the Linux field.

  • Will 2013 finally be the Year of Linux ?

    There has been some debate and consideration in recent years about when the Linux gaming platform will officially gain ground? Critics and market skeptics have wondered when it will really take off and it will be Linux’s turn to procure large portions of the market share. New games and gaming consoles geared toward this system have left many asserting that 2013 will finally be the “year of Linux.” But why?

  • OpenArtist Is a Linux Distro Prodigy

    Despite its youth, openArtist is the picture of a full-fledged Linux distro with a slew of specialty features for graphics production. Among its strong points is the universal approach it takes toward bundling software. If it’s useful to graphic artists, openArtist makes it accessible. Open source, freeware, public domain, abandonware, commercial, even — gasp — Windows programs are included.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Puts Out Linux 3.4 “LTSI” Kernel

      From the Linux Foundation’s Consumer Electronics Workgroup is a Linux 3.4 kernel that’s part of their Long-Term Support Initiative. The LTSI Linux 3.4 kernel will be maintained for two years while back-porting some of the features of newer Linux kernel releases.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Can Beat NVIDIA With Cairo In Select Cases

        Chris Wilson has shared his testing experience of Cairo with NVIDIA ION hardware on the open-source Nouveau driver and the closed-source NVIDIA blob. In certain situations, the Cairo performance does better with Nouveau than the official NVIDIA Linux driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • The many Profiles of Enlightenment’s E17

      There are many desktop environments in active development, but none is as customizable as the E or Enlightenment Desktop Environment. But of all those desktop environments, its development (or public releases) has been comparatively slow.

      Enlightenment is one of those projects that caught my attention years ago, but which I decided, after playing with it for sometime, that it was not yet ready for prime time. I’ve been quietly tracking its development since.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • NetworkManager in GNOME beta supports AP operation

        In the latest GNOME 3.8 beta, NetworkManager makes the transition from version 0.9.6.4 to a pre-release version of NetworkManager 0.9.8. In addition to setting up an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network, where the Wi-Fi hardware and drivers support it, it is now able to set up an access point. The next major release of the network configuration program, which is used in many other desktop environments, also supports 4G LTE network modes, bridge master devices and bridge ports. It is also able to automatically activate a VPN for certain network connections. The recently released Fedora 18 already uses a pre-release version of NetworkManager 0.9.8 which includes these features.

  • Distributions

    • Kali Linux – A Teaser into the Future.

      Originally, BackTrack Linux was developed for our personal use but over the past several years, it has grown in popularity far greater than we ever imagined. We still develop BackTrack for ourselves because we use it every day. However, with growth and a huge user base, we have an obligation to ourselves, our users, and the open source community to create the best distribution we possibly can.

      With this in mind, about a year ago a bunch of us at Offensive Security started thinking about the future of BackTrack and brainstormed about the features and functionality we’d like to see in the next and future revisions. One of our main topics of conversation was the option of swapping out our custom development environment for a fully fledged Debian-compliant packaging and repository system.

    • BackTrack rebuilt as Kali Linux

      Penetration testing platform BackTrack has been relaunched as Kali Linux after a major restructure.

      The creators of Backtrack told SC details of the new Debian platform are being kept under wraps, adding the system is a “fully fledged Debian-compliant packaging and repository system”.

    • Exe GNU/Linux, New Distro with Trinity

      No three letters look any more strange to Linux users than exe, which is why a new distro named Exe GNU/Linux caught me by surprise in today’s Distrowatch Weekly. Ladislav Bodnar, our exalted Keeper of the Record, recently added Exe to the Distrowatch.com database and that was my cue to boot it up.

    • SolusOS Shows off GNOME Fork in New Alpha

      It’s hardly been a week since the developers at SolusOS announced their fork of GNOME Classic. Dubbed Consort, it set the Linux world abuzz last week. Today the team announced the first release with that new desktop: SolusOS 2 Alpha 7.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat expands cloud management services

        Today, anyone can set up a cloud. Managing it, though, is another story. So it came as no surprise last year, when Linux-giant Red Hat announced updates to its open hybrid cloud solutions portfolio, following the acquisition of ManageIQ, a leading provider of enterprise cloud management and automation solutions.

      • Red Hat Strengthens Its Presence In Cloud With ManageIQ

        Cloud is the future and depending on who you are and how you use it, it can be good or bad for you. Talking strictly about enterprises cloud is the way to go. Red Hat, the most successful open source company continues to strengthen it’s cloud portfolio and signed an agreement to acquire ManageIQ last moth.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Linux considering switching out MySQL for MariaDB
        • Blu Ray Ripping on Fedora 18

          After doing so searching on Blu Ray ripping on Linux I found that no one seemed to have a good how to for Blu Ray Ripping on Fedora 18. I also was not finding a method that worked consistently for free, or close to free. I found a great piece of software called MakeMKV. I was able to get Blu Ray ripping working fast and easy.

          MakeMKV is free to try for 30 days, after that the ask for 50$ for the purchase. I really think this is a good buy. It was one of the better programs I have found for Blu Ray ripping and they support Linux.

        • Fedora 18 revisited: Cinnamon, Xfce, LXDM, and a ‘wow’ for anaconda
        • Gnome 3.6 System Settings Changes for Fedora 18

          The system settings manager has received some attention for the release of Gnome 3.6. The settings manager itself has been improved with larger and more visible icons. Many of the settings modules have been upgraded as well. There are now several new options and preferences to choose from, so be sure to look around.

        • Fedora 18 Spherical Cow Gnome Review: Stable and efficient with professional looks but has Gnome 3 agonies!

          Fedora has always intrigued me to keep track of the latest happenings in the Linux world and especially what’s brewing at the RHEL stable! Also, if I think of a comparable distro to Ubuntu, Fedora is the only legitimate choice! Just like Ubuntu, Fedora also inspires innumerable spins (like Kororaa, Fuduntu, of which I am a big fan now!). So, when the release note of Fedora came on 15th Jan, I was quick to download all the four versions (Gnome, KDE, XFCE and LXDE). This is the first review of the series and I start with the Gnome spin.

        • Weekend Project: Setting up MythTV on Fedora 18
        • Anaconda “fun” moment
        • End Of MySQL Begins? Fedora Linux Switches To MariaDB

          There is serious time ahead for Oracle owned technologies such as MySQL, Java and many more. MySQL’s open source nature was questioned recently and now Fedora seems to be putting the first nail as the project is planning to switch to MariaDB. Jaroslav Reznik (Red Hat’s Fedora project manager) stated that “MariaDB, which was founded by some of the original MySQL developers, has a more open-source attitude and an active community. We have found them to be much easier to work with, especially in regards to security matters.”

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Fifty shades of open source

    To many, open source is black and white — software is either open or not. Jack Wallen sees the new world order in shades of gray and begs the open source community to be more open in their attitude.

  • Monetizing open source platforms — something new?

    Sharing software code via free open source has been around since the 1980s and has enjoyed much success. Open source has been applied to content, websites, technological parts, and other materials. Can and should an open source platform be monetized?

  • element22 Launches φmod Open Source Conceptual Data Model Project
  • 9 Things That Are Never Admitted About Open Source

    You might think that a group of intelligent people like the members of the free and open source software (FOSS) community would be free of hidden taboos. You might expect that such a group of intellectuals would find no thought forbidden or uncomfortable—but if you did, you would be wrong.

    Like any sub-culture, FOSS is held together by shared beliefs. Such beliefs help to create a shared identity, which means that questioning them also means questioning that identity.

  • Open Source Camera On Its Way

    Because when we talk about software, we don’t talk about something made of physical objects, we talk about basically ideas and concepts, that never get out of the digital realm (or don’t usually get out). Making hardware is not easy — there are so many external factors over which you have no control – and usually it requires decent financial investment. So it’s a really big thing when someone actually makes open source hardware.

  • Open Source Skills Continue to Have Clout in the Job Market

    Career site Dice.com is out with results from its 2013-2012 Salary Survey, which confirms that times are getting much better for people seeking technology-focused jobs. And, in particular, the results reflect a trend that we saw gaining pace last year, which is that skills with open source platforms and tools can greatly increase your likelihood of getting hired and commanding a top salary. Here is more on what Dice found.

  • 2013-2012 Dice Salary Survey
  • Events

    • PowerLinux Users Group: Founding Meeting

      Every renaissance starts with one thing that you can point your finger at and say “that’s where it all began.” Sometimes you realize that moment while you are right in the middle of it, but most times you can’t define it until well after it happens.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Unveils Firefox OS Developer Phones

        Mozilla today unveiled two new developer preview phones that feature the browser maker’s Firefox OS.

        The phones – dubbed Keon and Peak – are being developed via Spanish phone maker GeeksPhone in partnership with Telefonica.

        “This week we are announcing our new Firefox OS developer preview phones because we believe that developers will help bring the power of the web to mobile,” Mozilla said in a blog post.

      • Mozilla unveils open source Firefox smartphone
      • Mozilla Unveils First Two Firefox OS Phones

        After news of its development throughout all of last year, Mozilla’s Firefox OS platform for smartphones has made an official debut on two phones that will ship to developers working on apps. The phones will ship to developers in February, but won’t become available to everybody until later this year. As we’ve reported, Mozilla is primarily targeting emerging markets with the phones, but there have been signs that they may be marketed throughout Europe and in the U.S. Here are more details.

        You can find Mozilla Hacks’ post on the new phones here. According to the post, the phones have the following specs and names:

  • Business

    • Small Business Trends: Linux & Open Source in 2013

      A lot of small businesses are reluctant to try Linux because they think it means moving away from Microsoft Windows, and you can’t blame them. Change is disruptive, and while a lot of software applications are cross-platform, most aren’t, so leaving Windows often means leaving favorite software behind.

  • Funding

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Design Tools for Human Rights Activists

      The world’s premier human rights organizations often have entire communications teams with dedicated graphic designers to celebrate their work. But not every organization can afford to have a designer. Even those organizations that do have design gurus may decide, for strategic reasons, to keep tight control over their workflow so that they are not bombarded with too many requests. Not to worry! There are several open source design tools that allow anyone to create killer flyers, posters, icons, or campaign — the only limit is your imagination. More importantly, learning basic design allows you to approach your human rights work more creatively and reach audiences with more diverse forms of storytelling.

    • Open Hardware

      • Interview with Jenn Karson, co-founder of Vermont Makers

        I am the founder of two small studios, Sesamedia and Studio Ju Ju. I’m also a co-founder of Vermont Makers. I was introduced to open source technologies and Arduino (and SparkFun) in 2007 when I was working toward an MFA in Design and Technology at the San Francisco Art Institute. I mainly use the Arduino to build interactive sound installations and sound art pieces, and I also help creative and community initiatives use open-source software like Joomla! and WordPress.

      • How Electric Vehicles Could Gain From Open Sourcing

        Can carmakers learn from the open source industry? Yes, if they build a strong business model around it and throw away discarded business practices.

  • Programming

Leftovers

01.22.13

Links 22/1/2013: Linux Outpaces Market Share of Windows, Mozilla Phone, Fedora Reviews Aplenty

Posted in News Roundup at 8:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • IF YOU CARE ABOUT FREEDOM, RAMP UP YOUR HAM

    I think it’s interesting how most people who claim to care about freedom don’t have a ham radio (amateur radio) license, especially you folks in open source.

    You reject and rebel against the Monopolists in Redmond and the Fruit Devices from Cupertino recognizing that they are dictating how you will and will not use the thing you are spending all your money on.

  • cbarylick
    The open source movement, marketing and finally saying “Hello” to the mainstream

    It goes without saying that the open source software movement has created some amazing things in the decades it’s been active and running. Where code has been shared, random developers have come up with some great new ideas and features and the open source goal of contribution has achieved its mission.

  • ITA signs agreement with Intel to promote open source software

    In line with ITA’s efforts in spreading a Free and Open Source software culture for the past two years, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in support of the Open Source Intel Global Challenge in Oman was signed here recently between the Information Technology Authority (ITA) and Intel Corporation.

  • Vert.x heading for Eclipse Foundation

    The future home of Vert.x will most likely be at the Eclipse Foundation. Project leader Tim Fox recommended that the JVM-polyglot asynchronous event-driven framework should look to the Eclipse Foundation as a “little more ‘business friendly’” home for the project’s assets and governance. Mike Millinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, welcomed Fox’s recommendation. A call for a +1/-1 vote from the original Vert.x community, seems so far to be predominantly +1, with no serious objections.

  • Wikipedia is moving

    On the Wikimedia Foundation’s tech blog, Technical Communications Manager Guillaume Paumier has announced that Wikipedia and other services will move from Tampa, Florida to the company’s new primary data centre in Ashburn, Virginia over the coming days. With this move, the company aims to “improve the technical performance and reliability of all Wikimedia sites”. Paumier said that service limitations are expected during the transition: “Our sites will be in read-only mode for some time, and may be intermittently inaccessible.” Migration will begin on 22 January and is scheduled to be completed by 24 January.

  • ITA to support Intel’s Open Source competition
  • Opening up the open source community

    I’ve mentioned the reported decline in Wikipedia contributors, and wondered out loud whether the organization sees the dip as an acceptable price to pay for heightening the standards for content contributions to its open source encyclopedia. “Our No. 1 strategic priority, as a movement,” she continues, tapping the table for emphasis, “is to increase contributorship.”

  • Open Source Computing Brings Everybody’s Favorite Droid To Life

    I think we can all agree that R2-D2 is one of the most lovable robots ever created. Compared to his more terrifying contemporaries, the little guy just oozes charm. Now one man has made his very own R2-D2 using a Raspberry Pi linux computer.

  • CommuniGate Updates Open-Source cPanel Adaptor Kit
  • Twitter’s Whisper Systems now an open source project

    Whisper Systems, the mobile security startup Twitter acquired in late 2011, is now an open source project which has a new official home outside the microblogging service.

  • Events

    • Free Geek provides jobs and free classes to the community

      Here in the District of Columbia, a loosely-knit group comprised of social workers, librarians, technologists, environmentalists, disability rights advocates, and educators has come together in the past few years. This coalition, known as the Broadband Bridge, sees digital justice and digital inclusion as a cornerstone towards self-determination in traditionally underserved communities.

    • Kyle Rankin to Keynote SCALE 11x
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Announces Firefox OS Developer Phone

        Three major players are battling for a spot in the highly competitive smartphone market with their open source operating systems — Jolla, Mozilla and Canonical. While Jolla has some deals to bring their devices to the market, Mozilla has a lead here.

      • Mozilla Announces Firefox OS Developer Phone

        Three major players are battling for a spot in the highly competitive smartphone market with their open source operating systems — Jolla, Mozilla and Canonical. While Jolla has some deals to bring their devices to the market, Mozilla has a lead here.

      • Mozilla Announces Firefox OS Developer Phone

        Three major players are battling for a spot in the highly competitive smartphone market with their open source operating systems — Jolla, Mozilla and Canonical. While Jolla has some deals to bring their devices to the market, Mozilla has a lead here.

      • Announcing the Firefox OS Developer Preview Phone!
      • Mozilla develops Minion security testing framework

        The Mozilla Foundation is developing an open source security framework called Minion and plans to release a beta version in the first quarter of 2013. Minion will allow developers to subject their web applications to a security check. The framework will target applications with well-established pen testing tools such as OWASP’s Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP), Skipfish and NMAP. Further testing tools are planned to be incorporated into the framework as plugins.

      • Mozilla stabilises Firefox 18

        Mozilla has released Firefox 18.0.1, a first update to Firefox 18, which was released ten days ago. According to the release notes, and the lack of any additional entries on the security advisories page, the release is a stability update addressing three issues.

      • Mozilla picks JavaScript titan Eich to lead charge against ‘Droid, iOS

        He’s taking over as Mozilla fights for the hearts and minds of devs who might once have defaulted to Firefox, but are now being dazzled with open-source choices.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • WiFi + USB Drive = Your Own Mini-Internet (Freedom)

      Worried about draconian Internet laws? Creeping surveillance? The inability to share with others without being criminalized? The Internet is still a tool of tremendous power, but a deep rot has set in. We have caught it early and we are fighting to stop this rot, but there are other options we can begin exploring to hedge our bets, enhance our current efforts of fighting against corporate monopolies, and eventually, build an Internet of the people, by the people, for the people – big-telecom monopolies not welcomed.

    • Open Compute Summit: New Members, Technologies

      The Open Compute Project, backed by Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), is gaining momentum, as evidenced by the increasing attendance at the Open Compute Summit. This week, the summit attracted more than 1,900 attendees that were interested in checking out the latest and greatest in Open Compute Project technologies, innovations and products. There has been a bit of buzz about some of the innovations unveiled at the show, and this can only mean good things for the open source cloud computing market.

    • HP Cloud Leader Biri Singh Exits: Should Partners Worry?
  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Six new features coming in LibreOffice 4.0

      It’s hard to believe LibreOffice has only been around about two years, so thoroughly has it come to dominate as the leading free and open source productivity suite, but late last week a release candidate for its next major version appeared.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD And NetBSD Images Available For Raspberry Pi

      FreeBSD and NetBSD are UNIX variants that are known for their stability and performance. If you are using a GNU/Linux distro in Raspberry Pi for sometime, and want to try something new, you can now download these images from the Raspberry Pi site and try them. Make sure you have a 4 gB or more SD card to dd these images into. Also, as they are bleeding edge releases, be sure to expect some bugs and crashes.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Hurd Is Still Moving, Albeit Slowly

      Since last week when writing about the LLVM/Clang compiler being ported to GNU Hurd, readers have asked via the forums, email, etc about the state of this open-source kernel backed by the Free Software Foundation. GNU Hurd and its Mach micro-kernel continue to be developed, just not at a rapid pace like the Linux kernel.

    • The Year in Emacs
    • Gnuaccounting 0.8.2 improves its document management

      Version 0.8.2 of the cross-platform accounting and bookkeeping package Gnuaccounting has been released. The Java-based application supports the creation of invoices, shipping notices and receipts with OpenOffice and LibreOffice and can interface with online banking accounts through FinTS (formerly HBCI) as well as store data in MySQL and PostgreSQL databases.

  • Project Releases

    • OpenCart v1.5.5 released

      OpenCart v1.5.5, a free PHP shopping cart system, released with a lot of new features and fixed issues.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Government tech stakeholders gather at state hackathon

      Great things for open government happened last year on November 15-16 at the 4th annual Capitol Camp event, organized and hosted by the New York State Senate and the New York State Office of Information Technology Services, in collaboration with the Center for Technology in Government.

    • Norway’s municipalities run open source apps from open source cloud

      The Norwegian free software association for municipalities, Friprogforeningen, is starting to offer cloud-based open source applications. This means municipalities can use open source tools such as the Redmine project management and bug-tracking tool and the OTRS service management and helpdesk software, without having to install and maintain the applications. The cloud itself is running free and open source software.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Crowdfunding push for EZ-EV open source electric kit car

      Electrical engineer Gary Krysztopik has been driving his self-built, open-framed, three-wheeled electric “hotrod” on the roads and highways of San Antonio (TX) for over three years now, but folks still can’t help staring as he zooms past. While also working on gas-to-electric conversions (including a VW Bug and a Porsche Carrera), he’s been busy refining and tweaking the design for his “battery box on wheels” and is now preparing to release the EZ-EV car as open source plans, build-it-yourself kits and complete vehicles.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Hiding your research behind a paywall is immoral

        As a scientist your job is to bring new knowledge into the world. Hiding it behind a journal’s paywall is unacceptable

      • For Our Information: Politicians Need To Let Go
      • How M.I.T. Ensnared a Hacker, Bucking a Freewheeling Culture

        The visitor was clever — switching identifications to avoid being blocked by M.I.T.’s security system — but eventually the university believed it had shut down the intrusion, then spent weeks reassuring furious officials at Jstor that the downloading had been stopped.

        [...]

        He described attending two meetings with the chancellor of M.I.T., Eric Grimson. Each time there also was a representative of the general counsel’s office. At both meetings, he said, members of M.I.T.’s legal team assured him and the chancellor that the government had compelled M.I.T. to collect and hand over the material. In that first meeting, he recalled, “I said to the chancellor, ‘Why are you destroying my son?’ He said, ‘We are not.’ ”

      • Carmen Ortiz’s Husband Criticizes Swartz Family For Suggesting Prosecution Of Their Son Contributed To His Suicide

        Dolan has since deleted his entire account after he either came to his senses or someone suggested strongly that he think better of it. While you can understand his desire to defend his wife’s efforts, the tweets aren’t just somewhat offensive following Aaron’s suicide, but misleading as well. To argue that the prosecution was fair because they offered him a 6 month plea deal is complete and utter hogwash. As many have pointed out, it doesn’t appear that Aaron should have been facing any federal charges at all. The 35 years is completely relevant, because that’s part of the hammer that his wife was using to pressure him into taking the 6 month plea deal so that she and her assistant could get a big headline about another “guilty” plea. To act like the 6 month offer is some sort of “leniency” is insane when you know the details of the case and everything else that came with it.

        Dolan also — conveniently — ignores that the government supposedly told Aaron’s lawyers that if he didn’t take the deal, the next one they’d come back with would be worse, and that if the case actually got to court, they’d try to get the judge (notorious for strict sentences) to throw the book at Swartz.

  • Programming

    • 9 of the Best Free PHP Books

      Learning the PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) programming language from scratch can be an arduous affair. Fortunately, budding developers that want to code in this language have a good range of introductory texts available to read, both in-print and to download. There are also many quality books that help programmers that have reached an intermediate level deepen their understanding of the language.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Invites Chinese Web Developers, Industry, Academia to Assume Greater Role in Global Web Innovation

      W3C announces Beihang University as a new center for W3C technical staff and leadership activities in China. W3C anticipates that a dedicated presence in China will enhance opportunities for collaboration among Chinese companies, Web developers, and research institutes, and W3C’s full international community, including Members from more than 40 countries.

      “China is in the midst of an innovation boom,” said Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO. “In IT, Chinese companies have excelled in instant messaging, online games, smartphones, and search, and there is a flourishing Chinese browser ecosystem. In the past two years W3C has benefited from greater Chinese participation, and we look forward to that trend accelerating through the efforts of local industry and Beihang University. Global participation in W3C enables our community to identify global needs for the Web, and drive solutions.”

      In its new capacity, Beihang University invites Chinese Web developers, industry, and academia to assume a greater role in global Web innovation.

    • Vint Cerf appointed to National Science Board by President Obama

Leftovers

  • Is Facebook Graph Search A Concerning Matter?

    Is Facebook Graph Search A Concerning Matter?
    Syn Waker’s picture
    Posted by Syn Waker on20Jan2013

    As we all heard about, Facebook started to roll out a beta version of its Graph Search, a feature that “gives people the power and the tools they need to search through the content on the site”. At what cost?

    We’ve already seen how Facebook “handles” the privacy of the humble Facebook users (see face recognition and social web), but now, Mark’s social network has made a bold step by making impossible to hide your timeline from being indexed in the ‘walled’ search results (altough individual posts can be hidden), and those who opted out before this feature would be disabled, they would still be forced to change the privacy settings for every single post they wanted to be hidden from curious eyes.

  • Media freedom is a delicate flower

    I am delighted to have read over the weekend, and to have been officially presented today, with a keenly awaited report into the practice of media freedom and pluralism in the European Union. The lead author is Prof. Vaire Vike Freiberga (The other members were Professor Herta Däubler-Gmelin, Professor Luís Miguel Poiares Pessoa Maduro and Ben Hammersley)

    It is remarkably wide-ranging; it touches on the work of many of my Commission colleagues.

  • Google Handwrite gets easier and faster

    Since we launched Google Handwrite last summer for smartphones and tablets, we’ve been improving recognition quality and also working on a number of features to make it easier and faster to handwrite your searches on Google. You can now distinguish between ambiguous characters, overlap your characters, and write multiple characters at a time in Chinese.

  • What Gates Foundation Should Have Said in Its MET Teacher Evaluation Report

    No matter how you mix it, it’s better to go with Value-Added, student surveys, or both: As Dropout Nation noted last year, the accuracy of classroom observations is so low that even in a multiple measures approach to evaluation in which value-added data and student surveys account for the overwhelming majority of the data culled from the model (72.9 percent, and 17.2 percent of the evaluation in one case), the classroom observations are of such low quality that they bring down the accuracy of the overall performance review. This point is raised again in the latest group of models floated by Gates in its final MET study. Only one model matches the level of accuracy Value-Added has on its own — and that’s because observations only account for two percent of the data in the model. The usefulness of the next model, one of the three Gates prefers because observations account for a quarter of the data used (while Value-Added accounts for half), declines by nine-hundreds of a standard deviation based on Dropout Nation‘s analysis of the MET report’s data; another model, in observations, Value-Added and student surveys account for one-third each, the loss of accuracy is nearly two-tenths of a standard deviation.

    Yet the Gates Foundation insists on pushing a “multiple measures approach” that is useless to teachers, school leaders, families, and children alike:

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • The ghost of a Spring Framework bug haunts old code

      There are reports of the discovery of a remote code execution flaw in the Spring Framework, but many are not mentioning that the flaw in question was fixed over a year ago and that what has been found is actually a new way to exploit that old flaw. In 2011, a “variable” severity flaw, identified as CVE-2011-2730, was discovered by two researchers in versions 3.0.0 to 3.0.5, 2.5.0 to 2.5.6SEC02 and 2.5.0 to 2.5.7SR01. The flaw involved Expression Language (EL) and its use in JSP; EL expressions were evaluated by default and in some circumstances were evaluated twice, which could lead to information disclosure to an attacker if there was a location in an application where an unfiltered parameter was placed in a tag that would be evaluated. A paper covered the details.

    • No, availability is not security!

      Security is a very important factor in my choice of distributions and software solutions, and I tend to hold a very strict view of what it means from a modern computing standpoint. In one sentence, my stance on security is this: A sound and complete security posture has to take both physical and network security into account.

      Anything less will not fly. So when I came across an article that attempts to sell that view short for the sole purpose of promoting a product, it didn’t sit well with me. The offending article was written by Frank Karlitschek, founder and CTO of Owncloud, a cloud storage service and solution.

      In More to Security than Encryption, he takes this skewed stance that it is (somewhat) ok to say something is secure even though it lacks encryption. He then makes several points to support that stance.

    • Oracle’s Java patch leaves a loophole
    • 29c3: Hacking Politics

      Every year at the end of December, computer hackers from all over the world gather in Germany – this time in Hamburg – for the Chaos Communication Congress, four days of talks, meetings and workshops.

      With “Not my department,” as the theme of the year – a tongue in cheek reminder that hackers should accept their responsibilities when it comes to politics and social justice – 29c3, short for 29th Chaos Communication Congress, reveals the growing influence of a certain type of hacker, one increasingly aware of its political role.

    • Security guards attack man for shooting video of subway track
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Minamata Convention Agreed by Nations

      International effort to address mercury-a notorious heavy metal with significant health and environmental effects-was today delivered a significant boost with governments agreeing to a global, legally-binding treaty to prevent emissions and releases.

    • If Right-Wing Violence Is Up 400%, Why Is the #FBI Targeting Environmentalists?

      Violent attacks by right-wing groups and individuals have increased by 400% since 1990, and dramatically in the last five years, according to a new report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.

      When examined side-by-side with FBI reports on domestic terrorism, the data from this study shows that the FBI has been either grossly miscalculating, or intentionally downplaying, murders and violent attacks by right-wing extremists while exaggerating the threat posed by animal rights activists and environmentalists, who have only destroyed property.

  • Finance

    • Oxfam seeks ‘new deal’ on inequality from world leaders

      The 100 richest people in the world earned enough last year to end extreme poverty suffered by the poorest on the planet four times over, Oxfam has said.

      Ahead of next week’s World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the charity urged world leaders to tackle inequality.

      Extreme wealth was “economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive”, the report said.

      [...]

      “From tax havens to weak employment laws, the richest benefit from a global economic system which is rigged in their favour.”

    • How to get $12 billion of gold to Venezuela

      Ever since the news broke last week that Hugo Chávez wanted to transport 211 tons of physical gold from Europe to Caracas, I’ve been wondering how on earth he possibly intends to do such a thing.

    • Goldman Raises CEO’s Stock Bonus 90% to $13.3 Million

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) boosted Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein’s stock bonus 90 percent to $13.3 million, topping JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s Jamie Dimon for the first time in five years, as profit climbed (GS).

    • Snakes and Ladders: Investment Banking on the Brink

      Banks manipulated the LIBOR interest rate, which affects financial transactions worth hundreds of trillions of dollars. They foisted risky assets on customers and became involved in money laundering and tax fraud. Traders like Kweku Adoboli (UBS), Jérôme Kerviel (Société Générale) and Bruno Iksil (JPMorgan Chase) gambled away billions through risky transactions, either on their own or with their departments.

    • Rich Pickings: Goldman Sachs cashes in, world on brink of food crisis
    • Goldman Sachs made up to £250 million from betting on food prices in 2012

      Goldman Sachs made up to an estimated £251 million (US$400 million) in 2012 from speculating on food including wheat, maize and soy, prompting campaigners to accuse the bank of contributing to a growing global food crisis.
      Goldman Sachs is recognised as the leading global player in financial speculation on food and other commodities, and created the first commodity index funds which allow huge amounts of money to be gambled on prices.

    • The “Swiss Bank Accounts” of the 2012 Elections: How Secret Donors Are Corrupting Democracy

      The corrosive influence of money in politics was amplified in 2012 by the fact that in many cases we don’t know which individuals or which corporations actually provided much of the funding to affect election results. “Dark money” — election spending where we don’t know the source of the funds — played a bigger role in 2012 than in any other presidential election since Richard Nixon’s.

      A new report from the Center for Media and Democracy and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) has helped expose more about what we call “the swiss bank account” of American elections, where wealthy elites attempt to secretly influence the outcome of our elections through non-profit groups that keep their donations hidden, and increasingly, through “straw” or “shell” corporations that appear to exist for no reason other than to anonymously pour millions into elections.

    • Open Letter to Mike Duke, CEO of Walmart

      Walmart, your gigantic company, is increasingly being challenged by your workers, government prosecutors, civil lawsuits, communities (that do not want a Walmart), taxpayers learning about your drain on government services and corporate welfare, and small businesses and groups working with unions such as SEIU and UFCW. Thus far, Walmart is successfully playing rope-a-dope, conceding little while expecting to wear down its opposition.

    • Goldman bankers get rich betting on food prices as millions starve

      Goldman Sachs made more than a quarter of a billion pounds last year by speculating on food staples, reigniting the controversy over banks profiting from the global food crisis.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Researcher Tears Apart Gates Foundation Teacher Evaluation Study

      University of Arkansas education professor Jay P. Greene has weighed in on the BIll and Melinda Gates Foundation’s conclusions about its teacher evaluation study.

      Greene says the foundation’s conclusions were based on the politics of convincing teachers and school districts of the merits of evaluations, and not data.

    • Understanding the Gates Foundation’s Measuring Effective Teachers Project

      But the folks at the Gates Foundation, afflicted with PLDD, don’t see things this way. They’ve been working with politicians in Illinois, Los Angeles, and elsewhere to centrally impose teacher evaluation systems, but they’ve encountered stiff resistance. In particular, they’ve noticed that teachers and others have expressed strong reservations about any evaluation system that relies too heavily on student test scores.

    • THE CIA AND THE MEDIA

      How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up

  • Censorship

    • EU Group Says Brussels Should Control Press Regulation, Attacks Cameron For Rejecting Leveson
    • Leveson: EU wants power to sack journalists

      Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP for Clacton, attacked the report for making an “extraordinary, and deeply disturbing proposal”.
      “Having EU officials overseeing our free press – and monitoring newspapers to ensure they comply with “European values” – would be quite simply intolerable,” he said.
      “This is the sort of mind-set that I would expect to find in Iran, not the West. This kooky idea tells us little about the future of press regulation. It does suggest that the European project is ultimately incompatible with the notion of a free society.”

  • Privacy

    • Ministers Express Doubts on Expanding Data Protection Laws

      E.U. justice ministers reacted coolly on Friday to a plan that would give consumers the ability to expunge the personal details Internet businesses have collected on them, essentially allowing individuals to block most kinds of online ads.

      During an informal meeting in Dublin, the ministers expressed reservations about elements of the proposal, which would impose new limits on data collection and profiling and give national regulators the ability to levy hefty fines equal to 2 percent of sales on companies that failed to comply.

    • PayPal Gets A Slice Of £25m DWP Identity Contract
    • I conceal my identity the same way Aaron was indicted for

      According to his indictment, Aaron Swartz was charged with wirefraud for concealing/changing his “true identity”. It sent chills down my back, because I do everything on that list (and more).

    • Graph Search’s Dirty Promise and the Con of the Facebook “Like”

      It turns out as much as half of the links between objects and interests contained in FB are dirty—i.e. there is no true affinity between the like and the object or it’s stale. Never mind does the data not really represent user intent… but the user did not even ‘like’ what she was liking.
      How is this possible? Let me explain.

  • Civil Rights

    • Terror Threat Prompts U.S. Rethink on Africa
    • Student Expelled From Montreal College For Finding “Sloppy Coding”

      In what appears to be a more-and-more common occurrence, Ahmed Al-Khabez has been expelled from Dawson College in Montreal after he discovered a flaw in the software that the college (and apparently all other colleges across Quebec) uses to track student information.

    • NDAA Would Have Sent MLK to Gitmo, Says Cornel West

      Firebrand black activist Dr. Cornel West gave a speech at the Tavis Smiley Presents Poverty In America series on Thursday that may surprise libertarians – in how much they agree with the “socialist radical.”

      Decrying the erosion of civil liberties today, Dr. West loudly lamented the “crypto-fascist” state developing in America – contrasting the federal government to crack addicts, whom he said at least “are honest about their addiction. The White House is addicted to power!”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Cable Industry Finally Admits Caps Not About Congestion

      For years the cable industry insisted that they imposed usage caps because network congestion made them necessary. You’ll recall that Time Warner Cable insisted that if they weren’t allowed to impose caps and overages the Internet would face “brown outs.” Cable operators also paid countless think tanks, consultants and fauxcademics to spin scary yarns about a looming network congestion “exaflood,” only averted if cable operators were allowed to raise rates, impose caps, eliminate regulation or (insert pretty much anything here).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Supreme Court conundrum: How far does a soybean seed patent go?

      Vernon Hugh Bowman is the rare Indiana soybean farmer destined for immortality as a U.S. Supreme Court caption.
      Bowman had the temerity to attempt to outwit Monsanto, the giant agriculture company that, as you surely know, invested hundreds of millions of dollars and years of research in the creation of soybean seeds that are genetically modified to withstand the herbicide glyphosate, which Monsanto markets as Roundup. The genetically modified seeds, according to the Supreme Court brief Monsanto filed Wednesday, have been such a hit with farmers that more than 90 percent of the U.S. soybean crop begins with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds. Given that every soybean plant produces enough seeds to grow 80 more plants — and that soybeans grown from Roundup Ready seeds contain the genetic modification of glyphosate resistance — Monsanto has insisted that farmers sign licensing agreements with strict restrictions. Soybean producers are only supposed to use the Roundup Ready seeds they buy to grow crops in a single season, and they’re forbidden from planting second-generation seeds harvested from first-generation crops.

    • US FTC Finds Sharp Rise In ‘Pay-For-Delay’ Deals Blocking Generics

      The Federal Trade Commission staff report [pdf] found that drug companies made 40 potential pay-for-delay deals in FY 2012 (1 October 2011 through 30 September 2012).

    • The dynamics of free culture and the danger of noncommercial clauses

      Free licensing lowers the barrier of entry to creating cultural works, which unlocks a dynamic where people can realize their ideas much easier – and where culture can actually live, creating memes, adjusting them to new situations and using new approaches with old topics.

      But for that to really take off, people have to be able to make a living from their creations – which build on other works. Then we have people who make a living by reshaping culture again and again – instead of the current culture where only a few (rich or funded by rich ones) can afford to reuse old works and all others have to start from scratch again and again.

    • Open, pop culture R&D lab for the public domain
    • Court Definitively Rejects AFP’s Argument That Posting a Photo to Twitter Grants AFP a License to Freely Use It — AFP v. Morel
    • It Will Be Awesome if They Don’t Screw it Up: 3D Printing
    • Nokia backs 3D printing for mobile phone cases
    • After a year in the grave, can SOPA and Protect IP return?

      CNET asked the leaders of the congressional committees that write U.S. copyright law, plus the groups that backed the controversial legislation a year ago, to tell us what will happen next.

    • Copyrights

      • Fighting Back Against The DOJ

        They demurred on prosecuting war criminals (hey, they’re all government buddies and what’s a few prisoners tortured to death among friends?), but they sure as hell hounded Aaron Swartz to his death. It really speaks to how justice is so often these days a weapon of the powerful, not a defense for the powerless. The petition to hold Carmen Ortiz accountable for her bullying has now reached 38,000. Please sign it – and let the Obama administration know that this attack on dissemination of academic information is not acceptable.

      • Was Aaron Swartz Really ‘Killed by the Government’?

        Swartz’s case may not be as black-and-white as his loved ones suggest; no one person or entity “killed” Swartz. Suicide is caused by mental illness. But in bringing such tough charges against him, prosecutors do seem to have wrongly used their discretion. There is still more to be learned about how the Boston U.S. Attorney’s office made the choices it did, and Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has announced that his committee is investigating. Swartz’s actions were not above reproach. He appears to have been in the middle of a plan to “liberate” and disseminate privately owned articles. But the offense he was engaged in was not crime of violence or greed. It seems, rather, to have been an act of civil disobedience, or lawbreaking in the service of Swartz’s (and many people’s) idea of a more just world. That does not mean that Swartz had a right to do what he did or not to be punished. But his motives should have been an important part of the government’s calculus.

      • Aaron Swartz: cannon fodder in the war against internet freedom

        On 11 January, a young American geek named Aaron Swartz killed himself, and most of the world paid no attention. In the ordinary run of things, “it was not an important failure”, as Auden put it in Musée des Beaux Arts.

        About suffering they were never wrong,
        The old Masters: how well they understood
        Its human position: how it takes place
        While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along

      • Aaron Swartz memorial evokes strong emotions and political urgency

        Friends, family, and colleagues share their stories of the activist’s life and work

      • Dotcom’s Mega Launches To Unprecedented Demand

        The much anticipated rebirth of Megaupload took place in the last few hours with interest living up to expectations. In less than one hour the site picked up 100,000 new registrations, going on to 500,000 and beyond just a few hours later. As the site struggled to cope with demand it became unresponsive in the face of an unprecedented flood of users eager to test out the new file-hosting site. Just a few minutes ago the launch party at Kim Dotcom’s mansion began, with some interesting reveals.

      • Kim Dotcom’s Mega Gets 1 Million Users During Launch, Should You Use It?

        The Internet superhero Kim Dotcom has returned with MEGA, after the US government – under the influence of Hollywood — seized Megaupload servers and took ownership of legit user data. After initially hiccups (where under US influence the government of the African nation of Gabon seized Me.ga domain) Dotcom has released MEGA with a lavish and mega launch party.

      • Dotcom’s Mega Launches To Unprecedented Demand
      • Senator John Cornyn accuses Eric Holder of prosecuting Aaron Swartz as ‘retaliation’
      • Feds Hounded ‘Net Activist Aaron Swartz, Says EFF’s Parker Higgins
      • The Folly of Obama National Security Officials Making Their Own Drone ‘Rules’
      • Attack on Sovereignty

        Those concerned about “The New World Order” speak as if the United States is coming under the control of an outside conspiratorial force. In fact, it is the US that is the New World Order. That is what the American unipolar world, about which China, Russia, and Iran complain, is all about.

      • The International Relations Academy and the Beltway “Foreign Policy Community”—Why the Disconnect?
      • Carmen Ortiz Strikes Out

        Congress prepares to slap down prosecutors linked to the suicide of Aaron Swartz

      • Dick Cheney Sounds Off on CIA Torture, Iraq, and More in New Sundance Documentary

        The World According to Dick Cheney, a new documentary by R.J. Cutler and Greg Finton, will make its premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The film boasts hours of exclusive interviews with the ex–vice president, who remains unapologetic about his legacy—including CIA torture and the Iraq War.

      • The Fishing Expedition into WikiLeaks

        If, as WikiLeaks claims, Aaron Swartz:

        Assisted WikiLeaks
        Communicated with Julian Assange in 2010 and 2011
        May have contributed material to WikiLeaks
        Then it strongly indicates the US government used the grand jury investigation into Aaron’s JSTOR downloads as a premise to investigate WikiLeaks. And they did so, apparently, only after the main grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks had stalled.

      • Our Government’s UnPATRIOTic Investigation of Aaron Swartz

        As I noted back in December 2010, as soon as Eric Holder declared WikiLeaks’ purported crime to be Espionage, it opened up a whole slew of investigative methods associated with the PATRIOT Act. It allowed the government to use National Security Letters to get financial and call records. It allowed them to use Section 215 orders to get “any tangible thing.” And all that’s after FISA Amendments Act, which permits the government to bulk collect “foreign intelligence” on a target overseas–whether or not that foreign target is suspected of Espionage–that includes that target’s communications with Americans. The government may well be using Section 215 to later access the US person communications that have been collected under an FAA order, though that detail is one the government refuses to share with the American people.

      • Last picture of tragic internet guru: Reddit founder’s girlfriend tells of their last hours

        Taren insists Swartz killed himself because he was ‘tired’ of facing up to a merciless justice system that has ‘lost all sense of mercy’ and is driven by ‘vindictiveness’

      • Mega arrives: Hands-on with Kim Dotcom’s new cloud storage site

        Nearly one year after Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload storage site was shuttered on criminal charges filed by the United States government, the big man is back with a new cloud storage service, called simply Mega.

      • Australian Pirate Party Gets Approved and Russians are Denied (Again)

        It’s been an up and down week for Pirates, as official party status has been decided in two countries. In Australia it’s a big G’day to their Pirate Party, while the Russians yet again heard ‘Nyet’ from their Ministry of Justice.

        There is a certain level of symmetry to the world. When one part of the world has day, the other half has night. And more importantly, when one hemisphere gets summer, the other has winter. Right now it’s summer in the southern hemisphere and the sun is certainly shining on Australian Pirates.

      • Aussie Pirate Party Officially Enters Politics

        The Pirate Party officially becomes an Australian political organisation, stating that it “passed all tests by the Australian Electoral Commission”. For those who don’t know, a Pirate Party is, according to Wikipedia, a label adopted by political parties in different countries that supports civil rights, direct democracy and participation, free sharing of knowledge and freedom of information, advocating network neutrality and universal Internet access.

      • Mega hits 1 million users after one day as Kim Dotcom officially launches the service
      • Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ Video Taken Down On Internet Freedom Day

        We’ve been talking a lot today about Internet Freedom Day, and the anniversary of the SOPA/PIPA blackout. The folks at Fight for the Future noticed the proximity of Internet Freedom Day to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and decided an interesting form of celebrating internet freedom would be to share a video of MLK’s famous “I have a dream…” speech. As you may or may not know, Martin Luther King Jr.’s heirs have been ridiculously aggressive in claiming copyright over every aspect of anything related to MLK — and they seek large sums of money from people for doing things like quoting him. When the MLK Memorial was recently built in Washington DC, the family was able to get nearly $800,000 just to use his words and likeness.

      • Law Professor James Grimmelmann Explains How He Probably Violated The Same Laws As Aaron Swartz

        We’ve been discussing the ridiculousness of the prosecution against Aaron Swartz, including the fact that if a federal prosecutor decides to take you down, it’s not at all difficult to find something they can try to pin on you, especially when it comes to “computer” crimes. Law professor James Grimmelmann explains how it’s quite possible that prosecutors could go after him under the same laws as it went after Swartz. He notes that he used to run the (excellent) blog LawMeme (which we used to link to frequently). After it died, he wanted to preserve many of the articles, and so he wrote a script to pull the articles off of the Internet Archive.

      • Toward a Revolutionary Transformation of Society
      • isoHunt Turns 10 Years Old, Keeps on Fighting Copyright Cartels

        IsoHunt, one of the oldest BitTorrent sites on the Internet, turns 10 years old today. The site has been fighting Hollywood in court for more than seven years but has not backed down. IsoHunt founder Gary Fung is determined to protect and facilitate people’s right to share culture legitimately. “One would think the people of the Internet are losing to the copyright cartels, but I think different,” he says.

      • In memory of Aaron Swartz: Stealing is not stealing

        If Swartz had knocked over a bookstore with the intent of depositing the books in a library, he’d have received a mental health evaluation and been threatened with less time. Moreover, if he was caught in the act of knocking over the bookstore, he’d be guilty of an attempted crime and face even lesser penalties. But for some reason, cyber crime is considered deadly serious. He was facing 35 years. You could murder someone and get less time.

      • After Aaron Swartz

        Brilliant young hackers, striving to build tools to change the world, are killing themselves. Just last week: Aaron Swartz, co-founder of Reddit and fierce open access activist, took his life at 26. There have been other high-profile suicides in the tech world in recent years: Ilya Zhitomirskiy, co-founder of the distributed social network Diaspora, dead at 22. Len Sassaman, a highly-regarded cypherpunk who believed in cryptography and privacy as tools of freedom, dead at 31. Dan Haubert, co-founder of the Y-Combinator funded startup Ticketstumbler, dead at 25. If these young men were like the 100 people who kill themselves in this country every day, the biggest factor contributing to their deaths was likely under-treated depression.

      • Aaron Swartz’s Father: MIT Put ‘Institutional Concerns Ahead Of Compassion’
      • Fighting Back Against The DOJ
      • The Impact of “Aaron’s Law” on Aaron Swartz’s Case
      • The pushback against Aaron Swartz misses the point
      • Edward Tufte’s defense of Aaron Swartz and the “marvelously different”
      • A Moment of Silence for Aaron Swartz

01.19.13

Links 19/1/2013: Aaron Swartz-Bradley Manning/Wikileaks Link Publicised

Posted in News Roundup at 12:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • MobileDevHQ’s Ian Sefferman: So You Built an App – Now What?

    “Our starting point was obviously all open source. Our main framework was Ruby on Rails. We do a lot of processing in Hadoop. We are standing on the shoulders of giants here. Wherever we can find little bits and pieces that are easy for us to open source and do fixes that we can put back, we are happy to do it,” said Ian Sefferman, CEO of MobileDevHQ.

  • Vert.x’s journey teaches invaluable governance lessons

    As the Vert.x community selects its future home, it offers a fascinating illustration of the role of governance

  • SmartFile Announces Open Source App Contest for Indiana College Students
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox’s Move To a Rapid Release Cycle Didn’t Just Upset Users

        Purportedly, one of the best lessons in software development to have come from the open source movement is the rapid release cycle, and partly because the Google Chrome browser was benefiting from rapid releases, in February of 2011, Mozilla announced that it was moving the Firefox browser to a rapid release cycle. As you can see if you look at the comments on this OStatic post from April of 2011, not every user of Firefox was pleased with the arrangement, due to performance problems that were showing up in the browser.

      • Firefox 18.0.1 coming soon

        Critics of the Firefox web browser might say that Mozilla never gets it right the first time and base that assumption on the version updates the company releases shortly after Firefox moves to a new version.It happened several times in the past that Mozilla had to release an update after releasing a new version of the browser, and it appears that this streak won’t break with the release of Firefox 18.0

      • Silent installs of add-ons still possible in Firefox

        A security researcher has demonstrated how it is still possible to silently install extensions, or as Mozilla calls them add-ons, for the open source Firefox web browser. In a blog post, Julian Sobrier of ZScaler detailed the process, which makes use of the fact that Firefox uses an Sqlite3 database to maintain information about which add-ons are installed and, of those, which ones have been approved by the user.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenOffice Writer English Grammar Checkers

      If you wish there was an English grammar checker for OpenOffice Writer, you’re in luck. Two popular extensions let you add an English grammar check to OpenOffice for free.

  • CMS

    • 10 free Drupal modules that make development easier

      When it comes to open-source content management systems, Drupal really stands apart from Joomla and WordPress, its closest competitors, for several reasons.

      The payoff for using Drupal is the development of very tightly configured sites that perform well and scale excellently. This is why many developers are willing to put up with its idiosyncrasies.

  • Education

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSF

      Internet Freedom Day isn’t just about celebrating; it’s about action:

      * A free Internet needs free JavaScript: You can help by installing the LibreJS plugin.
      * Join millions of others in the actions at InternetFreedomDay.net.
      * Internet activist Aaron Swartz was a leader in the SOPA/PIPA protest. Watch and share this video:

    • GNU Press now selling GNU/Linux Inside stickers!

      By popular demand, we are now selling the GNU/Linux Inside sticker pack. For $15, you receive 10 GNU/Linux stickers. Because these stickers are high-quality and durable, they won’t fade away or scratch off your computer, making it the ideal way to rep your use of free software!

    • GCC 4.8 Improves Its Runtime Library (libstdc++)
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Mathematicians aim to take publishers out of publishing

        Episciences Project to launch series of community-run, open-access journals.

      • The Growing Adoption of Creative Commons Textbooks

        Cable Green doesn’t have to look very far to find an example of an education system weighed down by what he considers a bloated and inefficient textbook industry. The director of global learning for Creative Commons simply points to his home state of Washington. “My state spends $130 million per year buying textbooks,” he says. “We only have a million public school kids in the state, so we’re spending $130 per kid per year.” Because each book is expected to last half a decade, the kids aren’t permitted to keep them or write in them. The books are only available in one format, paper, and are sometimes seven to 10 years out of date. If one of Green’s kids loses a textbook, as a parent Green is expected to fork over the money to replace it.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Japan to start building world’s biggest offshore wind farm this summer
    • Fracking Industry Goes After Promised Land Film

      The film chronicles the story of a gas industry salesman, played by Matt Damon, and his attempt to convince the residents of a rural Pennsylvania town to agree to fracking development. The questions raised by actors in the film mirror the debates taking place in communities across the country. What type of chemicals are used in fracking? What is the effect of fracking on air and water? While the industry may make a few struggling families rich, what is the cost for the community as a whole?

  • Finance

    • 20 Infamous Quotes That Wall Street Wishes Were Never Made Public
    • Ex-treasurer of Spain’s PP had €22m in Swiss bank

      The beleaguered government of Mariano Rajoy has been embarrassed by revelations that its party’s former treasurer had a bank account in Switzerland containing up to €22 million.

      Luis Bárcenas held the treasury post in the conservative Partido Popular (PP) from 2008 until 2009, when he resigned because of an investigation into his part in a massive fraud network. He stepped down from the party in 2010. The inquiry into that case continues and information a Spanish judge has requested from Swiss authorities shows details of an account held under the politician’s name which coincides with the time he was managing the PP’s finances.

    • What Is Goldman Sachs?

      …it derives about half of its income from things that many people would consider trading.

    • Finland: A nation in debt

      People in the 25–34 year-old age group carry the heaviest home mortgage burden.

      Sixty percent of all households owe money to the bank, with home loans accounting for 70 percent of this debt.

      Those in their thirties are the most saddled by debt, with 119,000 euros being the average amount owed. On the other hand, half of young families are debt-free, according to the statisticians.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Naked-Image Scanners to Be Removed From U.S. Airports

      The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will remove airport body scanners that privacy advocates likened to strip searches after OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS) couldn’t write software to make passenger images less revealing.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • European Commission Backtracks On Net Neutrality

      European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has stated that it should be up to ISPs to decide how they manage their traffic, essentially admitting that Net Neutrality wouldn’t become part of EU legislation.

      Without appropriate laws, network operators will be able to offer cheaper, ‘tiered’ Internet connections with limited capabilities, alongside full strength Internet services. Before taking responsibility for the EU Digital Agenda, Kroes insisted that ISPs should be regulated in order to ensure that companies are not limiting access to online content “out of commercial motivation”, but critics say she has now backtracked.

    • Internet and filtering applications: a tale of choice and revenues

      That does not mean more pages to your 100-page contract! The Commission has been encouraging the advertising industry to ensure users get a clear choice about cookies, based on short, digestible information. The Commission is also working with a wider set of online actors to develop a “Do Not track” standard, so that consumers who make this choice can be sure it is respected.

      On net neutrality, consumers need effective choice on the type of internet subscription they sign up to. That means real clarity, in non-technical language. About effective speeds in normal conditions, and about any restrictions imposed on traffic – and a realistic option to switch to a “full” service, without such restrictions, offered by their own provider or another. Ensuring consumer choice can mean constraints on others – in this case, an obligation for all internet service providers to offer an accessible “full” option to their customers. But such choice should also drive innovation and investment by internet providers, with benefits for all. I am preparing a Commission initiative to secure this effective consumer choice in Europe.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • A time for silence

        I hate my perpetual optimism about our government. Aaron was buried on the tenth anniversary of the time that optimism bit me hardest — Eldred v. Ashcroft. But how many other examples are there, and why don’t I ever learn? The dumbest-fucking-naive-allegedly-smart person you will ever know: that guy thought this tragedy would at least shake for one second the facade of certainty that is our government, and allow at least a tiny light of recognition to shine through, and in that tiny ray, maybe a question, a pause, a moment of “ok, we need to look at this carefully.” I wasn’t dumb enough to believe that Ortiz could achieve the grace of Reif. But the single gift I wanted was at least a clumsy, hesitating, “we’re going to look at this carefully, and think about whether mistakes might have been made.”

      • ‘I Have a Dream’ Posted in Defiance of Copyright for Internet Freedom Day

        As Friday is one year since the Internet blackout against the Stop Online Piracy Act, some Internet activists are marking the date by declaring “Internet Freedom Day.”

      • Ahimsa: Sita Sings The Blues Now CC-0 ‘Public Domain’

        A few years ago I started thinking about taking a vow of non-violence: a commitment to never sue anyone over Knowledge (or Culture, Cultural Works, Art, Intellectual Pooperty, whatever you call it). Copyright law is hopelessly broken; indeed, the Law in the US is broken all over the place. Why would I resort to the same broken law to try to fix abuses that occur within it?

      • Kim Dotcom on Mega, Hollywood, the internet and copyright enforcement – video
      • Senator John Cornyn Asks Eric Holder To Explain DOJ Prosecution Of Aaron Swartz

        While we’ve seen some politicians in Congress speak out about the prosecution against Aaron Swartz, for the most part, it had been the “usual crew” of folks who had formed the core of the anti-SOPA alliance — Reps. Lofgren, Issa and Polis. That’s great, but it also made it unfortunately easy for some to dismiss their complaints. However, it appears that this may be getting bigger.

      • The Six Week Delay in the Swartz Investigation

        As I noted, the same day that Aaron Swartz resubmitted his FOIA on Bradley Manning’s treatment, the Secret Service got a warrant to search most of the hardware captured on the day he was arrested (a USB on his person and a laptop and hard drive found elsewhere on MIT’s campus), as well as his home (and they subsequently got a warrant to search his office at Harvard).

      • Was Aaron Swartz’ Effort to FOIA Bradley Manning’s Treatment Why DOJ Treated Him So Harshly?

        I have shown earlier how, during the period when the Grand Jury was investigating Swartz, Swartz was FOIAing stuff that the prosecutor seems to have subpoeaned as part of a fishing expedition into Swartz. I have also shown that a FOIA response he got in January 2011 suggests he may have been discussed in a (presumably different) grand jury investigation between October 8 and December 10, 2010. And Jason Leopold has also pointed to some interesting coincidences in Swartz’ FOIAs.

      • The Prosecution of Aaron: A Response to Orin Kerr

        He had co-written a basic RSS spec the year before, when he was 14. He was to go on to play a fundamental role in Creative Commons. When you now search for stuff online, using its legal status as a search prerequisite, not just a text query (Physics textbook, available to use or share, even commercially) you are doing something that Aaron’s volunteer work helped to enable. People talk of him now as some kind of Data Liberation activist, which he certainly was, but principally he was and is one of the great architects of the commons, a builder, as Dave Weinberger stresses, not just a hacker — though hacker, of course, is actually a name that programmers wear with pride. The guy who invented the World Wide Web had this to say about him. “Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep.”

      • Aaron Swartz
      • Hacktivism: Civil disobedience or cyber crime?

01.18.13

Links 18/1/2013: CentOS 5.9, Linux Revenge For The Netbook

Posted in News Roundup at 9:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Company-led Projects: Liferay

    Having been writing about commercial open source for years, I finally decided to start a new blog category at SourceForge blog to cover the business side of open source. I’ll be posting on SourceForge blog interviews to people who can tell us stories about how they combine open source and business at SourceForge blog, and I’ll comment on them here.

    Bryan Cheung, Liferay’s cofounder and actual CEO, while sharing his experience about how Liferay grew its project into a product provided me with additional information.

  • The future’s bright, the future’s open source Orange

    France Telecom-Orange’s development center in San Francisco has joined the Open Compute Project (OCP) with the aim of to benefitting from its community.

    The Open Compute Project Foundation is a community of engineers whose openly stated mission is to design and enable the delivery of the most efficient server, storage and datacentre hardware designs for scalable computing.

    NOTE: The OCP says that it believes that openly sharing ideas, specifications and other intellectual property is the key to “maximising innovation and reducing operational complexity” in the scalable computing space.

  • Open Source: where does the money go?

    It seems we are not alone in being curious about how the growing number of open source businesses are making revenue.

    Kirk Wylie, of OpenGamma, has written this blog post to answer a question that he probably gets asked several times a day. In a nutshell, it seems that commercial clients of OpenGamma need a range of services to tailor OS software to their needs, services that sometimes, an open community cannot provide (Kirk will be speaking at CEO Tales: Open Source Business Models on the 6th February if you want to ask him more detailed questions).

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Minion: Mozilla’s New Community-Driven Security Testing Framework

        This week, we reported on Mozilla’s plans, in upcoming versions of Firefox, to launch Firefox Health Report (FHR) — a prototype Firefox feature that enables users to optimize their Firefox configurations and get reports on Firefox’s status similar to the kinds of diagnostic information that many cars provide. At the same time, these reports will help Mozilla tune Firefox based on information culled from the reports about causes for performance problems and more.

      • Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich Gets an Expanded Role (and it’s about time!)

        I’ve had the good fortune to talk to many CTOs as part of my day-to-day job as a tech journalist over the last decade here at InternetNews. One thing that I can say for certain is that the role of CTO is a varied one and the definition of what a CTO is or does is not definite.

        At some organizations, the CTO is a technical cheerleader and a product evangelist. In other organizations, the CTO is the person that actually leads and directs development. In the case of Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich, he is now set to combine the best of all CTO worlds.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Toxic Cloud Computing, and How Open Source Can Help

      There are so many parts to the institutions running the European Union that it’s easy to lose sight of them all and their varied activities. For example, one of the lesser-known European Parliament bodies is the Directorate-General for Internal Policies. You might expect the studies that it commissions to be deadly dull, but some turn out to be not just highly interesting but hugely important.

    • OpenStack Cloud Training: Here Comes Generation Y
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Linux 5.9 Is Out, Carries Unbreakable Kernel 2

      Version 5.9 of Oracle Linux, the company’s incarnation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.9, is now available. This release also ships with Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 2.

    • LibreOffice 4 call hails new branding artwork

      The members of the Document Foundation, the organisation behind LibreOffice called to the larger open source community to submit artwork to be used as the new branding with the release of LibreOffice 4, which is due early in February 2013. LibreOffice itself was forked from OpenOffice back in January 2011 and the latest release candidate of version 4 was released on 10 January 2013. Early adopters can test the release candidate by downloading the package from the LibreOffice website.

    • OpenOffice Writer English Grammar Checkers
  • CMS

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • True Cost Of Open Source Storage Software

        Open-source storage software is software that is available for download, typically at no cost, that can provide valuable data services to traditional storage hardware. These services include features we have grown accustomed to, such as thin provisioning, snapshots and cloning. Prior to open-storage software, these services typically came with the storage array that you purchased and were specific to that vendor’s products. Open-source storage software offers the advantage of letting you use commodity storage hardware.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Linux founder talks open-source

      He doesn’t buy DVDs, doesn’t use Windows or Mac OS laptops and doesn’t use closed-source commercial software. He is not on Facebook and has never owned a car.

      But he isn’t a Luddite or computer illiterate. In fact, he loves technology and the Internet. At one point, he hoped the Internet would stop censorship around the world.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • GitHub passes 3 million users milestone

      GitHub, the code sharing site based around Linus Torvald’s distributed version control system Git, has announced that the service now has over three million registered users. The commercial service, which was founded in 2008, reached the one million user milestone in September 2011 and, less than a year later, in August 2012, the company reported reaching two million users. That GitHub has reached this third milestone in under half a year shows both its, and Git’s, rapidly rising popularity with developers.

    • jQuery Plugin Registry launched
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open standards drive needed in risk-averse public sector says govt Digital Director

      Public sector organisations need to quicken adoption of open source and open standards software in order to meet government aims for digitising services, Cabinet Office Director for Digital Mike Bracken has said.

      Speaking at the Government ICT conference in London this week, Bracken warned that a bigger push is needed in order to introduce a wave of digital services during this parliament, including digitising hundreds of thousands of transactions across government.

      Last November departments were told they must comply with Open Standards Principles (OSPs) in order to enable interoperability and reduce costs. However Bracken said more needs to be done to open the doors to innovative technologies that will enable a swift IT transformation.

    • Open standards drive needed in risk-averse public sector says govt Digital Director

      Public sector organisations need to quicken adoption of open source and open standards software in order to meet government aims for digitising services, Cabinet Office Director for Digital Mike Bracken has said.

Leftovers

01.17.13

Links 17/1/2013: Kite HD Debut, Open Access Debate Continues

Posted in News Roundup at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 Best Open Source Programs Ever

    Open-source programs refers to the programs whose source code made available and licensed so that anyone has rights to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.

  • Swartz’s open source cause

    Since his suicide, friends and admirers have cast free-information activist Aaron Swartz as a martyred hero hounded to his death by the government he antagonised.

    One newspaper columnist – whose piece on Swartz was accompanied by a photo showing him at his computer, his head encircled by a golden halo – even compared him to an internet-age Martin Luther King Jr.

    But those closest to the 26-year-old Swartz say the hacker prodigy wasn’t out to be a hero.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Health Reports Headed to Firefox

        Do you use the same browser across multiple devices? Have you ever been perplexed at how, say, a particular version of Firefox might offer perfect, fast performance on one computer, but the same version is pokey and prone to crashing on another comparable computer? Most browser users are familiar with these conundrums.

      • Firefox OS App Day announced for developers
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Fellowship interview with Anna Morris

      Anna Morris is co-founder of FLOSSIE conference for women in Free Software, Manchester Fellowship Group Deputy Coordinator, and Co-Director of ethical-pets.co.uk. She is currently writing a book on video editing with Free Software, and volunteering with Document Freedom Day 2013 in her spare time.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • VMware Joins Open Source Software Institute

      Within the virtualization world, VMware (NYSE: VMW) can hardly claim to be more friendly to open source than competing platforms such as KVM and Xen. Nonetheless, the company has signed on as a leading member of the Open Source Software Institute (OSSI), a trade organization dedicated to promoting open source solutions in government. Is this a sign of renewed commitment to open source by VMware, or a more mercenary move by the company to protect its slice of the open source market? Here are some thoughts.

      VMware’s relationship with the open source community is a complex one. Most core commercial VMware products are not open source, but the company does maintain some open source tools. In addition, most of its virtualization solutions support Linux as well as proprietary operating systems. Still, now that open source virtualization platforms have matured to become as feature-rich and robust as many of VMware’s tools—and are also available for free—the company faces an increasingly difficult market within the open source space.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Ignorance: Old Trout Puppet Workshop used ‘open-source’ process

      Attending an adult puppet show about the evolution of human happiness created by a collective from Alberta may not be your idea of a fun way to spend an evening. But the Old Trout Puppet Workshop could alter your perspective. Their latest show, Ignorance, is witty, imaginative, and asks the big questions while indulging in loopy child’s play, some of it moderately X-rated.

    • Facebook, Intel, & Rackspace get more open-source than ever with new designs
    • Rackspace Announces Open Source Datacenter Strategy

      Rackspace launched the industry’s first OpenStack powered cloud platform of compute, storage and networking in 2012.

    • Open Access/Content

      • It’s time for transparency

        A far more urgent task for a government which has promised ”a new era” of openness would seem to be determining why the system is in such turmoil and sending an unequivocal message about what is expected of the public service. And acting to abolish those application fees wouldn’t hurt either.

      • To Make Open Access Work, We Need to Do More Than Liberate Journal Articles

        In the days since the tragedy of Aaron Swartz’s suicide, many academics have been posting open-access PDFs of their research. It’s an act of solidarity with Swartz’s crusade to liberate (in most cases publicly funded) knowledge for all to read.

        While this has been a noteworthy gesture, the problem of open access isn’t just about the ethics of freeing and sharing scholarly information. It’s as much — if not more — about the psychology and incentives around scholarly publishing. We need to think these issues through much more deeply to make open access widespread.

  • Programming

    • Google Wants LLVM To Mainline x32 ABI Support

      The Google Native Client (NaCl) team is looking to upstream some of their LLVM changes such as support for Software Fault Isolation (SFI). As part of pushing forward the changes for Native Client in LLVM, they’re also looking to see mainlined the x32 ABI support. X32 is the Application Binary Interface that looks to take advantage of common x86_64 CPU features like increased CPU registers and more instruction set extensions while using 32-bit pointers.

      David Sehr of Google, part of their Native Client team, wrote a new mailing list thread on Tuesday about upstreaming x32 ABI support inside LLVM. What the NaCl team would like to work on next with their LLVM upstreaming is the x32 ABI portion, “our ABI is dependent on the existence of an ILP32 ABI on x86-64. The conventions we rely on are the same as those developed for the x32 effort, and we propose that the community begin reviewing changes to implement the x32 ABI.”

    • Software Development in the Obama Campaign

      A cobbled-together team of 40 developers built 200 apps in the cloud that could scale from hundreds to millions of users in minutes — and managed to meet their deadline with no major failure.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • North Korea accused of hacking South Korean newspaper

      South Korea has accused North Korea of carrying out a series of cyber attacks on the web sites of South Korean government and financial institutions over the past few years. North Korea denies the allegations. A few days before the cyber attack on the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, North Korea had threatened to stage a “military attack” on the newspaper company and other media firms in Seoul. The threat came after controversial media reports were published about a children’s festival in Pyongyang.

    • Java Security Madness
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Delivery for Mr. Assange (if not trojaned by spooks)

      A parcel containing a camera is sent to Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London through the Royal Mail. Through a hole in the parcel, the camera documents its journey through the postal system.

    • Assange’s mum calls for counter protest

      CHRISTINE Assange says a British student organising a protest against her son is unwittingly aiding the misuse of rape allegations as a political weapon.

      Simone Webb is gathering support for a January 23 rally at Oxford University to coincide with a video address by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the exclusive institution’s Union.

    • Punishment Before Trial: More Than 1,000 Days and Counting

      The punishment of Bradley Manning goes directly against the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s own laws, namely Section 813 article 13, which basically states, “No punishment before trial.” This law was obviously broken. People in this country are entitled to a “speedy trial,” which is normally between 100 and 120 days from the date of the crime. Bradley Manning has been incarcerated for more than 1,000 days before his trial has begun and even a United Nations investigation confirmed that Manning was being held in inhumane conditions that was tantamount to torture.

    • Judge limits Manning’s whistle-blower defense, pretrial confinement nears 1,000 days
  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs And The Big Hedge Funds Are Pushing Leverage To Ridiculous Extremes
    • Revolution for Income Equality (blog)

      The transitions from feudalism and other pre-capitalist economic systems to modern capitalism have always and everywhere been celebrated for bringing a new epoch of human history. Freedom, democracy, and equality were the hallmarks of those celebrations. The French Revolution of 1789 raised the slogan of liberte, egalite, fraternite. The US has long celebrated its capitalism for producing a vast “middle class” that permanently overcame previous societies’ tendencies toward extreme inequalities of wealth and income. Yet the recent decades-long rise in such inequalities inside most capitalist economies has led many today to see in capitalism not the enemy but rather the cause of rising economic inequality. Here we take up that argument and move it a step further to show how a transition to workers self-directed enterprises is a necessary change to solve the problem of rising economic inequality. Our thesis is that the many well-intentioned efforts over the last century to overcome extreme inequalities of wealth and income failed because they left intact the capitalist system with its inherent tendency to produce economic inequality.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Vietnam admits deploying bloggers to support government

      Vietnamese propaganda officials have admitted deploying people to engage in online discussions and post comments supporting the Communist Party’s policies.

      The party has also confirmed that it operates a network of nearly 1,000 “public opinion shapers”.

    • Dennis Kucinich Joining Fox News

      Throughout his career in Congress, Dennis Kucinich has marked himself as somewhat more than a mouthpiece for left-leaning liberal counterpoints. But in his new job as contributing Fox News analyst, that’s pretty much what he’ll be.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Paperless medical records : where’s the privacy protection?

      oday’s announcement from the Health Secretary that all patient medical records will be held in electronic form by 2018 has grabbed some headlines, but the underlying privacy risks seem to have been given short shrift.

      Paperless records is a nice soundbite but the change creates significant privacy risks. The Department of Health needs to be absolutely clear who will hold our medical records, who can access them and reassure patients that their privacy will not be destroyed in another NHS IT blunder.

    • Justice Department Keeps GPS Tracking Legal Opinions Secret

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has received what it considers to be two key memos, which indicate how the Justice Department views when it can and cannot legally track Americans with GPS tracking devices. The memos requested after the ACLU sued the department in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request are both heavily redacted to the point where it makes it pretty much useless that the Justice Department released them.

    • Secret Government Document Reveals: German Federal Police Plans To Use Gamma FinFisher Spyware

      The German Federal Police office has purchased the commercial Spyware toolkit FinFisher of Eleman/Gamma Group. This is revealed by a secret document of the Ministry of the Interior, which we are publishing exclusively. Instead of legitimizing products used by authoritarian regimes for the violation of human rights, the German state should restrict the export of such state malware.

      In October 2011, German hacker organization Chaos Computer Club (CCC) analyzed a malware used by German government authorities. The product of the German company DigiTask was not just programmed badly and lacking elementary security, it was in breach of German law. In a landmark case, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled in 2008 that surveillance software targeting telecommunications must be technologically limited to a specific task. Instead, the CCC found that the DigiTask software took over the entire computer and included the option to remotely add features, thereby clearly violating the court ruling.

    • Planet Blue Coat: Mapping Global Censorship and Surveillance Tools
    • Spies on the corner

      A quick Google search for IntelliStreets shows that the company has attracted the attention of activists who are worried that these lighting products represent a kind of spy tool, and a spooky public monitoring system that would strip citizens of their right to privacy and bolster law enforcement activities.

  • Civil Rights

    • Obama re-election ‘not objective’ – Russian monitors
    • Uzbek Cotton Slavery Campaign

      I am delighted that a new canpaign has started today against the state enforced child slavery in the uzbek cotton industry, especially as this campaign originates in Germany, where a significant portion of society appears to have finally woken up to the reality of the German government’s appalling complicity in the Nazi style regime and atrocities of Karimov.

  • DRM

    • Pharma Companies Try ‘DRM’ For Drugs As A Ploy To Stymie Generics

      One of the striking features of the drug world is how pharma companies become noticeably more inventive immediately before their patents are due to run out and their drugs are about to enter the public domain. That’s because they need to find a way to differentiate themselves from the generic manufacturers that are then able to offer the same medicines for often vastly lower prices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann: accountability for prosecutorial abuse
      • MIT’s Role as Described in Aaron Swartz’s October Motion to Suppress ~pj

        It portrays MIT as the core problem in this tragedy. In fact, there are claims that it was actually MIT who was breaking computer laws. Because not only did Aaron Swartz have JSTOR guest visitor privileges on MIT’s completely open network, it claims, but once MIT discovered Aaron’s laptop, all it had to do was disconnect it from the network and hold it, according to the filing. If Aaron showed up to claim it, they could tell him that they felt he was excessively downloading and to cut it out. And that could have been all there was to it. Instead, MIT contacted the police and the rest is the tragedy that ensued.

      • Aaron Swartz’s Politics
      • Dear Aaron Swartz, Please Save Me From Your Followers. Amen.

        In a freak legal accident straight out of the movie Brazil, Swartz, amidst his hacktivism, managed to download a bunch of free academic articles from a freely accessible website, an act which inexplicably angered somebody in the academic sausage-grinder. Then, like so many hacktivists before him and so many hacktivists that will come after him, the government proceeded to pursue Swartz as their target as this decade’s lottery-selected cybercrime scapegoat.

      • Reddit founder’s dad: Son ‘killed by government’

        The two fathers’ anguished comments came as criticism continued to mount against U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who has refused to comment. A citizen’s petition at Whitehouse.gov calling for her ouster topped 33,000 signatures last night — 8,000 more the threshold needed for an official response. A White House official said the petition is being reviewed. Ortiz and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann are under fire for what critics call an overzealous prosecution of Swartz. The reddit.com co-founder was facing more than 30 years in prison on charges of hacking into MIT computers to freely post academic papers held by a subscription service.

      • New ‘Aaron’s Law’ aims to alter controversial computer fraud law
      • TOWARDS LEARNING FROM LOSING AARON SWARTZ: PART 2

        The CFAA is incredibly broad and covers swaths of online conduct that should not merit prison time. To point out that under the CFAA, Aaron’s defense was hard is not to say that I believe Aaron was guilty. Aaron was authorized to access JSTOR as a result of being on MIT’s campus. The CFAA may protect the box from unauthorized access, but it does not regulate the means or the speed of access. If you are allowed to download, and Aaron was, then it is not a crime to download really, really fast. Even if the server owner would prefer you took your time.

      • A Sad Irony: The Federal Judiciary’s PACER Pricing Is Illegal

        Most people have never heard of PACER, and those who have might not have heard of it prior to the press coverage surrounding Aaron Swartz’s untimely death on January 11th. PACER is the federal judiciary’s database of all federal court cases. It includes information on civil, criminal, and bankruptcy cases. All of the information in PACER is public.

        But it is not free. That is why Aaron was trying to download it—because he was savvy enough to understand the importance of access to information in the justice system at a remarkably young age, without being a lawyer—and because the Administrative Office of the Courts never suspected that someone like him would take incredible advantage of a short trial period in 2008 when the per-page pricing suddenly dropped to zero at a few locations nationwide.

      • “Aaron’s law,” Congressional investigation in wake of Swartz suicide

01.16.13

Links 16/1/2013: Kororaa 18 Coming, Embedded Linux Conference Videos

Posted in News Roundup at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • The MS OS/2 2.0 fiasco: PX00307 and DR-DOS

    There are many anti-trust exhibits and other articles on the MS OS/2 2.0 fiasco and how it went from the original SDK released at the end of 1989 to “Microsoft Munchkins” and other unethical attacks that was worse than the Joint Development Agreement between IBM and Microsoft (where they worked on OS/2 together) ever was, which is part of why it took 10 years after Intel introduced the 386 before 32-bit programming became popular.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Hollywood’s Waterboard: Review of the CIA’s “Zero Dark Thirty”
    • John Brennan- The CIA -Zbigniew Brzezinski- Columbia University and Obama

      Brezinski was deeply involved in the U.S. aspects to support Osama Bin Laden against the Russians in Afghanistan.

    • CIA has list of greatest hits

      Let’s start with the CIA’s 1953 coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, whose democratically elected government had nationalized the country’s oil industry. It couldn’t be oilier, involving BP in an earlier incarnation, the CIA, British intelligence, bribery, secretly funded street demonstrations and (lest you think there’d be no torture in the film) the installation of an autocratic regime that went on to create a fearsome secret police that tortured opponents for decades after. All of this was done in the name of what used to be called “the Free World.” That “successful” coup was the point of origin for just about every disaster and bit of “blowback” — a term first used in the CIA’s secret history of the coup — in U.S.-Iranian relations to this day. Many of the documents have been released, and what a story it is.

    • Saved by the CIA

      That the CIA became the star: Is this art or entertainment?

    • CIA Drone Wars Protested at CIA
    • Group Protests at CIA Headquarters

      The Dolley Madison Boulevard entrance to CIA Headquarters was rendered impassable the morning of Saturday, Jan. 12, as more than three dozen people in orange prison jumpsuits and black hoods over their heads lined up to protest actions taken by the intelligence agency in recent years.

      #Members of Witness Against Torture planned the rally, their third at the CIA headquarters in recent years. In addition to the protesters in prison garb, others gathered to speak and pass out information about the activities they’re against.

      #”I wish this is something we could do every day, that would shut this place down,” said Jack McHale of Burke, who had been fasting for the past week as part of the group’s protest.”

    • CIA Nominee John Brennan Draws Fire From Civil Liberties and Human Rights Advocates
    • Murder Inc.: Obama Names Head of Drone Assassination Program to Lead CIA

      In an April 30 speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, he claimed that the drone strikes were legal under the Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the all-purpose pseudo-legal justification for war crimes and violations of the US Constitution used repeatedly by the Bush administration.

    • CIA drones have already killed at least 40 since the start of the year
    • $190 million drone coming to Australia
    • The Fake Catch-22 of Drone War Apologists

      The “substance” behind the criticism is, among other things, the fact that the specific drone war Obama is running is utterly lacking in transparency; bereft of adequate Congressional oversight; deadly to an unknown number of people; indefensible in its broad definition of militants; making enemies of countless foreigners, and killing “countless” innocent men, women and children. How does one literally acknowledge all those facts and then call the case of drone critics “substanceless”? The scary thing is that I think I actually know the dubious answer.

      [...]

      They’ve created for themselves a fake Catch-22.

    • Seven short stories about drones told through Twitter
    • Teju Cole: Seven short stories about drones
    • LETTER: Drones killing innocent people

      The use of drones by the U.S. to drop deadly explosives on innocent women and children in Pakistan and Afghanistan is a continuing abomination that has no place in a civilized society. These war crimes, which do nothing but create thousands of additional enemies for us, are carried out in secrecy and hidden for the most part from news broadcasts. If the people of this country could see with their own eyes the horrors being inflicted on these poor people who have never done anything against us, they would be outraged and demand that these actions end immediately.

  • Cablegate

    • Deafening Global Silence On Julian Assange – OpEd
    • Attack on Assange reveals a poor grasp of facts

      I doubt whether Henderson knows anything about Assange’s accusers’ political views. And would Henderson be putting pen to paper to criticise Assange if he was a right-wing blogger? No mention of the significant differences between the British and Swedish justice systems. Nor about the very different definitions of rape in Sweden.

      Henderson loves his left-wing conspiracy theories.
      David Hicks in my view was no left-winger but people supported him for his being denied justice in a military hell hole for five years. Nothing to do with his politics.

      Henderson’s claim that the absence of supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy early on a cold Sunday morning suggested ”his celebrity status was diminishing” was plain silly.

    • WikiLeaks pretrial hearing focuses on trial delays

      An Army private charged with sending U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks contends that lengthy delays have violated his right to a speedy trial.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs’ Bankers Bonus Tax Dodge ‘Depressing’ – BoE’s Mervyn King

      Goldman Sachs bankers delaying their bonus payments to avoid higher income tax rates have been condemned by Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King.

      King lashed out at the unconfirmed plans by Goldman in an appearance at the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee alongside other senior BoE staff.

    • Hitting the Debt Ceiling is Much Worse Than a “Government Shutdown”

      In recent days I’ve been tweeting critically about Republican leaders’ use of the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations. Someone asked me “In your world, how will spending ever get cut?”

      It’s a good question. I share Republicans’ (and most Americans’) concerns about our unsustainable long-term budget outlook, and so I can certainly see why people would see the GOP’s tactics as a reasonable response to a serious problem. To understand why I think the Republicans’ approach is illegitimate, it’s important to distinguish the kind of garden-variety government shutdown that occurred during the Clinton administration (and almost happened in April 2011) from what would happen if the United States government reached the debt ceiling, as it almost did in August 2011 and might do in February or March of this year.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Freedom to Innovate Network – an ‘Astroturf’ Organisation

      Modern politics is often dominated by single-issue groups and parties, as recently seen in the UK with the fuel protests. This is seen by many as a counter to the power which big business wields, often overriding elected governments

      Needless to say, big businesses are well aware of this and have tried on several occasions to use the same technique for their own ends.

  • Privacy

  • Intellectual Monopolies

01.15.13

Links 15/1/2013: Fedora 18 Released, Net Neutrality at Risk in France

Posted in News Roundup at 8:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

01.14.13

Links 14/1/2013: Desktops Market in Demise, Aaron’s Eulogies

Posted in News Roundup at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Found: Blueprint for a computer-literate India

    IIT Bombay professor, Kannan M Moudgalya and his team have been documenting and creating tutorials for free open source software available on Linux to popularise it in India’s schools and colleges. Hassan M Kamal visits the lab to find out more

  • Desktop

    • Review: Google Chromebook for 30 Days

      A Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Chromebook has arrived at The VAR Guy’s doorstep. Starting January 14, our resident blogger will live on the cloud-centric notebook (running Google’s Chrome OS) for 30 days. Why should channel partners, businesses and consumers care about this niche (but promising) form factor? Here are 10 points The VAR Guy hopes to cover during his real-world, month-long review.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 6th January 2013
      • KDE Workspaces and Applications 4.10 on live images courtesy of openSUSE

        The 4.10 release for the KDE Development Platform, Workspaces and Applications is drawing nigh… as you may have read, there is now an additional release candidate in order to test some last-minute changes.

      • Alien tip: Volume change percentages in KDE

        I have felt frustrated at times, when I press the Volume Up/Down buttons on my keyboard and the sound volume in KDE becomes just too loud, or just too soft. When you are running the KDE desktop, the increments in volume change are controlled by KMix, the KDE mixer. By default, the sound volume changes with increments of 4% which means that with a few keypresses you go from almost inaudible sound to full blast. And there is no way to change that 4% increment value into something more fitting… pretty annoying.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Settings!

        Those of us who work on GNOME design have been busy with all kinds of things recently. One major area of activity has been settings (aka System Settings, aka GNOME Control Center). In total, we have produced designs for four new panels (search, notifications, privacy, and sharing) and we have redesigned four of the existing panels (power, network, display, and date & time). Some of these have already been implemented, some are being developed on, and a few more are waiting for coders to get involved.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Snowlinux 4 “Glacier” Mate Review: Fast, light and customizable

        I have been a fan of Snowlinux for quite sometime and their Debian spins have always been exceptional – Lightweight, fast and very customizable. The new year release of Snowlinux 4, codenamed “Glacier” is no exception. Based on Debian Wheezy, it has Mate 1.4 as the default desktop environment and uses Linux kernel 3.5.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu At CES

            On Sunday last weekend I flew out to CES to join the rest of my colleagues to exhibit Ubuntu at the show. We were there to show the full range of Ubuntu form-factors that we have available; desktop, TV, Ubuntu for Android, and most recently, Ubuntu for phones.

          • ‘RC Mini Racers’ December’s Top Selling Ubuntu App
          • Ubuntu Phone OS Follow-up: Jono Bacon Answers YOUR Questions!

            At CES 2013 on Wednesday, I managed to corner Jono Bacon, Ubuntu’s Community Manager, for a few minutes and ask him some of the questions I saw popping up over and over again in the comments section of the Ubuntu Phone OS demonstration video I posted earlier this week. Hope you enjoy his responses!

          • Ask Ubuntu’s About Page Gets A Face Lift

            A common problem we have on Ask Ubuntu is people assuming that it’s just “another forum” and not quite grasping the concept of how the site works. Today Stack Exchange has rolled out a new About page that helps to curb this issue and educate new users with a quick start on how to use the site. You can view this page by clicking “About” at the top of the Ask Ubuntu website.

          • Mark Shuttleworth punts Ubuntu Phone OS at CES 2013

            South African millionaire and Canonical boss, Mark Shuttleworth, announced during a “virtual keynote” on 2 January 2012 that a version of the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system (OS) would be coming to smartphones.

          • The new entrants in mobile OS segment

            The smartphone ecosystem today has two dominant players: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems. A late entrant, Android, has been quick to catch up with iOS and the Open operating system only seems to be surging ahead.

            Given the success of Android, many other Open Source paradigms are being floated, most notably the Free and Open Source projects Firefox (of browser fame) and Ubuntu that are re-making their debut this year in the commercial smartphone segment. Together, these projects that have been successful in the technology segments they currently operate in could perhaps help break into the combined monopoly of Apple and Google in the smartphone segment.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Bodhi Linux 2.2.0 Review: Better than ever bleeding edge Ubuntu LTS!

              A bit high CPU usage aside, Bodhi 2.2.0 is a remarkable improvement over Bodhi 2.1.0, undoubtedly. Enlightenment 17 never looked so enticing on any other Linux OS and Bodhi never looked so attractive. I am sure the high CPU usage will get resolved in an update or two. Even with high CPU usage, Bodhi is buttery smooth to use, runs super fast, provide all essential functionalities and has a rich repository. Further, presentation and offline mode are two utilities which increase the functionality of the distro.

              Moreover, Bodhi is always ahead of even Ubuntu 12.10 in terms of providing the latest of the Linux packages and softwares. Even this release is not an exception and provides the latest Linux kernel and softwares to the users without compromising on stability, and possibly, one of the reasons for me to like Bodhi Linux and why any Linux enthusiast should try Bodhi out. It is truly bleeding edge Ubuntu LTS!

              I definitely rate this release of Bodhi as the best one I have seen for any E17 Linux OS. If you are looking for a lightweight distro, look no further than Bodhi Linux 2.2.0, possibly one of the best releases of 2013.

            • elementary OS luna: First impressions

              In the world of Linux distributions, it’s fairly easy to get lost trying to figure out which “flavor” of Linux fits you best. As the user, you have a plethora of desktop interfaces, default apps, package managers, and bundled services to choose from. This can be a major barrier for someone new to Linux, and an endless journey for a veteran user who hasn’t yet found their “perfect” distro. For either type of user, there’s a new distribution in town that can meet their needs: elementary OS.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Rumour: LG Stops Nexus 4 Production?

          More bad news for Nexus 4 fans who have still not got their hands on this stunning device. LG is playing the spoilsport this time and is rumoured to stop the production of Nexus 4 to give way for its future products.

          It has always been tough to book a nexus 4 for yourself with the purchase screen most of the time showing the “SOLD OUT” status. We can either assume that Nexus 4 demands were too huge to provide a constant supply or the production of the phone was flawed and could not meet the demands.

      • Android

        • Android Appliances at CES 2013

          Are you ready to hack your fridge? I expected Android-powered home appliances to have a higher profile at CES this year than they did. But still, a few manufacturers were carrying the torch for smartening up devices in your home, and trying to provide some solid reasons for you to buy them, like energy savings.

          The flashiest Android appliance at CES was definitely Dacor’s Android-powered oven, which automatically programs itself according to recipes selected from a tablet.

        • Ubuntu for smartphone Vs Google Android Jelly Bean Vs Apple iOS 6

          Along with the rapid changes in hardware, phone market is also to witness to some auspicious changes in software field in coming months. Many more new OS platforms are to join the fray. Two major new arrivals are expected to be Mozilla’s Firefox OS and Canonical’s Ubuntu for phone. The Linux-based Ubuntu for mobile has been officially announced by its maker Canonical now. It has been in news for almost a year and it is to get the first device sometime this year.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Windows 8 Means Buy (Another) New Computer

    I’m sure no one is surprised that upgrading to a new version of Windows means tossing out your old computer and buying a new one. That’s pretty much par for the course for any Windows upgrade.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Imagine N.Y. without fracking

      My husband, John Lennon, and I bought a beautiful farm in rural New York more than 30 years ago. We loved the tranquility and beauty of the area. Our son, Sean, spent many precious days there growing up. Our family still enjoys it now.
      Like the rest of our state, this peaceful farming community is threatened by fracking for gas. Giant pipelines, thousands of tractor-trailer trucks ripping up roads, loud air compressors, air pollution — and most of all, the certainty of poisoned drinking water.
      Certainty is the right word, according to the engineers, as the wells drilled for fracking will leak. According to industry documents from the gas drilling giant Schlumberger and other studies, 6 percent of the wells leak immediately, and over 60 percent of them leak over time. And no wonder they leak — the pressures of the earth thousands of feet under the ground cracks the cement well casings. The big variations in temperature along the well at various depths expand and contract the cement until it cracks and leaks.

  • Finance

    • The Welfare Bill: A government of millionaires just made the poor poorer – and laughed as they did it

      A brutal assault from ideologically-crazed demagogues comes down to this: you have been mugged and therefore your less deserving neighbour should be mugged too.

    • SEC Gives JP Morgan and Other Big Banks License to Manipulate Commodities

      An SEC action that appears likely to do considerable harm to companies and individuals in the US and abroad appears to have gone completely unnoticed, save for an important piece in The New Republic by Linda Khan.

      [...]

      The SEC is undermining provisions in Dodd Frank calling for the CFTC to rein in undue speculation in critical commodities. Readers may recall that commodities prices moved up in a coordinated manner in 2008. It looked like a speculative bubble, and was, since prices collapsed in the second half of the year (we were pretty sure that oil was a bubble, and called it and even traded it well; there was similar behavior in other commodities, but bad harvests and ethanol subsidies made the price rises arguably influenced by fundamentals in the grains complex).

    • Wall Street thanks you for your service, Tim Geithner

      The collapse of Lehman Brothers, a second major investment bank, started a run on the three remaining investment banks that would have led to the collapse of Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs if the Fed, FDIC, and treasury had not taken extraordinary measures to save them. Citigroup and Bank of America both needed emergency facilities established by the Fed and treasury explicitly for their support, in addition to all the below market-rate loans they received from the government at the time. Without this massive government support, there can be no doubt that both of them would currently be operating under the supervision of a bankruptcy judge.

      Of the six banks that dominate the US banking system, only Wells Fargo and JP Morgan could conceivably have survived without hoards of cash rained down on them by the federal government. Even these two are questionmarks, since both helped themselves to trillions of dollars of below market-rate loans, in addition to indirectly benefiting from the bailout of the other banks that protected many of their assets.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • FreedomWorks Putting Its War Chest to Work for ALEC’s Anti-Union Agenda in the States

      The Tea Party-affiliated group FreedomWorks — the right-wing organization that helps connect “Tea Party” groups with talking points, rallies, and more — is gearing up to direct its sizeable war chest towards advancing anti-union initiatives in the states, supporting an agenda set by groups like David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). This strongly suggests that the battle for the future of private and public sector unions in America is beginning a new phase of combat.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Fight Over French ISP Blocking Ads Really Just A New Perspective On Net Neutrality Debate

      At the beginning of the year, some folks in France, who used the popular ISP Free (whose name is a bit misleading, as it is not, in fact, free), discovered that the company had started providing a service in which it blocked all internet banner ads. There was no whitelist. It was either all or nothing (and if you went “all,” you were trusting that it wouldn’t over-filter). This quickly raised an awful lot of questions — with the biggest among them being “can they do that?” According to the French Digital Economy minister, the answer apparently is no. Free was quickly told to turn off its ad blocking software.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Aaron Swartz commits suicide

        The accomplished Swartz co-authored the now widely-used RSS 1.0 specification at age 14, was one of the three co-owners of the popular social news site Reddit, and completed a fellowship at Harvard’s Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption. In 2010, he founded DemandProgress.org, a “campaign against the Internet censorship bills SOPA/PIPA.”

      • RIP, Aaron Swartz

        My friend Aaron Swartz committed suicide yesterday, Jan 11. He was 26. I got woken up with the news about an hour ago. I’m still digesting it — I suspect I’ll be digesting it for a long time — but I thought it was important to put something public up so that we could talk about it. Aaron was a public guy.

        I met Aaron when he was 14 or 15. He was working on XML stuff (he co-wrote the RSS specification when he was 14) and came to San Francisco often, and would stay with Lisa Rein, a friend of mine who was also an XML person and who took care of him and assured his parents he had adult supervision. In so many ways, he was an adult, even then, with a kind of intense, fast intellect that really made me feel like he was part and parcel of the Internet society, like he belonged in the place where your thoughts are what matter, and not who you are or how old you are.

        [...]

        Somewhere in there, Aaron’s recklessness put him right in harm’s way. Aaron snuck into MIT and planted a laptop in a utility closet, used it to download a lot of journal articles (many in the public domain), and then snuck in and retrieved it. This sort of thing is pretty par for the course around MIT, and though Aaron wasn’t an MIT student, he was a fixture in the Cambridge hacker scene, and associated with Harvard, and generally part of that gang, and Aaron hadn’t done anything with the articles (yet), so it seemed likely that it would just fizzle out.

        Instead, they threw the book at him. Even though MIT and JSTOR (the journal publisher) backed down, the prosecution kept on. I heard lots of theories: the feds who’d tried unsuccessfully to nail him for the PACER/RECAP stunt had a serious hate-on for him; the feds were chasing down all the Cambridge hackers who had any connection to Bradley Manning in the hopes of turning one of them, and other, less credible theories. A couple of lawyers close to the case told me that they thought Aaron would go to jail.

      • Prosecutor as bully

        Since his arresting the early morning of January 11, 2011 — two years to the day before Aaron Swartz ended his life — I have known more about the events that began this spiral than I have wanted to know. Aaron consulted me as a friend and lawyer that morning. He shared with me what went down and why, and I worked with him to get help. When my obligations to Harvard created a conflict that made it impossible for me to continue as a lawyer, I continued as a friend. Not a good enough friend, no doubt, but nothing was going to draw that friendship into doubt.

        The billions of snippets of sadness and bewilderment spinning across the Net confirm who this amazing boy was to all of us. But as I’ve read these aches, there’s one strain I wish we could resist…

        [...]

        But all this shows is that if the government proved its case, some punishment was appropriate. So what was that appropriate punishment? Was Aaron a terrorist? Or a cracker trying to profit from stolen goods? Or was this something completely different?

        Early on, and to its great credit, JSTOR figured “appropriate” out: They declined to pursue their own action against Aaron, and they asked the government to drop its. MIT, to its great shame, was not as clear, and so the prosecutor had the excuse he needed to continue his war against the “criminal” who we who loved him knew as Aaron.

      • Tech world mourns suicide of Aaron Swartz: Internet folk hero dead at 26

        The Internet activist committed suicide in New York on Friday. He was 26. “The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true,” Swartz’s attorney Elliot R. Peters confirmed in an email to The Tech, which broke the news.

        Swartz is being remembered today for co-authoring RSS code at age 14. He created DemandProgress.org to campaign against SOPA/PIPA and the website theinfo.org. In July 2011, he was arrested for stealing some four million academic documents from JSTOR, a nonprofit digital archive.

      • Aaron Swartz, Precocious Programmer and Internet Activist, Dies at 26

        Aaron Swartz, a wizardly programmer who as a teenager helped develop code that delivered ever-changing Web content to users and later became a steadfast crusader to make that information freely available, was found dead on Friday in his New York apartment.

      • Remembering Aaron Swartz

        It is with incredible sadness that I write to tell you that yesterday, Aaron Swartz took his life. Aaron was one of the early architects of Creative Commons. As a teenager, he helped design the code layer to our licenses, and helped build the movement that has carried us so far. Before Creative Commons, he had coauthored RSS. After Creative Commons, he co-founded Reddit, liberated tons of government data, helped build a free public library at Archive.org, and has done incredibly important work to reform and make good our political system. (DemandProgress.org, his most recent org, was instrumental in blocking the SOPA/PIPA legislation one year ago.)

      • Official Statement from the family and partner of Aaron Swartz (Remember Aaron Swartz

        Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.

      • Naming and shaming a bully
      • The inspiring heroism of Aaron Swartz
      • Remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz.
      • The Truth about Aaron Swartz’s “Crime”

        The facts:

        MIT operates an extraordinarily open network. Very few campus networks offer you a routable public IP address via unauthenticated DHCP and then lack even basic controls to prevent abuse. Very few captured portals on wired networks allow registration by any vistor, nor can they be easily bypassed by just assigning yourself an IP address. In fact, in my 12 years of professional security work I have never seen a network this open.
        In the spirit of the MIT ethos, the Institute runs this open, unmonitored and unrestricted network on purpose. Their head of network security admitted as much in an interview Aaron’s attorneys and I conducted in December. MIT is aware of the controls they could put in place to prevent what they consider abuse, such as downloading too many PDFs from one website or utilizing too much bandwidth, but they choose not to.
        MIT also chooses not to prompt users of their wireless network with terms of use or a definition of abusive practices.
        At the time of Aaron’s actions, the JSTOR website allowed an unlimited number of downloads by anybody on MIT’s 18.x Class-A network. The JSTOR application lacked even the most basic controls to prevent what they might consider abusive behavior, such as CAPTCHAs triggered on multiple downloads, requiring accounts for bulk downloads, or even the ability to pop a box and warn a repeat downloader.

      • Farewell to Aaron Swartz, an extraordinary hacker and activist
      • MIT president calls for “thorough analysis” of school’s involvement with Swartz

        Less than 48 hours after Aaron Swartz’s tragic suicide, the institution involved in his high-profile JSTOR incident (that eventually lead to federal charges) has issued a statement.

        MIT President Rafael Reif e-mailed the members of the university community this morning to address the situation, despite Swartz never having a formal affiliation with the school. Reif emphasized he was compelled to comment not only because of MIT’s role in the JSTOR incident, but also because Swartz was beloved by many within the MIT community. The president’s tone was clear throughout: “It pains me to think that MIT played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy.”

      • MIT to conduct internal probe in wake of Aaron Swartz’s suicide
      • Family blames US attorneys for death of Aaron Swartz
      • Copyright Vampires Attempt to Suck the Lifeblood Out of Fair Use Video

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