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12.19.14

Another Microsoft Partner Markets Linux FUD Using Logo, Name, and Lies

Posted in FUD, Microsoft, Red Hat, Security at 12:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The great power of lies and gullible journalists

Christmas lights

Summary: Microsoft’s partner Alert Logic is trying to label a feature of Linux a security flaw and even makes marketing buzz for it

IF A reporter or two can be bamboozled into printing a lie (digitally distributing it), this can lend some credibility/legitimacy to the lie and then it is possible that the lie will spread and be echoed in other reports. Hence the importance of this matter.

“They are trying to change perceptions around Free software security.”Several journalists have already rebutted something that I debunked some days ago when I first saw some nonsense about “Grinch” with a suitable “marketing” image. Here is one rebuttal among a few:

The Grinch flaw was reported by Stephen Cody, chief security evangelist at Alert Logic. Cody alleges that the Grinch flaw enables users on a local machine to escalate privileges. Leading Linux vendor Red Hat, however, disagrees that the Grinch issue is even a bug and instead notes in a Red Hat knowledge base article that the Grinch report “incorrectly classifies expected behavior as a security issue.”

The original security researcher that reported the Grinch found that if a user logs into a Linux system as the local administrator, the user could run a certain command that would enable the user to install a package, explained Josh Bressers, lead of the Red Hat Product Security Team.

“Local administrators are trusted users,” Bressers told eWEEK. “This isn’t something you hand out to everybody.”

We believe it was Joab Jackson (IDG) who first gave a platform to the Microsoft partner (Alert Logic) that used marketing buzz and a lie against Linux, soon to be rebutted by Red Hat. I had contacted Mr. Jackson, who later told me that he posted a follow-up (or correction).

Jackson’s correction may have come too late as we saw the lie spreading to a few other news sites later on (thankfully not too many sites). Here is one example of garbage ‘reporting’ (FUD and lies), generated by the FUD firm with with a catchy name, sort of logo etc. (generated by a Microsoft partner we might add). Apart from Jackson’s piece we saw at least 3 more such articles (which came afterwards). How many are going to post a correction? How many articles will be withdrawn? How many follow-ups will be published? Tumbleweed. Silence.

It is usually Windows that has zero-days during Christmas, not GNU or Linux. There was recently other nonsense with a name, claiming to be a flaw when it was actually some other malware (potentially developed by the Russian government) that users actually have to install (not from repositories) to be infected by. It was akin to a phishing attack, but it was widely used in the press (even in IDG, Jackson’s employer) to characterise GNU/Linux as insecure.

Remember what the Microsoft-connected firm did with "Heartbleed" (the name it made up with a promotional logo). It’s all about marketing and hype. They are trying to change perceptions around Free software security. What matters is what people remember, not the truth. This is all about discouraging users or buyers.

A reader has alerted us about this article from Armenia . “Note the job title of the ‘softer,” he said. Here is the relevant portion:

Armenia’s Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan received Microsoft Corporation’s Regional Director for Public Safety/National Security/Defense Robert Kosla.

Joke or real? It sounds like a joke, but they are definitely not joking. Armenia talks to the NSA’s biggest partner and back doors-loving company about ‘security’, so seeing the job title from Microsoft is truly hilarious! Microsoft is good at insecurity and lies, not security.

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

05.03.14

The Debate About Software Patents is Still Dead Because Large Corporations Killed It

Posted in IBM, Law, Patents, Red Hat at 7:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pheasants

Summary: Corporate overloads have successfully shot down any chance of attaining freedom for software developers

HAVING spent about a decade of my life fighting against software patents, it is just too hard to let the cause go. I sometimes revisit relevant news sites and blogs, hoping to find some relevant coverage, parliamentary action, activism, etc. Over the past year or so this has been a depressing exercise because on people’s lips there’s no longer (or rarely) the goal of eliminating software patents. Companies like Google joined the ranks of IBM and are now hiring patent lawyers, acquiring software patents, and so on. I had warned managers at Google about it and their responses to me were largely defeatist. The SCOTUS, which historically is just a plutocrats’ tool for authorising the plutocrat’s will, continues to support the USPTO’s patent maximalism (the USPTO is headed by corporations such as IBM).

There is no substantial bill seeking to truly reform the patent system and those which exist, including corresponding press coverage, are focusing on trolls, costs, and other side issues. The EFF, which once upon a time promised to fight against software patents, recently hired some more lawyers whose articles on the matter tend to be a waste of time (and whose focus is truly bizarre, misguided at best). Here is one new example, the latest of many that we covered last year:

The Supreme Court heard oral argument today in another patent case, Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc. In this case, the Court considers what to do when one party performs some steps of a patented method and another party performs the remaining steps. Specifically, Akamai wants to hold Limelight liable for patent infringement even though its customers perform one of the steps of the patent (i.e. four steps are performed by Limelight, one by the customers). The Federal Circuit had ruled for Akamai and effectively held Limelight responsible for the actions of its customers.

But that’s not the point. The point is, patents like these should be out of scope, it doesn’t matter who performs which action, who pays for litigation, who the plaintiff is, and so forth. Even Red Hat, which takes pride in “Open Source” (not so much in freedom) focuses on “trolls” in this latest post on the topic:

Patent trolling—the aggressive assertion of weak or meritless patent claims by non-practicing entities—is a frequent target of disdain from open source enthusiasts. Thus it may be of some comfort to readers that the highest court in the US has recently decided the issue is worth looking into. Three cases have already been heard, but decisions are, as usual, still a ways off.

When even entities like the EFF and Red Hat waste their efforts (if not hijack the voice of patents opposition) trying to tackle the wrong question it seems clear that activists against software patents (that’s software developers, both free/libre and proprietary) are pretty much alone. We oughtn’t expect corporations, corporate press or even politicians to help our cause. They don’t understand, they don’t care, and if they care, then it’s not because they want to see software patents abolished. IBM is probably one of the worst pretenders; unlike Microsoft, it also tries to convince us that it’s on our side and many people fall for it.

04.02.14

Red Hat Should Keep Its Distance From NSA Facilitator Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Red Hat, Security, Windows at 6:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dragonfly

Summary: Criticism of Red Hat’s increasing proximity to some of the very same bits of proprietary software which are accompanied by back doors (for the NSA)

THE DANGERS of Microsoft are very real, as a former foe of Microsoft, Novell, helped prove. Five years ago Red Hat consented to playing an active part in Microsoft VM hosts, despite knowing (even back then) about Microsoft’s relationship with the NSA, which meant that VMs running RHEL would be accessible (to the NSA) from the back door, Microsoft Windows.

There are many back doors in Windows and therefore in Hyper-V, which sits on top of Windows (back doors further down the stack). Microsoft tells the NSA about these back doors. To give the latest example of back doors, see this new report [2] which says: “Nearly 30 days after reports of a zero-day flaw being exploited in the wild, Microsoft will finally patch this critical vulnerability.”

Relying on Microsoft for technology means that one should also expect and accept back doors. A reader showed us this new article, claiming that “Mono [is] infecting Android,” but it’s not just Android. Even Red Hat is now making such mistakes, in addition to hiring from Microsoft for management of virtualisation. Based on [2,3], Red Hat now accommodates Microsoft .NET applications, despite them being proprietary and potential back doors. A week or so ago some speculated that Microsoft might buy Red Hat (one day) [4,5] and yesterday we found the article “Why Microsoft Will Pick Off Red Hat” (logic of investors, not technical people).

Microsoft is now knowingly abandoning hundreds of millions of Windows users, leaving them with permanent back doors [6,7], so why should Red Hat trust Microsoft .NET applications or anything that comes from Microsoft, including Hyper-V? Articles like [8-10] remind us that in GNU/Linux the main flaw is human error (not changing default passwords or not applying patches, which Red Hat is making easier to apply without any downtime [11]).

The bottom line is, Red Hat’s relationship with the NSA withstanding, it oughtn’t connect too much to Microsoft components like .NET and Hyper-V because these constitute back doors that jeopardise security of GNU/Linux users.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft to Fix an Internet Explorer Zero-Day Flaw
  2. Red Hat Adds Microsoft .NET to Its OpenShift PaaS
  3. A Red Hat stunner: ‘Miccosoft .NET apps on OpenShift’ Yes, you read correctly

    On Wednesday, Working with Uhuru Software, Red Hat is now incorporate a rival Microsoft product – .NET – to its three-year-old OpenShift platform-as-a-service. Really? Red Hat even published a blog to explain what’s going on to those who might find the concept a bit unbelievable.

    Chris Morgan, the OpenShift Partner Ecosystem Technical Director for Red Hat, wrote the blog – and even he acknowledged the incredulity of it all that something from Microsoft, which for years has been an enemy of Red Hat, Linux and Open Source, would be incorporated into OpenShift.

  4. An Indecent Proposal: Microsoft and Red Hat?
  5. Reviews, Indecent Proposal, and Ubuntu Graduation

    Today brings two new reviews. Jesse Smith reviews Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 in today’s Distrowatch Weekly and Jamie Watson posts his latest hands-on. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols says folks don’t care about operating systems anymore. Matt Hartley has a few suggestions for those ready to graduate from Ubuntu. All this and more in tonight’s Linux news review.

    Jesse Smith tested the latest LMDE in this week’s Distrowatch Weekly. He found a few bugs but Smith says it “lives up to its description” of having “rough edges.” With all its “nasty surprises” Smith suggests folks just stick with the Ubuntu-based version of Mint. But see his full review for all the details.

  6. Perspective: Microsoft risks security reputation ruin by retiring XP

    A decade ago, Microsoft kicked off SDL, or Security Development Lifecycle, a now-widely-adopted process designed to bake security into software, and began building what has become an unmatched reputation in how a vendor writes more secure code, keeps customers informed about security issues, and backs that up with regular patches.

  7. Positive Feedback: M$ Uses XP To Publish The Insecurity Of Using That Other OS
  8. Flaws In People And Their Software
  9. Red Hat Risk Reflex (The Linux Security Flaw That Isn’t)

    News headlines screaming that yet another Microsoft Windows vulnerability has been discovered, is in the wild or has just been patched are two a penny. Such has it ever been. News headlines declaring that a ‘major security problem’ has been found with Linux are a different kettle of fish. So when reports of an attack that could circumvent verification of X.509 security certificates, and by so doing bypass both secure sockets layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) website protection, people sat up and took notice. Warnings have appeared that recount how the vulnerability can impact upon Debian, Red Hat and Ubuntu distributions. Red Hat itself issued an advisory warning that “GnuTLS did not correctly handle certain errors that could occur during the verification of an X.509 certificate, causing it to incorrectly report a successful verification… An attacker could use this flaw to create a specially crafted certificate that could be accepted by GnuTLS as valid.” In all, at least 200 operating systems actually use GnuTLS when it comes to implementing SSL and TLS and the knock-on effect could mean that web applications and email alike are vulnerable to attack. And it’s all Linux’s fault. Or is it?

  10. Linux Bugs, Bugs Everywhere

    “We are seeing a lot of crypto bugs surfacing lately because these libraries are suddenly getting a lot of review thanks to Snowden’s revelations,” suggested blogger Chris Traver. “I think one has to separate the crypto bugs from others because they are occurring in a different context. “From what I have read about gnutls, though, it seems to me that this is probably the tip of the iceberg.”

  11. Introducing kpatch: Dynamic Kernel Patching

    In upstream development news, the kernel team here at Red Hat has been working on a dynamic kernel patching project called kpatch for several months. At long last, the project has reached a point where we feel it’s ready for a wider audience and are very excited to announce that we’ve released the kpatch code under GPLv2.

03.14.14

Fedora News: Fedora 21 Features, Fedora 20 Updates, and Ojuba

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 4:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

03.07.14

Red Hat Joins the Joke Which is Amazon’s ‘Secure’ Federal ‘Cloud’

Posted in Red Hat, Servers at 10:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another Red Hat move which puts citizens’ data in the hands of unaccountable spies and their corporate partners/accomplices

Amazon, which is a very special partner of the CIA* (we gave dozens of references before in order to highlight this), has already earned Ubuntu some tough words and a snub from the EFF, FSF, as well as many others (nongroups). For Red Hat to play buddies with Amazon makes little or no sense. Amazon not only does many disgusting things (to customers, staff, externalities) but it also pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux, including RHEL. Like with Azure (as we explained repeatedly before), putting any computational resource on Amazon ‘clouds’ is like handing it all over to the NSA (for surveillance, interception, interference, censorship, modification leading to framing, and so on). Red Hat is said to have joined some nonsense programme that involves AWS [1-4], marketed as “secure” and “federal”. Who is this secure from? The Federal government of the United States? Surely not, unless of course you happen to be the government itself. The whole thing sounds so dodgy and it won’t give Red Hat much credibility now that Red Hat’s relationship with the NSA [1, 2, 3] is debated in some circles (it was last mentioned in an article from Sam Varghese earlier this week).

Making things even worse, Red Hat makes an approach [5] towards something which resembles Mono and promotes Microsoft APIs. This is not a wise move, for reasons that we are going to deal with in the next post.

Red Hat’s CEO speaking of himself as a “great leader” (without saying so directly) in Red Hat’s self-serving Web site that’s now treated as a news site by Google News [6]. Some say that Red Hat is a one-of-a-kind [7], but if Red Hat leans towards the NSA, puts customers’ data on Microsoft-taxed and NSA-eavesdropped ‘clouds’, hires executive staff from Microsoft and even promotes/spreads .NET and Hyper-V (which provides an NSA back door into GNU/Linux guests through Windows hosts**), then maybe it’s better to promote alternatives to Red Hat as a flag bearer and GNU/Linux leader. Red Hat recently found itself in somewhat of a scandal involving OpenStack [8-10] while it also formed OpenStack partnerships [11-15]. Red Hat really can do and should do more to embrace and disseminate freedom, not cages like AWS. Red Hat’s middleware business is a good example of this [16,17] as business (as in revenue/sales [18], like IBM's) becomes the top priority, even when Red Hat makes public appearances [19,20].

Perhaps what we need now is more strength for community projects like Arch and Debian. They, unlike Red Hat, don’t share a bed with malicious companies that violate users’ rights.
____
* The CIA was, just earlier this week, found to be illegally spying on government officials that act as watchdogs.

** Proprietary virtualisation software is the issue here. VMware is not much better because it’s run by former Microsoft executives (Microsoft is the top NSA partner) and is owned by EMC, which also runs RSA, the NSA’s notorious back doors partner.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. AWS launches Red Hat Enterprise GNU/Linux in AWS GovCloud (US)
  2. Red Hat Enterprise GNU/Linux now on Amazon’s GovCloud
  3. Red Hat Courts Government Customers with GNU/Linux for AWS GovCloud
  4. Red Hat GNU/Linux now available on Amazon’s secure federal cloud

    If you’re a government worker and have been wanting to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux securely on your Amazon cloud, it’s your lucky day. The popular open-source operating system is finally available on Amazon Web Services.

  5. Red Hat brings Microsoft .NET Apps to its OpenShift cloud

    Uhuru was founded just over two years ago by veteran ex-Microsoft executives: former vice president Jawad Khaki and former general manager Jawaid Ekram. They are self-proclaimed experts in bringing Windows to Open Source PaaS.

  6. Great leaders are comfortable with who they are

    Over the last 25 years of my career—from serving as a partner at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), to my time at Delta Air Lines, to my current role as president and CEO of Red Hat—I’ve been exposed to my fair share of leaders. I’ve learned that leaders and leadership styles can vary greatly depending on the company culture, industry and size, but there’s one commonality I’ve noticed among all of them: to be effective, leaders must be respected.

  7. A Formula for Launching the RedHats of the Future

    The bottom line, therefore, is that in order for the model promoted by Levine to succeed, it’s predicated on the existence of underlying projects that achieve the balance of benefits that I alluded to above. Without the right scope of opportunity, sufficient success in recruitment, and abundant skill in execution, there will be no more RedHats emerging from this new model than the last. But where this methodology is understood and followed, not only will such opportunities emerge, but they will do so with far greater predictability than in the past.

  8. Piston OpenStack 3.0 Arrives, Focused on Private Clouds
  9. GNU/Linux Ebb & Flow, Red Hat Oops, and Chakra Reviewed

    There’s rarely a dull moment when looking through Linux newsfeeds. Today we find Jesse Smith has reviewed Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.02. LinuxInsider.com looks at why distributions gain popularity then disappear. And finally, The Register covers a bit of convention confusion between Red Hat and cloud newcomer Piston.

  10. The importance of a community-focused mindset

    Piston, an Openstack-in-a-box vendor[1] are a sponsor of the Red Hat[2] Summit this year. Last week they briefly ceased to be for no publicly stated reason, although it’s been sugggested that this was in response to Piston winning a contract that Red Hat was also bidding on. This situation didn’t last for long – Red Hat’s CTO tweeted that this was an error and that Red Hat would pay Piston’s sponsorship fee for them.

  11. Red Hat Increases its Focus on OpenStack Partnerships

    Red Hat originally made a name for itself as the only U.S.-based public company exclusively focused on open source, as it has proved that its Linux-focused strategy could be very profitable. But the company’s future is increasingly being tied to cloud computing and OpenStack in particular. This week, Red Hat marks two years of collaborating with contributors and developers on key OpenStack.org projects “to bring OpenStack from a project to a product.”

  12. Red Hat Enterprise GNU/Linux OpenStack Platform Leveraged by Alcatel-Lucent, CloudBand ™ as Part of Its Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Platform
  13. Alcatel-Lucent to deploy Red Hat Enterprise GNU/Linux OpenStack Platform
  14. Alcatel-Lucent deploys Red Hat Enterprise GNU/Linux platform

    Red Hat, a provider of open source solutions announced that Alcatel-Lucent deployed Red Hat Enterprise GNU/Linux OpenStack platform based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), as the common platform for its Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) solution, CloudBand.

    “Alcatel-Lucent specifically chose Red Hat Enterprise GNU/Linux OpenStack Platform for use in managing CloudBand Nodes, the turn-key, all-in-one compute, storage and network node system that interfaces with the CloudBand Management System, along with any other OpenStack-enabled nodes,” the company said.

  15. Alcatel-Lucent Embraces OpenStack, as Network Function Virtualization Efforts Expand

    A key part of the overall solution is Alcatel-Lucent’s Cloudband technology which is the company’s NFV platform that provides the server, storage and networking infrastructure with the Cloudband Node. Cloudband also includes management and orchestration functionality to deploy and manage network functions deployed on the infrastructure.

  16. Red Hat Launches a 3-fer for Enterprise BPM Users

    Red Hat’s new JBoss BPM Suite is in part the result of its 2012 acquisition of Polymita, noted 451 Research analyst Carl Lehmann. The addition of that technology and other new features brings Red Hat’s BPM offering on par with other BPM suites and “gives Red Hat some competitive differentiation in the market,” he said. “I think they did a pretty good job there.”

  17. Red Hat’s Polymita acquisition to spawn new products

    That’s according to a Red Hat spokesperson who gave me some additional insight into a press conference that the Raleigh-based open source software company will hold on Tuesday at 11 a.m. to announce new products in middleware.

  18. Red Hat Executives Named 2014 CRN Channel Chiefs
  19. Red Hat to Webcast Middleware Press Conference on March 4
  20. Videos From Red Hat’s DevConf.cz Conference Now Online

    Videos from the DevConf.cz conference that happened earlier this month in Brno, Czech Republic, are now available online from the Red Hat focused event.

Fedora 21 Release Just 7 Months Away

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Red Hat’s Fedora 21 will come out in the middle of October, according to a newly-published schedule

AFTER much anticipation and speculation [1] it turns out that the next release of Fedora will be in late autumn, some time in the middle of October [2]. Phoronix, which recently wrote some in-depth analysis (with a lot of links) about Fedora, also explained how Mesa 10 packages were made available for Fedora 20 [3].

The nice thing about the Fedora project, as we pointed out before, is not only its insistence on free/libre graphics drivers but also extensive work on such drivers. Without Fedora we would all be losing a lot.

Fedora does not need to look ‘ugly’ or ‘not polished’ (it got this reputation some years ago when poor releases were made). Fedora has no consistent ‘face’ because it’s highly customisable and unlike Ubuntu (which demotes “alternative” desktops/themes) it comes in several very different ‘flavours’ [4] which are all managed and distributed (as equal) by Red Hat. Fedora 20 looks like a solid option and half a year from now we will see another fine release of Fedora, which is always getting better. I have used many release of Fedora over the years and I was always mostly satisfied.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Fedora 21′s Schedule Is Closer To Being Figured Out

    Fedora.Next is bringing lots of changes as the longstanding distribution seeks to effectively remake itself and move forward with greater vigor. When it comes to this next major distribution update, Fedora 21 already has lined up support for non-KMS drivers to be abandoned, other old GPU support removal, out of the box OpenCL support, Wayland support improvements, Hawkey usage, and many other changes, besides simply having updated upstream open-source Linux packages.

  2. Fedora 21 Being Planned For Mid-October Release

    The next Fedora Linux release is being postponed until October since if shipping in August they are left midway between GNOME 3.12 and 3.14. GNOME 3.14 will be released by late September and thus if shipping in mid-to-late October would allow time for a fresh GNOME 3.14 desktop to be incorporated into the release. October/November release targets have also been what’s long been sought after by Fedora (among other distributions) for nailing close to the GNOME release time-frame and other software projects.

  3. Mesa 10 Packages For Fedora 20

    While Fedora 20 is looking to land GNOME 3.12 as a stable release upgrade, the developers normally shipping a bleeding-edge Linux graphics stack haven’t sent down any stable release updates for the much-improved Mesa 10 drivers. Fortunately, there’s some unofficial choices.

  4. The Flat Owl Linux Desktop

    Lifehacker reader Royale with Cheese has a sharp-looking flat desktop that looks like OS X at first glance. It’s actually Fedora 20, and it’s smooth as butter. Here’s how he set it up.

Debian’s Importance is Growing

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Updates and news from the Debian camp, focusing on the silent or lesser-acknowledged role of this international project in computing

Linux Mint, which does not come with Amazon spyware (unlike Ubuntu, which fell behind Mint in DistroWatch), seems to be leaning more and more towards Debian with this new release [1] which was reviewed some hours ago (in the publication sense) [2] and surely has momentum [3]. Even the release candidate (RC) [4] received such coverage [5] (mind the UEFI ‘secure’ boot rant), proving that there is definitely some interest from users (Jim Lynch’s/IDG’s sensationalist headline merely links to screenshots like these [6]).

Debian recently added OpenRISC support [7,8] (Debian is perhaps best known for huge hardware diversity) and there is a new project for better security [9] (think of it like SELinux, except intervention of the criminal NSA, which wants back doors in Linux [1, 2, 3, 4]). Red Hat's Systemd may not be the only option [10], but we don’t know for sure yet. Someone needs to continue to offer alternatives to Systemd. Debian is very important with its many new derivatives [11], role in hardware [12] and embedded domination [13] (bar Android and closed Linux-based systems), hence the importance of its decision on init systems.

A strong Debian (and derivatives like Ubuntu) acts as an essential regulating force in the face of Red Hat/CentOS domination; lack of diversity, history teaches, limits security and increases vulnerability.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Mint Debian 201403 released!

    The team is proud to announce the release of LMDE 201403.

  2. Debian, Mint (LMDE), SolydX and Tanglu, compared and contrasted

    The four distributions obviously have a lot in common; Debian is well known as one of the oldest, best established and most respected Linux distributions, Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is derived from Debian, with a lot of the goodies which have been developed for the Linux Mint ‘main’ distribution added, and both SolydXK and Tanglu are derived from a combination of those two plus a good bit of work in packaging, repositories, updates, appearances and such.

  3. Are there enough users for Linux Mint Debian Edition to survive?

    The Linux Mint blog is reporting that Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 has been released. LMDE is a semi-rolling distro that is based on Debian Testing. It is a good alternative for those who want the features of Linux Mint without having to use Ubuntu as its base.

  4. Linux Mint Debian 201403 RC released!

    We look forward to receiving your feedback. Thank you for using Linux Mint and have a lot of fun testing the release candidate!

  5. Hands-on with Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 release candidate

    The installation was absolutely routine with the exception of the well-known difficulty with UEFI firmware configuration on the HP Pavilion. There was even good news on that system, though, because the very difficult wi-fi adapter (Ralink 3290) seems to work just fine.

  6. Linux Mint 201403 Debian Cinnamon
  7. Debian for OpenRISC
  8. Debian Ported To OpenRISC Architecture
  9. Debian Mempo Still Aiming For Better Security

    Mempo is a project started in H2’2013 that’s been trying to provide a secure yet robust Debian platform that currently classifies itself in a “pre-alpha” state. Mempo is patching Debian packages with better security and privacy, providing newer versions of packages than what’s found in Debian, using a hardened “GrSecurity” Linux kernel, and is working to support other work in and outside of Debian.

  10. Debian TC Won’t Pass Resolution Over Init System Coupling

    Since the Debian technical committee decided they will use systemd over Upstart, the latest vote on their agenda was over init system coupling and how Debian developers maintaining packages should deal with different init systems or what guidance the technical committee should send to these package maintainers.

  11. A look at Tanglu 1.0 ‘Aequorea Victoria’ GNOME

    Tanglu is a fairly young project and perhaps has flown under the radar somewhat. The 1.0 release is a major milestone for the distribution, which is based on a mixture of Debian Testing, Debian Unstable and in some cases even Debian Experimental.

  12. Debian 7: PCI Serial, at last
  13. Tiny ARM/FPGA Zynq COM does Debian

    PLDA has launched an SODIMM-like computer-on-module claimed to be the smallest Xilinx Zynq COM yet, supported with a carrier board and Debian Linux BSP

03.04.14

Skype Chief Executive Quits Microsoft Amid NSA Scandals

Posted in Red Hat at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A day or so after Yahoo was revealed to have been used to illegally spy on users’ webcams the former Skype chief executive resigns (effective immediately)

SOMETHING TRULY ugly is happening at Microsoft. Not only did Microsoft collude with the criminal NSA but it also turned Skype into a surveillance machine. To make matters worse, Microsoft is now shamelessly hoovering up personal data from Windows PCs (article in German) and executives are fleeing (can anyone blame them?).

“Tony Bates, the former Skype chief executive and currently head of Microsoft’s business development, is to leave the company immediately,” says this article (titled “Microsoft Loses Two Top Executives”), “while Reller, co-head of Microsoft’s Windows unit, will stay on board during a transition period” (damage control).

Yesterday we wrote about Microsoft’s Kinect as a target of surveillance (mentioned in the context of Yahoo). It doesn’t get any worse, does it? Even video of people who use Microsoft products seems to be intercepted and saved, obviously against the law (millions are affected, so there is no reasonable suspicion). The timing of this immediate resignation is interesting to say the very least because it overlaps reports about Yahoo video chats as targets of interception and mass violations (GCHQ is said to have watched and probably recorded hundreds of thousands of innocent people masturbating). Based on previous leaks (about Skype), it is reasonable to say that Skype is not exempted from this and its violations are no different. We just haven’t seen enough documents about it (yet).

Meanwhile, as Sam Varghese notes [1], Red Hat is failing to exploit these scandals to its own advantage, perhaps because Red Hat too has something to hide [1, 2, 3].

It would be nice if more people started to appreciate Free software, at the very least because of privacy (which a lot of people understand and value).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux companies never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity

    It would be heartening to see James Whitehurst, the head of Red Hat Linux, the biggest commercial Linux outfit, and one that has seen billing go above the billion-dollar mark, deliver a speech at some official forum that underlined the fact that his company’s product – and that of other commercial Linux companies – provides a guarantee against the insertion of backdoors.

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