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Links 3/9/2015: Xiaomi's Linux Push, Calligra/Krita 2.9.7

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Special Exclusive: Q&A with Joyent CEO Scott Hammond
    So far, we have utilized open source as a model to innovate quickly and engage with customers and a broad developer community. SmartOS and Node.js are open source projects we have run for a number of years. In November of last year we went all in when we open sourced two of the systems at Joyent’s core: SmartDataCenter and Manta Object Storage Service. The unifying technology beneath both SmartDataCenter and Manta is OS-based virtualization and we believe open sourcing both systems is a way to broaden the community around the systems and advance the adoption of OS-based virtualization industry-wide.

  • Gandi Joins Open Source Initiative Corporate Sponsorship Program
    Sponsorship consolidates technical infrastructure and support for OSI’s web hosting and administrative systems.

  • Building efficiency software available as open source code
    A set of automated calibration techniques for tuning residential and commercial building energy efficiency software models to match measured data is now available as an open source code. The Autotune code, developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is available on GitHub.

  • ORNL-Developed Building Efficiency Software Now Available

  • Project Calico: Open Source, High-Scale Network Fabric For The Cloud
    Cloud developers and operators are facing a challenge: Much of the IT toolkit that has worked well for "silo" architectures and well enough for virtual machine environments isn't a good match for apps made using containers or for microservices, where components may be not just on different machines but in many locations, and instances may come, go, or multiply. Yesterday’s "network fabric" does not accommodate this activity efficiently or reliably.

  • The True Internet of Things
    For a clear and encouraging look at where this should be going, read Phil Windley. He not only writes eloquently about the IoT, but he has been working on GPL'd open-source code for things and how they relate. To me, Phil is the Linus of IoT—or will be if people jump in and help out with the code. Whether Phil fills that role or not, nobody has more useful or insightful things to say about IoT. That's why I decided to interview him here.

  • Events

    • Hello, Columbus: Ohio LinuxFest Up Next Oct. 2-3
      Next up on Brother FOSS’s Traveling Salvation Show — pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and everyone go — brings the proverbial tent and revival show to Columbus, Ohio, at the beginning of next month.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 46 Enters Beta with Flexible Animations, Optimized Image Loading
        After announcing the promotion of the Google Chrome 45 web browser to the stable channel on September 1, Google pushed earlier today, September 2, the Chrome 46 web browser to the Beta channel for testers worldwide.

      • Android developers can now build Chrome custom tabs into their apps
        Google released Chrome 45 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android yesterday, and today we’re learning that the Android update includes support for a new feature called Chrome custom tabs. You can download the new Chrome version now from Google Play, but you won’t see Chrome custom tabs right away — today’s news is primarily aimed at developers. That said, Google has partnered with a few apps already — Feedly, The Guardian, Medium,, Skyscanner, Stack Overflow, Tumblr, and Twitter will support custom tabs “in the coming weeks.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • How open-source MySQL keeps Eurovision live
      The European Broadcasting Union, one of the world’s largest broadcasting networks and the organisation behind the Eurovision Song Contest, has sought help to manage the open-source MySQL databases that power its online video and audio streaming services.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.0 review - Good stuff
      I woke up this morning babe, and the Internet was storming, inside of me. And when I get that feeling I know I need some LibreOffice testing. Yes. What happened was, I opened the browser, like, and I was, like, there's a new, like, LibreOffice, like, and it's a whole-number version. Yay.

      In all seriousness, LibreOffice 5.0 got me really excited. Yes, I know, it was an almost arbitrary increment of a minor version to a major one, much like Mozilla did with Firefox a few years back. Still, I totally liked the previous version, and for the first time in many years, it showed real, actual potential of being a viable alternative to payware solutions. Let's see in which direction this latest edition carries the good news and all that hope.

    • Is Office 365 really cheaper than going open source?
      The claim certainly generated plenty of headlines about the benefits of moving from OpenOffice to Office 365. However, it seems that, from the report, some of those savings are tied to the specific scenario facing the local authority in question, while others would diminish over time, as the bulk of the cost difference stems from estimates of lost productivity during years immediately after shifting to OpenOffice.

    • Should I switch from OpenOffice to LibreOffice or Microsoft Office? [Ed: yes, it's Microsoft Jack promoting Microsoft Office again]

  • Sleepy Puppy

  • Funding

    • Open Source’s money issue
      These past years -and months- we have had several examples how lack of funding can cut a project’s ability to develop, patch and maintain its codebase and by project I mean developers not getting adequate money, if no money at all, for what they do. There is really two sides to the same coin here. There’s the one where an entire industry re-uses entire FOSS stacks or components, sometimes without even acknowledging it licence-wise or even just in name. And there’s the other side, where the same industry will not compensate anyone upstream, because the license terms enables simple reuse and distribution of those software components.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD on Beagle Bone Black (with networking)
      I set out to run FreeBSD on my Beagle Bone Black (now dubbed “smurf” by the kids on account of it’s small and blue), for network services. My DSL modem is a crappy under-configurable thing, but I don’t dare to start hacking on it directly because it runs the telephony side of things, too. So I decided to use the Beagle Bone Black to take control of my home network.


  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Code ninjas earn "belts" with CoderDojo
      But where, one may ask, will we as a global workforce find the next generation of bright young programmers, hardware engineers, and system administrators? This is the problem being addressed—in part—by CoderDojo, an Ireland-based international organization of more than 700 coding clubs worldwide. By engaging young people ages 7-17 in informal, creative environments, independent clubs of youngsters can learn web and application development along with other opportunities to explore technology and learn what excites them. Volunteer adults lead the local clubs, called Dojos, and teams of mentors and helpers are working together to keep the Dojo active and healthy. The kids are usually referred to as Ninjas and can complete activities and earn belts as their skills grow, although most clubs are using color-coded USB bracelets to signify ranks.

    • Stupid RCU Tricks: Hand-over-hand traversal of linked list using SRCU


  • Hardware

    • Trackpoint falling off Page 10? NOT ON MY WATCH
      Sure, sure the mouse won on desktop and the trackpad won on laptop. IBM's magnificent Trackpoint is a tiny minority share of the pointer market on both, maybe even headed for extinction. Even Lenovo has been leaving it off some 'Thinkpads'.

    • Intel GPU memory bandwidth
      Two days ago, I commented I was seeing only 1/10th or so of the theoretical bandwidth my Intel GPU should have been able to push, and asked if anyone could help be figure out the discrepancy. Now, several people (including the helpful people at #intel-gfx) helped me understand more of the complete picture, so I thought I'd share:

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

      The planet of the trees has given way to the planet of the apes. The Earth has lost more than half of its trees since humans first learned how to wield the axe, scientists have found.

      A remarkable study has calculated that there are about 3 trillion trees on the planet today but this represents just 45 per cent of the total number of trees that had existed before the rise of humans.

      Using a combination of satellite images, data from forestry researchers on the ground and supercomputer number-crunching, scientists have for the first time been able to accurately estimate the quantity of trees growing on all continents except Antarctica.

  • Finance

    • Walmart and Walker: Always Low Wages
      What do Governor Scott Walker and Walmart have in common? They talk pay raises in public while cheating their workers of pay.

      When Walmart announced with great fanfare that it was boosting pay for frontline workers, CMD questioned the spin. After all, Walmart is regularly forced to pay back wages between 2007-2012 amounting to an astonishing $30 million according to a U.S. Senate report. This week, Bloomberg reported that Walmart is cutting hours for its workers, robbing many of the benefit of the recent pay hike.

    • The Great Wealth Transfer to the London Elite
      The Guardian has a fascinating piece on house prices which deserves to be read and studied in detail. In London in 2013 the median house price had reached 300,000 while the median salary was 24,600. House prices are 12.2 x salary. That means it is in practice impossible for working people, without inherited wealth, to buy a house.

      But the point is, that it should be equally impossible to rent a house. Landlords look for a rental return of approximately 6% of rental value. So that would put median rent in London at around 18,000 pa, which is a realistic figure. But nobody on a salary of 24,600 before tax can pay 18,000 pa in rent. So we should be at a stage where it is impossible for Londoners who have not inherited homes to live there at all.

    • UK welfare spending: how much does each benefit really cost?
      Benefit spending is constantly in the news but how much do we really know about where the benefits money goes in the UK?

      Well, we have collected the data as part of our annual analysis of UK public spending. It shows how benefit spending dominates the UK's budget each year - but it also breaks it down in detail.

      What it shows is that the Department for Welfare and Pensions is the biggest spending department in the UK - spending €£166.98bn in 2011-12, which is Of that huge sum, €£159bn was spent on benefits - an increase of 1.1% on the previous year. That is 23% of all public spending.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Did ‘Ferguson Effect’ Cause Murder Wave? No. Is There a Murder Wave? Unclear
      But there’s a more fundamental problem with the Times story than suggesting that criticizing police violence is (maybe) responsible for a rise in homicides: It’s not clear that the rise in homicides that the story is pegged to actually exists as a nationwide phenomenon.

      The evidence for this supposed murder wave seems to be the responses the Times got when it called police departments across the country. After the story’s lead detailed a rise in homicides in Milwaukee, the story continued: “More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ago.” That’s 30 out of a number that the New York Times does not disclose, making it a numerator without a denominator—though the story makes reference to the (steady) crime rate in Newark, which is the 69th largest city in the country, so depending on how thorough the Times‘ survey was, it’s possible that half or more of the cities it contacted did not report any increase in violence.

      And when the story rephrases the data, it’s clear that “increases in violence” is a flexible concept: “Yet with at least 35 of the nation’s cities reporting increases in murders, violent crimes or both, according to a recent survey, the spikes are raising alarm among urban police chiefs.” How many cities actually had a rise in homicides–the statistic that justifies the story’s lead about “cities across the nation…seeing a startling rise in murders”? Remarkably, the Times story doesn’t say.

    • Fox's Bill O'Reilly Accuses Jorge Ramos Of Enabling Murderers By Opposing His Proposed "Kate's Law"
      O'REILLY: Now, we want Kate's Law, which would say, if an aggravated felon -- someone convicted of an aggravated felony in the United States is deported and comes back, mandatory five year prison, can get more, all right, in a federal penitentiary. You support that?

      RAMOS: No. Because I don't think--

      O'REILLY: It's outrageous. It's outrageous.

      RAMOS: --you are approaching the problem in a global way. And this is a problem. I'm not here to be defend criminals.

    • Sean Hannity Calls Black Lives Matter A "Racist Group Threatening To Kill Cops And Kill White People"

  • Censorship

    • Twitter Suspends ‘Pirate’ Site Accounts Over Dubious Claims
      Twitter has suspended the accounts of two popular torrent and linking sites in response to dubious takedown notices. The accounts in question didn't link to any infringing material on Twitter, but were called out because their websites allow people to download pirated movies.

  • Privacy

    • HIV clinic data breach
      “EU needs to finish its work on data protection so that better enforcement and fines of 2% of turnover make this a board room issue for every organisation."

    • Top HIV Clinic Accidentally Reveals The Identity Of Hundreds Of Its Patients
      The e-newsletter, which contains the latest information about HIV services and treatment, is sent out monthly but normally the details of recipients are hidden. Instead the full list of recipients was visible, therefore revealing the fact that everyone in the address bar is HIV-positive. The clinic then sent an email trying to recall the original one, alerting patients to the mistake, before sending a further email apologising.

    • Judge: Rights of 'tens of millions violated' by NSA phone data program
      A federal judge, whose ruling against the National Security Agency's bulk collection of telephone data was overturned by an appeals court last week, maintained Wednesday that he believed the surveillance program violated the constitutional rights of "tens of millions of people every single day."

      With the case back in his court, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon urged conservative activist Larry Klayman to amend his challenge to the NSA program, suggesting that he would again rule to block the bulk collection before it expires Nov. 29.

    • Episode V: The Snoopers' Charter Strikes Back!

    • Three French NGOs Challenge French International Surveillance
      Today, the non-profit ISPs FDN and the FDN Federation as well as La Quadrature du Net announced the introduction of two legal challenges before the French Council of State against the Internet surveillance activities of French foreign intelligence services (DGSE). As the French government plans the introduction of a new bill on international surveillance, these challenges underline the need for a thorough oversight of surveillance measures.

  • Civil Rights

    • When the Politics Has to Stop
      There are times when political considerations must give way to the relief of immediate human suffering. The current refugee crisis is one of those times and the UK must take genuine refugees on the same scale as Germany, starting immediately.

    • 6 charts and a map that show where Europe's refugees are coming from - and the perilous journeys they are taking

      More migrants and refugees are arriving in Europe than ever recorded before as war, persecution and poverty continues to drive people from their homes - and the numbers are still rising.

      One in every 122 people in the world is currently either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum because the "world is a mess", according to the head of the UN’s refugee agency.

    • Germany raises estimate on refugee arrivals to 800,000 this year
      218,221 asylum applications filed in first half of 2015, and government more than doubles forecast for year from original 300,000

    • British public spreads 'refugees welcome' message online

      Yesterday's tragic images of a young Syrian boy washed ashore on a beach in Turkey have shocked many Britons into using social media to say that those fleeing war and persecution are welcome in the UK.

      People across Britain are calling on the government to address the plight of those trying to escape conflict in their home countries.

    • We asked David Cameron if Britain can do more to help refugees like Aylan Kurdi. His answer? 'We're doing enough'

      David Cameron has responded to photographs of a dead Syrian child washed up on a Turkish beach by telling The Independent that Britain is doing enough to help refugees.

      A string of politicians and charities have urged the Prime Minister to do more to improve the desperate plight of those fleeing war-torn countries, following The Independent’s publication of the powerful images of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi.

      Thousands have signed a petition calling on the Government to ensure the UK works with other European Union countries to set and welcome a quota of refugees.

      The pictures were sent to Downing Street, whose response suggests the Prime Minister is content the UK should not do any more to improve the ongoing crisis.

    • Jeremy Corbyn blasts David Cameron for 'wholly inadequate' response to refugee crisis after images of drowned Syrian child emerge

      Jeremy Corbyn has hit out at David Cameron over his "wholly inadequate" response to the Syrian refugee crisis, after the emergence of powerful images showing a dead child washed up on beach in Turkey.

      The Labour leadership front-runner said Britain was being "shamed by our European neighbours" by refusing to take in more than just a few hundred Syrian refugees and said we were failing in our duty under international law and "as human beings" to offer those fleeing conflict a place of safety.

    • Refugee crisis: David Cameron is placing himself on the wrong side of history
      Downing Street isn’t saying whether David Cameron has seen the photo of the little boy in the red shirt and the blue shorts. I’m not entirely sure why. Actually, the little boy is still wearing his shoes. I’ve only just noticed that. I think it’s his shoes that make it look like he’s only sleeping.

      Anyway, it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have to look at it. In fact, he shouldn’t have to. None of us should.

      There are lots of very difficult decisions you have to make as prime minister. Whether to go to war. When to make peace. Where the axe of austerity should fall. Where the hand should be stayed.
    • Houston, We Have a Problem: False Equivalencies on Police Violence
      Just as there is no moral equivalence of a rapist and the rape victim, there is none between the police and Blacks. It is nowhere near a 50/50 equivalence of blame between the police and Blacks, though it is not surprising that there may be some Black pastors or some in the NAACP who will equally tell police and Blacks to tone down the rhetoric, or worse tell only Blacks to do so. It is not a school ground situation where a principal may tell two boys who are fighting to just shake hands and make peace.

    • Journalists arrested on terrorism charges in Turkey for using crypto software
      Three journalists working with Vice News have been charged with "engaging in terrorist activity" on behalf of ISIL (ISIS), because one of them used encryption software. A Turkish official told Al Jazeera: "The main issue seems to be that the [journalists'] fixer uses a complex encryption system on his personal computer that a lot of ISIL militants also utilise for strategic communications." There are no details as to what that "complex encryption system" might be, but it seems likely that it is nothing more than the PGP email encryption software, or perhaps the The Onion Router (TOR) system, both of which are very widely used, and not just by ISIL.

      The correspondent and cameraman for Vice News, who are both British, and their fixer, who is Iraqi but Turkey-based, were arrested last Thursday in Diyarbakir, located in south-eastern Turkey, and an important centre for the country's Kurdish population. According to The Guardian, the Vice News journalists were covering "recent clashes between Turkish security forces and the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement, the youth wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)."

    • New York TSA agent charged with molesting traveler in bogus search
      A Transportation Security Administration agent at New York's LaGuardia Airport was arrested after being accused of luring a woman to an airport bathroom under the pretense of a security search and molesting her, authorities said on Friday.

      The suspect, identified by officials as Maxie Oquendo, 40, was wearing a TSA uniform when he brought the 22-year-old traveler to an upstairs bathroom and molested her on Tuesday night, according to Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

  • DRM

    • FCC Fires Wi-Fi Router Salvo in Battle of DRM vs. Open Source
      Digital Rights Management (DRM), the backbone of copyright protection for every form of digital property from games and software to ebooks and music is finally coming to blows with its natural enemy: the open-source software movement.

      The fight is rooted in the longstanding belief of organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) that DRM and open source are "fundamentally incompatible" and comes to the fore on an unlikely front: Wi-Fi routers.

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