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Links 16/1/2016: Ocean, Fedora Delays, Moksha Desktop 0.2.0

GNOME bluefish



  • A new career in IT leads to Linux
    At work, I tried to teach my coworkers about open source software and Linux. Some welcome the subject with open arms, and others are very hesitant. I've shown them that everything we do can be done on Linux, except for one program that is vendor-specific and will be made available on iOS and Android soon, which would be great because the code could then be ported over to Linux.

  • 22 Years of Linux Journal on One DVD - Now Available
    In easy-to-use HTML format, this fully searchable archive offers immediate access to the essential resource for the Linux enthusiast: Linux Journal. The archive contains all 260 issues of the magazine, from the premiere March 1994 issue through the most recent issue, December 2015. That's 260 issues of Linux Journal, with well over 4,100 articles!

  • Using strace to track system calls in Linux
    Strace is a tool used to intercept system calls from your application to the Linux kernel. I find strace is invaluable for system administrators for two main reasons.

    First off, we do not always have the source code of an application available, but we may still need to know what an application is doing. This can be anything from which files are opened, how much memory is being allocated or even why an application is crashing repeatedly. Secondly, even if we do have the code, being a system administrator doesn't imply being a developer. We may not know how to follow the code. I find that looking at system calls as opposed to lines of code is a bit more descriptive

  • Server

    • Ocean is a phone-size Linux server that runs on batteries
      Servers are typically large machines that take up huge amounts of space on the floor or lots of space in a rack. A new Node.js Linux server has launched for developers who want to be able to write software for Internet of Things applications and other tasks that is very small. The server is called Ocean and it is about the size of a smartphone.

    • Ocean Wireless Server Is Pocket Sized And Powerful
      Ocean a new wireless pocket sized server has been launched this week, which has been designed to provide a mobile server that combines both the “portability of a mobile phone with the flexibility of a Linux web server” says its developers.

      Ocean is powered by a 1GHz ARM Dual-Core Cortex-A7 processor supported by 1GB DDR3 480MHz RAM and includes from 8 to 64GB of internal storage provided by a handy micro SD card slot.

    • Ocean is an amazing battery-powered wireless server that fits in your pocket
      Today the wraps came off Ocean, a full server that’s the size of a mobile phone, with a built-in battery, so it can fit in your pocket and go where you do.

      It’s a tiny computer that’s powerful enough to run a server — Node.js, to be precise — pre-loaded with Linux, a 1GHz dual-core CPU, 1 GB of RAM, USB 3.0, a 4200mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.0 LE and WiFi.

      When I heard about Ocean it immediately struck me as a useful tool for my development side projects. If I could take my entire development server with me everywhere, including an external battery, there are so many cool things I could build.
    • Docker 1.10 Linux Container Engine Is a Massive Release, First RC Build Out Now
      The development team behind Docker, the number one open-source application container engine for GNU/Linux operating systems, have had the pleasure of announcing that they have been working hard on the next major release of the software, Docker 1.10, which should be out in the coming weeks.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Moksha Desktop 0.2.0 Released
      Today I am happy to announce the second snapshot release of the Moksha Desktop - 0.2.0. For those who prefer to play first and read release notes second you can find the release downloads on our GitHub repo here. Those who wish to try the latest Moksha desktop release on a live CD can download and update a Bodhi Linux Live CD.

    • Bodhi Linux Devs Announce Moksha Desktop 0.2.0, Still Based on Enlightenment E17
      Jeff Hoogland from the Bodhi Linux project, a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu and the Enlightenment desktop environment, was proud to announce the release of Moksha Desktop 0.2.0.

      For those of you who are not in the loop, we will take this opportunity to inform you that Moksha Desktop is a fork of the Enlightenment E17 desktop environment, created especially for the Bodhi Linux operating system, just like the MATE desktop is forked from the old-school GNOME 2 interface.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Partition Manager 2.0.0
        I’m happy to announce KDE Partition Manager 2.0.0 and the first stable release of KPMcore. This release mostly focused on splitting user interface and partitioning library which will be used in the next release of Calamares. It also brings some bugfixes but unfortunately I wasn’t able to go through all reported bugs in bugzilla yet (but they don’t seem to be regressions).

      • Kdenlive 15.12.1 Video Editor Fixes More Than 20 Bugs, Kdenlive 16.04.0 Coming Soon
        The developers behind the Kdenlive open source and free video editor software, which is being designed for the KDE Plasma desktop environment, have announced the release of Kdenlive 15.12.1.

      • KDE Partition Manager 2.0 Released

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.19.4 unstable tarballs due
        Hello all,

        Tarballs are due on 2016-01-18 before 23:59 UTC for the GNOME 3.19.4 unstable release, which will be delivered on Wednesday. Modules which were proposed for inclusion should try to follow the unstable schedule so everyone can test them. Please make sure that your tarballs will be uploaded before Monday 23:59 UTC: tarballs uploaded later than that will probably be too late to get in 3.19.4. If you are not able to make a tarball before this deadline or if you think you'll be late, please send a mail to the release team and we'll find someone to roll the tarball for you!

      • GNOME Software Now Available in Ubuntu 16.04, with a PPA
        The Ubuntu developers have set up a PPA for anyone who wants to try GNOME Software in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and users have been asked to provide feedback.

      • Lots of small changes
        Last time I blogged, I had gotten a preliminary implementation for the UI aspect of loading custom layers in GNOME Maps. In the past 2 weeks of Outreachy I’ve refined the implementation many times and improved functionality along the way thanks to astute reviews by Damián Nohales and my mentor Jonas Danielsson.

      • EggSettingsFlagAction

      • EggSignalGroup and EggBindingGroup
        EggSignalGroup allows you to connect to a bunch of signals on a single target object as a group. You can connect and disconnect them simply by setting the EggSignalGroup:target property. I find this convenient because I can setup the EggSignalGroup in my instance init function, and simply set the target when it becomes available. You can even bind it using g_object_bind_property() for even less application code.

      • A little helping hand when adding OpenStreetMap POIs
        Since the last blog post I spent some time curing the ”amnesia“ of the POI type selection view. So, now it will show a list of (up to ten) most recently used types. And it will also save this list between runs.

  • Distributions

    • KaOS 2016.01
      It is with great pleasure to present to you a first KaOS ISO for 2016.

      As always with this rolling distribution you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.18.0, Plasma 5.5.3 and KDE Applications 15.12.1. Plasma 5.5 has brought new features in the Widget Explorer, expanded options in the Applications Launchers, new widgets including Color Picker & Disk Quota, restored support for legacy system tray icons, default font has moved to Noto and Desktop Tweaks for different handling of widgets plus option to disable the desktop toolbox. Among the new Applications in 15.12 are Spectacle, the new screenshot capture program. Many more are now fully ported to Frameworks 5 and are part of the stable tar release in their frameworks version.

    • Solus Project: No Longer Just A Chrome OS Alternative
      Months ago, I covered Solus Project as an alternative to Chrome OS. It made sense, as the Budgie desktop environment resembled the Chrome OS UI and the system integrated well with the user’s Google cloud account. Even at that early iteration, Solus was a solid distribution that made Linux incredibly easy to use.

      Fast forward to now and Solus no longer exists as a shadow of Chrome OS. Solus is a distribution that lives somewhere in the intersection of the GNOME, Chrome OS, and Xfce Venn diagram. It is simultaneously familiar and brand new. With that “brand new familiarity” comes an ease of introduction you won’t find with other 1.0 distributions sporting a new desktop environment.

    • First KaOS Linux ISO for 2016 Ships with KDE Plasma 5.5.3, KDE Applications 15.12
      Just a few moments ago, the KaOS developers were happy to announce the first update of their KaOS Linux rolling operating system in 2016, by releasing the new KaOS 2016.1 ISO images to users worldwide.

    • Reviews

      • Netrunner 17 Horizon - Event Plasma
        Tough is the life of a distro reviewer, at least has been in the last months of 2015. One bad distro after another. What is distro, baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more. That bad. Seriously, nothing good happened this autumn. Crazily, Fedora 23 with its GNOME desktop was the closest to being a sensible distro. A few others delivered okay, but when you expect mega wow, okay just isn't good enough. Oh yes, Netrunner Rolling scored zero.

        So you can imagine my apprehension ere this review, wondering if I'm going to have another bad day fighting technology, regressions and retardation all combined. But let's be optimistic. The glass is half-full, even if I like to drink from the bottle. To wit, Netrunner 17 Horizon, tested on my G50 machine, alongside Windows and many a Linux.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro: Menda Icon Theme
        Manjaro folks use a beautiful icon theme called Menda-Circle in their distribution. The sources are public of course and is distributed under Creative Commons ShareAlike v4.0.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • Ubuntu, Microsoft, Tizen & More…
        These days, Microsoft doesn’t need SUSE anymore, partly because the once number two Linux distro has fallen way down on the list of popular Linux distros, partly due to the old Novell’s ineptitude and partly because of the deal with Microsoft, which as you might imagine, didn’t sit well in FOSS circles. These days, behind the practically-one-and-the-same one-two punch that RHEL/CentOS brings to the enterprise table, there’s a new number two in Unbutu, with Canonical seemingly intent on replacing the old Novell in the we’ll-sleep-with-Microsoft-if-it-keeps-the-rent-paid department.

        Actually, Ubuntu seems to be a cheaper date than SUSE ever was. We’re not hearing anything about millions upon millions of dollars being poured into the Isle of Man the way Microsoft poured money into Utah back when Novell was still hoping for a Netware comeback. Nor are we hearing about Redmond buying thousands of support contracts to sell give away to it’s customers. What we are hearing is partnership after partnership after partnership between the company that loves Linux and the distro that thinks it is Linux.

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2016/2
        Another week – some new snapshots: 5 to be precise (0108, 0110, 0111, 0112 and 0113 will hit the mirrors soon). Sadly, the automatic snapshot announcements did no go out since 0111, something we will be looking at next week and then resume to automatic announcements of new snapshots.

      • openSUSE expands outreach for Google Summer of Code
        The community of openSUSE is expanding its outreach efforts to get more involvement from students and mentors to participate in the Google Summer of Code.

        Members of the community have been working with University of Applied Science in Nuremberg to encourage interest Free Open Source Software, openSUSE and GSoC.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Survey: Open Source Tools Preferred for Mobile Development
        A new survey published by Red Hat Inc., seeking to measure the maturity of enterprise mobility efforts, reveals that a large majority of mobile developers prefer using open source software.

      • Top Stocks of the day: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)

      • Red Hat Inc (RHT) Director Sells $1,520,605.80 in Stock
        Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) Director William S. Kaiser sold 18,972 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.15, for a total value of $1,520,605.80. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 129,879 shares in the company, valued at $10,409,801.85. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link.

      • Fedora

        • OpenSSH vulnerability could expose private credentials
          So what exactly does this announcement mean? Since OpenSSH client version 5.4, there has been a feature called roaming that allows the client to resume a session that has been interrupted. Both the server and client would need to support roaming for this to work.

          Server support was never added, but the feature is on by default for OpenSSH clients up to version 7.1p2. There are two vulnerabilities that stem from this feature and could be exploited when a user connects to an “evil” SSH server.

        • Fedora 24 Release Schedule Has Been Updated
          After Fedora 23, all Fedora Linux lovers are waiting for the Fedora 24 to come with exciting features, changes and improvements. But due to the current changes proposed by the developers need more time to accommodate into the Fedora 24, so the release schedule has been updated by 2 weeks. But here is the benefit also to this schedule update.

        • New Fedora 24 Schedule, Privacy Concerns, Moksha 0.2.0
          The Fedora project today announced the revised released schedule for version 24 now in development. Jeff Hoogland posted of a new release of his home-brewed lightweight desktop and Ubuntu 15.04 nears EOL. Jack Wallen said Solus is "going places" and Dedoimedo wrote "Netrunner 17 Horizon redeems the Plasma desktop." Today's final food for thought comes from KDE's Sebastian Kügler who discussed whether free software should protect users' privacy too.

        • Fedora 24 schedule,, looking back at 2015, and modularization
          The initial schedule for the Fedora 24 aimed for a release on May 17th. However, several of the changes proposed by developers are affect low level components, like the compiler and the C library (which is as fundamental as the kernel to what we think of as a “Linux distribution”). These changes involve rebuilding every package in the whole Fedora collection, and to accommodate that, FESCo (the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee), which oversees the schedule in coordination with the Fedora Program Manager (Jan KuÅ™ík), added another two weeks.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Is Moving to PHP 7, and so are Numerous Other Linux Distributions
        The Debian developers have publicly announced their plans on migrating all of the PHP 5 to the brand-new and powerful PHP 7 release, as well as on changing the PHP packaging to allow co-installable versions.

      • APT 1.2 Pushed to Debian Unstable, Now Handles Packages Without Description
        A few hours ago, the APT devs announced the release of the APT (Advanced Package Tool) 1.2 into the unstable repositories of the Debian GNU/Linux operating system.

      • Always download Debian packages using Tor - the simple recipe
        During his DebConf15 keynote, Jacob Appelbaum observed that those listening on the Internet lines would have good reason to believe a computer have a given security hole if it download a security fix from a Debian mirror. This is a good reason to always use encrypted connections to the Debian mirror, to make sure those listening do not know which IP address to attack. In August, Richard Hartmann observed that encryption was not enough, when it was possible to interfere download size to security patches or the fact that download took place shortly after a security fix was released, and proposed to always use Tor to download packages from the Debian mirror. He was not the first to propose this, as the apt-transport-tor package by Tim Retout already existed to make it easy to convince apt to use Tor, but I was not aware of that package when I read the blog post from Richard.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Patches Critical OpenSSH Vulnerabilities in All Supported Ubuntu OSes
            The Ubuntu developers working for Canonical to patch the latest security flaws in various core components and applications of all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems published today, January 14, 2016, a new security notice informing users about the availability of an update for the OpenSSH software.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 Custom Tarballs Now Ready for Meizu MX4 and BQ Aquaris Phones
            Earlier today, we've been informed by Łukasz Zemczak of Canonical about the latest work done by the Ubuntu Touch developers in preparation for the upcoming OTA-9 software update for all supported Ubuntu Phone devices.

            According to Mr. Zemczak, the day of January 14 was not quite exciting for landings, as the Ubuntu Touch devs only managed to release a new version of the powerd daemon, which promises to fix the annoying issue where that phone's screen remained black after rejecting an outgoing call, as well as a new dbus-cpp version that fixes D-Bus bugs.

          • AT&T pursues open source with Canonical's Ubuntu
            Canonical announced AT&T (NYSE: T) will use its open source Ubuntu OS in enterprise, cloud and networking applications across its businesses, marking a major win that could eventually help Canonical's smartphone efforts.

          • Canonical Releases All-Snap Raspberry Pi 2 and 64-bit Images for Snappy Ubuntu 16.04
            Canonical, through Michael Vogt, proudly announced the availability of a new set of images for the all-snap architecture for the company's Snappy Ubuntu Core operating system used in embedded and IoT devices.

          • Ubuntu Scopes Showdown 2016 Contest Could Get You Ubuntu Phone Convergence Packs, Steam Controllers
            Canonical today announced the second edition of the Ubuntu Scopes Showdown contest for mobile developers who want to create the most innovative Unity 8 Scopes and apps for Ubuntu Phone devices.

          • Canonical Gives Away a Dell XPS 13 Ubuntu Linux Laptop at UbuCon Summit 2016
            Immediately after informing us about the upcoming Ubuntu Scopes Showdown 2016 contests and its amazing prizes, Canonical proudly announced that they will be giving away a Dell laptop with Ubuntu Linux preinstalled at the UbuCon Summit 2016 event.

          • MJ Technology wants to crowdfund Ubuntu tablets with Atom x7 CPU
            A startup called MJ Technology wants to change that, and the company has announced that it will launch a crowdfunding campaign for two Ubuntu tablets on January 18th.

          • AT&T Deal is Evidence of How Ubuntu's Path is Tied to the Cloud
            The upward trajectory of Ubuntu and cloud computing remain tied closely together. Canonical has released findings from numerous surveys showing that Ubuntu is the base platform that the largest group of OpenStack deployments use.

            Now, in an endorsement move from a very big player, AT&T has reached for Canonical to implement Ubuntu Linux in its cloud, network and enterprise infrastructure. As we covered here, some are saying that AT&T had closely evaluated Windows and chose Ubuntu instead.

            Canonical made a statement saying that AT&T wants to forge the "network of the future," and likes the idea of building more modular solutions that can scale easily and leverage open source.

          • AT&T to replace some proprietary systems with open-source tech

          • Inside The Ubuntu Phone
            Almost as soon as the first version launched in 2004, Ubuntu permanently changed the Linux distribution landscape. 2004 was a time when the desktop was still important, and Ubuntu presented the Linux desktop not as alien territory, only to be ventured through with the right skills, but as a verdant pasture of adventure and possibility. As its 2004 tagline proudly proclaimed, this was Linux for Human Beings, and it enabled millions of people to use Linux who may not otherwise have done so.

            Under the aegis of its parent company Canonical, Ubuntu is still a huge success. It’s now the distribution that non-Linux users will most likely have heard about, or have even tried. It’s used when migrating offices and local councils to Linux, and it’s used in many servers and cloud instances. It’s also the basis for many other popular distributions, including Mint, gNewSense, Google’s own derivatives and the semi-official KDE, Xfce and Gnome versions. Its easy installation and no-nonsense approach to adding applications or upgrades has forced every other distribution to up their game, and it’s helped make the Linux desktop a viable alternative to OS X and Windows.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 Enters Final Freeze, OTA-9.5 Hotfix Might be Out After Release
            Canonical's Łukasz Zemczak today informs us that the upcoming Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 software update for Ubuntu Phone devices has entered final freeze stage, which means that it will not get any more features.

          • GNOME Software On Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Available For Testing
            Canonical developers continue making progress in replacing the Ubuntu Software Center with GNOME Software.

            For months Canonical has basically admitted defeat with their Ubuntu Software Center "app store" on the Ubuntu desktop. They've been wanting a new software store/center for a few years now and they decided with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to transition to GNOME Software -- GNOME's software center.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) reaches End of Life on February 4 2016
            Ubuntu announced its 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) release almost 9 months ago, on April 23, 2015. As a non-LTS release, 15.04 has a 9-month month support cycle and, as such, the support period is now nearing its end and Ubuntu 15.04 will reach end of life on Thursday, February 4th. At that time, Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include information or updated packages for Ubuntu 15.04.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Lubuntu Xenial Xerus (with LXQt) in a Raspberry Pi 2
              A nice experiment made by wxl from the Lubuntu QA Team: running Lubuntu Xenial Xerus on a Raspberry Pi 2, with LXQt desktop. Made with Ubuntu Pi Flavour Maker, and following simple instructions:

              Get the image from here Install the image do-release-upgrade to Xenial Install LXQt packages following the wiki guide

              And that’s all. Enjoy Lubuntu in your new Pi. Remember this is just an experiment, it may be unstable. But what are Raspberry Pi computers for, but testing and having fun?

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Baidu open-sources its WARP-CTC artificial intelligence software
    Chinese Web company Baidu is announcing today that it is releasing key artificial intelligence (AI) software under an open-source Apache license. The WARP-CTC C library and optional Torch bindings are now available on GitHub, by way of Baidu Research’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL).

  • How open-source software could save your life
    Despite the odds being somewhat stacked against SFC, Sandler remains optimistic. But she points out enforcement is necessary to get companies to give back to open-source communities and stop them from wresting control of open-source projects and code.

    "We think that compliance with the GPL is incredibly important. We think it's important for society, important for business. We also have seen that companies are much, much less likely to comply if there aren't consequences for not complying. It's simple analysis, it's not too hard to see."

  • Accelerating Machine Learning with Open Source Warp-CTC

  • Baidu releases open source AI code
    Baidu, a massive Chinese web company along the lines of Google, has released artificial intelligence software WARP-CTC on GitHub. WARP-CTC, developed at Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI lab, was created to improve speech recognition in Baidu’s end-to-end speech recognition program Deep Speech 2.

  • China's Google clone Baidu also open-sources its AI blueprints
    Chinese search-and-everything-else web giant Baidu has joined Google and Facebook in open-sourcing its artificial intelligence (AI) code in a bid to become a standard in an increasingly important market.

    The company's Warp-CTC C library has been published on GitHub through its Silicon Valley lab, with an accompanying blog post encouraging developers to try it out.

    The CTC part stands for "connectionist temporal classification." This combines different neural network designs to process data that is not perfectly aligned. In other words, making sense of complex patterns. The approach has proved invaluable in speech recognition.

  • Is privacy Free software’s next milestone?
    I am concerned. In the past years, it has become clear that real privacy has become harder to come by. Our society is quickly heading into a situation where an unknown number of entities and people can follow my every single step, and it’s not possible to keep to myself what I don’t want others to know. With every step into that direction, there’s less and less things about my life of which I don’t control who knows about it.

  • Events

    • Young maker talks software defined radio, open source, and mentors
      Schuyler St. Leger is one of the superheroes of the maker movement. He's a speaker, young maker, and was featured in Make magazine. His famous presentation, Why I love my 3-D Printer has received over 300,000 views on YouTube.

      Schuyler is keynoting at SCaLE 14x, where he'll talk about open source radio and how it's impacting the world around us. We're surrounded by radios in smartphones, tablets, laptops, and Wi-Fi access points, yet we often fail to realize their ubiquitous presence. The airwaves are a fantastic space for exploration, but where do we begin? Open source radio combined with open hardware is a rich space for exploration and experimentation.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • ScyllaDB: Cassandra compatibility at 1.8 million requests per node
      ScyllaDB is designed to be a resilient NoSQL database and is currently in beta testing. It is designed from the ground up to take advantage of multiple core systems and to provide very high performance.

      Don Marti, techical marketing manager for ScyllaDB, co-founded the Linux consulting firm Electric Lichen. He is a strategic advisor for Mozilla and has previously served as president and vice president of the Silicon Valley Linux Users Group and on the program committees for USENIX, CodeCon, and LinuxWorld Conference and Expo.

  • BSD

    • Unscrewed; a Story About OpenBSD

      If you’re in the packet delivery business, and you’ve never tired OpenBSD, then you’re really missing out. Pretty much everything you care about as a network guy on production networks is configured via a virtual interface. This includes CARP, IPSEC, and all manner of encapsulation and tunneling protocols. This is awesome because all the tools designed to work on interfaces, like tcpdump, work on these virtual interfaces too. So if I want to get a look at my VPN traffic, I can tcpdump enc0.

      Which brings up another great point, with OpenBSD, your packet inspection and general network troubleshooting toolbox is way better. Nmap, Argus, sflow, tcpdump, snort, daemonlogger, and etc.. all the best tools are right there on your router if you want them. No need to use a packet tap, because your router is the packet tap.

      OpenBSD has myriad built-in daemons for OSPF, BGP, and every other router protocol, as well as application-layer protocol proxies. OpenBSD is by far the fastest, easiest way to setup an ftp proxy that I know of. It also has a kernel-space packet filter called PF, which is crazy feature-rich and and easy to use. If you can console configure an ASA, or are an iptables user, you’ll pick up PF’s syntax in about 15 minutes. All the normal stuff like NAT, redirection, and forwarding are there. Further, PF can do things like policy routing, where you tag packets based on criteria you choose, and then make routing decisions later based on those tags. PF has packet queuing and prioritization built-in, so you can make some classes of traffic more important than others.

    • The Pipe-Dream Persists About Pairing LLVMpipe With GPU Hardware/Drivers


    • Reaching people through Giving Guide Giveaways
      In December, the FSF and community members carried out our yearly holiday season tradition of Giving Guide Giveaways.

    • Status report on Emacs
      I don’t get to do all these at once every day, but still the majority of these tasks are performed on Emacs on a daily basis. I’m obviously getting more and more familiar with each tools and the general use of Emacs the more I use them. I would like to highlight a few thoughts about them:

  • Public Services/Government

    • Agencies look to public for digital work on open source
      There are other opportunities for private citizens to take part in building new technology for the government. Recently, 18F launched a micro-purchasing initiative in which it opens small projects to the public, who can bid to be paid for working on them. GSA also holds periodic hackathons, inviting the public to collaborate around some of the agency's biggest problems, as do other agencies like the departments of Agriculture and the Interior. And of course, agencies that build their software in the open often allow outside citizens to contribute to a project.

    • Bringing Open Source to Government Agencies
      Open source increasingly is being accepted as the de facto standard within federal government agencies. For example, the October 2009 Department of Defense memorandum requested that federal agencies evaluate and implement these solutions whenever possible. Since that memorandum, the Federal Aviation Administration and a significant number of agencies within the Department of Defense, including the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the Defense Information Systems Agency have implemented open source.

    • Portugal’s open source move ‘slower than expected’
      Public administrations in Portugal are turning to open source ICT solutions slower than anticipated by ESOP, a trade association of Portuguese open source companies. The country’s ICT policies should spur the uptake of this kind of software, but ESOP says that the country lacks open source experts.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Why Wikipedia is in Trouble
      As the user-editing encyclopedia turns 15, dedicated editors are getting scarcer by the day

    • Jimmy Wales: I don't regret not monetising Wikipedia
      As Wikipedia celebrates its 15th birthday, its co-founder has a vision: he wants every single person on the planet to have free access to knowledge

    • Open Hardware

      • 3D printed, open-source "pocket watch" with tourbillon
        Swiss engineer Christoph Laimer has built an open-source hardware, 3D printed watch with a tourbillon mechanism, uploading it to Thingiverse for you to print and assemble yourself.

        The pioneering work in the was done by Nicholas Manousos, whose 2014 Tourbillon 1000% was the prime inspiration for Laimer.


  • Science

    • Why the lack of women in IT is bad for tech, bad for the economy
      At the end of 2016 fewer than 25 percent of IT jobs in developed countries will be held by women, roughly the same as last year and perhaps even down a bit.

      This lack of gender diversity in IT is both a social issue and an economic one as well, warns new research by consultants Deloitte.

      Given that the global cost of IT is in the tens of billions of dollars, "the gender gap in IT costs the UK alone about $4bn annually", according to the report."So with that cost, gender parity (roughly 50 percent women in IT jobs) seems a reasonable goal over the long term."

  • Hardware

    • Real World SSD Performance
      Yes, SSDs tend to be faster than other storage. That is true, but unless you look deeper at the specs, you may end up with poor performance. Let me explain. This is a general knowledge article. Without a huge sample size, anything beyond generalizations don’t mean anything.

      Installed an Anker USB3 front-panel on one of the systems here a few months ago. It was purely for convenience since the system has USB3 internal headers and USB3 storage has been working fairly well from the rear ports. Did a few quick checks and everything was just a little slower than I expected. Didn’t have any hard data, just that things were slower than expected. Gave it 3-stars on the review site.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Presence of Radon Gas in Your Home

      Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that is formed from the natural breakdown of uranium in the earth. Though you can't see it or smell it, radon can enter your home through cracks in your foundation, well water, building materials and other sources, where it can contaminate the air you breathe.

      Because radon is radioactive, it's also carcinogenic; radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, second only to smoking.

      Testing your home for radon is simple, and if levels are elevated there are ways to reduce them to protect your health.
    • Campbell’s Will Label GMOs—and the Sky Will Not Fall
      Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) have long defended their die-hard positions against mandatory GMO labeling laws, often by feigning concern about the financial impact labeling laws would have on consumers. Labeling will be costly for manufacturers, who will pass those costs on to consumers, they consistently argue (despite studies suggesting otherwise).

      As if concern for consumers’ wallets had anything to do with Big Food’s determination to deceive.

      So the first question we asked the Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB) last week, following the announcement that Campbell’s will label all of its products that contain GMOs, was this: Will you charge more for these products after you label them?

    • Report Details Extensive Cover-Up Of Russian Doping Scandal By Top Track Officials
      The report is a follow-up to one from November that detailed the state-sponsored doping program in Russia. The first report was the culmination of a nearly year-long investigation into Russia’s track-and-field industry that began after a German documentary, “Top Secret Doping: How Russia makes its winners” was released in December 2014. It provided an in-depth look at the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs and blood doping by Russian track and field athletes and the coaches, doctors, and state officials that encouraged it. After that report, the IAAF suspending the Russian track and field federation indefinitely — including, as of now, the Rio Olympics.

    • Bernie Sanders Is Tapping Into a Vein of Anger Over Health Care
      Obamacare is leaving millions in serious financial pain, pointing up the need for universal health care—Medicare for all. That’s Sen. Bernie Sanders’ position, and it is a crucial difference between him and Hillary Clinton, his chief rival for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

    • Hillary Clinton's Absurd Bernie Smear: Why Attacking Him From the Left on Healthcare Makes Literally No Sense
      Sanders, she now insists, would do so from the left by instituting a program — single-payer healthcare — that would be more progressive than the Affordable Care Act. Yet this possibility is portrayed in the starkest of terms. It’s as if the Clinton campaign saw a house burning down and told the fire department to put it out by setting the house next door on fire to suck up all the oxygen feeding the flames.

    • Hillary Clinton’s fatal weakness exposed yet again: Why Bernie Sanders’ surge is exposing her biggest political shortcoming
      Clinton is a very wealthy former first lady, senator and secretary of state with expensive homes in Washington D.C. and Chappaqua, New York, who launched her campaign with an Uber-eque logo and a slogan—fighting for “everyday Americans”— that rendered actual humans into a plastic composite sketch. Clinton is unlikeable because she comes across as the end product of a poll-derived algorithm with a calculus that accounts for everything—well, almost. Asked what kind of ice cream she liked last year, she conceded a system malfunction, responding “I like nearly everything.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s Single-Payer Pivot Greased By Millions in Industry Speech Fees

      But in the ensuing years, both Clintons have taken millions of dollars in speaking fees from the health care industry. According to public disclosures, Hillary Clinton alone, from 2013 to 2015, made $2,847,000 from 13 paid speeches to the industry.

      This means that Clinton brought in almost as much in speech fees from the health care industry as she did from the banking industry. As a matter of perspective, recall that most Americans don’t earn $2.8 million over their lifetimes.

    • “Unfair competition will ruin European farmers. Quality-orientated small and medium-sized businesses are at risk.”
      “European farms are still mainly small and family run, and cannot compete financially with large American businesses,” says Reuter. European farmers and food manufacturers export very little to the USA. The vast majority can expect little other than additional competition from a free trade agreement with the United States.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • An intimate intifada
      Kitchen knives. Meat cleavers. Scissors. Stones. The current weapons of choice used by Palestinians in this latest wave of violence in Israel and the West Bank. At the time of writing, 22 Israelis, 150 Palestinians, an American and an Eritrean have been killed. In the past three months, there have been 105 stabbings - and many of the perpetrators have been women. With murmurings that this wave of violence constitutes a new uprising - a third intifada - I believe that if this is indeed a third intifada, it is very different than the two previous ones: it is less orchestrated - and more intimate. An Intimate Intifada.

    • Syria-Iraq: civilian deaths, British denials
      When the United Kingdom prime minister David Cameron argued in the House of Commons for approval to bomb Syria, he and his team made much of the accuracy of British bombing and the contribution it would make to the United States-led coalition’s war against ISIS. In the end, the vote on 2 December 2015 went in his favour, although the majority of Labour members of parliament and all those of the Scottish National Party were opposed.

      To counter this opposition, the Conservative government has consistently claimed that its strike-aircraft and armed-drones are meticulous in avoiding civilian casualties. It is an important part of the case, and the government’s whole strategy would be undermined if it was clear that many innocent people were being killed. That evidence is beginning to emerge. But it is resolutely denied by the ministry of defence, echoing a strategy that long predates the decision to extend Britain’s role to Syria.

    • Jeb Bush Slams Trump's Proposal to Ban Muslims
      The subject was Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from coming to the US. "This policy is a policy that makes it impossible to build the coalition necessary to take out ISIS," Bush said. "The Kurds are our strongest allies. They're Muslim. You're not going to even allow them to come to our country? The other Arab countries have a role to play in this."

    • "Little Red Riding Hood (Has A Gun)": The NRA Reinvents A Fairy Tale For Children
      A new series from "NRA Family" reimagines children's fairy tales with a pro-gun message.

      In the January 14 series debut -- Little Red Riding Hood -- NRA Family's editor asked, "Have you ever wondered what those same fairy tales might sound like if the hapless Red Riding Hoods, Hansels and Gretels had been taught about gun safety and how to use firearms?"

      What followed was a gun-heavy version of Little Red Riding Hood that culminates with the protagonist and her grandmother holding the wolf at gunpoint until he is taken away by a "huntsman."

    • Countering Peter Tatchell’s pro-war anti-war arguments on Syria
      So, according to Tatchell, we should provide the Kurds with anti-aircraft missiles in the unlikely event ISIS capture and are able to run and pilot attack helicopters. Attack helicopters which Tatchell presumably thinks ISIS will be able to fly freely despite the US, Russian, UK and French aircraft dominating the airspace over significant part of Syria.

    • Arming the police isn't a magic bullet solution to terrorism
      Yesterday’s horrific attacks in Jakarta serve as a reminder of the ambitions and reach of radical Islamists. The killers used suicide bombs and pistols, relatively primitive weaponry, to target a densely populated area. The same could happen in Britain. The UK has to be prepared for the worst. To that end, the Metropolitan Police is going to train 600 extra armed officers, and armed patrols will more than double.

    • David Vine, Enduring Bases, Enduring War in the Middle East
      Meet the hottest new commander in the increasingly secretive world of American warfare, Lieutenant General Raymond “Tony” Thomas. A rare portrait in the Washington Post paints him as a “shadowy figure” -- an appropriate phrase for the general who has been leading the U.S. military’s “manhunters,” aka Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC. They are considered the crème de la crème among America’s ever-larger crew of Special Operations forces, now at almost 70,000 and growing. Thomas is reportedly slated to take over Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, and so head up that now massive secret military cocooned inside the U.S. military. To put its ranks in perspective, think of the active duty militaries of Argentina (73,000), Australia (56,000), Canada (66,000), Chile (61,000), or South Africa (62,000). In other words, our secret “warriors” now outnumber the military contingents of major nations.

    • US, Iran Step Back From the Brink
      In 2001, under George W. Bush, an EP-3 with 24 crew members was crashed by a Chinese fighter and forced to land on Hainan Island, where they were held for 11 days until we expressed "sorrow."

    • Medea Benjamin: What Obama's Foreign Policy Agenda Must be in 2016

    • Caught With Our Pants Down in the Gulf
      Your bullshit-ometer should be making an awful racket in response to the shifting explanations given for the twenty-four-hour Iranian hostage scare involving two US Navy boats intercepted in the Gulf.


      Amid all the faux outrage coming from the neocons and their enablers in the media over the alleged “humiliation” of the US – Iran “paraded” the sailors in their media! They made one of the sailors apologize! The Geneva Conventions were violated! – hardly anyone in this country is asking the hard questions, first and foremost: what in heck were those two boats doing in Iranian waters?

      And if you believe they somehow “drifted” within a few miles of Farsi Island, where a highly sensitive Iranian military base is located, then you probably think there’s a lot of money just waiting for you in a Nigerian bank account.

    • Top General Warns of New ISIS Threat… in Jamaica?
      The number of ISIS devotees living in or coming from the Caribbean is on the rise, according to U.S. Southern Command chief General John Kelly, who oversees “security” (and paranoia) throughout South America.

    • John Kasich, in Rare Break From GOP Liturgy, Offers Mild Criticism of Saudi Arabia
      The Republican presidential debates have focused heavily on foreign policy, with candidates one-upping each other’s threatening talk about military action against Iran and escalation in Syria and Iraq. But there has been virtually no attention paid to Saudi Arabia, a longtime American ally with well-documented ties to anti-American terror groups, including ISIS and al Qaeda.

      That changed momentarily on Thursday night during the Fox Business Network debate in Charleston. Moderator Neil Cavuto asked John Kasich about Saudi Arabia’s recent execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, as well as the theory that the Saudi government is deliberately driving down oil prices in a bid to bankrupt American oil producers.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • UK Classifies Spending on Policing Wikileaks Founder After Scandal
      Following Freedom of Information Act requests, the UK has classified the expense budget to police Julian Assange, the founder and publisher of the controversial Wikileaks website, as he remains locked away in the Ecuadorian Embassy in the United Kingdom.

    • Send in Your FOIA Horror Stories for The Foilies 2016
      Last year, EFF launched our inaugural, tongue-in-cheek awards series for government agencies who thwarted, stymied, foot-dragged, and retaliated in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other public records requests. We called out secrecy over cell-site simulators, marveled at the $1.4 million fee estimate for the DEA’s “El Chapo” file, and panned Chicago Public Schools’ refusal to disclose what’s in its mystery meats.

    • Here's How the Senate Should Fix the FOIA Reform Bill
      With the U.S. House of Representatives passing a bill this week to amend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), EFF and a coalition of other groups are calling on members of the Senate [.pdf] to pass a law that meaningfully improves government transparency and accountability through access to federal records.

      It is becoming something of an annual tradition for Congress to introduce FOIA legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support. This year’s bill is the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act (H.R. 653), and it contains many of the same amendments to FOIA found in recent bills, including narrowing some of the most-abused exemptions in the law.

      Even though members of both the House and Senate have strongly supported past FOIA bills, Congress has failed to pass a law after agencies subject to the bills’ heightened transparency requirements pushed back. For example, in 2014 the U.S. Department of Justice was instrumental in killing FOIA reform.

      Despite what is likely to be another fight against DOJ and other federal agencies, EFF remains optimistic that Congress will pass comprehensive FOIA legislation this year. As the bill waits to be heard in the Senate, below is a summary of the good and bad aspects of the legislation along with some proposals EFF would like lawmakers to consider adding.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Bigger Story Behind the Killing of Cecil the Lion That the Media Overlooked
      When Walter Palmer, a wealthy dentist from Minnesota, killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe last July, people all around the word were sickened and outraged.

      Action was quick. After the news broke, late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel used his monologue to read Palmer the riot act, then helped raise $150,000 in donations in less than 24 hours to support Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, the Oxford, U.K.-based nonprofit that had been tasked with tracking Cecil's location and activities. Within a month, thanks to pressure from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Humane Society of the U.S. and public demand, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines announced bans in the transport of “trophies” (i.e., animal parts) from Africa’s so-called big five species: the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and white/black rhinoceros.

    • The Feds Just Approved Offshore Fish Farming
      Renowned food journalist Paul Greenberg isn't convinced these ambitious aquaculture projects will solve America's seafood dilemma. Americans often eschew native fish species and import exotic varieties instead, he told NPR's The Salt. "Rather than trying to start up new and complicated ventures, first let's try to eat the fish we've already got."

    • How Climate Change Could Decimate Millenia of First Nations Tradition
      Climate change poses a significant threat to the fisheries that have sustained First Nations communities along Canada's Pacific coast for thousands of years, according to a new study published Wednesday.

      The paper, published in PLOS ONE, projects that the First Nations fisheries' catch could decline by nearly 50 percent by 2050, decimating a traditional food resource and leading to economic losses up to $12 million.

      "Climate change is likely to lead to declines in herring and salmon, which are among the most important species commercially, culturally, and nutritionally for First Nations," said Lauren Weatherdon, who conducted the study when she was a University of British Columbia (UBC) graduate student. "This could have large implications for communities who have been harvesting these fish and shellfish for millennia."

    • Humans’ indelible mark on new era
      The post-industrial impacts that humans have had on the Earth and its atmosphere may pinpoint the mid-20th century as the start of a new geological epoch.

  • Finance

    • The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment
      I’ve spent more than 5 years being a Bitcoin developer. The software I’ve written has been used by millions of users, hundreds of developers, and the talks I’ve given have led directly to the creation of several startups. I’ve talked about Bitcoin on Sky TV and BBC News. I have been repeatedly cited by the Economist as a Bitcoin expert and prominent developer. I have explained Bitcoin to the SEC, to bankers and to ordinary people I met at cafes.

    • Ted Cruz Hates “New York Values” But Sure Loves New York Money
      On Tuesday on the syndicated Howie Carr Show, Ted Cruz declared that Donald Trump “comes from New York and he embodies New York values.” That night on Fox, New York-born Megyn Kelly asked Cruz to explain exactly what “New York values” are. Cruz responded: “The rest of the country knows exactly what New York values are, and I gotta say, they’re not Iowa values and they’re not New Hampshire values.”

      Yesterday Kellyanne Conway, president of Keep the Promise I, one of four significant pro-Cruz Super PACs, endorsed Cruz’s anti-New York perspective: “New York is home to many wonderful people and places, but the emphasis is more on money than morality. The line to get into Abercrombie & Fitch is a mile longer than the line to get into St. Patrick’s Cathedral.”

    • TTIP: what can we expect from 2016?

      2015 saw the campaign against TTIP grow into a mass movement of opposition across Europe. John Hilary asks whether 2016 could be the year we defeat TTIP and build a People’s Europe from below.

      2015 was an incredible year in the fight against TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated in secret between the European Commission and the US government. The pan-European campaign grew exponentially as more and more people learned about the threats posed by the deal, culminating in October’s staggering anti-TTIP demonstration in Berlin. In the space of one year, over 3.2 million people signed the European Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP and the EU-Canada deal CETA, far and away the largest number ever recorded for such a petition.

    • "Neoliberalism" is it?
      Long-term investment in public infrastructure is not, of course, an attractive proposition to the private sector, which is why successive UK governments have struggled to find investors for major projects. Distant returns are no return at all. It has taken years for a UK government to be brought kicking and screaming to the realisation that power stations will not be constructed without government involvement. The UK’s infamous Private Finance Initiative, initiated by John Major and enthusiastically adopted by the Blair/Brown government, has worked by dint of expensive income guarantees to the private sector. What these and many other examples have highlighted, emphatically so since the 2008 economic crisis, is that free markets are not free, that when they are poorly regulated they can and do lead to ruin, and that neoliberalism is sustained paradoxically by government intervention – though on a discretionary basis. The element of discretion is important because it tends to operate in favour of vested interests. Quantitative Easing didn’t go to the public but to banks and insurance companies.

    • Apple May Be on Hook for $8 Billion in Taxes in Europe Probe
      The world’s largest company could owe more than $8 billion in back taxes as a result of a European Commission investigation into its tax policies, according to an analysis by Matt Larson of Bloomberg Intelligence. Apple, which has said it will appeal an adverse ruling, is being scrutinized by regulators who have accused the iPhone maker of using subsidiaries in Ireland to avoid paying taxes on revenue generated outside the U.S.

    • Capitalism’s Biggest Enemies: Elites Who Advocate Free-Market Competition
      Theorists and principled souls on the Right are free-market advocates. They are convinced by Hayek and his followers that markets aggregate the will of the public better than governments do. This doesn’t mean that governments are unnecessary. As Rajan and Zingales put it in their very strong pro-free-market book, Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists, “Markets cannot flourish without the very visible hand of the government, which is needed to set up and maintain the infrastructure that enables participants to trade freely and with confidence.” But it does mean that a society should try to protect free markets, within that essential infrastructure, and ensure that those who would achieve their wealth by corrupting free markets don’t.

    • NZ Newspaper: An 'Honor' To Welcome Small Pacific Rim Countries As They Sign Away Much Of Their Sovereignty
      As we've written recently, a report from the World Bank suggests that the economic benefits from TPP will be slight for the US, Australia and Canada. New Zealand is predicted to do better, but not much: the econometric modelling predicts a 3.1% boost to its GDP by 2030 -- roughly 0.3% extra GDP per year. That's a pretty poor payback given the price participant countries will have to pay in terms of copyright, biologics and corporate sovereignty.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Bernie has corporate democrats sweating: The Democratic race is suddenly wide open
      With just three weeks to go before the Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders is now in a statistical dead heat with Hillary Clinton. According to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, he trails her by just 3 points in Iowa, well within the margin of error. In other words, it’s a tie. A dead heat.

      This is really, really, really big news.

      Sanders is already beating Clinton in New Hampshire, and if he can pull-off a two-state sweep of the early primaries, that would completely change the dynamic of the race. And I mean completely.

    • Obama Delivers More Pretty Words, Ugly Inaction on Money in Politics
      What Obama did not mention was this: he in fact can immediately “reduce the influence of hidden interests” on his own, without Congress or the Supreme Court, by issuing an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose any “dark money” contributions to politically-active non-profits.

    • MoveOn Endorses Sanders After He Wins 79 Percent Support in Member Vote
      With polls suggesting that the Democratic race is getting tighter in the first-caucus state of Iowa and the first-primary state of New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders has won the support of one of the nation’s most prominent progressive networks.

      The activist group MoveOn endorsed the Vermont senator after 78.6 percent of its members backed him last week in an online “primary”—which drew 340,665 votes, a greater total than is likely to participate in the February contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
    • Did Bernie Sanders Just Go Negative on Hillary Clinton?
      This wouldn't be the first time that Sanders has highlighted Clinton's ties to Wall Street.

    • Bernie Sanders for President
      A year ago, concerned that ordinary citizens would be locked out of the presidential nominating process, The Nation argued that a vigorously contested primary would be good for the candidates, for the Democratic Party, and for democracy. Two months later, Senator Bernie Sanders formally launched a campaign that has already transformed the politics of the 2016 presidential race. Galvanized by his demands for economic and social justice, hundreds of thousands of Americans have packed his rallies, and over 1 million small donors have helped his campaign shatter fund-raising records while breaking the stranglehold of corporate money. Sanders’s clarion call for fundamental reform—single-payer healthcare, tuition-free college, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, the breaking up of the big banks, ensuring that the rich pay their fair share of taxes—have inspired working people across the country. His bold response to the climate crisis has attracted legions of young voters, and his foreign policy, which emphasizes diplomacy over regime change, speaks powerfully to war-weary citizens. Most important, Sanders has used his insurgent campaign to tell Americans the truth about the challenges that confront us. He has summoned the people to a “political revolution,” arguing that the changes our country so desperately needs can only happen when we wrest our democracy from the corrupt grip of Wall Street bankers and billionaires.

      We believe such a revolution is not only possible but necessary—and that’s why we’re endorsing Bernie Sanders for president. This magazine rarely makes endorsements in the Democratic primary (we’ve done so only twice: for Jesse Jackson in 1988, and for Barack Obama in 2008). We do so now impelled by the awareness that our rigged system works for the few and not for the many. Americans are waking up to this reality, and they are demanding change. This understanding animates both the Republican and Democratic primaries, though it has taken those two contests in fundamentally different directions.
    • Bernie Sanders Is Winning with the One Group His Rivals Can't Sway: Voters
      Perhaps more important than Sanders’s gain in the polls is how it happened: by patiently hammering on his message, regardless of what other candidates said

    • “13 Hours” Splashes Blood Across the Screen and Misses Real Story of Benghazi
      I went into the screening with the distinct premonition that I would emerge in anger after seeing another maddeningly effective piece of Hollywood war propaganda. That’s how I felt last year after seeing American Sniper, a surprise blockbuster directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper in the role of Navy sniper Chris Kyle. In American Sniper, no one asked why Iraqis were shooting at Kyle and the rest of the U.S. military in the first place (hint: we invaded and occupied their country and tortured some of them at prisons like Abu Ghraib). Despite such errors of context, American Sniper was a formidable movie. It was really human and stuck with the audience. Much credit goes to Eastwood, a skilled director, and Cooper, a charismatic actor. His thespian counterpart in 13 Hours is John Krasinski, the nice guy from The Office. As it turns out, Krasinski wields a stapler and a pun far more convincingly than an M-4.

    • Donald Trump Sure Does Like People Who Make the Trains Run on Time
      What does Donald Trump think about dictators and autocrats?

  • Censorship

    • The Phony Debate About Political Correctness

      At its core, the P.C. debate is about something meaningful. It is a discussion about how people should treat each other. The language we use to define it may change, but the conversation will keep going. Still, after more than three decades of repeating the same arguments, perhaps it’s time to recognize that the current iteration of this discussion has run its course.

      A new debate could rely less on anecdote and more on actual data. It could be less about protecting rhetorical preferences and more about prohibiting actual censorship. It could dispense with political grandstanding and become more grounded in reality, without the apocalyptic and shallow narratives.

      The end of the phony debate about political correctness will not be the end of the debate about political correctness. But it could be the beginning of something better.

    • VIDEO: So You Aren’t Racist. Good, but It’s Not Enough.
      Most of us, says Marlon James in a brief video essay published at The Guardian, are nonracist. That leaves us with a clear conscience, he argues, but it does nothing to help fight injustice in the world. In fact, we can pull off being nonracist by being asleep in bed while black men are killed by police. We need to stop being nonracist, and start being anti-racist, he says.

    • Bernie Sanders' Campaign DMCAs Wikimedia For Hosting His Logos
      And, then of course, there's the inevitable backlash over this. Presidential campaigns trying to censor people -- or worse, a site like Wikipedia -- is always going to backfire. It makes the campaign look thin-skinned, foolish and short-sighted.

      I'm guessing that if this makes enough news, the Sanders campaign will back down on this, and say it was an overzealous lawyer or some other such thing, but there's no reason such takedowns should ever be sent in the first place.

    • Lego Reverses Policy On Block Orders For Political Projects After Public Shaming
      Late last year, we relayed the story of Ai Weiwei, an artist who had previously used Legos to create political art in the form of portraits, being refused a bulk order of Lego blocks by the company. At issue was a long-standing company policy prohibiting its facilitation of blocks being used for political speech. As a result of Weiwei going public about the refusal, the story was Streisanded into the public consciousness, resulting in condemnation and shaming from more of the masses than would have ever been aware of the project otherwise.

    • Constant struggle to balance censorship, freedom of expression: Aditya Roy Kapur
      Actor Aditya Roy Kapur says that it is a constant struggle to maintain a balance between freedom of expression and censorship but the industry is endeavouring for it.

    • Ethiopian Protesters Endure Brutality and Censorship Amid Land Struggle
      Students in Ethiopia's largest administrative region, Oromia, have been braving state-sponsored violence and censorship since November 2015 to protest a government development plan.

      Human Rights Watch has reported that at least 140 peaceful protesters have died since the demonstrations began. Those killed include university and secondary school students, farmers and school teachers.

      Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, Ethiopian authorities and pro-government commentators say the number of dead is around five people.

    • Telegram CEO Rejects Iranian Government’s Claims of Censorship-on-Demand
      The head of Telegram, the most popular social media network in Iran, has again categorically denied making any concessions to Tehran regarding censorship.

      On January 13, 2016, the Iranian media widely reported a statement by Iran’s Communications and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi that the instant messaging service Telegram “has agreed to block any channel reported by Iran’s Communications Ministry.”

      Pavel Durov, however, who is CEO of the widely used messaging service, said only “porn/ISIS” related content would be subject to censorship in Iran, as it is in other countries, but not any other content disapproved of by the Iranian government.

    • Companies Should Resist Government Pressure and Stand Up for Free Speech
      EFF has been steadfast in its criticism of officials like FBI Director James Comey, who have implored tech companies to provide a backdoor to their customers’ encrypted communications. Now it appears as though the White House would like a backdoor to the First Amendment’s free speech protections by requiring private tech companies to monitor, censor, and automatically report speech on topics related to ISIS and terrorism.

      EFF’s concerns come after White House officials held a high-level meeting with technology companies last week asking for help in addressing terrorists’ use of social media. The administration also announced a task force to fight terrorism online.

      If the government directly censored the content of online speech about ISIS and other terrorist groups, it would be clearly unconstitutional. Private companies that host communications online, however, are normally not subject to the First Amendment and can set their own rules on the types of content and even viewpoints expressed on their services. Government officials know this and are now both subtly and not-so-subtly pressuring companies to achieve a result that the First Amendment prevents them from doing themselves.

    • Facebook Nixes Picture Of Bronze Mermaid Statue For Showing Too Much 'Skin'
      As they say, with great power comes great responsibility. Facebook, being a dominant force in the social media industry, certainly has a great deal of power, but how does it do in the responsibility department. It's an important question, because as a platform essentially designed to facilitate speech and expression, it would seem necessary to treat with care how it collides with that speech when controversy arises. Unfortunately, we've seen time and time again how Facebook treats the question bureaucratically rather than with any kind of nuance. Between bending the knee to national interests, promising to censor speech deemed to be hateful, or just flat out hiding behind a wall of corporate speak in order to take down photos, the trend for Facebook is one of grip-tightening rather than free expression.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • FBI to Malheur Militia: You’re Free to Travel
      From a policing standpoint, how would a person or movement of color be treated? Do you think that if a Black, Indigenous People, or Muslim militant group were to engage in an armed takeover of a National Wildlife Refuge or other federal structure that an instigating member would be allowed to travel 20 hours home through multiple states to give a radio interview to proselytize and visit family? I don’t think so, my serendipitous meeting with LaVoy surely indicating further inconsistency of application of law and enforcement concerning the militants of the Malheur standoff.

    • Fearmongering Around Muslim Immigrants Echoes Anti-Asian Hysteria of Past
      ON MAY 6, 1882, U.S. President Chester Arthur signed into law the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first in a series of discriminatory legal measures aimed at curbing immigration from Asia. Speaking at the time of its passage, California Sen. John F. Miller, a leading proponent of the law, declared that the Chinese were “an inferior sort of men” and that “Chinese civilization in its pure essence appears as a rival to American civilization. It is a product of a people alien in every characteristic to our people, and it has never yet produced and can never evolve any form of government other than an imperial despotism. Free government is incompatible with it, and both cannot exist together.”

    • The State of the Union for Muslim Americans
      Obama bluntly called out Islamaphobia, condemned hateful crimes against mosques, and promised to close Guantanamo Bay prison. He drew a clear distinction between the Muslim religion and ISIS killers. He pointed to the tragedy of American children being mocked and deemed suspicious because of their faith at school.

    • Ten Detainees Transferred, Leaving Fewer Than 100 Prisoners Left at Guantánamo
      TEN GUANTÁNAMO PRISONERS arrived in Oman today, a move that leaves fewer than 100 men held in the island prison.

      The transfer follows President Obama’s pledge Tuesday night to “keep working to shut down the prison at Guantánamo,” a promise he has highlighted in the past three State of the Union addresses.

      The move means that 14 people have left the prison in 2016. On Monday, Mohamed al Rahman al Shumrani was sent to his native Saudi Arabia, almost exactly 14 years after he first arrived in Guantánamo. Last week, one Kuwaiti man was sent home and two Yemeni men were resettled in Ghana.

    • Another All-White Slate of Academy Award Acting Nominees
    • Oscar Nominations Put On Yet Another Show of Whiteness
      It’s not as though there weren’t plenty of options to mix up this year’s lineup of Oscar nominees. A quick glance over the list of artists and performers excluded from the 2016 Academy Awards nods confirms that once again, academy voters earned those widespread racial bias critiques and #OscarsSoWhite hashtags coming their way. Most important, though, is how they plainly missed the opportunity to give several vibrant talents their due.

      Let’s review. Absent from the 2016 nominees announced Thursday morning were the likes of Idris Elba, whose blistering turn as African warlord commandant in “Beasts of No Nation” drew nearly unanimous praise and accolades from the same cinematic circles that feed into the academy’s trophy-baiting machinery. Also absent from the nominees’ club was “Beasts” director, producer and writer, Cary Fukunaga.

    • The Pennsylvania Officer Who Shot A 12-Year-Old Girl Wasn’t Actually With The Police

      In 2008, the Associated Press discovered that constables had committed a slew of felonies: child molestation, having sex with prisoners, and murder. It wasn’t until 2013 that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court put in place standards of conduct for the state’s constables, in response to pressure to reign them in. President judges in district courts were tasked with creating Constable Review Boards to investigate complaints and dole out punishments.

      But even with stricter policies and procedures to follow, constables keep abusing their power.

      More recently, one threatened to arrest a prostitute if she didn’t sleep with him at the rate he set. Two convicted constables showed no remorse for handcuffing a woman who failed to pay a parking ticket and dragging her by her legs — in front of two children. One man was shot in the back and paralyzed when a constable tried to serve him papers for unpaid parking tickets. Three months ago, another constable was accused of strangling and beating his girlfriend.

    • Court Says Cops Who Protected a Mental Patient to Death Violated His Rights
      This week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that the police who protected Armstrong to death used excessive force during the 2011 incident—in particular, by shocking him with a stun gun five times in two minutes in a vain attempt to disengage him from a stop sign post to which he was clinging with his arms and legs. The cops ultimately pulled him off the post and pinned him to the ground facedown, one of them kneeling on his back and another standing on it, then handcuffed him and shackled his legs. "During the struggle," the court noted, "Armstrong complained that he was being choked." After the officers "stood up to collect themselves," his sister noticed that he was motionless and unresponsive. When the cops rolled him over, they found that "his skin had turned a bluish color, and he did not appear to be breathing."

    • Will the 2016 Presidential Election Be Decided by Voter Suppression Laws?
      An update on voter suppression as the presidential election draws nearer and nearer.

      In 2016, 10 states will be putting into place restrictive voting laws that they will be enforcing for the first time in a presidential election. These laws range from new hurdles to registration to cutbacks on early voting to strict voter identification requirements. Collectively, these ten states are home to over 80 million people and will wield 129 of the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency.

    • Shocking Video Shows Cop Gun Down Unarmed Teen in the Back as He Ran Away
      Lawyers for the city of Chicago, Illinois have dropped objections to the release of surveillance footage that shows the police shooting a black teenager in 2013. Cedrick Chatman was killed as he fled officers who stopped him for car theft.

    • Chicago releases video of police shooting 17yo Cedrick Chatman (VIDEO)

    • Chicago Releases Another Video Of A Police Officer Killing An Unarmed Teenager
      The city of Chicago released a video of another police officer killing an unarmed black teenager three years ago, after giving up a lengthy legal battle to keep it from the public eye.


      The city suddenly reversed its yearlong battle to suppress the video on Wednesday. As they did when fighting to bury video of Laquan McDonald’s death, members of Emanuel’s administration argued the video would inflame the public and jeopardize a fair trial in the Chatman family’s wrongful death lawsuit.

    • Bigot Cop Pulls Gun on Asian Man, Accuses Him of Being “an ISIS” and Beats Him
      According to court records, Clark began hitting C.F. before asking him to name the capital of Thailand and punched him in the groin, yelling “Bangkok.” The drunken bigot cop then walked away.

      As C.F.’s friend was telling him that it would probably be a good idea for him to leave, Clark became aggressive once again. He then pulled out his pistol, with his finger on the trigger, shoved it in C.F’s face and began referring to his non-Muslim Asian victim as “an ISIS.”

    • Two Smoking Guns: FBI on Hillary’s Case
      It also prosecuted Gen. David Petraeus for espionage for keeping secret and top-secret documents in an unlocked drawer in his desk inside his guarded home. It alleged that he shared those secrets with a friend who also had a security clearance, but it dropped those charges.

      The obligation of those to whom state secrets have been entrusted to safeguard them is a rare area in which federal criminal prosecutions can be based on the defendant’s negligence. Stated differently, to prosecute Clinton for espionage, the government need not prove that she intended to expose the secrets.

    • Marco Rubio Pushes Conspiracy Theory On Obama And Guns

      “Yes, that is a conspiracy,” the president said. “I’m only going to be here for another year. When would I have started on this enterprise?”

      After unsuccessfully pleading with Congress over the past few years — years marked by mass shootings at schools, movie theaters, and churches — to pass gun control reforms, President Obama issued an executive order in early January. The package of modest reforms include clarifying background check rules for online sales and gun shows, increasing the number of federal agents conducting background checks and investigating illegal gun trafficking, investing $500 million in mental health care, and developing new gun safety technology.

    • Feds Confirm Cardinals Accessed Astros System With Old Password, File Unauthorized Access Charges
      Sports fans in the city of St. Louis are having a rough go of it lately. Fresh on the heels of losing their football team to Los Angeles, now we are learning that the federal government has charged former Cardinals scouting director Christopher Correa with unauthorized access into the Houston Astros computer systems. While some had speculated that the government would go after the Cardinals under the Economic Espionage Act, it's beginning to look like our original assumption that the CFAA would be the tool the government would wield has been proven correct. Also appearing to be correct were reports that the "hacking" that took place in this instance was of the less hack-y variety and more of the let's-try-the-guy's-old-password-y.

    • Why Is the Obama Admin Sending Refugees Back to Narco War Nightmare the U.S. Helped Create?
      With the New Year, the Obama administration has unleashed a new campaign of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids targeting Central American women and children who fled to the U.S. in 2014 to escape violence in their home countries. Some 17,000 are at immediate risk of being dragged from their homes and families and being detained and deported.

      "Our borders are not open to illegal migration; if you come here illegally, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values," Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement announcing the action.

    • Guatemala: first trial for systematic violations of indigenous women
      Guatemala's recent history bears the mark of a 36 year long, painful internal armed conflict, during which the State systematically violated the rights of the Mayan population.

      According to the Report of the Commission for the Historical Clarification of Human Rights Violations in Guatemala, 83.3 percent of the human rights violations were committed against them.

      Indigenous women have particularly suffered from the conflict. They have been victims of rape, abuse and sexual slavery.

    • Worried about the return of fascism? Six things a dissenter can do in 2016
      2015 was the year that concerns about the return of fascism went mainstream, thanks to the popularity of the likes of Donald Trump, who leads the polls to be the Republican presidential candidate in the US, and Marine Le Pen, whose Front National topped the polls in the first round of the French regional elections (before defeat in the second).
    • Here’s Why A Guy Got 15 Years In Prison After Posting This Selfie On Facebook
      Little did Farrad know, when he posted a selfie with his .56-caliber handgun on Facebook, what problems he is going to face in near future. With a long time criminal history, he had two prior convictions for gun possession.

      Posting a selfie on Facebook might be a daily affair for you and your buddies, but things get a can little harsh if you are a longtime felon. The same happened with Malik First Born Allah Farrad, 42, who was sentenced for 188 months for posting a selfie in October 2013 on Facebook.

    • State Prosecutor Says Forfeiture Reform Is 'Legislators Funding Drug Dealers'
      As asset forfeiture's popularity continues to decline in the eyes of the public and certain legislators (but not in the eyes of its beneficiaries), arguments against reform efforts are becoming more desperate and strained. Hartford County state's attorney Joseph I. Cassilly has been granted a pile of pixels at the Baltimore Sun to defend the "right" of Maryland's law enforcement agencies to take money from people without charging them, much less convicting them.

    • Two Former Cops Lead Legislative Charge To Shield Body Camera Footage From Public Inspection
      Body cameras have become democratized, for lack of a better word. They're relatively cheap, easy to use and can be deployed with minimal setup. They hold the promise of increased transparency and accountability, but legislators seem far more interested in ensuring the new technology will have zero net positive effects.

      Four Indiana legislators -- two of them former law enforcement officers -- have introduced a bill that will keep the public out of the loop as far as body camera footage is concerned.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The epidemic of bloated web pages
      There’s no denying that web pages have gotten heavier and heavier over the years. Between advertising, widgets, images, scripts, trackers and everything else, the Web has become a ghetto of gigantic, bloated web pages. It’s really become something of an epidemic, and most sites don’t seem to be doing much if anything to slim down their pages.

    • How corporations killed the web
      I have read with fascination what we would have called before a blog post, except it was featured on The Guardian: Iran's blogfather: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are killing the web The "blogfather" is Hossein Derakshan or h0d3r, an author from Teheran that was jailed for almost a decade for his blogging. The article is very interesting both because it shows how fast things changed in the last few years, technology-wise, but more importantly, how content-free the web have become, where Facebook's last acquisition, Instagram, is not even censored by Iran. Those platforms have stopped being censored, not because of democratic progress but because they have become totally inoffensive (in the case of Iran) or become a tool of surveillance for the government and targeted advertisement for companies (in the case of, well, most of the world).

    • Facebook Busted Trying To Fake Support For Its Net Neutrality Positions In India
      For much of the last year now, Facebook has been under fire in India for its "Free Basics" zero rating campaign, which exempts Facebook-approved content from carrier usage caps, purportedly to the benefit of the nation's poor. Critics however have argued that Facebook's just trying to corner developing ad markets under the banner of altruism, and giving one company so much control over what's effectively a walled garden sets a horrible precedent for a truly open Internet. Indian regulator TRAI has agreed so far, arguing that what Facebook is doing is effectively glorified collusion, and it's demanding that Facebook shut the program down until a public conversation about net neutrality can be had.

  • DRM

    • Netflix To Block Users Who Use VPN To Access Restricted Content

    • Netflix Pretends It Will Crackdown On VPNs Just Days After Admitting It's Futile To Do So
      For a few years now, broadcasters have whined endlessly about the use of VPNs to access Netflix in markets where the streaming service had yet to launch. You'll recall that Australian broadcasters in particular loved to throw hissy fits over the use of VPN technology, accusing customers (paying for both Netflix and a VPN) of being "pirates" for refusing to adhere to regional viewing restrictions. Of course, ignored amidst all this whining (and the futile attempts to ban VPNs) was the fact that these users wouldn't be going to these lengths -- if they liked the existing services being made available to them.

    • Netflix to crack down on VPN use
    • Netflix Announces Crackdown on VPN and Proxy Pirates

      For those utilizing VPNs, proxies and unblocking tools to access geo-restricted content on Netflix, the party may soon be over. According to an announcement by the company's Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture, people using such services will face new roadblocks in the coming weeks.

    • Netflix to block proxy users – geo-blocking to be enforced

      Netflix services about 190 nations. It has announced that it will prevent VPN/proxy users from circumventing country-based content licencing restrictions.

      In a blog post titled ‘Evolving Proxy Detection as a Global service’ David Fullagar, Netflix’s VP of Content Delivery Architecture, said, “We are making progress in licensing content across the world… but we have a way to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere. For now, given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory. In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location.”

    • Netflix is Cracking Down on Viewers Spoofing Locations to Access Foreign Shows
      Netflix says technology is now being deployed to prevent proxies from being used

      Netflix is taking steps to thwart users who fake their location in order to get access to foreign shows and movies.

    • This NBC Exec Says Netflix Isn’t a Threat
      Netflix is seen by many as the future of television, or at the very least, a major player in whatever television is becoming. The company recently announced that it is now available in more than 130 countries, and it has a portfolio of popular shows like Jessica Jones and Narcos. But not everyone is impressed, apparently.

    • NBC Exec: Netflix Poses No Threat To Us, God Wants You To Watch Expensive, Legacy TV

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • No, The Internet Hasn't Destroyed Quality Music Either
        And, of course, basically every other technological innovation was a threat of some sort. The radio was supposed to kill music. "Home taping is killing music" was a slogan! The RIAA undermined digital tapes and tried to limit CDs. It sued over the earliest MP3 players. It's sued countless internet companies and even music fans.

        Through it all, the refrain is always the same: if we don't do this, "music will go away."

        But, of course, throughout it all, music only expanded. In the first decade of the 21st Century, more music was recorded than all of history combined, and it's likely the pace has increased over the following five years as well.

        And because of that, we've started to hear a new refrain from the same folks who insisted before that music was at risk of "dying" because of new technologies: that maybe there's more music, but it's clearly worse in quality. Some of this can be chalked up to the ridiculous pretension of adults who insist that the music of their youth was always so much better than the music "the kids listen to nowadays." But plenty of it seems to be just an attack on the fact that technology has allowed the riff raff in, and the big record labels no longer get to act as a gatekeeper to block them out.

      • God v. Copyright: Mike Huckabee Invokes Religion In Copyright Suit
        Strap in, folks, because we've got quite a battle brewing. You may recall that Mike Huckabee recently found himself the subject of a copyright dispute with Frank Sullivan, a member of Survivor, over the use of the band's hit song Eye of the Tiger at a rally for the release of Kim Davis. Davis was the county clerk who asserted that her right to express her religion -- in the form of denying same sex couples the right to marry -- overrode the secular law of the land, which is about as bad a misunderstanding of how our secular government works as can be imagined. Sullivan's filing indicated that the rally was conducted by the Huckabee campaign and that the use of the song had been without permission, therefore it was an infringing use. Left out of the filing was any indication of whether the Huckabee campaign had acquired the normal performance licenses.

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