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05.08.15

Links 8/5/2015: $9 ARM/Linux Computer, Mozilla Thunderbird Evolves

Posted in News Roundup at 4:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 8 Linux Security Improvements In 8 Years

    At a time when faith in open source code has been rocked by an outbreak of attacks based on the Shellshock and Heartbleed vulnerabilities, it’s time to revisit what we know about Linux security. Linux is so widely used in enterprise IT, and deep inside Internet apps and operations, that any surprises related to Linux security would have painful ramifications.

    In 2007, Andrew Morton, a no-nonsense colleague of Linus Torvalds known as the “colonel of the kernel,” called for developers to spend time removing defects and vulnerabilities. “I would like to see people spend more time fixing bugs and less time on new features. That’s my personal opinion,” he said in an interview at the time.

  • 7 Excuses For Not Using Linux — And Why They’re Wrong

    Every since Linux first became popular, articles have been condemning its shortcomings. Hardly a month goes by without someone explaining what Linux lacks, or how it needs a particular feature, application, or service to be usable– and, as often as not, the complaints are misguided.

    Admittedly, the free software that runs on Linux has some shortcomings. For example, you still can’t fill out PDF forms, or, in most countries, calculate your taxes using Linux. In other cases, such as optical character recognition or speech recognition, free software tools are available but primitive compared to proprietary ones. However, the number of legitimate shortcomings becomes smaller every year, and, increasingly the complaints are more likely to be the results of ignorance as anything else.

  • Microsoft’s new secure boot strategy will suit Linux firms

    Linux companies Red Hat, SUSE and Canonical will benefit from the decision by Microsoft to suggest that OEMs not provide a means of turning off secure boot on PCs running Windows 10.

  • Launching with $2.5 million in seed funding, Twistlock may become the rock star of Docker security
  • Container security company Twistlock debuts with $2.5M
  • Virtual Container Security Suite TwistLock Launches with $2.5M Seed Funding
  • Twistlock adds security to container-based applications
  • Twistlock launches out of stealth to secure the future of containers
  • Twistlock Unveils the Industry’s First Virtual Container Security Suite, Providing the Visibility and Control Enterprises Need to Keep Container-Based Apps Secure
  • Twistlock, SF startup with Israeli roots, launches new security technology
  • Twistlock Launches Security Framework for Containers
  • Twistlock takes on enterprise Docker container security
  • Container security startup Twistlock launches out of Israel with $2.5M
  • Startup Twistlock seeks to padlock Docker containers
  • Twistlock Launches To Solve Linux Container Security Problems

    As the idea of containers gains momentum, there are a couple of problems that increasingly need to be solved – networking, storage and security being the key three. Twistlock aims to solve the last of those and be part of unlocking far-broader container adoption.

    Containers are, of course, a Linux concept that allows the running of multiple isolated Linux systems on a single control host. Instead of creating a full virtual environment, with Linux containers, an operating system is shared across the various containers while running resources are offered to the container in isolation. Linux containers have existed for a long time, but Docker re-invigorated the notion and brought it to a wider audience.

  • What prevents Linux from beating Windows and OS X?

    Linux has been around for quite a long time now, but it still plays third fiddle to Windows and OS X. Which problems are stopping Linux from dominating the desktop? A redditor asked this question and got some very interesting answers.

  • Video: U.S. Volunteer, 84, Rebuilds, Sends Linux Laptops To Africa
  • Desktop

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Matt Hartley: The Long Goodbye

      I want to make this short and sweet. The days that follow will be filled with varied speculation I suspect. This happens anytime there is change afoot! But those who know me, know that I’m merely moving onto new exciting projects.

      As of today, I am no longer part of Jupiter Broadcasting. I enjoyed my tenure co-hosting two of the programs and stand by my belief that they have a great production staff and amazing co-hosts. I wish all of them tons of success in their endeavors going forward.

  • Kernel Space

    • diff -u: What’s New in Kernel Development

      Alexander Holler wanted to make it much harder for anyone to recover deleted data. He didn’t necessarily want to outwit the limitless resources of our governmental overlords, but he wanted to make data recovery harder for the average hostile attacker. The problem as he saw it was that filesystems often would not actually bother to delete data, so much as they would just decouple the data from the file and make that part of the disk available for use by other files. But the data would still be there, at least for a while, for anyone to recouple into a file again.

      Alexander posted some patches to implement a new system call that first would overwrite all the data associated with a given file before making that disk space available for use by other files. Since the filesystem knew which blocks on the disk were associated with which files, he reasoned, zeroing out all relevant data would be a trivial operation.

    • It’s Easier to Ask Forgiveness…

      …than to understand Linux permissions! Honestly though, that’s not really true. Linux permissions are simple and elegant, and once you understand them, they’re easy to work with. Octal notation gets a little funky, but even that makes sense once you understand why it exists.

    • Linux Kernel 3.19.7 Is a Massive Update and All Users are Urged to Upgrade

      Immediately after announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.0.2, which is currently the most advanced stable branch of Linux kernel, Greg Kroah-Hartman also announced the immediate availability for download and upgrade of the seventh maintenance version of Linux 3.19 kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.16.2 stable tarballs due
      • President’s Report — The State of the GNOME Foundation

        As I hinted in my retrospective in February, 2014 has been crazy busy on a personal level. Let’s now take a look at 2014-2015 from a GNOME perspective.

        When I offered my candidacy for the GNOME Foundation‘s Board of Directors in May last year, I knew that there would be plenty of issues to tackle if elected. As I was elected president afterwards, I was aware that I was getting into a demanding role that would not only test my resolve but also make use of my ability to set a clear direction and keep us moving forward through tough times. But even if someone tries to describe what’s involved in all this, it remains difficult to truly grasp the amount of work involved before you’ve experienced it yourself.

  • Distributions

    • Linux from Square One

      Despite the fact I have a different view of which distros are best for kids — Qimo (pronounced “kim-o,” as in the last part of eskimo, not “chemo”) tops the list, as it should, but the French distro Doudou (add your own joke here) is unfortunately left out — the link there is informative. So for those who are just getting their proverbial feet wet in Linux, this is a godsend.

    • Back Up Your System with Clonezilla Live 2.4.1-15

      Clonezilla Live, a Linux distribution based on DRBL, Partclone, and udpcast that allows users to do a lot of maintenance and recovery work, has been updated to version 2.4.1-15 and is now ready for download.

    • Voyager-X Will Take You on a New Xfce Journey

      Voyager-X 10.14.4, released in March, is based on Xubuntu/Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin). This new Voyager-X is one of the first distros to use the new Xfce 4.12 desktop, more than one year in the making.

    • New Releases

      • OpenELEC 6.0 Beta 1 released

        The OpenELEC team is proud to announce its 1st Beta of OpenELEC 6.0.
        Internally this will be known by the less-catchy name OpenELEC 5.95.1.

        The OpenELEC 5.95 release series are test releases (beta) for OpenELEC-6.0.
        OpenELEC-6.0 will be the next stable release, which is a feature release and the successor of OpenELEC-5.0.

        The most visible change is the update from Kodi-14.2 Helix to Kodi-15.0 Isengard (beta 1). Beginning with Kodi-15 most audio encoder, audio decoder, PVR and visualisation addons are no longer included in our base OS, but they are available via Kodi’s addon manager and must be installed from there, if needed. Our own PVR backends such as VDR and TVHeadend will install needed dependencies automatically. Other than that, please refer to http://kodi.tv/kodi-15-0-isengard-beta-1/ to see all the changes in Kodi-15.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • SUSE eases Linux migration as part of SAP programme

        The German GNU/Linux company SUSE has announced support for the “simpler choice” database programme from SAP, whereby it will offer to help businesses migrate any legacy database solution to a more modern alternative.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Breaking Records and Fighting Fragmentation

        Red Hat has been grabbing headlines the last couple of days. It started yesterday with the announcement of RHEL 6.7 Beta which brings new and updated features to those not ready to move on to RHEL 7.x. Today Red Hat took “a stand against container fragmentation” and announced their part in six record breaking Intel Xeon E7 v3 systems. SuSE lead seven to world records too and Debian Jessie reviews are still rolling in.

      • Taking a Stand Against Container Fragmentation…with Standards

        At Red Hat, our involvement in open source technologies does not just revolve around code commits and community stewardship; one important focus is on the creation of standards. It may sound boring, but open standards applied to emerging software technologies can go far in not only fostering adoption but also helping to further drive innovation.

        Open standards and the governance model of open source projects are closely related. The best projects create innovation and ubiquity by becoming the defacto standard for a given set of problems, absorbing and aggregating the many agendas and needs that drive their contributors. Our approach to open standards is demonstrated by the “power of code,” developed in the open, unlike abstract documents negotiated in the backroom.

      • Red Hat Delivers Leading Application Performance with the Latest Intel Xeon Processors

        With every new Intel Xeon processor generation, the benefits typically span beyond simple increases in transistor counts or the number of cores within each processor. Things like increased memory capacity per chip or larger on-chip caches are tangible and measurable, and often have a direct effect on performance, resulting in record-breaking scores on various standard benchmarks.

      • Explaining Security Lingo

        This post is aimed to clarify certain terms often used in the security community. Let’s start with the easiest one: vulnerability. A vulnerability is a flaw in a selected system that allows an attacker to compromise the security of that particular system. The consequence of such a compromise can impact the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the attacked system (these three aspects are also the base metrics of the CVSS v2 scoring system that are used to rate vulnerabilities). ISO/IEC 27000, IETF RFC 2828, NIST, and others have very specific definitions of the term vulnerability, each differing slightly. A vulnerability’s attack vector is the actual method of using the discovered flaw to cause harm to the affected software; it can be thought of as the entry point to the system or application. A vulnerability without an attack vector is normally not assigned a CVE number.

      • ​Here comes RHEL beta 6.7

        Not ready for the jump to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7? Be of good cheer, Red Hat is still improving Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x.

      • Red Hat releases JBoss EAP 6.4 with support for Java 8

        Red Hat have announced JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 6.4 and expanded benefits for subscribers of the software. This release is notable as it now supports Java 8 applications.

      • Red Hat Expands JBoss Enterprise Application Platform Subscription with Greater Flexibility to Move into the Cloud
      • Red Hat delivers beta of 6.7 update for Enterprise Linux 6 customers

        Red Hat has made available a beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.7, an update for the firm’s Enterprise Linux 6 operating system that provides security enhancements along with updated systems management and monitoring capabilities for customers.

      • Linux Top 3: RHEL 6.7, Chromixium 1.0 and OpenBSD 5.7
      • Red Hat invests in VMTurbo to boost OpenStack biz

        Red Hat, a provider of open source software solutions, has made a strategic investment in VMTurbo, a demand-driven control platform for the software-defined data center.

        VMTurbo plans to use the funds to develop its control platform, improve adoption of demand-driven control in OpenStack deployments, and increase support to VMTurbo’s growing customer base.

        Charles Crouchman, CTO of VMTurbo, said: “Our demand-driven control platform, tightly integrated with Red Hat CloudForms and the Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure, makes OpenStack deployments more resilient, performant and agile.”

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Fun with Debian 8.0 “Jessie”

        The Debian project has a long and rich legacy. Debian is one of the oldest surviving GNU/Linux distributions and, along the way, it has also become one of the largest (over 1,000 developers work on Debian, providing users with over 40,000 packages) and Debian has even branched out, adding GNU/FreeBSD and GNU/Hurd ports to its list of offerings. Debian is sometimes referred to as the “universal operating system” because it runs on a wide array of architectures, offering not only a production branch (Stable), but also multiple development branches (Testing, Unstable and Experimental). Debian, in short, provides a little something for everyone. This “universal” approach, which allows Debian to work just about anywhere while doing almost anything, also attracts developers who wish to build products using Debian’s packages and open infrastructure. Many of the world’s more popular Linux distributions, including Linux Mint and Ubuntu, have their roots in Debian.

      • Systemd hee hee: Jessie Debian gallops (slowly) into view

        The Debian Project may not be that slow with new releases, but sometimes it feels like it. The project typically releases a new version “when it’s ready,” which seems to work out to about once every two years lately.

        Debian 8, branded Jessie, in keeping with the Toy Story naming scheme (Jessie was the cowgirl character in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3) had its feature freeze in November 2014 and there’s a been a beta and RC release available for testing. It wasn’t until the end of April when Jessie was finally judged range ready.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Low profile mini-PC runs Linux on Haswell CPUs

      Giada’s compact i200 mini-PC for thin client and signage runs Linux on a 4th Gen Intel Core, and offers mini-PCIe, mSATA, and automated scheduling features.

    • Next Thing Co. Releases “World’s First” $9 Computer

      Snuggly situated in an industrial section of Oakland, CA is Next Thing Co. a team of nine artists and engineers who are pursuing the dream of a lower cost single board computer. Today they’ve unveiled their progress on Kickstarter, offering a $9 development board called Chip.

      The board is Open Hardware, runs a flavor of Debain Linux, and boasts a 1Ghz R8 ARM processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of eMMC storage. It is more powerful than a Raspberry Pi B+ and equal to the BeagleBone Black in clock speed, RAM, and storage. Differentiating Chip from Beagle is its built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and the ease in which it can be made portable, thanks to circuitry that handles battery operation.

    • Now, a $9 ARM/Linux computer for makers
    • C.H.I.P. — the super tiny computer that only costs $9
    • This $9 computer might be more useful than Raspberry Pi

      A Kickstarter campaign promises a $9 computer with a larger processor than Raspberry Pi and the ability for cheap and easy mobile computing.

    • Look out Raspberry Pi: CHIP is the world’s first $9 hackable computer
    • C.H.I.P $9 Tiny Computer Launches On Kickstarter (video)

      Anyone who thought the Raspberry Pi was a little expensive priced at $35 is sure to find the $9 C.H.I.P. tiny computer much more to their liking.

    • World’s Cheapest $9 Computer Is Faster, Smaller & Cheaper Than Raspberry Pi

      A crowd funded startup named Next Thing Co. is creating world’s cheapest computer which will be priced just $9. Named as “C.H.I.P”, this is technically faster, smaller & cheaper than Raspberry Pi, which is currently hailed as the leader of single-board computing world, introduced at $25.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Ugoos UM3 TV Box Offers Both Android And Linux

          There are plenty of TV boxes available to choose from on the market, but if you are looking for something a little different that allows you to dual boot Android and Ubuntu, the Ugoos UM3 TV Box is worth more investigation.

        • Ugoos UM3 TV box dual boots Android and Ubuntu

          The Ugoos UM3 is a small box that you can plug into your TV to run Android apps. But unlike most devices that fit that description, this one can also run Ubuntu Linux.

          That means you could use it to stream videos from YouTube or Netflix, play music from Pandora or Spotify, or play Android games. Then you could reboot the device and switch operating systems to run full desktop apps including LibreOffice and Firefox.

          Ugoos offers a larger model called the UT3S which sells for about $179. But the Ugoos UM3 costs about $50 less.

        • Samsung’s round smartwatch delayed, will launch alongside the Galaxy Note 5

          Samsung had confirmed earlier this year that it was taking its time with the next Gear smartwatch in order to make sure it’s as perfect as possible. Called the Gear A, this watch will be the first round smartwatch from Samsung and will bring a new method of user interaction thanks to its use of a rotating bezel ring. Samsung has never actually offered a time frame for when the Gear A will be officially announced, but according to our insiders, the company has delayed the launch till the second half of this year.

        • LG G4 review

          In the world of smartphones, Samsung and Apple cast big shadows. Perhaps no company is more familiar with those shadows than LG, which has been chasing Samsung’s mobile phone division for years. Each time that Samsung makes a move, LG follows along a few months later and a little less impressively.

        • 5 Best Android Phones [May, 2015]

          Those looking for a new Android phone in the month of May are going to find themselves staring at a number of solid options. With that in mind, we want to help narrow things down for those that are need of some assistance. Here, we take a look at the device’s we think represent the best Android phones for May, 2015.

          Last month, Samsung and HTC released their new 2015 flagships into the wild. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S6, and HTC One M9 join a crowded field of competitors tempting those looking for a new Android phone this month. They will soon be joined by an LG G4, a device that’s set to replace the popular LG G3 in June.

        • Google accidentally reveals ‘Android M’ in new I/O schedule

          It looks like Google will reveal the successor to Android 5.0 Lollipop at its upcoming annual I/O 2015 developer conference.

        • Running Android 5.0.2 Lollipop on Your PC Is Easier with AndEX Live CD

          Arne Exton had once again the great pleasure of informing Softpedia about the general availability of a new build for its AndEX Live CD project, whose primary goal is to help you run the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop mobile operating system from Google on your personal computer.

        • Android TV Arrives With New Game Boxes, 4K TVs

          The choice of Android TV devices has finally expanded beyond Google’s Nexus Player. Last week, Sony, which years ago launched the first Google TV set-top, began shipping the first Android TV based TVs, and this week it will be joined by Razer’s Forge TV gaming player. Later this month, Nvidia will ship its third-generation Nvidia Shield, which similarly runs Google’s new media player and gaming platform.

          In today’s more enlightened tech world, failure is not exactly acceptable, but it is at least considered natural. Fail twice in the same product category, however, and few will give much credence to future attempts. The pressure is on for Google to see some early wins for Android TV that can erase memories of its failed Google TV integrated TV/web platform.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Bitseed Open-Sources Creation of Second Plug-in Bitcoin Node

    Bitcoin startup Bitseed has announced it is open-sourcing the creation of its new plug-in node.

    The company, which launched its first node in March, is asking contributors to help evolve its product by completing tasks and solving bounties in exchange for rewards.

    Bitseed’s project is hosted on Assembly, a collaborative platform that tracks contributions to projects with coloured coins on the bitcoin blockchain.

  • Nervana open-sources its deep-learning software, says it outperforms Facebook, Nvidia tools

    Nervana Systems, one of a handful startups focusing on a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning, today is announcing that it has released its Neon deep learning software under an Apache open-source license, allowing anyone to try it out for free.

    The startup is pointing to benchmarks a Facebook researcher recently conducted suggesting that the Nervana software outperforms other publicly available deep learning tools, including Nvidia’s cuDNN and Facebook’s own Torch7 libraries.

  • Open source key to preserving human history, argues Vatican

    Ammenti explained that, in order for the manuscripts to be readable, the Vatican Library opted for open source tools that do not require proprietary platforms, such as Microsoft Office, to be read.

  • Getting Started in Open Source Software

    Open source software is everywhere, and chances are high that you’ll be writing, deploying, or administering it when you enter the workforce. Hiring managers are looking for candidates with experience in open source. Employers will often ask you for your GitHub username along with – or instead of – your resume. So, if you’re all new to open source, where should you get started?

    If you’re feeling a bit intimated about the wide world of open source software, it’s totally understandable. There’s thousands of projects, and it’s hard to know which one will give you the best experience you can use to build your skill set. And it can be even harder to know which one will give you the best experience as a contributor and human being.

  • EMC’s ViPR Slithers Into Open Source

    Project CoprHD is positioned in the data center as a single, open control plane for multivendor storage. It offers the same level of flexibility, choice, security and transparency as EMC’s commercial ViPR Controller product. It adds the ability to create new services and applications. EMC will continue selling ViPR Controller as a commercial offering.

  • Nginx open source server gets TCP load-balancing

    With the release of the Nginx 1.9.0 Web server, Nginx has taken TCP load-balancing capabilities from its commercial Nginx Plus product and fitted it to the company’s open source technology.

    TCP load balancing improves failover consistency among worker processes, according to Nginx. The feature already has appeared in the commercial Nginx 5 and 6 products.

  • Events

    • Open Tech Summit Berlin, openSUSE Conference and more

      This is a fun month. Not only are we moving forward with the ownCloud Contributor Conference (some cool interviews coming out soon), but there’s a sudden avalanche of events this month. The ownCloud.org blog already wrote about it – we have had FOSDEM, SCALE, Chemnitz and may others I didn’t attend myself. Find out about the openSUSE conf from last week and the upcoming OTS in Berlin!

    • The Best Feature of Free Software

      I asked this of the openSUSE community at the start of my keynote last week at the openSUSE Conferene in The Hague, and they gave some great answers. Community, YAST, quality, OBS, etc.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • House of Cards UI central to Mozilla’s plans for Firefox on tellies

        Mozilla has revealed how it reckons Firefox should look when it’s on the tellie.

        Firefox OS user experience designer Hunter Luo reckons that the four basic functions of a smart television are watching shows, accessing apps, controlling devices and looking at list of your content. The user interface for Firefox-for-tellies therefore presents each of those options as a “deck”, concealing “cards”. So in the image below, “TV” is the deck and each of the channels gets a “card”, in this case Channel 32.

      • Using Pre-release Firefox on Linux

        Every committed Mozillian and many enthusiastic end-users will use a pre-release version of Firefox.

        In Mac and Windows this is pretty straightforward, you simply download the Firefox Nightly/Aurora/Beta dmg or setup tool, and get going. When it is installed it is a proper desktop application, you could make it your default browser, and life goes on.

      • Mozilla Thunderbird 38.0 Will Bring Yahoo! Messenger Support, Lightning Integration

        Believe it or not, the folks at Mozilla are working hard these days to bring you a major update to one of the best open-source and cross-platform email, news, and chat clients on the market.

      • Mozilla Looks To Phase Out Unencrypted Web
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.4.3 Officially Released with 80 Fixes, LibreOffice 5.0 on Its Way

      The Document Foundation has just announced that LibreOffice 4.4.3 has been released and is now available for download. It’s a maintenance release with not so many improvements, but it’s here and it will land in repositories soon enough.

    • VirtualBox 5.0 Beta 3 released

      Please do NOT use this VirtualBox Beta release on production machines. A VirtualBox Beta release should be considered a bleeding-edge release meant for early evaluation and testing purposes.

      You can download the binaries here. Please use sha256sum to compare the hash of the downloaded package with the corresponding hash from this list.

      Please do NOT open bug reports at http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Bugtracker but use our VirtualBox Beta Feedback forum to report any problems with the Beta release. Please concentrate on reporting regressions since VirtualBox 4.3.26.

  • CMS

    • The Weather Company relies on Drupal to manage content

      After helping to put the dot in .com by building and configuring enterprise class solutions with WorldCom as a Sun hardware and software engineer, Jason Smith went on to AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the publishers of the journal Science) to direct the technical needs of the education directorate.

      Jason has built or architected solutions ranging from enterprise to small business class and has found in Drupal a flexible, scalable, rapid development framework for targeting all levels of projects. A long time beneficiary of the open source movement, Jason—now a senior software architect at The Weather Company—is an avid supporter of open source projects and believes strongly in giving back to the community that supported him.

    • What I learned managing an open source CMS project

      My favorite part about our open source project, PencilBlue, is that I get to interact with people from all over the world. When we first started, there were just two of us, but as the months progressed we saw our contributors begin to grow. It got me thinking about what it takes to be a good maintainer and how my team will make sure the project continues to run smoothly for years to come.

      How many people across the world contribute to open source software? If GitHub’s user base is any indication, the open source community is more than 8.5 million. That’s a massive number of people that have the capacity and desire to contribute. These numbers don’t even take into consideration those who clone or download distributions anonymously. Now that we know how many people we can potentially engage, how do we get them interested in our projects?

    • WordPress Upgraded to Fix Security Holes

      Website publishers using the popular free and open source WordPress content management system (CMS) woke up this morning to find that their sites had been upgraded to version 4.2.2. Users who’s sites somehow missed being automatically upgraded are urged to update immediately, as this update addresses several important security issues. According to Wordfence, maintainers of a popular WordPress security plugin, this release fixes one recently discovered vulnerability and further hardens a security issue that was addressed in version 4.2.1.

  • Healthcare

    • Healthcare projects should collaborate on open source

      Software projects in health care would benefit from increased collaboration, using open source, exchanging know-how and open documentation, say experts from IsfTeH, International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth. “Most important is the sharing of best practices, but reusing common software components also reduces costs”, the experts say.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Gnubik 2.4.2 has been released.

      Gnubik is a 3D single player game which displays an interactive cube similar to the well known Rubik Cube.

    • Release of Liquid War 6 0.6.3902

      This is a bug-fix release, network still only works at a prototype stage. However, a bunch of bugs have been fixed, including a good deal show-stoppers which were preventing the game from starting some os OS/hardware combinations.

    • The FSF is hiring: Seeking a Boston-area full-time Web Developer

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Boston-based 501(c)(3) charity with a worldwide mission to protect freedoms critical to the computer-using public, seeks a Boston-based individual to be its full-time Web Developer.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • 4 things governments need to know to adopt open source cloud – Red Hat

      Ammenti explained that, in order for the manuscripts to be readable, the Vatican Library opted for open source tools that do not require proprietary platforms, such as Microsoft Office, to be read.

    • Luxembourg open source health records system gains foothold

      Gecamed, an open source Electronic Health Record system developed in Luxembourg since 2007, is already used by more than 10 per cent of all general practitioners in the country. It is also the first EHR system in Luxembourg to achieve interoperability with the health records management system used by eSanté, the country’s national eHealth agency, says Guido Bosch, a research engineer at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology.

    • Political support and pioneers pivotal for open source

      Political commitment and innovative individuals are crucial to get public administrations to switch to open source software, conclude researchers at the Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University (Netherlands). The potential cost savings or the size and complexity of the public administration “have no discernible effect”, the researchers write in Government Information Quarterly.

    • German states pilot open source patient portal

      Germany’s Rhine-Neckar metropolitan area, with the three states of Baden Wuerttemberg, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate, are testing an open source patient portal that provides access to a ‘personal’ Electronic Health Record (p-EHR) system.

Leftovers

  • The exit poll no one expected

    It’s fair to say no one was expecting that. Not the political parties, not the punditocracy and – least of all – the pollsters. The exit poll that came on the stroke at 10pm will have caused ashen faces at Labour headquarters. At Lib Dem towers, the spirits would have crumpled in an instant. At Tory mission control, the joy would have been unconfined.

  • Finance

    • Feds Spent $3.3 Billion Fueling Charter Schools but No One Knows What It’s Really Bought

      CMD’s guide, “New Documents Show How Taxpayer Money Is Wasted by Charter Schools—Stringent Controls Urgently Needed as Charter Funding Faces Huge Increase,” analyzes materials obtained from open records requests about independent audits of how states interact with charter school authorizers and charter schools.

      These documents, along with the earlier Inspector General report, reveal systemic barriers to common sense financial controls. Revealing quotes from those audit materials, highlighted in CMD’s report, show that too often states have had untrained staff doing unsystematic reviews of authorizers and charter schools while lacking statutory authority and adequate funding to fully assess how federal money is being spent by charters.

    • Prof. Wolff on The David Pakman Show: Uber: Innovator or Business Destroyer?
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NYT Presents 2016 Race as GOP Candidates vs. Hillary Clinton

      In case you’re curious, the percentage of Democrats who say they “would consider voting for” Sanders has risen from 14 percent in February to 23 percent now–but 61 percent say they haven’t heard enough to be able to say…which is, of course, in part a function of journalists treating next year’s Democratic contest as a foregone conclusion.

  • Censorship

    • EFF Urges Appeals Court to Shut Down Attempt To Use Copyright To Censor

      Copyright law is frequently misused as a tool to censor unwanted online criticism. And often, this misuse does not make it into court. But one such case has recently made its way up to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. And yesterday, EFF filed a “friend of the court” brief, urging the court to consider the First Amendment interests at play when copyright is used to silence public criticism.

  • Privacy

    • NSA mass phone surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden ruled illegal

      The US court of appeals has ruled that the bulk collection of telephone metadata is unlawful, in a landmark decision that clears the way for a full legal challenge against the National Security Agency.

      A panel of three federal judges for the second circuit overturned an earlier ruling that the controversial surveillance practice first revealed to the US public by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 could not be subject to judicial review.

    • Le Petit Problème With France’s New Big Brother

      There is a measure of irony to the landmark intelligence bill that passed the lower house of France’s Parliament on Tuesday: It is intended to legalize some activities that French spies are already doing illegally. With militant fighters streaming back into Europe from the battlefields of Syria, Iraq, and Libya, French authorities have more radicals to keep track of than they have police officers to shadow them. That has left the French security apparatus deeply strained, and the bill passed Tuesday embraces digital mass surveillance as a solution to the manpower problem: What can’t be tracked by a team of undercover officers can perhaps — and “perhaps” is the operative word — be more efficiently monitored by banks of computers.

05.06.15

Links 6/5/2015: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7 Enters Beta, Ubuntu Summit News

Posted in News Roundup at 5:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Valve’s Mods Blunder Prompts Reddit Community to Create Open Source Steam Replacement

    Valve has recently gone through a major PR debacle after the company announced that it’s implementing paid mods for games and Skyrim in particular. Their decision was short-lived, and it was retracted, but they have managed to incur the rage of the community. Independent developers are now working on a new game launcher that will make Steam obsolete.

  • Biicode goes open source early after outpouring of community support

    After the announcement, our community growth skyrocketed. Our investors were so impressed by the welcoming of our open source announcement that they let us go ahead with open sourcing biicode early. We worked hard to release most of it in biicode 3.0.

  • Singapore’s prime minister releases source code for his hand-coded Sudoku-solver

    Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsien Loong has decided to reveal the source code of the Sudoku-solving app he personally coded.

    The PM revealed he likes to program in his spare time last month and mentioned the Sudoku-solver. He’s since taken to Facebook to announce the source code dump.

    “The program is pretty basic,’ the PM writes, “it runs at the command prompt, in a DOS window. Type in the data line by line (e.g. 1-3-8—6), then the solver will print out the solution (or all the solutions if there are several), the number of steps the program took searching for the solution, plus some search statistics.”

  • New tutorials, developments in open digital humanities

    Welcome to the third installment of my monthly column, where I explore how open source software and the open source way are used in the digital humanities. Every month I take a look at open source tools you can use in your digital humanities researc, as well as, a few humanities research projects that are using open source tools today. I will also cover news about how transparency and open exchange, and principles of the open source way, being applied to the humanities.

  • EMC open-sources ViPR Controller
  • EMC ScaleIO free for dev/test users
  • EMC makes software-defined ViPR open source
  • EMC releases ViPR Controller into the open source wild with Project CoprHD
  • EMC Announces Open Source Version of ViPR Controller
  • EMC hopes to extend ViPR Controller’s reach with open-source release
  • EMC to Distribute Free, Open-Source Software for the First Time
  • EMC to open-source ViPR – and lots of other stuff apparently

    ViPR is software storage controller tech that separates the control and data planes of operation, enabling different data services to be layered onto a set of storage hardware products – such as EMC’s own arrays, Vblocks, selected third-party arrays, JBODs and cloud storage. The data services are typically ways of accessing data, such as file services,

    The open source software will be called Project CoprHD* and be made available on GitHub for community development. It will include all the storage automation and control functionality and be supplied under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 (MPL 2.0). Public supporting partners for CoprHD are Intel, Verizon and SAP.

  • IT Innovators: Creating an Open Source Solution to Help IT Professionals Secure their Data in the Cloud

    When Kurt Rohloff was working as a senior scientist at Raytheon BBN Technologies, he quickly realized the value of encryption when storing data in the cloud. However, he viewed the fact that the data couldn’t be computed on after encryption as a major obstacle in what he needed to accomplish.

  • Netflix (NFLX) Announces Release of Open Source FIDO for Security Incidents
  • Netflix open-sources security incident management tool
  • Netflix looses FIDO hack attack dog as open source

    Netflix has released source code for its automated incident response tool to help organisations cut through the noise of security alerts.

    Project lead and security boffin Rob Fry together with Brooks Evans, and Jason Chan announced the unleashing of the Fully Integrated Defense Operation (FIDO) saying it has chewed the time to respond to incidents from weeks to hours.

  • Myth-Busting the Open-Source Cloud Part 2
  • Enabling Open Source SDN and NFV in the Enterprise

    I recently attended the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Shenzhen, China, to promote Intel’s software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) software solutions. During this year’s IDF, Intel has made several announcements and our CEO Brian Krzanich showcased Intel’s innovation leadership across a wide range of technologies with our local partners in China. On the heel of Krzanich’s announcements, Intel Software & Services Group Senior VP Doug Fisher extended Krzanich’s message to stress the importance of open source collaboration to drive industry innovation and transformation, citing OpenStack and Hadoop as prime examples.

  • How Open-Source Software Will Speed Up Rebuilding Nepal’s Historic Sites

    A recent article by Gizmodo’s Alissa Walker gives a great overview of how these massive projects have benefitted from recent advances in technology. One of the bigger innovations of the last 10 years has been the open-source software Arches. Developed by The World Monuments Fund (WMF) and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), the software provides collaborative tools to document and analyze the “before” data for a damaged site. A group, whether of historians, architects, or a whole city, can contribute information they have from the site, like aerial photos or video, among other documentation.

  • Events

    • How – and Why – to Speak at Linux Foundation Events

      The open source community lives and grows through collaboration. That collaboration is driven online but we’ve witnessed first hand how much can be done and quickened by face-to-face meetings. This is due, in part, to the session speakers at events like LinuxCon, CloudOpen, Embedded Linux Conference and more. Speakers at our events represent the leaders and subject matter experts across a diverse range of technology areas and lend so much more to the event experience than just speaking. They help grow the community through their contribution; they make the experience for attendees so much more rich; and they represent the passion and genius that Linux and open source are known for.

    • The unofficial guide to OpenStack Summit Vancouver
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Could Make New Firefox Features Cater to HTTPS Only

        We’ve been writing about the benefits of HTTPS (HTTP Secure) connections, as opposed to basic HTTP connections, for years. The Electronic Frontier Foundation even endorses a browser extension called HTTPS Everywhere that uses it to encrypt communications on the web.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.4.3 RC2 Is Out, Stable Version Should Arrive Very Soon

      The Document Foundation has just announced that the second RC (Release Candidate) for the LibreOffice 4.4.3 branch has been released and is now available for download and testing.

    • new area fill toolbar dropdown

      The GSOC 2014 Color Selector is in LibreOffice 4.4, but it’s not used for the “area fill” dropdown in impress or draw. So I spent a little time today for LibreOffice 5.0 to hack things up so that instead of using the old color drop down list for that we now have the new color selector in the toolbar instead. Gives access to custom colors, multiple palettes, and recently used colors all in one place.

  • CMS

    • What’s New for You This May in Open Source CMS

      WordPress issued an emergency update last week to patch a fresh zero-day vulnerability that could have enabled commenters to compromise a site. The previously unknown and unpatched weakness affected current versions of WordPress, according to Finnish company Klikki Oy.

      On April 26 — just three days after WordPress released it’s latest version, 4.2 — Klikki Oy released a video and proof of concept code for an exploit of the flaw, which allows a hacker to store malicious JavaScript code on WordPress site comments. The script is triggered when the comment is viewed.

    • IBIS: A powerful, Drupal-based info gathering tool

      I’m very excited about Joshua Lee’s talk on the Drupal-powered International Biosecurity Intelligence System (IBIS) at DrupalCon 2015. Though I’m no biosecurity expert, the aggregation methods and process workflow for gathering biosecurity information is relevant to many industries. In his talk, the technology for creating this data aggregation system will be covered, as well as how the Drupal community can both benefit and contribute to this project.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSFE Newsletter – May 2015

      The European Commission has published a new version of its strategy for the internal use of Free Software. The FSFE provided input to the Commission during the update phase and while the strategy is broadly similar to the previous version, there are some improvements.

      Unlike previous versions, this time the strategy is accompanied by an action plan aimed at putting it into practice. However, the action plan is not public, so it is not possible to assess the Commission’s progress towards its own goals. We would welcome it, if the Commission would soon publish its action plan.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Helsinki to prefer open source IT solutions

      The city administration of Helsinki (Finland) will prefer open source software solutions for new IT solutions. The city council on 13 April adopted a new IT strategy, emphasising a preference for open source, especially when developing or commissioning the development of software solutions.

    • Open source increase in Swiss public administration

      Switzerland’s public administrations are increasingly turning to using open source, according to the country’s IT trade group SwissICT and the open source advocacy group /ch/open. Like in 2012, the two groups have surveyed public administrations and companies in the country. They notice a “high increase in the use of open source software.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Turkey wants to re-engage in OGP

      The Turkish government will restart the process of participating in the Open Government Partnership, after having been found “acting contrary to the OGP process for two consecutive Action Plan cycles”.

    • 5 ways to promote an inclusive environment where good ideas can emerge

      People in tech companies and particularly in open source communities believe in and value meritocracy—letting the best ideas win. One thing that’s become increasingly clear to me over the past few years is this: meritocracy is a great driver of innovation, but if we want to get to the best ideas, we need diversity of thought and an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome to participate and offer different perspectives. Indeed, to live up to our ideal of meritocracy, we must consistently question and seek to improve it.

    • Open Data

      • New gold standard established for open and reproducible research

        A group of Cambridge computer scientists have set a new gold standard for openness and reproducibility in research by sharing the more than 200GB of data and 20,000 lines of code behind their latest results – an unprecedented degree of openness in a peer-reviewed publication. The researchers hope that this new gold standard will be adopted by other fields, increasing the reliability of research results, especially for work which is publicly funded.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware

      • 3D Printed Open Source Adaptable Wheelchair Design Released for Handicapped Dogs

        Now the design the engineering team came up with is available as an open source device for anyone who wants to help a handicapped animal. The construction plan, the print data, and parts lists can all be downloaded from the Multec website or this Instructable the company published.

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: A Low Cost, Open Source MRI

        This low cost magnetic resonance imager isn’t [Peter]’s first attempt at medical imaging, and it isn’t his first project for the Hackaday Prize, either. He’s already built a CT scanner using a barium check source and a CCD marketed as a high-energy particle detector. His Hackaday Prize entry last year, an Open Source Science Tricorder with enough sensors to make [Spock] jealous, ended up winning fourth place.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Britain and Nato launch biggest war games on Russia’s doorstep as tensions grow

      Britain and Nato have launched their biggest war games on Russia’s doorstep amid growing tensions over Vladimir Putin’s military aggression.

      The largest ever Nato anti-submarine exercise, including the Royal Navy, is under way off the coast of Norway just weeks after reports of Russian submarines encroaching in to foreign waters.

  • Finance

    • UK Supreme Court rules on money laundering arrangements

      The UK Supreme Court recently ruled on the law relating to prosecutions for entering into, or becoming concerned in, an arrangement which facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property for, or on behalf of, another person – contrary to s328 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

    • Calling TPP Foes ‘Simplistic,’ USA Today Simply Gets the Numbers Wrong

      It’s USA Today, not the unions, who are being simplistic here. The data they are relying on refers to gross output. This would include the full value of a car assembled in the United States, even if the engine, transmission and the other major components are imported.

      It also doesn’t adjust for inflation. If USA Today used the correct table, it would find that real value added in manufacturing hasn’t “nearly doubled”–it’s risen by a bit less than 41.0 percent since 1997, compared to growth of 45.8 percent for the economy as a whole.

      The story here is a one of very basic macroeconomics. The $500 billion annual trade deficit ($600 billion at an annual rate in March) implies a loss of demand of almost 3.0 percent of GDP. In the context of an economy that is below full employment, this has the same impact on the economy as if consumers took $500 billion every year and stuffed it under their mattress instead of spending it. USA Today might try working on its numbers and economics a bit before calling people names.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • 2 Gunmen Killed Outside Community Center Hosting ‘Draw the Prophet’ Show

      Two people were fatally shot Sunday outside a Garland, Texas, community center that was hosting an event displaying cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, local officials said.

      Garland police spokesman Joe Harn said that two men drove up to the community center and “opened fire on the security officers” hired to protect the event before being shot themselves.

  • Privacy

    • France set to join the spy game

      French MPs are due to approve a bill reforming French intelligence law to counter terrorist threats. But critics warn that the draft law is a license to spy on citizens’ private lives. Erin Conroy reports from Paris.

    • French National Assembly Approves Mass Surveillance of French Citizens!

      The Intelligence Bill, which was presented on the fast track on 19 March by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, rallied a very large, argued and vigorous opposition, from a number of civil rights associations, collectives, lawyers’ and magistrates’ unions, but also administrative authorities such as the CNIL (French Data Protection authority) and the CNCDH (French National Consultative Committee for Human Rights).

    • House Refuses To Consider USA Freedom Amendment Stopping NSA’s Backdoor Searches… Even As Everyone Supports It

      As we’ve noted, there’s a new USA Freedom Act in town, and it’s on the fast track through Congress. It has some good stuff in there, and is generally a step forward on surveillance reform and ending certain forms of bulk collection — though there are some concerns about how it can be abused. But one thing that plenty of people agree on, is that even if it’s a step, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Last Thursday, there was a markup in the House Judiciary Committee, to help move the bill to the floor, and some amendments were proposed to improve the bill — all of which got rejected.

      What was especially frustrating, was that for at least one key amendment, everyone agreed that it was important and supported it, and yet they still refused to support it. The reasoning, basically, was that the existing bill was the work of many, many months of back and forth and compromises, and the administration and the House leadership had made it clear that it would not approve a single deviation, even if it was really important. The amendment in question was basically a replica of an appropriations amendment from Reps. Ted Poe, Zoe Lofgren and Thomas Massie that we wrote about last year, which surprised many by passing overwhelmingly in the House, only to be stripped out by the Senate.

  • Civil Rights

    • US Presidential Election Is So Corrupt Even The Person In Charge Says She Has No Power To Stop Abuse

      If you were holding onto the faint hope that federal election campaigns were ever going to be anything but “buy your way into office” spending sprees, you may as well kiss it goodbye. The Federal Election Committee’s head has just admitted her agency is completely powerless to do the one thing it’s supposed to be doing.

    • New York state police handcuff and shackle ‘combative’ five-year-old

      The idea that police officers should use handcuffs and leg shackles to control an unruly individual is hardly unusual in the US, where fondness for the use of metal restraints runs through the criminal justice system.

      What is unusual is when the individual in question is five years old, and the arrest takes place in an elementary school.

      New York state police were called last week to the primary school in Philadelphia, New York, close to the Canadian border, after staff reported that a pupil, Connor Ruiz, was disruptive and uncontrollable. When officers arrived at the premises, they placed the five-year-old boy in handcuffs, carried him out to a patrol car and put his feet into shackles before taking him to a medical center for evaluation.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Facebook’s free Internet for the poor leaves out high-bandwidth sites

      Facebook’s Internet.org, which aims to give impoverished people around the world free mobile access to a selection of Internet services, is opening the platform to developers after facing criticism that the program’s restrictions violate net neutrality principles.

    • Facebook Opens Up Free Internet Platform Amid Net Neutrality Debate

      Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is opening up his Internet.org platform to developers to help bring new types of content to the more than four billion people who lack Internet access.

      The move comes weeks after several Indian firms decided to pull out of the project due to concerns that the app does not provide equal access to information, one of the principles of net neutrality.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • 1000-Year-Old Village Told To Stop Using Name Because Of Trademark Claim From Hotel Chain Founded There

        Techdirt has covered its fair share of idiotic legal threats over trademarks, but the following example is spectacular even for a field that has many superb examples of corporate bullying. It concerns the village of Copthorne (population 5,000), in the English county of West Sussex. It’s rather well established: it’s been around for a thousand years, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book, which was compiled in 1086. Recently, though, its village association was threatened with legal action for using the name ‘Copthorne’ on its Web site, as the Plymouth Herald newspaper reports…

    • Copyrights

      • Microsoft Logs IP Addresses to Catch Windows 7 Pirates

        A presumed pirate with an unusually large appetite for activating Windows 7 has incurred the wrath of Microsoft. In a lawsuit filed at a Washington court, the Seattle-based company said that it logged hundreds of suspicious product activations from a Verizon IP address and is now seeking damages.

      • European Court To Explore If Linking To Infringing Material Is Infringing

        A couple of years ago in the Svensson case, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) made it clear (finally) that merely linking to content is not infringement. That was a case involving a news aggregator linking to official sources. However, in a new case that has been referred to the CJEU, the court will examine if links to unauthorized versions of content is infringing as well. The excellent IPKat has the details of the case which involves a blog that linked to some pre-publication Playboy photos in the Netherlands. A lower court had said that it wasn’t copyright infringement, but still broke the law, by facilitating access. On appeal, the court found that the free speech concerns outweighed the copyright concerns. From the description by the lawyer representing the blogger (“Geen Stijl news”):

      • Forget, Mayweather v. Pacquaio: The Big Fight Was Apparently Hollywood v. Periscope Streaming

        Remember, just last week, when HBO and Showtime were flipping out about a couple of streaming sites promising to broadcast live streams of the big Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight? Apparently, they had the wrong target.

      • NZ court unfreezes some assets so Kim Dotcom can cover $100K+ in monthly costs

        As Kim Dotcom remains stuck in legal limbo, his once-extravagant life keeps moving on and costing plenty of money. Auckland Now reports that Dotcom will theoretically be able to keep the balancing act up for a while longer, as this week a New Zealand court released some of Dotcom’s frozen financial assets to specifically allow the Mega mogul to pay for his continual monthly expenses.

      • Hollywood Urged Cameron to Keep DVD Ripping Illegal

        A few months ago the UK Government legalized copying of MP3s, CDs and DVDs for personal use, as that would be in the best interest of consumers. A common sense decision for many, but leaked emails now show that Hollywood fiercely protested the changes behind the scenes.

05.04.15

Links 4/5/2015: Many New Releases, Ubuntu Drone

Posted in News Roundup at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Updated OSs of April 2015: Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS and Ubuntu

    Gnome 3.16 user interface packages are being rolled out to Linux in the month of April. Usually, it takes at least three weeks for the packages to reach everyone, but it is expected to be much quicker this time. The maintenance releases are out already and they fix a wide range of bugs found in the Linux platform. Compared to Windows or Mac, Linux is always stable and is a reliable solution for users. It is being upgraded in terms of visuals so as to make it more user friendly. Gnome also supports both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system.

  • Accessibility in Linux is good (but could be much better)

    Gnu/Linux distributions provide great advantages over proprietary alternatives for people with disabilities. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the advantages, as well as areas that need improvement. Because I use Fedora, my article is written based on my experience with that Linux distribution.

  • Desktop

    • ​Linux is an operating system for all ages

      Consider James Anderson. He’s an 84 year-old volunteer at Free Geek, a Portland, Oregon non-profit organization, which rebuilds old computers for users who need them. As shown in a Linux Foundation video, he works there every Friday to rebuild laptops using Linux that can be sent to Africa.

      Anderson has been playing with electrical equipment since he blew out his grandmother’s fuses and has been using computers since the “luggables” of the 80s. He’s never worked in IT, though, until he came to Free Geek. He had spend 13-weeks in Zimbabwe and saw how students there needed computers.

    • Linux vs Windows: What do people want from their next computer?

      The Gnome desktop version can also be made to look stunning too, so users shouldn’t think that choosing Linux will make things ugly or clunky, as this is not the case.

      In conclusion, Windows adding a Start button, which the company axed two years ago, and multiple desktops (a long established Linux feature) will not make the transition and subsequent day-to-day usage much less frustrating than the Windows 8 experience.

      However, one of the main downsides about the Linux operating system is that by being free, this means that there is no huge marketing budget to get the message out.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.1-rc2

      So the -rc2′s have lately been pretty small – looking more like late -rc’s than early ones. It *used* to be that I couldn’t even post the shortlog, because it was just too big. That’s not been the case for the last few releases.

    • Linux 4.1-RC2 Kernel Released
    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • The Return of Korora MATE

          The Korora Project is very pleased to announce that the final release of the MATE edition of version 21 (codename “Darla”) is now available for download in both 32- and 64bit, (we strongly recommend using BitTorrent).

        • Mono 4 Is Planned For Fedora 23

          Aside from the other features proposed thus far for Fedora 23, the update of the popular Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution due out in late 2015, you can add Mono 4.0 to the list.

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible builds: first week in Stretch

        Debian Jessie has been released on April 25th, 2015. This has opened the Stretch development cycle. Reactions to the idea of making Debian build reproducibly have been pretty enthusiastic. As the pace is now likely to be even faster, let’s see if we can keep everyone up-to-date on the developments.

      • @Zigo: Why I don’t package Hadoop myself

        I filed a few bugs, and I even uploaded my fixes to Github. Some of that went unnoticed, because Sean Owen of Cloudera decided to remove all Debian packaging from Spark. But in the end, even with these fixes, the resulting packages do not live up to Debian quality standards (not to say, they would outright violate policy).

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu laptops available for pre-order with Ebuyer.com

            Electronic Commerce Retailer Ebuyer has launched a series of AMD-based HP laptops preloaded with Ubuntu. These devices are perfect for business and home users and are now available for pre-order on Ebuyer.com; fully available at the end of May 2015.

          • Ubuntu 15.10′s “W” Codename Being Revealed Soon

            Mark Shuttleworth is hosting his virtual keynote today for Ubuntu 15.10 with the Ubuntu Online Summit happening this week.

            Shuttleworth posted to his blog that he’s holding off on revealing the “W” codename for Ubuntu 15.10 until this keynote. The keynote is taking place at 14.00 UTC.

          • The loudest lesson from Ubuntu Vivid Vervet: If it’s not broken …

            Those who are partial to Ubuntu know that every six months the good people at Canonical, the people behind Ubuntu, release a new version to its popular Operating System. Well if you somehow missed the big event, the latest iteration of Ubuntu and all its cousins like Kubuntu, Ubuntu Mate, Lubuntu, Xubuntu and Ubuntu Gnome, were released on the 24th of April.

            As usual, you get to decide which flavor you prefer depending on your hardware some of the flavors like Lubuntu are to be recommended over the default Unity based installation especially if your hardware is dated.

          • World’s first Ubuntu powered Drone launched

            It seems world is slowly and steadily moving towards Linux powered devices. After Linux was used to power destroyers for US Navy, now Erle Robotics has used Ubuntu to power a drone.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Five more operating systems for the Raspberry Pi 2

      The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B launched earlier this year, offering a more powerful machine capable of running a wider variety of software.

      The new $35 Linux board has double the memory of first generation Pis, a quad-core 900MHz processor and the ARMv7 architecture used by many mid-range smartphones.

      In the months since the Pi 2 launched developers have ported an increasing number of operating systems to the board.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Nexus 9 Android 5.1.1 Release Rumored

          This week the latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update has finally arrived for the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets, and even a few lucky Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge owners are getting the absolute latest version of Android with loads of bug fixes from Google. However, the Nexus 9 hasn’t seen an update since November, and is the only device still on Android 5.0.1 Lollipop.

        • Android Wear vs. Apple Watch: Which one will “wow” your wrist?

          Wearable tech is fast becoming the next big thing. We’ve seen fitness trackers gain popularity, smart jewellery take off, and even luxury brands start to sit up and take notice. However, it’s smartwatches which are one of the most popular choices amongst early adopters of wearable tech. The affordable Pebble works regardless of what phone you use, while big names such as Samsung, Motorola, Sony, and LG all have Android-based products on sale. Now, Apple is taking them all on with the Apple Watch.

        • Videostream for Android Streams Movies from Your PC to Your Chromecast

          Videostream for Chrome already makes it easy to play any video on your computer or network through your Chromecast, but the new Videostream app for Android gives you a remote control to stream movies on your PC, monitor downloads, and control playback without installing a special media server.

        • Meerkat’s Android app is live on Google Play

          Good news for Android users who want to get involved in the livestreaming craze that’s sweeping Twitter: Meerkat has officially made it to the Google Play Store with a beta app. Its main rival, the Twitter-owned Periscope, remains iOS-only for the time being.

        • HTC One (M8) Android 5.1 Lollipop Update: How to Install CyanogenMod [Official] CM12.1 Custom ROM

          Earlier in the week, HTC announced that their 2014 flagship smartphone One (M8) would get the new Android 5.1 Lollipop firmware in August, which means device owners would have to wait for more than two months to savour the new update.

        • Android 5.1 rollout to Moto X devices starting next week

          Motorola has announced that the Moto X 2014 will receive the long awaited Android 5.1 update next week, as reported in this article at Load the Game. The software update will first be made available to users in Brazil, and a United States rollout is expected in the week thereafter. An exact release date for European users has yet to be announced but is expected to be released around the middle of May.

        • 7 best Android apps for screen recording and other ways too!

          One of our more frequent requests from readers is to tell them how to record your screen on Android. The functionality has been around for quite some time but usually requires some tinkering and adjustment to get it. In Android Lollipop, they have a screen recording method building into the OS and that’s how most people do it these days. Let’s take a look at a few Android apps and some other methods to get you screen recording.

        • Fanboy Fight: How One Apple/Android Argument Ended In A Stabbing

          Every one of us has already had this fight at some point: Apple or Android? The two dominant players in the mobile space carry with them very loyal fanbases who, for some reason, like to spar off with one another over whose tech-daddy could beat up the other. The companies compete with the same level of petty at times, which doesn’t help. Apple screws around with text messages from Android users, Android pokes back at Apple over the controlling hand it has in its app store, and the two companies spend a great deal of time in legal battles because of course they do. C’mon, guys, can’t we all just spend our time pointing and laughing at Windows Mobile?

          [..]

          Yeah, no kidding. I have my brand loyalty, too, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t feel so offended at a roommate’s opinion of my phone that I felt I had to avenge the inanimate object by getting all stabby. Both men ended up getting arrested and were sent to the hospital to have their wounds treated. In a perfect world, they would be laid up next to each other, Instagram-selfying from their beds with comments about how awesome the pictures from their respective phones looked.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome passes 25% market share, IE and Firefox slip

        In April 2015, we saw the naming of Microsoft Edge, the release of Chrome 42, and the first full month of Firefox 37 availability. Now we’re learning that Google’s browser has finally passed the 25 percent market share mark.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

    • The current state of Drupal security

      Greg Knaddison has worked for big consulting firms, boutique software firms, startups, professional service firms, and former Drupal Security Team leader. He is currently the director of Engineering at CARD.com and a Drupal Association advisory board member.

    • Get ready for Wagtail, the best Django CMS yet

      Now that the Wagtail CMS is gearing up for its 1.0 release, I wanted to take some time to introduce you to the all around best and most flexible Django CMS currently available. Wagtail has been around for a while, but doesn’t seem to get the attention I believe it deserves.

      At Revolution Systems, we’ve used Wagtail recently on a number of projects, and the overall experience has been great. It strikes the right balance of making the easy things easy, and the hard things not only possible, but relatively easy as well.

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 5.7 “Source Fish” Officially Released

      OpenBSD a free, multi-platform BSD-based UNIX-like operating system that aims to have a few important features such as portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security, and integrated cryptograph has been upgraded to version 5.7 and is now available for download.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Announcing the Birth of Hurd

      After a 25 year gestation, Hurd has finally been born. It was a difficult birth and it’s now being kept in an incubator under the care of Debian.

      For many years GNU’s always almost ready to be born operating system microkernel, Hurd, has been the butt of many jokes and Facebook memes, so it came as something of a surprise to read in Larry Cafiero’s Friday column that it’s now ready enough for Debian, which is offering a somewhat experimental and unstable release of Debian/GNU Hurd. An earlier attempt at a Hurd based distro, by Arch, seems to have died on the vine back in 2011, although a 2013 posting promises that development is still underway, with no news since.

    • Debian GNU/Hurd 2015 released!

      It is with huge pleasure that the Debian GNU/Hurd team announces the release of Debian GNU/Hurd 2015.

    • GnuTLS 3.4.1

Leftovers

  • Graffiti artists’ move to national parks shocks nature community

    Andre Saraiva is an internationally known graffiti artist. He owns nightclubs in Paris and New York, works as a top editor of the men’s fashion magazine L’Officiel Hommes and has appeared in countless glossy magazines as a tastemaker and bon vivant.

  • Nationalist Terror

    The Mainstream Media are anxious to invoke the “violent nationalists” meme at every opportunity. Today Jim Murphy and Eddie Izzard ran away in Glasgow because evil nationalists shouted back when he was haranguing them. That’s what they did – shouted back. Nobody punched anyone. Nobody shoved anyone. Nobody threw anything. But people had the gall not to listen in hushed silence to Murphy.

  • Voted SNP in Edinburgh South

    …likely the deciding vote for approval of government business will be from the SNP.

  • The Fox News Candidates Enter The Presidential Race

    Mike Huckabee And Ben Carson Used Fox News As A Political Springboard

  • Security

    • CBI Gets Specialised Lab to Decrypt Apple, Android Devices

      CBI on Friday got a new specialised forensic lab to access and recover data from Apple and Android devices seized from suspects during investigation of cases.

      The new lab, inaugurated at the CBI academy in Ghaziabad, will be fully equipped with latest workstations and software to decrypt the data stored in Apple and Android devices, CBI sources said.

  • Finance

    • I secretly lived in my office for 500 days

      Earlier that week, I had moved into my office. Secretly. I rented out my Venice Beach apartment for the month, packed a few duffels with my clothes and prized belongings, and started taking up residence behind my desk, carefully using each square inch of out-of-sight real estate to store my stuff. Not everyone aspires to have their co-workers catching them at their desk in their tighty-whities—at 6 in the morning. Believing the absolute best-case-scenario reaction to my being there would be supreme awkwardness, I kept the whole thing to myself. Every morning I’d neatly pack away my personal belongings, turning the lights back on and lowering the air conditioning to its too-chilly-for-me 72 degrees—the way they always left it overnight. I’d leave for a morning workout and shower, simultaneously keeping clean and in shape while ensuring I wasn’t always the first to arrive. Occasionally I’d even make myself late to work, blaming the awful L.A. traffic. Just to fit in.

    • They turned college into McDonald’s: Adjunct professors, fast-food wages and how colleges screw more than just students

      The fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 has already had an enormous impact on American politics. It hasn’t been reflected in national legislation, of course. With Congress in the hands of flat-earthers, the federal minimum wage is still stuck at less than half that—$7.25, the level it reached in 2009, as a result of legislation passed in 2007.

      But what first registered as a surprising anomaly—a one-day strike in New York City involving just over 100 workers on Black Friday, Nov. 29, 2012—has come to serve as a focal point for articulating demands for a dignified living wage, not just for fast-food workers, but for everyone who works for a living. What began as a movement of those holding “McJobs” is now brimming over with new participants making the point that virtually all jobs nowadays are, or at least can be, McJobs—even the latest to join in with demonstrations held on April 15: adjunct college professors.

    • The IRS seized $107,000 from this business owner for making too many small cash deposits

      If you deposit more than $10,000 in cash, your bank is required to file a form with the authorities reporting the transaction. But the law also makes it illegal to “structure” deposits — depositing cash in amounts under $10,000 to avoid triggering the reporting requirement.

      But aggressive enforcement of these laws can ensnare small business owners whose only crime is dealing in cash. This video tells the story of Lyndon McLellan, a convenience store owner in rural North Carolina who had $107,702 seized by the IRS. The agency hasn’t charged McLellan with any crime, but under controversial civil asset forfeiture rules the burden of proof is on him to prove he didn’t violate the “structuring” laws. The video was made by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm that is representing McLellan.

  • Privacy

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Green around the gills? Political party seeks to roll copyright back by three centuries

        …the Green Party appears to be almost alone in its desire to alter the current framework for copyright protection (though the Pirate Party would reduce the term still further, to 10 years). It will be interesting to see whether the views expressed by authors and writers have any bearing on the Green Party’s position on reforming copyright in the UK.

      • Anti-Piracy Measures Putting Internet Users at Risk

        While entertainment companies and authorities believe they are necessary to stem the tide of online infringement, many current anti-piracy strategies are putting Internet users at risk. Domain suspensions, seizures, plus search engine down-rankings are all playing a part in creating a less-safe online environment.

      • MPAA Funds Pro-Copyright Scholars to Influence Politics

        This week the MPAA opened applications for a new round of research grants, hoping the result will be “pro-copyright” academic papers. In an email leaked in the Sony hack the movie industry group further says it’s looking for pro-copyright scholars who they can cultivate for further public advocacy.

      • Fair Use At Risk When Private Companies Get To Make The Decision For Us

        We talk a lot about how fair use is under attack these days, and I’ve discussed in the past my concerns about freedom of expression when we always have a company (or a few companies) standing in the middle of our decisions on whether or not we can speak. NiemanLabs has a great example of where this becomes problematic in a story about how SoundCloud will not even consider fair use in making decisions about whether or not to take down content, and how that’s harming journalism…

      • Why ISPs Should Stop Forwarding Piracy Settlement Demands

        Every day thousand of Internet subscribers receive a piracy warning from their Internet provider. Increasingly, these notifications also include a settlement request ranging from $20 to hundreds of dollars. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ISPs should protect their customers from these invasive tactics.

Misplaced Focus on Patent Trolls and Patent Lawyers’ Defence of Trolls

Posted in Law, Patents at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Observations about media coverage and reactions to the focus on patent trolls, which distracts from desperately-needed reform around patent scope

OUR latest article about patent reform, which we published yesterday (late at night), talks about politicians in the US using a bill called the PATENT Act to tackle large corporations’ nuisance. This is receiving some attention right now and some bloggers took note of what we wrote about the other day, as well as over the past few years. The issue is not patent trolls but patent scope. It has been obvious for a long time, but corporate media will rarely (if ever) say this.

“Patent Trolls Aren’t The Problem – Broad, Vague Patents Are” — that’s the headline in last night’s article which alludes to Timothy B. Lee’s article, concurring with what we have pointed out for a very long time. To quote the summary: “Timothy B. Lee writes at Vox that the PATENT Act is focused on dealing with patent trolls: fly-by-night companies that get rich by exploiting flaws in the way the courts handle patent lawsuits. If trolls are the primary problem with the patent system, then the PATENT Act will go a long way toward fixing it. But according to Lee patent trolls aren’t the primary problem with the patent system. They’re just the problem Congress is willing to fix. The primary problem is the patent system makes it too easy to get broad, vague patents, and the litigation process is tilted too far toward plaintiffs. But because so many big companies make so much money off of this system, few in Congress are willing to consider broader reforms.”

As we pointed out before, the media, including John Oliver, diverts virtually all the attention to patent trolls as though they are the sole issue. A seemingly respectable (and large) lawyers’ site attacks the messenger, saying that “John Oliver is witty, dry, and often downright silly” when attacking his message, essentially defending trolls. The HBO-hosted shows has generally come under fire from many patent lawyers, including vocal proponents of software patents. Note the byline: “Michael Gulliford is the Founder & Managing Principal of Soryn IP Group, a patent advisory company that provides a host of patent-centric services” (i.e. patent lawyers). Watch the pattern here. They are all pretty much defending trolls and dismissing John Oliver, without necessarily coming across as too rude. Here is how one lawyers’ site put it: “In the wake of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert leaving their respective shows on Comedy Central for newer pastures, John Oliver has emerged as a new beacon of political humor and satire. If you haven’t watched his show, and especially if you considered the former two as having an obvious political slant, you should check out Last Week Tonight on HBO. His shots get fired everywhere.

“On this week’s, John Oliver took a shot at the patent system, particularly patent trolls…”

There was a lot of press coverage about that show [1, 2, 3, 4], but most of it — if not all of it — was supportive, except when it comes to patent lawyers’ Web sites. All the criticism that we could find of him was composed by patent lawyers and their media.

Incidentally, there was press release titled “Cal Poly Professor Emeritus to Offer Advice on Thwarting Patent Trolls at Upcoming RT Imaging Summit”. It appeared a couple of weeks back in many sites [1, 2, 3]. This too promotes the narrative wherein only trolls are the problem. We need to shift back attention to the broader issue. If software patents became unpatentable, the lion’s share of trolls would instantaneous disappear.

05.03.15

PATENT Act a ‘Reform’ for Big Corporations, Hence Does Not Address the Core Issues, Including Patent Scope and Massive Patent Aggressors

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 7:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chuck Grassley
Chuck Grassley’s 1979 congressional photo

Summary: Big corporations, including some of the biggest patent aggressors out there, successfully lobbied for what has essentially become a bipartisan bill to eliminate the thorn in their side

“TROLLS” has become the dominant term in today’s news about patents. It has been like this for at least a couple of years. It’s all about trolls, trolls, trolls. The EFF, which sometimes speaks about software patents (especially this year), is still obsessing over “patent trolls”. In one of its recent articles it said: “Suppose you get sued by a patent troll. You then learn that the troll has been sitting on its patent for years without giving you any warning. If you’d known about the risk, you might have been able to design your product differently to avoid infringement. Even worse, when you try to prove that the patent covers an obvious invention, all of the best evidence (such as websites or code repositories) has disappeared because of the passage of time. Instead of winning the case, you must pay years worth of damages to the troll.”

To rephrase the above text, suppose you get sued by a large corporation. You then learn that the corporation has been sitting on its patent for years without giving you any warning. If you’d known about the risk, you might have been able to design your product differently to avoid infringement. Even worse, when you try to prove that the patent covers an obvious invention, all of the best evidence (such as websites or code repositories) has disappeared because of the passage of time. Instead of winning the case, you must pay years worth of damages to the corporation.

“Busting one patent at a time is not a practical approach to solving the overall issue.”The point here is simple; it makes no difference if the plaintiff is some corporation or a troll, but large corporations want to only eliminate the trolls, not themselves. Watch the ongoing AP obsession with trolls, this time too courtesy of Anne Flaherty. The Associated Press has almost literally flooded news houses and newspapers with articles that only focus on trolls, as we showed last week (dozens if not hundreds of large papers reposted/reprinted AP). This looks like propaganda. It’s a form of lobbying through media. AP’s obsession with trolls is exceptional mostly in the sense of impact, it’s not necessarily unique. AP is embedded or put in hundreds of Web sites around the world, shifting all focus to one misdirected ‘reform’ effort [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The headlines vary a little, but the storyline is always the same.

Here is a better article from the EFF, focusing on a patent it squashed quite recently. The site says “EFF recently won our challenge to invalidate claims of the “podcasting patent” using a procedure at the Patent Office called inter partes review. This procedure allowed us to challenge a patent that was being used to demand licenses from individual podcasters, even though EFF itself had never been threatened by the patent owner. EFF’s ability to file this petition was important because many of those targeted by the patent owner—small podcasters—would be unable to afford the $22,000 filing fees to challenge the patent, let alone the attorneys’ fees that would come along with it. Also, if an individual podcaster had filed an inter partes review it would have faced a risk of retaliation in the form of a district court lawsuit from Personal Audio. Instead, EFF was able to defend the public interest on behalf of the community as a whole.”

The word “troll” is not even mentioned. Compare that to related coverage from “IP Troll Tracker”, which wrote: “Let’s just come right out with my point…the “podcasting patent” is no more. I’m not quite sure how to feel about it because I never really saw Personal Audio as a troll (as evidenced here and here). Why? Well, chiefly because the company’s owner actually patented something himself rather than buying a patent on the open market for the sole purposes of extorting payments from (alleged) infringers, or, worse, purporting to be “inventor friendly” and convincing people to “innovate” for him and then monetizing whatever crap he can manage to patent out of the process. You know, like Intellectual Ventures does. Further, Mr. Logan spent his own money trying to commercialize the idea, something a troll would never do because the idea isn’t to add value of any kind, it’s to add volume to their wallets.”

Busting one patent at a time is not a practical approach to solving the overall issue. It is impractical and expensive to do this a million times. The only proper solution is to eliminate software patents, which obviously would invalidate this “podcasting patent” (along with hundreds of thousands — if not over a million — other US patents).

So, now there’s this relatively new talk about some ‘reform’ with a new name. It’s not really reform for the people but reform for the nation’s largest corporations (to better suit large corporations’ interests). The New York Times used a misleading headline: “With Patent Litigation Surging, Creators Turn to Washington for Help” (by “Creators” they don’t mean individuals). We quickly found a lot more coverage of this (usually following trend-setting media) and it kept mentioning this thing called “PATENT Act”, which is fairly new. Lawyers’ sites covered it [1, 2, 3] and so did a lot of corporate news sites [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23]. Mike Masnick wrote about this thing called “PATENT Act” a few days ago, highlighting early signs that this is just another “act” with gimmicks and branding rather than substance, just like “Freedom” Act and “Patriot” Act. He said that the “Patent Reform Bill [is] A Good Step, But Still Falls Way Short Of Fixing A Broken System”, explaining that: “As was widely expected, earlier this week, a bunch of high-profile Senators introduced a big patent reform bill, known as the Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act. It’s backed by Senators Chuck Grassley, Patrick Leahy, Chuck Schumer and John Cornyn, and has a decent chance of becoming law. From a quick look at the bill itself, it looks an awful lot like what we expected to show up last year, right before Senator Harry Reid stepped in and killed the bill. With the Republicans taking over in Congress, however, Reid no longer has the power to do that. Meanwhile, Schumer, who has long been supportive of patent reform and is basically taking over Reid’s leadership position as Reid prepares to retire, has declared that this time the bill is getting done.”

It looks like it will really become law (based on dozens of articles we saw), but what will this achieve? “2015 could be the year Congress takes action on patent trolls,” wrote Timothy B. Lee, noting that it’s all about trolls.

“There’s a growing problem with patent trolls,” he wrote, “the companies that create no products of their own but earn money threatening other companies with patent lawsuits. The problem has become so widespread that even low-tech companies like restaurants and grocery stores have begun lobbying Congress to do something about it.

“It’s not really reform for the people but reform for corporations (to better suit large corporations’ interests).”“Now Congress could be on the verge of taking action. On Friday, a Senate aide close to the negotiations told me that a bipartisan group of senators is “very close” to introducing legislation with broad support in the Senate.

“Supporters of the legislation have good reason to be optimistic, as the coalition supporting the legislation is broader and more unified than in the past. But given Congress’s penchant for gridlock, it’s far from a sure thing.”

We wrote about Grassley before (in relation to Microsoft) and mentioned some of the other supporters of this bill. They are not necessarily corrupt, they are probably just misled by the lobbying. Our conjecture is that to make the bill passable they don’t really want a proper and complete reform, they just amend it based on input from corporations (lobbying). A slightly later (and very good compared to the rest) article from Timothy B. Lee explains “how big companies are stopping Congress from fixing the patent system”. He hits the nail on the head when he says that “the problem of large companies exploiting the patent system hasn’t gone away. If anything, it’s gotten worse as the courts made it easier to get broad, vague patents in the 1990s and early 2000s.

“A modern example is Microsoft, which has more than 40,000 patents and reportedly earns billions of dollars per year in patent licensing revenues from companies selling Android phones. That’s not because Google was caught copying Microsoft’s Windows Phone software (which has never been very popular with consumers). Rather, it’s because low standards for patents — especially in software — have allowed Microsoft to amass a huge number of patents on routine characteristics of mobile operating systems. Microsoft’s patent arsenal has become so huge that it’s effectively impossible to create a mobile operating system without infringing some of them. And so Microsoft can demand that smaller, more innovative companies pay them off.

“The proliferation of software patents has triggered an arms race. Google, for example, spent $12.5 billion for Motorola, largely for access to its large patent portfolio. A consortium of technology companies including Microsoft and Apple spent another $4.5 billion on patents from the defunct technology company Nortel. Their vast patent libraries help protect them from each other — but they could also help them crush potential future competitors.”

Grassley, we venture to guess, is not trying to tackle abuse by large corporations, he is just listening to some abusive large corporations (and the corporate media). As The Hill put it not so long ago: “Bipartisan senators on the Judiciary Committee are close to unveiling legislation to fight so-called patent trolls.

“Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters at the National Press Club that negotiators are “close to getting a final agreement,” with his office later saying it could come as soon as this week. Another aide familiar with the talks said senators are close to a bill.

“The proposal is not expected to look like the House’s Innovation Act but will include some of the same provisions. It will have provisions on discovery and pleading requirements that are less strict than the House version, according to Grassley.”

Call it “PATENT Act” or “Innovation Act”, these are just labels. What it’s really about is tackling trolls, but not promoting innovation or even improving patents. The bill targets the plaintiff type, not the patent type. These are just an opportunist’s methods for promoting oneself without really serving the public. Recall the patent 'reform' from the GOP and watch this latest publicity stunt for Rick Santorum (disgraced GOP candidate who never gained traction).

As with many giant corporations that support Linux (IBM or Google), there's no chance of them tackling software patents as a whole. They are not Free software communities. Their problems are different. “Google collects patents while lobbying against them,” wrote one vocal proponent of software patents. It is a correct observation actually, exploited by proponents of overly broad patents in this case. Here are the British lawyers from IP Kat taunting Google as well in their article “Google says ‘We want your patent. Maybe.’”

Never expect large corporations to do the right thing unless their interests somehow coincide with the interests of people (which is rare). Patent reform will require popular action and pressure from the public, not from the likes of IBM and Google, not even Red Hat. This is why the effort to stop software patents must regain some momentum (lost several years ago).

Openwashing of Binary Blobs That Microsoft Uses to Attack Free Software and GNU/Linux From the Inside

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Gifts’ from Microsoft

Trojan

Summary: Media which is either willfully ignorant or complicit has successfully, based on volume of coverage, framed Microsoft’s proprietary software as openness and nicety

THERE is a truly disturbing thing going on in the media right now. News that Microsoft announced last year resurfaces again and it only serves to mislead the public.

The Microsoft BUILD event would be better off named BLOB. There’s no build process (for the public at least) when the end product is only binary, like Visual Studio Code or blobs for open/free/modular/hacker-friendly computer boards (Arduino and Raspberry Pi). The latest moves which Microsoft tries to paint as “open” are actually Microsoft injecting proprietary software into open platforms that aren’t Microsoft’s. It’s a form of abduction and ‘bastardisation’. Linux is replaced by Windows. Some “openness”, eh? Why does the media cover it so poorly and what’s with all the promotional language? The ‘newsflash’ here is that Microsoft gives a proprietary code editor to developers. Why would they need that? Because there aren’t any good code editors that are FOSS? There are plenty of them, including versatile ones like Eclipse, which also function as complete IDEs and support many hardware architectures.

According to this article from Phoronix (which has been helping Microsoft’s PR efforts a little too much as of late), “Ubuntu Make Adds Support For Visual Studio Code”. The original and the links to it (Softpedia covered this too) remind tell that “Ubuntu Make 0.7 is available via a PPA for users of Ubuntu 14.04, 14.10, and 15.04.”

So what’s the big deal? Do they really want us to download this? It’s proprietary software. It’s serves Microsoft, just like Skype, a malicious surveillance program. It is understandable that people like Adrian Bridgwater cover it because of their history of Microsoft apologetics (also see this new article from him), but why do FOSS- or GNU/Linux-leaning sites give Microsoft a platform/space? Here is Linux Veda treating as ‘news’ (from last year) proprietary software for several platforms (to help promote Microsoft APIs). This proprietary software story is receiving more publicity than Free software equivalents, even in GNU/Linux-focused sites. Why is that? Are they just parroting what they see on corporate media, which is actively being manipulated by Microsoft PR agencies? This is not important news and it’s not FOSS news.

Softpedia went further by reviewing this proprietary software in the GNU/Linux section. The author wrote: “After extracting the ZIP package, you’ll see a new folder that has the same name as the archive. To start Visual Studio Code on your Linux box, open the extracted folder and double-click the “Code” executable file.”

Microsoft’s Trojan horse for .NET is distributed as a binary blob and given Microsoft’s track record on back doors, surveillance, DRM and so forth it’s not a good idea to encourage others to run such programs. Here is OMG! Ubuntu doing the same thing, telling people how to install this blob in Ubuntu.

What was probably must frustrating would have to be this post from the body representing Linux. The Linux Foundation should know that Microsoft releasing a proprietary software binary (blob) is not “Microsoft Opens Up” (as the headline puts it, referring to just two links about proprietary software from Microsoft).

Our article about this was mentioned in Soylent News the other day, countering Microsoft’s self-serving (and misleading) narrative. This is what openwashing looks like: calling Microsoft “open source” because it released a binary blob. See the headline “Say goodbye to Micro$oft – the new Microsoft is all about openness”. Yes, blobs are “all about openness”. White is the new black.

Microsoft is also trying to make FOSS compilers more Windows-oriented, i.e. tied to proprietary platforms, based on Phoronix and Linux Veda [1, 2]. If this is “opening up”, then proprietary software is the new “Open Source” and ultimately, it’s all about Windows.

Phoronix, incidentally, also published this article about Mono, Microsoft’s Trojan horse for .NET promotion and dependency on Microsoft’s software patents. Why focus on such bits of software? They are part of the proprietary software stack which is actively attacking GNU/Linux in all sorts of ways, e.g. ‘secure’ boot (preventing people from using kernels of their choice or modifying and then executing them). This is an attack on Free software. Why help Microsoft’s agenda? Stockholm syndrome?

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols believes that “Windows embracing Android and iOS is a bad idea”. Well, if it’s an "embrace, extend, extinguish" approach, then it’s not such a bad idea. It’s evil and potentially effective (Microsoft destroyed competition this way many times before). Vaughan-Nichols asks: “How can there be a future for Windows on smartphones and tablets when Microsoft is encouraging developers to bring its apps from Apple and Google’s ecosystem?”

The basic idea is, take away all the applications and make them Windows applications while at the same time replacing applications from Apple or Google with Microsoft applications. Microsoft's booster Tim Anderson explained how it’s supposed to work and several other sites covered it [1, 2] as though it’s a nice gesture rather than an aggressive coup. Microsoft must be salivating at the sight of many who actually believe Microsoft wants peace.

“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”

Be’s CEO Jean-Louis Gassée

Microsoft Kills Netscape Again, This Time Removing It From the History Books

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Book burning time

Book burning

Summary: Microsoft’s embarrassing crimes against Netscape — the ones that put Bill Gates on trial and nearly split Microsoft — virtually forgotten as Netscape itself is made to ‘disappear’

THE grooming of Microsoft has gotten pretty bad, but it’s not nearly as bad as gross distortion of facts. The ToryGraph, an oftentimes pro-Microsoft paper, does some professional revisionism in the “Microsoft” section today, disguised quite shrewdly as “a brief history” of “Web browsers”. It’s really just a Microsoft ad, as one can instantaneously see.

“If often seems like Microsoft’s PR campaigns know no boundaries; they make what is perhaps the most famous Web browser in history just vanish, and not just once.”“Somehow they manage to leave out Netscape,” iophk wrote to us. Watch the comments and especially those commenters who allude to Netscape. One comment says: “Bloody rubbish. Internet Explorer was based on Mosiac and where is Netscape in the list?!”

This is disgusting. Microsoft propaganda that distorts history like this is something we have become accustomed to and have seen in the British media before. Having committed crimes against Netscape (see this petition text), Microsoft is yet again deleting it from history, like the Microsoft-connected BBC did for Microsoft half a decade ago in a TV programme. If often seems like Microsoft’s PR campaigns know no boundaries; they make what is perhaps the most famous Web browser in history just vanish, and not just once. We have shown more examples of this over the years. It’s not accidental. It’s extremely likely to be deliberate and conscious because only a fool or a self-deceiving journalist can make gross omissions like that.

“Microsoft is, I think, fundamentally an evil company.”

Former Netscape Chairman James H. Clark

Microsoft India’s Unofficial ‘Branch’ Infosys is Torturing the Meaning of Open Source Software

Posted in Asia, Microsoft at 4:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Disinformation system of Microsoft

Book

Summary: Infosys, which is best known for its promotion of Microsoft in India, is distorting the meaning of ‘Open Source’ and joins a non-profit that is supposed to promote programming, not binary blobs

Open Source software, which is basically another label for Free/libre software (but with a different agenda), is essential for distinguishing not between brands but between development and distribution philosophies. Attacking the meaning of “Open Source” is means for confusing and impeding rational judgment. It is quickly becoming essential for proprietary software players in India. The government is increasingly stubborn on issues like software freedom and this government sometimes makes it imperative to share code.

Infosys is generally loathed here for all the dirty work it did for Microsoft in India over the years. It’s like Accenture in the UK. They may both seem like independent and local companies, but they are de facto salespeople or distributors of Microsoft. They are like channel partners. They are middlemen.

Yesterday we saw that “Infosys partners with Microsoft to offer Finacle on Azure”. Well, Infosys does not need to “partner with Microsoft”, it is already an integral part of Microsoft in many ways (Microsoft even outsources some of its jobs to Infosys). Finacle is therefore a horrible trap that not only makes people dependent on proprietary software but also spies on the users all across in India (Microsoft works with the NSA, so it is foreign surveillance via Microsoft/PRISM). In the midst of many articles about it — basically a load of promotional rubbish with minimal variation in wording [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] — we found ourselves distracted by a non-Indian news site going with the headline “Infosys turns to open source to drive data innovation”. So many buzzwords must mean it’s more like promotional rubbish and it most likely is. To quote the opening: “Infosys has released details of its Infosys Information Platform (IIP), which includes new pre-packaged solutions from Infosys Finacle and Infosys BPO.”

“Infosys is about code and non-profit to the same degree that BP is about ecology and charity.”Why does the headline say “open source”? It’s nothing of that kind. There is nothing at all that is Open Source about it. Infosys is doing something disgusting by even trying to exploit that angle. Claiming to make an “Open Source” platform when in fact using proprietary software with spying is beyond shameless, it is not just false marketing. Alas, being a Microsoft proxy in India, Infosys’ openwashing of proprietary software is only to be expected, especially because of new government policies in India (favouring Free/Open Source software, as we noted here before and above).

Watch another appalling move from Infosys, mimicking the likes of Facebook. Yet another Microsoft pusher, Infosys (also see what its Web site runs), makes code.org (Computer Science education push) a proprietary software plot. Infosys is about code and non-profit to the same degree that BP is about ecology and charity.

In order for Microsoft to fail in India it is probably very important that activists take action against Infosys. It’s a parasite and a leech. It harms India’s interests, not just the interests of Free/Open Source communities.

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