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06.04.14

Links 4/6/2014: More Tizen Devices, Fedora Linux Project Leader Matthew Miller

Posted in News Roundup at 10:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Zettaset Orchestrator Enhances Open Source Big Data Security

    Zettaset has expanded its Big Data security offerings with the announcement of support for Hortonworks and other open source Hadoop 2.x distributions in its Orchestrator management and security platform.

  • Intel storage : Open source + software-defined expectations
  • Why open source development is getting more secure

    With fewer defects being found in major open source projects than in large proprietary software packages, what are the security strengths and weaknesses of open source development?

  • HP clarifies views on OpenDaylight, open source

    It was HP Networking’s Senior Vice President Bethany Mayer who said seven months ago that she couldn’t see why anyone would use an OpenDaylight controller in their SDN. But it was also Bethany Mayer, now senior vice president and general manager of HP’s Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) business, who drove HP to raise its membership investment and participation in OpenDaylight just two weeks ago.

  • Continuuity, AT&T Labs to Open Source Real-Time Data Processing Framework
  • New Fedora Leader, Open Source Security, and Saving TrueCrypt

    In today’s Linux news, a new project manager is named for Fedora. Nick Heath says Open Source is more secure because of a “heightened focus on quality controls.” And a team of developers are trying to save TrueCrypt one way or another.

  • openQRM Community Summit 2014: Talks and presentations online!
  • Perforce open-sources popular version control tools

    Perforce Software todayannounced it has released open source versions of P4CLI, its core command line interface to the company’s powerful versioning engine, and P4Web, its popular web-based versioning client. The newly released source code will allow developers to further customize these popular clients for their specific needs, giving them the power to adapt the clients to their evolving environments. All open source projects are available immediately on Perforce Workshop, an open source community built and hosted by Perforce.

  • Events

    • Video app challenge and hackathon at Kaltura Connect

      Kaltura Connect is a conference all about open source video. From June 13-18 in New York City, 1,000+ attendees including developers, experts, thoughts leaders and executives from small businesses to global enterprises, universities and educational organizations, healthcare, media broadcasters and new-media publishers.

  • Web Browsers

    • A high-profile fork: one year of Blink and Webkit

      In 2013 the browser wars sprouted a new rendering engine: Blink. When Blink forked in April 2013, Webkit had a total of 1.8 million lines of C++, 2,500 commits per month and was the most popular browser engine. On mobile, Webkit backed the top 3 browsers (Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Android Browser), accounting for the majority of mobile eyeballs. This post is a look at the Blink/Webkit fork one year later: how have the projects diverged, who is driving them, and what are they up to?

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Education

    • Launch of “What is open education?” resource on Opensource.com

      At Opensource.com, we love sharing stories about the ways open source tools and principles are changing the nature of teaching and learning today. Over and over, we’ve seen how approaching education the open source way can transform classrooms all over the world.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Tools Cauldron 2014: GCC/LLVM Collaboration, HSA, Accelerators

      This year’s GNU Tools Cauldron is taking place next month at the University of Cambridge where some very interesting compiler-related discussions will be taking place.

    • Pre-lunch – Richard Stallman’s talk

      His talk was quite how I expected it to be. He was idealist – Aditya and I discussed that he had to be it, as the face and primary driver of Free software. Richard spoke of the advantages of Free software, where he pointed out the numerous back doors that have been found in proprietary software to spy on users. He spoke of the GNU time line, how he had started it, how Emacs and other things came about. At some point of time, he expressed his annoyance to the fact that people confuse GNU and Linux, and free software and open source software. He spoke of how people think Linus is the father of free software etc. I quite enjoyed his talk. At some points, though, I couldn’t help but think that he didn’t really need to use negativeness to put his point across. He didn’t just differentiate between free and open source software, and he didn’t just say how free software is better than the open source philosophy, he went on to stress on why open source wasn’t good enough. If you’ve seen his sessions, you’ll probably understand what I mean.

    • grep-2.20 released [stable]
  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • Thermal Issues Appear To Cause My ASUS Zenbook Linux Woes

      Given this ASUS ultrabook is only a few months old, hopefully the ultrabook will be able to work out fine until the mobile Broadwell processors hit the market when I decide on my next laptop/ultrabook or end up back with a MacBook Pro.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Beware the next circle of hell: Unpatchable systems

      Microsoft’s decision to end support for Windows XP in April was met with a collective gulp by the IT community. For good reason: Approximately 30 percent of all desktop systems continue to run XP despite Microsoft’s decision to stop offering security updates. Furthermore, a critical security flaw in Internet Explorer 8 disclosed recently by HP’s TippingPoint Division opens the door to remote attacks on XP systems that use IE8.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ‘Muddying a Murky Picture’: NYT’s Ukraine Kremlinology

      There is a tendency to believe that Russian president Vladimir Putin is orchestrating the unrest in eastern Ukraine, sending in irregular Russian forces to stir up pro-Russian separatist sentiment.

      As guesses go, this might not be a bad one–but journalism is supposed to be about presenting evidence to confirm such speculation. The New York Times clearly has a hunch about deep Russian involvement in Ukraine. The ways it tries to confirm this hunch are curious.

      [...]

      What you’re left with from the Times is the suggestion that the lack of direct evidence is probably proof that Russia is up to something– i.e., “leaving no fingerprints.”

      During the days of the Soviet Union, Kremlinologists spent their time poring over state propaganda in an attempt to understand what was really going on in the USSR. It bears some resemblance to what one might be seeing in the New York Times now.

    • Horrific Stories of Two Babies Victimized by the War on Drugs

      The multi-decade, trillion dollar waste that we call the drug war has become increasingly unpopular, with everyone from Nobel Prize winning economists to leaders from the religious and civil rights communities calling for its end. Those who defend arresting, incarcerating and militarizing our way into even more disaster, often claim that it’s all in the name of protecting children. Yet, the war on drugs is waged with a shocking disregard for human rights, and even babies and children are not spared.

    • California State Sen. Leland Yee charged with promising guns, missiles from Muslim group to agent for campaign donations

      The California State Senator, Leland Yee, has been charged with the conspiracy to deal firearms, as well as wire fraud. Yee was arrested for promising shoulder-fired automatic weapons and missiles from a Muslim separatist group to an undercover FBI-agent in exchange for donations towards his campaign. The allegations towards Yee outlined in an affidavit from an FBI agent were not only pointed towards the Senator, but to twenty-five other people as well. According to the court documents, the allegations against Yee included a number of favors that he had requested in exchange for campaign donations. He also performed “official acts” in exchange for donations to get himself out of a $70,000 debt that he acquired during a failed San Francisco mayoral bid.

    • World starts to love UK again as memories of the war in Iraq fade

      The Country Ratings Poll asked more than 24,500 people from 24 nations whether they felt positive or negative about 16 countries and the EU. The UK finished third, with 56 per cent of those surveyed saying they thought it was having a good influence internationally.

    • Donald Trump and Neocons Bash Deal that Freed U.S. Soldier from Taliban Custody

      On Saturday, Donald Trump took a break from retweeting delusional sycophants begging him to run for president to comment on the successful rescue of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the United States’ last (and only) prisoner of war in Afghanistan.

    • Microsoft demos real-time voice translation using Skype

      The Fierce Take: There is no doubt that Skype Translate could be an invaluable business tool, though the skeptic can’t help but wonder if the NSA would also utilize this to bolster its various wiretapping efforts.

    • Richard Clarke Uses Fiction to Criticize Our Use of Drones

      In that sense, we as a country are paying another price as a consequence of the Republican clown show. Blind trust in government is never a good thing for a civilized and free society. But when the opposition is so blinded by its own ideology that it is deaf to the facts and mute to a constructive discussion to prevent mishaps from occurring again, it means they cannot be trusted to hold the government accountable.

    • Former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke: US Drone Program Under Obama “Got Out of Hand”

      Richard Clarke served as the nation’s top counterterrorism official under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush before resigning in 2003 in protest of the Iraq War. A year before the Sept. 11 attacks, Clarke pushed for the Air Force to begin arming drones as part of the U.S. effort to hunt down Osama bin Laden. According to Clarke, the CIA and the Pentagon initially opposed the mission. Then Sept. 11 happened. Two months later, on November 12, 2001, Mohammed Atef, the head of al-Qaeda’s military forces, became the first person killed by a Predator drone. According to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, U.S. drones have since killed at least 2,600 people in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Clarke has just written a novel about drone warfare called, Sting of the Drone. We talk to Clarke about the book and his concerns about President Obama’s escalation of the drone war. “I think the [drone] program got out of hand,” Clarke says. “The excessive secrecy is as counterproductive as some of the strikes are.”

    • Ex-Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld Committed War Crimes

      Richard Clarke, the nation’s former top counterterrorism official, tells Democracy Now! he believes President George W. Bush is guilty of war crimes for launching the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Clarke served as national coordinator for security and counterterrorism during Bush’s first year in office. He resigned in 2003 following the Iraq invasion and later made headlines by accusing Bush officials of ignoring pre-9/11 warnings about an imminent attack by al-Qaeda. “I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes,” Clarke says. “Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have. But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried. So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing. And I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not it would be useful to do that in the case of members of the Bush administration. It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did — in my mind, at least — were war crimes.”

    • May 2014 Update: US covert actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia
    • Relatives of Victims of Drone Strikes Drop Appeal

      The relatives of three United States citizens killed in American drone strikes without trial, including Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric, have decided not to appeal a federal judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit they filed against Obama administration officials.

    • Sen. Rand Paul Is Right to Oppose Targeted Killing of U.S. Citizens

      Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has quite rightly called on the Obama administration to publicly disclose its legal justifications for the claimed power to order the killing, without trial or hearing, of U.S. citizens abroad who are suspected of being terrorist leaders planning attacks against the United States. The dispute came up, most recently, in the context of David Barron’s successful nomination to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. As a lawyer in the Office of Legal Counsel, Barron reportedly co-authored at least two memos providing the legal rationale for the administration’s decision to order the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and propagandist for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

    • Why we’re marching against the Nato gang of warmongers

      Wherever there is the threat of war there are always people banging the drum—and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) is among the worst.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Artist Stops Oil Pipeline Cold

      Alberta artist, Peter von Tiesenhausen, has effectively stopped oil corporations from putting a pipeline through his 800 acre property by covering it with artwork and copyrighting the top six inches of his land as an artwork.

    • Fukushima Disaster Still A Global Nightmare

      The corporate media silence on Fukushima has been deafening even though the melted-down nuclear power plant’s seaborne radiation is now washing up on American beaches.

      Ever more radioactive water continues to pour into the Pacific.

    • Ukraine conflict wake-up call for EU’s looming fuel and energy crisis – Oxfam

      Charity calls on EU to end reliance on imported and domestic fossil fuels and increase energy efficiency and boost renewables

    • Global Warming: Obama’s Failures Compared to China’s Real Action

      Emergency action is needed on carbon emissions, but Obama’s plan announced Monday is not a move to action, but more talk about potentially taking action. Critical time continues to be lost as the Earth heats up and the oceans acidify. As critical time is lost, if the proposal is even adopted, it could be overturned by any president who follows Obama within a little over a year of being adopted. To say this appears to be far too little too late is an understatement. Had Obama been serious about climate change he would have taken action as soon as he took power.

  • Finance

    • After Dinner at 11, will its working-class kids still have dreams at 20?

      Class and ethnicity, rather than ability, will probably determine the adult lives of Channel 4′s 11-year-old dinner guests

    • How I discovered I have the brain of a psychopath

      I found I had the brain imaging pattern and genetic make up of a full-blown psychopath while conducting research – and yet, I turned out to be a successful scientist and family man

    • Bruni’s ‘Middle’ = Corporate Tax Cuts and No Minimum Wage Hike?

      It’s well-established by now (Extra!, 7/06) that political reporters prefer to talk and write about Democrats who stay close to the “center” instead of placating the left-wing party base. This is simply smart politics, these observers note, since it’s always better to be in the middle, because that’s where most people are.

      The problem is that pundits’ idea of the “middle” doesn’t seem to correspond to reality.

      [...]

      How opposing a minimum wage increase and keeping taxes low for corporations and the wealthy centrist? These are not popular policies in general, and certainly not among Democrats in the state Cuomo governs. Nonetheless, Bruni is keenly worried that Cuomo may be promising too much to other Democrats, who might tug him away from this “middle” and “hijack his legacy.”

    • Three Things to Watch for Now That Seattle Has Passed a $15 Minimum Wage Law

      Yesterday afternoon, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed legislation enacting a phased-in $15 minimum wage in Seattle, the highest minimum wage in the country. Mayor Ed Murray is expected to sign the bill into law this afternoon, just after 1 p.m. in Cal Anderson Park. The first phase of the wage raise is scheduled to start April 1, 2015, and headlines around the country seem to be asking if Seattle, the progressive urban utopia, is just the beginning of a nationwide trend.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • 10 Photos of Amazon Chiefs’ Clash With Brazilian Police at World Cup Protests

      Hundreds of Amazon chiefs clashed with police in Brazil last week as the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which begins on June 12, draws closer.

      According to The Week, protestors said that the cup’s copy1 billion budget should have been used to support the country’s poorest regions through government funded programs.

    • Our prisons have mental health problems

      The government may not mean to kill people with mental disabilities but it’s deeds, not motives, that matter, and when the coalition subtracted political cost from economic gain, it found those with disabilities were the easiest people in Britain to dispose of.

      Mental health is the NHS’s Cinderella service, even in good times. In recession, it’s hammered. Simon Stevens, the new chief executive as NHS England, has given us his priorities. He gabbles that he wants to “future proof” the NHS “against challenges ahead”.

    • Florida Judge Erupts at Lawyer: ‘If I Had a Rock, I Would Throw It at You’

      Weinstock, who reportedly felt pressure from the judge to convince his client into waiving his right to a speedy trial, snapped back in defense. Then Murphy challenged Weinstock to a fist fight outside.

      “You know, if I had a rock, I would throw it at you right now,” Murphy says in the video above. “Stop pissing me off … If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll just beat your ass.”

    • Time to Reopen the Case on CIA Torture

      He blew the whistle on CIA waterboarding, but the government keeps trying to sweep the issue, and him, out of sight. From prison, John Kiriakou says it’s time for a special prosecutor.

    • Father Sues School After It Brings In Cops To Question His Son About Drawing Of A Person Being Hanged

      Maybe if schools stop handing misbehaving students over to police officers, aggrieved parents won’t be nearly as aggrieved… or so likely to sue. Schools are publicly funded already, but that’s no reason to keep dipping into homeowners’ wallets to pay out settlements for schools’ bad decisions.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Rep. Latta Breaks New Ground In Introducing Anti-Net Neutrality Bill Where Almost Every Claim Is Laughably Wrong

      Rep. Bob Latta achieved an impressive feat last week in introducing some legislation, which he claims is to make sure the internet remains “open and free.” While we’re big supporters of an “open and free” internet, what’s most amazing here is that almost everything that Latta claims about the bill is not true — including the whole “open and free” bits.

    • Verizon Begs To Be Classified Under Title II For Subsidies; Screams About Parade Of Horribles Any Other Time

      If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the whole net neutrality fight, you’d know that the key issue is whether or not broadband services should be reclassified under Title II of the Telecom Act. In the early to mid-2000s, the FCC declared both cable and DSL broadband to be information services under Title I, rather than telecommunications services under Title II. This basically means they are not subject to common carrier rules, including non-discriminatory rules that are the key issue around net neutrality. And, of course, the telcos are putting up a big fight over this, listing out a supposed parade of horribles that would happen if they were reclassified under Title II.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • OVERNIGHT TECH: Advocacy groups oppose DOTCOM Act

        A coalition of advocacy groups wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), urging the Senate to push back on an amendment to the House’s recently-passed defense funding bill that would keep the Obama administration from going forward with its plans to shift Internet oversight.

      • Company Hired By Ecuador Uses Bogus Copyright Claims To Censor Website Of Ecuadorian Newspaper

        We’ve written a few times about Spanish company Ares Rights, which presents itself as an “anti-piracy” firm, but rather than searching the internet for unauthorized movies and music, has a long history of working for Latin American governments, using questionable copyright claims to censor the internet and take down content those governments don’t like. The latest example may be the most extreme, as Ares Rights used a DMCA claim in the US to block the website of Ecuadorian newspaper La Republica for a period of four hours last week.

      • British Recording Industry Thinks ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Proves Google Can Stop Piracy

        As the discussion over the EU’s decision to force Google to uphold a “right to be forgotten” continues, various industry heads have begun to weigh in on the subject, pointing to this as evidence that Google could do more to combat piracy.

06.03.14

After Whitewashing the NSA CBS is Openwashing Microsoft While Bill Gates Smears Edward Snowden

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Openwashing still the focus of Microsoft’s strategy

MICROSOFT IS hiring staff specifically for the task of openwashing the company and it very much shows, especially in recent months [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The corporate press is helping Microsoft here. It does not care about facts, it cares about its sponsors.

The NSA‘s most notorious whitewasher CBS (which ran an infamous 60-minute propaganda piece for the NSA) continues to give a platform to radicals like Hayden this week. It also gives Microsoft a “propaganda platform” (State Department terminology), with one of the top people in CNET serving this propaganda (Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET). FOSS people don’t believe it for a second. It’s the strategy which relies for whitewashing on pseudo-leader Nadella (Gates is still in charge), despite the fact that he has changed nothing (criminal activity continues). It also relies on Microsoft staff and Microsoft-funded ‘analysts’ such as Forrester. The propaganda can be seen here. It’s a collection of talking points, including:

“There has been a real change,” said Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond, noting that while that shift hasn’t yet permeated the entire Microsoft organization — particularly the Windows team, “it’s seeped into enough of the organization that it’s more than just window dressing. There are many example where Microsoft is integrating with, and even creating open source in an effort to grow market share and support customers.

It should not be so shocking that CBS does this hogwash. It loves Microsoft just like it loves the NSA. Speaking of which, Bill Gates not only promotes the NSA's mass surveillance (publicly) but slams Snowden too (in the popular mainstream fashion of false dichotomy). Will Hill notes that Gates indoctrination attack persists in the US (fighting freedom of thought with corporate schooling):

New Orleans public schools are gone. Schools in New Orleans have been converted into segregated, private schools. In general, these don’t perform better than the public schools they replace but they do channel money and power to rich people. Private schools put student records into private databases and give oligarchs even more power over what we think.

There is tremendous resistance to this especially in places where Gates and Broad got their way. Here’s a report about how privatization has hurt poor people which cites the harm done in charter school pioneer, Milwaukee. In New York, Education Historian, Diane Ravitch has some very insightful criticism. In Seattle there is the wonderful Seattle Education Blog with this update about pushback.

In this recent article Ravitch explains the attack on public education as class warfare. That’s true and it’s bad news because the only reliable indicator of academic performance is household income. The rich and powerful don’t want to reform education, they just want to take more money for themselves. Ruining public education gives them money and control for more of the same. [...] more of the same, “character growth” as judged by your corporate overlords, http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117615/problem-grit-kipp-and-character-based-education

Perhaps we can sum it all up by saying that Microsoft and Gates are waging a war on people’s minds.

GnuTLS Picked on by Firm of Microsoft’s ‘Former’ Security Chief, FUD Ensues Everywhere

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Telecommunication

Summary: Codenomicon (where the ‘former’ Chief Security Officer for Microsoft is now the Chairman of the Board) is back to smearing FOSS projects whilst ignoring back doors in proprietary software such as Apple and Microsoft operating systems

SO-CALLED ‘SECURITY’ firms should spend more time finding flaws in secret (and most likely broken-by-design) encryption, such as the nefarious NSA stuff in Microsoft software. If they cannot gain access to the code (never mind the build process), then they should assume it to be insecure, by default. NSA is all over proprietary software, but it hides behind secret deals and arrangements with a blanket of NDAs (PRISM for instance). There is a lot of stuff in secret code which is designed to subvert encryption; we already have evidence of it, thanks to Edward Snowden.

Earlier this year we saw some FUD thrown at GnuTLS [1, 2], despite the fact that — or because — flaws had already been patched. That’s what makes Free software so powerful; fixes are almost immediate.

Then there was the whole “Heartbleed” hype [1, 2, 3], which came from Codenomicon, a firm headed by Microsoft’s ‘former’ chief (who also has FBI history and probably knows how the FBI and Microsoft created their now-infamous back doors). The whole thing stinks very badly and we have already explained why.

Now there is this new attack on the reputation of GnuTLS. Guess who’s behind it? Here’s a quote: “Codenomicon, which found the Heartbleed flaw, discovered another SSL flaw, this time in the open-source GnuTLS library. GnuTLS is part of many Linux distros.

“Security firm Codenomicon has found a new Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) flaw in the GnuTLS open-source cryptographic library. Codenomicon rose to notoriety in April as the security firm that found and branded the Heartbleed flaw in the open-source OpenSSL cryptographic library.”

Codenomicon did not discover it. It was the opportunist. The flaw was discovered by another company (a person in Google), but Codenomicon marketed the flaw, hyped it all up (later bragging about the business it brought), and then disclosed it prematurely and irresponsibly, before all sorts of crucial sites had been patched. Codenomicon is a nasty Trojan horse in the security world and it has an agenda. As we showed before, Codenomicon is also a Microsoft partner, never mind the staff’s high-level connections to Microsoft.

The GnuTLS flaw which Codenomicon speaks about is already patched [1] and a Red Hat employee explains why — if anything (contrary to media reports [2]) — this demonstrates the advantage of Free software [3].

In other security news, the proprietary TrueCrypt is seemingly under some kind of fight from the outside (or infighting). Nobody seems to know for sure what’s going on there yet [4] (maybe a split among the developers or some coverup), but theories with supportive evidence get posted [5]. GNU/Linux distros drop TrueCrypt [6] as soon as possible. The Linux Foundation is still focused on OpenSSL [7,8] these days.

It should be noted that the likely cause for issues in TrueCrypt is US government overreach (back doors or request for back doors). These days, making encryption that works is seen like some kind of crime as if it directly facilitates crime [9]. It’s possible that a move to some place like Switzerland will help dodge these issues. Red Hat too should move to some place like Switzerland, for several reasons we wrote about before (security, not just software patents and trolls).

Finally, in some other security news, notice how Apple is deviating further away from standards [10,11] whilst attacking a Free/Open Source operating system (Android) over “security”, as if Apple with PRISM and back doors is somehow more secure than Android. How does Apple do all this? Well, citing some gossip bloggers from the CBS-owned tabloid ZDNet (CBS is paid by Apple), the CEO of Apple had this to say:

To illustrate his point, he quoted the title of a recent article by ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, a self-described “big fan of Android.”

The article’s title? “Android fragmentation turning devices into a toxic hellstew of vulnerabilities” – and Cook’s slide of that quote added animated flames to the word “hellstew.”

Wait a second, Mr. Cook. Your operating system (core) has back doors which Apple designed and bragged about, never mind the NSA and PRISM. These back doors are now misused by non-government crackers. How can Cook claim security advantage with a straight face? The British press (above) ought to have pointed out these issues.

Speaking of British press, watch the Microsoft-controlled BBC spreading some FUD without naming Microsoft, even though only Microsoft is the culprit. One has to read many paragraphs before reaching the part where it says: “If your computer does not run Windows, stop right here. This does not affect you – but other problems might, so always keep your antivirus up to date.”

GNU/Linux does not require antivirus, unless it’s a server that serves files to Windows clients. But never mind all that, the BBC supports the antivirus myth (some antivirus companies do the same to Android), pretending that all platforms are not secure. The fact that this is a Microsoft-only problem should have been stated in the headline, but it’s not. Therein lies the typical bias of the BBC and some other Bill Gates- and/or Microsoft-funded press (BBC is funded by both). Microsoft is simply not being mentioned when there are Microsoft-only security problems, only when there is good news (promotion).

Watch out for FUD; lots of it exists, but it’s well concealed. A lot of it is bias by omission or bias by emphasis/selectivity.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GnuTLS Vulnerability Closed in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  2. GnuTLS bug exposes Linux clients to server attacks

    The maintainers of GnuTLS, a secure communications library used in Red Hat, Ubuntu other Linux distributions, have released fixes for a critical bug affecting the client-side of the software.

  3. Just a thought

    I don’t fear the bugs that get fixed (in OpenSSL and now GnuTLS) in an open, transparent way we open source people do. I fear the bugs in proprietary stuff where I can never be sure if they get fixed and how. 

  4. TrueCrypt’s Mysterious Vanishing Act
  5. TrueCrypt warrant canary confirmed?

    Looking at the sudden new content on the TrueCrypt site, the most plausible explanation for me was that it was an attempt to tip people off that they had been tracked down and sent a National Security Letter, without actually breaking the law. Why else would they advocate using Apple’s disk encryption with no encryption selected? Why else would they advocate use of software from Microsoft, who we know cannot be trusted? It smelled like a warrant canary.

  6. Replace TrueCrypt

    Due to various concerns, TrueCrypt is about to be replaced in Tails, either by tcplay or cryptsetup.

  7. Announcing Rapid Progress on Core Infrastructure Initiative

    A month ago we announced the Core Infrastructure Initiative, a project to help fund critical open source projects that we all rely upon but that are in need of support. We moved quickly to organize the initiative and the industry reaction was swift and enthusiastic. I am proud to report on significant progress that I believe matches the quality of the reaction to the formation of the project.

  8. Linux Foundation will save OpenSSL with a little help from its friends
  9. US cybercrime laws being used to target security researchers

    Some of the world’s best-known security researchers claim to have been threatened with indictment over their efforts to find vulnerabilities in internet infrastructure, amid fears American computer hacking laws are perversely making the web less safe to surf.

    Many in the security industry have expressed grave concerns around the application of the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), complaining law enforcement and lawyers have wielded it aggressively at anyone looking for vulnerabilities in the internet, criminalising work that’s largely benign.

  10. Apple Announces A New 3D API, OpenGL Competitor: Metal

    At Apple’s WWDC conference today they have just unveiled Metal, a new 3D graphics API to compete with OpenGL.

  11. Apple’s new Swift coding language hopes to lock down errors

Newcastle Pays for Back Doors From Microsoft Rather Than Procure Freedom-respecting Software From Local (British) Companies

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 10:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Newcastle wraps itself in shackles for the next three years

Newcastle

Summary: The latest example of the British public sector snubbing local software companies, instead bringing malicious software from abroad (land of economic and political espionage) via a local proxy (reseller)

Three years ago I traveled to Newcastle in order to configure GNU/Linux servers there; I was surrounded by a Windows-dominated environment and a systems administrator who was only skilled enough to handle Microsoft stuff. The sad thing is that in the public and private sector in the UK there is a lot of software with NSA back doors, including (and primarily) Microsoft software.

According to this news report, the latest Newham-style nonsense has spread to Newcastle, with cost analysis totally ignoring the worth of security and autonomy. To quote the article: “Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has chosen to renew its enterprise agreement with Microsoft rather than opt for cloud-based service provision or open source products.”

Well, cloud-based services usually mean “surveillance-friendly” or “surveillance-ready”, so these are not the real alternative anymore. The article continues: “The deal, for the provision of software assurance and server licences through a certified reseller for the next three years, replaces the council’s previous five year Microsoft Enterprise Agreement which expired on 31st May 31.

“The renewal, which commenced 1st June, will ensure that the corporation’s desktops and servers can be used and updated within legal requirements.

Why choose spyware and why not explore Free/Open Source software? Well, the article says: “Having considered options such as subscription-based agreements, cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) provision and open source products, which are already in use by the council for its anti-virus and email filtering systems, Newcastle-under-Lyme decided it was better to renew its existing agreement – expected to total £263,284 in costs over its three-year lifetime.”

This does not even seem to cover support. They have just paid for spyware to go inside their server room/s, negatively affecting many British citizens. Did they even consult the public at all? As Munich has demonstrated, nobody needs Microsoft in the public sector; all it does it spy on everything and everyone.

Links 3/6/2014: Linux 3.15-rc8 , KDE Frameworks 5, Samsung Tizen, Dell Ubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 9:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Release notes: May 2014

    What’s the point of releasing open-source code when nobody knows about it? In “Release Notes” I give a round-up of recent open-source activities.

    angular-rt-popup (New, github)

  • A startup called Skymind launches, pushing open source deep learning

    Skymind is providing commercial support and services for an open source project called deeplearning.4j. It’s a collection of of approaches to deep learning that mimic those developed by leading researchers, but tuned for enterprise adoption.

  • Skymind launches with open-source, plug-and-play deep learning features for your app
  • Choosing a Linux web server: Nginx vs. Apache
  • Out in the Open: The Little-Known Open Source OS That Rules the Internet of Things

    Badgers spend a lot of time underground, which make it difficult for biologists and zoologists to track their whereabouts and activities. GPS, for example, doesn’t work well underground or in enclosed areas. But about five years ago, University of Oxford researchers Andrew Markham and Niki Trigoni solved that problem by inventing a wireless tracking system that can work underground. Their system is clever, but they didn’t do it alone. Like many other scientists, they turned to open source to avoid having to rebuild fundamental components from scratch. One building block they used is an open source operating system called Contiki.

  • Telcos Pay Lip Service to Open Source

    Telecom service providers may acknowledge the value of open source technology, particularly as they adopt virtualization, but they are not entirely ready to embrace it warmly, a panel discussion here revealed.

    Five large service providers — AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Orange (NYSE: FTE), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), and Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI) — were represented on a single panel as part of a pre-conference NFV workshop, and while they agreed on a lot, open source technology didn’t get a consensus vote.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Vice President: Trading Away Your Privacy

        Do you trust the National Security Agency or the Internal Revenue Service more than Google or Facebook? If so, you’re not alone. A recent Reason-Rupe poll found that most Americans do not trust big tech companies.

        Mozilla’s Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, Denelle Dixon-Thayer, says “data hygiene” should be something every new or established tech company should be thinking about. Dixon-Thayer sat down with Reason TV at the 2014 South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas this year.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • What’s Next for OpenStack Is Ironic

      The open-source OpenStack cloud platform is now in the development phase for its next major release code-named Juno, set to debut in October. Among the major new features in development is a technology known as “Ironic,” which provides bare metal server provisioning capabilities.

    • Guavus Joins AMPLab for Open Source Big Data Collaboration

      Another Big Data analytics company has entered the open source realm. Guavus has become an official sponsor of the AMPLab, a research initiative hosted at the University of California at Berkeley to drive open source Big Data innovation.

    • Do you know your OpenStack history?

      In historical terms, NASA worked with Rackspace to develop OpenStack back in 2010.

    • ownCloud gets new CMO

      ownCloud announced in their blog that Claudine Bianchi has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). The move aims to secure a stronger position in File Sync and Share for the most popular open source software in this category.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.2.5 RC1 Is Now Available for Testing

      The developers from The Document Foundation have launched the first Release Candidate for 4.2.5 branch and it comes with numerous changes and improvements.

      According to the changelog, the text rotation has been fixed, the upper margin of multi-page floating table has been fixed, the set-all language menu has been added, output file extension is now adjusted when exporting, accepting and rejecting changes in a selection is now allowed, the strange brightness and contrast adjustment from Microsoft Office has been corrected, and the mapping between ATK and UNO roles has been improved.

  • CMS

    • What’s New in June for Open Source CMS

      Who has time to handle post-CMS deployment needs when there’s so much to do developing the platform? That’s the thinking of the creators of Tendenci, an open source content management system (CMS) project for associations and other nonprofits (NPOs).

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 9.3 Is In Beta, Adds Radeon KMS & Xen HVM

      Those interested in downloading FreeBSD 9.3 Beta or upgrading to it from an existing release can find all of the information via this mailing list announcement. FreeBSD 9.3 has many driver improvements, the hardware random number generators are disabled by default, the ZFS file-system support has been updated, and there’s support for Xen hardware-assisted virtualization (XENHVM). FreeBSD 9.3 also supports Apple’s MacBook trackpads and adds Radeon KMS, after the kernel mode-setting support was first found in FreeBSD 10.0.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • How to treat government like an open source project

      Open government is great. At least, it was a few election cycles ago. FOIA requests, open data, seeing how your government works—it’s arguably brought light to a lot of not-so-great practices, and in many cases, has spurred citizen-centric innovation not otherwise imagined before the information’s release.

    • Mark Johnson of OSS Watch opens up about the challenges of open source procurement

      The OSS Watch blog has been on our radar for a while now as a great resource for open source commentary. We’ve looked to their team, including development manager Mark Johnson, for thought leadership on how open source software is being used and to gauge the pulse of the open source movement. I wanted to find out more about what Mark does day-to-day to promote better understanding of open source. He’s got a knack for communication: concise with impact.

    • South Korean govt open source forum to hear EU cases

      IT strategists working for the French Gendarmerie and the Dutch municipality of Ede will participate in a conference organised by South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and the National IT Promotion Agency, to be held on 3 June in the capital Seoul.

    • Exposing the Flaws of the U.S. Media’s Dangerous Ukraine Propaganda

      The press has taken a near-sighted view of the crisis, spinning in ways that only create a partial picture.

      The New York Review of Books is a leading intellectual publication in the United States, and it (like all of the major U.S. “news” media) has “reported” on the Ukrainian civil war as having been incited by Russia’s Vladimir Putin — a simple-minded explanation, which also happens to be deeply false. The reality is that the residents of southern Ukraine, the part of Ukraine adjoining Russia, were overwhelmingly opposed to the overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, though they are portrayed in NYRB (and other “news” media) as being mere stooges of Russian propaganda for their opposing the coup that overthrew the President for whom they had voted overwhelmingly. (The only thing that America’s “news” media had previously reported about Yanukovych is that he was corrupt; but so were all of his predecessors, and U.S. media ignored this crucial fact. Selective reporting is basic to propaganda, and the U.S. major media are trained masters at it. Without a person’s knowing that Ukraine is by far the most corrupt country in the former Soviet Union, and the one with the worst economic performance of them all, Ukraine’s politics just can’t be understood at all: it has long been an extreme kleptocracy, ruled by psychopathic politicians, for the benefit of psychopathic oligarchs, who have robbed the country blind. That’s the deeper truth — and it’s key to understanding the current situation there.)

    • What has open source got to do with open government?

      Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, highlighted at the conference that an open and transparent government is not enough if it lacks civic participation. “In my view, openness and transparency should stimulate their sense of ownership in open government.”

      Dr Alanna Simpson, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, World Bank-Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, told me that the Indonesian Government is a leader in making open data and open source available.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • PHP 5.5.13 Updated for Two Security Vulnerabilities
    • To beat this new video game, reprogram it

      But playing the game—a sendup to traditional adventure games like The Legend of Zelda, which place players on quests that involve battling monsters, collecting artifacts, and solving puzzles—requires no programming knowledge whatsoever. Nor does it demand familiarity with coding tools. Instead, Hack ‘n’ Slash makes manipulating the game’s source code part of the game itself. To play it is to hack it.

Leftovers

  • Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner among seven dead in Boston plane crash

    Family members said one of the other victims was the wife of a New Jersey borough commissioner. James P Leeds Sr told the Associated Press that his 74-year-old wife, Anne, died Saturday night in the Massachusetts crash. Leeds said he got a text from his wife from the plane at 9.36 p.m, four minutes before the crash.

  • Why Middle Eastern lovers are marrying in Cyprus

    The island’s appeal is simple: couples of mixed religion can have a civil ceremony that, though not allowed back home, will still be recognised in law

    [...]

    In 1980, 61 Lebanese brides and 78 Lebanese grooms were married there, as well as 98 Israeli grooms and 99 Israeli brides. In 2013, there were 2,131 Israeli weddings, 581 Lebanese ones, and 35 Syrian unions. Some municipalities, such as tourist-friendly Livadia, report even more startling figures; last year, of the 1,000 or so weddings it recorded, 350 were Lebanese, 425 were Israeli, and 20 were Syrian.

  • Science

    • First Man to Walk in Space Celebrates His 80th Birthday

      Soviet cosmonaut and first spacewalker in the world, Aleksei Leonov, celebrated his 80th birthday on Friday. In March 1965 he was outside his spaceship for 12 minutes, connected to the craft by a 5.35 meter tether. Later, Leonov commanded the Soviet side of the Apollo-Soyuz mission, the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States. Leonov is also an accomplished artist, whose works are displayed in many art galleries in Russia and abroad, and an author of several popular books about space. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have congratulated the legendary cosmonaut, who was twice awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title, on his anniversary and wished him good health, happiness and success. “Your professional biography, rich in significant and truly historical events, and all your life is a worthy example of unblinking devotion to the cause and of enormous personal courage,” Putin said in a telegramme, published on the Kremlin website on Friday.

    • “Why Did Life Begin During Early Earth’s Heavy Impact Period?” New Research Shows a Strong Link

      “It’s interesting that 4.2 billion to 3.8 billion years ago, the early Earth experienced a period known as the Late Heavy Bombardment where there were a lot of impacts, including large impacts, and this period also overlaps with the evidence of the earliest life on Earth,” said Haley Sapers, an astrobiologist at the Canadian Astrobiology Training Program at McGill University in Montreal. “One might ask why life arose during such an inhospitable part of Earth’s history. Maybe impact cratering had a role in the origin of life.”
      Impacts on a water-rich planet like Earth or even Mars can generate hydrothermal activity — that is, underwater areas boiling with heat. Seafloor hot springs known as hydrothermal vents more than a mile beneath the ocean’s surface can be home to thriving ecosystems on Earth, including giant tube worms 6 feet (2 meters) tall. The impact that created the Ries crater may have generated hydrothermal activity lasting as long as 10,000 years, given microbes time enough to colonize the area.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Deceitful Compromise Clears The Way For GMO Crops In Europe

      An unholy alliance of pro and anti- GMO countries have struck a deal that will sweep away the obstacles to genetically engineered crops in the EU. By allowing – under limited circumstance – individual member states to prohibit the growing of GMO crops on their territory, the European Commission expects to boost GMO cropping in the EU overall.

    • Is your lifestyle permanently damaging your hearing?

      Belinda worked as a model, lived in a nightclub and often went to noisy parties. There was loud music wherever she went. Then she went to art school, where she listened to music through headphones while she painted. Now, with a quieter job in finance, she lives with the legacy of irreversible damage to her inner ear.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The United Arab Emirates’ “Drones For Good” Website Is Terrible

      It’s not surprising then, that, picking up on one of the latest technology trends, the United Arab Emirates’ Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum would launch a “Drones for Good” competition, offering $1 million for the best positive drone design. The UAE will be taking international entries for drone ideas in categories like disaster relief, humanitarian aid, economic development until August.

    • After Using Promise Of Drone Memo Release To Push Its Appeals Court Nominee Through, Administration Returns To Dragging Its Feet

      The American government has killed four Americans with drone strikes since 2009, all of which were completely detached from any notion of due process. At best, the DOJ builds a case against the foreign-located citizen and, if the target resides in a nation where the US can get away with utilizing weaponized drones, the American citizen is sentenced to death via push-button operator.

    • US troops ‘kidnap’ 4-year-old drone strike victim from hospital, allege parents

      A four-year-old girl whose face was blown off during a US drone strike in Afghanistan was kidnapped by American troops and hidden by an international organization, her family says.

      The child, named Aisha Rashid, was travelling with her parents, a sibling and several other relatives from Kabul to their home in the village of Gamber in Kunar province on a hot September day, when the drone exploded, Expressen.se reported. An uncle, Meya Jan, is at home on his farm in that village when he receives a phone call about the strike from the neighboring village. He and others rush to the strike.

      Suddenly they hear a voice. “Water, water…”

      It is Aisha. She is missing a hand, her leg is bleeding, and there is nothing left of her eyes or nose.

    • Former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke: U.S. Drone Program Under Obama “Got Out of Hand”

      Richard Clarke served as the nation’s top counterterrorism official under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush before resigning in 2003 in protest of the Iraq War. A year before the Sept. 11 attacks, Clarke pushed for the Air Force to begin arming drones as part of the U.S. effort to hunt down Osama bin Laden. According to Clarke, the CIA and the Pentagon initially opposed the mission. Then Sept. 11 happened. Two months later, on November 12, 2001, Mohammed Atef, the head of al-Qaeda’s military forces, became the first person killed by a Predator drone. According to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, U.S. drones have since killed at least 2,600 people in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Clarke has just written a novel about drone warfare called, “Sting of the Drone.” We talk to Clarke about the book and his concerns about President Obama’s escalation of the drone war. “I think the [drone] program got out of hand,” Clarke says. “The excessive secrecy is as counterproductive as some of the strikes are.”

    • Michael Oren finds Israel vindicated by UN report that it slaughtered 101 civilians, including 33 children

      A few days ago, Phil reported on Yousef Munayyer’s take on the nauseating Wolf Blitzer interview with “CNN analyst” (and former Israeli Ambassador to the US) Michael Oren on the recent IDF sniping murders of two Palestinian teenage boys.

    • Imperialist threats and the limits of populism

      Every time the working class and poor of Latin America try to take a step forward and write their own history they confront the power of U.S. imperialism. It uses whatever is in fashion at the time — coups, blockades, manufactured protest movements, referendums or trade sanctions — to turn back the clock.

      When longstanding polarization in Venezuela erupted into street protests in February and March, the United States, true to form, played its usual role in the unrest. Using money, tough talk and lobbying among Latin American countries, the U.S. tried to shore up opposition to the elected government of Nicolás Maduro, Hugo Chávez’s successor.

    • Yup, Obama’s Still Arming And Training Al Qaeda

      Not wavering from his foreign policy mission of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood to restore an Islamic Caliphate under their control, Mr. Obama has ordered the training and arming of Syrian jihadists to overthrow Assad. Current reports indicate that the forces loyal to Assad are gaining ground against the Muslim Brotherhood–supported rebels.

    • Swap to Free Alan Gross Depends on Obama, “Cuban Five” Spy Says

      The release of U.S. government contractor Alan Gross from a Cuban prison depends solely on the “political will” of President Barack Obama, a Havana spy who spent more than 15 years behind bars in the United States said on Monday.

      To support that assertion, Fernando Gonzalez cited Obama’s decision to trade five senior Taliban members being held at Guantanamo for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American POW in Afghanistan.

    • Activists Demand US Govt Reveal Files on Terrorism Against Cuba
    • “False Flag Terrorism” to Sustain America’s “Humanitarian” Agenda

      Through constant use of false flags deceptively blaming the designated enemy of the United States, starting with the dual threat of the Soviet Union and China’s spreading Communism in the early 1950’s, then in this century fabricating the al Qaeda enemy’s spreading terrorism and now back to a revitalized cold war stopping the expansionist spread of Russia and China again, the US has been busily justifying its aggressive interventionist policy throughout the world.

    • 6,000 Journalists Refrain from Naming CIA Station Chief

      Last weekend, a White House press report distributed to 6,000 journalists, included the name of the CIA’s station chief in Afghanistan, alongside said title.

    • Not Forgotten: Street Art to Remember the Victims of the School of the Americas
    • Cleveland car chase ends with two dead, 137 shots fired and six police charged

      A night-time car chase in Cleveland that ended on a schoolyard where more than 100 shots were fired at the suspect’s vehicle appeared to be over when an officer opened fire again, a prosecutor said in announcing charges against the patrolman and five police supervisors.

    • Afghanistan 2016 withdrawal keeps secret Bagram detainees in limbo

      President Barack Obama’s decision to keep American troops in Afghanistan until 2016 is likely to mean two more years behind bars for America’s most secret detainee population, according to Pentagon officials.

      On the outskirts of the massive Bagram airfield, about an hour’s drive from the capital of Kabul and in what the military calls the Detention Facility in Parwan, the US holds about 50 prisoners. The government has publicly disclosed nearly nothing about them, not even their names, save for acknowledging that they are not Afghans.

    • Syria’s ‘western-backed’ rebels? Not in weapons

      Jeffrey White, a defense fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, believes that captured weaponry appears to be the most important fuel of the armed rebellion, followed by self-made arms and materiel, and then foreign-supplied items.

    • US moves towards sanctions as Venezuela charges coup plot

      The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation mandating sanctions against Venezuela as officials there presented evidence of US involvement in a plot to bring down the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

      The bill, passed in a voice vote by the House with only 14 members in opposition, demands that the Obama administration draw up a list of Venezuelan officials allegedly responsible for repression during violent protests that have been organized across the South American country since last February. They would be sanctioned with the freezing of any assets in the US and the denial or revocation of visas.

      Washington’s step closer toward another blatant imperialist intervention against Venezuela came on the same day that government officials in Caracas publicly presented what they described as evidence of US involvement in a plot by the far-right in Venezuela to overthrow the government and assassinate President Maduro.

    • Harper Attacks ‘Evil’ Communism In Lengthy Keynote Speech

      Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched into a full-throated attack on the evils of communism at a fundraiser on Friday for a monument to its victims.

    • Walk to protest drones

      A group of people, including religious leaders in Berrien County, are taking to the road from Chicago to Battle Creek to protest what they see as a menace from the sky.

      The participants will walk from Chicago to Battle Creek on June 3-14 to protest the use of armed drones in the “War on Terror,” that they say kill innocent civilians, create more enemies and undermine America’s standing in the world.

      “The use of armed drones pose many legal, strategic, tactical, and ethical problems,” said the Rev. Dan Scheid of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Benton Harbor, who will walk and host discussions on the issue. “As a citizen of the United States and of the world, I am convinced that the use of armed drones is bad public policy. As a follower of Jesus, I am convinced that the use of armed drones is immoral, and my baptismal and ordination vows compel me to witness against them.”

    • Afghanistan drone attack kills more civilians

      According to local officials in the eastern province of Kunar, the US-launched drone was on a targeted attack which killed and injured unknown people, some of them civilians.

    • New president of El Salvador is former rebel leader

      San Salvador – Sanchez Sanchez Ceren, 69, a former leader of the rebel Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front(FMLN) was sworn in as the president of El Salvador. He had won the presidency in a close March runoff vote against his conservative opponent.

    • FBI agent who killed bombing suspect’s friend probed

      Bay Area officials in Oakland are reviewing seven years of police disability retirements after learning last month that one of their former officers was collecting a disability pension even while he was working for the FBI.

      Former Oakland police officer Aaron McFarlane received more than $52,000 in disability benefits each year while he was working as an FBI special agent in Boston.

    • Setback for former Portland man suing FBI, alleging torture and challenging no-fly list
    • ‘Cross-border crime means we need FBI for Europe’

      His parting shot was a call for a European FBI to tackle cross-border crime gangs and the call for UKIP to follow in the footsteps of Sinn Fein ex-MPs Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, who did not take up the seats they won in the Commons.

    • Obama at West Point

      In the words of Charles Krauthammer, a strong critic of Obama and supporter of the George W. Bush administration who has neoconservative tendencies: “And you didn’t hear much of anything in the West Point speech. It was a somber parade of straw men, as the president applauded himself for steering the nation on a nervy middle course between extreme isolationism and madcap interventionism. It was the rhetorical equivalent of that classic national security joke in which the presidential aide, devoted to policy option X, submits the following decision memo…

      [...]

      The difference between Bush and Obama is that the latter is much more selective in his interventions. Such a correction was what the American people wanted when they elected Obama in 2008 — and inevitable after the two unsuccessful wars of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • Obama at West Point
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Neil deGrasse Tyson: When the rich start losing money, they’ll take climate change seriously

      Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson characterized the naysaying surrounding climate change as par for the course in footage aired on Monday from his interview with MSNBC host Chris Hayes,

    • George Osborne accused of making climate change worse with tax breaks

      Friends of the Earth claims chancellor handed out £2.7bn of incentives to North Sea oil and gas firms

    • Dirty U.S. Coal Finds a Home in Europe

      Even as it faces increased regulatory scrutiny at home, America’s dirty and unwanted coal is being embraced in one of the world’s cleanest energy markets: the European Union.

      At the biggest power plant in the U.K., operated by Drax Group PLC, a small black mountain of a million tons of coal sits at the base of a dozen 374-foot cooling towers.

    • Why Superfreakonomics’ authors are wrong on geo-engineering

      A fierce debate has been raging between climatologists and Superfreakonomics authors Stephen J Dubner and Steven Levitt, culminating in an impassioned New York Times blogpost yesterday by Dubner. From RealClimate, part of the Guardian Environment Network

    • Why Green Capitalism Will Fail

      Green capitalism is destined to fail: You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. We can’t shop our way out of global warming nor are there technological magic wands that will save us. There is no alternative to a dramatic change in the organization of the global economy and consumption patterns.

    • Our egalitarian Eden

      Many anthropologists think this egalitarian lifestyle was an essential feature of hunting and gathering societies. In contrast with both today’s titans of Wall Street and the alpha males of the great apes, people in these societies “had an ethic of sharing that was central to their way of life,” Lee says. “No one takes precedence over anyone else.”

    • Brazil laundering illegal timber on a ‘massive and growing scale’

      Illegally logged timber in Brazil is being laundered on a massive and growing scale and then sold on to unwitting buyers in the UK, US, Europe and China, Greenpeace claimed on Thursday.

      After a two-year investigation, the environmental campaign group says it has uncovered evidence of systematic abuse and a flawed monitoring system that contradicts the Brazilian government’s claims to be coping with the problem of deforestation in the Amazon.

      In a report released on Thursday, Greenpeace cited five case studies of the fraudulent techniques used by the log launderers, including over-reporting the number and size of rare trees, logging trees protected by law, and over-extraction. It notes how forest management officials are implicated in the wrongdoing and several have previously been fined or detained for similar crimes in the past.

    • The age of climate warfare is here. The military-industrial complex is ready. Are you?

      During his speech at West Point Military Academy earlier this week, President Barack Obama described climate change as a “creeping national security crisis” that will require the armed forces to “respond to refugee flows, natural disasters, and conflicts over water and food.”

      The speech emphasised that US foreign policy in the 21st century is increasingly being honed in recognition of heightened risks of social, political and economic upheaval around the world due the impacts of global warming.

      A more detailed insight into US military planning could be seen in the report published a couple of weeks earlier by the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) Military Advisory Board, written and endorsed by a dozen or so senior retired US generals. Describing climate change as a not just a “threat multiplier,” but now – even worse – a “catalyst for conflict”, the study concluded that environmental impacts from climate change in coming decades…

  • Finance

    • 50 million in poverty get a fraction of the coverage of 482 billionaires

      With poverty at 15 percent, inequality rising and Republican politicians talking about addressing the problem by cutting federal programs that help the poor, one might expect poverty to occupy a solid spot on media agendas.

    • New federal database will track Americans’ credit ratings, other financial information

      As many as 227 million Americans may be compelled to disclose intimate details of their families and financial lives — including their Social Security numbers — in a new national database being assembled by two federal agencies.

    • “How Immigration Became Illegal”: Aviva Chomsky on U.S. Exploitation of Migrant Workers

      We are joined by Aviva Chomsky, whose new book, “Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal” details how systemic prejudice against Mexicans and many other migrant workers has been woven into U.S. immigration policies that deny them the same path to citizenship that have long been granted to European immigrants. She also draws parallels between the immigration laws now in place that criminalize migrants, and the caste system that has oppressed African Americans, as described by Prof. Michelle Alexander in her book, “The New Jim Crow.” Chomsky’s previous book on this topic is “They Take Our Jobs! and 20 Other Myths about Immigration.” She is a professor of history and coordinator of Latin American studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts.

    • Seattle votes for $15 minimum wage

      Seattle has voted unanimously to raise the city’s minimum wage to the highest level of any major US city – $15 (£9) per hour, twice the national minimum.

      Wages would begin to rise next year, ultimately reaching $15 from Washington state’s minimum of $9.32 over three to seven years, depending on the business.

      A councillor who supported the push said the vote “sends a message heard around the world”.

    • Pope Francis Calls for ‘Legitimate Redistribution’ of Wealth
    • Ex-Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney blasts “radical,” “fundamentalist” capitalism

      Well, this ought to cause a stir at this summer’s garden parties among Canada’s elites.

      Mark Carney, former Bank of Canada Governor (now the Governor of the Bank of England) has come forward to condemn what he calls “unchecked market fundamentalism.”

      He delivered the remarks last week at the Conference for Inclusive Capitalism, an annual gathering of global political and financial elites that featured keynotes by Carney along with Prince Charles and former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

    • China home prices clock first decline in 23 months

      Residential and commercial buildings are seen in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. Home prices in major Chinese cities registered their first monthly decline in 23 months in May.

    • How Wealthy Elites Are Hijacking Democracy All Over the World

      Amid the upheavals in Thailand, Ukraine and Egypt, wealthy elites have used popular movements and elections to ratify decisions in their favor.

    • Britain is still feasting on credit – and the next crunch will hit in 2016

      Except for one big difference. By early 2016, the era of record-low interest rates is over. Borrowing is getting steadily more expensive. And the result is starting to destabilise our entire economic model.

    • The cowardly tax pursuit of Britain’s poorest

      A few weeks ago, an official from the Cabinet Office gushed on his blog about a jolly exciting trip, a kind of pilgrimage, to Amazon and Google in Seattle and San Francisco. Francis Maude, the unofficial government minister for paperclips and parsimony, led the expedition. It was mindblowing, the official reported afterwards.

      They looked at the IT, were given a sneak preview of the cutting edge innovations. It seemed they had unlimited time to talk about all manner of things. But there was no indication that anyone raised the fact with these multinational behemoths, that on any right-thinking estimation, they owe us billions of pounds in tax. Amazon’s UK subsidiary paid £2.4m in corporate taxes in 2012, despite sales of £4.3bn. Google paid £11.6m in the same period despite sales of £506m.

    • Qatar accused of paying $5mn in bribes to win World Cup bid

      Senior football officials in Africa received over $5 million in bribes to make sure Qatar won the bid for the 2022 World Cup, the Sunday Times reports citing leaked documents.

      According to the paper, the money came from former FIFA vice-president and infamous Qatari businessman, Mohamed Bin Hammam.

      Bin Hammam reportedly used 10 slush funds controlled by his private company – as well as cash handouts – to make dozens of payments of up to $200,000 to the heads of the 30 African football associations.

    • Federal Workers Good at Paying Taxes, USA Today Expose Conceals

      The front page of USA Today (5/23/14) blew the whistle on federal workers: They are tax deadbeats who owe billions in back taxes.

      The story also revealed that they owe less than most people.

      Confused?

    • Stiglitz: Tax-Dodging, Corporate Welfare Destroying US Economy

      A new progressive tax code would end the assault on shared prosperity, create jobs, and help save the planet, says Nobel Joseph Stiglitz

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Serbian PM demands OSCE apology over allegations of censorship

      Serbia’s prime minister accused Europe’s chief security and rights watchdog of lying on Monday after it alleged his government tried to smother online criticism of its handling of devastating floods last month.

    • China escalates attack on Google
    • China tightens enforced Tiananmen silence on anniversary eve
    • Google: One takedown request every 7 secs

      Google has had one demand every seven seconds to suppress information about people’s pasts, it was revealed on Sunday.

      The rush of censorship requests follows the internet giant’s move to provide forms allowing people to ask that certain information about them be hidden when their name is searched online.

      The figures indicate that large amounts of material could disappear from public reach as a direct result of an EU court decision that search engines must enforce a “right to be forgotten”.

    • Egypt satirist goes off air

      Egypt’s internationally renowned satirist, Bassem Youssef, has announced the end of his popular television show, citing pressure from the authorities.

    • The real tragedy of Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef’s censorship is he played a role in it
    • Google & take-down requests – Pointless, worrying & censorship?

      I’ve avoided talking about this story until it progressed further. Historically Google has had many take-down requests, many to do with “piracy” and there’s also court order’s for ISP blocks on domains – we already have an increasing trend towards censorship. But is some censorship good? Whilst the copyright take-down’s and ISP blocks are mostly useless, with the recent ruling involving Google removing search results for you and me, requires further examination.

    • India’s Newest Media Baron Embraces Censorship

      Bold initiatives characterize India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, who famously lives in a 27-story building in Mumbai, a city where most people languish in slums. Last month, his company, Reliance Industries Ltd., sought to prevent circulation of a new book which claims that Reliance successfully pressured the previous Indian government to double the price of natural gas. Amazon received a cease and desist notice, as did even an individual who had merely forwarded an e-mail invitation to the book’s launch. And Thursday, Ambani moved to buy a whole swath of the Indian media: Bloomberg News reports that Reliance, which has already invested $11 billion in a high-speed cellular network, will now spend $678 million for majority stakes in two major media companies, Network18 Media & Investments Ltd. and TV18 Broadcast Ltd.

    • Saudi censorship blurs lines between journalism, activism

      Since the surprise Arab uprisings of 2011, the Saudi government has worked assiduously to ensure it has all the tools of censorship it needs to control dissent. These tools–a combination of special courts, laws, and regulatory authorities–are starting to fire on all cylinders. The result has been a string of arrests and prosecutions in recent months of independent and dissident voices.

      The first step came in January 2011 with new regulations for online media that could be used to restrict coverage, including applying the kingdom’s already highly repressive press law to online media. Shortly after, the Ministry of Culture and Information began blocking local news websites that failed to register, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    • Jordan’s free press record dims with website restrictions
    • Encouragement (Sort of) About Press Freedom

      At a meeting with journalists last week, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. was questioned about the prolonged quest to compel James Risen, a reporter for The Times, to testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former Central Intelligence Agency official. Prosecutors say Mr. Sterling was a source for restricted information in Mr. Risen’s 2006 book on the C.I.A. “As long as I’m attorney general, no reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail,” Mr. Holder said.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Self-Determination as Anti-Extractivism: How Indigenous Resistance Challenges World Politics

      Indigeneity is an unusual way to think about International Relations (IR). Most studies of world politics ignore Indigenous perspectives, which are rarely treated as relevant to thinking about the international (Shaw 2008; Beier 2009). Yet Indigenous peoples are engaging in world politics with a dynamism and creativity that defies the silences of our discipline (Morgan 2011). In Latin America, Indigenous politics has gained international legitimacy, influencing policy for over two decades (Cott 2008; Madrid 2012). Now, Indigenous political movements are focused on resisting extractive projects on autonomous territory from the Arctic to the Amazon (Banerjee 2012; Sawyer and Gómez 2012). Resistance has led to large mobilized protests, invoked international law, and enabled alternative mechanisms of authority. In response, governments have been busy criminalizing Indigenous claims to consultation that challenge extractive models of development. Indigenous opposition to extractivism ultimately promotes self-determination rights, questioning the states’ authority over land by placing its sovereignty into historical context. In that sense, Indigeneity is a valuable approach to understanding world politics as much as it is a critical concept to move beyond state-centrism in the study of IR.

    • We All Must Become Zapatistas

      Subcomandante Marcos, the spokesman for the Zapatistas (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, or EZLN), has announced that his rebel persona no longer exists. He had gone from being a “spokesman to a distraction,” he said last week. His persona, he said, fed an easy and cheap media narrative. It turned a social revolution into a cartoon for the mass media. It allowed the commercial press and the outside world to ignore traditional community leaders and indigenous commanders and wrap a movement around a fictitious personality. His persona, he said, trivialized a movement. And so this persona is no more.

      “The entire system, but above all its media, plays the game of creating celebrities who it later destroys if they don’t yield to its designs,” Marcos declared.

    • I am a British citizen – not a second-class citizen

      Coming through passport control is an ordeal, I am followed on the street and hassled by security services. Not all citizens enjoy the same rights

    • Nothing We Do at Firedoglake Involves Letting the Government Decide

      What is Firedoglake? How does it work? How does the site make money? Are there any other websites you could write for? What do you think you plan to do next?

      Sometimes describing what I do at Firedoglake to family, friends and people I encounter after speaking at events is a bit perplexing to people. This is not a more prominent news media organization like New York Times, Rolling Stone or Huffington Post. But I have found not being more prominent uniquely positions Firedoglake to pursue specific projects.

    • The CIA Can’t Control the Truth at Guantánamo Forever
    • Will Eric Holder Back Off?
    • James Risen’s Fate Now Unclear
    • NY Times reporter faces jail time after Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal
    • Does the Taliban Treat Its Prisoners Better Than the U.S. Treats Prisoners?
    • US government should withdraw Risen subpoena
    • US court declines to intervene in NYT case
    • Supreme Court rejects attempt by reporter to shield source
    • Editorial: Weakening press freedoms by omission
    • Supreme Court rejects reporter’s bid to protect source

      A reporter who has been ordered to testify at the trial of a former CIA officer accused of disclosing classified information lost his bid Monday to get the Supreme Court to clarify whether journalists have a right to protect their confidential sources.

    • Supreme Court rejects New York Times reporter’s First Amendment plea

      The case had been closely watched as possibly setting an important precedent about the First Amendment, news reporters and confidential sources. Instead, Risen will now face a decision about officially naming his source for a book he wrote about Iran or refusing to answer questions under a Justice Department subpoena. (The source’s name has been widely reported as part of an official legal action.)

      Last Thursday, the Justices met behind closed doors to consider accepting Risen’s case for the Court’s next term, which starts in October 2014.

    • How the UK taught Brazil’s dictators interrogation techniques

      As the world focuses on the World Cup, which opens in Brazil in less than a fortnight, many Brazilians are wrestling with painful discoveries about the military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985. The BBC has found evidence that the UK actively collaborated with the generals – and trained them in sophisticated interrogation techniques.

    • Brazil’s World Cup 2014: Private Security “Made in the USA”

      As the World Cup nears, the Brazilian press has reported that the American company Academi, formerly Blackwater, carried out training of Brazilian military personnel and federal police in April.

      The training is a facet of the military cooperation agreement between Brazil and the United States signed in 2010 during the second term of the Lula de Silva administration in preparation for containing terrorist acts during this year’s World Cup. Academi is a private security company based in the United States, and has used mercenary soldiers in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • War Is Peace, Citizens Are The Enemy

      Bill Gertz reported this week on a memo outlining Obama’s plan to use the military against citizens – a memo from 2010. Remember how the blogs and many of us out here were ringing the alarm bells on Obama’s stance that he could use the military and drones against American citizens? Remember how we were marginalized and called crazy for it? Turns out, ‘crazy’ is relative.

    • Second Informant Surfaces in ICE’s Mayan Jaguar Cocaine-Plane Op

      The ICE undercover operation played out in the first decade of the 2000s (roughly 2004 until sometime in 2008) and involved the use of US government front companies to sell aircraft to suspected Latin American drug-trafficking organizations.

    • Robert Fisk: Alaa al-Aswany, Egypt’s greatest living novelist, knows Sisi is not a true democrat – but is still hopeful that he can ‘do good’
    • Saudi Deportation of Migrant Workers

      In an effort to increase job opportunities for Saudi Arabian citizens, the Saudi government is detaining and deporting thousands of undocumented foreign migrant workers. Part of the deportation process includes detaining large populations in what has been described as “appalling” conditions. These detention centers have had reports of guard brutality, overcrowding, lack of food, and poor hygiene. Furthermore, most of these migrant workers are Somali, and are deported back to one of the most unstable, dangerous areas in the world.

    • Tales of Army Discord Show Tiananmen Square in a New Light
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube’s monopolistic behaviour is hurting indie music labels

        So there’s every reason to believe that YouTube is, indeed, bullying the independents into accepting a deal that dramatically undervalues the investment indies make in new emerging artists. Unlike the lack of support songwriters had when PRS experienced the same tactic, the indies can surely count on songwriters to support them in standing up to the bully. But when will the competition commissions around the world do something about it? It’s not only artists that will be worse off if the indies give in – so will music fans all over the world.

      • The Pirate Bay Co-Founder Peter Sunde Taken into Custody in Southern Sweden

        Peter Sunde, The Pirate Bay co-founder was arrested in Southern Sweden. TPB co-founder was wanted by Interpol and apprehended in a police raid. Peter did not serve prison time for his role in Pirate Bay operations. TorrentFreak noted that he was arrested exactly eight years after police conducted the raid.

        Peter was wanted by Interpol for more than two years and he was arrested in a place near Malmö, Sweden. Interpol had been looking after his role in The Pirate Bay case.

      • Pirate Bay Co-Founder Peter Sunde Arrested in Sweden

        Peter Sunde was arrested today in a police raid in southern Sweden. The Pirate Bay co-founder was wanted by Interpol as he had yet to serve prison time for his involvement with the site. Sunde’s arrest comes exactly eight years after the police raided the Pirate Bay servers, which marked the start of the criminal prosecution against the site’s founders.

06.01.14

Links 1/6/2014: Two Linux Mint Releases, New NSA Leaks From Risen

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kano review – doing it for the kids

    The Kano computer system revolves around two core things: a Raspberry Pi and the Kano OS designed for it. More than just another Raspberry Pi kit, it proved itself with a successful Kickstarter, promising a system that would help get kids into real computing and allow them to start down a path of programming and coding.

  • Sphere 1.4 Is an Icon Pack for People Who Don’t Like Flat Operating Systems

    The Sphere icon pack is made by Achim Karsch and features over 24.000 icons for the operating system, covering pretty much all the known applications out there.

  • Australian Linux conference 2014 records big loss

    The Australian national Linux conference of 2014, held in Perth in January, looks set to make a loss of nearly $40,000, according to the president of Linux Australia, Joshua Hesketh.

  • Linux.conf.au $40,000 Budget Shortfall: A Lesson In The Importance Of Planning
  • Server

    • Linux Video of the Week: 40-Node Raspberry Pi Supercomputer

      Guill, a recent graduate of the masters in computer science and electrical engineering program at the University of Texas in Dallas, built the 40-node Raspberry Pi cluster for distributed software testing. In addition to a list of technical requirements, Guill wrote that he also wanted it to be “visually pleasing.”

    • 32-bit Enterprise Linux Still Matters

      I’ve done a lot of support of government servers and they run for about forever, as in until they serve no further use. Even retired, old servers are often repurposed and put back into service due to budget restrictions and/or long lead times to order new equipment under the required procedures for government procurement. In the United States this is especially true at the state level. When a server is repurposed it is usually reloaded with the current enterprise standard Linux distrubution release and applications, not legacy releases. That’s one common use case.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Foundation webpage design
      • First ideas for a better GNOME browser

        I have tried to describe a situation where Web browsing is more tightly integrated with the desktop. There is still a lot of work to do: detailed functionality needs to be refined, assumptions need to be verified, mockups and prototypes need to be created and evaluated…

        A browser is a very complex application to design, but luckily there is a lot of knowledge already available that should help us generate ideas and make informed decisions.

      • AppData progress and the email deluge

        I’ve deliberately not included GNOME in this sweep, as a lot of the core GNOME applications already have AppData and most of the gnomies already know what to do. I also didn’t include XFCE appications, as XFCE has agreed to adopt AppData on the mailing list and are in the process of doing this already. KDE is just working out how to merge the various files created by Matthias, and I’ve not heard anything from LXDE or MATE. So, I only looked at projects not affiliated with any particular desktop.

      • GNOME Shell 3.13.2 Brings Improvements for Airplane Mode

        This is the first update for GNOME Shell in the current 3.13.x development cycle, and its makers have made quite a few modifications to it.

        According to the changelog, the airplane mode menu is now insensitive in the lock screen, the struts are no longer extended to the screen edge, keynav has been fixed for alternatives in AltSwitcher, and the window menus have been implemented in the shell.

      • Tartan: Plugging Clang Into The GNOME Stack

        Tartan is a new research and development project by Collabora to yield a Clang analysis plug-in for GLib and GNOME.

        The Tartan plug-in loads GObject-Introspection meta-data for all encountered functions to better inform LLVM’s Clang and the plug-in also takes care of detecting common coding practices for GLib. Tartan is licensed under the GPLv3+ by Collabora.

      • GTK+ 3.13.2 Arrives with Interactive Debugging and Gestures Suppor

        This latest update for GTK arrives with a multitude of changes and new features, but this is understandable because this is a development release.

        According to the changelog, interactive debugging support has been implemented, gesture support has finally landed, the GTK+ widgets can now draw outside their allocation zone, by setting a clip with gtk_widget_set_clip(), GtkStack has added a few more transition types, and the GtkProgressBar is now narrower.

  • Distributions

    • Kali Linux 1.0.7 review

      The latest update to Kali Linux was released a few days ago. Kali Linux 1.0.7 review is a summary review of the main features of this latest upgrade to the security distribution from Offensive Security, a security and penetration training outfit based somewhere on this third rock from the Sun.

      The main feature introduced in Kali Linux 1.0.7 is the ability to transfer the system to a USB stick with encrypted persistence.

    • The five most popular end-user Linux distributions

      Sure, on the desktop, Windows still rules. According to Stat Counter’s’ April 2014 data, Windows has about a 90 percent market share. Out of an approximate base of 1.5 billion PCs, that’s about 1.36 billion Windows PCs. So, guess what’s the number two end-user operating system in the world?

    • Netbook, Desktop and X Editions of Simplicity Linux 14.7 Alpha 1 Now Available

      “Simplicity Linux 14.7 Alpha is now available for download in Netbook, Desktop and X Editions. It is based on Precise Puppy and uses the excellent LXPup by SFS to provide LXDE as a desktop environment for Netbook and Desktop Editions. As usual, Netbook is our cut down version which focuses on web based applications rather than locally installed applications,” said the developer in the official announcement.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • June 2014 issue of The PCLinuxOS Magazine released

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the June 2014 issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Tails 1.1 Beta 1 Secure Distro Now Has Windows 8 Comouflage Mode

        Tails is a distribution based on Debian and Tor technologies that aims to keep its users as anonymous as possible. It gained a lot more visibility after Edward Snowden said that he used exactly this Linux distribution to hide his tracks. The developers are now implementing more changes and fixes that should ensure it becomes even more secure.

      • Siduction ‘Paintitblack’ LXQt Dev Release: Screenshots

        Earlier this month the Siduction team, which regularly updates snapshots based on Debian Unstable/Sid, released a development build showcasing the new LXQt desktop, the future of both the LXDE and the Razor-qt environments. Siduction have a bit of history here as they featured Razor-qt as a desktop early on and were probably the only distribution to ship a dedicated iso as part of their line-up throughout 2012 and 2013. Besides using KDE 4 for the main image Siduction have shown a great commitment to medium light and lower resource desktops.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • First Look Unreal Tournament, Tangiers Trailer, and Ubuntu Surface
          • Is Cinnamon a worthy replacement for Ubuntu Unity?

            If there’s one area of Linux that gets more scrutiny than any other, it’s the desktop. From every corner, the haters and detractors abound. Nearly every publication that offers any focus on the Linux desktop at some point posts a piece about getting rid of the default Ubuntu desktop. Cinnamon is one of the primary replacement contenders.

          • Unity Control Center for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Review

            Ubuntu developers are trying to shake some of its GNOME dependencies and they have been working towards this goal for quite some time. Ubuntu distributions have been using GNOME packages since the beginning, even before the adoption of Unity as the default desktop environment.

            Back when Ubuntu was still using GNOME 2.x to power its desktop, people were complaining about various problems, which in fact were not the fault of the Ubuntu developers. Some of the patches submitted by Ubuntu upstream, to the GNOME project were accepted either with delay or not at all. So, Canonical has decided to make Unity, a project it can control from one end to another.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Deepin’s Functionality Is a Bit Too Shallow

              The Deepin desktop design is snazzy yet simple to use. It is one of the first Linux distros to take advantage of HTML 5 technology.

              Add its home-grown applications such as the Deepin Software Center, Deepin Music Player and Deepin Media Player, and you get an operating system that is tailored to the average user.

              The Deepin Linux development team is based in China. The distro so far is available only in English and traditional or simplified Chinese. It is a very young distro that debuted a few years ago and cycled through just one or two full releases per year as it crawled through its alpha and beta stages.

              Deepin 2014 Beta is the latest version, released earlier this month to replace a version released last fall. This current release, based on screen shots displayed on the website for the previous version, substitutes the more traditional bottom panel bar with a docking bar that resembles the Mac OS X look.

              Read more

            • Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Is Now Available for Download

              The new Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and the first flavors released are Cinnamon and MATE, which is the norm for this kind of launches.

              It’s important to note right from the start that the ISOs for the two versions of Linux Mint 17 usually arrive before the official announcement, which is not too far off. Rest assured, these are the official images from the Linux Mint Team.

            • Download Linux Mint 17 final release ISO images
            • Linux Mint 17 Qiana release ISOs available for download

              The ISOs approved for Linux Mint 17 aka Qiana stable release are already uploaded and available for download. The release hasn’t been announced yet but here’s your chance to install and enjoy the latest version of the popular Ubuntu derivative! 32 and 64-bit versions of both the Cinnamon and MATE variants are available.

            • Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Is Now Available
            • Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” Cinnamon Officially Released
            • Linux Mint 17 MATE & Cinnamon Versions Officially Out
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Synology DS414j review – the future of NAS?

      When you buy a Synology product, you know what you’re getting yourself in to. The company’s designs rarely change between generations, beyond a few small tweaks and improvements to the internals, and its Linux-based DiskStation Manager operating system only ever improves with time. Its pricing, however, can leave it out of the reach of the budget-conscious buyer, especially when more than two drive bays are required.

    • Why Cisco joined the Linaro Digital Home Group
    • Linaro forms digital media group

      The Linaro Digital Home Group, or LHG, follows other working groups from Linaro, a not-for-profit company owned by ARM and many of its top licensees. Linaro develops standardized open source Linux and Android toolchain software for ARM-based devices. Previous groups have included the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG), the Linaro Networking Group (LNG), and most recently, the Security Working Group (SWG).

      As usual, the goal is provide standardized software and requirements for relevant upstream open source projects. In this case, Linaro defines digital home applications as media-centric devices including set-top boxes, televisions, media players, gaming, and home gateway devices. Home automation does not appear to be a central focus.

    • Phones

      • Ubuntu Phone OS vs. Mozilla Firefox OS

        Though it’s difficult to compare two operating systems that are targeted at different users, Mozilla’s Firefox OS still feels half-baked compared to what Ubuntu offers. While Canonical is focused on making a full-fledged mobile OS that goes head-to-head against Android and iOS, Firefox’s approach is towards making smartphones more affordable. Initial reviews of Firefox OS have been really underwhelming so it will take about a year for us to see both operating systems in the hands of its end users. Finally, it would be a great idea to wait till both operating systems get enough exposure and that would be somewhere around April 2015 where both Ubuntu and Firefox would have (hopefully) reached enough stability to be used on a broader scale.

      • Tizen Dev Conf 2014 open to student developers for free

        Good news for budding developers interested in mobile platforms and devices. The Tizen Developer Conference 2014 (hashtag #TDCSF14) due next week is offering free registration to student developers.

      • Pride and Prejudice: Smartphones

        Android/Linux smartphones are taking 80% of the market shipments while having an average selling price ~$70 less than those other operating systems, you know, on Blackberries and iPhones.

      • WebRTC voice and video now available on Firefox Nightly, but…

        WebRTC voice and video is now available on Firefox Nightly. That’s the latest news from the Mozilla Foundation and TokBox, the Web communications company that Mozilla Foundation is working with to bring us WebRTC voice and video in my favorite Web browser. To see how this actually works, I decided to download Firefox Nightly and install or run it on my systems.

      • Ballnux

        • Samsung’s original Galaxy Gear smartwatch drops Android for Tizen

          Samsung’s first generation of smartwatches is officially ditching Android. SamMobile reports that the original Galaxy Gear is being upgraded to Tizen, the operating system used on the newer Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo (but not the Gear Fit, yet another model released this spring.) Samsung has made a point of differentiating its software from stock Android — its various Android smartphones are loaded with design tweaks — but in this case, the main difference will be in added features; we and other reviewers found that the Tizen interface looked and operated very much like the Android one.

        • Samsung Continues to Convert Mobile Players to Tizen

          Samsung continues to welcome new players into the Tizen family. Its June 2 dev conference may coincide with Tizen smartphone news.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Teenager Killed His Parents Because They Took His iPod Away

    A Virginia tenth grader says he attacked and killed his parents because they were acting too parental, “taking away [his] iPod and stuff.”

    Vincent Parker, a 16-year-old honor roll student, was arrested after he randomly attacked and killed his parents last December.

  • Brother and sister kill their Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother during an EXORCISM by beating her to ‘force out demons’
  • Everyone Agrees They Don’t Know Why Teenager Committed Suicide, So Helpful Coroner Shouts Video Games

    They say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. When it comes to adults attempting to explain away inexplicable tragedy by scapegoating the younger generation’s entertainment du jour, that certainly seems to be the case. For our generation, of course, that means video games. We’ve seen it over and over again, from journalists jumping to blame violent games before they have any facts to back it up, to television personalities pretending there’s a proven link when there isn’t, to grandstanding politicians proposing constitution-violating sin-taxes on games just because.

  • Science

    • New Video: Neil deGrasse Tyson Destroys Climate Deniers

      For 11 episodes now, the groundbreaking Fox and National Geographic Channel series Cosmos has been exploring the universe, outraging creationists, and giving science teachers across the nation something to show in class every Monday. In the process, the show has been drawing more than 3 million viewers every Sunday night, a respectable number for a science-focused show that is, after all, a major departure from what prime-time audiences are used to.

      Cosmos certainly hasn’t shied from controversy; it has taken on evolution and industry-funded science denial, and it has been devoting an increasing amount of attention to the subject of climate change. And apparently that was just the beginning. This coming Sunday, Cosmos will devote an entire episode to the topic.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why Are Food Prices so High? Because We’re Eating Oil

      Anyone who buys their own groceries (as opposed to having a full-time cook handle such mundane chores) knows that the cost of basic foods keeps rising, despite the official claims that inflation is essentially near-zero.

    • Diets Make You Fatter—The Three Little Words that Really Help You Lose Weight

      “British girls have become the fattest in Europe” was this week’s brutal headline.

    • Synthetic biology products found in “green” laundry detergent

      Consumer products containing ingredients made using an advanced form of engineering known as synthetic biology are beginning to show up more often on grocery and department store shelves.

      A liquid laundry detergent made by Ecover, a Belgian company that makes “green” household products including the Method line, contains an oil produced by algae whose genetic code was altered using synthetic biology. The algae’s DNA sequence was changed in a lab, according to Tom Domen, the company’s manager for long-term innovation.

  • Security

    • Anonymous hacktivists plan massive attack on Brazilian World Cup sponsors – report

      Amid mass demos and violence over extravagant World Cup spending showing little promise of return for an impoverished Brazil, Anonymous hackers plan a mass hack attack on the Cup’s sponsors, a source told Reuters.

      High inflation and low business investment have hampered the government’s recent attempts to boost the economy ahead of the tournament. All this is happening as some of the country’s most pressing social and other problems have been neglected, with rampant poverty and destitution rife in large parts of the capital.

      People are up in arms, staging protest events for a number of reasons, the latest of which are centered on skepticism that the lavish spending on the World Cup will benefit them in any substantial way. This Friday, several simultaneous events blocked Rio de Janeiro’s main roads, paralyzing traffic.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Don’t sanitize the reality of war

      The only winners in war are those who produce the guns, bullets, drones, IEDs, and all the other gadgets to maim and kill.

    • White House press secretary Jay Carney leaving

      Jay Carney is stepping down as White House press secretary, President Barack Obama announced on Friday.

    • 6 Of Jay Carney’s Most Epic Clashes With Reporters

      When Jay Carney steps down as White House press secretary later this year, he will leave behind a trail of memorable clashes with reporters. Here are a few of them:

    • How Many Terrorists Are There: Not As Many As You Might Think

      Terrorism is a deadly, ever-present menace from which Americans should spare no expense or effort in protecting themselves. Or so our rulers claim.

    • The University & the Security State: DHS Joins Pentagon and CIA on Campus

      Most countries have special-purpose institutions of higher education to train military officers. The United States has 18 such colleges and universities, including federally funded ones such as West Point, state-funded ones such as The Citadel, and private ones such as Norwich University. What distinguishes the United States from all but a few other countries is the presence of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) at civilian colleges and universities.

      Created in 1916, ROTC is probably the most visible sign of U.S. military involvement on non-military colleges and universities, with its uniformed cadets and midshipmen and university credit for courses taught by military officers on “military science” and “leadership.” Army, Navy), or Air Force ROTC programs are present today on almost 500 campuses.

    • Obama accepts veterans affairs chief resignation with ‘regret’

      Obama said Sloan Gibson, deputy secretary of the VA, would take the helm on an acting basis while he looked “diligently” for a new permanent VA secretary. Gibson, an Army veteran and former banker, had joined the VA just three months ago after running the USO military service organization.

    • How Long Will Europe Pay Tribute to USA?

      France and the United States have exchanged statements on the Mistral ships contract with Moscow. Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf has said the United States is concerned about the deal and it believes that the time is wrong for selling the amphibious assault ships to the Russian Federation. The statements were made after French President Hollande confirmed that the deal signed in 2011 is in force to be completed in October. The $1, 2 billion Vladivostok is to join the Russian Navy in 2014 with Sevastopol, the second ship of the class, to be delivered in 2015.

    • Fmr Bush Counter-Terror Czar: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld All Committed War Crimes

      According to the nation’s former top counterterrorism official, former President George W. Bush, his Vice President Dick Cheney, and their Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had all committed war crimes during their tenure.

      Richard Clarke was Bush’s counterterrorism czar in 2001 and later became the president’s special advisor on cyberterror until he resigned in 2003 and became a vocal critic of the administration. In an interview with Democracy Now! this week, Clarke was asked by host Amy Goodman whether Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld could ever seriously face “war crimes” charges for the Iraq operation.

    • Exclusive: New document details America’s war machine — and secret mass of contractors in Afghanistan

      What is a huge army of private contractors secretly doing in Afghanistan? A leaked PowerPoint presentation explains

    • “Force Protection Alpha in Effect” –Coming To A Town Near You

      My arrest at Creech along with eight others on April 16 was a “return to the scene of the crime” (the Air Force’s crime, not mine) for me, as I was among the “Creech 14” in April 2009, the first nonviolent direct action against drones in the U.S. Creech was then one of only a few sites from which drones were controlled by the U.S. and by the United Kingdom, which has a wing of the Royal Air Force stationed there to fly their own drones. Since then the use of armed drones has been proliferating around the world and so has the number of drone operation bases in communities around the U.S. My work with Voices for Creative Nonviolence has brought me to the scenes of the crime in Afghanistan, the CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia and at the gates of drone bases in New York, Iowa, Missouri and in England as well.

    • US Drones hitting Civilian Homes, Killing non-Combatants

      Domestic buildings have been hit by drone strikes more than any other type of target in the CIA’s 10-year campaign in the tribal regions of northern Pakistan, new research reveals.

    • New Data: American Drones Killed Hundreds of Pakistani Civilians
    • Civilian Casualty Rates in CIA vs. DOD Drone Programs: Apples and Oranges
    • What the Drones Strike: Targets Attacked by CIA Drones in Pakistan – Most are Houses

      The Bureau is publishing, for the first time, data showing the types of targets that have been reportedly attacked by CIA drones in Pakistan.

      The research is a joint project by the Bureau, Forensic Architecture, a research unit based at Goldsmiths University, London, and Situ Research in New York. The data feeds this interactive website mapping the strikes, the types of target attacked, and their relative scale.

    • If Bush Is a War Criminal, Then So Are Truman, LBJ, Nixon and Obama

      Finally, although President Obama ended the use of torture, he continued the drone attacks started under Bush. A Stanford Law School reports states that “there is significant evidence that U.S. drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.” Many say they violate international law, especially since civilians are killed in countries that haven’t declared war upon the U.S. As for the decisions of presidents before Obama, the use of the atomic bombs, massive bombing campaigns in Vietnam, and chemical weapons like Agent Orange can easily be viewed as war crimes. If President Bush is deemed a war criminal, then the decisions of presidents before and after Bush should be evaluated in the same manner.

    • Aussies dead in drone strikes — and Brandis does not care
    • US Will Still Use Drone Strikes: Barack Obama

      President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he will continue to “take direct action” by ordering drone strikes and capture operations against suspected terrorists “when necessary to protect ourselves.”

      In a speech outlining a foreign policy framework that stresses cooperation with allies, Obama said there still would be times when the U.S. must go it alone. He restated a policy he disclosed last May, however, that no drone strike should occur unless there is “a near certainty” that no civilians will be harmed.

    • A(nother) Procedural Roadblock for Drone Casualty Reporting Requirements

      By way of brief background for the unfamiliar, at the most basic level (but with varying degrees of specificity), each proposal would require the President to release a public report on the number of civilian and combatant casualties killed in U.S. drone strikes (for earlier discussions on the substance of the proposals, see e.g., here and here). Back in November, the House and Senate intelligence committees debated including a similar reporting requirement in the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2014. The SSCI-approved version of the bill included the provisions; whereas, HPSCI rejected a Schiff-sponsored amendment to include the reporting requirements in the House version. Ultimately, however, the proposal was never enacted.

    • US Global Hawk Drones Given Access To British Airspace
    • Despite promise, US govt moves to classify justification for drone killing of American
    • U.S. Seeks to Censor More of Memo That Approved Drone Strike on American
    • Feds Want to Censor More of the Drone Memo
    • US gov’t wants to withhold crucial information on Yemen drone strike
    • US appeals court rebuffs govt try for secrecy

      A New York federal appeals court has rejected the government’s request to reargue in secret its order that it reveal a classified memo describing legal justifications for using drones to kill U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism overseas.

    • Inside the Ring: Memo outlines Obama’s plan to use the military against citizens
    • Obama Unveils His “Don’t Do Stupid Sh*t” Doctrine At West Point
    • ‘Boss’ bumper sticker for a true Chicagoan
    • Is ‘Obama: Like a Boss’ bumper sticker completely wrong?
    • Obama Administration Desperate to Censor Assassination Memo

      After announcing it would comply with a federal court order, the Obama administration has decided that it wants to conceal more portions of a controversial memo authorizing the assassination of Americans overseas.

      Last week, officials with the U.S. Department of Justice said they would make public parts of the internal document written in July 2010 by then-federal lawyer David Barron that justified the use of drones or other means to kill U.S. citizens accused of terrorist involvement.

      The declaration came as the U.S. Senate was considering Barron’s confirmation as a judicial appointee to the First Circuit Court of Appeals—a move that helped convince at least one Democratic senator, Mark Udall of Colorado, to support the nomination.

    • Drone memo author should be in jail

      Conservatives say, and this is one of their more successful memes, that poor people are immoral. The proles have sex and kids out of wedlock and expect us (i.e., upstanding middle- and upper-class patriots) to pay for them. They steal Medicare and cheat on welfare. They don’t follow The Rules (rules written by, let’s just say, not them). Which makes them Bad.

    • Obama’s Vacuous West Point Foreign Policy Speech

      In his May 28 West Point speech on foreign policy President Obama took a swipe at “so-called realists.” But the acolytes of this particular school of thought will by and large be satisfied with his manifesto. The most scathing attacks on Obama’s foreign policy have come from neo-conservatives such as Robert Kagan. They are the ones who will pounce on the Mr. Obama’s latest address, and indeed have already done so.

      The West Point lecture was classic Obama: the president was calm and reasonable. And he took an in-between Goldilocks stance designed to differentiate him from the extremes. The latter he characterized simplistically to supplement the rhetorical force, if not the persuasiveness, of his case.

    • As Obama sets agenda at West Point, anti-drone protesters rally

      About two dozen anti-drone protesters greeted those entering the United States Military Academy Wednesday, piggybacking their message onto the fanfare of graduating cadets and a visit by President Barack Obama.

    • New data shows drones killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians

      Some light has been shed on how the drone program works; in October 2013, the Washington Post revealed how the NSA is also involved in the targeted killing program. And early in 2014, The Intercept published more details about how “controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies” used by the NSA for its surveillance programs are also used to identify drone targets.

    • The Blair-Bush notes

      It isn’t just John Major who is unhappy that transcripts and full notes of conversations between Tony Blair and George W Bush about the lead-up to the Iraq war will remain secret. The entire world needs details of conversations between Blair and Bush about the 2003 war, but instead the Chilcot inquiry will only get the gist of the talks. For a war which killed 655,000 Iraqis and over one million in total, and for a reason never proven, it cannot be just the former British prime minister who is troubled by the lack of information and transparency.

    • Liverpool journalist channels Iraq War anger into debut novel

      IT’S ABOUT as eye-catching a blurb as you could hope for on an Iraq war thriller – an endorsement from embattled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange himself.

    • Full-steam ahead for a whitewash of Tony Blair’s Iraq lies as Chilcot surrenders

      Chilcot has surrendered in a “bad, bad day for democracy and justice. The establishment of this country, and the security and intelligence services have won again. Truth has lost out.”

    • Welcome to the warped but wonderful world of ex-PM Tony Blair

      Many believe Blair should be put on trial for his role in taking us to what looks like an increasingly illegal war in Iraq. I would try him for allowing the country to be swamped with millions of new arrivals as, and this fact is absolutely vital to remember, it was not fair to anyone; not those who were already here, those who arrived or those who came along subsequently.

      Communities felt they lost their identities, schools were filled to the point that giant cabins were quickly rushed into playgrounds to fit in all the children, many of whom could speak no English, and resentment quickly grew.

    • Crediting Obama for Bringing Troops Home–Without Noting He Sent Them Abroad

      In reality, current US troop levels–about 32,000–are actually about what they were when Obama took office (Think Progress, 6/22/11). A graph that accompanied an NPR story (6/29/11) shows this pretty clearly.

      Late last year the New York Times offered similarly misleading spin (FAIR Blog, 11/25/13), reporting that Obama “has reduced the forces in Afghanistan from about 100,000 in 2010 to about 47,000 today.” That’s technically true, but ignores the fact that the troop levels had only gotten that high as a result of Obama’s policy of massive escalation.

    • Is Iran’s Missing General, Ali Reza Asgari, Living in the United States?

      He was said to be a key player in the Beirut embassy bombing in 1983 and in the founding of Hezbollah—until he disappeared in 2007. Now a new book claims he’s under CIA protection.

    • Benghazi ‘‍cover-up’ being ignored, reader contends

      Reader Peter Smith is none too happy with this newspaper.

      As he wrote to me: “I could see The Blade shirking and hiding initially from its duty of reporting to the citizenry about the tragedy when the news first broke, due to the lack of ‘factual evidence…’

      “But now the facts are out! I know it and you know it too … time to step up and report first-hand all the facts about this tragedy and all the ramifications coming out of it, including the cover-up.”

    • US sends assault ship with 1,000 Marines to Libyan coast
    • Op-Ed: Hifter again attacks Islamists as Libyan protesters show support
    • The man at the center of the chaos in Libya: Khalifa Haftar
    • Syrian rebels say they are already being trained by the CIA

      The issue of giving aid to the Syrian rebels has been widely debated with some concerned that weapons and training will end up in the hands of Islamists who have embedded themselves among the opposition.

    • Syrian rebels say they are being trained by the CIA
    • Guatemala: The coup that radicalised Che Guevara

      Sixty years ago, in June 1954, a CIA-orchestrated coup ousted the reformist Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. The coup installed a brutal right-wing regime and decades of bloody repression.

    • Obama’s ProtoWar Against Russia and China

      Russia and China are both under attack by a multi-pronged U.S.-led ‘proto-war’ which could erupt into ‘hot war’ or even nuclear war. ‘Protowar’ or ‘proto-warfare’ is the term I have coined to describe the use of multiple methods intended to weaken, destabilize, and in the limit-case destroy a targeted government without the need to engage in direct military warfare.

    • What Are Polish Death Squads Fighting For in Ukraine?

      On May 11 a plane arrived at Kiev’s airport in strict secrecy; it was met by the airport’s military personnel rather than the civilian staff. NATO military uniforms, 500 packages of amphetamines, and containers marked as poisonous substances were unloaded from the plane. By order of the Kiev directorate of the SBU, the fighters, the cargo and the containers of poison were not inspected and left the airport in cars with tinted windows. The cargo was accompanied by CIA agent Richard Michael. Aboard the plane were also fighters from the Right Sector and the Polish private military company ASBS (Analizy Systemowe Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz) Othago, created several years ago by Poland’s current Minister of the Interior, B. Sienkiewicz.

    • Premature US Victory-Dancing on Ukraine

      Washington’s role in the coup d’etat in Kiev on Feb. 22 has brought the U.S. a Pyrrhic victory…

    • Squat demolition called off after four nights of rioting in Barcelona

      City attempt to reach peaceful agreement over fate of squatters’ civic centre after fourth night of violent clashes in Catalan capital

    • Meet Directive 3025.18 Granting Obama Authority To Use Military Force Against Civilians

      While the “use of armed [unmanned aircraft systems] is not authorized,” The Washington Times uncovering of a 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities details what critics say is a troubling policy that envisions the Obama administration’s potential use of military force against Americans. As one defense official proclaimed, “this appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens.” Meet Directive 3025.18 and all its “quelling civil disturbances” totalitarianism…

    • Sleeping toddler burned during SWAT raid
    • SWAT team throws concussion grenade into baby playpen during no-knock raid

      A SWAT crashed through a family’s door in the middle of the night and threw a concussion grenade into a baby’s playpen. A 19-month-old baby was horribly disfigured when it exploded in his face. [Graphic]

      Alecia Phonesavanh and her family were staying at a friend’s house after their home had been lost in a fire. The makeshift living arrangements left their 19-month-old baby boy sleeping in a playpen in a shared room. Things were going OK until the local government decided to send paramilitary home invaders to unleash indiscriminate violence upon the home and anyone inside.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • ‘The disgraced oligarch’: WikiLeaks cables reveal changing US views on Poroshenko

      The US was among the first states to congratulate Ukraine’s president-elect Petro Poroshenko. Yet real US opinions of the new president are more complicated, as revealed by WikiLeaks cables which refer to the billionaire as a “disgraced oligarch.”

      For years, the US was keeping an eye on the Ukrainian billionaire and former foreign minister. Between 2006 and 2011, Poroshenko’s name was a direct or indirect subject of hundreds of cables released by WikiLeaks.

      A simple search for ”Poroshenko” on WikiLeaks’ website gives at least 350 documents mentioning his name. But some of the descriptions provided by US diplomats are far from complimentary.

    • Thousands of journalists withhold a mistakenly released CIA agent name

      Last Saturday, the White House accidentally revealed the identity of the CIA’s most senior operative in Kabul by accidentally including his name on a list of officials participating in President Obama’s surprise visit to US troops in Afghanistan. Though it was disbursed to more than 6,000 journalists, all indications suggest that every outlet has complied with the government’s request to refrain from publishing the name.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Action Alert: Ann Coulter as CNN’s Climate Change Expert

      FAIR’s latest Action Alert (5/28/14) urges media activists to call out CNN for basing a climate change report around one guest: right-wing climate change denier Ann Coulter. If you write to CNN, please share a copy of your message in the comments below.

    • CNN’s Climate Expert: Ann Coulter?!
    • US Plans to Speed Poultry Slaughtering, Cut Inspections

      The U.S. government is in the final stages of weighing approval for an overhaul of regulations governing the country’s poultry industry that would see processing speeds increase substantially even while responsibility for oversight would be largely given over to plant employees.

    • The “Pugilistic” Way The Koch Brothers Handle The Media

      The author of Sons of Wichita, the new biography of the Koch brothers, never got the interviews he wanted with the archconservative billionaires. But he says the family nonetheless kept a close eye on his research, deploying the “very aggressive P.R. operation” they have used for years to silence media criticism.

    • ‘A Government Of Thugs’: How Canada Treats Environmental Journalists

      I attempted to enter Canada on a Tuesday, flying into the small airport at Fort McMurray, Alberta, waiting for my turn to pass through customs.

      “What brings you to Fort Mac?” a Canada Border Services Agency official asked. “I’m a journalist,” I said. “I’m here to see the tar sands.” He pointed me to border security. Another official, a tall, clean-shaven man, asked the same question. “I’m here to see the tar sands.” he frowned. “You mean oil sands. We don’t have tar here.”

  • Finance

    • Bilderberg 2014: In the Court of Good King Henry

      The bankers, intelligence chiefs and private military strategists are the dukes, energy and arms firms the barons.

    • Seven Finns participate in Bilderberg meeting

      The list of participants for the 62nd Bilderberg meeting that began in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Thursday includes seven Finns. The annual meeting is an exclusive forum for the political and financial elite of the world to engage in informal, off-the-record discussions on a variety of global issues.

    • ​Bilderberg actually talks nukes, euro nationalism and… Barack Obama – leak

      The officially released agenda of the prestigious Bilderberg club meeting is not true, claims RT show host Daniel Estulin, a longtime watcher of the ‘secret world govt’ group. He says he obtained the real agenda for this year’s gathering in Copenhagen.

    • Thomas Piketty accuses Financial Times of dishonest criticism

      Thomas Piketty has accused the Financial Times of ridiculous and dishonest criticism of his economics book on inequality, which has become a publishing sensation.

      The French economist, whose 577-page tome Capital in the Twenty-First Century has become an unlikely must-read for business leaders and politicians alike, said it was ridiculous to suggest that his central thesis on rising inequality was incorrect.

      The controversy blew up when the FT accused Piketty of errors in transcribing numbers, as well as cherry-picking data or not using original sources.

    • Threat of tenant evictions at highest level in more than 10 years

      Bedroom tax and housing list squeeze blamed for landlord repossession orders topping 47,000 in three months

    • Moyers: 10 Disgustingly Rich Companies That Will Do Anything To Avoid Paying Taxes

      This week, Bill speaks to Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, who argues that we must reform the tax code and stop subsidizing tax dodgers. A recent report by Americans for Tax Fairness suggests that corporate taxes are near a 60-year low — and that’s partially because corporations have become adept at not paying their share.

      Here’s a list of 10 tax-dodging corporations excerpted from the Americans for Tax Fairness report.

    • Argentinian Central Bank is Afraid of Bitcoin

      Yet another of the world’s central banks has publicly “warned” citizens of Bitcoin. The Argentinian Central Bank has posted a statement about Bitcoin on their official website, warning of the lack of legal tender status, volatility, and Bitcoin’s use in fraudulent activities and money laundering.

    • Savage capitalism is back – and it will not tame itself

      Back in the 90s, I used to get into arguments with Russian friends about capitalism. This was a time when most young eastern European intellectuals were avidly embracing everything associated with that particular economic system, even as the proletarian masses of their countries remained deeply suspicious. Whenever I’d remark on some criminal excess of the oligarchs and crooked politicians who were privatising their countries into their own pockets, they would simply shrug.

    • Proof that Corporate Tax Cuts Have Done More Harm Than Good

      The percentage of taxes that corporations pay today are near the record lows of the United States’ total tax bill, even though these corporations are bringing in huge profits. Although this is happening, the unemployment rate still remains high. A study completed by the Center for Effective Government and National People’s Action shows the damage done by having corporations pay low taxes and the effect on state budgets. The study shows that a small increase in the amount of taxes large corporations pay will have positive effects such as restoring cuts in education and public services, and could possibly restore over three million jobs. As federal aid was declined to state budgets more and more, many states have cut back on taxes claiming that doing so would benefit their economy and create jobs. One example of this was a tax exemption on corporate profits passed directly to individual owners in the state of Kansas. This kept Kansas in a recession. Hard working employees were stuck with paying the taxes that corporations got out of paying. Corporations get out of paying taxes in loopholes such as offshore tax havens, the “executive pay loophole” that allows corporations to deduct performance bonuses from their tax receipts, and the “stock-based pay loophole” that allows companies to deduct billions from their tax bill. People can see that cutting the taxes of corporations is not helping the economy in any state. It is not helping form jobs, and Americans agree it needs to be stopped.

    • More Proof Corporate Tax Cuts Have Done More Harm Than Good

      The taxes paid by corporations today are near record lows as a percentage of the United States’ total tax bill, even as they are recording massive profits. Yet the unemployment rate is still high. However, if we turned back the clock on corporate tax rates and returned to Nixon-era levels and closed loopholes, millions of American jobs would be created, according to The Disappearing Corporate Tax Base, a new report released today.

    • Could 932,367 Secessionists Be Right About Dying America?
    • More disabled workers paid just pennies an hour

      A national charity whose executives earn six-figure salaries used a legal loophole to pay disabled workers as little as three and four cents an hour, according to documents obtained exclusively by NBC News.

      An NBC News investigation recently revealed that Goodwill Industries, which is among the non-profit groups permitted to pay disabled workers far less than minimum wage because of a federal law known as Section 14 (c), had paid workers as little as 22 cents an hour.

    • Digging up the Dirt on Canadian Mining in Latin America
  • Censorship

    • MPAA: The Last Bastion of Censorship in America

      The MPAA was formed initially in 1922 under the moniker Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. It was created in order to give films at the time a set of standards by which filmmakers would use as a list to make sure that movies wouldn’t depict excessive violence, sexuality or other practices deemed immoral. It was later changed to the Motion Picture Association of America and placed under the direction of Jack Valenti in the mid ‘60s.

    • In Cuba, technology may beat censorship
    • The New York Times and freedom of the press

      An extraordinary commentary published in the New York Times Book Review — posted online May 22, scheduled for print publication June 8 — asserts that the US government must be the final decision-maker on whether leaked information about government wrongdoing should be published by the press.

      This anti-democratic screed, worthy of any police state, is written by Michael Kinsley, a longtime fixture of the punditry establishment and the former co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire” program. His commentary takes the form of a review of Glenn Greenwald’s new book No Place to Hide on the Edward Snowden revelations about illegal mass surveillance by the National Security Agency.

      Kinsley ridicules Greenwald’s claim that blanket NSA surveillance of electronic communications is a threat to the democratic rights of the American people, and that Snowden was justified in exposing government criminality by leaking documents to Greenwald and other journalists for eventual publication in the Guardian (US) and the Washington Post.

    • Wikipedia founder: Google EU ruling ‘won’t work’
    • Google faces up to image problem in Europe
    • Germany Mulls Arbitration for Web ‘Right to Be Forgotten’

      The German government is considering setting up arbitration courts to weigh in on what information people can force Google Inc. (GOOG) and other search-engine providers to remove from results.

    • Twitter Has Quietly Learned To Censor And Ban Its Users When Governments Ask

      Twitter has a reputation as an open platform for expressing one’s opinions. It’s become a place for dissent and debate. It played a key role in the “Arab Spring” revolutions of the last couple of years.

      But last week, it agreed to censor a pro-Ukrainian Twitter feed in Russia. It also blocked a “blasphemous” account in Pakistan. It’s not the first time Twitter has censored politically sensitive accounts. Now, it seems, Twitter’s reputation as a platform for free speech is at risk.

    • Michael Bloomberg Compares Ivy League ‘Censorship’ to Soviet Russia in Harvard Speech
    • Michael Bloomberg Blasts Ivy League For Liberal ‘Censorship’
    • Cambodia’s Draft Law Turns Free Speech into Cybercrime

      Historically, Cambodia has been fairly lax in enacting legislation that stifles freedom of expression online—unlike its neighbors of Vietnam and Thailand— but with more Cambodian citizens gaining access to the Internet, the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has attempted to control dissenting views and “immoral actions” online through the drafting of a cybercrime law. A leaked copy of the legislation, which was initially drafted in 2012, revealed some serious threats to fundamental freedoms by making certain speech and other actions online punishable by fine and prison time.

    • “I Can Feel Total Censorship in the Air”: Internet Freedom Evaporates in Thailand
    • Google accepting censorship requests

      Google is accepting requests from Europeans who want to erase unflattering information from the results produced by the world’s dominant search engine.

      The demands can be submitted on a Web page Google opened late Thursday in response to a landmark ruling issued two weeks ago by Europe’s highest court.

    • Google accepting ‘right to be forgotten’ requests in Europe
  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • MakerBot Files For Patent On A Design Derived From Work By Its Community

      MakerBot is one of the key companies in the low-cost 3D printing market. It was founded in 2009 and based its first model on the completely open RepRap design. However, in 2012, MakerBot moved away from its open source roots, claiming that it needed to make this shift in order to build a long-term business:

      We are going to be as open as we possibly can while building a sustainable business. We are going to continue to respect licenses and continue to contribute to the open technology of 3D printing, some of which we initiated. We don’t want to abuse the goodwill and support of our community. We love what we do, we love sharing, and we love what our community creates.

    • Makerbot blatantly steals and patents a community design.

      In a stunning display of madness, makerbot industries files a patent application on a mechanism clearly derived from content created by their users. What’s almost worse is the article they wrote praising the invention, presumably while they were filing the paperwork.

    • Success Of Fringe Parties In European Parliament Raises New Obstacle To TAFTA/TTIP’s Progress

      As Techdirt has been charting, the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations have already encountered far more resistance than was expected when they began last year. This has mostly centered around the controversial corporate sovereignty provisions, but there are also more general concerns about things like deregulation — for example, through a new regulatory council. As well as pushback from expected quarters — civil organizations and NGOs (pdf) — even some European governments are expressing their doubts. And following last week’s elections for the European Parliament, a new obstacle to concluding the agreement has been added: an increased number of European politicians (MEPs) that are skeptical about pan-European projects in general, and TAFTA/TTIP.

    • Copyrights

      • Labels Decide Not To Appeal Spanish Court Ruling That Found P2P File Sharing Software Perfectly Legal

        In April, we wrote about an important court ruling in Spain that found that Pablo Soto’s P2P file sharing software, Blubster, was “perfectly legal”, because the software was “neutral” and a part of “free enterprise within the framework of a market economy.” In that post, we went through the entire history of earlier court rulings that had similarly suggested that file sharing software shouldn’t be blamed for how people used it, and the US’s aggressive pressure that forced Spain to pass multiple new copyright laws to try to reverse such rulings. All of that appeared to be for nothing, as the courts still recognized the silliness of blaming software for how people use it.

      • RESPECT Act Should Be HYPOCRISY Act After How Often Labels Screwed Over Artists

        Yesterday, the music labels, under the guise of RIAA spinoff SoundExchange, along with Congressional Reps. George Holding and John Conyers, announced some new legislation and a coordinated PR campaign for what they’re calling “Project72.” The official name of the bill is the “Respecting Senior Performers as Essential Cultural Treasures Act” or the RESPECT Act. There is so much hypocrisy and ridiculousness here that it’s difficult to know where to start. However, in short, the labels fought hard to keep the situation the way it is today, and a very large number of the musicians the RIAA rolled out in “support” of this new law — claiming they just want to get paid by music streaming services — are musicians who got totally screwed over by RIAA labels in the past. How about a little “respect”?

05.31.14

TrueCrypt Too Proprietary to be Secure and Corporate Media Should Stop Blaming Free/Open Source Software (FOSS)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Security at 4:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TrueCrypt was never worth trusting in the first place

Telecommunication

Summary: Analysis of the whole TrueCrypt fiasco and response to the blaming of FOSS (where the licences are clearly not FOSS)

PROPRIETARY software should be assumed insecure by design, as it often contains back doors and one simply cannot prove otherwise. Based on experience alone, a lot of proprietary software comes with back doors, sometimes accidentally but not always. A lot has been written about this before, both here and elsewhere, so we are not going to write so much on this subject. Instead we wish to focus on the news that TrueCrypt development is moving to Switzerland (the first article we found about this is [1] and there is also some analysis [2]). The PATRIOT Act comes to mind and also the experiences of secure mail services in the United States, including Edward Snowden’s E-mail provider. When Groklaw shut down, citing concerns over NSA spying, it recommended that people adopt Kolab, which is based in Switzerland. It should be emphasised that Switzerland harbours privacy not because of humanitarian interests but because of national interests. For domestic prosperity it facilitates international crime (tax evasion from all nations) and wishes to guard the criminals.

The problems with TrueCrypt are not new to us; I very much predicted what the news insinuates and I had received flack for saying so. TrueCrypt has been thoroughly and even successfully openwashed based on some odd kind of marketing angle; those close to the project know better how it works and if an audit which is not transparent is needed for TrueCrypt, then we should quickly realise that the build process and some components are wrapped in a riddle/mystery. The very core of the problem, including its build process, are very crucial. The announcement from TrueCrypt was as vague — not transparent — as the project itself.

Now it is widely known that TrueCrypt gave an illusion of privacy, which is in many ways worse than having no privacy at all because there is impact on users’ behaviour. We may never know how many people have gone to jail or were killed because of TrueCrypt’s false promise.

FOSS-hostile sites try to spin that as an issue with FOSS even though it’s not FOSS. One source states: “The abrupt announcement that the widely used, anonymously authored disk-encryption tool Truecrypt is insecure and will no longer be maintained shocked the crypto world–after all, this was the tool Edward Snowden himself lectured on at a Cryptoparty in Hawai’i.”

Snowden uses Debian GNU/Linux (Tails) and the main reporter he worked with, Glenn Greenwald, only recently dumped Microsoft Windows and moved to GNU/Linux.

There has been a lot more coverage about it [1, 2], including the usual scaremongering by Mr. Goodin, who wrote about it not once but twice, saying: “One of the official webpages for the widely used TrueCrypt encryption program says that development has abruptly ended and warns users of the decade-old tool that it isn’t safe to use.”

Goodin’s colleague wrote about it as well. They are really milking this cow and the best known CIA-linked news site asked: “Is this the end of popular encryption tool TrueCrypt?”

The plutocrats’ press, Forbes, called it “Open Source” (in the headline), so it can’t even get its basic facts right:

Over the past 24 hours the website for TrueCrypt (a very widely used encryption solution) was updated with a rather unusually styled message stating that TrueCrypt is “considered harmful” and should not be used. If you have not come across TrueCrypt and why it has become so popular see the below section ‘why do people use TrueCrypt’.

Better coverage came from the expected sources, not playing to the tune of FOSS smears (TrueCrypt is proprietary).

Knowing that Microsoft is an NSA partner, Gordon in our IRC channels felt baffled because TrueCrypt is “now recommending bitlocker for windows”, to which Ryan replied: “Proprietary encryption from Microsoft that was designed in partnership with the NSA…”

Microsoft is talking to British police about encryption. When I wrote about this nearly a decade ago Microsoft staff were using personal insults against me, only later (much later) to realise that I was right. Sean Michael Kerner calls TrueCrypt “Open-Source” (with a dash) when he writes: “The other challenge facing TrueCrypt is the simple fact that there are many other disk-encryption technologies now available. On Microsoft’s Windows operating system in particular, which was a key target platform for TrueCrypt, versions of Windows after Windows XP include support for Bitlocker, which performs a similar function. In addition, there are multiple file-encryption technologies available, including, FileVault for Mac, DiskCryptor for Windows and Luks for Linux.”

Proprietary operating systems are not compatible with encryption for the same reason that proprietary hypervisors are not. If the NSA can infiltrate the lower layer (e.g. VM host, OS, BIOS) through back doors, then the rest (what’s above) is almost automatically compromised. No sane developer would recommend anything that’s proprietary for security and privacy. Don’t forget Microsoft's COFEE and CIPAV. Microsoft is very much in bed with spooks and police. Microsoft is an informant without conciousness. Privacy in Windows is not a goal; the contrary is true. One Linux/BSD site thinks that TrueCrypt is now “dead” and there is the following statement about the software licence:

Based on the wording of its license, there was always a question mark surrounding the open source-ness of Truecrypt. But that’s not the topic of this brief article. What prompted me to write this is an article that appeared in the Washington Post suggesting that TrueCrypt may have seen its last days as an (“open source”) software project.

Just remember that TrueCrypt is not FOSS.

There is another project whose software licence was blamed for lack of participation and oversight. The OSI’s President blamed the licence. That project was OpenSSL, which is now scrambling to get some more money. The Economist makes FUD out of it while other sites take a more objective approach [4-15]. Remember this: if the project is not quite as open or free as it wants people to believe, then it might not be worth trusting. We never trusted TrueCrypt.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. TrueCrypt Not Dead, Forked and Relocated to Switzerland

    The development of TrueCrypt, an open source piece of software used for on-the-fly encryption, has been terminated and users have been advised not to use it because it is not secure enough. Now, it seems that another team of developers have forked the software and rebased it in Switzerland.

  2. Death (?) And Rebirth!
  3. TrueCrypt, An Open-Source Whole-Disk Encryption System, Leaves Users High And Dry
  4. Tough Love for the Encryption Software That Was Compromised by Heartbleed
  5. CII announces 2 full-time devs and a security audit for OpenSSL
  6. Heartbleed: Linux Foundation hires dynamic duo to fix OpenSSL
  7. Linux Foundation throws money at OpenSSL staffing post-Heartbleed
  8. The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative Announces New Backers, First Projects to Receive Support and Advisory Board Members

    The Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), a project hosted by The Linux Foundation that enables technology companies, industry stakeholders and esteemed developers to collaboratively identify and fund open source projects that are in need of assistance, today announced five new backers, the first projects to receive funding from the Initiative and the Advisory Board members who will help identify critical infrastructure projects most in need of support.

  9. The Linux Foundation Assigns Two Full-Time Developers to Work on OpenSSL
  10. LF Announces New Backers, Projects For Core Infrastructure
  11. Linux Foundation adds more Internet protocols to its protection list
  12. Everyone uses OpenSSL, but nobody’s willing to fix it — except the Linux Foundation
  13. Linux Foundation flings two full-time developers at OpenSSL

    The Linux Foundation’s new elite tech repair team has named its initial areas of focus as it works to find and seal holes in widely-used open source software.

    The Linux Foundation announced on Thursday that members of the “Core Infrastructure Initiative” (CII) will dedicate resources to working on the Network Time Protocol, OpenSSH, and OpenSSL to hunt down and fix flaws in the tech that helps tie the internet together.

    “All software development requires support and funding. Open source software is no exception and warrants a level of support on par with the dominant role it plays supporting today’s global information infrastructure,” said Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation.

  14. Corporations put their cash where their open source security is

    OpenSSL and Open Crypto Audit Project are the first open source projects to receive funding from the Core Infrastructure Initiative.

  15. The Linux Foundation Draws Backers and Funds to Tackle Tech Problems

Manufacturing Propaganda in Microsoft-funded Circles to Belittle FOSS and Magnify Microsoft

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Some timely examples of facts being abandoned and an alternative reality being introduced by Microsoft-funded firms and lobbyists

FOR nearly 8 years we have focused on tackling FUD and showing where the FUD came from. Public perceptions and truths (objective facts) are an abyss apart when massive PR agencies do what they’re paid to do, which is to screw with public perceptions and drive the population further away from the truth (for a profit).

In Microsoft’s parallel universe, only the desktop counts and GNU/Linux is still somewhat of an underdog with 1% market share. Microsoft relies on corruptible voices to spread such myths and it is improperly counting share in other areas, not just on desktops/laptops.

Charlie Demerjian, whom Microsoft tried to corrupt with some freebies (he declined), has published this long article titled “Microsoft is now irrelevant to computing, and they want you to know it” (highly recommended read).

To quote one portion: “With two major cave-ins in the past few weeks, Microsoft is screaming at the top of its lungs about how irrelevant it is. If you didn’t understand the fall of Microsoft from powerful monopolist to computing afterthought, let SemiAccurate explain it to you.

“For the past few decades, Microsoft has been a monopoly with one game plan, leverage what they have to exclude competition. If someone had a good idea, Microsoft would come out with a barely functional copy, give it away, and shut out the income stream of the innovator. Novell, Netscape, Pen, and countless others were crushed by this one dirty trick, and the hardware world bowed to Redmond’s whims.”

Here is more: “Competition was likewise non-existent, anyone that tried was shut out of new PCs, shut out of interoperability, had revenues devastated by free offerings from Microsoft, and many other similar monopoly games. Microsoft was the proverbial fat and lazy behemoth that was quite content to count their money and turn screws on customers whenever they needed more. If you doubt the seriousness of this stagnation, ask yourself what the last innovation Microsoft came up with was, not evolution but true innovation. I can’t think of any either.”

Here is the part about GNU/Linux: “Similarly with Linux, Microsoft just made sure that no OEM could bundle it with PCs, any that tried paid a high price. It was shut out. On the datacenter side however, Microsoft couldn’t force bundle Windows Server, customers put their own software on. For some strange reason, most large datacenters balk at paying $2000+ per two sockets for something that is vastly inferior to manage, slower, more resource hungry, and completely insecure versus the free alternative.

“Microsoft’s server market share went from 66%+ of sockets to less than 30% in five years, mostly due to datacenters and consolidation. Please don’t look for this to be reflected in the numbers from the big consulting houses, they are too afraid of revenue loss to count sockets. Instead they use the metrics that their customers want them to use, and only count sales of servers from certain vendors and sold OSes, a small fraction of the market. Microsoft didn’t just lose the server market, they were blown out of the water and have no way to recover. Other than internal services, Microsoft is just not relevant in the cloud. If you doubt this, go price a server instance from Rackspace, keep hardware constant and only vary the OS. Game over.”

Demerjian is alluding right there at the start to Gartner and IDC, two firms that create an illusion that Microsoft is relevant on servers (in top Web servers Microsoft is at around 9% and in HPC Microsoft is hardly even at 1%).

Then come mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) which basically count as computers quite comparable to laptops. Demerjian writes: “That said most people didn’t grasp how badly Microsoft had fallen, they were totally irrelevant and had no more monopoly to leverage. This played out with the Windows 8 launch, Microsoft was desperately trying to stay relevant in mobile by forcing the entire computing ecosystem to adopt their new mobile OS. In theory this would lead to software being leveraged across platforms, and between Office and Exchange, they could force people to use Microsoft mobile products.

“A funny thing happened though, an entire generation of users didn’t want to give up their beloved iPhones or Android devices for an inferior, slower, more expensive, app-free Microsoft device. Microsoft repeated their threat loudly, “Use our mobile OS or you won’t get Office or Exchange on your phone!” To their abject horror the response was almost universally, “OK, bye”.”

Microsoft is now attempting to fight Linux domination in mobile devices by taxing them. Mike Masnick becomes an accidental victim of spin and deception from Microsoft lobbyist Florian Müller, spreading another myth by naming only potential costs and making it look like patents add up to $120 on a phone. It’s a shame that Masnick fell for it. Everyone knows that many phones cost far less than $120 and the nature of this warped analysis seeks to ‘normalise’ patent extortion against the likes of Android/Linux. There is agenda there. Hopefully Masnick will recognise this error because other than that he has done great work exposing Microsoft trolls like Intellectual Ventures that still do evil every month (usually via proxies). Masnick has also covered the sham of a ‘reform’ against patent trolls, which did not happen because trolls like Intellectual Ventures lobbied Congress for years and are still doing everything to keep this broken system of endless scope in place.

In order to artificially make Android more expensive Microsoft has been passing patents to patent trolls such as MOSAID. This is how Microsoft ‘competes’. Microsoft wants taxes on phones to be seen as ‘normal’, or a status quo.

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