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The EPO is Becoming More Like the USPTO Under Benoît Battistelli’s Greed-Driven Reign

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Large corporations increasingly cast their shadow over European society

Building in birmingham

Summary: Recent articles about the EPO and the Unitary Patent are bundled together to highlight truly disturbing developments whereby those in power beget power through instruments of state-sanctioned power, such as the EPO (stateless entity within a continent-wide ‘island’)

OUR coverage of the EPO-targeting French article will hopefully lead to an English translation pretty soon (more suicides inside the EPO), but in the mean time we wish to take stock of recent European-centic patents-related developments which we have not found the time to properly cover (at least not yet). We will separate and partition this post, then set some headlines to help digestion of the important news.

Unitary Patent

Techrights has written about the Unitary Patent for quite a few years, even before it was called or referred to as “Unitary Patent”. In a series titled “UPC Mock Trial” [1, 2] (Unitary Patent Court is UPC) IP Kat provides some interesting information. Since a lot of this stuff is discussed behind closed doors (like TPP and other globalisation treaties) it has not been easy to keep track of what’s going on. In part it’s about serving huge corporations (multinational and often tax-exempt through loopholes) and it’s about software patents. The folks from the FFII (former and current presidents) are fighting back, calling the Unitary Patent unconstitutional. To quote their summary, which made some waves on the Web last week, “ESOMA and iMatix has filed an appeal against the Unitary Patent ratification by Belgium at the Constitutional Court. Equality of languages, separation of powers, and the irresponsibility of the EPO in front of courts are violating the Belgian Constitution. A central patent court will become the single point of failure to validate software patents Europe-wide. Small Software companies cannot afford to go to court or pay damages.”

There are similar actions elsewhere. They are fighting back.

European Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), OpenForum Europe and others (such as OIN from the US) were mentioned the other day in this post about the EU patent debate. We deem some of the text quite important (and unique). It states: “I already mentioned earlier the plans to present about the situation of the Open Source community as a consumer of the patent system at the conference on “Innovation in a European Digital Single Market – The Role of Patents” in Brussels on March 17. FSFE, OpenForum Europe, colleagues at OIN and fellow Open Source supporters provided great feedback for the presentation. Many thanks to everybody who contributed! In the end, the concept for the presentation (which was a short introduction to a following panel discussion) was to explain five concrete difficulties the patent system causes in a collaborative production environment.”

Towards the bottom it says that “Sage joined the Open Invention Network. OIN is the world’s largest patent non-aggression community with the mission to protect Linux and Open Source. It speaks for the credibility that patent non-aggression has achieved and for how OIN represents that idea in the Open Source space when a publicly listed company that grew to success long before Linux really took off subscribes to it. Thanks, Sage! More large and small companies are considering this step. Your company should do so, too. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.”

As we have pointed out before, the problem with OIN is that it does not fight software patents; additionally, it is selective in who is protects and how. Still, for many purposes (not all), it is a lot better than nothing.

Want to Patent Nature? EPO Approves

The EPO is an utter, corrupt, greedy disgrace. On numerous occasions we have shown how the EPO’s management, including Benoît Battistelli himself, gloated and bragged about expanding the scope of patents, reducing the quality bar etc. just to increase profits. This is systemic corruption and this in its own right should suffice to oust Battistelli.

Techrights is especially focused on software patents, but it is deeply disturbed to learn just how low the EPO’s management can stoop. As it turns out, the EPO now permits patenting natural foods – not just GMO and algorithms. This surely can motivate more EPO staff to rebel against greedy-beyond-control managers. We sure hope to see people standing up and fighting against this abuse by EPO architects, whose priority has become to serve large corporations, not people. See articles such as “Unpatentable Vegetables Are Now Patentable In Europe”, “EPO Backs Patents On Conventional Plants: Broccoli, Tomato Cases Decided”, and “A Kat revisits Broccoli & Tomatoes, part deux – what does it all mean?” IPKat reported on it quote early on (to its credit).

Software Patents in Europe

Patent scope has gone out of control in Europe. Patents not only on natural things but also on abstract things are now permitted, if not by law then by de facto ‘law’ (see our wiki page about software patents in Europe). Glyn Moody warned some weeks ago that “Spain [Was] About To Bring In Software Patents — Just As US Starts Moving Away From Them”.

Quoting Moody: “Last year, Techdirt noted how the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank seemed to be having a positive effect on limiting the patentability of software. Against that background, it’s regrettable that Spain appears to be moving in the other direction with its new Patent Act (original in Spanish), which is being brought in without any public debate, it seems. The key section of the proposed law is Article 4, which spells out patentability. It specifically says (Section 4c) that “computer programs” are excluded from patentability — but then goes on to add (Section 5) that it is only software “as such” that is excluded.”

Greedy patent lawyers from the US (such as Gene Quinn in this case) are already licking their lips over this. “The European technical standard as a guide for drafting software patents” is the title of one recent article from Gene Quinn, one of the most vocal proponents of software patents (he makes money from it).

And guess who he interviews for this article? “Micky Minhas is Chief Patent Counsel for Microsoft Corporation. He is also someone that I have know for over 20 years, which is almost hard to believe.”

Yes, Microsoft!

Welcome to Europe, Microsoft. A truly European company!

Microsoft has been lobbying for software patents in Europe for so many years and we wrote many articles about it. Microsoft also paid several proxies to do this lobbying behind the scenes. Among these lobbyists we have had the BSA and ACT listed.

Microsoft’s Minhas says: “I’ve been here about two and a half years in my role as Chief Patent Counsel. The Patent Strategy team is roughly 110 people and we are responsible for all of our new patent filings and preparation. We also have a large analysis group that analyzes a lot of our issued patents and our pending patents and supports our licensing programs. As to the daily life, the job ranges anywhere from issues with the PTO, or any other patent office around the world, to issues supporting our licensing programs. Sometimes it’s acquisition related activities; sometimes it’s risk mitigation projects. I’m having a lot of fun. It’s interesting particularly because Microsoft is in so many different businesses, so the legal issues and the intellectual property issues are often pretty unique. Sometimes what is in the best interest of one division may not be in the best interest of another division. Intellectually, it leads to some pretty interesting strategy assessments and discussions.”

So, while Europeans are busy typing computer code, testing, improving, testing again (among other things) Microsoft is working with lawyers to undermine these Europeans and take them to court if they ever become successful and can thus be extorted (like TomTom in Holland). Welcome to Europe’s new patent regime?

Fight the System Before It’s Too Late

Patent examiners in Europe (scientists, not lawyers) should work hard to prevent the EPO from becoming another USPTO with lots of software patents, patent trolls, and reign by massive corporations such as IBM. Benoît Battistelli seems to be trying to emulate the notorious US patent system, not a saner system whose priority is service to local (European) citizens. Once corporations take over such systems (in a coup d’état fashion) it becomes incredibly difficult to regain control of them, as the US model serves to show. We will provide examples of this in the coming days.

More Suicides Reported at the Staff-Hostile European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The high cost of Battistelli’s tyranny


Summary: The EPO has become so rogue that it might as well be renamed the Euthanasia-Prodding Organisation

SOMEONE has sent us “an interesting article about the [European patent] office,” to quote his or her own description of it. The EPO is no stranger to scandals and corruption, so we are not surprised to learn that yet more suicides are being reported.

The original article is in French and behind a paywall, but we have acquired a full text version [PDF] which we can publish in full if it is translated to English (fair use).

Sadly, nobody has come forth with a translation (we asked in numerous places for 4 days now), so if anyone is reading this right now, please kindly consider helping with this. The translation needn’t be perfect, just readable and accurate enough to pass muster (not mislead).

Security FUD Against Free Software Resurfaces, Using Promotional Branding From a Microsoft-Linked Firm, So Red Hat Finally Responds

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Red Hat, Security at 5:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Image courtesy of Red Hat

Summary: Old news is ‘new’ again, as Microsoft-friendly media decides to keep knocking hard on the reputation of Free software, using words rather than substance

A YEAR ago there was a curious (first of its kind for Free/Open Source software) “branding” of a 2-year-old FOSS bug by a Microsoft-linked firm that did not even find the bug. An engineer from Google had found it and sought to responsibly disclose it so as to patch it properly before the Microsoft-linked opportunists blew off the lid and called it “Heartbleed”, set up a Web site to ‘celebrate’ the bug, and even made a professionally-prepared logo for it. This whole “Heartbleed” nonsense — however serious it may have been for a day — was blown out of all proportions in the media and tarnished the name of Free software because it was so ‘successfully’ marketed, even to non-technical people. It was a branding ‘success’ which many firms would later attempt to emulate, though never with the same degree of ‘success’ (where success means bamboozling the public, especially non-technical decision-making people).

“Microsoft must be laughing quite hard seeing all that media manipulation.”“Dear journalists,” I said earlier today in social media (Diapora), “bugs don’t have birthdays. Stop finding excuses to bring “Heartbleed” BS (MS name for old bug) to headlines.” I spoke to one author about it and challenged him for floating these “Heartbleed” logos and brands yet again. To us it seems quite evident that Microsoft keeps attacking Free software and GNU/Linux like no time before; it’s just more subtle and hidden in more sophisticated ways. The person who heads the incognito firm that’s known only for the “Heartbleed” brand (they control the brand) came from Microsoft (he was head of security there) and also from the FBI, whose stance on encryption is widely known by now; they actively seek to break security of software, so knowing about the 2-year-old OpenSSL bug would make sense. Some reputable media reports said that the NSA had known about this bug for about a year before it was known to the public and the NSA cooperates with the FBI on breaking software security, sharing personal (illegally intercepted) data, etc.

Anyway, the same publication (as above) also floated the “Heartbleed” nonsense in another article today. Would they do just about anything to keep it in headlines? Even a year later? They are now citing some firm called Venafi (never heard of it before), which basically relies on misleading misuse of statistics. It’s FUD from a company that tries to make money from perceived dangers and accentuates these dangers in an effort to acquire clients. What kind of ‘journalism’ is this? incidentally, Black Duck is now joining the list of such parasitic companies, with new hires and multiple press releases, so clearly it’s a growth area and the Microsoft link is easy to see. It is FUD season again this spring as more publications now float this whole nonsense. This is hardly journalism, it’s just throwback.

Thankfully enough, Red Hat demonstrates what “branding” of FOSS bugs practically means, even using the image above. There is no correlation between the naming of bugs and their severity, but press coverage sure loves a good brand. This is an important (albeit belated) response from Red Hat to “branding” of a FOSS bug by Microsoft-linked firms like the one behind “Heartbleed”.

“It’s been almost a year since the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability,” says Red Hat, “a flaw which started a trend of the branded vulnerability, changing the way security vulnerabilities affecting open-source software are being reported and perceived. Vulnerabilities are found and fixed all the time, and just because a vulnerability gets a name and a fancy logo doesn’t mean it is of real risk to users.”

Well, Microsoft folks sure squeezed everything they could from this bug, seeking to discredit not just OpenSSL but the whole development process of Free software (due to just one small bug, or a few lines of code). And Microsoft still pretends that it is warming up to Open Source? Who are these frauds kidding?

There’s a lot of companies which continue to use platforms with back doors, such as Windows, but the Wintel-oriented media would rather we just obsess over this one bug from one year ago (which was patched as soon as it became publicly-known).

We are rather disappointed to see a decent journalist like Sean Michael Kerner, along with colleagues at eWEEK, swallowing the bait and serving to promote the misleading claims to advertise this company that controls the “Heartbleed” brand, among other opportunists (like fish swimming around a shark for some leftovers). Microsoft must be laughing quite hard seeing all that media manipulation.

The Anti-Free Software Movement Grows (Security a Common Attack Vector), Connections to Microsoft Noteworthy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Security at 5:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Doug Levin

Summary: Black Duck ups the ante on Free software-hostile messages, embeds FUD in the media almost instantaneously

THERE IS an attack on Free software going on, but it’s shrewdly disguised as ‘concern’ for Free software. We are led to believe that not proprietary software with back doors is the problem but Free software that may have bugs, especially bugs that users don’t bother to patch despite having the ability (or freedom) to do so. It’s free.

The other day we wrote about Black Duck entering the security FUD market, targeting Free software, as one ought to expect (it had already done the compliance FUD, neglecting to mention EULA-related issues in proprietary software). To repeat some facts for the uninitiated, Black Duck was started as an anti-GPL company, by its very own admission. Very shortly after hiring a parasite, whose company exploits security fears, Black Duck’s scope of FUD expands further and there’s an effort in the media to advertise this.

“Taft, who often promotes Microsoft PR, doesn’t mind covering something that seemingly relates to Free software if it makes Free software look bad.”Darryl K. Taft, a booster of Microsoft, already helps this anti-GPL company (Black Duck) by doing this Microsoft-esque advertising at this very moment. Taft, who often promotes Microsoft PR, doesn’t mind covering something that seemingly relates to Free software if it makes Free software look bad. No wonder Black Duck came from Microsoft. Other Microsoft boosting sites like TechFlash promoted this nonsense and spread it to media with broader reach. Watch how they wrongly describe Black Duck: “Burlington-based open-source software firm Black Duck software is making big bets on helping to make open-source software more secure for companies”

Black Duck is most definitely not “open-source software firm”, it is an anti-Open Source software firm whose products are proprietary, with software patents that relate to them. This is the kind of openwashing that has become so common when it comes to proxies of Microsoft (Microsoft works together with Black Duck, it’s not just that Black Duck came from Microsoft).

Black Duck, as we noted the other day, had hired a key person from Veracode, whose output is mostly FUD even today. Right now it promotes itself in CBS and other networks by saying some nonsense about a nonsense buzzword (“Internet of Things”) that means nothing in particular. To quote the CBS tabloid: “In a new report released by enterprise security firm Veracode, researchers discovered during testing of common, household IoT devices that security is not up to scratch — paving the way for exploits, data theft, robbery and potentially even stalking.”

That is just some embedded marketing for a FUD firm, one whose co-founder is now inside Black Duck.

Truth be told, Black Duck is trying to diversify or re-brand itself ‘pro-security’ as it did ‘pro-compliance’, but actually, what it really is about should be FUD. It uses fear, spreads existing fear to sell, creates more fear to sell, and overall it makes Free software look bad.

IDG is another large network that helped Black Duck advertise itself the other day. The headline is misleading because it says “Black Duck’s mission: To seek out insecure open source code in the enterprise”.

No, Black Duck’s mission is to sell its proprietary software by telling the press, enterprises etc. that Free software is not secure and needs some ‘medicine’ (Black Duck’s proprietary snake oil).

Here are the press releases from Black Duck [1, 2]. Clearly enough there is a media manipulation campaign going on and some journalists — other than Microsoft boosters disguised as ‘journalists’ — have already fallen for it.

Sadistic Microsoft Layoffs: Christians Fired on Easter Shortly After Microsoft Fired Many Chinese on Chinese New Year

Posted in Microsoft at 4:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Classic cruelty

A rat's disection

Summary: Very insensitive Microsoft layoffs show that it is Microsoft that’s the greatest enemy of its own employees, not the company’s competition or its critics

THROUGHOUT the day today Techrights received a lot of support from former Microsoft staff, which now knows what Microsoft is really like (having become victimised). A post of ours from earlier this year went viral, reaching perhaps 100,000 people.

“Microsoft fired its previous Chief Privacy Officer for suggesting real privacy…”The context of it all and what got it all started was a post of mine about the latest Microsoft layoffs. “Acquisitor of Nokia’s mobile phone business,” said Microsoft-friendly media, “technology firm Microsoft is planning major reductions to its IT department. The cuts are to be included in the 1,050 jobs that last August the company announced would be culled from its Finnish operations.”

Notice the date. This is how Microsoft celebrates Easter in Finland, having just recently fired many Chinese on Chinese New Year. It’s part of a trend of sadistic Microsoft layoffs, often disguised as anything but layoffs. People from Microsoft have told me that the work environment is getting worse, as more employees get squeezed into smaller offices and some are laid off without being accounted for (contracting tricks with no assurances of continuation).

Microsoft dropped a real privacy officer, which says a lot about Microsoft’s real attitude towards privacy. Microsoft only ever needs to pretend to care about privacy (e.g. using a show trial in Ireland for media manipulation) while creating back doors in their products. Anything else cannot be tolerated.

Microsoft fired its previous Chief Privacy Officer for suggesting real privacy and the existing Microsoft “Chief Privacy Officer” is doing it ‘right’; he has just dropped privacy (news from 5 days ago) and then sought to justify it. “Microsoft chief privacy officer,” according to this article, is the very opposite of pro-privacy. It’s just like heading “trustworthy” computing for Microsoft, meaning the very opposite of what it’s called.

Microsoft wants to hire sociopaths, retain liars, and get rid (fire) those who don’t fit such criteria.

Links 8/4/2015: SalentOS 14.04.2, XFS in Fedora Server 22

Posted in News Roundup at 4:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Linux Setup – Carla Schroder, OwnCloud/Writer

    I adore Linux because I can do what I want on it. My first PC way back in 1994ish was an Apple something. It was fun, and then I got an IBM PC running Windows 3,1 and DOS 5. Windows was useless, so I spent a lot of time in DOS. Then I learned about Linux and never looked back. And Windows is still useless, and Apple is too confining. They both have their little walled gardens, and their primary purpose is lock-in and to keep selling you junk whether you want it or not, and whether or not it’s any good. They think they retain ownership of your stuff that you have purchased, which is a concept that needs to die.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • A conversation with Gene Kim on DevOps, waterfall development, and containers

      Gene Kim: It’s called “The DevOps Cookbook,” and it was actually supposed to come out before “The Phoenix Project.” The goal of the book is to put into context the cultural norms, principles, and observed patterns in high-performing organizations that enable fast flow of features from dev to ops while preserving world-class reliability and stability. For me, I think the big surprise three years into this project is that it’s as much about organizational learning as it is about key performance measures.

    • CoreOS moves tectonic plates, Docker may feel earthquakes

      Cloud is the next big front for some serious tech warfare and CoreOS just got the much needed ammunition.

      First things first. CoreOS is a company that offers a solution with the same name. And this solution is an extremely light and minimalistic operating system based on Google’s Chrome OS (or you can also call it a fork).

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Tovalds Talks About Git and Why the Linux Kernel Needed It

      Linus Torvalds is mostly known for developing the Linux kernel, but he’s also the one who made Git, the distributed revision control system that’s used today for numerous projects, including the kernel. The project just turned ten years old, and Linus made some comments about this fact.

    • Git Success Stories and Tips from Qt Maintainer Thiago Macieira

      Git has come a long way in the 10 years since Linux creator Linus Torvalds released the first version of the now-popular distributed revision control system. For example, the addition of pull requests came three years after the original release, according to Atlassian. And over time it has added more collaboration tools, code review tools, integration to continuous integration systems, and more, recalls Qt Project core maintainer and software architect at Intel, Thiago Macieira.

    • OpenDaylight Developer Spotlight: Radhika Hirannaiah

      Radhika Hirannaiah, is currently working as an intern at OpenDaylight. She received a PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from Wichita State University in 2014. Her interests include Software Defined Networking (OpenFlow, OpenDaylight etc), Voice over IP, wireless and working on open source software projects.

    • Systemd Adds Reboot To EFI Firmware Option

      Systemd’s logind and systemctl components have added support for rebooting to the EFI firmware setup. Running systemctl –firmware-setup (or accessing via systemd’s logind interfaces) will cause the system’s firmware UEFI setup utility to show at next boot as another alternative to just hitting DEL/F2 at boot time or newer distributions that add a boot menu entry to GRUB2 for EFI firmware configuration. Of course, this will only work for newer systems that were originally booted in the EFI mode.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 4.0 Hard Drive Comparison With EXT4 / Btrfs / XFS / NTFS / NILFS2 / ReiserFS

        It’s been a while since last running any Linux file-system tests on a hard drive considering all of the test systems around here are using solid-state storage and only a few systems commissioned in the Linux benchmarking test farm are using hard drives, but with Linux 4.0 around the corner, here’s a six-way file-system comparison on Linux 4.0 with a HDD using EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and even NTFS, NILFS2, and ReiserFS.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Enlightenment EFL 1.14.0 Alpha 1

      The Enlightenment crew at Samsung have released their first alpha version of the upcoming EFL 1.14.0 library set.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • NetworkManagerQt is out

        NetworkManagerQt is officially a Frameworks now. As a consequence the repository has been renamed from libnm-qt to networkmanager-qt and NMQt version number now follows Frameworks version number (currently 5.8.0).

      • Plasma Sprint 2015

        In February 2015 the Plasma developers met in the Blue Systems office in Barcelona to discuss and plan out where we would take Plasma over the duration of the next year. The sprint consisted of active Plasma developers and visual designers from around the world, from Canada to India.

      • digiKam 5.0 Is Being Ported to KDE Frameworks 5, to Be Released in July 2015

        The digiKam development team has announced a few hours ago, on April 7, the immediate availability for download of the digiKam Software Collection 4.9.0 image viewer and organizer application for the KDE desktop environment.

      • digiKam 4.9.0 Released
      • Plasma Theme Explorer
      • Plasma-nm release

        We have released another plasma-nm version for KDE 4. It’s possible that this release will be the last one, because every distribution is now switching to Plasma 5 and given our irregular releases it’s possible that current distributions wouldn’t pickup the updated version anyway. I’ll keep backporting fixes from Plasma 5 to our KDE 4 branch if possible, so if you want to keep running on KDE 4 from some reason, you will still have a way how to get at least some fixes. There is also a new release of networkmanager-qt for KDE 4, which is required for below mentioned OpenConnect fixes.

      • Looking At Building The Linux Kernel With -O3 Optimizations

        A Linux user has started an LKML discussion over compiling the kernel with -O3 for driving performance improvements out of a more-optimized kernel binary.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK+ 3.16.1 Improves Client-Side Decorations Without a Compositor, Fixes Over 25 Bugs

        The GTK+ development team has announced the immediate availability for download of the first maintenance release of the GTK+ 3.16 GUI toolkit used in the GNOME 3.16 desktop environment.

      • GNOME 3.16

        GNOME 3.16 was released last week and is the result of more than 30000 commits by over 1000 persons, I am always impressed by those numbers, thank you all!

      • GNOME’s GTK+ Finally Getting Close To Dropping Windows XP Support

        GNOME/GTK+ developers are finally preparing themselves to drop support for Microsoft Windows XP.

        While Microsoft no longer offers public support for Windows XP and most modern software has done away with XP support, GNOME’s tool-kit continues to support Windows going back to XP. It’s been discussed before about dropping XP and this discussion has resurrected once again.

  • Distributions

    • Material Design Inspired Papyros Still Alive, Looks Gorgeous

      Papyros is a new Linux distribution designed around a Material Design framework, and it promises to be one of the most interesting releases in the Linux ecosystem. After a month that brought no news about its progress, the devs explained that the project is not dead, but alive and kicking.

    • Update, OS to Soon Switch to Ubuntu 15.04 Base

      Ubuntu developers are preparing to launch the last OTA update for the current branch of Ubuntu Touch RTM, and they are also working to change the base of the system to 15.04 (Vivid Vervet).

    • Reviews

      • An Everyday Linux Review Of openSUSE 13.2

        There are people out there that will want all of the verbose options, giving access to every available installation option but maybe there could be a general installer and a custom installer to make it easier for the masses.

      • Looking into the Void distribution

        Void is an independent distribution and offers a rolling release approach to package management. There are many Void editions we can download. There are Void images for the BeagleBone and Raspberry Pi computers along with builds for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 machines. In addition, there are spins of Void for specific desktop environments and we can download images for Cinnamon, Enlightenment, MATE and Xfce flavours. I decided to begin my trial with the 64-bit Cinnamon build of Void. The download for the Cinnamon image is 454MB in size.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Slackware Family

      • KDE 4.14.3 now also for Slackware 14.1

        The set has been spiced up with the latest Long Term Support (LTS) sources that I took from KDE Applications 14.12.3, specifically the newest versions of kde-workspace, kdelibs and kdepim. Essentially, I have used the exact same sources from which I built my KDE 4.14.3 packages for Slackware-current before.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Scientific Linux 7.1 to Be Unveiled on April 13, Release Candidate 2 Out Now

        Pat Riehecky from the Scientific Linux development team has announced today, April 7, the immediate availability for download and testing of the second and last Release Candidate (RC) version of the forthcoming Scientific Linux 7.1 operating system.

      • 2015 Red Hat Summit Announced

        Besides the speeches, 170 1-hour breakout sessions are planned. Breakout sessions are presentations by industry experts on topical issues. Some speakers include Thomas Cameron, John Shakshober, and Matt Hicks. A Partner Pavillion will be open showcasing many of Red Hat’s partners and their wares. Labs will let attendees test out Red Hat’s latest tech. For those wanting still more add-ons include in-depth training courses with expert instructors and certification exams in Red Hat OpenStack. Developers can attend DevNation for “a week of keynotes, technical sessions, BoFs, evening programming events, and more” with folks from some of the top tech companies around.

      • Red Hat channel chief: Time to build an open source practice

        Speaking to ChannelBuzz.ca ahead of the company’s North American Partner Conference here, Mark Enzweiler, senior vice president of global channel sales and alliances at Red Hat, described a shift in the conversation his company and its partners are having with their customers. Gone are the days of convincing customers that open source is “for real” in the enterprise. Now everybody’s got an opinion on open source – not just Linux, but other major projects as well, most notably OpenStack. Now, they want to know more, and that means partners have to know more.

      • Fedora

        • Details Of DNF Succeeding Yum In Fedora 22 Still Being Discussed

          DNF is the next-generation Yum and after being available for the past few Fedora releases, with Fedora 22 it’s ready for prime-time. Kevin Fenzi last week started a mailing list thread about dnf replacing yum and dnf-yum. DNF is installed by default as part of the “core” group, DNF-Yum is also installed by default, Yum is still installed so if something still depends directly on it or a user manually wants it, and the Yum RPM package now requires dnf-yum.

        • Fedora Server 22 Is Using The XFS File-System By Default

          Using the XFS file-system as the default within an LVM has been part of the Fedora Server technical spec while with Fedora 22 it’s finally happened. The default layout for Fedora Server 22 installations is using XFS atop LVM while /boot is outside the LVM setup.

    • Debian Family

      • More arm64 hardware for Debian – Applied Micro X-Gene

        As a follow-up to my post about bootstrapping arm64 in Debian, we’ve had more hardware given to Debian for us to use in porting and building packages for arm64. Applied Micro sent me an X-Gene development machine to set up and use. Unfortunately, the timing was unlucky and the machine sat on my desk unopened for a few weeks while I was on long holiday in Australia. Once I was back, I connected it up and got it working. Out of the box, a standard Jessie arm64 installation worked using network boot (dhcp and tftp). I ran through d-i as normal and installed a working system, then handed it over to the DSA and buildd folks to get the machine integrated into our systems. Easy! The machine is now up and running as arm-arm-03.debian.org and has been building packages for a few weeks now. You can see the stats here on the buildd.debian.org site.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Oxide Vulnerabilities Closed in Ubuntu 14.10 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

            Canonical revealed details about Oxide vulnerabilities that have been found and fixed in Ubuntu 14.10 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. This update brings a few fixes, but it’s nothing all that important.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 Launches in Two Weeks, Will Be Based on Linux Kernel 3.19.3 After All

            Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) is about to be released in a little over two weeks, and the developers have announced that they settled on Linux kernel 3.19.3, a couple of days before the kernel freeze.

          • Unity 7 Improvements Backported from Ubuntu 15.04 to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

            Every once in a while Ubuntu developers made improvements to the Unity desktop environment, but that usually happens for new Ubuntu releases, like 15.04 for example. That doesn’t stop them from porting those improvements to older releases, such as Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

          • Firefox 37.0.1 Has Been Added To The Default Repositories Of All The Supported Ubuntu Systems

            Hello Linux Geeksters. As you may know, Firefox 37.0.1 has been recently released, coming with important bug-fixes. Not long after that, Canonical has patched it and added it to the default repositories of all the supported Ubuntu systems.

          • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Gets `Always Show Menus` Unity Feature (Proposed Repository)

            The much requested Unity feature to always show the menus, which is already available in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet for almost three months, has been backported to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

          • There’s Yet Another Awkward Ubuntu Linux Tablet Announced

            In recent months we’ve covered an Ubuntu tablet with a 1TB hard drive, another sketchy Ubuntu tablet, and other awkward devices looking to ship Ubuntu in tablet/mobile form without any support from Canonical. There’s yet another tablet to talk about today.

          • Mailman Exploit Closed in Ubuntu 14.10

            Details about a Mailman vulnerability in Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS that has been found and fixed were published in a security notice by Canonical.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu-Based Nitrux OS Is Now Powered by Linux Kernel 3.19

              Uri Herrera from Nitrux S.A. recently announced the immediate availability of Nitrux OS 4.15 Linux operating system that is currently used in their NXQ mini PC unveiled a couple of months ago.

            • MintBox Mini News

              CompuLab is working hard on the MintBox Mini. SMT (Supervised Manufacturer’s Testing) was done, and they’re now soldering, testing, starting mechanical assembly and packing of the units.

            • Linux Mint 17.2 to Be Named “Rafaela”

              The name of the next Linux Mint 17.2 release has been chosen and it’s going to be “Rafaela.” The project continues with the feminine names, so the new code name should be no surprise.

            • Edubuntu – the Free and Open Source Software Liberian Educators and Policy Makers Should Consider for Liberian Schools

              Ostensibly, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have significantly permeated our society, yet their integration in our educational system has not been achieved. The glaring disparity among students who are ICT literate and those who are not, is evidence of this. Understandably though, there are several priorities and challenges that may be responsible for the slow progress in this area. Fortunately for us, we have a few Liberians in our educational system who possess the dynamism needed to bring significant changes. However, these changes must parallel those of the global community’s. In doing so, we will effectively be eliminating one of the barriers that young Liberians graduating from high school face when they submit applications for employment; the ubiquitous, “must be computer literate” listed as a job requirement. In today’s article, I will discuss how EDUBUNTU, a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), can help us integrate ICTs in schools to achieve some level of equilibrium with regard to basic ICT literacy among Liberian students.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SMARC module runs Linux on i.MX6, runs hot and cold

      Embedian has launched a SMARC COM that runs Linux on a Freescale i.MX6, and offers up to 2GB RAM, 4GB eMMC, -40 to 85°C operation, and a Mini-ITX baseboard.

    • Phones

      • Jolla Communicator for Ubuntu Helps Users Control Their Jolla Smartphones

        The Jolla community has put together an application called Jolla Communicator that allows users to send and receive messages on Ubuntu, which connected to a Sailfish OS-powered smartphone.

      • Android

        • HTC One M8 Android 5.0 Lollipop Update Continues

          Back in January HTC announced they’d miss the deadline they set themselves for the HTC One M8 Android 5.0 Lollipop update, but since then we’ve received plenty of good news as it’s rolling out to multiple carriers in the United States. It first kicked off for owners back in January, and over the past few weeks has continued to arrive for more and more proud owners.

        • One Android fan’s righteous rant: He owns 6 Android devices and none of them have Lollipop yet

          We all know there are good reasons why Android will never be rolled out as efficiently as the way Apple rolls out new versions of iOS. That said, surely the process can be better than it is right now… can’t it?

        • Moto G Android 5.1 Lollipop Update Is Out And What To Expect For 2013 Moto X, Moto E And Moto G LTE

          Motorola has begun rolling out the Android 5.1 Lollipop update for the Moto G Google Play Edition (GPE), and it is possible that other versions of the phone could receive the update anytime soon.

        • Amazon Prime Instant Video comes to Android tablets with a catch

          Check the Amazon Instant Video splash page and you’ll see the news: You can officially stream videos from Amazon to your Google Android tablet. I say “officially” because tech savvy folks may have already sideloaded, or manually installed, the phone version some time ago. But for the mainstream masses who typically get their apps from the Google Play Store — a smart move for security reasons — this is new.

        • ‘Mortal Kombat X’ Available On iOS And Android, Launch Trailer Contains System Of A Down — Plus Full Roster Revealed

          The mobile companion game for Mortal Kombat X is available for download on both iOS and Android. Mortal Kombat X Mobile can be downloaded for free (with in-app purchases) on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, according to Hardcore Gamer. The Mortal Kombat X Mobile is the full Mortal Kombat X experience built for mobile devices.

        • Mortal Kombat X Mobile Android Release Date: iOS Version Is Live But When Will Fighting Game Appear In Google Play Store? [VIDEO]
        • A case to keep Android and Chrome OS separate

          There are many Android fans who aren’t enamored with Chrome OS. They cite lack of apps for the latter, and the wealth of features that make up the great utility of the former. There has long been speculation that Google will eventually merge the two platforms into one OS. I hope that never happens.

        • Apple Watch vs. Android Wear, Pebble and Samsung Gear

          What is a smartwatch, and what can it do? The Apple Watch arrives in a landscape filled with things for your wrist. How does it stack up? Great in some ways, and not so wonderfully in others. Let’s look at the closest competition and see.

        • Android 5.1 to hit Google Play Edition of HTC One M7 and M8

          Owners of the Google Play Edition of the HTC One M7 and M8 should stay tuned for Android 5.1.

          In a tweet late Tuesday, HTC vice president of product management Mo Versi said that “approval for both M8 & M7 GPE versions have been granted by Google for 5.1 OS. OTA out shortly!” That means an over-the-air update should reach both models soon if it hasn’t already. The Google Play Editions of such phones come with pure Android, which excludes any customizations typically made by the manufacturers.

        • Google highlights even more Android Wear watch faces, straps

          Itching to make your shiny new Android Wear watch really yours? You’re in luck — Google’s curating not only the best watchfaces to throw on your teensy wrist-display, but some of the handsome watchbands you should lash onto it too. Android Wear product manager Jeff Chang pointed out new (and mostly leather, sadly) straps available from E3 Supply Co., Worn & Wound and Clockwork Synergy in a post on the Official Android Blog earlier today. Thing is, you can’t actually buy these accessories straight from the Play Store proper — you’ll still have to mosey on over to each retailer’s site to lay claim to your next bit of wrist candy so the approach isn’t exactly as seamless as we would’ve hoped.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Animals Set FOSS Apart

    We’re going to take the scenic route in getting to the point today. If you don’t want to wait, you can go down to the bottom where it says, “The moral of the story…” But the point of today’s exercise is that we in the decentralized FOSS realm are a creative bunch, and in that creativity is our strength.

  • Etsy Owes Data Center Efficiency to Facebook’s Open Source VM

    Etsy attributes recent accomplishments in data center efficiency in large part to using the Facebook-developed, open source HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM), according to software engineer Dan Miller on Etsy’s blog. Etsy is an extremely popular marketplace for handmade, vintage and unique items. The company is expected to IPO soon.

  • Open source risks being devoured by the very cloud to which it gave birth

    Open source, popular as it has been, has hardly killed off proprietary software. While margins and new license revenues have suffered across the enterprise software spectrum, it is the cloud, more than open-source software, that is to blame (or thank, depending on whose stock you own). Yes, open source built the cloud, but it is the cloud that gets all the credit (and cash).

  • Events

    • Empower developers with a mix of community, communication, and custom tools

      Open source developers can create an immense amount of value for any company that relies on open source software by giving it the ability to direct and influence aspects of the open source community. This allows the company to shape the tools they rely on and make them better fit company needs, a phenomenon otherwise known as “scratching their own itch.”

      Although an open source developer’s primary skill is writing good code, their value extends far beyond technical skills. Adopting open source practices requires participation in diverse communities that have a number of stakeholders who each have their own itches to scratch. Open source developers find themselves in a complex position that requires them to be experts not only in their technical field, but also in communication and collaboration.

    • DFN Workshop 2015

      To defend against targeted attacks based on spoofed emails he proposed to detect whether the writing style of an email corresponds to that of previously seen emails of the presumed contact. In fact, their research shows that they are able to tell whether the writing style matches that of previous emails with very high probability.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Dials Back on Firefox Opportunistic Encryption

        Mozilla issued the Firefox 37.0.1 update, which disables the opportunistic encryption feature that was just introduced in Firefox 37.
        Mozilla has had a change of heart regarding opportunistic encryption—for now. The company rolled out its open-source Firefox 37 Web browser on March 31, with one of the key new features being a capability known as opportunistic encryption. However, due to a security issue related to opportunistic encryption, Mozilla disabled the feature in the Firefox 37.0.1 update released April 3.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • NASA’s Chris Mattmann on Apache technology

      I’ve been involved in the ASF since 2005 when I got involved in the Apache Nutch project. I was a PhD student at USC taking Search Engines class and also working at NASA JPL. My final project in the class was an RSS parsing plugin (NUTCH-30) that got integrated. It was a budding, awesome community, and I got more and more excited after my patch and started helping out on the lists. I also saw a big use for Nutch and what eventually became Hadoop at NASA.

    • NASA, IBM Ask the World to Hack Space

      This weekend, NASA is hooking up with IBM’s BlueMix cloud platform in an unprecedented development effort. More than 10,000 developers, scientists, entrepreneurs and students in 62 countries will work in tandem on a code-a-thon aimed at building technology for space exploration. Here are more details.

    • PLUMgrid Delivers ONS 3.0 Suite for Driving OpenStack Clouds

      PLUMgrid, which focuses on virtual network infrastructure for OpenStack cloud deployments, has announced the latest SDN software PLUMgrid Open Networking Suite 3.0 for OpenStack with new operational tools, features for dynamic routing, and expanded service insertion for third party virtual, physical and container based appliances. Based on OpenStack Juno, PLUMgrid ONS 3.0 is Red Hat certified with RHEL OSP 6.

    • A case for predictable databases

      Barzan Mozafari, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), will be giving a talk on the predictability of performance in database systems at the OpenStack Live conference in Santa Clara, California on Tuesday, April 14.

  • Education

    • Open Source Picks Up the Pace

      This February, EBSCO Information Services announced plans to provide funding and technical assistance for contributors to the Koha open source ILS platform. Led by the Koha Gruppo Italiano (KGI)—founded by the American Academy in Rome, American University of Rome, and the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce—with development support from ByWater Solutions, Catalyst IT, and Cineca, the partnership will enable an upgrade of Koha’s core search engine to Elasticsearch, the popular open source, multitenant-capable full-text search engine.

  • Funding

    • Mourning Chris Yeoh

      It is my sad duty to inform the community that Chris Yeoh passed away this morning. Chris leaves behind a daughter Alyssa, aged 6, who I hope will remember Chris as the clever and caring person that I will remember him as. I haven’t had a chance to confirm with the family if they want flowers or a donation to a charity. As soon as I know those details I will reply to this email.


    • GNU Cauldron 2015

      This year the GNU Cauldron Conference is going to be held in Prague, Czech Republic, from August 7 to 9, 2015.

      The GNU Cauldron Conference is a gathering of users and hackers of the GNU toolchain ecosystem.

      Meaning that if you are interested in projects remotely related to the GNU C library, GNU Compiler Collection, the GNU Debugger or any toolchain runtime related project that has ties with the GNU system you are welcome!

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open access: a national licence is not the answer

        “Open Access: Is a national licence the answer?” is a proposal by David Price and Sarah Chaytor of University College London for a mechanism to provide full access to everyone within the UK to all published research. It was published on 31 March 2015 by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) whose director, Nick Hillman, wrote the foreword.

  • Programming

    • Google makes Santa Tracker open source on GitHub — will you fork Santa Claus?

      April Fool’s Day is well behind us, so all the pranks should be over, right? I ask because today, Google announces that it is making its Santa Tracker project open source on GitHub. The fact that it is open source is great, but the timing is odd. The last thing I expected to read about in April is friggin’ Santa Claus, but here we are.

    • Google Opens Santa Tracker For Developers By Making It Open Source

      Christmas may be a distant memory by now and the thought of Christmas 2015 might seem just as distant, as April has only just begun. However, it seems Christmas is not too far away from Google’s mind today, as the Search giant have just opened sourced their popular Santa Tracker software. If you are unfamiliar with Santa Tracker, then it is rather self-explanatory. Each year, around about Christmas time, Google releases its Santa Tracker offering the ability to track Santa while he is out and about and delivering his presents to all the boys and girls. That said, the tracker software is not just for tracking Santa and this is why last year Google released the Tracker as early as December 1st.


  • Here’s Google’s Secret to Hiring the Best People

    Performance on these kinds of questions is at best a discrete skill that can be improved through practice, eliminating their utility for assessing candidates. At worst, they rely on some trivial bit of information or insight that is withheld from the candidate, and serve primarily to make the interviewer feel clever and self-satisfied. They have little if any ability to predict how candidates will perform in a job.

  • Labour Appeals to Tories

    The Guardian has published an open appeal to Tory and Lib Dem voters to vote Labour in Dundee West. I think that tells you all you need to know about the Red Tories and their priorities. It is also a new low in journalism even for the fanatic and increasingly desperate Severin Carrell, who is a total disgrace to his profession. The costs of publishing the Guardian ought to be counted against Marra’s election expenses: this is not journalism in any sense, merely a puff piece for a candidate.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Six Things You Didn’t Know the U.S. and Its Allies Did to Iran

      Nasir al-Din Shah, Shah of Iran from 1848-1896, sold Baron Julius de Reuter the right to operate all of Iran’s railroads and canals, most of the mines, all of the government’s forests, and all future industries. The famous British statesman Lord Curzon called it “the most complete and extraordinary surrender of the entire industrial resources of a kingdom into foreign hands that has probably ever been dreamed of.” Iranians were so infuriated that the Shah had to rescind the sale the next year.


      Our rhetoric on Iran seems nonsensical: Do U.S. leaders actually believe Iran would engage in a first nuclear strike on Israel or the U.S., given that would lead to a quick and devastating retaliation from those well-armed nuclear powers?

      Even conservative U.S. foreign policy experts know that’s incredibly unlikely. They’re not worried that we can’t deter a nuclear-armed Iran — they’re worried that a nuclear-armed Iran could deter us. As Thomas Donnelly, a top Iran analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, put it in 2004, “the prospect of a nuclear Iran is a nightmare … because of the constraining effect it threatens to impose upon U.S. strategy for the greater Middle East. … The surest deterrent to American action is a functioning nuclear arsenal.”

  • Finance

    • Fox News’ Smear Campaign Against The Poor Is Reflected In The GOP’s Latest Food Stamp Bills

      Fox News’ campaign of misinformation surrounding food assistance programs may be continuing to influence GOP legislation, as lawmakers in both Missouri and Kansas consider measures addressing “fake problems” within their state’s benefit programs.

      Republican lawmakers in Kansas recently introduced legislation restricting where recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly known as “welfare”) can spend their money and what they can buy. The bill would limit the daily spending allowance to $25 and ban recipients from using benefits at psychics and tattoo parlors. Another measure, introduced by the House GOP in Missouri, will similarly limit how recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly knowns as “food stamps”) can use their benefits, prohibiting them from buying “steak, seafood, soda, cookies, chip[s], and energy drinks.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Rolling Stone and the Media’s Glass House

      There is nothing like a journalistic plane crash to inspire newsroom loudmouths to jump on their desks and lecture colleagues about the collapse of standards and crow that they’re such exemplars of the craft that never in a trillion years could they or their publication be snookered by a fabulist, a hoaxer, a dissembler or a liar.

    • U.S. Propaganda 101: Illegally Invade Countries, Fund the Media, Call it “Independent”

      The author accuses news outlets of doing exactly what he himself and the U.S. mainstream media in general does when reporting about foreign policy issues such as Ukraine: they “systematically [regurgitate U.S. propaganda, spread] lies, half-truths, and conspiracy theories.” The advantage they have is that they don’t need to translate anything. Apparently for Rohac an article written in Russian has to be Russian propaganda. It’s that simple: Russians are just not producing any honest journalistic content. This argument about texts being “directly translated from Russian sources” is not only weak, it is xenophobic.

  • Censorship

    • YouTuber Angry Joe Swears Off Nintendo Videos After The Company Claimed His Mario Party 10 Take

      Nintendo’s never-ending desire to control how YouTubers review its games or do “let’s plays” has been laughable from the start. From the trust-destroying agreement YouTubers had to enter into in order to get access to visual content to the beauracratic nightmare individuals had to wade through just to get a video approved for monetization, the whole thing started off on messy footing. And the biggest issue in all of this: Nintendo still can’t seem to grasp that these YouTubers are giving the company free advertising. Gamers love the kinds of videos these YouTubers produce. They use them to make purchasing decisions, to become interested in new games, and to fuel word-of-mouth advertising that no trumped up ad campaign could ever possibly hope to achieve. Why make any of that more complicated by creating an approval system for the videos? And, more importantly, why take away the incentive for fans to promote your games by demanding a share of their YouTube revenue?

    • Once Again, Political Speech Is Silenced By Copyright/ContentID

      This seems to happen every political season. When he was a Presidential candidate, John McCain got annoyed at YouTube taking down political videos based on copyright claims. During the last Presidential election, a Mitt Romney TV ad featuring President Obama singing an Al Green song was taken down via a copyright claim. And now, 2016 Presidential candidate Rand Paul has discovered that his announcement speech from Tuesday morning has been taken down.

  • Privacy

    • U.S. secretly tracked billions of calls for decades

      The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans’ international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed.

      For more than two decades, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking, current and former officials involved with the operation said. The targeted countries changed over time but included Canada, Mexico and most of Central and South America.

    • Rand Paul Vows to Stop NSA Spying ‘on Day 1′ of Presidency

      Rand Paul’s campaign kickoff just concluded with a rousing speech by the libertarian-leaning U.S. senator from Kentucky in which he promised that his first act as president would be to stop the NSA’s illegal spying on American citizens. He vowed to win the White House while clutching the Bill of Rights in one hand and the Constitution in the other.

    • NSA whistleblower: We’ve been lied to

      Bill Binney, a former U.S. National Security Agency employee turned whistleblower, is on a mission to expose the agency’s domestic spying programs and violations of constitutional rights.

      In an interview with AJ+’s Dena Takruri, Binney discusses why he thinks President Barack Obama is “violating the public trust” and what Americans can do to protect themselves from unwarranted surveillance.

    • U.S. secretly tracked billions of calls for decades

      The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans’ international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed.

    • If you called anyone overseas from 1992-2013, the DEA probably knew about it

      The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), under approval from the top echelons of the Department of Justice, ran a secret, extensive phone metadata bulk collection program for over two decades, amassing billions of records, according to a new report published Tuesday in USA Today.

      This database had previously been revealed to a lesser extent earlier this year, but neither its operational details nor its scope had been revealed until now.

    • Cell Phone Opsec

      Note that it actually makes sense to use a one-time pad in this instance. The message is a ten-digit number, and a one-time pad is easier, faster, and cleaner than using any computer encryption program.

    • Could your online porn habits be publicly released?

      Data brokers, which track browsing habits to sell to third parties, are not governed by any laws stating what can and can’t be done with the data. But they are not the same as hackers, who could theoretically access information about membership to porn sites. Vice said hackers would be more likely to sell the credit card information than release it online for no gain.

      Neither brokers nor hackers have a vested interest in creating Thomas’s nightmare vision of a searchable porn-user database. But that doesn’t mean the data isn’t out there. Even a browser in incognito mode will send tracking information to data brokers that according to one privacy researcher is “all sitting in a database somewhere”.

      Vice said that shouldn’t surprise internet users: “It’s a truth about the modern internet that just about anywhere you go, you’re being tracked.”

    • Post-Cryptanalysis, TrueCrypt Alternatives Step Forward

      TrueCrypt’s relative clean bill of health last week has now spawned a new focus on existing alternatives to the open source encryption software, namely VeraCrypt and CipherShed.

    • General Election Training: How can you campaign against mass surveillance?

      ORG supporters are invited to our General Election Training run by ORG staff on how we can make an impact this election! We’ll give you all the knowledge you need to be confident and effective digital rights activist this election.

    • Illegal downloading: Australia internet firms must supply data

      An Australian court has ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to hand over details of customers accused of illegally downloading a US movie.

  • Civil Rights

    • Hologram replaces Edward Snowden statue in Brooklyn park

      Hours after police removed an illicit bust of Edward Snowden from its perch in a Brooklyn park on Monday, artists replaced it with a hologram.

    • Political Smears in U.S. Never Change: the NYT’s 1967 Attack on MLK’s Anti-War Speech

      John Oliver’s Monday night interview of Edward Snowden — which in 24 hours has been viewed by 3 million people on YouTube alone — renewed all the standard attacks in Democratic circles accusing Snowden of being a traitor in cahoots with the Kremlin. What’s most striking about this — aside from the utter lack of evidence for any of it — is how identical it is to what Nixon officials said to smear the last generation’s greatest whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg (who is widely regarded by Democrats as a hero because his leak occurred with a Republican in the White House).

    • TSA’s Airport “Behavior Detection Program” Found to Target Undocumented Immigrants, Not Terrorists

      The Intercept revealed last month that it is quite easy to be deemed a “suspected terrorist” at airports in the United States. A leaked checklist used by the Transportation Security Administration shows an expansive list of “suspicious signs” for screening passengers, including yawning, fidgeting, whistling, throat clearing and staring at one’s feet. All of these, according to the TSA, are considered behaviors that indicate stress or deception. Well now The Intercept has revealed who the program actually targets: not terrorists, but undocumented immigrants. Taking a five-week period at a major U.S. airport, The Intercept found that 90 percent of all those arrested were detained for being in the country illegally. Not a single passenger was arrested or suspected for ties to terrorism. The overwhelming detention of undocumented immigrants bolsters criticism that government screening programs have targeted passengers with racial profiling. We speak to the reporter who broke this story, Jana Winter.

    • Strikes Grow in China as Grassroots Labor Movement Takes Shape

      As the economic landscape in China continues to shift, an awakening working class is demanding fair treatment and higher wages—and the movement is picking up steam.

      The Associated Press on Monday highlighted the emerging resistance to workplace exploitation and authoritarian government policies that has steadily grown over the past four years, with numbers of strikers doubling annually since 2011 until they reached more than 1,300 last year.

    • NY Cops Used ‘Stingray’ Spy Tool 46 Times Without Warrant

      The police department in Erie County, New York fought hard to prevent the New York Civil Liberties Union from obtaining records about its use of a controversial surveillance tool known as a stingray.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • ISP Pulls VPN Service After Geo-Unblocking Legal Threats

      Following copyright threats from large media companies a Kiwi ISP has taken down its VPN service. Lightbox, MediaWorks, SKY, and TVNZ had threatened legal action against services that bypass geo-restrictions on sites such as Netflix and Hulu. Other ISPs offering similar products are currently standing firm.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Australian public health advocates seek access to regional trade pact negotiations

      The peak lobby group for American pharmaceutical manufacturers has been given privileged access to negotiations for a major regional trade pact that could see the cost of medicines skyrocket in Australia.

      Public health advocates and business groups are concerned that pharmaceutical giants will be able to advance their commercial interests in the once-in-a-lifetime pact through their seat at the negotiating table, while the details are kept secret from the Australian public.

    • Health experts worried as Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations conclude

      The draft of the investment chapter published by Wikileaks last week outlines the controversial investor‐state dispute settlement mechanism which would allow foreign corporations to sue governments in offshore tribunals.


Links 7/4/2015: Dell XPS 13 With Ubuntu, digiKam Software Collection 4.9.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Calling all Kiwi developers: Ready to push the limits of Open Source?

    “To have GitHub cohost their first conference outside of the US in Wellington is a strong endorsement of our tech capability.”

  • Open for Thinking, Participation & Collaboration: Peter Kerr

    As a digital immigrant who has, without sometimes knowing why, gone down he android path for my devices, I’m inherently drawn to the open source philosophy.

    In a sense, at a time when public participation in democracy is lessening, it is events such as this that continue to hold the flame for non-secrecy and more sharing in society.

  • A better Internet of Things through open source culture

    Open source’s influence extends far beyond sharing code, but this aspect sometimes goes unappreciated. For example, I previously wrote about how the special way of developing and collaborating associated with open source has come to also reflect many DevOps best practices, from transparency to iterative fast releases. I’d argue that it is many of these same default behaviors that are helping to make the Internet of Things a hot topic today.

  • Events

    • North West Linux Fest

      Fedora Jam is coming to Linux Fest North West in Bellingham, Washington, April 24th to 26th. If you are a friend of Fedora, sign up on the wiki and participate in our booth. Or if you are a musician, come by to try out Fedora Jam, we will have a guitar, keyboard and other instruments to try out. We will have Fedora shirts at the Friday game night, show your Fedora pride during the fest.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Networking in the cloud is changing

      As part of the OpenStack Live conference next week in Santa Clara, California, she’ll be delivering a three hour tutorial on OpenStack networking architecture and concepts, along with her colleague Faan DeSwardt.

    • AtScale Launches, Bridging Hadoop and Popular Analytics Tools

      At one point, the Big Data trend–sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information–remained an enterprise-only story, but now businesses of all sizes are evaluating tools that can help them glean meaningful insights from the data they store. As we’ve noted, the open source Hadoop project has been one of the big drivers of this trend, and has given rise to commercial companies that offer custom Hadoop distributions, support, training and more. Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR are leading the pack among these Hadoop-focused companies.

  • Funding

    • The Open Source Funding Conundrum

      Every time I hear of another great open source project shutting its doors, I hold my breath in hopes it will be forked. Sadly though, this isn’t a great plan for all projects. Sometimes these projects are rich in users but poor in developers. In this article, I’ll explore this issue and what can be done to keep open source projects funded.

    • CoreOS Team Gets $12 Million to Offer DIY Google-style Infrastructure with Tectonic

      Google has a vested interest in CoreOS bringing Kubernetes to the enterprise, with Google Ventures investing $12 million in Tectonic.


  • Public Services/Government

    • Basque parliament adapts workflow to eID tool

      The Basque Parliament is planning to overhaul its workflow, wishing to increase its use of digital identity and electronic signature solutions. The Basque Parliament is using Sinadura, an open source eID tool developed by Zylk, a Bilbao-based open source IT service provider. The parliament now wants to combine this with more applications, the company says.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • All You Need to Know

    I see that in “journalists” questioning Blair, nobody asked the obvious question, which is who was paying for this particular speech.

  • STV Debate Unionist Fit-Up

    I wondered how on earth they got an audience so completely unrepresentative of Scottish opinion, and the answer was not hard to find. The audience has been selected “based both on current opinion polls and the last general election result.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ​Monsanto lobbyist claims ‘safe to drink a quart of pesticide’ – but bolts when offered a glass (VIDEO)

      A lobbyist for Monsanto claimed that it was safe to drink “a quart” of the company’s Roundup pesticide, but pointedly refused to try even a sip when offered a glass during an interview with French TV before storming off the set.

      Patrick Moore told a Canal+ journalist that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world’s most widely used weed killer, was not responsible for an increase in cancer rates in Argentina.

      “You can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you,” he insisted.

      When the journalist informed him that a cup of the herbicide was prepared for him, Moore bristled, saying: “I’m not stupid.”

      But when pressed by the interviewer if the substance was dangerous, Moore replied: “It’s not dangerous to humans.” He added that many try to commit suicide by drinking Roundup, but “fail regularly.”

    • Paul blazes new path on pot

      Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is poised to become the first top-tier presidential candidate from either party to make marijuana reform a major campaign issue.

      Paul, who will announce his White House bid on Tuesday, has argued forcefully that states should be allowed to adopt their own policies on the use of medical marijuana without fear of federal interference.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Factual Errors in John Bolton’s “Bomb Iran!” Op-Ed in the New York Times – and Why You Should Care

      Last week, at a crucial moment in nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and Iran, the New York Times published an op-ed by former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton titled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” As I pointed out at the time, the Times accidentally undermined him by linking one of his key claims to an explanation of why that claim was wrong. After I asked about it, the Times changed the link.

      Bolton’s many other factual mistakes, detailed below, have also not been corrected — on top of which, Bolton failed to make a relevant disclosure about his paid work for a group that advocates the overthrow of the Iranian regime. It’s worth dwelling on these problems a bit given that Bolton’s perspective has a significant constituency in Congress — which could still derail the accord the White House is closing in on with the Iranians.

    • The Obama Arms Bazaar: Record Sales, Troubling Results

      With the end of the Obama presidency just around the corner, discussions of his administration’s foreign policy legacy are already well under way. But one central element of that policy has received little attention: the Obama administration’s dramatic acceleration of U.S. weapons exports.

      The numbers are astonishing. In President Obama’s first five years in office, new agreements under the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program—the largest channel for U.S. arms exports—totaled over $169 billion. After adjusting for inflation, the volume of major deals concluded by the Obama administration in its first five years exceeds the amount approved by the Bush administration in its full eight years in office by nearly $30 billion. That also means that the Obama administration has approved more arms sales than any U.S. administration since World War II.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Wikileaks

      I had not realised that Julian had so much Scottish ancestry or quite so recently. After independence, he will definitely be entitled to a Scottish passport!

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Conservative Media Blame Environmentalists, Not Climate, For California’s “Man-Made Drought”

      The Wall Street Journal editorial board recently recycled many of the same claims it made in a 2009 editorial titled, “California’s Man-Made Drought.” Right-wing website Hot Air dubbed the drought “California’s ‘man-made’ environmental disaster.” And when potential 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina described the drought as “a man-made disaster” during an appearance on Glenn Beck’s radio show, Beck demanded to know why “we don’t hear that story on the news at all,” while Rush Limbaugh declared that “there is a man-made lack of water in California,” and “[Fiorina is] right.”

      No, these media figures haven’t suddenly seen the light on climate change. Instead, they’re using the historic drought as an opportunity to baselessly attack environmental policies.

    • Nuclear submarine on fire at Russian shipyard

      A fire has broken out at a Russian nuclear submarine during repair work at a shipyard in Severodvinsk. The cause of the fire is believed to be related to welding work on the sub.

      The United Shipbuilding Company confirmed the incident, adding that nobody was hurt in it. According to the the shipyard’s spokesperson, the submarine’s nuclear reactor was shut down and its weapons unloaded before the repair started.

    • Russian nuclear submarine catches fire at shipyard

      A Moscow radio station published a picture showing smoke billowing from the submarine.

    • Russian Nuclear Sub ‘On Fire In Dry Dock’

      A Russian nuclear submarine has caught fire in a shipyard, according to news agency RIA Novosti.

      The 500m-long (1,640ft6) 949 Antei was being repaired on in Zvyozdochka shipyard in Russia’s northern province of Arkhangelsk, according to Russian news agency reports.

    • Russian nuclear submarine catches fire in shipyard

      Russian news agency Interfax cited a separate source as saying there were no weapons on board the submarine and other news agencies said the fire had started during welding, causing insulation materials to catch fire.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Fighting Toddler ‘Porn Addiction,’ UK Lawmakers Demand Porn Sites Include Age Checks Or Face Closure

      The UK’s attempts to filter the Internet of all of its naughty bits are nothing if not amusing, whether it’s the nation’s porn filter architect getting arrested for child porn, or the complete and total obliviousness when it comes to the slippery slope of expanding those filters to include a growing roster of ambiguously objectionable material. The idea of forcing some kind of overarching structure upon porn consumption in the UK is another idea that never seems to go away, whether it’s requiring a “porn license” (requiring users to clearly opt in if they want to view porn) or the latest push — mandatory age checks.

  • Privacy

    • Microsoft drops Do Not Track default from Internet Explorer

      Microsoft has reversed its position on the contentious Do Not Track (DNT) browser feature, saying Internet Explorer will no longer send DNT signals to websites by default.

      “Put simply, we are updating our approach to DNT to eliminate any misunderstanding about whether our chosen implementation will comply with the W3C standard,” Microsoft chief privacy officer Brendon Lynch said in a Friday blog post.

    • Security Audit Of TrueCrypt Doesn’t Find Any Backdoors — But What Will Happen To TrueCrypt?

      Over the past few years we’ve followed the saga of TrueCrypt. The popular and widely used full disk encryption system got some attention soon after the initial Snowden leaks when people started realizing that no one really knew who was behind TrueCrypt, and that the software had not been fully audited. Cryptographer Matthew Green decided to lead an effort to audit TrueCrypt. A year ago, the team released the first phase, finding a few small vulnerabilities, but no backdoors and nothing too serious. This week the full audit was completed and again finds no evidence of any backdoors planted in the code.

    • Meet the privacy activists who spy on the surveillance industry

      On the second floor of a narrow brick building in the London Borough of Islington, Edin Omanovic is busy creating a fake company. He is playing with the invented company’s business cards in a graphic design program, darkening the reds, bolding the blacks, and testing fonts to strike the right tone: informational, ambiguous, no bells and whistles. In a separate window, a barren website is starting to take shape. Omanovic, a tall, slender Bosnian-born, Scottish-raised Londonite gives the company a fake address that forwards to his real office, and plops in a red and black company logo he just created. The privacy activist doesn’t plan to scam anyone out of money, though he does want to learn their secrets. Ultimately, he hopes that the business cards combined with a suit and a close-cropped haircut will grant him access to a surveillance industry trade show, a privilege usually restricted to government officials and law enforcement agencies.

    • DHS Seeks Increase in Domestic HUMINT Collection

      The Department of Homeland Security aims to increase its domestic human intelligence collection activity this year, the Department recently told Congress.

      In a question for the record from a September 2014 congressional hearing, Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-GA) asked: “Do we currently have enough human intelligence capacity–both here in the homeland and overseas–to counter the threats posed by state and non-state actors alike?”

    • Stop Taking Dick Pics, But Not Because of the NSA. (SFW)

      Let me make something clear: I am pro dick pic. I mean, who doesn’t love the occasional consensual staring contest with a one eyed bandit? When Edward Snowden told everyone to keep taking dick pictures on Last Week Tonight, he was making an important point. Governments are meant to be accountable to people and controlled by them in democracies. Leaving aside any specific analysis of how much or whether America is really a democracy, Snowden’s message is profound and valid. We should have that freedom, and we have it by practicing that freedom at our governments. But we should be on a dick pic strike nevertheless.

  • Civil Rights

    • Czech president says his ‘doors are closed’ to US envoy over Moscow WWII visit comments

      Previously, Zeman said that his visit to Russia would be a “sign of gratitude for not having to speak German in this country.” He also intended to pay tribute to the memory of 150,000 Soviet soldiers who died liberating Czechoslovakia.

    • Barrett Brown suddenly stripped of prison e-mail after talking to press

      Barrett Brown, the brash journalist and former member of Anonymous who was sentenced in January 2015 to over five years in federal prison, had his e-mail privileges suddenly revoked, seemingly for corresponding with journalists.

      On Sunday, Brown’s supporters published his account of the punishment, describing how he suddenly lost access to his prison-supplied e-mail account on March 31. In the ensuing days, Brown attempted to contact various prison officials to get further information, including someone named “Trust Fund Manager Coleman.”

    • Malaysia passes controversial anti-terror bill

      Malaysia has passed a controversial anti-terrorism bill, which the government says is needed to tackle the threat from Islamic extremists.

      The bill reintroduces indefinite detention without trial – something the prime minister had repealed in 2012.

    • Chelsea Manning and the Call of America’s Conscience

      April 5th marked the five year anniversary of WikiLeaks publication of the Collateral Murder Video. The footage of a secret US military video depicted an Apache helicopter killing Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters journalists. It provided an uncensored view of modern war for the world to see. The light that shone in the darkness was the conscience of a young woman. Chelsea Manning (formally Bradley Manning) is now serving 35 years behind bars for her great public service.

    • Assange, Manning Still Only Ones Imprisoned for Collateral Murder

      April 5 marked the five-year anniversary of the release of the Collateral Murder video by WikiLeaks. The shocking footage showed the entire world the 2007 US Apache attack helicopter airstrike on Baghdad that killed 12 people – including two Reuters staff members – and injured two small children.

    • Obama Executive Order prompts surge in bitcoin donations to the Snowden defence fund

      On 1 April 2015, Barack Obama signed into law an Executive Order “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities”

      Media reports speculated that the new powers granted by this Executive Order would enable executive authorities to confiscate cryptocurrency holdings and even prohibit donations to Edward Snowden’s defence fund.

      Since news of the Executive Order came to light, the bitcoin account for Edward Snowden’s official defence fund experienced a significant surge in donations , due at least in part to this post on reddit. We have received over 200 separate donations this month, including a single donation of 8.49 bitcoin, or over 2000 US dollars.

    • Obama reportedly criminalises “support” for “cyber-enabled activities”

      US President Barack Obama has issued an executive order authorising the Treasury Secretary to enact sanctions against those whom it deems to have “have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for” cyber-related crimes.

      Reuters reports that even US lawmakers consider the order “surprisingly broad”, and investigative journalists are concerned about its wide-ranging scope.

    • Historic child sex abuse: Young boys trafficked from Belfast to London, victim claims

      Vulnerable young boys were taken from a children’s care home in Belfast in the 1970s, trafficked to London and abused by powerful figures who were part of a Westminster pedophile ring, a victim has claimed.

      Richard Kerr, a victim of child sex abuse at the Kincora care home for boys, told Channel 4 News he also suffered abuse at London’s Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square.

    • Second Yemen war critic is arrested

      ANOTHER official at the National Democratic Assembly (Al Wahdawi) has been arrested for allegedly criticising military action in Yemen.

      Deputy secretary general Mohammed Al Motawa was yesterday accused of spreading false and malicious information about Operation Decisive Storm, led by Saudi Arabia and nine allied countries, including Bahrain.

      The coalition countries launched air strikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen on Thursday after Shi’ite militias sought to topple the Yemeni government led by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

    • Pakistan Judge: Charge CIA Lawyer, Officer for Drone Strike

      A Pakistani judge on Tuesday ordered that criminal charges be filed against a former CIA lawyer who oversaw its drone program and the one-time chief agency operative in Islamabad over a 2009 strike that killed two people.

      Former acting general counsel John A. Rizzo and ex-station chief Jonathan Bank must face charges including murder, conspiracy, terrorism and waging war against Pakistan, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court ruled. A court clerk and a lawyer involved the case, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, confirmed details of the judge’s ruling.

    • Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans


Links 6/4/2015: Krita 3.0 Plans, Intel’s PC-on-a-stick With Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 6:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Getting an inside track on open source

    Michael Bryzek saw open source playing a big role in his company’s IT infrastructure, right from the start.

    The CTO and co-founder of online retailer Gilt Groupe, Bryzek built the eight-year-old members-only shopping site using the Web framework Ruby on Rails, the Linux operating system and the object-relational database system PostgreSQL — all open-source tools.

    He says open source doesn’t have the “friction” — that is, sticking points like contractual limits — that typically come with commercial products. He also says his engineers can be more creative and innovative with open source.

  • Jay: A Decentralized and Open-Source Web Wallet for NXT

    Jay, a javascript wallet framework developed for NXT, has just released their open-source, trustless web wallet, which may be the easiest way to make NXT transactions yet.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Piston Unveils Piston CloudOS 4.0, focused on “the Modern Data Center”

      Piston Cloud Computing, Inc. has announced the availability of Piston CloudOS 4.0, which is billed as “an operating system for the modern data center that transforms clusters of commodity servers into a single unified environment.” The platform can purportedly deploy OpenStack in minutes, and CloudOS 4.0 also lets users deploy Hadoop and Spark on bare metal, with forthcoming support for container orchestration tools such as Kubernetes, Mesos and Docker Swarm.

    • Piston Cloud’s Smart Move to Build a Fungible Platform

      Piston Cloud Computing has announced a move beyond OpenStack for its Piston CloudOS 4.0, an operating system for the data center that transforms clusters of commodity servers into a single unified environment.

    • Nebula, OpenStack cloud vendor, just shut down with no notice

      The company was founded in 2011 by Chris Kemp, who had been chief technology officer for IT at NASA where he helped create OpenStack. Kemp left NASA to push OpenStack forward. As Kemp explained to Tech Republic in the fall of 2014, “I wanted the project to live on beyond the work we were doing … I knew that if we could open-source this work under a very flexible open-source framework, and really get a community gathered around contributing to it, the project could live on.”

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Open Source Human Transformation: Hinduism’s gift to mankind

        At the outset, one needs to appreciate that the word “Religion” is related to the Abrahamic faiths more. Eastern spiritual traditions, which find their beginnings in Hinduism, are neither faiths nor religions. Hinduism is an amalgam of various spiritual traditions. The ways are different, the goals are different and the very way of looking at man, divine and life is different. Open Source, personal, subjective, experiential and not fixed in history via a person or event. Now, let us look at what is on offer from Hinduism. Something that is fundamental to human well being.

  • BSD


    • GNU remotecontrol

      Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

    • GCC 5 Is Coming This Month With OpenMP 4.0, Offloading, Cilk Plus & More

      GCC 5 is expected to be formally released later this month and it by far is looking to be the most exciting GNU Compiler Collection update yet! GCC 5 has amassed a ton of exciting open-source compiler features over the past year.

    • XKCD’s Comic About OSes Is Hilarious, Predicts Launch Date of GNU Hurd 1.0

      The XKCD webcomics are funny because they are usually right on the money, with just a side dish of ridiculousness. The latest one is called Operating Systems and encompasses everything that is done wrong in this world, with just a single drawing and small, smart text about Richard Stallman.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Govt makes a pitch for open source software in IT tenders

      With an aim to reduce project costs, the government has decided to give preference to open source software (OSS) over proprietary in e-governance procurements.

    • India backs open source software for e-governance projects

      Federal and state agencies must make it mandatory for suppliers to give OSS a preference over proprietary or closed source software while responding to requests for proposals. “Suppliers shall provide justification for exclusion of OSS in their response,” according to the policy statement posted to the website of the Ministry for Communication & Information Technology.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Students compete for a chance to have their Raspberry Pi code run in space

      As part of the mission’s education outreach program, children in UK schools will get the chance to write code to run their own applications in space. The Pis will each have a specially made sensor board attached in order to access data on the space station’s atmosphere. Schools will get the chance to run experiments in their own classroom and compare the results from space, or just make interesting applications to run on the space station. We’re really excited to see what the young minds of Britain come up with, and what they can learn from turning their ideas to a reality by programming the boards.


  • On Armenia centennial, US rockers hope music raises pressure

    One hundred years after the mass killings of Armenians, US band System of a Down is taking the fight for remembrance beyond politicians to the world’s music fans.

    The Los Angeles-area hard rockers, who have sold more than 40 million albums since the mid-1990s, are of Armenian descent and are preparing a European tour to culminate in a public concert on April 23 in Yerevan, the band’s first performance in Armenia.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Pentagon’s $10-billion bet gone bad

      Leaders of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency were effusive about the new technology.

      It was the most powerful radar of its kind in the world, they told Congress. So powerful it could detect a baseball over San Francisco from the other side of the country.

      If North Korea launched a sneak attack, the Sea-Based X-Band Radar — SBX for short — would spot the incoming missiles, track them through space and guide U.S. rocket-interceptors to destroy them.

    • Apparent Saudi Strike Kills at Least Nine in Yemeni Family

      At least nine people from a single family were killed when what appeared to be an airstrike by the Saudi-led military coalition struck a home in a village outside Sana, Yemen’s capital, officials said Saturday.

      Village residents gave a higher toll, saying that as many as 11 members of the Okaish family, including five children, were killed in the bombing on Friday. The airstrike may have been intended for an air defense base about a mile and half away, a Yemen Interior Ministry official said.

      Bombings attributed to the coalition have killed dozens of civilians since the start of the Saudi-led air offensive intended to cripple the Houthis, a Yemeni militia that has gained control of Sana and other parts of Yemen in the past eight months.

    • Manufacturing a ‘Good Adversary’ in Tehran

      The real story behind America’s 30-year Cold War with Iran


      The real reason the Bush White House had abandoned the opening to Iran was that the CIA and the Pentagon desperately needed to replace the Soviet threat as justification for continuing Cold War levels of appropriations.

      To head off deep cuts in the CIA budget, the agency’s new director, Robert M. Gates, had identified Iran and the proliferation of nuclear weapons as a new threat. Just two weeks after Gates became director in November 1991, a “senior administration official” was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying that relations with Iran would remain in the “deep freeze,” because of Iran’s “continued support for international terrorism” and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

      That comment dovetailed with the argument Gates made in pubic testimony to fend off deep budget cuts. Testifying before the Defense Policy Panel in early December, just two days after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Gates said the “accelerating proliferation” of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems were “probably the gravest concern” among post-Cold War threats.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Judge Shoots Down ‘FOIA Terrorist’ Jason Leopold; Says ‘Panetta Review’ Documents Can Be Withheld In Full

      The CIA’s internal document designations seem to bear some resemblance to the NYPD’s use of its “SECRET” stamp — which is deployed arbitrarily and without oversight to declare certain documents out of the reach of Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests. If the CIA feels exemption b(5) gives it the best chance to keep documents out of the hands of journalists like Jason Leopold. it can slap these designations on as many papers as possible and mention its predetermination in FOIA lawsuit declarations.

      Second, Boasberg’s refusal to challenge even a single exemption assertion by the CIA isn’t particularly good news, considering his recent appointment to the FISA court. While he has pushed back on government secrecy in the past, he’s also been just as likely to grant its wishes. Considering he’s replacing FISA Judge Reggie Walton — one of the few FISA judges to openly question surveillance tactics and hold the NSA accountable for its abuses — this latest decision seems to indicate his appointment is a downgrade in terms of government accountability.

  • Finance

    • George Will Revives Tired Canard That Reagan Created One Million Jobs In One Month

      But Will’s claim about Reagan’s job creation record is disingenuous. As Business Insider pointed out, Reagan’s so-called million job month in September 1983 was simply an outlier inflated due to nearly 675,000 striking communication workers returning to work…

    • The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much

      ONCE upon a time in America, baby boomers paid for college with the money they made from their summer jobs. Then, over the course of the next few decades, public funding for higher education was slashed. These radical cuts forced universities to raise tuition year after year, which in turn forced the millennial generation to take on crushing educational debt loads, and everyone lived unhappily ever after.

  • Censorship

    • Turkey reportedly blocks Twitter and YouTube

      Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is calling for a ban on social media once again.

      A spokesperson for this office said on Monday that a prosecutor has ordered Internet providers to block sites that include YouTube and Twitter, which is extremely popular in the country.

      The request comes after photos spread online showing militants holding a prosecutor hostage at gunpoint last week during a takeover of this courthouse office. Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who investigated the death of a teenager who was hit by a police gas canister fired during nationwide anti-government protests in 2013, died last week in a shootout between police and the Marxist militants.

    • Turkish Censorship Order Targets Single Blog Post, Ends Up Blocking Access To 60 Million WordPress Sites

      A lawyer and Turkish Pirate Party member tracked down the root of the sudden ban on all of WordPress: a court order seeking to block a single blog post written by a professor accusing another professor of plagiarism. This post apparently led to several defamation lawsuits and the lawsuits led to a court order basically saying that if blocking the single post proved too difficult, fuck it, block the entire domain.

    • Turkey Blocks Twitter, YouTube, Scores of Websites After Prosecutor’s Killing

      Twitter and YouTube are blocked once again in Turkey as of today, April 6, following the mass circulation of photos of a hostage crisis that ended with the death of a government prosecutor. According to Hurriyet Daily News, authorities have also blocked 166 websites that posted the photos.

      Although Facebook was initially blocked for the same reason, the block was lifted after the company complied with Turkish officials’ orders to remove the offending images.

  • Privacy

    • Blocking The Fields

      You now need an army of spies, analysts and police to watch the security cameras, check on the spies and watch for people jumping fences. This is not about the bad thing you first objected to any more. It’s now about jumping fences to get to places that have been made unreachable by them, checking on spies for telling lies, dealing with corruption among your informers, suppressing all the “SJW”s who whine about the loss of freedom and undermining your political opposition who are equally clueless about blocking fields but can see that what you are doing is hugely unpopular.

      Congratulations! Your attempt to stop something your supporters disapprove of by mandating the impossible has created a police state. It doesn’t matter how bad the thing you were trying to stop is; people probably agree that it’s a bad thing.

      By mandating the impossible, you caused collateral damage that outweighed any benefits, and by associating it with a thing no-one dares defend in public you were able to accidentally destroy society without opposition. And you didn’t notice because you never do for walks in the fields.

    • Why John Oliver Can’t Find Americans Who Know Edward Snowden’s Name (It’s Not About Snowden)

      On his HBO program last night, John Oliver devoted 30 minutes to a discussion of U.S. surveillance programs, advocating a much more substantive debate as the June 1 deadline for renewing the Patriot Act approaches (the full segment can be seen here). As part of that segment, Oliver broadcast an interview he conducted with Edward Snowden in Moscow, and to illustrate the point that an insufficient surveillance debate has been conducted, showed video of numerous people in Times Square saying they had no idea who Snowden is (or giving inaccurate answers about him). Oliver assured Snowden off-camera that they did not cherry-pick those “on the street” interviews but showed a representative sample.

    • Microsoft drops ‘do not track’ browser default to reflect ‘evolving industry standards’

      Microsoft has updated its ‘Do Not Track’ policy, which will no longer be a default setting in its browser, thus giving third parties like advertisers a free hand in deciding whether to track the user or not, unless the option has been turned on manually.

      The ‘Do Not Track’ (DNT) setting in browsers specifies whether the user wants his or her browsing information to be available to third parties such as content providers and advertisers, who gather it so they can learn about a person’s interests and habits.

    • Exclusive: TSA ‘Behavior Detection’ Program Targeting Undocumented Immigrants, Not Terrorists

      A controversial Transportation Security Administration program that uses “behavior indicators” to identify potential terrorists is instead primarily targeting undocumented immigrants, according to a document obtained by The Intercept and interviews with current and former government officials.

      The $900 million program, Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, employs behavior detection officers trained to identify passengers who exhibit behaviors that TSA believes could be linked to would-be terrorists. But in one five-week period at a major international airport in the United States in 2007, the year the program started, only about 4 percent of the passengers who were referred to secondary screening or law enforcement by behavior detection officers were arrested, and nearly 90 percent of those arrests were for being in the country illegally, according to a TSA document obtained by The Intercept.

    • Artists secretly install Edward Snowden statue in Brooklyn park

      Dressed in reflective yellow construction gear while working under the cover of darkness early Monday, a small group of artists installed a tribute to NSA-leaker Edward Snowden in a Brooklyn park.

      The Snowden bust stands atop a column at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park, a site built to honor more than 11,000 American prisoners of war who died aboard British ships during the American Revolutionary War.

    • Artists secretly install Snowden monument

      A group of artists secretly installed a 100-pound sculpture of government leaker Edward Snowden in a New York City park early on Monday morning, though it was taken down by city officials later in the day.

      The handful of people wearing yellow reflector vests and hard hats snuck into the park and, in the predawn hours, attached the massive bust of a neatly coiffed Snowden wearing his trademark square-rimmed glassed onto the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument in Brooklyn, which honors soldiers imprisoned in the Revolutionary War.
      In a statement provided to city blog Animal, which also produced a short video about the installation, the activists said that the effort was meant to reinvigorate the focus on the leaker and the massive government surveillance that he exposed.

      “We have updated this monument to highlight those who sacrifice their safety in the fight against modern-day tyrannies,” they told the website.

    • Edward Snowden statue appears in Brooklyn overnight

      A trio of anonymous artists and helpers installed a bust of Edward Snowden in Brooklyn Monday morning.

      The 100-pound statue was hauled into Fort Greene Park just before dawn, according to ANIMALNewYork, which originally reported the story.

      The idea for the statue came from two artists and was made by a West Coast sculptor. Snowden leaked classified information from the National Security Agency to mainstream media in June 2013. He was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with two counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property and currently lives in Russia.

    • New York City Takes Down Edward Snowden Statue Erected By Guerilla Artists

      NYPD says the art prank is under investigation

      New York City has removed a statue of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden erected by a group of artists in a Brooklyn park.

    • John Oliver Asks Edward Snowden If The American Government Is Spying On Your Naked Photos

      “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” viewers got a surprise during Sunday’s show when the British satirist interviewed a man he described as “the most famous hero and/or traitor in recent American history:” NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

  • Civil Rights

    • Eight San Francisco police officers expected to be fired over racist, homophobic texts

      Eight San Francisco police officers implicated in sending and receiving racist and homophobic text messages have been suspended and are expected to be fired, according to news reports.

    • Barrett Brown, John Kiriakou & the Bureau of Prisons’ Deep Contempt for First Amendment

      The Bureau of Prisons’ contempt for the First Amendment has been on full display this week.

      Journalist and activist Barrett Brown pled guilty to offenses stemming from YouTube videos he uploaded containing a threat directed at the FBI, emails from hackers he redacted and laptops found in a kitchen cabinet that he hid from authorities. He was sentenced to five years and three months in jail on January 22.

    • Barrett Brown’s account of the arbitrary suspension of his e-mail

      On Tuesday March 31, I used the inmate computer system to send an email to a journalist of my acquaintance in which I inquired about getting him in touch with another inmate who was interested in talking to the press about potentially illegal conduct by BOP officials. When I tried to log in to the system one hour afterwards, I received a message reading: “Denied: You do not have access to this service.” I asked our Counselor Towchik about this and he called another office, from which he apparently received a vague explanation to the effect that they were “working on it”, which we took to understand that this was a system maintenance issue; he told me to return to his office later that afternoon. I did so, and he told me that several people were having issues with the system and that he would make further inquiries, and that if necessary he would bring the technical staff over to our unit the next day to discuss it with us, assuming the problem had still not been fixed. The next morning I reached my mother by phone and learned that apparently everyone on my message contact list had received an automatic email to the effect that my messaging privileges had been temporarily suspended, but I reassured her that it was merely a mistake. When I met again with Towchik, however, he conceded that the problem didn’t seem to be technical after all and that I should ask Trust Fund Manager Coleman about it at lunch. Failing to find Mr. Coleman, I met that afternoon with Unit Manger Ivory, who checked my files but could find no reason why my access should have suddenly been suspended and also advised me to meet with Mr. Coleman. At some point that day, my attempts to log in started to prompt a different message stating: “This account is on suspension until 4/1/2016 11:59:59 pm (from portal 16)”. At the next lunch period on Thursday, April 2nd, I was unable to locate Mr. Coleman, but laid out my problem to the associate warden who told me to return in five minutes, when Mr. Coleman would be present.

    • The Persian Paradox: Iran Is Much More Modern Than You Think

      People in the West tend to have a monolithic view of Iran. But there’s a lot more to the country than the mullah-led theocracy, and it often gets ignored. And national pride is alive and well.

    • Petition Against Obama Decree on Venezuela Tops 8m Signatures

      A petition launched in Venezuela opposing President Barack Obama’s latest sanctions and the labelling of Venezuela as a national security threat has topped 8 million signatures, it was announced Sunday.

      President Obama issued an executive order March 9 declaring a “national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela.”

      Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro thanked the supporters who backed the call for Obama to “repeal the decree” through his Twitter account.

      The signatures will be handed in during the Summit of the Americas which starts later this week in Panama and will be attended by all the nations in the hemishphere.

    • Two Court Rulings Completely Disagree With Each Other Over Whether Websites Need To Comply With Americans With Disabilities Act

      On March 19th, there was a ruling [pdf] in a case in a federal district court in Vermont, brought by the National Federation for the Blind against Scribd, saying that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applied to the internet, and thus Scribd had to comply with the ADA. The specific concern is whether or not a website is a “place of public accommodation.” Three years ago there was a similar ruling against Netflix (also brought by the National Federation for the Blind), which we noted had some troubling aspects to it. Since then, there have been a number of cases that have gone the other way. And, indeed, just this week the 9th Circuit appeals court upheld a lower court ruling [pdf] saying that Netflix does not need to comply with the ADA.

    • Willie McRae

      The Scotsman claims that the police had first removed the vehicle and then replaced it, and this explains the mystery of why the gun was so far from the car after McRae’s remarkable two shot “suicide”. For me, that adds just another level of improbability to so very many. How, inside a car, you shoot yourself in the head in such a way that the gun falls out of the window, seems problematic. The car was crashed over a burn; how you order that with the suicide is peculiar.

    • A Non-Conspiracy of Douthat’s

      The “difficult and personal” decision of whether folks like these can decide if you can shop at a store or not.

    • School Teachers With Valid Work Authorization Labeled As “Illegals” By Fox News

      Fox News misleadingly slurred immigrants with legal permission to work in the United States as “illegals” during a segment highlighting attempts by disadvantaged school districts around the country to boost bilingual education initiatives.

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