EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.12.14

Ubuntu News: Wallpapers, Beta, Phones, Chromium…

Posted in News Roundup at 4:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Some of the past week’s news about Ubuntu, the most hyped up distribution of GNU/Linux

Desktop

  • Linux Bugs, Cheese Quesadilla, and Ubuntu Looks
  • Ubuntu 14.04 default and community wallpapers revealed

    Continuing the new trend of adding community wallpapers to the default Ubuntu installation, Ubuntu devs released today 11 community contributed wallpapers to be included in the latest iteration of Ubuntu, 14.04 LTS. These 11 wallpapers were chosen from a community wallpaper contest which ended on 5th March. Shortly after releasing the community wallpapers, the default wallpaper was also released.

  • Distro diaspora: Four flavours of Ubuntu unpacked

    Version 14.04, nicknamed Trusty Tahr, will be an important one because it culminates in a Long Term Support (LTS) version, the first in two years.

  • What to expect in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

    Every two years a Long Term Support (LTS) release of Ubuntu is made available to the public. Every LTS is supported for 5 years by Canonical. This year is the year of LTS release and its just 1 month away. Canonical will be keen to keep up the stability of LTS release like it has done in the past. Lets have a quick look at what can we expect from this year’s LTS release.

  • Ubuntu 14.04 beta 1 offers a sneak peek at ‘Trusty Tahr’

    Not long ago we learned that Ubuntu will be ditching Unity’s global menu and returning to in-app menus instead. I’m hoping we’ll see that later this month when the next beta release arrives, since the main, Unity-based Ubuntu version will be participating in that one. Stay tuned for more updates when that happens.

  • Local Menus are making a comeback in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS – albeit, with one small twist!
  • Early Look at How Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Is Shaping Up

    The next Ubuntu Long-Term Release, codenamed Trusty Tahr, will be released on April 17th, 2014 and will ship with several notable features, while mainly focusing on stable main components rather than bleeding-edge software, a very good decision which fits perfectly such a big release. Trusty will be supported for five years on both the desktop and the server. I must say, this is a long awaited release, and probably not only by Ubuntu users, but also the ones of Mint and other distributions based upon Ubuntu, since the upcoming Mint 17 will be based on Trusty. I’m really expecting a solid experience here, which could last for years as a main desktop and development machine.

Mobile

  • CeBIT: Ubuntu smartphones to cost between $200 and $400

    Smartphones on Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system will cost between $200 and $400, according to the firm’s chief executive Mark Shuttleworth.

    Speaking at CeBIT, he said: “Ours will come out in the mid-higher edge, so $200 to $400. We’re going with the higher end because we want people who are looking for a very sharp, beautiful experience and because our ambition is to be selling the future PC, the future personal computing engine.”

    The Ubuntu project aims to produce hardware that can act as a smartphone and also work as a PC when plugged into a monitor, something Shuttleworth said many audiences found attractive.

    Canonical teamed up with phone makers Meizu and BQ earlier this year to produce the devices, following what Shuttleworth called the “spectacular failure” of the firm’s efforts to raise $32m for the Ubuntu Edge smartphone. But he also called it a “spectacular success” because of the amount of attention it drew and the influence it could have on the industry.

  • Mark Shuttleworth Talks Up The Phone’s Bottom Edge On Ubuntu
  • Canonical Has Stopped Promoting Ubuntu Touch Images Yet Again, Due To Some Unity 8 Regressions And QMLScene Crashes
  • How to get a side launcher like Ubuntu on your Android device

    Ubuntu users get to take advantage of a sidebar giving them access to shortcuts for many programs. Thanks to the Glovebox, this app allows you to get this Ubuntu feature on your Android smartphone.

  • Android woes could be an opportunity for Ubuntu smartphones

    Canonical announced in February that it plans to release smartphones based on its widely used Ubuntu distribution of the Linux platform are back on, with the first devices expected later this year.

    This triggered eager anticipation among some members of the V3 team, including yours truly, as Canonical’s original vision for an Ubuntu phone sounded like a compelling prospect, as well as a novel one for those of us who have seen smartphones become ever-more generic over recent years as vendors try to copy Apple’s formula for success.

    First disclosed early last year, Canonical proposed a version of Ubuntu with a touch-optimised user interface that could run on high-end smartphone hardware. While some mobile platforms, notably Android, are already underpinned by the Linux kernel, Ubuntu for phones was going to be the real deal; it would be able to run full Linux applications as well as HTML5 web apps optimised for mobile devices.

Chromium

Misc.

  • Is Ubuntu Animosity Misplaced?

    As for the feelings of the Linux community in general, the consensus is that it felt like GNOME was somehow being slighted or ignored. Remember early on, Ubuntu was a GNOME-centric experience. While today, Ubuntu is most definitely Unity-centric instead. Obviously alternative desktop environments are a mere “apt-get install” away, but most people will use Ubuntu because they’re fans of the entire experience – end to end.

IBM Turns Into More of a Patent Troll Amid Layoffs, Gradual Demise of Real Products

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 4:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: IBM turns out to be using software patents in order to make money at the expense of much smaller companies; the threat of software patents resurfaces in India

IBM, the company which promotes software patents in Europe. is reportedly going after relatively small companies (not Sun) with patent demands. Citing this report, an expert in this area (Mullin) says: “Twitter’s first annual financial results were revealed on Thursday. Buried deep in the document is the price it paid IBM after it was confronted with a patent infringement threat by Big Blue: $36 million. Bloomberg was first to highlight the price tag.

“IBM sent a letter to Twitter in November saying it was infringing at least three IBM patents. That resulted in a negotiation that ended up with Twitter getting a license to IBM’s patents, acquiring about 900 of them for itself, and (we now know) paying $36 million.”

Shame on IBM.

Just as the US begins thinking about getting rid of software patents the #1 patent holder in the US (whose former staff headed the USPTO until recently) takes us back in time, demonstrating that IBM (with OIN) is not much different from those patent trolls we keep hearing about (OIN is powerless against trolls as well). Here is a new report about a troll: “Personal Audio LLC has recently become one of the more well-known “patent trolls” due to its broad claims to owning basic podcasting technology. The company has filed lawsuits in East Texas, claiming that its patents on “episodic content” technology, which stem from founder Jim Logan’s failed “Magazines on Tape” business, entitle it to royalties from podcasters large and small.”

How is that so different from what IBM is doing? iophk says: “Burning through the EFF’s scant resources playing whack-a-mole with patent trolls. That won’t do anything to solve the underlying problem which is that of patenting software. Get rid of software patents and the trolls will be gone.”

There is actually a correlation between software patents and trolls, as demonstrated by Mullin some years ago. Many boosters of software patents are also trolls (Microsoft, IBM and Nokia for example) and many trolls are using software patents in litigation (about 70% of the time).

IBM recently laid off many employees in India (we covered this thoroughly) as it’s moving into more of a surveillance business [1,2] (IBM is already a surveillance giant) and considers offloading more of its hardware business [3]. Meanwhile, suggests this new post. the threat of software patents in India is back. Spicy IP says: “The reason why I am limiting the issue only to the term software per se is because of the recent discussions draft guidelines issued by our Patent Office on the topic, and the subsequent discussions on the same.”

The term “software per se” is similar to the phrase “as such” in Europe or even New Zealand. It is a trick. To quote further: “As we know that the term per se did not come into the act directly. It came in on the recommendation of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (“JPC”). The JPC inserted the term to address the patentability of inventions relating to computer programs that may include certain other things that were ‘ancillary thereto’ or ‘developed thereon’. Accordingly, if computer programs per se are not patentable, something that is ancillary thereto or developed thereon is patentable.”

This is bad and it deserves more media attention. Much of the anti-software patents lobby, however, is quiet or defunct now, in part because corporations hijacked the debate and shifted focus to small trolls (not large ones like Microsoft, Nokia, and IBM).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. IBM ‘as a service’ cloud pieces fall into place

    IBM has acquired a bevy of cloud companies and built a Big Blue cloud stack. Here’s a look at the moving parts and how they fit together as IBM moves from hardware to the cloud.

  2. IBM in the Cloud: More Method Than Meets the Eye?
  3. IBM reportedly considering sale of chip manufacturing operations

    IBM is considering a sale of its chip manufacturing operations, the Wall Street Journal reported last night. The company would not stop designing its own chips, however. Just as AMD outsources manufacturing of the chips it designs, IBM “is looking for a buyer for its manufacturing operations, but plans to retain its chip-design capability,” according to the Journal’s source.

Censorship Watch: Default Filtering in the UK, Censorship Using Copyrights, Links as Crime

Posted in Law at 3:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The latest flavours of censorship around the world, including the Western world where even links to sites are now treated like offenses

ORG

Arab World

  • Saudi Arabia Threatens to Lay Siege to Qatar: Cooperation or Confrontation?

    Saudi Arabia has threatened to blockade its neighbouring Gulf State Qatar by land and sea unless it cuts ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, closes Al Jazeera, and expels local branches of two prestigious U.S. think tanks, the Brookings Doha Center and the Rand Qatar Policy Institute.

  • Google battles legal fallout of copyright ruling on anti-Islamic film (copyright linked to censorship)

    The video had flimsy production values and was just 14 minutes long, but internet service providers fear they will pay a lasting price for Innocence of Muslims. A court order to remove the anti-Islamic film from YouTube has paved the way for attempts to menace other creative visual works under cover of copyright, some legal experts have warned.

  • Turkey may ban Facebook and YouTube if Erdoğan wins elections

    The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said Facebook and YouTube could be banned following local elections in March after leaked tapes of an alleged phone call between him and his son went viral, prompting calls for his resignation.

    Erdoğan claims social media sites have been abused by his political enemies, in particular his former ally US-based Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who, he says, is behind a stream of “fabricated” audio recordings posted on the internet purportedly revealing corruption in his inner circle.

Link Censorship

  • EFF Statement on Dismissal of 11 Charges Against Barrett Brown

    The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas today filed a motion to dismiss 11 charges against Barrett Brown in a criminal prosecution that would have had massive implications for journalism and the right of ordinary people to share links. EFF has written extensively about the case and had planned to file an amicus brief on Monday on behalf of several reporters groups arguing for the dismissal of the indictment.

  • Barrett Brown: The Criminalization of Web Links

    This– A LINK– could have sent me to jail. Another link came very, very close to sending Barrett Brown to jail.
    First, a quick recap of how the internet works. People from all over the world put stuff on the web (“posts”). In many cases you the viewer do not know who posted something, when they did it, where they live or where they obtained the information they posted. It is just there on your screen. If the info is of interest, you can link to it, sending instructions via chat, email, HTML, Facebook or whatever to someone else, telling them where to find the information.

    The act of linking is analogous to saying “Hey, did you see that article in the Times on page 4? Check it out.” It is kind of what the internet is about. Here’s how the government seeks to criminalize linking from one article on the web to another.

Copyright News: EU Copyright Consultation Not Serious, Google ‘Gets’ It on Copyrights

Posted in Europe, Intellectual Monopoly at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CDR

Summary: Realisation that data can and will be copied, and the building of copyright law to accommodate this new reality

THE EU copyright consultation [1] seems to have become somewhat of a charade [2] or an act of publicity and not much more [3] as “it appears that this is exactly the approach that the Commission is intent to pursue: promoting the interests of one particular tree (content producers) even if this comes at the cost of killing or damaging the rest of the forest.” Reaching out to the public helps promote the perception of serving the public while doing exactly the opposite at the end. Real copyright reformists in Europe are meanwhile being treated worse than murderers and rapists [4]. While some entities, including Getty Images [5], try to reform in preparation for a new age of abundance, others continue to fight the reality of the Net [6,7,8,9,10], seeking to just criminalise everything rather than legalise and adequately embrace. One European activism site says that “EU Commission Must Rapidly Publish Responses to Consultation” [11], paving the way to a much-needed copyright reform [12] in the age of copyright trolling [13] and censorship using copyright law (more on that in the next post). “There is significant, credible evidence emerging that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem,” Google states. [14] Well done for saying it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Last Chance to Submit to EU Copyright Consultation
  2. Does The European Commission Really Think The Internet Is A ‘Value Tree’ That Requires A ‘Transmission Belt Of Euros’?

    Optimists might see the extra time as a sign that the Commission is genuinely interested in gathering as wide a range of public views on this subject as possible. But a post from Paul Keller raises the possibility that this is just window-dressing, and that it has already made up its mind about what it will do on copyright regardless of what the public thinks

  3. No the Internet is not a ‘value tree’

    In recent weeks officials at the European Commission’s Internal Market and Services Directorate General (which is in charge of copyright policy) have been passing around this diagram of what they call the ‘Internet Ecosystem value tree’…

    [...]

    We need a departure from the one-size-fits-all approach of traditional copyright towards a system that is more flexible and better adapted to the needs of all stakeholders. This includes professional content creators and distributors who need adequate levels of protection for their works, educators and cultural heritage institutions who need more freedoms to do their work in the digital realm, and also end users and researchers who should not have to fear that making use of the Internet will turn them into copyright infringers.

    A first step towards ensuring that copyright positively enables all of these outcomes would be to increase the scope of user rights (through updating the existing list of copyright exceptions) and to make copyright more flexible (through the introduction of a fair-use type exception). In the long run this will mean simplifying the way copyright works, and ensuring that copyright protection is only granted where it is necessary (or wanted by the creators).

    Looking after the interests of all trees in the Internet Ecosystem is also in the interest of the particular value tree that the Commission seems to care so much about. If the copyright rules continue to hinder those online activities that are not primarily motivated by a transmissions belt of €s, copyright will lose legitimacy and be detrimental primarily to those who rely on the protections offered by copyright law.

  4. Pirate Bay Founder’s Detention Extended Based on “New Evidence”

    Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm’s custody has been extended for four more weeks after the court reviewed new evidence. The prosecution presented an encrypted container found on Svartholm’s computer which links him to the CSC hack, but according to his lawyer this doesn’t rule out that someone else carried out the hacks remotely.

  5. Getty Images opens treasure trove to bloggers, tweeters

    Looking for free, high-quality images for your blog or other noncommercial uses? Getty Images has begun using social media and personal sites as a way of drawing attention to its licensable images.

  6. NBC Crows About Thwarting 45,000 ‘Illegal’ Olympic Videos, Ignores The Fact That It Drove Users To Them
  7. Police Raid “Movie Cammer” and Family Twice – Then Drop All Charges
  8. VPN Users ‘Pirating’ Netflix Scare TV Networks

    TV networks in Australia are expressing fresh concern that local viewers are ‘pirating’ Netflix with help from VPN services. Officially unavailable Down Under, Netflix reportedly has up to 200,000 Aussie subscribers who evade geo-blocking mechanisms to happily pay for the service.

    [...]

    Naturally there are no official figures on how many people watch Netflix this way but estimates range from 20,000 up to 200,000 subscribers. Highlighting how the TV networks view these people, an article this morning in News Corp-owned The Australian went as far as labeling subscribers as “pirates”, even though they are paying for the service.

  9. ‘Domains by Proxy’ Hands Over Personal Details of “Pirate” Site Owner

    To shield their identities from the public, many site owners use domain privacy services. Domains by Proxy is one of the most used services in this niche, but the operator of a linking site found out that it’s far from secure. Responding to an inquiry from the Motion Picture Association, the company shared his personal details.

  10. International Music Organizations Claim Aereo Must Be Illegal Because Of International Trade Agreements

    For many years, we’ve highlighted how copyright maximalists have abused the international trade process to expand copyright monopolies around the globe. If you’re interested in the history there, I highly recommend the book Information Feudalism: Who Owns the Knowledge Economy?, which details much of the history. Defenders of this policy love to pretend that international trade agreements can’t bind US law, but reality is quite different. Time and time again, we’ve seen maximalists use international agreements to get their way either in ratcheting up copyright law even further, or pressuring courts into certain positions. This is one of the reasons (one of many) that we’re so concerned about new agreements like the TPP and TTIP/TAFTA. Even if the USTR claims (incorrectly) that nothing in them goes beyond US law today, they can not only limit the changes Congress can make to copyright and patent law, but these issues can show up in court cases, potentially hindering innovation.

  11. Copyright Reform: EU Commission Must Rapidly Publish Responses to Consultation

    Paris, 7 March 2014 — The European Commission’s Public Consultation on the review of EU copyright rules closed on 5 March 2014 (LQDN’s answer). It is now essential for the Commission to publish as soon as possible all responses to ensure a transparent policy-making process.

  12. Outdated copyright laws must adapt to the new digital age

    The ways that we create and consume culture has fundamentally changed with the digital revolution and the rise of the internet, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the producers of content on one side and consumers on the other – says Maël Brunet

  13. News Editor Copyright Trolls Pirating Political Party – and Gets Paid

    To draw attention to “broken” copyright law, the editor of a popular news site turned the tables on a leading German political party. Finding the government’s Social Democratic Party using a Creative Commons work without permission, he sent them a troll-style settlement demand – and got paid.

  14. Google: Piracy is An Availability and Pricing Problem

    In a recommendation to the Australian Government, Google warns that draconian anti-piracy measures could prove counterproductive. Instead, the Government should promote new business models. “There is significant, credible evidence emerging that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem,” Google states.

News Roundup: Public Services in Europe Rush to Free Software

Posted in Europe at 3:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Recent reports from around Europe, providing evidence of Free software adoption by governments

Europe

  • European Parliament websites are run by Jahia, an open source content management system

    More and more, governments are adopting open source software for for their web and office needs. We recently learned that the EU Parliament (EP) has actually employed the use of the Jahia open source enterprise management system for both its intranet and internet websites. So confident is the EP in Jahia’s abilities that their most popular sites are run by it; a testament to the huge recognition that open source software is receiving from not only enthusiasts, but also from organisations as huge as the EP.

  • Open source at half EU Point of Single Contact

    Of the 31 Points of Single Contacts (PSCs) run by the member states of the European Union, at least 17 use open source solutions such as web server Apache and operating system Linux, a quick site check of the web sites shows.

  • Sweden’s Point of Single Contact runs open source

    Verksamt, the Swedish government’s information hub for new businesses (Point of Single Contact, PSC) is based on open source solutions, shows a report by the open source ICT solutions provider Red Hat. Europe’s PSCs are intended to provide businesses with centralised online administrative services. Verksamt is one of the government agencies using Red Hat Linux, Java application server Jboss and web server Apache, Red Hat writes in its study, published on 14 February.

  • Open source runs web sites European Parliament

    The European Parliament is relying on the open source enterprise content management system Jahia for the majority of websites on its Intranet and some on the Internet. The CMS is used for the EP’s most-used websites, including those for the EP Intranet, EP Committees and the EP internal news.

  • Half of EU has legislation on ICT re-use

    The study indicates that public administration’s open source projects are shifting towards shared services. This is the model chosen by the municipal co-operation project Friprogforeningen in Norway, offering several open source-based solutions for course management, helpdesk and bug-tracking. “Most of Friprogforeningen users now prefer the online version, distributed by cloud services”, reports Clémentine Valayer, management consultant and author of the study.

  • MEP: ‘EC procurement practice blocks European firms’

    The European Commission’s ICT procurement practices are blocking “a very large number of European entrepreneurs”, says MEP Amalia Andersdotter. On Sunday, she published her correspondence with EC Secretary-General Catherine Day about the EC’s procurement practice for desktop operating systems and office productivity solutions. Andersdotter: “It is disappointing that the EU has such a bad strategy for digital services and IT systems.”

  • MEP: ‘EC procurement practice blocks European firms’
  • The Canaries continue to save with open source

    By switching to free and open source, the government of the Canary Islands in Spain continues to reduce its ICT costs. The government has already lowered the costs for server and workstation operating systems and other software solutions by 25.4 per cent, reports Roberto Moreno, director of the archipelago’s Department for Telecom and New Technologies, and further cost reductions are expected. “The costs went down from 1,006,500 euro per year down to 750,000 euro per year.”

  • Munich chooses open source groupware solution

    The German city of Munich will implement Kolab, an open source mail server, calendaring and groupware solution. The consortium of IT service providers that won the city’s public tender on Tuesday announced that Munich will implement Kolab across its 15,000 desktops, including about 1000 still using a proprietary operating system.

  • Munich opts for open source groupware from Kolab
  • Linux-friendly Munich: Ja, we’ll take open source collab cloud

    The Linux-friendly burghers of Munich are rolling out their own open-source groupware cloud, bucking the trend for going public.

    The German city has selected Kolab Desktop Client and Kolab web Client for more than 14,000 Linux PCs, surviving Windows PCs and a generation of mobile devices under a four-year project called MigMak, which has the option to be extended to eight years.

Elsewhere

  • IT Acquisition Reform Bill Passes House with Open Source Provisions

    The House has passed the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act not long after the botched launch of the HealthCare.gov website, and attempting to better control how some $80 billion is spent on IT procurement each year. Sponsored by the chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa, R-Ca., and committee member Gerry Connolly, D-Va., the bill establishes guidance on fully considering open source software as a procurement option without bias regarding how technology is developed, licensed and distributed. The bill, HR-1232, also requires federal computer standards to include guidelines necessary to enable effective adoption of open source software, and directs OMB to issue guidance for the use and collaborative development of open source software within the federal government. The bill further calls on OMB to develop a plan for conducting a government-wide inventory of IT assets and getting agencies to eliminate or consolidate any duplicate or overlapping websites, and permits CIOs to establish cloud service working capital funds.

  • Why Linux Works for Government

    I suppose the reality is this: You and I don’t need to be convinced of the viability of Open Source and Linux in government at this point. Nobody does. The track record is proven. The question now is… how fast can the remaining government organizations of the world, that have not yet made the move to Open Source, jump on the bandwagon and start reaping the benefits?

03.11.14

DroNSA: Targeted Assassinations, Surveillance on Torture Reporters/Researchers, and Snowden’s Latest Speeches

Posted in News Roundup at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drones

Ukraine

War on Privacy

  • NSA Barred From Destroying Phone Records

    The US National Security Agency was stopped by a judge from destroying phone records collected via its controversial surveillance practices, after a privacy group said they are still relevant and could be used in the lawsuits against the agency.

  • So Far, The FBI Is Benefiting The Most From The NSA Leaks

    The FBI is now basking in the darkness the NSA used to occupy. The first leak had the FBI’s name all over it, and it’s the power granted to the FBI that allows the NSA to collect millions of domestic phone records. The NSA technically isn’t allowed to vacuum up domestic records. The FBI, however, is. But the NSA “takes home” the bulk collection and “tips” a few hundred phone numbers to the agency whose name is listed on the first page.

  • Yahoo Selects NSA Critic For Chief Security Role

    Internet giant Yahoo has recruited Alex Stamos, one of the more vocal opponents of mass US spying, as its new chief information security officer (CISO).

  • NSA views encryption as evidence of suspicion and will target those who use it, security journalist says

    Glenn Greenwald, editor of the newly launched digital publication The Intercept, told attendees at SXSWi that the National Security Agency is wary of anyone who takes steps to protect their online activity from being hacked, such as using encryption tools.

    “In [the NSA's] mind, if you want to hide what you’re saying from them, it must mean that what you’re saying is a bad thing,” Greenwald said via a Skype video call. “They view the use of encryption… as evidence that you’re suspicious and can actually target you if you use it.”

  • NSA leading us to phones that may well outsmart even the spooks

    If the physical handset case is prised open, the phone will automatically erase all data it holds.

    Ask Boeing for more details if you dare.

    Call us paranoid, but you may very well find the NSA has opened a file on you.

  • Vodafone’s SecureCall app ‘could have protected Angela Merkel from NSA’

    Vodafone’s new smartphone app Secure Call could have protected Angela Merkel from the NSA.

  • Change Agents: The Curious Case of the “Responsible” NSA Revelations

    Well, hold on there a minute, Arthur, you incorrigible skeptic you. What about the latest revelation from The Intercept, the flagship enterprise of First Look? Just last weekend, the Interceptors dug into this vast trove of criminality to inform us that … the NSA’s newsletter has its own Dear Abby column (or “agony aunt,” as the Brits would say). Now how about that! The NSA has an internal advice column offering tidbits on personnel issues. Now that’s transformative journalism with a vengeance! Just think how many innocent lives now doomed to die from Washington’s surveillance state-supported death squads will now be saved because of this revelation!

  • Debates on beefing up EU data protection and NSA inquiry findings

    A major overhaul of the EU data protection rules and MEPs’ findings and recommendations after six months investigating US mass surveillance schemes will be debated on Tuesday from 15.00. The data protection reform would greatly strengthen EU citizens’ control over their personal data and punish firms which pass it on without permission.

  • Germany rejects Snowden claim it bowed to NSA

    Germany on Monday dismissed a claim by NSA leaker Edward Snowden that it had bowed to US demands to water down privacy rights for German citizens.

    Snowden told the European parliament in a statement published Friday that Germany was pressured to modify its legislation on wiretapping and other forms of lawful telecoms surveillance. The former National Security Agency contractor didn’t elaborate on how the laws were changed or when, but suggested it was standard practice for the NSA to instruct friendly nations on how to “degrade the legal protections of their countries’ communications.”

  • NSA gave ‘legal guidance’ to NZ

    NSA leaker Edward Snowden says New Zealand is one of a number of countries the US spy agency helped to change laws in order to enable mass surveillance.

    The revelation came during his written answers to questions from the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. The committee is undertaking an inquiry into mass electronic surveillance of EU citizens launched following Snowden’s original allegations of widespread internet surveillance.

  • Michael Rogers goes before Senate committee to outline vision for NSA

    The likely next director of the National Security Agency will testify on Tuesday for the first time about his new job, in perhaps the agency’s best chance for a post-Edward Snowden reboot.

  • Surveillance by Algorithm

    Increasingly, we are watched not by people but by algorithms. Amazon and Netflix track the books we buy and the movies we stream, and suggest other books and movies based on our habits. Google and Facebook watch what we do and what we say, and show us advertisements based on our behavior. Google even modifies our web search results based on our previous behavior. Smartphone navigation apps watch us as we drive, and update suggested route information based on traffic congestion. And the National Security Agency, of course, monitors our phone calls, emails and locations, then uses that information to try to identify terrorists.

  • Edward Snowden speaks up for encryption at SXSW

    SURVEILLANCE WHISTLEBLOWER Edward Snowden has taken part in a video conversation at the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference along with representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union.

  • Edward Snowden discusses NSA leaks at SXSW: ‘I would do it again’

    Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower whose unprecedented leak of top-secret documents led to a worldwide debate about the nature of surveillance, insisted on Monday that his actions had improved the national security of the United States rather than undermined it, and declared that he would do it all again despite the personal sacrifices he had endured.

  • Google’s Schmidt ‘Pretty Sure’ Networks Are Now Secure After Being ‘Attacked’ By The United States

    Among the biggest revelations made by the Snowden documents so far was of course the fact that in addition to negotiating with companies like Yahoo and Google for user data via the front door (PRISM), the NSA was also busy covertly hacking into the links between company data centers for good measure (trust is the cornerstone of any good relationship, you know). The moves pretty clearly pissed off Google engineers, who swore at the agency and immediately began speeding up the already-underway process of encrypting traffic flowing between data centers.

  • Please Contact MEPs: Big Votes in European Parliament

    Two of the biggest stories over the last year have been data protection and – of course – Edward Snowden’s revelations of massive spying by the NSA and GCHQ on all online activity in Europe (and elsewhere). As it happens, both of these important issues are coming to a head this week: after a preliminary debate tomorrow, on Wednesday the European Parliament will vote on both (draft agenda.) That means we still have time to drop them a friendly email today asking them to support strong privacy and civil liberties in Europe.

  • US intelligence officials to monitor federal employees with security clearances

    Intelligence officials have long wanted a computerized system that could continuously monitor employees, in part to prevent cases similar to former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden. His disclosures bared secretive U.S. surveillance operations.

  • Snowden On Going Through ‘Proper Channels’: Reporting Concerns Gets You Flagged As A ‘Troublemaker’

    The NSA defenders who label Ed Snowden a “traitor” (senators, congressmen and any number of former intelligence officials) often assert the whistleblower had an opportunity to use “proper channels” rather than take the route he chose: leaking documents to journalists.

War on Peace

  • The Propaganda of Death

    The terrible loss of life in the Malaysian air crash is tragic. But the attempt to ramp up a terrorism scare is ghoulish. We even had both the BBC and Sky speculating that it was the Uighurs. Now the suppression of Uighur culture and religion by the Chinese had been a great and long-term evil, and the West has been only too eager to shoehorn their story into the “Islamic terrorism” story. There is of course an enormous security industry, both government and private, which makes a very fat living out of “combating Islamic terrorism”, and a media which make a fat living out of helping to ramp it.

Covert Intervention/Spying

  • Selling a Mossad Book

    Raviv reported that President Barack Obama would raise the assassination issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their March 3rd meeting at the White House. The book also repeats previous claims that Israeli spies who were possibly drawn from Persian Jews who had emigrated to Israel had infiltrated Iran and, using a string of safe houses and some help from friendly Iranians, had managed to kill five scientists. The authors have added the new information about the White House talks, noting also that Netanyahu has already decided to end the program because of the risk to Israel’s “most talented and experienced spies,” choosing instead to focus Mossad efforts on proving that the Iranians are cheating on their nuclear program.

    The motto of Israel’s foreign intelligence service the Mossad translates as “By way of deception you shall make war,” and one might modify that a bit to claim that “by way of deception you can sell books.” The whole story, intended to create some buzz for the new edition while at the same time touting the invincibility of Israeli intelligence, smells. It is the kind of narrative that is impossible to check. The sources are “secret,” Israel has never admitted its involvement, there is no indication that the president and prime minister actually spoke regarding the assassinations, and there is no suggestion why Obama would have any motive raise the issue. The Iranians are not demanding any action from Washington regarding the killings as part of the ongoing nuclear negotiations, so why would Obama even mention it?

  • US war movie military policy: Baby Boomers grew up on films where battle was noble and Americans never died

    War, these movies taught me, is entered reluctantly and only after due, transparent discussion by the nation’s leaders. But as a child eating popcorn and tossing Jujubes from the balcony of the theater, I learned nothing about the imposition of freedom, of democracy, of American values on those who hold different values and beliefs and refuse to adopt what America “offers.”

  • Dianne Feinstein launches scathing attack on CIA over alleged cover-up

    The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein, on Tuesday accused the Central Intelligence Agency of a catalogue of cover-ups, intimidation and smears aimed at investigators probing its role in an “un-American and brutal” programme of post-9/11 detention and interrogation.

  • CIA accused of spying on Congress over torture report

    According to the Associated Press, Sen. Feinstein said the CIA improperly searched a stand-alone computer network at the agency’s Langley, Virginia headquarters that was put in place so that Intelligence Committee staffers could view sensitive documents.

  • Snowden: Feinstein a Hypocrite for Blasting CIA Spying
  • 4 reasons the latest CIA revelation is serious

    The latest fight over America’s spycraft has triggered serious constitutional questions.

    On the Senate floor Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the CIA searched computers used by Senate staff to investigate the CIA, confirming a story reported by the New York Times last week.

  • Temple intern breaks national story involving CIA

    A senior in Temple University’s journalism program helped break a recent national story that has members of the U.S. Senate pointing fingers at the CIA.

    Ali Watkins, currently a 22-year-old intern for McClatchy in Washington, D.C., received a tip from sources who came to trust her while making herself a presence on Capitol Hill, according to a posting by Temple’s School of Media and Communications.

  • Analysis: Why Does Congress Lack the Backbone to Oversee the CIA?

    Ongoing efforts to make public a report on torture perpetrated by the CIA has the spy agency “nearly at war” with its Senate overseers, Eli Lake reports in The Daily Beast. In theory, that would mean that the CIA is in deep trouble. Congress has the power to destroy the CIA if it desires. Congress could cut the CIA budget to zero! Yet the press is filled with stories about the CIA and its overseers written as if they are on equal footing, or even as if the CIA has the upper hand.

Education Freedom: Growth of FOSS and Sharing (e.g. Open Access) in Educational Institutes

Posted in Site News at 9:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Education

Open Access

LibreOffice Stories: Birthday, New Release (4.2), Web Site, TDF Board

Posted in Office Suites, OpenDocument at 9:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • LibreOffice: My birthday wish list

    All in all, this list would not significantly change the userbase of LibreOffice; but it would also position LibreOffice in places and circles where it’s not really used either, and I feel it’s a welcome set of suggestions that differ from the usual Android/iOS porting and cloud based office suite. On a deeper level, I think it also means that LibreOffice as a tool and office suites in general can change and grow to adapt to new usages even today.

  • LibreOffice 4.2.1 Has 100+ Bug-Fixes

    Less than one month after the release of the major LibreOffice 4.2 update, LibreOffice 4.2.1 has been released to ship a large number of fixes for discovered problems.

  • Updated TDF Board and New LibreOffice Release

    The Document Foundation yesterday announced that the new Board of Directors is “officially in charge.” These new members were recently elected and congratulated last December and have been in a sort of training since. In other news, TDF today announced the release of LibreOffice 4.2.1 for early adopters, an update to 4.2 released January 30.

  • FLOSS Office Suites

    There are a bunch of FLOSS office suites but two of them are the big dogs: LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice. “October 29th, someone downloaded the 75,000,000th copy of Apache OpenOffice™. The 75 million downloads have occurred in the less than 18th months since the first release of Apache OpenOffice on May 8th, 2012.

  • LibreOffice Plans For C++11 / C++14 Development

    LibreOffice has been pushing forward in its development recently with supporting OpenCL in its spreadsheet, gaining an OpenGL rendering back-end, and supporting other modern features and system capabilities for the open-source office suite. LibreOffice is also planning for its adoption of the C++11 programming language and even C++14 language features.

  • LibreOffice 4.1.5, Linux for Students, and the Weirdest Places

    The Document Foundation has announced the release of LibreOffice 4.1.5 today, for all those running the 4.1 branch of code. In other news, a Pennsylvania high school has provided their students with Linux laptops and Lifehacker.com has outlined the top 10 uses for Linux. Also, www.networkworld.com has a slideshow of the 16 weirdest places running Linux and KDE was featured in hit movie Gravity.

  • LibreOffice 4.2 brings new features for power and enterprise users
  • LibreOffice 4.2 Office Suite Boasts New Features, Performance Boost
  • LibreOffice 4.2 better bridges the gap with Microsoft Office
  • Why LibreOffice 4.2 matters more than you think

    On Thursday the Document Foundation released its newest stable branch, LibreOffice 4,2. Don’t let be misled by its number; if we weren’t on a strict time released scheduled alongside a clear number scheme without any nickname for each release, I would have called this one the 5,0. Yes, you read that right, the mighty Five. Why? Mostly for two big reasons.

  • LibreOffice 4.2 Released with Focus on Performance

    Italo Vignoli of The Document Foundation today announced the immediate availability of the next major stable build of the popular office suite. LibreOffice 4.2 “features a large number of performance and interoperability improvements targeted to users of all kinds, but particularly appealing for power and enterprise users.”

  • Bigger, better, faster: LibreOffice 4.2

    The Document Foundation’s newest release of LibreOffice 4.2 targets early adopters. It comes with many new performance and interoperability improvements for users of all kinds. Specifically, this update is designed to appeal to Windows power and enterprise users.

  • LibreOffice 4.2 Brings OpenCL Calc, OOXML Improvements

    A new stable, major release of the open-source LibreOffice suite is now available and with it comes several new and improved features.

  • LibreOffice Gets An OpenGL Rendering Back-End

    The initial work on an OpenGL rendering back-end has landed in LibreOffice, not too long after receiving OpenCL support for spreadsheets and OpenGL canvas support.

    Pushed into Git today was the initial OpenGL rendering support, anti-aliasing support, a new time-based charting approach, OpenGL text rendering, OpenGL area rendering support, and other OpenGL-related changes.

  • Open office choices grip multiple languages

    Open source office suite alternatives are well able to handle multiple languages. Apache OpenOffice for example, already supports 32 languages, and the upcoming new version will add several new languages, including Danish and Norwegian, according to a press statement from the Apache Software Foundation, released on International Mother Language Day, Thursday 20 February. Multilingualism is also a feature of LibreOffice, another open source office suite, localised in over a hundred languages.

  • LibreOffice HiDPI Patches

    I bought a HiDPI laptop in October to replace my 5-year old Thinkpad. Between the 5.7 million pixels, and the bright LED backlight replacing my dying and dim CFL bulb, it makes the daily computing experience much easier on the eyes. I’d put up with a lot for this screen. It turns out I have to compared to my old Lenovo, as there is an incompatible and inferior keyboard layout, the Synaptics mouse drivers are flakey, it is difficult to replace the battery or hard drive, etc.

    [...]

    Apparently, everyone is so busy delivering a new product, fostering a young community, paying down technical debt, making it run on Android, improving import and export, rewriting the Calc engine, removing Java, etc., that no one has time to make it look good on these beautiful screens. There is a lot happening without any rich benefactor anymore, and a split community. If you think LibreOffice is amazing, just imagine what it would be if IBM gave them $10M / year, and the trademark, and didn’t seduce away naïve volunteers and donations. (I believe if IBM were to ask Watson whether it should end the fork, the AI would recommend it. Watson is only being applied to customer problems instead of their own. One could spend a lot of time correcting the inaccurate FUD written on the AOO dev alias. Imagine we lived in a society that celebrated divorce instead of marriage.)

  • A new web site for the LibreOffice Project

    When we first started the LibreOffice Project, we had a gazilion tasks to work on. Among them, we had priorities, most of them involving the code readiness of our first version, LibreOffice 3.3. Another priority was to make sure that the native-lang communities of the now defunct OpenOffice.org project would be able to find the tools needed to work on the releases, (re)create documentation, QA of their localized builds and several other important tasks. These were some of our most crucial priorities; yet among them, you would not have noted “design a nice website”.

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

Further Recent Posts

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts