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01.19.14

Links 19/1/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 11:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 19/1/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 19/1/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 11:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

01.18.14

1984 is Here: Microsoft Remotely Deletes Free/Open Source Software From Windows, Sells Malware Under Pretense of ‘Openness’ (Newspeak)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 11:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Orwellian acts from Microsoft

Kindle
Digital book burning device

Summary: Microsoft is approaching rivals of the United States, offering them spyware and malware under the guise of “openness” that moles like Gianugo Rabellino promote (while Microsoft remotely purges privacy-preserving Open Source software from users’ PCs)

MICROSOFT WOULD suit China very well. They’re both horrific when it comes to human rights, but China seems to be uninterested in Microsoft. Based on a new report posted in ZDNet on Friday, China is making its own “Linux operating system” for mobile devices (maybe a consequence of distrusting the NSA, which is a strong Microsoft partner). One can always count on Microsoft to send some deceiving lobbyist or mole like Rabellino [1, 2, 3, 4] to Asia, as it reportedly did some months ago (we covered one example from the Philippines). It’s all about openwashing Microsoft because Linux and GNU are gaining there. We already saw a lot in Cablegate about how Microsoft derails pro-FOSS policies in Asia. Here is Rabellino’s latest ‘mole tripping’ in Asia, using a Microsoft proxy to pretend that Microsoft is about FOSS. To quote a shallow, weak report (placement) from IDG, “A Microsoft Open Technologies subsidiary is coming to Shanghai, as the company aims to expand its open-source and open standards efforts in China.

China does not need spyware from Microsoft. It should kick out those moles, too. Rabellino is quoted as saying: “Creating a subsidiary of Microsoft Open Technologies sends a very clear signal that we care about openness.”

What utter nonesense. Rabellino is either stupid (which he is not) or he is being dishonest for a salary. No company has attacked FOSS (Microsoft won’t use the F word, “freedom”) as much as Microsoft. How can Rabellino honestly utter these words? It’s PR and deception, that’s all it is.

Looking elsewhere in the news and making a case to prove Microsoft’s disdain of FOSS, here again, ‘for security’ [1], Microsoft is deleting Free software from Windows, remotely even [via]. What does that software do? It helps anonymity on the Web; it’s a privacy tool. Microsoft is intercepting both privacy and freedom at the same time. Rabellino should be ashamed of himself for trying to deceive the Chinese and lure them into the NSA trap which is Microsoft. Remember when Amazon remotely deleted books like "1984"? Well, Amazon is now working closely for the CIA; that helps these same observations be explained sometimes.

Microsoft is not about openness. It makes and maintained (with new back doors) insecure-by-design software for the NSA. This includes Skype. Watch the new article titled “Skype ready to share users’ data with Russian police” [2]. No further comment needed. Microsoft is “open”.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft’s secret battle against the Tor botnet

    Why also remove Tor? Microsoft did not respond to our questions directly. But shortly after we reached out, Microsoft’s Geoff McDonald wrote a blog post about the issue. McDonald said that leaving the Tor clients installed posed a severe threat to infected machines.

  2. Skype ready to share users’ data with Russian police

    Microsoft Corporation that owns the Internet call service Skype is ready to keep in store its Russian users’ negotiations, correspondence and data exchange during six months and share it with the Russian police, if necessary, Microsoft’s press office told Itar-Tass.

    Microsoft thus confirmed its commitment to work in full compliance with the Russian law, the way it does in all countries of its operations. If any new law is adopted, the company will comply with it as well, the press office said.

01.17.14

Still in Pursuit of Linux (and GNU) Phones Without Microsoft Tax and Surveillance

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 10:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Society needs to welcome a new breed of telephony that strictly resists surveillance and also antagonises patent bureaucracy

SINCE the middle of 2007 we have warned that South Korean giant LG was paying Microsoft for Linux or at least legitimising the claim/blackmail. This affected LG’s Linux-powered phones at the time (probably because of FAT) and later this extended to WebOS (after LG acquisition) and to Android [1] (very surveillance-friendly, courtesy of Google).

Right now the Android market is dominated by the other South Korean giant, called Samsung, which also controls Tizen these days. Tizen is covered in the news this week [2] and also named as an alternative to Android [3]. Tizen assembled inside it many Linux-based consortia for phones after they had sort of collapsed onto one another (LiPS, LiMo, Moblin, MeeGo, etc.), so this is truly a cause for concern. Samsung — like LG — plays by Microsoft’s rules (of extortion) on patents.

Jolla’s Sailfish OS [4], Mozilla’s Firefox OS, and Ubuntu’s mobile OS (whatever they choose to call it this time and whenever they choose to release it after massive changes in expected time of arrival [5,6], vapourware [7], and an attempt to lure in developers based on the vapourware [8]) are some of the existing hopes we have left. There is also the KDE-led Plasma-oriented effort, among other smaller initiatives that use Linux and sometimes GNU (nobody would use Windows because it’s technically inferior and is in bed with the NSA).

Many other entities can easily start their own companies that develop mobile phones based on Linux and Free software [9]. It just requires capital. The folks behind anonymous E-mail services are not the only ones who now promote their phone based on claim of NSA resistance (today it’s revealed that the NSA hoards SMS messages by the billions). There’s also Aral Balkan’s effort (recently-released video above). The main barrier here is lack of patents, but they should snub those patents and perhaps join OIN.

We really need alternative to Android as Replicant is not enough at this stage. It also mimics a deficient effort, merely trying to amend it with limited resources.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. LG G Flex headed to Sprint for $300 on January 31; preorder yours today
  2. What’s Up With Tizen?

    Tizen is designed to be a low-cost, highly configurable OS that will make portable devices available to a wider range of consumers. Its developers hope to create an alternative mobile ecosystem to break the stranglehold of the big phone companies. Tizen’s promise is to let carriers maintain a competitive edge by producing devices tailored to a particular user base.

  3. Open-source competition for Android, iOS

    The open source offering called Tizen, based on the Linux operating system, is expected to be installed on telephones sold from the end of March, NTT Docomo spokesman Jun Otori told AFP.

  4. Jolla Review: Some Rough Edges, But This Linux Smartphone Shows Promise

    Jolla was formed in late 2011 from a number of former Nokia Engineers who had been working on a number of Linux-based operating systems and handsets (including the Nokia N9). Just over two years later, their first handset (the self-titled Jolla) shipped with their Sailfish OS. I’ve been using the Jolla handset since mid-December, and it’s time to look at the handset in some more detail.

  5. Ubuntu phones likely push to 2015, says Ubuntu community manager
  6. Rarin’ to buy an Ubuntu phone? Maybe not until 2015, Canonical man says

    Commercial smartphones running the mobile version of the Ubuntu Linux distro probably won’t be available through carriers until 2015 at the earliest, a Canonical spokesman has revealed.

  7. Meizu MX3 running Ubuntu caught on video

    Although we expected to see the Meizu MX3 running Ubuntu during this year’s CES, that hasn’t happened. Instead, we’ve learned that Canonical is working with multiple vendors to launch Ubuntu smartphones later in the year.

  8. Canonical Engages Ubuntu Community for App Development

    The Ubuntu Linux team hopes to expand the open source operating system’s application stack by drawing on community contributions of smartphone and tablet apps.

  9. How to build your own phone company with WebRTC and Node.js

New Linux Releases and Proprietary Graphics Drivers

Posted in Kernel at 9:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Linux 3.12.8, 3.13 Release Candidate 8, and new NVIDIA/AMD drivers

Kernel Space

Graphics Stack

  • Intel Haswell Might Have Regressed Hard On Linux

    For your viewing pleasure this weekend are some extra benchmarks of various Intel Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, and Haswell HD Graphics when using an Ubuntu 14.04 Linux development snapshot with the Linux 3.13 kernel and Mesa 10.0.1. The processors tested included the Core i3 2120, Core i5 2500K, Core i5 3470, Core i7 3770K, Core i3 4130, and Core i7 4770K. These tests appear to represent a huge drawback in performance for Intel Haswell on Linux compared to earlier results.

  • NVIDIA Updates Its 319 Linux GPU Driver
  • Nvidia Graphics Display Driver for Linux 331.31
  • Another OpenGL 4.2 Extension Is Hitting Mesa
  • AMD’s Updated Catalyst Linux Driver Now Available

    The latest AMD Catalyst fglrx 13.30 RC3 driver is now available to all Linux users. The only changes officially mentioned by this first fglrx 13.30 series driver release is support for the AMD A10-7850K with Radeon R7 graphics and the AMD A10-770K APU with Radeon R5 graphics. Expect a 13.35 series driver release soon with crypto-currency mining improvements and other enhancements while further stabilizing their first-cut AMD Kaveri APU graphics support.

For Real Security, Use CentOS — Never RHEL — and Run Neither on Amazon’s Servers

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat, Security at 9:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat logo

Summary: Never run Red Hat’s “Enterprise Linux”, which cannot be trusted because of NSA involvement; Amazon, which pays Microsoft for RHEL and works with the CIA, should never be used for hosting

SEVERAL years ago CentOS almost died; now it’s being embraced by Red Hat and one pundit from tech tabloid ZDNet is moving to CentOS Linux on the desktop [1,2].

CentOS is still in the news [3], with the CentOS project leader (Karanbir Singh) giving an interview to the Linux Foundation [4]. We trust CentOS, whereas trusting Red Hat is hard. RHEL is binary and based on news from half a decade ago, the NSA is said to be involved in the building process, as well as SUSE’s, whereas CentOS is built from source (publicly visible). Microsoft and the NSA do the same thing with Windows and it’s now confirmed that Windows has NSA backdoors.

Earlier this month vulnerabilities in RHEL’s openssl and RHEL’s gnupg [5,6], contributed even less to trust. RHEL is so standard in the industry that it would probably be simpler than other distributions to exploit; the NSA may as well have off-the-shelf exploits for all major RHEL releases, which are deployed in many countries’ servers (even so-called ‘rogue’ countries). Based on the NSA leaks, Fedora — not RHEL — is being used by the NSA itself to run its spying operations (e.g. collecting radio signals from afar). Fedora is not truly binary-compatible and its source code makes secrets hard to keep.

Lastly, mind the latest of Red Hat’s Fog Computing hype [7,8], including the CIA’s partner Amazon that’s lumped onto Red Hat [9,10] as part of a conference [11,12]. Avoid Amazon at all costs. It’s a malicious trap for many reasons. Amazon also pays Microsoft for RHEL after a patent deal with Microsoft, as we pointed out years ago. Suffice to say, Microsoft's servers are as bad as Amazon's for privacy.

RHEL and its derivatives continue to be deployed in many large networks of systems [13], so it’s clear why the NSA would drool over the possibility of back doors in RHEL. Watch out for that. Given the way NSA infiltrated standards bodies and other institutions, it’s not impossible that there are even moles at Red Hat or Fedora. There used to be some at Microsoft (we know about those who got caught).

Red Hat’s CEO is now telling his story in a Red Hat site [14] and one needs to remember who he used to work for (close to Boeing, which is primarily an army company), not just the country he is based on (hence the rules that apply to him, especially when he wishes to appeal to government contractors, DoD/Pentagon etc. which are the most lucrative contracts).

It should be noted that my Web sites are mostly running CentOS and the same goes for the host of Techrights, who focuses on security. With CentOS you can get the source code and redistribute; with Red Hat’s RHEL you can’t (it’s sold as binary).

There is definitely a good reason to trust CentOS security more than RHEL security. As for Oracle (“Unbreakable”), well… just read Ellison’s public statements in support of the NSA (never mind the company’s roots and the CIA). That tells a lot.

The bottom line is, blind faith in binary distributions is a bad thing. Blind faith in NSA partners (Red Hat collaborates with the NSA not just in SELinux) is even worse.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Taking the long view: Why I’m moving to CentOS Linux on the desktop
  2. Is CentOS ready for the Linux desktop?

    CentOS is a very interesting and different choice for a desktop distribution. I haven’t heard of many people using it that way. Whenever somebody brings it up it’s usually within the context of running a server.

  3. Fedora and CentOS Updates, Linux for Security, and Top Seven
  4. CentOS Project Leader Karanbir Singh Opens Up on Red Hat Deal

    In the 10 years since the CentOS project was launched there has been no board of directors, or legal team, or commercial backing. The developers who labored to build the community-led version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) worked largely unpaid (though some took a few consulting gigs on the side.) They had a few hundred dollars in their bank account to pay for event t-shirts and that was it. And the project’s direction was decided based on the developers’ immediate needs, not a grand vision of future technology.

  5. Red Hat: 2014:0015-01: openssl: Important Advisory
  6. Red Hat: 2014:0016-01: gnupg: Moderate Advisory
  7. Red Hat Invests in Open Source IaaS, Cloud Talent
  8. Red Hat Academy Expands Training, Includes OpenStack Coursework
  9. Red Hat Launches Test Drives on AWS

    At its annual Partner conference in Scottsdale, Arizona this week Red Hat (RHT) announced new Test Drives on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with three Red Hat partners – CITYTECH, Shadow-Soft, and Vizuri. Through the AWS Test Drive program, users can quickly and easily explore and deploy ready-made solutions built on Red Hat technologies.

  10. Why Red Hat Needs OpenStack … And AWS

    OpenStack, the cloud’s community darling, desperately needs leadership, and Red Hat seems the ideal leader. But OpenStack isn’t the only needy party here. As good as Red Hat’s growth has been over the last decade, it pales in comparison to that of VMware, a later entrant that has grown much faster than Red Hat. And the open source leader still trails well behind Microsoft.

  11. Google, Amazon Clouds Invade Red Hat Partner Conference

    Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services executives are set to address Red Hat Partner Conference attendees on Jan. 13 in Arizona. No doubt, the keynotes will seek to ensure Linux resellers understand how to move customer workloads into the Google and AWS public clouds, respectively.

  12. 7 Surprises At Red Hat Partner Conference 2014
  13. How to deploy OSSEC across a large network of systems from RPMs
  14. Teens and their first job: How to get on the path to a happy career

    I grew up in the 1980s in Columbus, Georgia. You needed a car to get around, so I did not work until I could drive. Within months of getting my driver’s license, I got my first job as a part-time computer programmer for a stockbroker.

Apple Exploits Children

Posted in Antitrust, Apple at 8:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apple’s attitude towards children continues to be one that resembles drug dealers’

NOT ONLY under-aged children in China are being exploited for Apple profit.

According to a new post [1] and photograph from Will Hill, children are forced to sign an “agreement to use [Apple] laptop for school.” This comes at an interesting time because the FTC has just ruled that Apple will “pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to parents who didn’t authorize hefty purchases racked up by their children on their iPhones and iPads.”

What about laptops? How can Apple and its facilitators at schools get away with forcing children to become Apple customers? Apple is a company without ethics (in many areas), so this is morally wrong. Apple hopes to raise a generation of Apple ‘addicts’ using the help of state schools. Apple is not an alternative to Microsoft (Apple is trying to dodge antitrust actions in nefarious ways right now), it’s just another Microsoft. The alternative to both (the oligarchy) is freedom-respecting software, or BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Troubling User Agreement for Grade School

    Today, my daughter had to sign an agreement to use a laptop for school. They are going to replace most of the paper flow and text books with Apple laptops, so she was unable to refuse.

  2. FTC says Apple will pay at least $32.5 million over in-app purchases

    The federal government on Wednesday said Apple has agreed to pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to parents who didn’t authorize hefty purchases racked up by their children on their iPhones and iPads.

    The Federal Trade Commission’s settlement with Apple is the first punishment handed to a major tech company over the handling of children’s apps. It comes amid growing concern that as children clamor to use mobile devices, companies are doing little to protect their privacy or provide parents with the tools to supervise online behavior.

  3. Apple Settles FTC In-App Purchasing Complaint

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