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Another Microsoft Partner Markets Linux FUD Using Logo, Name, and Lies

Posted in FUD, Microsoft, Red Hat, Security at 12:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The great power of lies and gullible journalists

Christmas lights

Summary: Microsoft’s partner Alert Logic is trying to label a feature of Linux a security flaw and even makes marketing buzz for it

IF A reporter or two can be bamboozled into printing a lie (digitally distributing it), this can lend some credibility/legitimacy to the lie and then it is possible that the lie will spread and be echoed in other reports. Hence the importance of this matter.

“They are trying to change perceptions around Free software security.”Several journalists have already rebutted something that I debunked some days ago when I first saw some nonsense about “Grinch” with a suitable “marketing” image. Here is one rebuttal among a few:

The Grinch flaw was reported by Stephen Cody, chief security evangelist at Alert Logic. Cody alleges that the Grinch flaw enables users on a local machine to escalate privileges. Leading Linux vendor Red Hat, however, disagrees that the Grinch issue is even a bug and instead notes in a Red Hat knowledge base article that the Grinch report “incorrectly classifies expected behavior as a security issue.”

The original security researcher that reported the Grinch found that if a user logs into a Linux system as the local administrator, the user could run a certain command that would enable the user to install a package, explained Josh Bressers, lead of the Red Hat Product Security Team.

“Local administrators are trusted users,” Bressers told eWEEK. “This isn’t something you hand out to everybody.”

We believe it was Joab Jackson (IDG) who first gave a platform to the Microsoft partner (Alert Logic) that used marketing buzz and a lie against Linux, soon to be rebutted by Red Hat. I had contacted Mr. Jackson, who later told me that he posted a follow-up (or correction).

Jackson’s correction may have come too late as we saw the lie spreading to a few other news sites later on (thankfully not too many sites). Here is one example of garbage ‘reporting’ (FUD and lies), generated by the FUD firm with with a catchy name, sort of logo etc. (generated by a Microsoft partner we might add). Apart from Jackson’s piece we saw at least 3 more such articles (which came afterwards). How many are going to post a correction? How many articles will be withdrawn? How many follow-ups will be published? Tumbleweed. Silence.

It is usually Windows that has zero-days during Christmas, not GNU or Linux. There was recently other nonsense with a name, claiming to be a flaw when it was actually some other malware (potentially developed by the Russian government) that users actually have to install (not from repositories) to be infected by. It was akin to a phishing attack, but it was widely used in the press (even in IDG, Jackson’s employer) to characterise GNU/Linux as insecure.

Remember what the Microsoft-connected firm did with "Heartbleed" (the name it made up with a promotional logo). It’s all about marketing and hype. They are trying to change perceptions around Free software security. What matters is what people remember, not the truth. This is all about discouraging users or buyers.

A reader has alerted us about this article from Armenia . “Note the job title of the ‘softer,” he said. Here is the relevant portion:

Armenia’s Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan received Microsoft Corporation’s Regional Director for Public Safety/National Security/Defense Robert Kosla.

Joke or real? It sounds like a joke, but they are definitely not joking. Armenia talks to the NSA’s biggest partner and back doors-loving company about ‘security’, so seeing the job title from Microsoft is truly hilarious! Microsoft is good at insecurity and lies, not security.

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Redmonk is Spreading Black Duck’s Anti-GPL Talking Points After Payments From Black Duck, Microsoft

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CBS pleases Microsoft


Summary: CBS’ ZDNet spreads the GNU-hostile narrative which comes from Redmonk, funded by Microsoft and Black Duck, citing Black Duck, which also comes from Microsoft and is a partner of Microsoft

Redmonk has been the subject of both praises and criticism over the years. We often agree with what Redmonk shows, but sometimes the impact of money, e.g. money from Microsoft, seems to be playing a role in analyses. It is difficult to dismiss the role of financial dependence; casting it irrelevant would be rather naïve. Whenever a company says something positive about a paying customer it’s rarely just a coincidence. The company is aware of its sources of income and develops a sort of “sixth sense” in the same way that politicians learn to love and defend their funders, not speaking out about them or voting against these funders’ interests. The Koch brothers, for example, sure have an impact on climate policies through various groups they pay. That it why money is handed out in the first place. Bill Gates does a lot of this too, e.g. bribing news sites, news channels, analysts, politicians, decision-makers etc. What we have commended Redmonk for in the past is the policy of full disclosure (well, not entirely full as proportionate contributions are never mentioned).

Microsoft pays Black Duck, which pays analysts who repeat its claims at face value on the face of it. Black Duck has in fact been paying lots of sources to help legitimise its talking points. Even the Linux Foundation is paid by Black Duck (hard to say how much, but probably enough to buy silence on criticism and free publicity at times). Redmonk has been paid by Black Duck too.

“Open Hub is just a new name for a company created by people from Microsoft.”There was a long discussion about this in Twitter (here is just a portion) in light of an article from ZDNet that relayed Black Duck’s talking points using two data points both owned by Black Duck, including its hires from Microsoft. It should be noted that Black Duck is not the only Microsoft-connected proprietary ‘think tank’ trying to tell us that the GPL is declining (in relative terms, not absolute, wherein lies a bias and spin opportunity). OpenLogic, headed by a man from Microsoft, does it too and we have named other such entities. It’s ugly out there. Analysts sell agenda, not information.

To spare readers the misinformation, the short story is that several days ago Redmonk was spreading Black Duck’s anti-GPL talking points and now it turns out Black Duck had paid Redmonk. As noted in this article, “Black Duck, the parent company of Open Hub, has been a RedMonk customer but is not currently.”

Open Hub is just a new name for a company created by people from Microsoft. Companies tend to change names to evade negative perception/publicity. Some patent trolls and mercenaries do that a lot. Behind closed doors Redmonk is not advising companies that copyleft is dying, not disclosing that its figured are biased by a Microsoft deal from 2009. It also impacts what news sites are reporting, creating a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy/bias against the GPL. Here is what ZDNet wrote the other day, not even spelling Ohloh correctly (so we can assume there’s no understanding that this company came from Microsoft). SJVN wrote: “Berkholz learned, using data from Ohlol, an open-source code research project now known as Open Hub, that “Since 2010, this trend has reached a point where permissive is more likely than copyleft [GPL] for a new open-source project.””

Remember where this entity called Open Hub came from. It’s a bunch of people from Microsoft.

Now see the bottom of ZDNet’s posts, which unlike Redmonk does not disclose the Black Duck and Microsoft connection (financial connection to both). That’s how Microsoft’s propaganda makes it into ZDNet.

ZDNet remains one of the world’s crappiest tech tabloids, especially now that it is owned by CBS. It still employs a lot of Microsoft staff (past and present) to publicly smear, bash, and insult Linux/Android. Here is a new example where a Microsoft employee writes about (bashes and belittles) Android in this very trashy tabloid (that pays him to do this). This is part of a pattern and it’s amazing that ZDNet pretends to be a news site. Under CBS’ wing it just serves sponsors. Watch the disclosure a the bottom: “Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.”

Yeah, right!

There is a lot more, including links, in the Twitter discussions. Even Redmonk staff weighed in, but has not responded to the rebuttals. Bruce Perens warned that Black Duck's claims about the GPL are "B.S.". There is too much B.S. in today’s news, emanating from people who pretend to be journalists and analysts but are actually agents of propaganda or marketing. Be sceptical and go back to the sources to assess the facts.

‘Good’ Software Patents From EA Show Cases Where DRM is a Patent Infringement

Posted in DRM, Patents at 11:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Where two evils collide the public benefits, or how some software patents discourage the use of DRM

SOFTWARE patents are a horrible thing because in a world where almost everything is now controlled by computers with general-purpose or specialised software nearly every action/process can potentially become a monopoly, or a milking cow of someone (usually a large corporation) who had little to do with invention, just opportunism. It puts tremendous pressure on ‘small’ software developers and offers protectionism to software conglomerates such as IBM. Software patents are in injustice for many reasons including their undeniable impediment to innovation, which makes them the antithesis of patents (where publication in exchange for temporary monopoly was supposed to encourage dissemination of knowledge and thus innovation). Abstract ideas rather than utility were never supposed to be patentable. Likewise, copyright law has been extended to cover all sort of ridiculous things (like a story/plot, based on vague similarities, APIs, etc.) even to the point of encouraging no innovation or creativity (e.g. lasting well beyond the death of the original creator). The latter is often enforced upon the public using some ugly software hacks like DRM (turning computers against their users), so the relationship is deep and inherent.

“So here we have two evils fighting against one another. “It is rather ironic when software patents do something good by discouraging the use of DRM as DRM itself becomes a patent monopoly. Such was the case in this legal case. “Between the company’s general disposition and the incredible failure of the SimCity launch,” says an article, “Electronic Arts is becoming a name associated directly with digital rights management. The most infamous DRM platform the company has used is probably SecuROM, which was noteworthy for being equal parts mega-annoying to paying customers, as well as being so massively ineffective that games employing SecuROM later became amongst the most pirated video games of all time. But, results aside, EA would tell you that it needed to use DRM to protect the company from piracy. Even if SecuROM failed, the company had to at least try, or else the freeloaders that live the highlife getting around intellectual property laws would win. Violating IP laws is wrong, damn it, and EA was going to do everything in its power to right that wrong.”

So here we have two evils fighting against one another. It is not easy to pick a side. On the one hand we have monopolies on software and on the other we have monopolies on access to data. Both are detrimental to the common good.

Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 4:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New article from Richard Stallman

We say that running free software on your computer means that its operation is under your control. Implicitly this presupposes that your computer will do what your programs tell it to do, and no more. In other words, that your computer will be loyal to you.

In 1990 we took that for granted; nowadays, many computers are designed to be disloyal to their users. It has become necessary to spell out what it means for your computer to be a loyal platform that obeys your decisions, which you express by telling it to run certain programs.

Our tentative definition consists of these principles.

Neutrality towards software

The computer will run, without prejudice, whatever software you install in it, and let that software do whatever its code says to do.

A feature to check for signatures on the programs that run is compatible with this principle provided the signature checking is fully under the user’s control. When that is so, the feature helps implement the user’s decision about which programs to run, rather than thwarting the user’s decisions. By contrast, signature checking that is not fully under the user’s control violates this principle.

Neutrality towards protocols

The computer will communicate, without prejudice, through whatever protocol your installed software implements, with whatever users and whatever other networked computers you direct it to communicate with.

This means that computer does not impose one particular service rather than another, or one protocol rather than another. It does not require the user to get anyone else’s permission to communicate via a certain protocol.

Neutrality towards implementations

When the computer communicates using any given protocol, it will support doing so, without prejudice, via whatever code you choose (assuming the code implements the intended protocol), and it will do nothing to help any other part of the Internet to distinguish which code you are using or what changes you may have made in it, or to discriminate based on your choice.

This entails that the computer rejects remote attestation, that is, that it does not permit other computers to determine over the network whether your computer is running one particular software load. Remote attestation gives web sites the power to compel you to connect to them only through an application with DRM that you can’t break, denying you effective control over the software you use to communicate with them. Netflix is a notorious example of this.

We can comprehend remote attestation as a general scheme to allow any web site to impose tivoization or “lockdown” on the local software you connect to it with. Simple tivoization of a program bars modified versions from functioning properly; that makes the program nonfree. Remote attestation by web sites bars modified versions from working with those sites that use it, which makes the program effectively nonfree when using those sites. If a computer allows web sites to bar you from using a modified program with them, it is loyal to them, not to you.

Neutrality towards data communicated

When the computer receives data using whatever protocol, it will not limit what the program can do with the data received through that communication.

Any hardware-level DRM violates this principle. For instance, the hardware must not deliver video streams encrypted such that only the monitor can decrypt them.


The computer always permits you to analyze the operation of a program that is running.


The computer comes with full documentation of all the interfaces intended for software to use to control the computer.


The principles above apply to all the computer’s software interfaces and all communication the computer does. The computer must not have any disloyal programmable facility or do any disloyal communication.

For instance, the AMT functionality in recent Intel processors runs nonfree software that can talk to Intel remotely. Unless disabled, this makes the system disloyal.

This page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.


Links 18/12/2014: LinuxQuestions.org Polls, Fedora for POWER

Posted in News Roundup at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 6 Ideal Last Minute Linux Xmas Gift Ideas

    Christmas, Yule, Winterville, new socks day… Whatever you call it you’ll be panic stricken to hear that it’s almost here. Like the rest of us in denial, you are a little stumped for ideas.

  • The Cuban Experiment

    That leaves Cuba as a somewhat pristine testing ground for the hypothesis that GNU/Linux is “good enough”. StatCounter shows Cubans use GNU/Linux ~6% of page-views. Will this increase or decrease if the embargo is officially lifted? Presumably, eventually, Cubans will be able to afford all kinds of IT. What will they choose? I expect the Chinese will sell/give them whatever they want. There are also some South American OEMs who can cater to their Spanish-language preferences. Will they order up Android/Linux smartphones and tablets or legacy PCs tied to Wintel or GNU/Linux? I would bet that Android/Linux will get their vote because they have no lock-in and Android/Linux is affordable. They may want servers and desktops too, but without lock-in, I would bet the share going to GNU/Linux will be relatively huge, especially considering they are already getting around 6% share of page-views by GNU/Linux. They have a lot of in-house expertise, something that has held back adoption in other places. I think anything over about 10% will unleash a flood of further adoption. It’s not like they are stuck at ~1%.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • The Growing Linux on Power Ecosystem

      Earlier this month, a report by the Linux Foundation identified that Linux deployments are up 14 percent over the last three years, while Windows is down 9 percent. In addition, Linux solutions have grown 23 percent since 2013. What this further confirmed is that our strategy for IBM Power Systems growth is aligned with market realities: that Linux continues to grow in both the cloud and in enterprise application deployments – and more and more enterprises are turning to the value of Linux. (Source: ZDNet)

    • Rackspace Embraces OpenPOWER

      IBM’s efforts to expand and open the base of its Power server system architecture is growing today with the inclusion of cloud data center vendor Rackspace. Rackspace is now the 80th member company to join the OpenPOWER Foundation, which is now entering its second year of operations.

    • Eight years at Rackspace
    • Rackspace joins OpenPOWER

      What’s one of the parent companies of OpenStack and a top private-cloud hosting companies doing in OpenPOWER? Helping to push open-source from software into hardware.

    • Docker and the Linux container ecosystem

      Linux container technology is experiencing tremendous momentum in 2014. The ability to create multiple lightweight, self-contained execution environments on the same Linux host simplifies application deployment and management. By improving collaboration between developers and system administrators, container technology encourages a DevOps culture of continuous deployment and hyperscale, which is essential to meet current user demands for mobility, application availability, and performance.

    • How Linux containers can solve a problem for defense virtualization

      As the virtualization of U.S. defense agencies commences, the technology’s many attributes—and drawbacks—are becoming apparent.

      Virtualization has enabled users to pack more computing power in a smaller space than ever before. It has also created an abstraction layer between the operating system and hardware, which gives users choice, flexibility, vendor competition and best value for their requirements. But there is a price to be paid in the form of expensive and cumbersome equipment, software licensing and acquisition fees, and long install times and patch cycles.

  • Kernel Space

    • Unikernels offer a stripped down alternative to Linux

      Cloud systems are always built from three layers: machine, operating system (OS), and application. A few new projects are throwing away this classic approach and starting again with all-in-one applications and OSs. Projects like Mirage, HaLVM, and LING provide a stripped-down cloud alternative to multi-purpose systems like Linux. These all-in-one systems are called unikernels.

    • New Input Drivers Coming For Linux 3.19 Kernel

      One of the latest pull requests for the Linux 3.19 kernel is the input driver subsystem pull, which includes numerous updates along with a few new drivers. The new drivers will benefit some Google Chromebooks in running the latest upstream kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Radeon vs. Modesetting DDX Performance Comparison

        With xf86-video-modesetting continuing to add support for new features while being a generic hardware driver as long as there’s an underlying DRM/KMS driver, how is the 2D and OpenGL performance compare when using this driver on an AMD GPU instead of the specialized xf86-video-ati DDX driver? Here’s some benchmarks.

      • Multi-Stream Transport 4K Monitors To Become Better Supported On Linux

        For a number of months David Airlie at Red Hat has been working on DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (DP MST) handling for Linux. Keith Packard over at Intel is now playing with DP MST too for bettering modern 4K display support on Linux within X.Org Server based environments.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Enhancing Your Work Habits with KDE

        As I write, at least six desktop environments are popular among free software users. However, even with long familiarity, none of the others come close to the versatility of KDE. KDE starts with the classic desktop and adds many of the features that other desktops include, such as panel widgets and special effects. Some of its features, such as hot spots on the screen edges, were unique a few years ago but have since been added to other environments (e.g., Cinnamon). Moreover, even now, few other desktops offer the same degree of customization as KDE, whose settings include options for bringing a window into focus and actions to take when an external device is plugged in.

        However, where KDE truly excels is in enhancements that extend the traditional desktop and give users new ways to work. Tabbed windows, Desktop Layouts, Activities – all of these are relatively simple improvements on the desktop, but the effect of even the simplest on your work habits can be enough to make you impatient with the limitations of other desktops.

      • KDE Ships Plasma 5.1.2, Bugfix Release for December

        Tuesday, 16 December 2014. Today KDE releases a bugfix update to Plasma 5, versioned 5.1.2. Plasma 5.1 was released in October with many feature refinements and streamlining the existing codebase of KDE’s popular desktop for developers to work on for the years to come.

      • Clock-to-color wallpaper plugin for Plasma5

        Today I came across this interesting idea – http://whatcolourisit.scn9a.org/ – basically it puts the current time as the background color. You really need to see it in action ;)

      • KDE Applications 14.12 – New Features, Frameworks Ports

        Today KDE released KDE Applications 14.12, delivering new features and bug fixes to more than a hundred applications. Most of these applications are based on KDE Development Platform 4 but the first applications have been ported to KDE Frameworks 5. Frameworks is a set of modularized libraries providing additional functionality for Qt5, the latest version of the popular Qt cross-platform application framework.

      • KDE Applications 14.12 Released
      • Leaving KO

        Inge, Tobias and I founded KO GmbH in 2007 in Magdeburg. We named it KOfficeSource, because we believed that KOffice, which is Calligra these days, was getting ready for the big time, especially on mobile. Nokia was beginning to invest heavily into open source, Intel joining in with Moblin, the times were heady and exciting! After a bit of rough-and-tumble about the name, we renamed KOfficeSource GmbH to KO GmbH and from 2010 on, we were in business!

      • Krita and KO GmbH

        This might sound boring with all the excitement around our first beta for the 2.9 release, but in the interest of being an open project, it’s an important message.

        From January 1st, KO GmbH will no longer be involved with Krita. Until now, the Krita maintainer, Boudewijn Rempt, was employed at KO GmbH. KO GmbH publishes Krita Gemini on Steam and provided commercial support for Krita to VFX studios and artists. While there was growth in the business, it was never enough to keep KO GmbH solvent.

        From this point on, the Krita Foundation will support the Krita Studio users. The foundation will provide CentOS and Ubuntu LTS builds, as well as bug fixes and engaging in custom development projects.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK+ On Windows Now Supports OpenGL

        For users of the GTK+ tool-kit on Windows, OpenGL support is coming and follows in the footsteps of GTK’s recent OpenGL focus and enablement on Linux.

      • Actually shipping AppStream metadata in the repodata

        For the last couple of releases Fedora has been shipping the appstream metadata in a package. First it was the gnome-software package, but this wasn’t an awesome dep for KDE applications like Apper and was a pain to keep updated. We then moved the data to an appstream-data package, but this was just as much of a hack that was slightly more palatable for KDE. What I’ve wanted for a long time is to actually ship the metadata as metadata, i.e. next to the other files like primary.xml.gz on the mirrors.

      • Paper: New Material Design Inspired GTK Theme

        Paper is a new material design inspired GTK theme, which is currently in beta. “Its design is mostly flat with a minimal use of shadows for depth”, mentions its website, and it was developed primarily for the GNOME (Shell) and other desktops that make use of header bars.

  • Distributions

    • Reviewing 2014, Penguin Porn, and Dropping Distros

      Today in Linux news are several reviews of the events of 2014. Elsewhere Linux.conf.au lost its hashtag to an adult entertainment awards and another Linux security flaw is making the news rounds. KDE 3-clone Trinity desktop saw a new release and Bruce Byfield asks why the number of Linux distributions are declining.

    • Get Out the Vote for LinuxQuestions.org

      One great thing about this poll — probably the best thing about this poll — is that each of the categories has an extremely wide range of candidates, and there are programs in many of the categories that I’ve never heard of. Hearing about them for the first time, I get to try them out. So not only is it fun — yeah, I think voting is fun (so shoot me) — it’s also educational.

    • Is distrohopping on the decline in Linux?

      So what to make of this decline? My initial reaction was to be somewhat horrified when I first started reading the Datamation article. But then I realized that the actual number of distros lost amounts to 38. While I’m not happy to see that, I also think it’s quite understandable given how Linux has changed over the last five years or so. And has Linux itself has become more mature, so have many Linux users.

      Along with the decline in the number of Linux distributions, we may also be seeing less and less distrohopping among Linux users.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Red Hot Red Hat, Mageia Gives Back, and Linux Awards

        Today in Linux news, the Mint project announced the release candidate for 17.1 KDE. In other news the Mageia project donates 250€ to GCompris and TheStreet says Red Hat stock is poised to become “red hot” in 2015. LinuxQuestions.org announced their 2014 Members Choice Awards today and Bruce Byfield has some tips for KDE users.

      • It’s Christmas in FOSS-land!

        See, Mageia is a community-driven Linux distribution. Everybody here volunteers and does the work because he or she can and because they want to contribute. The money that we collect in donations goes to paying for server costs, hardware repairs and upgrades, supporting booths and handing out merchandise at conventions (and in one case, flying in a repair person when everything broke).


        GCompris is a software suite of educational activities for children from 2 to 10. Helping to introduce children to Linux helps the whole Linux world to grow :). Of course, our donation is only a small part of what GCompris is trying to raise, so if you have some money that you budgeted for a good cause and are looking for that good cause, we think that GCompris is it.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat and IBM Ratchet-Up Linux Partnership

        Red Hat’s recent announcement of its Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta noted that the new OS provides a variety of enhancements and innovations, including support for Ceph userspace components, Docker v1.2, FreeOTP (a two-factor authentication application) and OpenLMI (a standardized remote API), plus improved interoperability with Windows file and print services.

      • Fedora 21 Released For POWER & AArch64 Hardware

        While Fedora 21 was officially released last week, coming out today is the release of Fedora 21 for the PowerPC and ARM AArch64 architectures.

        Fedora 21 and its packages are now officially available for IBM POWER servers as the only PowerPC systems being officially supported by the PPC release. Support for Apple’s older PowerPC systems is mentioned as a PPC platform that’s most likely broken and will not be working out-of-the-box. Fedora for POWER in the 21 release offers an installer for the Fedora Server product, support for 32-bit Power has been dropped in favor of 64-bit, and there’s numerous enhancements to Fedora on POWER compared to older releases.

      • Customers reporting interest in cloud, containers, Linux, OpenStack for 2015

        As 2014 comes to a close and IT departments reflect on their initiatives heading into the new year, we asked a group of 115 Red Hat customers — ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses — about their priorities for 2015. What we heard from the respondents is promising going into the new year: Budgets are increasing (or at least staying the same); Linux adoption is increasing; cloud deployments will be dominantly private or hybrid; OpenStack is hot; and interest in containers is emerging.

      • How Red Hat Is on the Path to Become Red Hot in 2015 — and Beyond

        Enterprise software giant Red Hat (RHT) will report fiscal third-quarter results Thursday. And investors who still regard Red Hat as just a Linux software company aren’t paying attention.

      • Red Hat Brings Business Intelligence and Data Analysis Suite to the Public Cloud

        Red Hat (RHT) has broadened the deployment options for its integrated data analysis and business intelligence platform with the announcement that Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA can now run across a variety of public cloud providers that Red Hat has certified, as well as on new hardware configurations.

      • Can Red Hat (RHT) Continue the Earnings Streak in Q3FY15?
      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA Extended To Open Hybrid Cloud

        Red Hat announced that Red Hat Enterprise Linux for the SAP HANA platform is now available to be deployed across the open hybrid cloud. This of course includes via those public cloud providers certified by Red Hat.

      • SAP: Linux for HANA Deployable in Hybrid; Fujitsu’s Cloud’s Australia Launch
      • Fedora

        • Fedora 21

          Fedora 21 is out and I’ve been able to spend some time with it. The last version of Fedora I looked at was more than two years ago, so there have been quite a few changes since then. The new version of Fedora comes in three basic options: Fedora Cloud, Fedora Server and Fedora Workstation.

        • Fedora 21 Workstation Installation Guide with Screenshots

          Have you tried Fedora 21? What do you think about the new version? Also, what do you think about the new spins of Fedora 21? Do you like the new releasing system?

        • Fedora 21 – Gnome Terminal and IRSSI

          Well It seems that the default install of Gnome Terminal in Version 3.14.2 doesn’t play nicely with Irssi. If you have multiple channels open, you’re unable to ALT-1 or ALT-2 to get to each channel.

        • Fedora 21, 22, and 19, firewall discussion, and holiday break

          While Fedora 22 is already rolling into the target zone, we do want to make sure we look back at this previous cycle and identify things we can improve — ideally, specific and actionable changes. In the end, we came out with (another!) great release, but there is always something to learn. In particular, we ended yet again in a last minute scramble to get a release we could feel good about signing off on out before the holidays, and next time around it would be nice to put less stress on all of our contributors (including the quality assurance team and the developers needed to make those late fixes.)

        • Improving Eclipse Platform Stability On Rawhide

          The Eclipse platform on Fedora Rawhide can be pretty unstable at times. Every update to one of its dependencies requires a rebuild. As a result, it has been on our TODO list for a while to work out some way of making Eclipse more resilient to these kind of dependency updates (at least in cases where a rebuild shouldn’t be required). Looking upstream, there are quite a few bugs relating to this topic (410710, 410785, 408138) .

        • Fedora 21: Linux fans will LOVE it – after the install woes

          With Fedora’s installer it isn’t immediately clear what you need to do – or even that you need to do something – until you click each button and find out, which runs the “select your layout” and installs. It’s not that bad; it’s not like installing Arch, but it did leave me wondering “why?” Why not just go with the familiar, narrative-like sliding screen animation that, well, pretty much every other OS out there uses?

        • Elasticsearch & wxPython 3 Proposed For Fedora 22
        • FLOSS Weekly 319

          Mathew Miller joins Randal and Joe to talk about the release of Fedora 21. Fedora 21 is an operating system based on Linux and developed by the community-supported Fedora Project.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Qseven i.MX6 COM adds industrial temperature range

      Aaeon’s first ARM-based COM — a Qseven-based “AQ7-IMX6″ module running Android or Linux on a Freescale i.MX6 — has added an industrial temperature option.

    • Green Hills challenges “rudimentary” Linux debug

      Green Hills Software has announced a software development environment for embedded Linux developers.

      According to Green Hills, the Linux development software in its MULTI tool suite will address the “rudimentary” state of many debuggers for Linux, which it said were “difficult to learn, setup, and use and lack the powerful control and visibility that modern electronic systems demand”.

    • Video: Headless ARM9 SBC boots Linux in less than a second

      Technologic has posted a video demo of its fast-booting headless PC/104-expandable SBC, which runs Debian on a PXA16x SoC and includes a Lattice FPGA.

    • Raspberry Pi’s Gallium3D Driver Could Now Run Significantly Faster

      Eric Anholt, the lead developer developer behind the Broadcom VC4 Mesa/Gallium3D driver stack for supporting the Raspberry Pi, has announced a new performance achievement.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Second generation Android One phones to arrive in Q1 2015

          Karbonn Mobile is preparing to release its second-generation Android One smartphone, according to the Executive Director of Karbonn Mobiles, Shashin Devsare, who recently spoke at the Dream 500 Million Smartphones event in New Delhi. The successor to the Karbonn Sparkle V is scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2015.

        • 2014 Was the Year of Android Everywhere

          Android has never enjoyed quite the same fanboy enthusiasm among its users as Apple’s iOS or desktop Linux. Yet, thanks in part to the fairly open licensing of the Linux-based mobile OS, Android quickly evolved and improved. Like Google Search, it quietly crept into our lives, and decided to stay. Android smartphones and tablets now represent about 80 percent and 70 percent global market share, respectively (see the companion article, Android Dominates Global Smartphone Market in 2014.)

        • Android Dominates Global Smartphone Market in 2014
        • These are the new faces of Android Wear

          Google has opened a section to the Play Store dedicated to serving new watch faces for Android Wear smartwatches. Until this new debut, which accompanies a significant software update for the Android Wear watches themselves, the only choices available were the standard ones preloaded by Google, a few extras provided by manufacturers like LG, and a few from grassroots fans who made their own. Now Google has an official development kit for new faces and a whole bunch of options already populating the store. You’ll find some of the standouts below, in both their active and passive modes, and you can peruse the full collection of novelties in our comprehensive hands-on gallery.

        • Samsung believes wearables ‘will create a new era of power dressing’ in 2015
        • Tile’s tiny Bluetooth stuff-tracker now works with Android

          The Android app, which hits Google’s Play Store today, will work with every Tile the company has shipped so far. It’s a different story in terms of what phones it works with, with the app requiring Android 4.4 KitKat or higher, as well as Bluetooth 4.0. Tile says it’s also only optimized its software for a handful of phones, including Samsung’s Galaxy S5, the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, HTC One, and HTC One M8.

        • Android 5.0/5.1 Lollipop UK release date, new features and upgrades: Android 5.1 could be here by February

          We’ve been running Android Lollipop for a few months now, back when it was known only as Android L, and you can see the new features and screenshots here. We’ve also tested out the increased battery life, but Lollipop is no faster than KitKat

Free Software/Open Source

  • GEMS To Use Telegram’s Secure Open Source Code

    Over the past few weeks, there have been a lot of conversations in the world of cryptocurrency about the GEMS project. GEMS brings us the social messaging aspect we have all grown so accustomed to, and integrates it with the power of the blockchain, by offering GEMZ tokens. In order to gain user adoption, GEMS users will be able to contact people who use Telegram, or one of the third party applications built on top of Telegram.

  • Spiceworks free Network Monitor system health check

    Spiceworks is offering its “free” (no, it actually is) Network Monitor software as ‘now available’ for download.

  • Open Source Has Won: Now What’s Your Strategy?

    Nonetheless, open source is here to stay. If your organization isn’t using open source software in mission-critical applications, you’re in the minority. Even then, I suspect you are using open source software and just don’t know it.

  • The elements to a better future for software

    I was working for a company, not as a developer, but as a “User Experience (UX) Architect.” I worked in project management team prototyping User Interfaces (UIs), and handing them off to the dev team. Inevitably, everything I wrote was just put into production, or adapted slightly. I was working on a project in 2008 that needed to make cross domain Ajax requests, and back then it was a real pain. I needed a solution to prove out my concept for the app, and I said, “I know some Flash, and I know that it can do that.” So I built a JS API wrapper around an invisible flash file, with the same API as the XMLHttpRequest (Ajax) object, and I called the project flXHR (flash based XHR).

    Once I got it working, I thought, “Maybe other people will find it useful?” so, I released my code as open source. Back then, open source was pre-GitHub, so source was all on my website, and I pointed people at it from blog posts, etc. I also put code on Google Code too, but there wasn’t as much of a community back then either. In early 2009, I wanted to get into conference scene. 2009 was the first big JavaScript-specific conference, JSConf, and so I decided to go and speak about SWFObject (one of the most downloaded projects on the web at the time), which I was using heavily in flXHR. I was a core dev for SWFObject and gave a “B track” talk at the conference. Only like three people showed up to my first talk, but I fell in love with the idea that I could speak to call attention to open source code and inspire others to help make it better!

    The fullness of my open source perspective came later that year, in November of 2009. I released the project I’m probably most known for: LABjs (a performance-optimized dynamic script loader). I gave a talk at JSConfEU in Berlin Germany about script loading. Two hours before going on stage, I was overhearing lots of people talking about this new site called GitHub, so I went and signed up while I was sitting in the audience. I pushed all my LABjs code there, and that was my first official: “I am in the FOSS community” moment.

  • 2014: The Open Source Tipping Point

    For the last ten years open source has expanded into more and more segments of the computing industry. But as we review 2014, a new story emerges: software development has fundamentally shifted toward an open source model. Especially for the infrastructure software used for scale-out computing, open source is the de facto choice; in fact, it’s virtually impossible to find examples of scale-out infrastructure that is not open source.

  • Google Releases End-To-End Chrome Extension to Open Source
  • Google makes End-to-End open source — moves project to GitHub

    Back in June, Google announced an alpha Google Chrome extension called “End-to-End”. This project was designed to easily encrypt traffic between two points. Having encryption be easy is key, as users will avoid complicated solutions. The problem is, not everyone uses Chrome; some people prefer Firefox, Safari, Opera and more. Why is this a problem? In order for End-To-End to be effective and adopted as a pseudo-standard, it must be available for browsers other than Google’s own.

  • Most organizations still slow to embrace open source solutions

    The reasons aren’t entirely obvious, so FierceCIO spoke with Ponemon Institute’s Larry Ponemon for his take on the slow race to adopt open source. The Ponemon Institute recently conducted a study looking at adoption rates of open source solutions versus proprietary software, and why organizations lean either way.


    According to Ponemon, the percentage of open source business applications being used by organizations in the U.S. is approximately 30 percent, and about 25 percent in India.

  • My life in open source, and the mentors who led the way

    I have been working on the Apache http server for almost 20 years now. I’ve written 9 books about httpd, and spoken at more than fifty conferences. I’m a member of the Apache Software Foundation, where I serve as a board member and as Executive Vice President. I am responsible for putting on ApacheCon, both in North America and Europe, which is the official conference of the ASF.

  • 5 community managers give their biggest tip for 2015

    I’ve grown a lot as a community manager this past year. Much of that growth was focused on learning and listening. Throughout my travels to various events and conferences this year I’ve seen a few themes come through that I think are important—they are: inclusiveness, diversity, and empathy. So, when I started to think about what to share with you this year from what I’ve learned, I decided to amplify some of what others have learned too that reinforce these themes.

  • Voice of the Masses: What was your FOSS highlight of 2014?

    Yes, 2014 is nearly over, and it’s been quite a year for Free Software. As the Linux Voice team prepares to meet up for our final podcast of the year, we want to hear from you: what event from the last 12 months really stands out to you? Maybe it’s a new release of your favourite software or distro, or a quote from a certain FOSS celebrity. Perhaps you converted someone to Linux, or made an awesome discovery via our Finds of the Fortnight™.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox OS Expands to Nearly 30 Countries

        Firefox OS has brought choice to the mobile industry with 14 smartphones offered by 14 operators in 28 countries. Firefox OS unlocks mobile ecosystem participants from the barriers set by proprietary systems, allowing for independence, control and innovation.

      • Priv8 adds sandboxed tabs to Firefox

        While Mozilla is still hard at work to integrate the multi-process architecture e10s in Firefox which is a prerequisite for sandboxing in the browser, add-on developers are already one step ahead of the organization.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Google Helps To Use Big Data For Global Surveillance — And That’s Good

      The system works by analyzing data from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) network, which broadcasts a ship’s location. Although AIS was primarily designed as a safety mechanism to avoid collisions at sea, information about the vessel’s behavior can be derived by analyzing AIS data for the identity, speed and direction of broadcasting vessels. Global Fishing Watch uses that analysis to remove all the cargo ships and other non-fishing vessel activity

  • Databases

    • MongoDB Acquires WiredTiger and its Open Source Storage Engine

      MongoDB has acquired WiredTiger, a company with database storage engine technology. WiredTiger will be integrated into MongoDB for performance, scalability, and hardware efficiency gains in the upcoming MongoDB 2.8. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

  • Healthcare

    • Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance Joins Open Source Initiative

      The Open Source Electronic Heath Records Alliance, or OSEHRA, a non-profit community dedicated to supporting open source users, developers, service providers, and researchers engaged in advancing health information technology, has joined the Open Source Initiative’s (OSI) Affiliate Membership program. OSI Affiliates are organizations committed to public support for open source software and the role the OSI plays therein. The current Affiliate membership is a who’s-who of the world of open source software.


    • December 2014 GNU Toolchain Update
    • Protect your privacy – Help GnuPG hire a second developer!

      GnuPG is the world’s leading privacy tool, with an estimated base of more than four million active users world-wide, and a thousand new users each day. It guards emails, files, and programs from snooping and spying on Windows, Mac, and GNU/Linux. This crucial program needs your help to keep going in 2015 and beyond.

    • GnuPG and g10

      After the release of GnuPG 1.0 in 1999 it turned out that this was not a write once and forget project. The unrestricted availability of the software and public concerns about the acquirement of PGP Inc. by NAI Inc. (coincidentally at the time of the initial GnuPG release in December 1997) raised a lot of interest by those who always cared about privacy issues.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Slovak statisticians rely on open source for voting machines

      The Slovak Republic’s Bureau of Statistics has used PCs running Ubuntu Linux for recording votes in the country’s municipal election on 29 November. Using open source saves money, says Štefan Tóth, Director Geneŕal of Informatics Section at the agency. For the bureau’s IT system administrators, Ubuntu proves easier to maintain and configure, and the software also withstands malware attacks better than the proprietary alternative, director Tóth confirms

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The project that wants to bring an open source, print-at-home connected car to a road near you

      If cars are indeed set to become “smartphones on wheels”, able to connect to the internet and each other, there are a few things we need to settle first. What kind of operating system will they run on, for example, and will they use proprietary or open source applications? Will upgrades to the car’s underlying system happen as seamlessly as mobile OS updates do today, or will you have to call out a mechanic?

    • What To Expect In 2015: Robots Join The Open-Source Revolution

      The number of downloads doubled in 2014, to 3.5 million, and Gerkey expects adoption to spike again with the release of ROS 2.0 this summer. The upgrade will coordinate swarms, improve walking, and support smart sensors—basically, assimilate the world’s robots.

    • GovDelivery Acquires Open Source Data Software Company NuCivic

      NuCivic designs open-source, data-sharing tools for government and non-profit organizations, an area the company said is facing a “tidal wave of demand” as more people press for access to government records.

    • GovDelivery Acquires NuCivic to Bring Proven Open Source Solutions to Government

      Drupal is widely-adopted by international, federal, state and local governments, including many GovDelivery clients. NuCivic’s Drupal-based product and integration expertise will allow GovDelivery to expand its services to meet broader needs of government innovators. NuCivic clients and the Drupal community within government will benefit from accelerated investment in building and enhancing productized solutions purpose built for government on the Drupal platform.

    • Open Access/Content

      • The doyen of Open Access in India

        Met with Subbiah Arunachalam, the doyen of Open Access in Science. He must be in his 70s, but his passion and enthusiasm for Open Access always amazes me. I asked him how he got interested in this area, and he said that when he was at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), he wanted access to a journal, Surface Science, and asked a friend of his in the US to send him a copy. His friend quietly subscribed him to the journal, and Arun started getting the copies. When Arun looked at the cost of the journal, he was shocked, and realized that even IISc could not afford to subscribe to this journal.

      • Good bye Bugzilla, welcome Phabricator.

        After ten years of using Bugzilla with 73681 tickets and ~20000 user accounts and after months of planning, writing migration code, testing, gathering feedback, discussing, writing more code, writing documentation, communicating, et cetera, Wikimedia switched from Bugzilla to Phabricator as its issue tracking tool.

    • Open Hardware

      • Hong Kong’s Scoutbots is cleaning up our oceans with open source technology

        “Scoutbots is the company and Protei is its most well-known technology. Scoutbots is about exploring and protecting the ocean with open source technology. Protei is the open hardware, shape-shifting sailing robot. It is a new type of unmanned boat, and the hull is shifting. It provides better steering capability, more energy efficiency, stability, manoeuvrability, and many new properties when it comes to sailing,” he said.

  • Programming

    • How strong is peer review in open source?

      An example of a standard open source peer review process begins with a software author submitting their code and documentation to their project’s mailing list. It is then examined by other contributors and project managers; potential problems and improvements are discussed amongst the community and author before the changes are either accepted or rejected. GitHub uses the version control software Git to offer a streamlined system in which project managers can oversee their source code while still allowing for code review. Due to its ease of use, GitHub has become a popular host for version control and code review, with over 2,000,000 repositories uploaded to the site as of 2011.

    • CMake 3.1 Brings Windows Additions, Target Compile Feature

      Version 3.1 of the CMake build system is now available with various improvements.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google Promises Better Compatibility with Open Source Documents

      Google (GOOG) may soon be taking open OpenDocumentFormat (ODF), the native file format in virtually all modern open source word processors, like LibreOffice and OpenOffice, more seriously. That’s according to a statement from Google’s open source chief speaking about the future of the company’s cloud-based app suite.

    • Fuzz about Google supporting odf

      First of all because the support comes way too late. Secondly because its not even close to be good.

      Back several years ago Google was politically supporting the process of getting odf approved as an open standard but they never really bothered. The business was clearly to keep both odf and ooxml/docx out of their products and keep their own proprietary document format.

      Implementing good and solid interoperability is actually not difficult but it is a huge task. Google could have done this three or four years ago if they wanted to. But they didn’t. Both proprietary software vendors has been busy making interoperability difficult while the providers of true open standards has been improving interoperability month by month.

    • Google improves support for ODF

      The Open Document Format, published November 2006, aimed to make complex documents more future proof. Most competing document formats were non standardized, complex, binary formats which would make their contents hard or impossible to read in contemporary applications a decade or two in the future. An open standard is a big step towards preserving data for future use. Another advantage is that it reduces the costs of switching between different applications, giving users more choice in the tools they use to process documents on and off line.


  • Christmas travel chaos looms as airport staff vote to STRIKE on December 23 and 24

    Employees of air service provider dnata at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports voted by more than 4-1 in favour of walkouts in protest at an imposed 2.2 per cent increase, union Unite said today.

    The union said that a workforce of “haves and have nots” was being created because supervisors were given a rise of 4.5 per cent.

    Unite called for peace talks to avert the threat of a two-day strike on December 23 and 24.

  • Science

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • “The Interview” Is The Most Dangerous Dumb Comedy In The World

      Here’s guessing Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and James Franco never thought their North Korea assassination comedy would come to this.


      It’s worth noting as the fallout from the film, which includes the cyber attack on Sony Pictures, multiple massive leaks of studio data, threats against employees, and the recent vow from the “Guardians of Peace” that “the world will be full of fear,” surges past the actual 112-minute feature whose theatrical release was just canceled. Star Seth Rogen, who also co-wrote and -directed the film, and his fellow lead James Franco have canceled their press appearances and a planned premiere in New York, while theater chains after theater chain announced they weren’t going to show it until Sony scrapped the opening date altogether. In the process, The Interview has become the most dangerous dumb comedy in the world.

    • US Plans to Re-Establish Embassy in Havana

      In a true mark of the extent of the policy reversal that President Obama announced today, the U.S. will open an embassy in the previously-banned country.

      Obama announced that the Secretary of State and his department will be tasked with re-establishing an official embassy in Havana.

    • Witness Cuba’s Evolution in 39 Photos
    • Before you plan that trip to Cuba: will the US government let you go?
  • Transparency Reporting

    • Slavoj Zizek on Wikileaks

      In this exclusive extract from everyone’s favourite Slovenian critical theorist’s new broadside, Žižek discusses the data insurrections of recent years

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • New York State Just Banned Fracking

      After years of wrangling between environmentalists, lawmakers, and fossil fuel companies, New York’s top public health administrator said he would ban fracking in the state, citing health risks.

    • The Science on Fracking Is In: Not One Well!

      While filming a new movie in London, I learned that the sole shale gas well in the nation — just a few hours north of me — has triggered two earthquakes, suffered a “structural integrity failure,” and risked poisoning water supplies.

      That’s right: the only fracking well in the United Kingdom failed and caused two earthquakes!

      This news is a stark reminder of what’s at stake in my home state of New York, where newly re-elected Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that he will soon make an announcement about fracking.

      In his first four year term to date, despite much sound and fury from the gas industry, Governor Cuomo maintained a de facto moratorium on the practice. The emerging science shows the wisdom of that decision — as scientists themselves are quick to point out. Just last week, Concerned Health Professionals of New York presented the Governor with an updated, hundred-page Compendium on the risks and harms of fracking to health, water, air, wildlife, and economic vitality.

    • Obama removes Bristol Bay area of Alaska from oil and gas drilling

      Barack Obama has announced he is removing more than 52,000 sq miles (135,000 sq km) of waters off Alaska’s coast from consideration for oil and gas exploration or drilling.

  • Finance

    • Whistle-Blower on Countrywide Mortgage Misdeeds to Get $57 Million

      A former Countrywide Financial executive who became a whistle-blower is collecting more than $57 million for helping federal prosecutors force Bank of America to pay a record $16.65 billion penalty in connection with its role in churning out shoddy mortgage and related securities before the financial crisis.

      Edward O’Donnell reached an agreement last week with the government that enables him to collect part of the settlement that Bank of America agreed to pay in August in a deal with federal prosecutors and a number of state attorneys general, according to a court filing.

    • Serial’s $2,500 Phone Bill and the Prison-Calling Racket

      The final installment of “Serial,” a cult-favorite podcast reinvestigating a 15-year-old murder case, will begin just like every other episode with the names of two companies: First a partially mispronounced plug for the show’s sponsor, then an unpaid mention of a prison telecom provider. “This is a Global Tel-Link prepaid call from Adnan Syed, an inmate at a Maryland correctional facility.”


      Here’s another way to think of the exorbitant phone rates paid by prisoners: For the price of single hour-long phone call at 89¢ per minute, you could buy a monthly wireless plan from Verizon (VZ) that includes unlimited voice calls and text messages, as well as 1 gigabyte of data service.

    • Privatization of Boston Public School Buses

September 2013 Veolia, a transnational corporation that contracts with the City of Boston to transport school students, began an illegal lockout of Boston public 
school bus drivers for protesting the company’s union busting practices. Veolia officials fired four 
leading members of the Boston School Bus Drivers Union in an attempt to weaken the union and 
move forward with privatization plans. In response to the firings, Keegan O’Brien reports for Socialist Worker, “the union has spent the past year building a vocal, public campaign win reinstatement for the union leaders and force an end to the company’s anti-union attack.”

    • Open Letter: Proposed Trade Secrets Directive Risks EU Health, Environment, Free Speech And Mobility

      We strongly oppose the hasty push by the European Commission and Council for a new European Union (EU) directive on trade secrets, which contains overly-broad protection and inadequate safeguards. This unbalanced piece of legislation will result in legal uncertainty and endanger freedom of expression and information, corporate accountability, information sharing and, possibly, innovation, rather than create a competitive and sound business environment in the EU, as the Commission claims.

    • VC Madness Redux: Stop them Before they Kill the Economy Again

      Frank snorted. iBalls! What a lame concept! He thought he’d seen everything during the madness of the Internet bubble years – companies formed to sell dog food over the Internet; year-old start-ups raising $100 million investment rounds; companies going public without a dollar in sales. He had assumed it would be decades before the high tech industry saw that type of insanity again.

      But no – things seemed to be heating up all over again, and maybe worse. Now that Twitter had re-legitimated the no-revenues business model, the venture capitalists were charging back in, hoping to raise mega-funds once again that were far too big to invest intelligently. Too big, that is, unless they started fire-hosing money down the gullets of companies with nonsensical business plans again, just like before.

    • A Full-Blown Economic Crisis Has Erupted In Russia

      The 8th largest economy on the entire planet is in a state of turmoil right now. The shocking collapse of the price of oil has hit a lot of countries really hard, but very few nations are as dependent on energy production as Russia is. Sales of oil and natural gas account for approximately two-thirds of all Russian exports and approximately 50 percent of all government revenue.

      So it should be no surprise that the fact that the price of oil has declined by almost 50 percent since June is absolutely catastrophic for the Russian economy. And when you throw in international sanctions, wild money printing by the Central Bank of Russia and unprecedented capital flight, you get the ingredients for an almost perfect storm. But those of us living in the Western world should not be too smug about what is happening in Russia, because the nightmare that is unfolding over there is just a preview of the economic chaos that will soon envelop the whole world.

    • A black hole for our best and brightest: Wall Street is expanding, and the economy is worse off for it.

      The thing Deborah Jackson remembers from her first interviews at Goldman Sachs is the slogan. It was stamped on the glass doors of the offices in the investment bank’s headquarters just off Wall Street, the lure of the place in two words, eight syllables: “Uncommon capability.”

      Jackson joined Goldman in 1980, fresh from business school and steeped in the workings of government and finance. She found crackerjack colleagues and more business than she could handle. She worked in municipal finance, lending money to local governments, hospitals and nonprofits around the country. She flew first class to scout potential deals — “The issue was, can you really be productive if you’re in a tiny seat in the back?” — and when the time came to seal one, she’d welcome clients and their attorneys to Manhattan’s best restaurants.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Fox News: President Obama Calling Pakistan Terror Group “Terrorists” Isn’t Good Enough

      Fox News is moving the goalposts on how President Obama should respond to terrorist attacks, complaining that the White House’s statement on a deadly attack on a Pakistani school did not mention “the Taliban.” The network had previously attacked Obama for not using the words “terrorist” and “terrorism,” two words that appear in the president’s statement.

    • Dana Milbank and the Bias of Centrism

      FAIR has always argued that reporters and pundits who present a kind of right-in-the-middle, both-sides-are-doing-the-same-thing approach to politics are really just displaying a different kind of media bias. Take Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, who wrote a column (12/16/14) explaining there was a “little parlor game” going on in Washington: Is liberal Democrat Elizabeth Warren more like former far-right Sen. Jim DeMint, or is she the left version of far-right Sen. Ted Cruz?

    • Fox Host Missed Obama’s Reassurance To Americans Over Film Threats

      Fox News host Martha MacCallum falsely claimed that President Obama failed to reassure Americans to continue movie-going after Sony’s film The Interview prompted terror threats. However, Obama had encouraged Americans to “go to the movies” hours earlier.

    • More Pointless Campaign 2016 Journalism

      Wasting time covering the presidential race right now isn’t just confined to the Republican field, though.

  • Censorship

    • Swedish ISP Refuses to Block The Pirate Bay

      In its response to a lawsuit filed by rightsholders last month a Swedish ISP has refused to block The Pirate Bay and streaming portal Swefilmer. Several major music and movie companies initiated legal action against Bredbandsbolaget in November, but the ISP says there is no legal basis for a web blockade.

    • Virgin Media is interrupting browsing with a note about an adult content filter

      VIRGIN MEDIA is sporadically showing its internet users a note that suggests that they might benefit from an adult content filter – something that many people do not want, and that many others find do not work.

    • The Pirate Bay’s Facebook Page Is Shut Down Too

      Following in the footsteps of the main site, Pirate Bay’s Facebook page with nearly half a million likes was shut down a few hours ago. It’s unclear whether the Pirate Bay crew deleted the page or if Facebook took action against the troubled site.

  • Privacy

    • Over 700 Million People Taking Steps to Avoid NSA Surveillance

      There’s a new international survey on Internet security and trust, of “23,376 Internet users in 24 countries,” including “Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.” Amongst the findings, 60% of Internet users have heard of Edward Snowden, and 39% of those “have taken steps to protect their online privacy and security as a result of his revelations.”

    • Verizon’s New, Encrypted Calling App Plays Nice With the NSA

      Verizon is the latest big company to enter the post-Snowden market for secure communication, and it’s doing so with an encryption standard that comes with a way for law enforcement to access ostensibly secure phone conversations.

    • Turkey as “partner and target” of U.S. Surveillance

      In August 2014, Der Spiegel and The Intercept reported “how deeply involved America has become in Turkey’s fight” against separatist Kurds along the Turkey-Iraq border. This report was based on documents from the archives of whistleblower Edward Snowden. In one of the NSA document Turkey is identified as both “partner and target” for U.S. surveillance. For instance, U.S. surveillance tracked the mobile phone location data of leaders in the separatist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and shared updated information with the Turkish government every six hours, and in the case of one particular mission, once every hour.

    • Microsoft vs. DoJ: The battle for privacy in the cloud

      What issue can unite the EFF and BSA? Fox News and The Guardian? Amazon and eBay? The ACLU and the Chamber of Commerce?

      The issue is the demand by the Department of Justice that Microsoft deliver the email correspondence and address book data from one of their customers as demanded by a warrant, apparently related to a drugs case (though all the documents remain sealed). Microsoft won’t. The reason? The customer, the email, and the server it’s on are all in Ireland and operated by a local subsidiary.

    • Who’s Been In Your Fridge? 3 Ways To Secure Your Internet Of Things Devices

      Piers Wilson, head of product management at Tier-3 Huntsman examines the main security issues being introduced by IoT, and outlines three basic steps that can help to overcome them

    • Internet of Things audio is being scuppered by proprietary tech

      NEW RESEARCH SUGGESTS that progress of the Internet of Things (IoT) is being slowed by proprietary systems and interoperability issues.

      The ‘State of Play’ report by audio engineering firm CSR set out to examine the user perspective on home audio, and in doing so made some interesting discoveries about the nature of interconnected tech.

    • New TISA Leak: US On Collision Course With EU Over Global Data Flows

      Although most attention has been given to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), also known as TTIP, it’s important to remember that a third set of global trade negotiations are underway — those for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which involves more countries than either of the other two. Like TPP and TAFTA/TTIP, TISA is being negotiated in strict secrecy, but earlier this year the financial services annex leaked, giving us the first glimpse of the kind of bad ideas that were being worked on. Now, another leak has surfaced, which reveals the US’s proposals to free up data flows online.

    • TTIP: The EU-US trade deal explained

      In 2012, after a widespread protest, the European Parliament rejected a multilateral agreement to harmonise and step up anti-counterfeiting law. Protesters had claimed the agreement threatened privacy by encouraging surveillance of personal data. Some critics have suggested proposals in TTIP on intellectual property could have a similar effect to the proposed anti-counterfeiting measures – claims which are denied by TTIP’s supporters.

    • Secret WTO Trade Deal Threatens Internet Freedom, New Leak Reveals

      Global governments are secretly negotiating a little-known mega trade deal that poses a threat to internet freedoms and boon to corporate interests, analysts warned Wednesday, citing a just-leaked U.S. proposal.

      The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), under discussion between a 50-country subset of World Trade Organization members for nearly two years, is so secretive that its talks aren’t even announced to the public, making it even more shadowy than the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

      Kept in the dark about the deal, the global public will be hugely impacted by its provisions.

      “What these closed-door negotiations do is cement in place rules for global governance—rules that affect a whole host of issues that aren’t about trade at all, such as privacy, financial stability and much more,” Melinda St. Louis, International Campaigns Director for Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, told Common Dreams.

    • Congress sets limits on overseas data collection

      A little-noticed provision in the Intelligence Authorization Act passed by Congress last week puts restrictions on spy agencies’ ability to keep communications collected overseas, but critics say it does not go far enough to protect Americans’ privacy.

  • Civil Rights

    • Will Cuba Now Cash 55 Years’ Worth of Guantanamo Rent Checks?
    • Nearly 80,000 prisoners in the United States are held in solitary confinement for months

      John Boston, director of the Prisoner’s Rights Project of the New York City Legal Aide Society at the American Civil Liberties Union, described this as a form of “punitive segregation” without trial. Normally, Nevins writes, “when an individual is accused — even in prison — of doing something unlawful, he or she would normally have the right to due process before spending nine months in segregation.

    • North Korea asks United Nations to investigate CIA torture ‘crimes’

      North Korea has asked the UN security council to address the CIA’s harsh treatment of terror suspects instead of its own human rights situation.

      North Korea’s UN ambassador, Ja Song-nam, objected to the inclusion of his country’s human rights record on the security council’s agenda for debate as a first step toward a possible referral to the international criminal court (ICC).

    • Barrett Brown Will Just Have To Wait for That Sentence

      “Lots of bench conferences and long recesses — this hearing has it all!” That was the sarcastic assessment yesterday of Tom Korosec, who was covering Barrett Brown’s sentencing hearing for Bloomberg. Tom and I know each other. He has written for both D Magazine and D CEO. We were standing around during an afternoon recess, marveling at how little Tom would have to work with when it came time to file his story. Before lunch, Judge Sam Lindsay had already warned everyone that things were moving so slowly that he wouldn’t issue his sentence until January 22.

    • The Latest Twist in the Bizarre Prosecution of Barrett Brown

      Barrett Brown entered the federal courtroom shackled, with a slight swagger in his step and squinting into the light. He took his seat next to his defense team and quietly set about flipping through a stack of loose-leaf papers and then began writing. When asked by the judge if he knew why he was in court that day, Tuesday, Brown – who has spent two years in federal custody – leaned into the microphone and with a warbly Texas accent, said clearly and plainly, “I am to be sentenced today.” And then he returned to his papers.

      Wearing a prison-issued orange uniform, the 33-year-old Brown scribbled for hours as a federal prosecutor attempted to portray him, not as a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Vanity Fair and the Dallas-based Dmagazine, but instead as a spokesman, strategist and contributor to the hacktivist collective Anonymous. It was the final phase of a criminal prosecution that at one point threatened Brown with more than 100 years in prison, as a result of his work on thousands of files hacked by Anonymous from the servers of HBGary Federal and Stratfor, security intelligence firms and government contractors. Through the online collective he founded, called Project PM, Brown analyzed and reported on the thousands of pages of leaked documents. The HBGary hack revealed a coordinated campaign to target and smear advocates for WikiLeaks and the Chamber of Commerce, while the Stratfor hack provided a rare window into the shadowy world of defense contractors.

    • WaPo Won’t Say ‘Torture’–Unless It Makes Torture Sound Better

      Now, that’s not really what the Washington Post/ABC poll (12/11-14/14) found. The actual question was, “All in all, do you think the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists was justified or unjustified?” To which 59 percent said it was justified.

      In another question, the poll asked, “Do you personally think the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists amounted to torture, or not?” There 49 percent said it was torture.

      (Note that “suspected terrorist” does a lot of work in these questions; keep in mind that one of the Senate Intelligence Committee report’s key findings was that many of those tortured had no connection to terrorism.)

    • CIA Health Professionals’ Role in Systematic Torture, Including ‘Human Subjects Research’

      An organization of United States health professionals has put out a comprehensive analysis of the role US health professionals played in the CIA torture program. The analysis, stemming from the US Senate intelligence committee’s executive summary of its torture report, raises alarming questions about whether these professionals engaged in “human subjects research” that constituted a crime against humanity.

    • Jailed CIA officer: ‘Crimes were committed,’ officers should be ‘prosecuted’
    • Press Freedom Fight: Reporter James Risen Faces Subpoena in CIA Whistleblower Case

      JAMES RISEN: Without aggressive investigative reporting, we can’t really have a democracy, because the only real oversight for the government is an independent and aggressive press. And I think that’s what the government really fears more than anything else, is an aggressive investigative reporting in which we shine a light on what’s going on inside the government. And we can’t do that without maintaining the confidentiality of sources.

    • In Leak Case, Court Authorizes Subpoena for Testimony from New York Times Reporter James Risen

      A federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, has authorized a subpoena for New York Times reporter James Risen to force him to provide testimony in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. Prosecutors would be able to ask if he had a “prior non-confidential reporter-source relationship” with Risen.

    • DOJ’s Risen Plot Thickens

      After a federal court hearing yesterday, ExposeFacts investigative journalist Marcy Wheeler wrote that the government appears to be maneuvering to be able to ask Risen some slippery-slope questions in order to open up the subject of his sources for cross-examination.

    • N.Y. Times reporter ordered to answer questions in CIA leak case

      A federal judge on Tuesday ordered New York Times reporter James Risen to appear in court to answer questions about his book detailing a failed CIA effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear weapons program, in a case that has become a touchstone of press freedom.

      Though Risen has taken a firm stance about not revealing the identity of his sources, U.S. prosecutors said in a court filing early on Tuesday they would seek to ask Risen if he had a confidentiality agreement with the individual who provided certain information for the 2006 book “State of War.”

    • Bill O’Reilly: African-Americans Should Wear “Don’t Get Pregnant At 14″ On Their T-Shirts
    • “Witness 40″: Exposing A Fraud In Ferguson

      The grand jury witness who testified that she saw Michael Brown pummel a cop before charging at him “like a football player, head down,” is a troubled, bipolar Missouri woman with a criminal past who has a history of making racist remarks and once insinuated herself into another high-profile St. Louis criminal case with claims that police eventually dismissed as a “complete fabrication,” The Smoking Gun has learned.

    • Dick Cheney’s America

      Of course Americans are OK with torture. Look at how we treat our prisoners.

    • Why We Need the Gory Details About Torture

      Whether you use the word or not, Americans are OK with torture because they believe it’s effective at gaining information that couldn’t be obtained by any other means. The fact that the Senate report knocked down that argument doesn’t seem to have gotten much traction.

    • Obama issues ‘executive orders by another name’

      President Obama has issued a form of executive action known as the presidential memorandum more often than any other president in history — using it to take unilateral action even as he has signed fewer executive orders.

      When these two forms of directives are taken together, Obama is on track to take more high-level executive actions than any president since Harry Truman battled the “Do Nothing Congress” almost seven decades ago, according to a USA TODAY review of presidential documents.

    • Oakland cops disciplined 24 times for failing to turn on body-worn cameras

      Over the last two years, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) has disciplined police officers on 24 occasions for disabling or failing to activate body-worn cameras, newly released public records show. The City of Oakland did not provide any records prior to 2013, and the OPD did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

      The records show that on November 8, 2013 one officer was terminated after failing to activate his camera. Less than two weeks later, another resigned for improperly removing the camera from his or her uniform. However, most officers received minor discipline in comparison.

    • Venezuelans march to protest US sanctions

      Supporters of the Venezuelan government took to the streets of the country’s capital Caracas on Monday to protest against sanctions that US Congress approved last week. The country’s socialist government also called for Monday’s march to mark the 15th anniversary of Venezuela’s constitution.

    • Homeland Security and Corporate Sponsors Host Urban Shield Event

      In September 2014, the Department of Homeland Security and approximately 100 corporate sponsors hosted the eighth annual Urban Shield training exercises in Oakland, CA. The event, billed as the largest first-responder training conference in the world, brought together 35 SWAT teams from across the country and as far away as Singapore, South Korea, Israel, and Bahrain. As Shane Bauer reported for Mother Jones, in addition to Homeland Security, more than a hundred corporations provided up to $25,000 each to sponsor the event.

    • It took a jury 10 minutes to convict 14-year-old George Stinney Jr. It took 70 years after his execution to exonerate him.

      In March 1944, deep in the Jim Crow South, police came for 14-year-old George Stinney Jr. His parents weren’t at home. His little sister was hiding in the family’s chicken coop behind the house in Alcolu, a segregated mill town in South Carolina, while officers handcuffed George and his older brother, Johnnie, and took them away.

      Two young white girls had been found brutally murdered, beaten over the head with a railroad spike and dumped in a water-logged ditch. He and his little sister, who were black, were said to be last ones to see them alive. Authorities later released the older Stinney – and directed their attention toward George.

      “[The police] were looking for someone to blame it on, so they used my brother as a scapegoat,” his sister Amie Ruffner told WLTX-TV earlier this year.

      On June 16, 1944, he was executed, becoming the youngest person in modern times to be put to death. On Wednesday, 70 years later, he was exonerated.

    • Senate’s report on CIA torture was comprehensive

      The Senate Intelligence Committee last week released its report on the CIA detention and interrogation program, which in some cases amounted to torture. Since then, defenders of the program have been vocal.

      But instead of disputing facts — supported by 6.3 million pages of the CIA’s own records — they are complaining about process.

    • Alheli Picazo: The party of Cheney or of McCain?

      The executive summary of a nearly 7,000 page report into the C.I.A.’s Detention and Interrogation program under the Bush administration confirmed not only what has long been public knowledge – that America did, in fact, engage in torture – but also revealed that, despite an aggressive PR blitz extolling the virtues of its interrogation program, the C.I.A. knew full well the “enhanced” techniques had failed.

    • The kidnapping and torture of Maher Arar in my name is a personal stain

      His wife, Monia, tending his 5-year-old daughter and 7-month-old son, knew only that he disappeared en route to Canada.

      His underground cell was the size of a grave.

      Mr. Arar’s secret rendering to torture touched numerous facilities in New York City and New Jersey. He was initially arrested and detained at Kennedy International Airport. He was held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for 12 days. On the day he was illegally deported, he was transported through New York area traffic to the airport in Teterboro, N.J. The U.S. government has used dozens of other civilian airports in the United States and around the world, from Las Vegas and Bangor, to Johnston County, N.C., to Rome, Frankfurt, Greenland, Ireland and Albania. It has twisted the everyday world – all over the world — into a gruesome parody of America’s promise.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • One group dominates the second round of net neutrality comments

      A letter-writing campaign that appears to have been organized by a shadowy organization with ties to the Koch Brothers inundated the Federal Communications Commission with missives opposed to net neutrality (NN), an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation reveals.

    • “Shadowy” anti-net neutrality group flooded FCC with comments [Updated]

      “A shadowy organization with ties to the Koch Brothers” spearheaded an anti-net neutrality form letter writing campaign that tipped the scales against net neutrality proponents, according to an analysis released today by the Sunlight Foundation.

      The first round of comments collected by the Federal Communications Commission were overwhelmingly in support of net neutrality rules. But a second round of “reply comments” that ended September 10 went the other way, with 60 percent opposing net neutrality, according to the Sunlight Foundation. The group describes itself as a nonpartisan nonprofit that seeks to expand access to government records.


      The 1.6 million reply comments analyzed fell short of the 2.5 million comments the FCC said it received, the Sunlight Foundation acknowledged. Based on the files the FCC released, the foundation said it’s “reasonably sure that the FCC’s comment counts are incorrect and that our analysis is reasonably representative of what’s there, but the fact that it’s impossible for us to know for sure is problematic.”

    • Bizarre Fight Commences Over Who ‘Won’ Latest Net Neutrality Comment Round

      Back in October, we pointed out the pointlessness of focusing on who sent more comments to the FCC over net neutrality, as there appeared to be a whole lot of astroturfing and misleading tactics being used to ratchet up the counts. That didn’t mean that the commenting and looking at the information wasn’t useful — it is — but there was little value in a purely “numbers” based focus on how many comments were filed from those “for” or “against.” With so many coming from various online forms, the weight they would have on the final FCC decision is about as close to nil as possible.

    • TISA Leak: EU Data Protection and Net Neutrality Threatened

      Last month I wrote about the threat that TTIP represented to data protection and privacy in the EU because of its likely insistence that data flow as freely as goods. We still don’t know for sure how TTIP will be approaching this area, but today we had an important leak of a section from TISA – the Trade in Services Agreement – that forms part of a kind of trinity of trade agreements along with TTIP and the TransPacific Partnership agreement (TPP).

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Wants to Use DMCA to Effectively Bring Back SOPA

        In “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” Winston Smith’s job was to rewrite the past for the Inner Party. Mainly, he made people vanish from the pages of history. Anyone who came under the party’s bad graces suddenly disappeared from from all media; from all newspaper articles, books, television archives and any other mentions. In Orwell’s world, anyone declared a nonperson was completely erased. S/he never existed.

      • Sony leaks reveal Hollywood is trying to break DNS, the backbone of the internet

        Most anti-piracy tools take one of two paths: they either target the server that’s sharing the files (pulling videos off YouTube or taking down sites like The Pirate Bay) or they make it harder to find (delisting offshore sites that share infringing content). But leaked documents reveal a frightening line of attack that’s currently being considered by the MPAA: What if you simply erased any record that the site was there in the first place?

      • Pirate Bay Responds to The Raid, Copies and The Future

        The Pirate Bay crew has broken its silence for the first time since the site was knocked down hard by a raid in Sweden last week. The people behind the site are still considering their options and have no concrete comeback plans yet. Nevertheless, they encourage the public to keep the Kopimi spirit alive.


Links 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 7:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Ten Linux Desktops Showing How Windows and Mac OS X Designs Are Trapped in the Past

    When people think about Linux, they usually imagine old desktops and terminals running in full screen. The truth is that the platform has evolved tremendously in the past few years and it’s safe to say that it’s well above anything done by Microsoft and Apple.

  • Linux Malware vs Phishing Schemes

    For years now, we’ve been told about the dangers of how various types of malware like worms and other threats were going to catch the growing Linux user base off guard. As of the year 2014, nothing remotely close to this has happened. Malware exists, but for desktop Linux users, it’s a non-issue.

    Despite this fact, there continues to be rumors that malware “could” affect desktop Linux users. It seems the mere “threat” holds greater proof of concept than the reality that no one is actually seeing malware threats on their Linux desktop.

    In this article, I’ll examine current threats to the Linux desktop and explain why I believe phishing is far more dangerous to most Linux users than malware.

  • Turn Your Old Computer into a Gaming Console with LinuxConsole 2.3 OS

    LinuxConsole is an operating system built for older computers with the aim of transforming those PCs in Linux gaming consoles. A new upgrade for this distro has been made available right now and it comes with a number of important updates.

  • 2015 will be the year Linux takes over the enterprise (and other predictions)

    Jack Wallen removes his rose-colored glasses and peers into the crystal ball to predict what 2015 has in store for Linux.

  • Welcome to the 2014 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards

    Welcome to the 2014 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards. The categories have been chosen, the nominees have been posted and I’m happy to announce that the polls are now open. To vote, visit http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi…ce-awards-113/ and select your entry in each category. If you have any suggestions for additions or modifications to poll nominees, please post in the thread for the poll in question. Any general suggestions should be posted in this thread.

  • What will happen to Linux in 2015?
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.19 Features Set to Surface in 2015

      Linux 3.19 will be the first new Linux kernel of 2015 and it’s already shaping up to be chock full of interesting bits. The merge window for Linux 3.19 hasn’t yet closed, but the first set of Git Pulls shows lots of activity.

      Human Interface Devices (HID) get a boost in the Linux 3.19 release cycle. Among the interesting bits is support for Microsoft’s Surface Pro. This isn’t full support for running Linux on a Surface Pro device.

    • BLD Kernel Scheduler Updated For Linux 3.19

      The Barbershop Load Distribution (BLD) CPU load distribution technique has been updated for the mainline Linux 3.18 kernel.

      BLD is the out-of-tree scheduler that’s been around for nearly three years and continues to be updated for new kernel releases as a scheduler that works well for SMP systems but not NUMA systems.

    • Pay For Faster Linux Kernel Performance? There’s Patches For That

      The “eXt73″ patch-set aspires to yield faster kernel performance and better power efficiency. Independent benchmarks published of the eXt73 patch-set indicate faster performance out of the patched Linux kernel, but these patches do come at a cost for end-users.

    • Linux Foundation Announces Biannual Individual Membership Drive and New $100 Certification Discount for Members

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux and collaborative development, today announced its biannual Individual Membership Drive in which the organization will donate $25 to Free Geek for each new member who joins today through January 16, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. PT. Individual members of The Linux Foundation help advance the Linux operating system and support the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

    • NFTables 0.4 Released As Eventual IPTables Successor

      Work is still underway in a steadfast manner for NFTables as an eventual replacement to IPTables for packet filtering on Linux. Released today was NFTables v0.4 with functionality offered as of the Linux 3.18 kernel.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Kaveri: Open-Source Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst 14.12 Omega Driver

        With an AMD A10-7850K Kaveri APU with Radeon R7 Graphics running on Ubuntu 14.10, the following Radeon Linux driver configurations were tested:

        - Ubuntu 14.10 following a clean install with the Linux 3.16 kernel, xf86-video-ati 7.4.0, and Mesa 10.3.0.

        - Ubuntu 14.10 with the Oibaf PPA enabled plus using the Linux 3.18 stable kernel from the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. The updated user-space components via the Oibaf PPA were xf86-video-ati 7.5.99 and Mesa 10.5-devel Git. This is basically a look at the latest open-source AMD Radeon graphics code for the Kaveri APU.

        - Switching Ubuntu 14.10 back to the Linux 3.16 kernel and then enabling the fglrx-updates driver in the Ubuntu Utopic archive that provides fglrx 14.20.7 / OpenGL 4.4.12968.

        - Upgrading the Ubuntu 14.10 system to using the new Catalyst 14.12 Omega driver — fglrx 14.50.2 / OpenGL 4.4.13283

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Efl and Elementary 1.12.2 releases

      Here is another update for the 1.12.x series for EFL and Elementary, courtesy of the EFL team. The Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) is the prefered native development framework for Tizen and provides all the libraries you need to create powerful applications.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Overview of Qt3D 2.0 – Part 1

        Back in the days when Qt was owned by Nokia, a development team in Brisbane had the idea of making it easy to incorporate 3D content into Qt applications. This happened around the time of the introduction of the QML language and technology stack, and so it was only natural that Qt3D should also have a QML based API in addition to the more traditional C++ interface like other frameworks within Qt.

      • KDAB Provides An Overview Of Qt3D 2.0

        The next-generation Qt3D component to the Qt tool-kit is finally starting to come together.

      • KDE Plasma 5.1.2 Released
      • Plasma 5.1.2 Bugfix Release

        Plasma 5.1.2 is the December output from our desktop team. It’s a bugfix release which adds several dozen fixes and the latest translations.

      • 2014.12.16: Trinity Desktop Environment R14.0.0 Released!

        The Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) development team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of the new TDE R14.0.0 release. The Trinity Desktop Environment is a complete software desktop environment designed for Unix-like operating systems, intended for computer users preferring a traditional desktop model, and is free/libre software.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Pearl Linux MATE Wants to Offer the Ultimate Mac OS X Clone, Fails Miserably

      Pearl Linux MATE is a new Linux distro that aims to provide an experience similar to that of Mac OS X. It’s based on Ubuntu MATE and it’s not really good. In fact, it might be a good example of how not to make an OS.

    • Tanglu 2 Offers Classic GNOME and KDE Desktop with the Help of Debian – Gallery

      Tanglu, a Linux distribution based on Debian that provides a classic GNOME and KDE desktop experience, has finally reached version 2.0 and is now available for download.

    • Best Xfce distro of 2014

      You know the drill. ‘Tis a fun drill. We vote for the best distribution plus its associated desktop environment, of the year. Several days back, we discussed KDE, and today, we will talk about Xfce, the desktop that broke through the thick sheet of irrelevance like a nuclear submarine surfacing from underneath the arctic ice caps, and became one of the leading choices for Linux users out there.

      Sure, we cannot disregard Unity, or Cinnamon, but those are singular choices for particular distributions, whereas Xfce happily abides in many a developer house. What’s more, it’s grown and matured and become pretty and more than just useful, while still being perfectly capable of reviving old machines as well as being posh and modern on the latest hardware. And that’s why we are doing this little contest here. Our players for this round are, in no particular order.

    • Why is the Number of Linux Distros Declining?

      The number of Linux distributions is declining. In 2011, the Distrowatch database of active Linux distributions peaked at 323. Currently, however, it lists only 285. However, exactly why the decline is taking place and how much it matters remains unclear.

    • Reviews

      • Kali Linux review

        There are two separate conclusions to this review. No, three. First, do not trust everything your friends say. Second, T400 is still unusable in the Linux world. Three, Kali seems like a very nice security distribution. However, just by using it, you won’t become an expert. That’s the prerequisite actually.

        Compared to BackTrack, which it succeeded, Kali feels a little more complete, more robust, even though both distros have the same focus and balance on normal, daily usability and forensics. This is a good thing. Moreover, it offers a wealth of hacking and analysis tools that can not only help you audit and secure your environment, but also learn a whole lot about the network stack and command line usage.

        A free bonus. If you’re a professional or an enthusiast with a interest in the realm of digital security, you might want to give this operating system its due spin, even though it may not magically fix your Wireless. That’s a lesson for me. For you, the fun part of exploring, testing and learning. Take care.

      • Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0 – a desktop Debian distribution

        Overall, my experiences with the latest version of Parsix GNU/Linux made a poor impression. Some of the issues were certainly hardware related and may not affect other users, but several appeared to be poor design/implementation decisions or a result of bugs missed during testing. I’d also like to see the Parsix distribution offer a wider range of editions to provide a wider variety of desktop environments out of the box. Perhaps a different desktop environment would have offered a more stable and more responsive experience.

    • New Releases


        The most advanced, powerful and yet beautiful penetration testing distribution ever created.Lined up with ultimate collection of tools for pro Ethical Hackers and Cyber Security Experts.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • 2015 Predictions and Coming Attractions

          As 2014 draws to a close a few folks are looking ahead to 2015. Jack Wallen pens his predictions for Linux next year. Phoronix has gathered a few Fedora 22 tidbits and OMG!Ubuntu! has some for Ubuntu 15.04. Dedoimedo.com reviews Kali Linux and the Hecktic Geek tests Fedora 21. And finally today, Dedoimedo picks his top Xfce distro of the year.

        • Fedora 21 Review: Conveys a Fantastic ‘GNOME Classic’ Experience

          The Fedora community took almost a year for developing and releasing the version 21. Though I am not exactly clear of the exact reasons for this delay, after using the default Gnome 3 spin for a couple of days, I must say ‘the wait’ was worth waiting for, after all, “all good things take time”.

          However, first it is worth noting that I have an immense respect for the Gnome desktop developers for they have mastered some aspects of the art of simple, intuitive & lightweight software design, though, because they have little regard for what the end-users have to say, in their arrogance, have over simplified things and rendered it, from a certain outlook, useless (this is my opinion only).

          But as proven by Nature, the successful counterbalance for such ignorance is usually acquired through the act of intervention by a higher force. And luckily for end-users like me, RedHat intervened (a while ago) and demanded that they develop a desktop interface that is similar to the old ‘Gnome Classic’. And so they did, and not that it fixed all the over simplifications of individual applications, I consider it to be reasonably enough, enough to the extent where I could at least consider using it (again, I can only speak for myself).

        • Fedora Developer Roundtable | LAS 343

          We talk with five developers from the Fedora project behind some of the recent amazing work that has seen a major milestone release in Fedora 21, treating Fedora more as a product & laying the groundwork for amazing future technologies.

        • Fedora 21 : Video Overview and Screenshot Tours
        • Fedora 22 Will Not Be Released Before 19 May 2015

          For the Fedora 22 schedule in its current form on the Wiki, the Fedora 22 Alpha release will come no earlier than 10 March, the beta release no earlier than 14 April, the final Fedora 22 Freeze no earlier than 5 May, and the official Fedora 22 release no earlier than 19 May.

        • Heroes of Fedora QA: Fedora 21 – Part 2
    • Debian Family

      • Editing Debian online with sources.debian.net

        How cool would it be to fix that one bug you just found without having to download a source package? and without leaving your browser?

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 15.04 to Include GNOME 3.14, Updates to Default Apps

            It may sound like a small update but it should have a big impact on the lives of developers and users alike: Ubuntu 15.04 will ship with GTK 3.14.

            Released with the rest of the GNOME stack back in September, the latest and greatest version of the desktop and underlying technologies missed out on inclusion in Ubuntu 14.10.

          • Debian vs Ubuntu: How Far Has Ubuntu Come in 10 Years?

            Ubuntu recently released 14.10 “Utopic Unicorn”, which coincides with the fact that Ubuntu is now 10 years old! The king of Linux distributions has come a long way since its inception in 2004, so it’s a good idea to go down memory lane and take a look at the journey it has gone through so far. We’ll also take a look at how it has developed differently to Debian, the distribution upon which it is based.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • High traffic on the package repositories

              Our main repository packages.linuxmint.com isn’t currently able to serve connections to everybody. This can result in errors, timeouts and delays in apt-get, and in your update manager.

            • Monthly News – November 2014

              The release of the Cinnamon and MATE editions of Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” were very well received. We were excited to unveil what we had worked on since the previous release and continuing to work on the same package base was a breeze. It was fun also to see people upgrade to 17.1 with ease, that went really well as well. We’re getting close to the end of the year though so I hope we’ll get the opportunity to talk about 17.1 and design topics again, but for now I’d like to touch a few words on the Xfce and KDE editions. We’re expecting their release candidates to be available next week. Only minor bugs remain and we’re confident they’ll pass QA very easily. KDE was upgraded to 4.14 and MDM received support for KDE Wallet (the wallet is now created and opened in the background, so no user interaction is necessary). Xfce was given out-of-the-box support for Compiz (just like in the MATE edition), Xfburn received Blu-ray support, the Whisker menu was upgraded and the default configuration was refined. The stable release for these two editions was estimated for the end of December but the RCs are a few days late, Christmas and the New Year will certainly eat a few days and there are items in the roadmap which were postponed but might come back into 17.1 as the dev. team is still looking into them (in particular we’re not happy with the look and feel of xscreensaver and with the fact that unlocking the session doesn’t unlock the screensaver in KDE and Xfce). It’s too hard to say just yet whether the stable ISOs will be out this year or the next.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Low-power COMs run Linux and Android on Cortex-A5 SoC

      MYIR introduced a pair of Linux- and Android-ready COMs and baseboards featuring Atmel’s low-power, 536MHz SAMA5D3 SoC, with LCD, GbE, and dual CAN ports.

    • Raspi-Sump

      In June 2013, we had the unfortunate luck of a basement flood, caused by a tripped electrical breaker connected to our sump pump. There are so many things that can go wrong with a sump pump. You always are on guard for power outages, blown breakers, sump pump failures, clogged pipes and all manner of issues that can arise, which ultimately can end with a flooded basement. I needed a way to alert me of issues when I was not at home. Audible alarms are fairly cheap and are great when you are physically in the house. They fail miserably when you are ten miles away at work. I had a Raspberry Pi that I had tinkered with periodically but for which I never had a real purpose. I decided to try to put the Pi to work as a dedicated sump pit monitoring device. Hopefully, the Pi could send me SMS alerts if a problem arose while I was away.

    • Phones

      • How The Mighty Art Fallen (Smartphones)

        No hot house monopoly required… Meanwhile, Apple sold 9 million more units than last year while achieving 12.7% market share. Android/Linux got 83%. So, the “one true way” and the company run by “geniuses” giving “creatives” what they want, are holding small niches in a market owned by Android/Linux through FLOSS goodness and ordinary hard work.

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop: Update Dates for Nexus, Samsung, HTC as well as Sony Devices

          Some consumers are still awaiting the release of Google’s latest operating system, the Android 5.0 Lollipop, and with so many devices out in the market, anticipation is high for when the update becomes available for handheld devices.

        • Google’s Chromecast still dominates streaming media
        • Android Headliner: More Than A Year Later The Chromecast Is Still Number One For Streaming Media

          Ever since the dawn of the smartphone, streaming media has gotten bigger and bigger, and we have struggled to find easy ways to fling the media we hold on our handheld devices to the big screen. While there has been many ways to get our favorite streaming media onto our TV’s for some time, like micro USB to HDMI for example, it wasn’t until the launch of Google’s streaming media HDMI dongle, the Chromecast, that things became truly simple and allowed for the mass majority to put what they want to watch onto their TV’s using their smartphone as the control. The Chromecast has come quite a long way and has been out for well over a year now, and it’s still the number streaming media device out there even with all the competition that has emerged and is still coming.

        • 3 Reasons Apple TV Is Losing to the Google Chromecast

          As consumers look to add streaming capability to their television setup (without buying a brand-new smart TV), they are increasingly purchasing streaming devices. People are opting for streaming sticks or set-top boxes that expand their video options without making an impact on their living room setup or their wallets. But recent data brings bad news for Apple: in 2014, Google’s Chromecast streaming stick became more popular than the Apple TV set-top box, leaving Apple in third place behind both Chromecast and consumer favorite Roku.

        • This $35 dock lets you use your Android smartphone as a full-fledged desktop

          Every year, our smartphones get more and more powerful. These handheld computers certainly aren’t going to compete head-to-head with a PS4 or a high-end gaming PC, but they pack more than enough horsepower to run a full-fledged desktop computing experience. But can your smartphone really replace your desktop? That’s exactly what a new Kickstarter project aims to do.

        • Andromium transforms your Android into a pocketable desktop computer
        • Andromium could turn your smartphone into a desktop (crowdfunding)

          Motorola’s Atrix line of Android phones were designed to work with Lapdock keyboard docks, but they’ve been discontinued. Canonical tried to breath new life into the category by crowdfunding the Ubuntu Edge smartphone which could also function as a desktop computer… but the company didn’t meet its ambitious fundraising goals.

        • Canonical’s Stripped-Down “Snappy” Ubuntu Comes To Google’s Compute Engine

          A week ago, Canonical released the first alpha version of its new minimalist “Snappy” edition of Ubuntu Core for container farms. To the surprise of many, the launch partner for Snappy was Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform. Starting today, however, you will also be able to use this version of Ubuntu on Google’s Compute Engine.

        • Google Cloud offers streamlined Ubuntu for Docker use

          Ubuntu Core was designed to provide only the essential components for running Linux workloads in the cloud. An early preview edition of it, which Canonical calls “Snappy,” was released last week. The new edition jettisoned many of the libraries and programs usually found in general use Linux distributions that were unnecessary for cloud use.

        • Hearthstone is coming out on Android

          Blizzard’s acclaimed free-to-play trading card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is finally making an appearance on Android tablets. Currently, it is only available in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, but there are plans for a worldwide rollout in “the days ahead.” In a statement, CEO Mike Morhaime says that the company is also aiming to bring the title to more mobile platforms, including smartphones.

        • Netflix now supports Android Wear, but it’s not the remote control you’re hoping for

          One of the cooler things you can do with an Android Wear smartwatch is remotely control media-playing apps on your connected Android device. SoundCloud is a great example of this, using the watch to display the cover art of what you’re listening to and some basic volume and playback controls. Netflix’s latest Android update sounds like it would do the same, with the company promising to let you “play” videos using the watch, but it’s actually much narrower in functionality.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Godot Engine 1.0 Is Out, Open Source Game Engine & Editor

    The newly open-sourced game engine Godot (which we covered more here) received its first major release today! In the middle of the winter game-jam too, even though the release candidates have been out for a week or so.

  • Godot Engine Reaches 1.0, Releases First Stable
  • Open-Source Godot 1.0 Engine Released & Declared Stable

    With Godot 1.0 being declared, it marks a point at which the game engine is stable, every feature present should work, the UI is solid and allows for visually editing games, the scripting language and debugger work, and most engine features are properly documented. Over the past ten months, Godot has received a lot of help from the community and the developers call it “the most advanced open source game engine” and is the first in popularity for its category on GitHub.

  • Should We All Be Contributing to FOSS?

    The LedgerSMB project gets contributions from “a large number of sources in a large number of ways,” said Chris Travers, a blogger and contributor to that effort.

  • Report: IoT Improving Code Quality in Open Source Java Projects

    Mountain View, Calif.-based software testing company Coverity has just released a new Scan report, this one focused on open-source big data projects and the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on the quality of those projects. In a nutshell, the report concludes that IoT and the tsunami of data that phenomenon is expected to generate over the next decade is actually having a positive affect on code quality. Among the largest big data projects in this Scan — Apache Hadoop, Hbase and Cassandra — quality has improved steadily, the report’s authors found.

  • Is commercial open source more secure than proprietary alternatives?

    In summary, IT professionals are gravitating to commercial open source for security and privacy now more so than ever. Gone are the days when cost considerations led the decision to move to open source; today, IT professionals value commercial open source for business continuity, quality and control. On the horizon, expect to see broader adoption of commercial open source. In fact, the most telling result of the Ponemon Institute survey may be the coming exodus from proprietary to commercial open source software, particularly when it comes to collaboration.

  • Internet of Things: Engineering for Everyone

    Not too long ago, the idea of open source was synonymous with “free,” because, of course, there is no upfront cost involved. That perception was successfully realigned, through education, towards “liberty,” the freedom to use the resource without cost.

  • How To Avoid The Community Of Open Source Jerks

    Open source is the new default for many areas of software. But open source is different, and that’s causing some problems for newbies. While some reduce open source to “free software I can download,” open source can be much more.

  • Top 10 open source projects of 2014

    Last year’s list of 10 projects guided people working and interested in tech throughout 2014. Now, we’re setting you up for 2015 with a brand new list of accomplished open source projects.

  • Events

    • Web Engines Hackfest 2014
    • Penguin porn? NO! Linux folk in #LCA2015 standoff

      Each January Linux luminaries from around the world descend on Australia and New Zealand to attend Linux.conf.au, an antipodean penguinista gathering of sufficient gravitas that Linus Torvalds himself often makes the trip.

      The event is referred to as “LCA”, and for the 2015 edition has used #LCA2015 as its hashtag.

      But organisers of the event have noticed there’s another organising using #LCA2015, namely the Live Cam Awards.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • VMware Emulates Red Hat Path With Cloud Foundry Foundation

      Thanks to its support of OpenStack, an open source Infrastructure-as-a-Service, or IaaS, system for clouds, Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) has soared to new heights. By supporting the OpenStack foundation, originally backed by Rackspace (NYSE:RAX), with talent, Red Hat made itself an indispensable partner to companies seeking to build their own clouds, with a top-line growth rate that would be the envy of an Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and steady profits exceeding 10% of revenue.

    • Cloud Foundry Foundation: A Smart Move for VMware

      In a move that parallels some smart moves made by Red Hat in the cloud computing space, VMware has launched an independent foundation supporting its Cloud Foundry platform. The Cloud Foundry Foundation is focused on VMware’s own Platform-as-a-Service offering of the same name, but will concentrate on fostering an ecosystem surrounding Cloud Foundry. In this game, as Red Hat has shown with its efforts surrounding OpenStack, partnerships will be everything.

    • Looking Ahead: Rebuilding PaaS in a Containerized World

      Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technology has transformed the way enterprise applications and services are deployed and delivered. Benefits including flexibility, agility, scalability and efficiency continue to attract growing numbers of business users. Globally, the PaaS market was valued at $1.60 billion in 2013, and it’s forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25.7 percent over the next few years to reach $7.98 billion by 2020, according to a recent Transparency Market Research report.

  • CMS

    • SoakSoak Malware Attacks WordPress Sites

      Over 100,000 WordPress sites have been infected by vulnerable third-party plug-in that many may not even realize they are running, and that number is growing.


    • Print this guide

      The FSF Giving Guide is an easy-to-use resource that can make a difference in what people buy. We just need to get it in front of them.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • National Geographic takes open source to the wilderness

      I had the opportunity to catch up with Shah Selbe, an explorer by heart, and for National Geographic. I asked him about how he got into this kind of conservation work, how he learned about open source and came to use it, and how he applied open source methods to his work on the Okavango Wilderness Project.

    • Regulatory hurdles may blunt future of open source GMO crops as patent expires for GMO soybeans

      The development, testing, and regulation of genetically engineered crops usually takes a significant investment of time and resources, so these crops are patented so that their developers can recoup their investments. Farmers who grow these crops usually pay licensing fees for the use of the technology, and sign license agreements that restrict their ability to save the seeds. Now, a variety of GMO herbicide-tolerant soybeans has been released by the University of Arkansas with no technology fees, and no license agreements to sign. This is possible because the patent for the first genetically engineered trait in soybeans has expired. The world of “generic” or Open Source GMOs is upon us, however, there are still some practical challenges ahead.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Literary works given new life in public domain

        The public domain. Creating legacy and enabling creativity, one literary work at a time.

        Works in the public domain belong to everyone. Anyone can use public domain works in any manner they wish. They can republish the work as is, or they can use a public domain work as the inspiration and groundwork to create something new and exciting. However, the length of time before a creative works enters the public domain has grown longer and longer in recent decades. In the United States, the Copyright Act of 1976 and the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 greatly increased the length of time before a work would enter the public domain. The situation is very similar in other parts of the world.

    • Open Hardware

      • MeArm Open Source Pocket Robotic Arm MeBrain Controller (video)

        Benjamin Gray has created an open source pocket sized robotic arm that has been specifically built to be easy to build and simple to control. Now he would like to take into production his new controller called MeBrain for the robotic arm that will make it even easier to use and make it even more accessible.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • 17 signs you were on the Manchester club scene in the ’90s

    Clubbing in ’90s Manchester wasn’t all about the Hacienda, you know? Let’s have a look at some of the people, nights and tunes that haven’t always taken centre stage…

  • Are CIOs Bamboozling Their Colleagues With ‘Technobabble’?

    And worryingly, this is coming at a time when industry insight suggests that the role of the IT leader is evolving into a more strategic business position, according to ReThink Recruitment.

  • Car stuck on tram tracks in Chorlton triggers more Metrolink misery

    Trams on the Metrolink Manchester Airport line grounded to a halt due to a car being stranded on the tracks this evening.

    It is the FIFTH time a car has driven along the new airport line in the past three weeks .

  • Science

    • Kevin Kunze, Lloyd Morgan, and Max Anderson

      Even as cell phones become almost ubiquitous, evidence is accumulating that their emissions can cause brain tumors and other maladies. Peter and Mickey speak about the health hazards of cell phones with Kevin Kunze, Lloyd Morgan, and Max Anderson.

    • BMW is working on cars your smartwatch can park

      Come CES 2015, luxury automobile maker BMW will be showing off its recent advances in autonomous vehicle research, including the smartwatch-operable Remote Valet Parking Assistant. The i3 research vehicle is equipped with four “advanced laser scanners,” which can map and identify hazards within an environment. This data can be used by the i3′s on-board assistance system to automatically trigger brakes when needed.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Docker Updates for Three Security Vulnerabilities

      The open-source Docker project has updated the Docker engine for container virtualization to version 1.3.3, fixing a trio of security vulnerabilities. The security advisories for the Docker vulnerabilities were first publicly released on Dec. 11 although not every vendor in the Docker ecosystem has been in a hurry to update. Docker has emerged over the course of 2014 to become a popular technology for application virtualization and now has the support of Amazon, IBM, VMware, Microsoft and Red Hat, among others.

    • Antivirus Live CD Will Disinfect Your Windows OS

      Antivirus Live CD is a Linux distribution based on 4MLinux that includes the ClamAV scanner. It’s built for system admins who need a lightweight live CD with an antivirus scanner. A new versions has been released and is now available for download.

    • The Ethics Of Publishing Hacked Information

      It reminds me distinctly of the situation we found ourselves in in 2009 when a hacker delivered a truckload of internal Twitter information. See In Our Inbox: Hundreds Of Confidential Twitter Documents. See the updates to that post for how it all played out.

      Twitter also halfheartedly threatened to sue us over the publication of that information, although we felt that we were on pretty firm legal ground in moving forward. People were both fascinated with the information, and enraged that we would publish it.

    • The FBI Used Open Source Hackerware to Uncover Tor Users In 2012

      According to the report, the FBI relied on Metasploit to first deanonymize users operating Dark Net child porn sites during a sting called Operation Tornado. Metasploit is an open source package that makes many of the the latest known exploits readily available to hackers. It seems the FBI relied upon an abandoned project of Metaploit called the “Decloaking Engine” to unmask users in the 2012 busts.

    • The FBI Used the Web’s Favorite Hacking Tool to Unmask Tor Users

      For more than a decade, a powerful app called Metasploit has been the most important tool in the hacking world: An open-source Swiss Army knife of hacks that puts the latest exploits in the hands of anyone who’s interested, from random criminals to the thousands of security professionals who rely on the app to scour client networks for holes.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • NBC: Someday We Might Learn That Drones Kill Civilians

      A critical look at US drone attacks is not the kind of thing you expect to see on a Sunday chat show, but that is what NBC’s Meet the Press gave viewers on December 14. Still, there were some problems.

    • NATO Deployment on Russian Border Raises Nuclear Risks, Say Caldicott and Chomsky

      According to Helen Caldicott, the founder of International Physicians against Nuclear War, which won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, the expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders is “very, very dangerous,” and amounts to the breaking of a guarantee that the U.S. made the last Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, before the breakup of the Soviet Union, that NATO would never be allowed to expand to Russia’s border. Addressing the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in October 2014, Caldicott observed, “The nuclear weapons, are sitting there, thousands of them. They are ready to be used.”

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Why the ‘case’ against Julian Assange in Sweden should be dropped, and dropped now!

      The ‘case’ is at a preliminary stage – no charges were ever made against Mr. Assange – is now in its FIFTH YEAR!

    • Holder OKs limited Risen subpoena

      MacMahon also suggested that if Risen testifies, the defense could introduce evidence about the scope of the government’s investigation into the Times reporter. POLITICO previously reported that the feds obtained Risen’s bank records, credit reports and details of his travel. The defense attorney said in court Tuesday that prosecutors also got copies of Risen’s Fedex receipts as well as “Western Union transactions of his children.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • ‘Disruptive, Demanding’ Elizabeth Warren vs. ‘Can-Do’ Pragmatists

      The default setting of corporate media’s political compass is that Democrats need to “move to the middle” in order to win. FAIR has been documenting this for more than 20 years, and 2014 is no different. Look no further than the coverage of the effort, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), to oppose a provision in the recent omnibus spending bill that would weaken Dodd/Frank financial regulation.

      The objection seems pretty straightforward: As lawmakers like California Democrat Maxine Waters (Washington Post, 12/12/14) said, this was “reversing a provision that prohibits banks from using taxpayer-insured funds, bank deposits, to engage in derivatives trading activity.” In the run-up to the financial crisis, banks used federally insured funds to make bets on things like mortgage-backed securities. That left the public to bail out banks for their risky behavior. The language of this specific deal, as many have noted, came directly from Citigroup.

    • The Political Economy of Austerity Now

      Government austerity for the masses (raising taxes and cutting public services) is becoming the issue shaping politics in western Europe, north America, and Japan. In the US, austerity turned millions away from the polls where before they supported an Obama who promised changes from such policies. So Republicans will control Congress and conflicts over austerity will accelerate. In Europe, from Ireland’s Sinn Fein to Spain’s Podemos to Greece’s Syriza, we see challenges to a shaken, wounded political status quo (endless oscillations between center-left and center-right regimes imposing austerity). Those challenges build impressive strength on anti-austerity themes above all else. In Japan, Prime Minister Abe resorts to ever more desperate political maneuvers to maintain austerity there.

    • Going Beyond Private Versus Public

      The new, more Republican Congress may “privatize” the United States Postal Service: dismantle the public enterprise and turn mail services over to private enterprises. Such a privatization would mimic what the US military has done with part of its activities and what many states and cities did with utilities, transport systems and schools. Privatizers always assert that private enterprises function more efficiently and will thus cost society less than public enterprises.

    • Bitcoin Is To Credit Cards What The Internet Was To The Fax Machine: So Much More

      Many are still seeing bitcoin as just a currency, as just a transaction mechanism. Its underlying technology is far more than that. It has the ability to reduce governments to spectators rather than arbiters, the power to make wars cost-inefficient, and the power to decentralize power itself.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Right-Wing Media’s New Phony Scandal: Obama Watches Sports

      Right-wing media outlets manufactured phony outrage over President Obama’s recent remark on ESPN Radio that he usually watches SportsCenter while working out in the morning. In 2007, President Bush similarly admitted to watching ESPN while working.

    • Sydney siege: Rupert Murdoch criticised over ‘heartless’ congratulations tweet

      Rupert Murdoch’s arguably ill-advised tweet has been condemned by Twitter users for being “insensitive”.

      The News International boss and managing director of Australia’s News Limited congratulated the Australian Daily Telegraph for being the first to report on the “bloody outcome” of the Sydney siege.

    • Fox’s O’Reilly: ‘All the Wolves Have Been Muslims’

      The problem is that media–not just Bill O’Reilly–mostly don’t categorize non-Muslim terrorism as terrorism. So when a white supremacist in England kills a Muslim–an 82-year-old grandfather, to be more specific–it hardly makes the news (FAIR Blog, 11/1/13), even when the killer admitted that he “would like to increase racial conflict.”

      When a married couple in Las Vegas who were connected to far-right movements killed two police officers and a bystander, media shied away from calling it terrorism (FAIR Blog, 6/13/14)– even though early reports indicated the pair had left a note declaring, “The revolution is beginning,” along with a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

  • Censorship

    • At least 25 journalists, police officers detained in Turkey raid

      Police in Turkey detained more than 25 journalists and fellow police officers Sunday in a nationwide operation that saw the editor of a popular opposition publication taken into custody.

      It was the latest mass roundup targeting alleged loyalists to an influential cleric that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of attempting to topple his government.

  • Privacy

    • The Inside Story of How British Spies Hacked Belgium’s Largest Telco

      When the incoming emails stopped arriving, it seemed innocuous at first. But it would eventually become clear that this was no routine technical problem. Inside a row of gray office buildings in Brussels, a major hacking attack was in progress. And the perpetrators were British government spies.

      It was in the summer of 2012 that the anomalies were initially detected by employees at Belgium’s largest telecommunications provider, Belgacom. But it wasn’t until a year later, in June 2013, that the company’s security experts were able to figure out what was going on. The computer systems of Belgacom had been infected with a highly sophisticated malware, and it was disguising itself as legitimate Microsoft software while quietly stealing data.

      Last year, documents from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden confirmed that British surveillance agency Government Communications Headquarters was behind the attack, codenamed Operation Socialist. And in November, The Intercept revealed that the malware found on Belgacom’s systems was one of the most advanced spy tools ever identified by security researchers, who named it “Regin.”

    • 4 seconds of body cam video can reveal a biometric fingerprint, study says

      In the wake of Ferguson, where protests erupted after an 18-year-old unarmed black teenager was shot by police, many have called for body cameras to be mandatory for on-duty police officers. Still, few municipalities have set rules governing the use of body cams and the footage taken with them.

    • The Trouble with Tor

      Confidence that Tor can reliably provide users with anonymity on the Internet has been shattered, thanks to recent revelations. Tor alternatives do exist, however.

  • Civil Rights

    • Cheney Seems Unfazed By Question About Innocent Detainee Who Died (VIDEO)

      Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday continued to fiercely defend the harsh interrogation techniques employed by the CIA under the Bush administration after 9/11.

      On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cheney said he would use the questionable interrogation methods “again in a minute.”

      Host Chuck Todd asked Cheney to respond to the Senate Intelligence Committee report’s account that one detainee was “chained to the wall of a cell, doused with water, froze to death in CIA custody.”

    • The Five’s Terrorism Solutions: Cut Off Toes, Spy On Muslims, Torture Detainees
    • May denies torture report redactions

      The Home Secretary has denied asking for redactions in the CIA torture report and rejected calls for a judge-led inquiry into British involvement in US-led torture.

      Appearing in front of the Home Affairs Committee this afternoon, Theresa May told MPs: “I have certainly not asked for any redactions to take place in the report.”

      She did not say whether other Home Office officials had asked for the redactions, but added that they would only have been requested for reasons of national security.

    • Sydney gunman Man Haron Monis claimed he was ‘tortured’ for political beliefs

      The gunman at the heart of the Sydney 16-hour siege claimed he was “tortured” for his political beliefs while being held in custody.

      Man Haron Monis was free on bail when he used a shotgun to hold 17 people hostage at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe during rush-hour on Monday morning.

      He and two hostages died in a barrage of gunfire when police stormed the café in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

    • Sentencing Looms for Barrett Brown, Advocate for “Anonymous”

      Barrett Brown could face almost 10 years in prison on criminal hacking charges, but his allies say he’s just a journalist and the government is punishing him to stifle free speech.

    • Dear Chelsea Manning: birthday messages from Edward Snowden, Terry Gilliam and more

      The jailed whistleblower turns 27 this week. Supporters including Joe Sacco, Vivienne Westwood, JM Coetzee, Michael Stipe and Slavoj Žižek sent her letters, poems and drawings. Luke Harding introduces their work

    • Washington Post Shrugs Off Torture Because, You Know, It Polls Well

      We’ve written before about Jay Rosen’s excellent explanation of “the church of the savvy,” in which political reporters seem more focused on describing the “horse race” aspect of politics rather than the truth. It’s the old story in which the press ignores, say, a really good concept because “politicians won’t support it.” A key giveaway for a “savvy” post is to focus on “what the polls say” rather than what reality says. That doesn’t mean that polls are never useful or shouldn’t be reported on — but when they get in the way of the actual story, it can make for ridiculous results.

    • Victoria police officer investigated for tasing driver, 76
    • Cobb County to pay $100K to woman arrested for ‘F-bombing’ cops

      Cobb County is paying $100,000 to a woman who police arrested for shouting profanity to protest their actions.

      Amy Elizabeth Barnes, a well-known political activist, sued in federal court saying the county violated her First Amendment rights and maliciously prosecuted her when it jailed her on charges of disorderly conduct and the use of abuse words to “incite an immediate breach of the peace.”

      She had been shouting “Cobb police suck” and “(Expletive) the police” and raising her middle finger while riding her bicycle past two officers questioning an African-American man outside a convenience store on Easter Sunday 2012.

    • Clueless cop gets schooled: Watch this horrific defense of police killing

      Follmer is demanding an apology from the Cleveland Browns’ Andrew Hawkins, who wore a “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” shirt on Sunday. He laid out his authoritarian solution to the epidemic of cops killing unarmed black men in an interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber Monday night.

      The clash between Follmer and Hawkins perfectly encapsulates the rival worldviews leading to rising unrest over police abuse – and when you listen to the two men, it’s clear who has the better argument.

    • Cop is producing “Breathe easy: Don’t break the law” shirts — but it has nothing to do with Eric Garner, he swears

      We know many people are awful. We’ve seen the evidence! But still, no matter how thoroughly I try to storm-proof my emotional windows (my eyes and ears), droplets of hate somehow manage to trickle through, causing a flood in my basement (my heart n’ soul).

      A growing number of protesters (including high-profile athletes) have adopted the phrase, “I can’t breathe,” as something like a rallying cry. The statement references Eric Garner’s last words as he was killed by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in an illegal chokehold. A coroner determined the death a homicide, but a grand jury still decided not to indict Pantaleo. A real failure of the justice system, right?

      Apparently not everyone agrees, and some, specifically the South Bend Uniform Company, even find the phrase’s appropriation offensive. The company, owned by Corporal Jason Barthel, a cop with the City of Mishawaka Police, has started producing shirts reading “Breathe easy: Don’t break the law,” a response that is particularly biting given the fact that 1) Eric Garner was not breaking the law, and 2) He is dead.

    • Policing is a Dirty Job, But Nobody’s Gotta Do It: 6 Ideas for a Cop-Free World

      It’s time to start imagining a society that isn’t dominated by police

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sony Leak: The Secret Meetings That Set Hollywood’s Anti-Piracy War Plan

        Every year, legal representatives from seven of the biggest movie studios in the country gather in Sherman Oaks, California to talk about all things anti-piracy. Which isn’t surprising; it’s their livelihood, after all. But what does leaves a sour taste in your mouth is their plan to spread the DMCA-dispensing gospel: With shadowy back room dealings and skewed facts.

        According to an email in the leaked inbox of Sony Pictures General Counsel Leah Weil, the meeting is facilitated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) as a way for the top lawyers at Sony, Time Warner, Viacom, Paramount, Disney, NBC Universal, and Fox to put their heads together and talk global strategy.

      • Sony Hackers Threaten to Release a Huge ‘Christmas Gift’ of Secrets

        As leaks from the recent Sony hack continue to make headlines and company executives apologize for insensitive comments made in exposed emails, we still don’t know how the hack occurred or the exact nature of the demands made by the attackers. But we’ve learned a bit about Sony’s security practices. And we’ve learned that the attackers may have tried to extort Sony before releasing its secrets. We’ve also learned that attempts by Sony to rally public support from rival studios has failed.

      • News Agencies Are Within Their Rights to Report on the Leaked Sony Data

        On Sunday, a lawyer from Sony Pictures Entertainment sent a strongly-worded letter to news organizations, including The New York Times and Hollywood Reporter, demanding that they not report on the vast quantity of data in the Sony leak.

      • The Pirate Bay crew ‘couldn’t care less’ about being taken offline

        One of the filesharing site’s administrators says it’s taking a break, but promises that if it returns ‘it’ll be with a bang’

      • Swedish Supreme Court Determines Movie Piracy Fines

        A long-running case in Sweden has concluded with a determination on how pirates should be sentenced for each movie downloaded illegally. The case, which involved the downloading of 60 movies, went all the way to the Supreme Court. The jail sentence demanded by the prosecution was rejected but stiff fines were handed down.

Bill Gates’ Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 4:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates and his friend are not having the last laugh

Bill and Nathan

Summary: Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft

As noted in the previous post, software patents are gradually going away (if trends are to be judged). Not too long ago we showed how Intellectual Ventures laid off much of its staff after the Alice ruling (amid other ongoing issues). The layoffs were widely reported on and now we learn that Detkin is leaving while saying that “market is tough right now”. It is hilarious because he refers to extortion as a “market”. The news about his departure is excellent news, but he probably won’t go to prison for extortion and a pyramid scheme.

Here is the word from the site which targets trolls but not patent scope:

Here’s some schadenfreude for your Monday: seems that Peter Detkin is leaving Intellectual Ventures. As I noted about a year ago, IV has been having a tough time, although it’s not clear why Detkin is stepping down.

It is worth noting that Sony and Microsoft recently paid more money to Intellectual Ventures in order to keep it afloat. It is also worth noting that Microsoft and Sony share investments in other massive patent trolls and they also share a role in crimes, outlined in part by [1,2,3] (below) and revelations about Sony threatening journalists while launching DDOS attacks. As Will Hill put it the other day:

Inside the Perception Management and Censorship Machine: The Sony Crack Yields Evidence of More Sony Criminal Conduct

Techdirt reports political corruption and bribery against Google by all the major movie studios, all missed by the incompetence or malice of The Verge, a Microsoft mouthpiece. Big publishers are insatiable censors interested only in maintaining their dominant position as determiners of world culture. Google’s efforts to please them only served evil.

The Microsoft press also focuses on Hollywood celebrities and personalized trivia. While it’s nice to learn that Sony executives are racist pigs with a 0.01% sense of privilege and power, hundreds of articles like this will pollute the name space and make it difficult to find real news later.

email exchanges also included racially insensitive remarks about President Obama and derisive comments about Hollywood heavyweights like Kevin Hart and Adam Sandler.

Microsoft often pollutes name spaces and is probably coming to the rescue of their big publisher pals. Microsoft is also persistent censorship threat. They are the biggest issuer of DMCA take down requests, a prolific briber of public officials, university professors, and they created an entire search engine by spying on Windows users to know what results scrape from Google. If you want to know just how dishonest a company they are read their training manuals about subverting the press [2]

Sony themselves are using every botnet and cracking tool at their disposal to stop people from sharing their leaked emails. Amazon Web Services is also being used to censor the files. It’s not about movies, it’s about the embarrassment of power.

The company is using hundreds of computers in Asia to execute what’s known as a denial of service attack on sites where its pilfered data is available … Sony is using Amazon Web Services, the Internet retailer’s cloud computing unit, which operates data centers in Tokyo and Singapore, to carry out the counterattack … individuals who attempted to access the torrent file encountered bogus “seeds” — or computers — that sapped the resources of their software …

There’s a great deal of fear mongering and BS going on. While the attack was typical Windows malware, the FBI is reported to say it’s really sophisticated and that 90% of businesses and governments are open to similar attacks. If you don’t use Windows, you don’t have to worry about this one. The FBI also says there is no connection to North Korea, but that’s being brought up about as often as Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Sony is a criminal company as has been obvious since their nasty music CD root kit fiasco. Not only did they root millions of computers, which must have included sensitive “protected” military, government and health care systems, they committed criminal copyright infringement by using GNU software to make it. As Richard Stallman noted at the time,

Sony didn’t comply with all that [the GPL]. That’s commercial copyright infringement, which is a felony. They’re both felonies, but Sony wasn’t prosecuted because the government understands that the purpose of the government and the law is to maintain the power of those companies over us, not to help defend our freedom in any way.

If you did not believe him then, Snowden and other brave people are providing you with plenty of proof.

One more area where Sony and Microsoft intersect is patent attacks on Google, among other attacks of other types. See the new report titled “Leaked Emails Reveal MPAA Plans To Pay Elected Officials To Attack Google”. A lot of companies, including Facebook which uses the same lobbyists as Microsoft, pressure politicians to harm Google, a steward or guardian of some important FOSS projects, including Linux-based operating systems.

In other news from the above site (the original is unfortunately behind a paywall), there is a new breed of troll which Matt Levy explains as follows:

Here’s the scenario: a patent troll files a suit (or suits) and wins a big judgment. Another company then files an inter partes review petition with the PTAB against the patent troll’s patent and demands a payoff from the patent troll in exchange for withdrawing the petition. If the troll doesn’t pay, it risks losing its patent in the IPR.

I would be more upset about this if I could stop laughing, although it’s hardly a positive development. It can’t be good to have more trolls, even if their victims are patent trolls. Unless of course this new twist helps spotlight dysfunctionality in the patent system for the new Congress.

It’s like extortion against extortion and it is not going to work (blackmail is inherently a problem). It’s like trying to extinguish terrorism using terrorism.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Sony Leak: The Secret Meetings That Set Hollywood’s Anti-Piracy War Plan

    Every year, legal representatives from seven of the biggest movie studios in the country gather in Sherman Oaks, California to talk about all things anti-piracy. Which isn’t surprising; it’s their livelihood, after all. But what does leaves a sour taste in your mouth is their plan to spread the DMCA-dispensing gospel: With shadowy back room dealings and skewed facts.

    According to an email in the leaked inbox of Sony Pictures General Counsel Leah Weil, the meeting is facilitated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) as a way for the top lawyers at Sony, Time Warner, Viacom, Paramount, Disney, NBC Universal, and Fox to put their heads together and talk global strategy.

  2. Sony Hackers Threaten to Release a Huge ‘Christmas Gift’ of Secrets

    As leaks from the recent Sony hack continue to make headlines and company executives apologize for insensitive comments made in exposed emails, we still don’t know how the hack occurred or the exact nature of the demands made by the attackers. But we’ve learned a bit about Sony’s security practices. And we’ve learned that the attackers may have tried to extort Sony before releasing its secrets. We’ve also learned that attempts by Sony to rally public support from rival studios has failed.

  3. News Agencies Are Within Their Rights to Report on the Leaked Sony Data

    On Sunday, a lawyer from Sony Pictures Entertainment sent a strongly-worded letter to news organizations, including The New York Times and Hollywood Reporter, demanding that they not report on the vast quantity of data in the Sony leak.

Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 3:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Finally seeing the light?

A lighthouse in Denmark

A lighthouse in Denmark

Summary: Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff

TECHRIGHTS has neither actively observed nor spotted much discussion/debate about the Unitary Patent as of late; either it’s being silently stalled or it is being pushed forth in secret (behind closed doors). Truth be told, the EPO is now wrestling with much bigger issues and we will continue to expose damning facts about people who currently run the EPO. They need to be sacked or forced into resignation.

Watch how a lawyers’ propaganda site, IAM, tries to defend the Mafia of the EPO (very much expected from such a zealous site), though as this site puts it:

Keep in mind that this is a poorly attempt to disguise oneself’s doubtful actions! The IAM interview with Battistelli is in my opinion a one-sided version of events. The origin and core of this conflict isn’t about salaries or that 1 judge who was suspended solely rather than violation of National, European and International Law’s in respect of Social Security, Basic Rights and Human Rights! The list of suspended and dissmissed, in some cases, illegal dissmissed servants is long! Do not forget, and here is the point where it starts to get really nasty, in case of dissmissal, wrongfully or not, proven or not, EPO servants do have absolutely NO RIGHTS!!! NO SOCIAL SECURITY, nothing Nada, Niente whereas every European Citizen do own this Rights!
Why does Battistelli don’t comment on why he rules out the labour union first?

Battistelli will most likely be out quite soon. Our EPO series is far from over and it will continue when the time is right (many newspaper journalists go on vacation soon, so it might be worth waiting).

” It is important to impede or altogether prevent the proliferation of software patents; the place they spread from is cracking down on them.”The USPTO, unlike the EPO, is gradually treading away from software patents. Due to the bias of software patents-centric lawyers in the media is may appear like nothing is changing, but actually, a lot is changing quite rapidly in the US. Here is a new example of selective coverage by lawyers’ media and blogs of software patents proponents like Dennis Crouch, who says: “The US Patent Office has released a new set of guidelines for judging patent eligiblity based upon the Supreme Court’s recent quartet of Bilski, Mayo, Myriad, and Alice. The guidelines do not carry the force of law but are designed to serve as a manual for examiners when determining eligibility.”

These guidelines will be hard to change unless SCOTUS gets involved again, which is rare (happens perhaps twice per decade). We are thankful for these developments which not only will hurt patent trolls but also villainous extortion operations such as Microsoft’s. It is important to impede or altogether prevent the proliferation of software patents; the place they spread from is cracking down on them.

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