07.29.13

In Debating Patents, Avoiding the Excessive Focus on Patent Trolls

Posted in Patents at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A matter of focus

Lab

Summary: The scapegoat of an inherently broken patent system becomes almost the only element to be criticised, leaving the biggest issues unaddressed

The point about US patent debate (or USPTO policies) being distorted cannot be stressed too strongly. It is becoming a major issue. Evidently, given the increased coverage of the wrong issues, we can’t risk repeating the point about lost focus. Not much is said about software patents and cartels these days. The corporate press and the corporations-funded government warp the debate to remove criticism of large corporations’ misuse of patent monopolies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Several people are starting to notice this. The problem with the Eolas patent is that it’s a software patent, not that it’s being used by a troll (see “Eolas Doesn’t Own Internet” from FOSS Force).

In his joint blog, Judge Posner writes about patent trolls, saying that a dubious “court has long played a promotional role in the patent system, having been created at a time (the early 1980s) when there were fears that the United States was being overtaken on the technological front by Japan. Those fears of course proved groundless. But the idea that American inventors needed more encouragement and therefore that the standard of patentability should be relaxed persisted. The result today is a vast number of patents in force—some 2 million—providing a rich source of inputs for the patent troll industry.”

“Not much is said about software patents and cartels these days.”Posner also opposes software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], so he knows that trolls are not the only problem. The head (President) of the OSI responds to Darrel Issa, a politician who like many others in his field does not recognise the broader issue. Simon Phipps explains that it’s not just trolls when he tells Issa that “corporations are also using patent law to chill valid competition. Remember to deal with them too.”

The White House is serving big corporations by going only after trolls, and hardly even targeting entities like Intellectual Ventures (IV). The other day Steph said: “What’s frightening is how long IV sat on their stash and claimed they were just “helping innovators” and “furthering the field of science” by amassing all those patents. No one believed you, IV.”

Here are some of the latest numbers: “Intellectual Ventures (“IV”), a patent-holding company founded by the former chief technology officer of Microsoft Corporation, recently began a patent enforcement campaign against the financial services industry. IV purports to have 70,000 patents, $6 billion in committed capital, and more than $3 billion in licensing revenue to date. IV has a history of aggregating a significant number of patents relating to a particular industry and then initiating aggressive litigation and licensing efforts against companies in that industry. IV has sufficient size and substantial resources to pursue its enforcement campaign and poses a considerable economic threat to its target industries, including financial services.”

What will the White House do about it? This is a racketeering operation. Mark Bohannon, a sort of lobbyist from from Red Hat, acknowledges that trolls are an issue but does almost nothing to highlight issues relating to patent scope.

Giving its platform not to a lawyer for a change (this series is stuffed with them), Wired now features Patrick Hall, who explains how patent law harms innovation:

Patent Law Broken, Abused to Stifle Innovation

[...]

Software patents should last no longer than five years from the application date. Currently, patents last for twenty years, which is an outdated timeframe given the pace of software innovation. Patent lengths should reflect the speed of innovation within individual industries.

He does not focus only on patent trolls and his closing words are: “So long as malicious companies and opportunistic patent assertion entities can cannibalize the productivity and ingenuity of America’s tech community, advancements will stall, great ideas will crash before they ever take off, and the global community will miss out on opportunities to improve the human condition.”

Given the way CPTN members like Oracle are conspiring to kill Android using patents, it is clear that not only trolls are a problem. Copyrights too are being used. Here is the latest from Oracle. As Pamela Jones put it, “Oracle is making a big fuss over trivialities. Normally, nobody sues over this kind of trivial copying. But since Oracle has, Google says it was supposed to demonstrate why such copying was *not* de minimis, which it has failed to do. Like, who could? It’s stupidly teensy weensy stuff. Why Oracle can’t see that it’s making itself look petty and small is the only mystery.” Notice the spin there from Oracle lobbyist Florian Müller.

07.28.13

Microsoft Nick and Gaming of Slashdot: The Rise of the Anti-Linux Slashdot

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Samsung at 4:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]
/p>

Nick Kolakowski

Nick Kolakowski, Microsoft’s mole in Slashdot (photo from Brooklyn Arts Council)

Summary: An apparent scandal revolving around traffic management in Slashdot and the role played by Nick Kolakowski, a longtime Microsoft booster who recently joined Slashdot and is now trashing Linux in that site while promoting Microsoft

“Apparently the system is getting gamed heavily,” wrote iophk. “Here is one example [from Slashdot],” he adds, noting what seems like AstroTurfing in comments about Slashdot staff.

Microsoft Nick is in a scandal already, having joined the site as staff to deliver Microsoft talking points. To quote one comment:

On page 2 [slashdot.org] of Velcroman1′s slashdot profile Nerval’s Lobster (nkolakowski@slashdotmedia.com, nkolakowski@geek.net) submissions start to show up. We’ve [slashdot.org] already [slashdot.org] established [slashdot.org] that Nerval’s Lobster is Nick Kolakowski, a slashdot employee submitting paid content as user-submitted stories…

It would be interesting to see what percentage of published slashdot stories are genuinely submitted by people who have no financial interest in the submission.

Nick Kolakowski, aka Microsoft Nick, is up to no good. That’s how Microsoft boosters roll.

One former editor of Slashdot told me quite privately that the site had been infiltrated by PR before he left. This still appears to be the case and it is eating away any credibility the site earned over a decade ago (back when the site had news, not noise).

A few hours ago I found a response to yet more anti-Linux rhetoric, this time titled “Forget Apple: Samsung Could Be Google’s Next Big Rival” (familiar talking point!).

Swapnil Bhartiya, who wrote the response, does not seem to know he is responding to Microsoft Nick, who has years of reputation of spouting out Microsoft talking points, essentially filling the Web with garbage Microsoft would love to pay for (we covered dozens of examples from him).

Bhartiya writes: “Slashdot posted a story “Forget Apple: Samsung Could Be Google’s Next Big Rival”. The story idea has floated for a while and pops up every now and then. Is there really any space for rivalry between Samsung and Google? I looked at each point raised by the author and analyzed it.”

The idea has “floated for a while” because it’s an anti-Android talking point regularly to be found in the pro-Microsoft papers or Microsoft lobbyists. They try to cause division in the leading Linux-based operating system by urging the leader of the pack to fracture and defect, just like Nokia (post-occupation). Bhartiya adds: “In my observation of the industry for a while I see many reasons why it makes no sense for Samsung to ‘compete’ with Google. There are actually more reasons for Samsung to stick to Android as a Google partner than spin its own fork.”

Bhartiya’s closing words are as follows: “I think Samsung will continue to strengthen its Android line of hardware. Let me break news to the author. Samsung recently launched Android powered digital cameras. If Sammy had any desire to drift away from Google the would have put their own OS/ecosystem instead of Google’s. So it clearly shows there is no seeds of rivalry between the two companies. The Microsoft/Apple camp will definitely want to spread the FUD as if there is.”

Slashdot, by allowing this embedding ‘journalism’ in its tech publication (with a known Microsoft booster), is throwing its reputation in the garbage can and letting its community leak down the drain. Will Hill, who used to frequently post in Slashdot, had this to say earlier today about Microsoft “injecting” its FUD into the press:

How to Manage Your Free Community

Microsoft spends billions of dollars every year on propaganda to confuse the public. They especially target the tech press, OEMs and developers. Their training manuals call for “infiltration” and “subversion” though false concern called “schmoozing”. Everyone is considered a “pawn” to be exploited to advance Microsoft. They particularly like name calling and the wasting people’s time by “injecting Microsoft” into forums and conferences. To really understand what you are up against read their training manual, Evangelism is War and associated lecture notes several times. It is so evil and so alien that you won’t be able to grasp it the first or second time you read it.

Fighting with these turkeys is a waste of time. Just be careful to curate your forums and software carefully. PJ of Groklaw has written about how to do that. Roy Schestowitz has another method for Techrights. He leaves all the troll comments up for everyone to see and has accumulated an amazing collection of abusive comments. The approaches are complementary. What matters is to keep doing what you do and not let the trolls waste your life.

Vanity Fair recently did an expose of how damaging this toxic culture was to Microsoft itself. We should not be surprised that the anti-social ethics of non free software and exploitation should destroy those who advocate it. Non free software only served it’s owners and that owner turns out to be one person, Bill Gates, who set everyone else on a Darwinian roller coaster for his own benefit.

If Slashdot does not put an end to its Microsoft AstorTurfing (the above is not the first from Microsoft Nick), then we’ll slam the site time after time, calling it out for being just a cogwheel of Microsoft, essentially a PR vehicle like Microsoft Watch after Microsoft Nick took over (it became strongly and consistently pro-Microsoft).

Bill Gates Becomes Much Richer While Advocating Austerity for Those Whom He Loots

Posted in Bill Gates at 2:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Privatising everything!

Chicago protest

Chicago protest which took place this month

Summary: Economic warfare by plutocrats led by Bill Gates, which is taking the public sector private

The Gates Foundation has been getting a lot of flak for bankrolling TFA [1, 2, 3], trying to turn schools into corporations run for private profits (of Gates et al. with their investments). The Fight Ahead is the title of a new post that speaks about TFA:

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve no doubt noticed that the debate about Teach for America has ratcheted up considerably in recent weeks. Here’s the quick and dirty version: urban districts are closing dozens of schools and laying off teachers, even as they’re bringing in new Teach for America recruits. When news began to spread that a popular Chicago teacher had been laid off (the news delivered by his mother, no less), the back-and-forth reached a boiling point. How was it right for the Chicago Public Schools to axe a well-regarded teacher, one of 2000 let go, while expanding the number of TFA corps members, who’ll be entering the city’s schools this fall after just five weeks of training?

The other day we explained the role of Bill Gates in this. He would like to make a killing from a crisis he induces while bribing much of the press that covers the field. Speaking of press being conquered, Will Hill explains the role played by Bill Gates’ business partner:

A New Round of Trust Your Masters Propaganda is Being Spread to foster yet more Austerity

To many people unemployed and homeless? Help them by eliminating minimum wage or getting rid of those pesky soup kitchens, the ultra rich are telling us. Some of the charm offensive is successfully delivered with a slightly different spin to people who would ordinarily reject it That message decries the inefficiency of oligarchy and the waste of mass production whilecalling for the power to decide what people will do,

It’s time for a new operating system. Not a 2.0 or a 3.0, but something built from the ground up. New code. What we have is a crisis of imagination. Albert Einstein said that you cannot solve a problem with the same mind-set that created it. Foundation dollars should be the best “risk capital” out there

If the techno babble sounds like Microsoft, it’s because the speaker is a Buffett and very much influenced by the Gates Foundation. Please see,

http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Gates_Foundation_Critique

If you want to get into the specifics of Peter’s personality, or at least the story that’s told about it, you can see that it’s the product of the exact opposite of austerity,

http://www.cnbc.com/id/36840207

He was given the time and resources to get a decent education which he could use to start a decent and rewarding career. Real humanism would let everyone follow their dreams like that. The guy flipping burgers deserves as much education as he’s willing to pursue, a decent place to live, a loving community, leisure, pomp, ceremony, and proper health care when sick. The only way to see that is by taxing away hoards of wealth and investing spending the proceeds on education, public works and other things a “free market” does not deliver.

The same people who brought us Microsoft are now bringing us austerity and confiscating taxpayers’ money to enrich themselves. This is a societal issue and people should fight back. Remember who the prime candidate to become the budget chief of the United States currently is, consolidating government occupation by Bill Gates (even in other countries like India).

“The alliance uses Microsoft technologies instead of challenging Gates in his own game. Wipro is just a servant of Microsoft facilitating Indian cyber slavery under the American corporate banners.”

India Daily

Beggar

Microsoft is Adding Surveillance and Tax to Free/Libre Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The venus flytrap of software

Venus flytrap

Summary: Reality check for those who try to characterise Microsoft as ‘playing nice’ with GNU/Linux and Java

Java and Linux found ubiquity of unprecedented scale owing to Android. Microsoft knows that it lost the operating systems battle of this decade, so it responds by trying to extort, blackmail, and sue for patent tax. In addition, it is trying to devour the competition.

The other day we wrote about malicious attempts to absorb Free software in the spying platform called Azure. Well, we missed some references from Microsoft boosters and “useful idiots” like Cynthia Harvey (on “Open Java” in proprietary Microsoft) and Adrian Bridgwater, who promoted this dangerous move as well. The Microsoft “Linux”-flavoured marketing from Mary Jo Foley was equally bad and as noted the other day, they say nothing about patent tax, surveillance, and proprietary trap. Anyone stupid enough to choose Microsoft for GNU/Linux or Java hosting deserves a Darwin Award.

The FSF, in the mean time, warns that Vista 8 is a PRISM Edition, noting:

Microsoft is intercepting your stuff and sending it to the NSA (and the CIA and the FBI).

Everything from Microsoft should be assumed to be embedded with NSA surveillance and no OEM should impose Windows on new PCs for this reason. Of course, as usual, Microsoft will try playing dirty with Intel’s UEFI, making it abundantly difficult to install and run GNU/Linux. Watch how hard it has become for some who experiment with GNU/Linux. To quote a new example:

I have decided to run ArchLinux for the upcoming experiment. As of yet, I’m not sure what my contributions to the community will be, however, there will be more on that later.

One of the interesting things I wanted to try this time around was to get Linux to boot from the Windows 7 bootloader. The basic principle here is to take the first 512-bytes of your /boot partition (with GRUB installed), and place it on your C:\ as linux.bin. From there, you use BCDEdit in Windows to add it to your bootloader. When you boot Windows, you will be prompted to either start Windows 7 or Linux. If you choose Linux, GRUB will be launched.

Before I go into my experience, I just wanted to let you know that I was not able to get it working. It’s not that it isn’t possible, but for the sake of being able to boot into ArchLinux at some point during the experiment, I decided to install GRUB to the MBR and chainload the Windows bootloader.

Guess how this ended. Microsoft is trying to portray itself as a ‘friend’ of GNU/Linux now, despite doing more than ever before to impede its use, especially on desktops. No well-informed person can say that Microsoft is no longer a criminal organisation masquerading as a producing business. The marketing changed (PR and euphemisms, even embedded ‘journalism’), but the reality is much worse. Don’t get devoured by Microsoft.

Apple is Still Trying to Ban Linux Devices Using a Patent on Rounded Corners

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rounded corners! Ban all power sockets!

UK power socket

Summary: A noteworthy observation about Apple’s patent strategy and how it affects Android devices with the ‘wrong’ (i.e. not sharp) corners

Patent aggressor Apple is causing some problems for Windows and not just for Android, which is the Linux-based operating system claimed to be on half a billion devices sold in 2012 (hence bigger than Windows).

The patent fight that’s occupying Apple got the attention of patent reformists, who say:

Over at Patent Progress, Matt Levy points out the potentially ridiculous task that might befall U.S. Customs: deciding ‘how round is round?’, should an ITC administrative law judge call upon the agency to prevent Samsung smartphones from entering the country based on infringement of Apple’s “rounded rectangle” smartphone design patent, which I have previously criticized.

The potential dilemma for Customs illustrates how problematic the patent expansion is proving to be. I am reminded of discussions from Stanford Law’s recent conference, Design Patents in the Modern World, perhaps one of the first gatherings focused specifically on this once-sleepy area of the law. The great unanswered question of the April event was: is this all worth the trouble?

Citing Matt Levy, namely his post about Samsung and US Customs, he calls it a “headache”. To quote Levy: “You may know that the ITC is due to issue a final decision on whether Samsung smartphones infringe Apple patents. (As I wrote about a few weeks ago, the ITC recently held that some iPhones do infringe Samsung patents.) One of those Apple patents is the famous “rounded rectangles” design patent.”

We wrote about this patent before. The very fact that Apple is still pursuing device bans using this patent (despite opposition even from some Apple proponents) says a lot about Apple, the ITC, and USPTO. Who would conceivably defend such behaviour?

Links 28/7/2013: Arch Linux Has Linux 3.10

Posted in News Roundup at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • OpenDaylight Software-Defined Networking Codebase coming together

    The OpenDaylight Project, the Linux Foundation-led industry-supported open source framework to advance Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is coming together more quickly than many people expected. On July 25, OpenDaylight announced that many new technology contributions are being integrated into the project.

  • The main reason I love Linux: it works. Plain and simple.

    I find that Mint is so much easier to use then any other Distro. Everything works out of the Box. Very little has to be tweak or altered.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.11 May Lower Intel Power Consumption

      It’s still being investigated, but early indications are that the Linux 3.11 kernel is consuming less power at least for Intel CPUs.

      As part of my usual Linux kernel benchmarking roundabout, I’ve been testing the power consumption on the Linux 3.11 kernel compared to its predecessor. On an ASUS Ultrabook with Intel Core i3 “Ivy Bridge” processor, the power consumption is doing better than with the Linux 3.9 and Linux 3.10 kernels.

    • Graphics Stack

      • 40 Seconds of Linux: The AMD Catalyst 13.6 driver (video)

        My HP Pavilion g6-2210us laptop uses an AMD APU (combination CPU and GPU) that is so new, both the open-source Radeon driver and the closed-source AMD Catalyst (formerly fglrx) driver don’t support it.

      • Wayland Gets A Simple Drawing Library

        A simple drawing library has been created for Wayland in the process of porting a simple terminal and dynamic menu system from X11 to Wayland.

        WLD is the new (and very simple) Wayland drawing library that’s been christened. Michael Forney, an independent developer, was wanting to port ST (a simple terminal emulator for X) and Dmenu (a dynamic menu for X) to Wayland. However, with the current Wayland render back-ends being overkill for such simple/basic programs, he decided to write his own implementation.

      • Crowd-Funding Mesa Driver Development?

        Crowd-funding Mesa has been brought up time and again, but among existing contributors, money really isn’t the limiting factor. Sans Nouveau where it’s a community-based reverse-engineering project, the Radeon Gallium3D stack is financed by AMD and the Intel driver (along with core Mesa) is financed obviously through Intel’s growing OTC team, plus there’s VMware with more core Mesa contributions.

      • An Effort Making An Open-Source Radeon Video BIOS

        OpenRadeonBIOS is a new open-source project seeking to create an open-source video BIOS for AMD/ATI Radeon graphics cards.

        While AMD has their open-source Linux driver stack, their GPU’s BIOS hasn’t been open-source though in years prior there was talk of reverse-engineering the ATI BIOS. That project didn’t pan out but now there’s a new developer claiming to have an open-source video BIOS for Radeon hardware.

    • Benchmarks

      • VMware Player vs. VirtualBox: performance comparison

        If you are using a virtualization hypervisor, one of your main concerns will be its performance, or in another word, its virtualization overhead. How much overhead is introduced by the virtualization layer will determine the raw performance of guest virtual machines (VMs) running on a hypervisor.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KMix Mission Statement 2013 and KDE 4.11

        “I am now happy. Happy with the KMix version shipping with KDE4.11. Happy that I can now declare Media Play control as stable.”

      • The new google://drive/ URL!

        The very short story: libferris can now mount Google Drive as a filesystem. I’ve placed that in google://drive and will likely make an alias from gdrive:// to that same location so either will work.

        The new OAuth 2.0 standard is so much easier to use than the old 1.0 version. In short, after being identified and given the nod once by the user, in 2.0 you have to supply a single secret, in 1.x you have to use per message nonce, create hashes, send the key and token, etc. The main drawback of 2.0 is that you have to use TLS/SSL for each request to protect that single auth token. A small price to pay, as you might well want to protect the entire conversation if you are doing things that require authentication anyway.

      • Translations and Better Auto-Completion

        This blog post presents several small steps that made the new Nepomuk query parser closer to be useful for every user. The most important one is that its localization features work, the other is that the auto-completion now is more clean and elegant.

      • Happy to have had been at Akademy 2013
      • KDE’s KStars Working On OpenCL Support

        As part of this year’s Google Summer of Code, the KStars program is gaining support for OpenCL acceleration.

      • KStars GSoC: OpenCL and a first performance report

        These past two weeks or so, I’ve been working on a nice interface for KStars to use OpenCL with. The problem is that OpenCL support is still pretty flaky in terms of support – at the moment, there are three complete implementations that support Linux, by Intel, AMD, and nVidia respectively, and they’re all proprietary. There’s some promising work for the future with OpenCL in Mesa and also with pocl (an LLVM-based CPU-only implementation), but it’s not ready yet.

      • Calligra Plan – an awesome tool for project managers

        Through the years I’ve used several tools to manage projects. From proper project management applications like MS Project 98 or ProjectLibre to spreadsheets with a list of tasks.

        I’d usually create a project gantt during the planning phase, but then it was usually very hard to track the project progress when it was ongoing. I’d end up resorting to a spreadsheet with the list of tasks at hand.

      • Switching to Calligra Plan – the backstage

        As I told, I took over as team lead of a development team. The previous team lead used ProjectLibre, and for the next stage I decided to try Calligra Plan.

        The set of features for the new release of the project was laid out in a spreadsheet, and the former team lead wrote a Python script to convert the features into tasks and then into a MS Project xml file. He would then import that into ProjectLibre.

  • Distributions

    • What Linux Distribution Should Be Benchmarked The Most?

      Several Phoronix readers have brought up an important topic recently on Twitter and within our forums: what Linux distribution should really be be benchmarked the most? Ubuntu has traditionally been the most tested Linux platform here, but times may be changing.

      As Ubuntu deviates more and more from the “conventional desktop Linux” stack with the continued evolution of Unity, the adoption of Mir over X.Org or Wayland, and other changes to distinguish Ubuntu from the hundreds of other Linux distributions, more readers are calling for Ubuntu not to be our default testing platform.

    • Vote On The Linux Distro To Be Benchmarked

      Yesterday I opened the discussion about what Linux distribution should be benchmarked the most at Phoronix given that many Linux enthusiasts and readers are not fond of the direction of Ubuntu. To not much surprise given the very opinionated Phoronix readers, there’s been about 200 comments and counting.

    • Peppermint Four Review: The distro in the clouds!

      Remember Bespin, the city in the clouds in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back? Bespin was the place Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia flew to in hopes of temporarily escaping the wrath of the Empire. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out very well for them since Darth Vader nabbed all of them.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva: 2013:199: squid
      • Mandriva: 2013:200: ruby

        Mandrake Multiple vulnerabilities has been discovered and corrected in ruby: The safe-level feature in Ruby 1.8.7 allows context-dependent attackers to modify strings via the NameError#to_s method when operating on Ruby objects. NOTE: this issue is due to an incomplete fix for

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • This week in fedora infrastructure

          Early this week I switched one of our backup servers over to ansible from puppet and added some rdiff-backup setup on it. Still need a lot of tweaking before the rdiff-backups are useful, but it’s well under way. This should give us some more on-line type backups for things and still leave us with tape for long term needs.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Happy 5th birthday, BeagleBoard.org!

      This guest column by Alejandro Erives, brand manager for Sitara processors at Texas Instruments, celebrates BeagleBone.org’s fifth birthday. In a lighthearted and entertaining missive, Erives highlights the history of BeagleBoard.org, the benefits of open source hardware and software to embedded development, and the advantages of open development platforms for students, makers, entrepreneurs, and even silicon vendors.

    • Phones

      • Jolla T-Shirts are shipping!

        Jolla T-shirts are finally shipping! Likes are that if you pre-ordered and happen to be a Finn, you can walk the streets proud wearing the all so exclusive Jolla T-shirt before the end of this week. As bonus it seems like people who pre-ordered will be taking part of some Jolla events later on.

      • Android

        • Google’s Chromecast and the new Nexus 7

          A new day brings two new hardware from Google. I am referring to the Chromecast and a refreshed Nexus 7 Android tablet computer.

          Chromecast is Google’s entry into a field where major and minor technology companies have been throwing their hat in to. It’s a USB flash drive-sized device you plug into any high-definition (HD) TV. Once the wireless connection has been configured, you may then stream or cast online content from any device to the HDTV via the Chromecast.

        • Google’s new Chromecast dongle plays hard to get

          Google’s new $35 streaming hardware is now listed only as “coming soon” on the company’s online store. But there will be other places to buy the device.

        • Are OEM Android interfaces bloated and filled with junk?

          Today in Open Source: Stock Android or an OEM version with bloatware? Plus: Top Android 4.3 features, and Ubuntu versus Xubuntu

        • BOINC seeks to occupy your Android device

          With half a billion Android smartphones shipping worldwide in 2012 alone, it’s hardly a stretch to imagine that the global population of Android devices is nearing one billion. What if their idle CPU cycles could be harnessed for the good of humanity? With that in mind, the BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) project has just launched its first official Android app.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Schools ask parents to stump up £200 for iPads

        Many families are being forced to buy or rent tablets for classroom use

        [...]

        Now, ahead of the new school year in September, many schools are asking parents to stump up between £200 and £300 for an iPad or other tablet for their child, or pay for a device in instalments that can vary from £12 to £30 a month, as they rush to keep at the head of the information revolution.

      • One Laptop Per Child launches $150 tablet

        After much anticipation, non-profit organization One Laptop Per Child finally launched their affordable, child-friendly slate on Walmart’s website. OLPC teamed up with multimedia equipment maker Vivitar to produce the $150 XO Tablet, which features a 7-inch 1,024-by-600 touchscreen with a 1.6GHz dual-core processor running Android Jelly Bean. It also comes with front and rear cameras and Wi-Fi connectivity and is available for pre-order. It will be available in stores in August.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Do You Use Open Source?

    It is time to open a comment thread here on OStatic to ask: why do you use open source software? Before jumping the gun and firing off your default answer about freedom, I’d like to ask a few questions to help you analyze your response a little deeper. I’m not looking for regurgitated rhetoric, not unless you truly believe it anyway. I’m asking you to take a good solid look at the role technology plays in your life, and why you choose open source.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • UP with People

        The Mozilla Labs team recently posted about a new personalization initiative for Firefox, which fits into the larger “Personalization with Respect” aspiration that Jay Sullivan articulated in May. We want to give individuals more participation in their Web interactions so they can more easily get what they want, in a clearly defined way. This idea is gaining traction with leading publishers and marketers who see their craft as providing valuable, engaging and content-rich experiences to their audiences.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.1 out now!

      A day after saying it’s drawing near, the Document Foundation launches LibreOffice 4.1, the latest and greatest in the office suites line

  • Education

    • The MOOC That Roared

      How Georgia Tech’s new, super-cheap online master’s degree could radically change American higher education.

      [...]

      Georgia Institute of Technology is about to take a step that could set off a broad disruption in higher education: It’s offering a new master’s degree in computer science, delivered through a series of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, for $6,600.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • PSPP 0.8.0 has been released

      PSPP 0.8.0 is now available at ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/pspp/pspp-0.8.0a.tar.gz. Compared to 0.6.2, the latest official release, it contains many new features and bug fixes. The complete list of changes is posted at http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/pspp.git/tree/NEWS?id=v0.8.0.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Attorney Jim Hazard is Working to Open-Source Law (Video)

      Jim Hazard is a lawyer who leans geek; since he got his law degree in 1979, he’s been the guy in the office who could make sense of things technical more often than others could, and dates his interest in regularizing complex legal documents (and making them a bit *less* complex) back to the era where Wang word processors were being replaced with personal computers.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open access to meteorological data to increase accuracy of weather forecasts

        Humans have always wanted to know what the weather has in store for them, and have come up with a whole load of ways to predict what’s coming; some better than others.

      • Justice Dept. Told Not to Delay Aaron Swartz FOIA

        A federal trial judge in Washington today urged the government to continue reviewing thousands of pages of documents that could be released in a public records lawsuit seeking information from the Secret Service about the Internet activist Aaron Swartz.

        The high-profile suit hit a snag this month when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the digital library JSTOR filed requests to intervene to have a say in the scope of any information that is released to the public.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • City of perpetual displacement: 100 years since the destruction of the Kitsilano Reserve

    This year marks 100 years since the dispossession of the Kitsilano Reserve. Today also marks the renewed displacement and dislocation of diverse communities in East Vancouver, with the intensification of land struggles in Grandview-Woodlands and the Downtown Eastside, two areas of the city with diverse indigenous communities. This article argues that the 1913 destruction of the Kitsilano reserve is connected to the present through a past that has, in fact, never been resolved.

  • The Google Giveth

    And the Google taketh away. So it is with Google Reader. A while back, Google discontinued its Google Wave product, because it never gained traction as a social-media platform. This surprised approximately zero people. More recently, Google announced it would be closing Google Reader on July 1, 2013. Far more people were surprised, myself included. In this article, I want to explore some options for those left in the lurch.

  • The History of CTRL + ALT + DELETE

    In the spring of 1981, David Bradley was part of a select team working from a nondescript office building in Boca Raton, Fla. His task: to help build IBM’s new personal computer. Because Apple and RadioShack were already selling small stand-alone computers, the project (code name: Acorn) was a rush job. Instead of the typical three- to five-year turnaround, Acorn had to be completed in a single year.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fukushima trench water crisis returns

      Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Saturday that the trench problem at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has cropped up again and is sending highly radioactive water into the sea.

      The water in the underground passage, which runs under the turbine building of reactor 2, contains 2.35 billion becquerels of cesium per liter, roughly the same as that measured right after the crisis began in spring 2011.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Tunisia: Police Fire Tear Gas At Protesters

      Tunisian police have fired tear gas to disperse violent protests in the southern town of Sidi Bouzid, the hometown of slain secular opposition figure Mohamed Brahmi.

    • Pentagon: Who We’re At War With Is Classified

      In a major national security speech this spring, President Obama said again and again that the U.S. is at war with “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces.”

      So who exactly are those associated forces? It’s a secret.

      At a hearing in May, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., asked the Defense Department to provide him with a current list of Al Qaeda affiliates.

      The Pentagon responded – but Levin’s office told ProPublica they aren’t allowed to share it. Kathleen Long, a spokeswoman for Levin, would say only that the department’s “answer included the information requested.”

      A Pentagon spokesman told ProPublica that revealing such a list could cause “serious damage to national security.”

    • Pittsburgh SWAT sued for ‘terrorizing’ young family at gunpoint

      A Pennsylvania family has filed a lawsuit against the Pittsburgh police department, claiming that two dozen SWAT team members raided their home and terrorized their two children in retaliation for a prior incident involving an officer outside a local bar.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Moving Dirty Crudes, Another Threat Posed by Dirty Fossil Fuels

      Earlier this month, fire and a series of horrific explosions swept through Lac-Mégantic, a small town in Québec just miles from the Maine border, after an unmanned 72-car train derailed. The train was transporting Earlier this month, fire and a series of horrific explosions swept through Lac-Mégantic, a small town in Québec just miles from the Maine border, after an unmanned 72-car train derailed. The train was transporting 27,000 gallons of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to a refinery in New Brunswick on the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA). The death toll has climbed to more than 50 people. This is but one of the latest tragedies resulting from the rapid expansion of risky oil and gas drilling and fracking across North America. from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to a refinery in New Brunswick on the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA). The death toll has climbed to more than 50 people. This is but one of the latest tragedies resulting from the rapid expansion of risky oil and gas drilling and fracking across North America.

    • Alberta oil leak into week 10 – can it be stopped?

      Nine weeks ago, oil near a tar sands extraction site in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, began to leak and ooze from the ground. It is currently wending its way through a nearby swampy forest, blackening vegetation and killing wildlife. It shows no signs of stopping. Even worse, scientists have no idea where it’s coming from or what to do about it.

    • Natural Gas Rig Blowout Highlights Dangers Of Drilling In The Gulf

      Flames erupted from an offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night, torching a natural gas plume that had been leaking since a blowout earlier in the day. All 44 rig workers were evacuated before the fire began, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, but the rig continued spewing gas until Thursday morning, when its scorched frame finally collapsed enough to cut off the leak.

  • Finance

    • Modern Ruins of Abandoned Detroit (PHOTOS)

      Symbolizing the dramatic decline of Motor City, many buildings and structures in the former manufacturing mecca of Detroit, Mich. lay in crumbling and weather-beaten ruins. In his bestselling book, “The World Without Us,” Alan Weisman (who has reported from abandoned cities such as Chernobyl, Ukraine and Varosha, Cyprus) wrote that structures crumble as weather does unrepaired damage and other life forms create new habitats. A common structure would begin to fall apart as water eventually leaks into the roof, erodes the wood and rusts the nail, he wrote. Without intervention, many of Detroit’s abandoned structures would eventually succumb to nature’s elements.

  • Censorship

    • Kentucky: we can ban an advice columnist

      Update from the Kentucky AG’s office: don’t blame us, we let our lawyers lend themselves out for state agency work and it was by inadvertence that our letterhead was used on what went to Rosemond. As Caleb Brown notes, this opens up new questions even if it answers some others.

    • UK Internet censorship plan no less stupid than it was last year

      UK Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to make pornography filters standard on British Internet connections. This is a remarkably stupid policy, and despite that, it is a recurring silliness in British (and global) politics. Back in 2012, the House of Lords was considering the same question, and I wrote a long, comprehensive article for the Guardian explaining why this won’t work and why it will be worse than doing nothing. Nothing I asserted in that essay has changed in the interim.

    • Ban on Internet Cafes Struck Down

      Like the provision of newspaper racks in a city, the provision of access to the Internet and computers is conduct that might not carry a message itself but is nevertheless closely related to expression. The Supreme Court has affirmed that the Internet is subject to the same First Amendment scrutiny as print media, suggesting that providing access to the Internet would be associated with expression….

    • State AGs Ask Congress to Gut Critical CDA 230 Online Speech Protections

      Earlier today, 47 state attorneys general asked Congress to severely undermine the most important law protecting free speech on the Internet. In a letter to Congressional leaders, the AGs asked Congress to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — which protects online service providers from liability for the vast majority of what their users do — to carve all state criminal laws from the statute’s protection. The letter highlights long-cited concerns about the use of the Internet by child sex traffickers, legitimate concerns shared by law enforcement officials and advocates who dedicate significant time and resources towards fighting this practice.

    • Jane Bambauer on whether data is speech

      Jane Yakowitz Bambauer, associate professor of law at the University of Arizona, discusses her forthcoming paper in the Stanford Law Review titled Is Data Speech?

  • Privacy

    • Dr. Joseph Bonneau Wins NSA Award, Criticizes NSA

      On July 18th, Dr. Joseph Bonneau, a software engineer at Google, received the National Security Agency’s award for the best scientific cybersecurity paper. According to its stated mission, the competition was created to help broaden the scientific foundations of cybersecurity needed in the development of systems that are resilient to cyber attacks. But Bonneau was deeply conflicted about receiving the award, noting on his blog that even though he was flattered to receive the award he didn’t condone the mass surveillance programs run by the NSA: “Simply put, I don’t think a free society is compatible with an organisation like the NSA in its current form.”

    • NSA Metadata Surveillance: Anti-Obama Undertones In Bipartisan Debate Over Government Spy Programs
    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden better off in Russia than US, says father

      Lon Snowden said that Edward has been so vilified by the Obama administration and members of Congress that it is better for him to stay in Russia.

    • NSA surveillance critics to testify before Congress

      Congress will hear testimony from critics of the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices for the first time since the whistleblower Edward Snowden’s explosive leaks were made public.

    • You Won’t Believe What the NSA is Asking Internet Companies For Now

      According to CNET, two inside sources claim the NSA has asked companies such as AOL, Facebook, Yahoo!, and Verizon to hand over their users’ passwords. One of the sources assured CNET that these companies have “pushed back” against the NSA’s demands, and an anonymous spokesperson from Microsoft has gone as far as to say they “can’t see a circumstance” in which they would divulge users’ passwords.

    • U.S. officials warn Russia against giving refuge to Edward Snowden

      Fugitive secrets-spiller Edward Snowden isn’t yet out of his monthlong Moscow airport limbo, but U.S. officials have warned that Russia is provoking a diplomatic crisis with its reported granting of refuge to the American charged with espionage and theft.

    • Edward Snowden turned back at Moscow passport control, official says

      The latest bid by fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to leave a Moscow airport has run into bureaucratic hurdles, his Russian lawyer said Wednesday.

      Russian media reported that Snowden would be allowed to leave the transit zone where he has been holed up for more than a month following a government decision to consider his request for temporary asylum. But he was turned back at passport control because he did not have all the paperwork he needed, a Russian immigration official told The Times.

    • What Happens When We Actually Catch Edward Snowden?
    • Wyden warns data collection under Patriot Act is ‘limitless’

      Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Tuesday urged the United States to revamp its surveillance laws and practices, warning that the country will “live to regret it” if it fails to do so.

      “If we do not seize this unique moment in our constitutional history to reform our surveillance laws and practices, we will all live to regret it,” Wyden said during a keynote address on the National Security Agency’s data collection programs hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

    • Cory Doctorow at Comic-Con: Why You Should Care About NSA Overreach
    • Mass protest in Germany against US intelligence surveillance

      Thousands of Germans on Saturday took part in demonstrations against US intelligence surveillance abroad that extends to private individuals in Europe.
      Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/news/2013_07_27/Mass-protest-in-Germany-against-US-intelligence-surveillance-5818/

  • Civil Rights

    • Edward Snowden’s not the story. The fate of the internet is

      Repeat after me: Edward Snowden is not the story. The story is what he has revealed about the hidden wiring of our networked world. This insight seems to have escaped most of the world’s mainstream media, for reasons that escape me but would not have surprised Evelyn Waugh, whose contempt for journalists was one of his few endearing characteristics. The obvious explanations are: incorrigible ignorance; the imperative to personalise stories; or gullibility in swallowing US government spin, which brands Snowden as a spy rather than a whistleblower.

    • FBI announces review of 2,000 cases featuring hair samples

      The FBI will review thousands of old cases, including some involving the death penalty, in which hair samples helped secure convictions, under an ambitious plan made public Thursday.

      More than 2,000 cases the FBI processed from 1985 to 2000 will be re-examined, including some in which execution dates have been set and others in which the defendants already have died in prison. In a key concession, Justice Department officials will waive usual deadlines and procedural hurdles that often block inmates from challenging their convictions.

    • Reporter May Be Bound for Jail Over Subpoena

      James Risen may need to start packing a toothbrush and overnight bag because the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author is headed to jail barring an unlikely change of heart by either the government or the federal judiciary.

    • Congress and the Justice Dept’s Dangerous Attempts to Define “Journalist” Threaten to Exclude Bloggers

      On July 12, the Justice Department released its new guidelines on investigations involving the news media in the wake of the fallout from the leak scandals involving the monitoring of AP and Fox News reporters. While the guidelines certainly provide much-needed protections for establishment journalists, as independent journalist Marcy Wheeler explained, the DOJ’s interpretation of who is a “member[] of the news media” is dramatically narrower than the definition provided in the Privacy Protection Act and effectively excludes bloggers and freelancers from protection. This limiting definition is causing alarm among bloggers like Glenn Reynolds on the right as well.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP’s “Science-based” Assault on Democracy Begins

      Last month I predicted that one of the main tropes that would be used in the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations would by that of “science-based” policy. As I pointed out then, this is a trick, since the “science” actually consists of work by scientists working for big companies that want to push their products with minimal health and safety oversight by independent laboratories.

    • Copyrights

      • Victory for Fair Use and Consumer Choice: Ninth Circuit Rejects Networks’ Appeal in Fox v. Dish.

        In a crucial ruling today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed that a major TV network can’t use copyright to limit consumer choice.

        [...]

        Happily, this effort has been unsuccessful. In November 2012, the district refused to enjoin Dish’s operation. The court found that (1) Dish can’t be held directly liable for the conduct of its customers (according to the volitional conduct doctrine, the person who causes the copy to be made is the direct infringer, not the service that merely facilitates it); and (2) Dish can’t be held indirectly either because time-shifting is a protected fair use and the networks can’t challenge commercial skipping because they don’t have a copyright interest in the commercials.

      • SF court orders Prenda to pay $22,531 in attorney’s fees

        A third costly loss for the embattled porn trolls at Prenda Law has been made official. On Thursday, the judge in a San Francisco case called AF Holdings v. Navasca held a hearing regarding whether or not Prenda, which had already given up on the case itself, should be required to pay attorneys’ fees. US District Judge Edward Chen spoke with Prenda lawyer Paul Duffy by telephone. He asked why he shouldn’t award attorney’s fees to defense lawyer Nicholas Ranallo.

IRC Proceedings: July 21st-July 27th, 2013

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: July 21st, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: July 22nd, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: July 23rd, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: July 24th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: July 25th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: July 26th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: July 27th, 2013

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Enter the IRC channels now

07.27.13

Links 27/7/2013: More Android/Linux, Also Coming to TVs Now

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Open-source project aims to secure cloud storage
  • Is Most of Modern Society Run by Linux?
  • Readers’ Choice Awards 2013 Nomination
  • You err, it stirs…

    What do you get when you put together a processor, some memory, Linux OS, vibration mode, motion sensor and Wi-Fi capabilities? A computer, of course. Now, what happens when you add some ink and a nib to this contraption? You get a digital pen that vibrates when it spots spelling mistakes or illegible writing.

  • kobo aura hd: first impressions

    i now have my very first ebook reader: a kobo aura hd, which arrived yesterday from canada. i ordered brown, since i didn’t want white and black was out of stock. so they sent black. i’m not going to return it; took about two weeks to arrive as it is.

  • Linux Career IT Skills Watch update July 2013

    As promised, here is the latest “IT Skills Watch” update . The current statistics refer to the period between May and June 2013. The biggest drop was made by the LPI certification, which seems to be losing ground in comparison to other major certification providers. The reason for this could be the generic nature of the LPI certification, which does not appear to be very appealing for many employers right now. On the other hand, the biggest gain was made by the Amazon Web Services, which may not be completely surprising and can be explained by the fact that many companies are currently switching or thinking about making a move to cloud technology. From the same reason, knowledge of DNS steadily holds its position and, therefore, some basic understanding of DNS is an absolute must for a system administrator . Additionally, OraclePL/SQL appeared to be a safe bet in the past two months for those already equipped with OraclePL/SQL related skills. If you would like to be updated about the changes in the skills watch subscribe to our newsletter.

  • Server

    • Happy SysAdmin Day! Forty Percent Off LinuxCon/CloudOpen for 24 Hours

      It’s the last Friday of July and that means it’s SysAdmin Day. The Linux Foundation is so pleased to call some of the world’s best SysAdmins its employees and colleagues and we want to thank them as well as the millions of men and women who put up with the rest of us throughout the year.

    • ServerPoint.com Introduces ColossusCloud Generation 3, a New Linux and Windows Cloud VPS Hosting Platform
    • Adapteva ships Kickstarted baby supercomputer boards

      Upstart RISC processor and coprocessor designer Adapteva is shipping the first of its Parallella system boards, which its Epiphany multicore processors with ARM processors to create a spunky and reasonably peppy hybrid compute engine that doesn’t cost much and is very energy efficient for certain kinds of processing.

      It is not cheap to design and fab coprocessors or to make system boards that make use of them, so Adapteva’s cofounder and CEO Andreas Olofsson fired up a project on fund-raising site Kickstarter last fall to raise the money to fab the chips, instead of going the traditional route of raising venture funding and trying to get design wins.

    • OMG! Now We Have Small Cheap Supercomputer Boards

      Adapteva is pre-ordering boards, kits, and connector-packages for October delivery. There is an SDK. It runs GNU/Linux, of course.

    • OEMs Are Seeing The Light

      Services that OEMs can sell this way include file/backup/security/search/web service and anything their imaginations come up with to distinguish them from their competitors. More businesses are using web applications every day and these are easily implemented on the web or in the cloud. Many small businesses may be able to do without servers at all if the OEMs set things up for them reasonably well. That cuts Wintel out of the clients, servers, web applications and cloud services, just about everything in IT. Wintel may be able to “partner” with some OEMs but not all and the OEMs that opt for ARM, */Linux, and FLOSS will have a huge price/performance advantage.

    • Acer, Asustek actively marketing cloud computing solutions

      Acer and Asustek have been pushing forward in marketing hardware/software-integrated cloud computing solutions focusing on educational applications and web storage, respectively, according to the companies.

    • How (and why) to celebrate Sysadmin Day

      It’s only been since 1999 that Sysadmin Day has been celebrated. It’s always set for the last day in July. Like Administrative Professionals Day, its intent is to recognize a lot of tireless work that nearly always goes unnoticed. And, for a lot of systems administrators, the day is still far too low profile for the users they support to think of coming around to say thanks, never mind baking them cakes, crafting trophies for them or taking them to lunch.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • ARM Publishes New DRM Graphics Driver

        Before getting too excited, this isn’t some official Mali open-source GPU driver or something super exciting, but is the PL111 DRM driver. This is an open-source display driver to provide mode-setting support for the pl111 CLCD display controller found on some reference ARM platforms, including their Versatile Express.

      • The Design Of Virgil3D For OpenGL With KVM/QEMU

        Last week the experimental Virgil project was unveiled as a way of exposing 3D/OpenGL guest acceleration support to KVM/QEMU virtualization users and with the drawing calls then being passed onto the host for processing by the GPU. Here’s some more details.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 13.10 32-bit vs. 64-bit Performance

        While 64-bit Linux desktop support has been in good shape for years, it seems there’s a surprising number of Intel/AMD Linux desktop users undecided whether to use the 32-bit or 64-bit installation images of their favorite Linux distribution. For the latest perspective on 32-bit versus 64-bit Linux performance, here are said benchmarks from the latest Ubuntu 13.10 development state.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXDE waves goodbye to GTK in merge with Razor-qt

      Over the weekend, the Razor-qt project announced that it would be merging with the Qt port of the LXDE project, focusing resources from both projects onto LXDE-Qt.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Gnome 3.8 requiring Systemd on Gentoo

        As you probably have noticed, we are now forcing people to *run* systemd to be able to properly run Gnome 3.8, otherwise power management and multiseat support are lost, also gdm needs the way of taking care of cgroups implemented in systemd to be restarted properly.

      • GNOME Control Center 3.8.4 Fixes Floating Screens

        GNOME Control Center, GNOME’s main interface for configuration of various aspects of your desktop, is now at version 3.8.4.

      • Multimedia tools updates

        Little multimedia tools that successfully make our lives easier by providing the means to do more specialized things under Gnome are constantly updated and improved by their respective developers.

        Both Curlew and mp3splt-gtk remain active as projects and helpful as tools, so it’s time to take another look on their latest versions that where released recently.

      • GUADEC Keynote Speaker: Cathy Malmrose

        Cathy Malmrose discovered Free Software in 2007, when her son showed her Ubuntu. She realized that she could build computers optimized for GNU/Linux, and now runs ZaReason, a company which sells computers preloaded with Linux. Now ZaReason has opened its first shop in Berkley, CA and is poised to launch ZaTab, a Linux tablet.

      • Things I’ve been doing

        Things I’ve been doing:

        Documenting the GNOME Shell notifications design

        Developing the combined system status menu that Jasper is working on (now up to version four!)

        Specifications for a new GTK+ progress spinner

        New Software designs, including updated hi-resolution mockups and a set of wireframes

        Updated Add User designs for Settings

        Updated Search Settings designs

  • Distributions

    • Salix KDE 14.0.1

      Salix KDE 14.0.1 has been released! It is built around KDE 4.8.5 and as always, it is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.

      One major change since our 13.37 KDE release, that is immediately evident to the user, is that the default browser is now QupZilla, in place of Mozilla Firefox. QupZilla is a Qt-based browser that uses the webkit rendering engine that is fast, feature complete and standards compliant and it fits perfectly inside KDE.

    • PiBang 20130725
    • New Releases

      • Kali 1.0.4
      • SparkyLinux 3.0 is out

        Sparky 3.x is built on the “testing” branch of Debian GNU/Linux “Jessie”.

      • MythTV 0.27 Goes Into Alpha, Has New Features

        It’s been a while since hearing anything out of the once very promising MythTV project. This week though they have issued their MythTV 0.27 release as the code-base goes into a soft-freeze for doing an official release in the months ahead.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • It’s not just Friday..

        They’re overworked and under appreciated. Often never thought of until something goes wrong but always there, protecting, providing and helping us do what we do best!

      • OpenMandriva.org Suffers Outage, Restored Now

        I’d been wondering when some news was going to come out of the OpenMandriva camp, but today’s tidbit wasn’t what I hoped. Instead of a developmental release to test, Anurag Bhandari posted to announce that the OpenMandriva network was back up and running. I didn’t even notice it was down.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux: A Rock Solid Desktop Distribution For Companies

        Not too long ago, I covered CentOS, a free operating system that is rebuilt from packages of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or “RHEL”. This results in a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that costs you absolutely nothing as you don’t have to pay Red Hat’s prices for their support services for the product.

      • No bees in the support bonnet for Red Hat

        Why is the enterprise industry swinging towards open solutions and models? A fad again?

      • The Indian connection to Red Hat’s growth story
      • Fedora

        • This week in rawhide for 2013-07-24
        • Fedora 19 Schrödinger’s Cat Review – Back in the box

          So the famous Schrödinger’s cat experiment is one of those stories from history that is perceived incorrectly in popular culture. Like King Cnut arrogantly trying to stop the tide, or Bill Gates saying that 640K would be enough for everyone, Erwin Schrödinger’s hypothetical experiment was actually a way of explaining how some interpretations of quantum mechanics were a contradiction of common sense. While this name was voted on for Fedora 19 by, of course, the masses of the internet, it’s sort of indicative of the kind of problems people have been having with the default state of the distro for the last few iterations. GNOME has been moving quickly away from the traditional desktop metaphor for years, with recent updates going against a mouse and keyboard workflow. The anaconda installer update from Fedora 18 limited some options in favour of a more aesthetically pleasing experience. The distro has also not been particularly bug free, with systemd causing headaches for some. Fedora 19 had a much quicker turn around time this cycle, with only a week or so delay throughout the schedule. Have some of these immediate issues been addressed, or are there new ones to throw on the list?

    • Debian Family

      • Kwheezy GNU / Linux

        Kwheezy is a Debian based operating system designed for general purpose desktop computing.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding campaign smashes records
          • Ubuntu may do it better, but Canonical head sees merits of Windows 8 efforts

            Canonical is heading into the weekend with about $6.6 million (about £4.29m, AU$7.14m) raised for the Ubuntu Edge, not a shabby number for the superphone’s five-day old Indiegogo campaign.

          • Game Changer: Ubuntu Attempts To Set New Rules For Tech

            Canonical, the company responsible for the highly successful operating system, Ubuntu, is taking an innovative approach to research and development that – if successful – will definitely disrupt the tech industry. Canonical has launched the largest crowd funding effort ever, asking for $32 million on the popular crowd funding resource indiegogo.com to fund their Ubuntu Edge device. While contributors do have a chance to get a version of the phone if this experiment is successful, what’s more important are the implications an experiment like this will have on the tech industry and business overall. That’s because Ubuntu is not interested in creating a really cool boutique device, their intention is to build a platform for innovation. According to techcrunch.com:

          • Ubuntu Phone Seeks To Be Crowd-Funded — for $32 Million
          • Ubuntu Edge Adds Lower Price Points to Meet Crowd-Funding Goal

            If you missed your chance to pre-order the Ubuntu Edge for $600 on Indiegogo and couldn’t bring yourself to shell out the full $830 then you’re in luck. Canonical has added several new price points, offering the handset for $625, $675, $725 and $775. Each deal is limited to 1,250 units with the lowest new price point already sold out again.

            Canonical shocked the tech world earlier this week when it unveiled its plan to manufacture the Ubuntu Edge, a super-powerful smartphone running both Ubuntu OS as well as Android, by crowd-funding $32 million. Excitement over the device is high, with over $5 million already raised, but it looks like pledges quickly began to taper off once the lower price point sold out, with only 10 people claiming a full-priced model.

          • Ubuntu: One OS, one interface, all devices

            Canonical believes that Ubuntu can be one operating system and Unity the one interface you need for your PC, your smartphone, and your tablet. Here’s how they’ll do it.

          • Ubuntu Touch SDK Beta – A New Way To Program Linux

            Canonical has just announced the beta SDK for Ubuntu Touch. While this might look just like another attempt at getting developers to work with yet another mobile operating system – it is much more. In fact you should be interested in this SDK even if you have no interest in mobile.

          • Hands on With the Ubuntu SDK Beta

            The Ubuntu team released the first beta of their integrated development environment for creating applications for desktop, mobile, and, presumably, television today. I downloaded the environment into a clean Ubuntu install in a VM to test it out, and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to get up and running. I ran through two tutorials, one I was able to complete successfully, and the other I was not. There are a few rough edges, and the release is certainly a beta, but it looks promising and gives a positive first impression.

          • At 4 a.m., everything is funny

            After a losing a long bout with insomnia early Thursday morning, I started to looking at different Internet memes and matched them with — how can I put this mildly? — a current annoyance in the FOSS world known as the Indiegogo campaign for Ubuntu Edge.

          • Ubuntu 13.10 Alpha 2 Released, Five Flavours Taking Part
          • Ubuntu Edge: The Road To Making Crowd-Sourcing History

            I also strongly recommend you see Marques Brownlee’s video overview of Ubuntu Edge, which provides a fantastic overview of the campaign:

          • Mark Shuttleworth answers question about Ubuntu Edge on Reddit

            Canonical is conducting a very ambitious Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for Ubuntu Edge smartphone. At the time of writing, the campaign has already raised more than $6 million, with 26 days left to reach the $32million goal. To coninue the momentum of the campaign and keep people talking about it, MarkShuttleworth took the stage on Reddit to interact with the Ubuntu fans, on “Ask-Me-Anything” session.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 15 – An alternative review

              Linux Mint 15 has been out for a while and so there are already a number of good reviews written about it.

              Linux Mint is a very popular distribution and the developers have set out on a different path to Ubuntu in that the emphasis is definitely about evolving the desktop environment as opposed to redefining it completely.

            • Ubuntu 13.10 Derivatives Do Their Alpha 2 Release

              While Ubuntu itself no longer does alpha releases, several of its derivatives are doing their “Saucy Salamander” Alpha 2 releases today.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rikomagic UK to offer Minix Linux ARM PCs (MK802 III LE, MK802 IV LE)

      It looks like it may be time to stop calling tiny ARM-based devices like the MK802 Android TV sticks and go back to calling them mini PCs. Rikomagic UK has announced it will start shipping Linux Editions of two of its most recent ARM-powered stick-sized computers.

    • World’s cheapest computer gets millions tinkering

      The Raspberry Pi is now powering robots in Japan and warehouse doors in Malawi, photographing astral bodies from the United States and helping to dodge censorship in China.
      “We’re closing in on one and a half million (sales) for something that we thought would sell a thousand,” said Eben Upton, executive director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
      “It was just supposed to be a little thing to solve a little problem.
      “We’ve sold many more to children than we expected to sell, but even more to adults. They’re using it like Lego to connect things up.”
      The device, which runs the open-source Linux operating system, was designed as an educational tool for children to learn coding.

    • Phones

      • In Pictures: Linux for mobile. A visual history
      • Ballnux

        • LG and MediaTek Join Hands To Produce Tripple SIM 3G Smartphones

          Dual SIM phones are common in the budget price range, especially in emerging markets. LG is however, going one step ahead and trying to introduce world’s first triple-SIM 3G Smartphones. LG has partnered with chip maker MediaTek for producing these phones. Will this thing really take off is yet to be discovered when such devices come to the market.

      • Android

        • Android 4.3 Includes Hidden App Permissions Manager That Could Bolster Privacy & Security
        • NFC ring can control Android devices

          Gadget makers are trying to find out cool ways to take advantage of the NFC technology. NFC stickers or tags didn’t really catch up, but here is an awesome ring with some NFC magic. The NFC ring can be used to unlock your tablets, smartphones and even doors! It can also be used to send contact info, or launch apps on your devices. Apple fan boys are going to be extremely jealous.

        • Update your Nexus device to Android 4.3 manually

          While Nexus users may be happy to know that they will be the first to get Android 4.3 OTA updates, all the users will not be getting them immediately. Even though Google has started rolling out the updates, it will take some time before everyone gets it. However, impatient fellows can just download the factory images of Android 4.3 for Google and flash their devices.

        • Chromecast torn apart, what’s inside?

          Google’s Chromecast is already a blockbuster hit on the box-office. The device is sold out on Amazon so is on Google Play Store. Some lucky users already got their devices to play with and it seems the device is capable of doing much more than it appeared.

        • Chromecast news: Google releases open source code, hackers working on root

          Google’s Chromecast is a $35 device designed to let you stream music, videos, and other content from the internet to your TV.

          That’s all it’s supposed to do at the moment. But the Chromecast has the guts of a cheap Android or Linux computer, and hackers are hard at work trying to teach the new device new tricks.

        • Chromecast can now cast entire desktop to the TV

          Google’s Chromecast is turning out to be much hotter than it looked. This tiny $35 device holds more potential than any other device I have seen recently, excluding Raspberry Pi which is a revolution in itself.

          Google remained modest about what this device can do but as the device is reaching in the hands of users, and most of these early birds are enthusiasts (unfortunately, mine has not shipped yet), they are getting to know more about the device.

        • Sleep as Android Analyzes You In and Out of Soft Slumber

          Sleep as Android is an accelerometer-based sleep cycle tracker app that includes a nice assortment of helpful sleep aids, including lullaby mode, sleep noise recording, lucid dreaming detection audio and a Captcha test to see if you are actually awake. Perhaps even more intriguing is that based on your sleep cycles, it knows just the right time to wake you up.

        • Which OS can beat Android and iOS?

          Are you bored of the fact that almost every phone released and every buying choice is restricted to either Android or iOS? Are you excited about the news that is flooding in about brand new mobile phone operating systems that will take on these two and bring in a breath of fresh air into the
          fairly mundane smartphone market? Well, control that growing ebullience for a while and let’s first get our facts right.

        • Motorola X8 SoC fuels Droid Maxx, Ultra, Mini phones
        • Hot SoCs: Tegra beats PS3, 6-GPU Exynos, 4.5W Haswell

          This week saw a flurry of news about new mobile processor developments that will significantly impact the Android and mobile Linux worlds. Nvidia unveiled Project Logan, a Tegra SoC (system-on-chip) with faster graphics than a PlayStation 3 at a third the power of an iPad; Samsung revealed a new Exynos 5 SoC with six Mali GPUs; and Intel confirmed that a tablet-focused 4.5 Watt version Haswell-based SoC is on the way.

        • Moto X to feature Moto Magic Glass

          The Moto X event is scheduled for August 1, but a healthy dose of new specification details ahead of the official unveiling does no harm. Ex-owner of Android and Me took, Taylor Winberly, to his Google + page to gossip about some features the Moto X will come with, which till now we didn’t know about.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Nexus 7 on sale early, more Android 4.3 features emerge

        Google’s Android 4.3-powered, second-generation Nexus 7 tablet went on sale today at the Google Play Store and also showed up at Best Buy several days ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, new features of Android 4.3 have emerged, including 4K resolution support and a hidden, user-controllable permission manager.

        Google announced the “new Nexus 7″ on July 24 while unveiling the new Android 4.3 build that runs on it, (see farther below). Despite the impressive specs of the next-generation Nexus 7, the show was stolen by a $35 Chromecast HDMI stick device that wirelessly beams content via the a desktop, laptop, or mobile device’s Chrome browser to a TV. The Chromecast quickly sold out.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 secrets to sustainable in open source communities

    Elizabeth Leddy gave the next talk I attended entitled, Wish I Knew How to Quit You: 10 Secrets to Sustainable Open Source Communities. Elizabeth works with Plone but wasn’t really involved in open source until about five years ago. With open source we often start by working at a company that supports a specific open source application and there are two paths we can take. One path is that you start to get annoyed with the way things are going and so you jump to another open source project. Or you can get involved in the open source community so thoroughly that you can move from one related company to another (this is what I have been doing with Koha so I totally understand this path).

  • 10 Free Ways to Create Eye Catching Images
  • Developer Training Platform Pluralsight Acquires PeepCode To Expand Into Open-Source Content

    Pluralsight, the online training resource targeting professional developers that announced its raise of $27.5 million from Insight Venture Partners earlier this year, is now putting that funding to use. The company, whose corporate users include Microsoft, Salesforce, Twitter, Facebook, Dell, HP, Intel, Disney, EMC and others, is acquiring PeepCode, a similar resource providing video tutorials on a range of technologies, such as Ruby, Node.js, JavaScript, Unix, Git, CSS, RSpec, databases and more.

  • Open Source Typing Software List Rolled Out By SoftwareReviewBoffin.Com

    Boffin announces its editors’ picks of free typing software. Quality, reliability and efficiency were the criteria the software were assessed for.

  • Events

    • OSCON 2013: Find a Nonprofit Home for Your Open Source Project

      Several excellent nonprofits exist solely to support open source projects, offering a range of services including everything from basic fiscal sponsorship to business and legal resources, infrastructure and tech support, quality control and project management, community building and more.

    • Open Source Science Fair 2.0
    • Open Source Solves J.K. Rowling Mystery

      As OSCON, a global conference on open source software, got underway in Portland this week, the timing of the recent J.K. Rowling unmasking couldn’t have been better. As my colleague and co-author, Garrett Heath, tweeted from the conference, “Accio Open Source!” For the three people left on the planet who haven’t read a Harry Potter book, that’s a common summoning charm used among Rowling’s fictional wizards.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Firefox Personalization Scheme Sounds Too Ad-Friendly

        Don’t you get annoyed when advertising cookies in your browser seem to know what your interests are and serve up creepy ads that hit a little too close to home? Would you prefer that your Internet browser does not know exactly where you are at all times? If your answer to these questions is yes and you use Firefox, you may object to a new proposal that Mozilla has put up to purportedly “find relevant content easier while publishers enjoy increased engagement, fewer bounces, and stronger loyalty.” It’s all part of a personalization scheme that sounds fishy.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • IBM joins Pivotal in developing Cloud Foundry’s open source PaaS

      IBM disclosed plans on July 24 to collaborate with the Pivotal Initiative to develop Cloud Foundry, an open source Platform as a Service (PaaS) that allows enterprises to freely choose whatever cloud applications, cloud infrastructure and application programming interfaces (APIs) they want.

    • Open-Source Marathon: Vendors Sign Up for the Race to Zero

      Wednesday saw a flurry of activity in the open-source arena. The day kicked off with a milestone partnership between IBM and EMC-spin off Pivotal to accelerate the development of Cloud Foundry and extend support for third party services.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • A good “second board” for learning

      I had looked at this board when they had their kickstarter going, but as Lucas and I discussed it, and particularly in light of my work with both Linaro (on performance improvements) and Project Caua (on economic computing), I started to get more interested, then excited. By the end of the night I had purchased one of the Zynq 7000 units (there is a unit based on the Zynq-7010 and one on the Zynq-7020), complete with GPIO pins.

  • Funding

    • Inside Bountysource, a Crowdfunding and Challenge Site for Open-Source Software

      The widespread use of open-source software is a testament to the power of crowdsourcing. By leaving software’s underlying source code open for anyone to copy, edit, tweak, and use, far-flung programmers can achieve some incredible things, like the creation of an operating system that today powers most servers and supercomputers. Even the software on your cell phone may be the byproduct of open-source code: Google’s Android OS is built on the Linux kernel.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Donate to Replicant and support free software on mobile devices

      Yesterday we launched a fundraising initiative for Replicant, a fully free Android distribution and the first mobile operating system (OS) to run without relying on proprietary system code. Replicant’s small volunteer developer team is focused on improving their OS, while also expanding it to work on more devices. Donations will primarily be used to buy new devices for development and testing — a critical need — but will also help fund infrastructure and promotion for the project.

    • Replicant fully-free Android distro project solicits funds

      The Free Software Foundation has launched a fundraising initiative for Replicant, touted as a “fully free” Android distribution and the first mobile OS to run without relying on proprietary system code. Donations will defray the cost of purchasing smartphones and tablets for development and testing, and will help the team expand its infrastructure and promote the project at industry events.

    • FSF passes collection plate for free Android clone Replicant
    • The GNU/consensus Whistle, Volume I, Issue 0
    • bison-3.0 released [stable]

      The Bison team is very happy to announce the release of Bison 3.0, which introduces many new features. An executive summary would include: (i) deep overhaul/improvements of the diagnostics, (ii) more versatile means to describe semantic value types (including the ability to store genuine C++ objects in C++ parsers), (iii) push-parser interface extended to Java, and (iv) parse-time semantic predicates for GLR parsers.

    • FSF Tries Pushing Blob-Free “Replicant” Android OS
  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Local Sheep Farmers Unveil Open-Source, DIY Tracking System

      Oogie McGuire introduces me to one of her guard dogs at Desert Weyr Farms, just outside of Paonia on Garvin Mesa. She and her husband Ken run Black Welsch Mountain Sheep, a unique breed, a threatened breed in fact, one that’s also part of a USDA research project looking at the animals’ reproductive systems. Since they’re being studied, these sheep have to be closely tracked, and the McGuires need all the data on the animals they can get.

    • How open source software, sensors and 3D printing can create a perfect stick shift driver
    • Dallas Art History Just Went Open-Source: Thanks to a Free, Digital Coffee Table Book

      More interesting still is how we wouldn’t have this technology were it not for Robert Stein, the DMA’s still-newish Deputy Director. The software behind the ePub is the OSCI toolkit, a Getty Grant project that Stein helmed, and served as lead on back at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2011. That project came to light thanks to Stein’s 2009-established IMA Lab, an in-house commercial software consulting arm, whipped-up to develop open-source software for cultural projects like this. Stein says that momentum stayed on track after his departure — it must have, ’cause now we’ve got this handy gadget.

    • Open Data

      • Open Source Map of Seward

        I created a map of Seward attractions to hand out to my customers at my old business, The Seward Information Center. It has on it places to eat and drink, see and do, buy things etc.. We no longer need this map and it did take a lot of work. I would like to donate it to Seward as an open source file for any to use, update and change. The source files are included below. In creating this map I used the latest satellite map of town and overlay the map illustrations. The open source image editor Inkscape can be used to view and update the layers. I used the Wikitravel format and methodology. I hope that this will be useful to business, organizations and individuals here in town.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • GCC Cauldron 2013 Recap

      Videos from the recent GCC Cauldron 2013 that was hosted at the Googleplex earlier this month are now available online. Discussed during this developer event is not only the GCC compiler but also GDB, Address Sanitizer, and other compiler-related technologies.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Value of Open Standards

      overnments need to keep this in mind when they set procurement and other appropriate, standards-related policiesso that basic rights, as well as tax dollars, are properly protected.

Leftovers

  • Fantasies

    I’ve received a number of requests to comment on the post: “Slavoj Žižek Responds to Noam Chomsky: ‘I Don’t Know a Guy Who Was So Often Empirically Wrong’” (http://www.openculture.com/2013/07/slavoj-zizek-responds-to-noam-chomsky.html).

    I had read it, with some interest, hoping to learn something from it, and given the title, to find some errors that should be corrected – of course they exist in virtually anything that reaches print, even technical scholarly monographs, as one can see by reading reviews in the professional journals. And when I find them or am informed about them I correct them.

    But not here. Žižek finds nothing, literally nothing, that is empirically wrong. That’s hardly a surprise. Anyone who claims to find empirical errors, and is minimally serious, will at the very least provide a few particles of evidence – some quotes, references, at least something. But there is nothing here – which, I’m afraid, doesn’t surprise me either. I’ve come across instances of Žižek’s concept of empirical fact and reasoned argument.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • U.S. approves NON-GMO labeling for meats from animals fed NON-GMO diets

      The Agriculture Department has approved a label for meat and liquid egg products that includes a claim about the absence of genetically engineered products.

      It is the first time that the department, which regulates meat and poultry processing, has approved a non-G.M.O. label claim, which attests that meat certified by the Non-GMO Project came from animals that never ate feed containing genetically engineered ingredients like corn, soy and alfalfa.

    • Wounds and scars

      The barbarism that is female genital mutilation

    • Tropicana Faces Class Action Over ‘Natural’ Claims

      Several companies have been earning flack lately for mislabeling their products as “healthy” or “GMO-free” and even orange juice is earning its fair share of criticism.

      Juice-maker Tropicana, a PepsiCo brand, has failed to dismiss a U.S. class action that claims the company falsely labeled its orange juice as “100 percent pure and natural,” despite its use of pasteurization, processing, coloring and flavoring, according to Beverage Daily.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Halliburton admits destroying Gulf oil spill evidence

      Halliburton has admitted destroying evidence in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and will plead guilty to a criminal charge, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

      Under the plea agreement, which requires court approval, Houston-based Halliburton will also face three years’ probation, pay the maximum fine of $200,000 and continue to cooperate in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of the April 2010 explosion and fire on the drilling platform, which killed 11 rig workers off Louisiana.

    • Militarization of Law Enforcement in Guatemala

      Latin American countries have a long history of using the armed forces to carry out internal security duties. However, these militaries also have a long history of human rights abuses. While progress has been made, many countries in the region continue to deploy their troops to combat crime as they struggle with weak public institutions, pervasive impunity, and high crime rates.

    • Uruguayan Workers Carry Out Marches and Strikes

      PIT-CNT trade union heads today a national demonstration with a four-hour long partial strike mainly affecting the education and health sectors, although emergency services will work normally.
      In addition to the strike, called between 09:00 and 13:00 (local time), a workers’ march from the Republic University up to the Legislative Palace will be staged, and union leaders will demand there wage increases and other benefits.

    • FBI admits to flying drones over US without warrants

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says it has used drones for domestic surveillance purposes in the United States at least ten times without obtaining warrants. In three additional cases, drones were authorized but “not actually used.”

      Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday published a letter from FBI Assistant Director Stephen D. Kelly, who admitted that the agency used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) domestically, without gathering any warrants.

    • Egypt has been warned of the violence to come – by General Sisi himself

      The general’s recent speech can only be read as a precursor to a bloody campaign of repression against the Egyptian people

    • Former CIA Officer & Whistleblower Sabrina De Sousa & the ‘Proper Channels’ Myth

      A commonly recited criticism of whistleblowers is that they need to go through proper channels or else they are not whistleblowers deserving protection. If they don’t go through proper channels, they are arrogant self-serving leakers who appointed themselves as decision-makers for what information should and should not be secret.

      This was the criticism levied against former NSA contractor Edward Snowden after it was revealed that he was the one who blew the whistle on secret surveillance programs. Jeffrey Toobin for The New Yorker argued that America’s system “offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors. They can take advantage of federal whistleblower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work. But Snowden did none of this.”

    • VIDEO: Interview with Sabrina De Sousa, CIA officer, on Osama Mustapha Hassan Nasr’s rendition

      A former CIA officer has broken the U.S. silence around the 2003 abduction of a radical Islamist cleric in Italy, charging that the agency inflated the threat the preacher posed and that the United States then allowed Italy to prosecute her and other Americans to shield President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials from responsibility for approving the operation.

    • Michael Hastings Crash

      Once again, I have something that a lot of people want. It’s a video of Michael Hastings’ fatal car crash. It’s not really mine, like that Sting-Ray was, but I have it. It’s a security video from my girlfriend’s restaurant. And since she said to make it public, I soon will.

    • Civil Disobedience, Non-Violence and Overcoming Hate

      Through the years, Bill Moyers has spoken with many of the world’s leading activists, politicians, revolutionaries and theologians about how they overcame hatred and anger to became forces for positive change in the world. Many say they were inspired by leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Click below to watch six guests make the case for civil disobedience over violence and brotherhood over hatred.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Military Harasses Journalists At Bradley Manning Trial

      Reading through the various tweets, the MPs were specifically trying to stop journalists from using Twitter. Kevin Gosztola was directly told not to use Twitter and was later admonished for having “a window” open on his computer. No joke. The reporters also noted that they had to go through an incredibly detailed TSA-style search before they could enter the courtroom — and that this had not happened previously in their coverage of the trial. Multiple journalists noted how “creepy” it was and how intimidating it is to have military police with guns looking over your shoulder and watching everything you do. Freedom of the press? Not at all.

    • Journalists at Bradley Manning trial report hostile conditions for press

      I visited the trial two weeks ago. While there were many restrictions for attending press that I found surprising (reporters couldn’t work from the courtroom, mobile devices weren’t allowed in the press room), it wasn’t this bad. I was treated respectfully and courteously by Army Public Affairs Officers and military police, and was only grumped at a few times for stretching those (silly) restrictions. I was physically searched only once, when entering the courtroom, and that’s standard for civilian or military trials.

    • U.S. WikiLeaks soldier is whistleblower, not traitor: defense

      The U.S. soldier accused of the biggest leak of classified information in the nation’s history is a whistleblower, and not a traitor as the government claims, Bradley Manning’s defense lawyer said at his court-martial on Friday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Where have all the bees gone?

      Many of you around the world are basking in a delightful heatwave at the moment. Make sure you get out of the office and enjoy the sunshine. One of the best things about summer is sitting outside, enjoying a cool drink with loved ones and watching the bees buzzing around the garden.

    • Halliburton to pay $200k fine for destroying evidence in 2010 Gulf oil spill

      Halliburton Energy Services to pay a maximum $200,000 fine for destroying evidence related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which the Gulf of Mexico is yet to recover from. The company will also donate $55 million towards wildlife protection.

      World’s second-largest oilfield services company has pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge and agreed to be subject to three years of probation – apart from paying $200,000 fine – for destroying internal probe computer simulations into the cementing after the blowout at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Allegedly the probe showed little difference between using six and 21 centralizers while cementing the damaged oil rig well.

  • Finance

    • John Oliver: Monopoly Game Removed ‘Go to Jail’ Option to Reflect America’s Financial System

      Last night on the Daily Show, Oliver brilliantly connected the board game’s change-up to banks’ apparent infallibility — Goldman Sachs price-rigging included.

    • Region in Italy Reaches 30% Coop Economy

      The Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy is one of the richest in Europe, known for its high-end car manufacturing. While Emilia-Romagna is one of the most economically successful regions in Europe, it is also one of the most cooperative regions in the world. Nearly two of every three of its 4.5 million citizens are members of a cooperative. Cooperatives support around 30% of the region’s GDP, making it a stellar example of a large-scale cooperative economy. As with Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in Spain, the cooperative economy is strongly bolstered by networked relationships which also make cooperatives more resilient in economic crises.

    • Michael Hudson Shreds Obama’s Orwellian Speech on Middle Class Prosperity

      Michael Hudson was so incensed by what he called a “Blairesque” speech by Obama on Wednesday that he took it upon himself to comment on its all-too-frequent sleights of hand and outright fabrications. However, you’ll also notice that the speech contained so much bullshit (in the Harry Frankfurter sense of indifference to the truth) that eventually Hudson’s comments thin out a bit.

      The original speech is in black. Hudson’s remarks are in red. You’ll see he took mercy on you and edited the speech down a bit and also bolded some of the, erm, remarkable parts. I’ve added a few observations, in blue. I hope readers in comments will join in the fun by extracting sections or phrases from the speech and explaining what they really mean.

      The worst is that Obama apparently plans a series of Big Lie speeches on his “vision for rebuilding an economy that puts the middle class — and those fighting to join it – front and center.” That’s at best an afterthought, since he’s given the economy over to an at best indifferent and at worst predatory elite that have no interest in giving it back.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • As ALEC Celebrates its 40th Birthday in Chicago, Protesters Prepare to Blow Out the Candles

      The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, the corporate “bill mill” which has advanced a potpourri of extreme anti-worker, anti-environment, and pro-gun legislation, is turning 40 years this year, and will hold its annual meeting in Chicago from August 7-9 in 2013. ALEC will be greeted in the Windy City by a broad coalition of good government groups, labor unions, as well as civil rights and religious groups, who will rally to say that 40 years of ALEC is nothing to celebrate.

    • NC Passes Voter Suppression Measures as DOJ Moves to Protect Voting Rights in TX

      The North Carolina legislature voted Thursday to approve the most restrictive voter suppression measures in the country, making it the first state to pass new laws after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. But the move comes the same day that the Department of Justice announced plans to use other means to protect voting rights.

  • Censorship

    • Who exactly is responsible for ‘nudge censorship’?

      We have no legislation, a contradictory official government policy, and ISPs promising that they will deliver a ‘pre-selected’ censorship approach.

    • UK Porn Filter: Censorship Extends Beyond Pornography, But One ISP Is Fighting Back

      U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron announced Monday that British Internet service providers (ISPs) must install porn filters and require customers to opt-in for adult content. Cameron said the policy is aimed at combating child porn and the “corroding influences” of sexual content in the U.K., but several people are unhappy with the plan. Reports have linked the filters to controversial Chinese company Huawei, and others have found that the filters will block much more than just porn. Some ISPs have publicly refused to force the filters on their users.

    • Porn sites get more internet traffic in UK than social networks or shopping

      8.5% of clicks in June were on legal pornography sites, according to figures released as David Cameron attempts crackdown

    • Shortest Internet censorship debate ever

      In the morning the Minister of Justice has apparently discovered there is porn on the Internet (welcome to the Net, dear Mr Biernacki; wish you’d been here earlier) and has voiced his support for implementing the British “solution” in Poland; already in the evening PM Donald Tusk and Minister of Administration and Digitization Michał Boni categorically denied any such plans.

      In the meantime the NGOs that had been involved in several Internet censorship debates in Poland during the last few years were flooded with media inquiries about the subject — and criticised both the British idea and Minister Biernacki’s statement.

    • The Dangers Of Walled Gardens
    • US Government-Funded Domestic Propaganda Has Officially Hit The Airwaves

      The reform effectively nullifies the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which was amended in 1985 specifically to prohibit U.S. organizations from using information “to influence public opinion in the United States.”

      The new law enables U.S. government programming such as Voice of America (VoA) — an outlet created in 1942 to promote a positive understanding of the U.S. abroad — t0 broadcast directly to domestic audiences for the first time.

      VoA and other programs are now produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which shares a “strategic communications budget” with the State Department and has an annual budget of more than $700 million.

      Nevertheless, BBG spokeswoman Lynne Weil insisted to FP that the BBG presents “fair and accurate news” and is not a propaganda outlet.

      A former U.S. government source explained that the BBG can now reach local radio stations in the U.S., meaning that the programming can target expat communities such as the significant Somali population in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    • U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News to Americans
  • Privacy

    • So Where Was Everybody’s Righteous Indignation and Outrage Back When NSA Domestic Surveillance Was First Reported in 2008?

      Wait, let’s go back even further to 2005, Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts, says headline. Gee, I can’t imagine how this story wasn’t plastered on the front page of every tech news site back then. And those of us who pay attention remember there was a small blip on the radar in 2006 – the exposure of “Room 641A”, the so-called “black room” where federal surveillance of citizens happened within AT&T’s infrastructure.

    • Point-scoring our web freedom

      We use ratings for all kinds of services, so let’s try scoring the way we use the internet to check on our security and privacy

    • This Week’s Really Bizarre Battle Over Your Privacy Rights Ended In the Worst Way Possible

      The primary struggle of American politics is the struggle to balance liberty and peace, freedom and security.

      With full knowledge that power is often needed to secure peace, and awareness that power is the eternal enemy of liberty, our Founding Fathers sought to construct a political society that could maintain peace and prosperity with both liberty and longevity. To achieve this end, they framed a Constitution that separated specific powers between different branches and with particular limits.

      Now, politicians are actively working to remove these safeguards. By failing on Thursday to pass an amendment to the defense appropriations bill spearheaded by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Congress is once more curtailing the rights of American citizens in the name of security.

    • Rumors of NSA surveillance outpost in Wiesbaden persist

      Is a new building under construction at US Army headquarters in Wiesbaden also designed to house NSA spies? There are rumors, but the army says the facility is strictly for military intelligence units.

    • Kiwis on the march: Thousands turn out against new spy powers in New Zealand

      Thousands of people have protested across New Zealand against the new surveillance bill that would enable the country’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) to spy on its citizens.

    • Edward Snowden’s dad: ‘This story is far from done’

      “There has been a concerted effort by many of these congressmen to demonize my son, to focus the issue on my son and not to talk about the fact that they had a responsibility to ensure that these programs were constitutional. They’ve either been complicit or negligent.”

    • Glenn Greenwald To Testify Before Congress About NSA Surveillance Programs

      Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the story on top-secret NSA surveillance programs earlier this summer, will testify before a congressional committee.

      Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), who is leading the Wednesday congressional hearing that has invited critics of the NSA programs to testify, told The Guardian, “I think that most people simply don’t understand that, despite the news coverage, which my view has been extremely unfocused. There has been far too much discussion of the leaker, and not enough discussion of the leak.”

    • Seven lies about privacy (and how you can debunk them)

      No human right has ever been subjected to as much deception and attack as privacy. I mean, no-one tries to dilute protections against torture by saying “it doesn’t really hurt anyone”. But privacy is open-season for anyone with an interest in killing it off. Here we summarise seven of the most common lies – and how you can counter them.

    • Angela Keaton Explains the Antiwar.com Lawsuit Against the FBI

      Angela gave a concise explanation of the Antiwar.com lawsuit against the FBI to RT America this afternoon…

    • Hacker’s Tiny Spy Computers Aim To Track Targets Around Entire Neighborhoods And Cities

      The National Security Agency, argues Brendan O’Connor, doesn’t have a monopoly on mass surveillance. In fact, he’s developed a cheap system of open-source spy boxes and mapping software that he says will let anyone “track everyone in a neighborhood, suburb, or city from the comfort of their sofa.”

    • Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash

      The numbers tell the story — in votes and dollars. On Wednesday, the house voted 217 to 205 not to rein in the NSA’s phone-spying dragnet. It turns out that those 217 “no” voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 “yes” voters.

      That’s the upshot of a new analysis by MapLight, a Berkeley-based non-profit that performed the inquiry at WIRED’s request. The investigation shows that defense cash was a better predictor of a member’s vote on the Amash amendment than party affiliation. House members who voted to continue the massive phone-call-metadata spy program, on average, raked in 122 percent more money from defense contractors than those who voted Wednesday to dismantle it.

    • Spy agencies ban Lenovo PCs on security concerns

      Computers manufactured by the world’s biggest personal computer maker, Lenovo, have been banned from the “secret” and ‘‘top secret” ­networks of the intelligence and defence services of Australia, the US, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand, because of concerns they are vulnerable to being hacked.

      Multiple intelligence and defence sources in Britain and Australia confirmed there is a written ban on computers made by the Chinese company being used in “classified” networks.

    • Massive anti-NSA protests planned for 39 German cities

      Thousands of Germans are expected to join together Saturday in a massive, multi-city protest against U.S. spying.

      Germans, in particular, have been on edge since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked a host of classified agency documents in June. Among his revelations are that German citizens are more scrutinized than any other nationality, and that the NSA is “in bed with the Germans.”

      Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended the alliance between the two countries’ intelligence-gathering operations, telling the German paper Der Zeit that “For decades, intelligence services have been working together under certain conditions that are tightly regulated in our country, and this serves our security.

    • The NSA Fight

      The Michigan congressman determined to stop the NSA’s abuses wins a battle against House GOP leaders.

    • ‘Surveillance society’: German writers slam Berlin’s NSA spying involvement

      Demonstrators are gathering across Germany in support of Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, as German writers publish an open letter to Chancellor Merkel demanding explanations over the country’s secret services involvement in the NSA spying program.

    • Critics of NSA spying, including Glenn Greenwald, to testify before Congress
    • Find and Block Who is Tracking You Online

      Whenever we visit a website, we are tracked by our ISP, unknown people(s) and of course, the NSA. They analyze our online activities and share the information to website owner or to some third party companies. These companies will sell products and services according to our online activities such as what we are seeing often, what we are liking mostly and what type of websites we frequently visit etc. The actual problem is that we can’t visually see who’s tracking us and we are not able to find what’s happening behind the scenes.

    • Google Engineer Wins NSA Award, Then Says NSA Should Be “Abolished”

      When Bonneau learned that he has won the award from the NSA, he considered turning it down. However, he ultimately decided upon accepting as a way to potentially bridge academic gaps with the NSA, as a means of opening up at least one avenue into the organization that has been mostly closed.

      That said, the winner of the NSA award wants, like many privacy rights activists and citizens concerned with the government’s Fourth Amendment violations, for the NSA to be reformed by a political process (like the one which narrowly failed in the House yesterday).

  • Civil Rights

    • Why My Parents Just Got Arrested in Madison

      My parents were arrested yesterday. They are 85 and 80 years old. Their crime was singing in the rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol without a permit.

      Tom and Joan Kemble moved to Madison two years ago when they realized that the steady march of time meant it would not be long before their physical ability to tend to their 20-acre organic farm they had so lovingly cultivated for three decades would decline.

    • WARNING: Prominent Activists Being Framed With Child Porn

      A disturbing trend is unfolding where some entity is attempting to frame prominent anti-establishment activists and alternative media organizations with child pornography.

      These activists are being sent emails with malicious attachments containing images of child porn in a seeming attempt to discredit them or set them up for arrest.

    • German president says whistleblowers like Snowden merit respect

      Germany’s president, who helped expose the workings of East Germany’s dreaded Stasi secret police, said whistleblowers like U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden deserved respect for defending freedom.

    • Archbishop Tutu ‘would not worship a homophobic God’

      South Africa’s Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he will never worship a “homophobic God” and will rather go to hell.

    • Tutu says he cannot worship ‘homophobic’ God
    • Turkey Jails 64 Journalists For Coverage of People’s Protest

      Journalists in Turkey who covered this spring’s Gezi Park protests are living in a “half-open penitentiary,” say critics, as media bosses—under pressure from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government—have sacked dozens of reporters while others face criminal prosecution.

      Sixty-four journalists are currently under arrest and another 123 are facing charges of terrorism, said a report issued by the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Tuesday.

      “Mr. Prime Minister has turned the country into a half-open penitentiary and made it impossible to live for journalists,” said CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu during a press briefing.

    • Calif. State Committee Set to Vote on NDAA Nullification Bill

      …authorize their indefinite detention in violation of habeas corpus.

    • Who does the US call an enemy? Pentagon won’t say

      US President Barack Obama has repeatedly said that Washington is at war with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and its “associated forces.” However, the Pentagon refuses to disclose who those so-called “associated forces” really are.

      At a hearing in May, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) asked the US Department of Defense to provide him with a list of al-Qaeda affiliates. The Pentagon responded, but Levin’s office later told ProPublica that it wasn’t allowed to share the information it had received from Washington. When asked about the list, Levin’s spokesperson only said that the department’s “answer included the information requested.”

    • Technology and the Ruling Party

      “Power tends to corrupt,” said Lord Acton, “and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

      The sexism needs updating but the sentiment remains true. That’s been all too obvious this week, during which the powers that be did their damnedest to protect their once-secret surveillance programs…while the NSA responded to Freedom Of Information Act requests with the claim “There’s no central method to search [internal NSA emails] at this time.”

    • Senate Moves for Sanctions on Nations ‘Helping’ Snowden

      The Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously Thursday to slam sanctions on any country aiding NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, marking a serious escalation in a global manhunt which has stoked almost as much international outrage as the US spying scandal itself.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Redistributing TV Material Without the Ads Is Legal
      • Court says skipping ads doesn’t violate copyright. That’s a big deal.

        In 1984, the Supreme Court rejected Hollywood’s argument that the record button on the Betamax VCR made its manufacturer, Sony, liable for copyright infringement. The high court ruled that consumers were allowed to record television shows by copyright’s fair use doctrine. The decision became a legal foundation of the modern consumer electronics industry.

      • Viacom Files A Second Appeal in Viacom v. YouTube/Google – They’d Like a Trial and a Different Judge ~pj

        Viacom can’t seem to find a judge to agree with them that the DMCA Safe Harbor should be reinterpreted Viacom’s way or that YouTube/Google, specifically, should lose its protection because of its conduct. Their war against Google’s YouTube is into its 7th year, and Viacom still thinks that YouTube and parent Google should be held responsible for what users do on it. Specifically, it wants them to have the editorial burden of preventing copyright infringement from happening in the first place, not acting on it when notified of specific infringement by the copyright owner, and it wants it to have to pay for it all by itself.

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