Links 15/1/2015: KDE Releases, Ubuntu Phone Delays

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Tag heats up mobile games tools market with open source ChilliSource engine

    Best known for its game development work with the like of BBC (Doctor Who), Ubisoft (Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes) and Mindy Candy (Moshi Monsters Village), Dundee studio Tag Games is now getting into the tools business.

  • Three Interesting Open Source Projects for 2015

    Maybe you’re looking for new open source tools that your business can use to take it to the next level. Or maybe you’ve made use of countless solutions over the years and feel as though it’s time to give back.

  • Events

    • Regional Technology Partnership Presents “Mandatory Considerations before using Open Source Code”

      Join the Regional Technology Partnership at 5:30 pm on January 28 for our event located at the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce, 25071 Chamber of Commerce Dr., Bonita Springs. “Mandatory Considerations before using Open Source Code” is sponsored by The McDonough Law Office, P.L., and the featured presenter will be William McDonough. This event is free for RTP Members and $25.00 for future members. Registration, sponsorship opportunities and additional details are available at www.swfrtp.org.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • A cloud management tool for simple deployments

      For the past few years, cloud has been one of the biggest buzzwords among technology enthusiasts. Whether you want data accessibility across devices or need computation power for your business or even develop applications—cloud can help you.

      With growing adoption for cloud computing, almost everyone from individuals to large corporations are leveraging it. For example CERN, the famous European nuclear lab, uses OpenStack to manage their IT infrastructure. Several open source projects related to cloud computing have also come up in last few years, prominent among them are ownCloud, OpenStack etc.

    • Google Opens Up Cloud Monitoring Service to Developers

      Featuring full integration of the technology from Google’s acquisition of Stackdriver last year, Google Cloud Monitoring has arrived. It’s a tool that developers can leverage to monitor the performance of application components. If you’re a Google Cloud Platform customer you can try it out for free beginning immediately. Here are more details.

    • Leverage MapR’s Resources for Getting Big Data Right

      As the Big Data trend marches forward in enterprises and as Hadoop becomes a true open source star driving the trend, MapR Technologies doesn’t get quite as much attention as some other players. However, the company offers a slew of informative and helpful posts, videos and educational offerings that can help any enterprise get smart about leveraging Big Data tools, including many free, open source applications.

  • Databases

    • ​Why MariaDB says MaxScale will make life easier for developers and admins

      MariaDB says its newly-released MaxScale software, which acts as a gateway between databases and apps, will transform life for admins and developers.

      MaxScale, available for MySQL as well as the MariaDB fork, is an open-source proxy that allows databases and apps to be fully decoupled, enabling admin processes to run without affecting apps and for apps to evolve without hampering underlying databases.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

  • Funding


    • The GNU Radical

      It seems like all those arguments (about Twitter, about implementing support for proprietary systems on Free Software, and others) are ultimately about reaching users that would otherwise remain ignorant of the Free Software philosophy. And how can someone have counter-arguments for this? It is impossible to argue that we do not need to take the Free Software message to everybody, because when someone does not use Free Software, she is doing harm to her community (thus, we want more people using Free Software, of course). When the Free Software Foundation makes use of Twitter to bring more people to the movement, and when I see that despite talking to people all around me I can hardly convince them to try GNU/Linux, who am I to criticize the FSF?

    • Radicals And FLOSS

      The word, “radical”, has been in the news a lot lately. Often it’s associated with some bad news like problems caused by radical this that or the other.

    • GNUnet Dev Mumble

      we are happy to announce today’s GNUnet developer mumble taking place

  • Public Services/Government

    • NGA goes open source with a public geospatial tool kit

      Financial pressures have pushed the intelligence community (IC) to relinquish control of some of its data to cloud based services provided by the private sector. And along with trying to tie its 17 agencies together on a single platform, the IC has been forced to adapt to emerging technology trends as well as growing realities.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Open source tool trawls Github repositories for sensitive data

      Michael Henriksen, a member of the SoundCloud security team, has been recently tasked with creating a system that will constantly check the company’s GitHub organizations (i.e. repositories) for unintentionally leaked sensitive information.

    • C Framework For OpenCL Now Supports Device Fission & Native Kernels

      The C Framework For OpenCL has reached version 2.0. CF4OCL allows the rapid development of OpenCL host programs in C/C++ while making it easier to provide OpenCL, simplify the analysis of OpenCL environments, etc.

    • Weblate UI polishing

      After releasing Weblate 2.0 with Bootstrap based UI, there was still lot of things to improve. Weblate 2.1 brought more consistency in using buttons with colors and icons. Weblate 2.2 will bring some improvements in other graphics elements.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OIC Releases Software Framework for IoT Standard

      The group on Jan. 14 unveiled the preview release of IoTivity, an open spec designed to make it easier for the growing number of sensors and devices that will make up the Internet of things (IoT) to connect to each other and exchange data. IoTivity is now an open-source project under the auspices of the Linux Foundation.


  • Videos: UNIX and Linux Ancient History

    I’m a sucker for history videos… and I enjoyed the trip back in time that these were. While I was aware of the feuds that existed in UNIX-land and UNIX-GUI-land back from the early days I didn’t witness it personally… so the first two expose some of that. The third video shows what moving from Windows 95 to Windows 98 was like… including the Linux alternative with an interview with Linus himself. Enjoy!

  • Science

    • Pitcher plants ‘switch off’ traps to capture more ants

      A worker ant collects sweet nectar from the trap of an insect-eating Nepenthes pitcher plant. Research from the University of Bristol, UK, has found that, by ‘switching off’ its traps for part of the day, the plant ensures ‘scout’ ants survive and are able to lead large numbers of followers to the trap. When the trap gets wet, it suddenly becomes super-slippery and captures all visitors in one sweep. Credit: Dr. Ulrike Bauer, University of Bristol, UK

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Russian Empire

      I am working very hard on getting Sikunder Burnes into shape for publication. Just ten weeks left to achieve that. Still hacking a lot of draft material out of the text. This passage on the Russian Empire was written before the tragic events in Ukraine.

    • Conservative and ‘Liberal’ Islamophobia Find Common Ground

      USA Today has a feature called “Common Ground,” which is a back-and-forth involving Cal Thomas, “a conservative columnist,” and Bob Beckel, billed as “a liberal Democratic strategist” but more accurately described as a Fox News Democrat with a lucrative sideline as a corporate lobbyist.

    • The FBI Considered Recruiting an American Blogger Later Killed in a Drone Strike

      Before Samir Khan was killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen in 2011, the FBI had hoped to capture and prosecute the blogger on terrorism charges. But Khan, a US citizen who wrote about violent jihad and was the founding editor of al Qaeda’s glossy English-language magazine Inspire, somehow slipped out of the United States in 2009 and eluded capture.

      The new revelations about the government’s investigation into Khan were detailed in heavily redacted FBI files obtained by VICE News under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Previous documents revealed that the FBI launched an investigation of Khan in 2006 after the bureau discovered his incendiary blog, Inshallahshaheed, an Arabic phrase that means “Martyr, God willing.” Less than a year later, according to the set of records, the FBI’s “primary goal” was to determine if Khan “Is influencing/did influence anyone to commit an act of terror.”

    • A Terrorist Massacre The News Barely Covered

      A brutal attack on a Nigerian town by the militant group Boko Haram that killed as many as 2,000 people has been given relatively little attention by the U.S. media.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Censorship

    • Pope on Charlie Hebdo: There Are Limits to Free Expression

      Francis spoke about the Paris terror attacks while en route to the Philippines, defending free speech as not only a fundamental human right but a duty to speak one’s mind for the sake of the common good.

    • The biggest threat to French free speech isn’t terrorism. It’s the government.

      Within an hour of the massacre at the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, thousands of Parisians spontaneously gathered at the Place de la Republique. Rallying beneath the monumental statues representing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, they chanted “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) and “Charlie! Liberty!” It was a rare moment of French unity that was touching and genuine.

    • France Arrests a Comedian For His Facebook Comments, Showing the Sham of the West’s “Free Speech” Celebration

      Forty-eight hours after hosting a massive march under the banner of free expression, France opened a criminal investigation of a controversial French comedian for a Facebook post he wrote about the Charlie Hebdo attack, and then this morning, arrested him for that post on charges of “defending terrorism.” The comedian, Dieudonné (above), previously sought elective office in France on what he called an “anti-Zionist” platform, has had his show banned by numerous government officials in cities throughout France, and has been criminally prosecuted several times before for expressing ideas banned in that country.

  • Privacy

    • Software Insecurity: The Problem with the White House Cybersecurity Proposals

      The White House has announced a new proposal to fix cybersecurity. Unfortunately, the positive effects will be minor at best; the real issue is not addressed. This is a serious missed opportunity by the Obama adminstration; it will expend a lot of political capital, to no real effect. (There may also be privacy issues; while those are very important, I won’t discuss them in this post.) The proposals focus on two things: improvements to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and provisions intended to encourage information sharing. At most, these will help at the margins; they’ll do little to fix the underlying problems.

    • David Cameron’s Plan to Ban Encryption in the UK

      This is similar to FBI director James Comey’s remarks from last year. And it’s equally stupid.

    • Hilarious: Activists Turn Tables On Political Surveillance Hawks, Wiretap Them With Honeypot Open Wi-Fi At Security Conference

      Activists from the Pirate Party’s youth wing have wiretapped high-level political surveillance hawks at Sweden’s top security conference. They set up an open wi-fi access point at the conference and labeled it “Open Guest”, and then just logged the traffic of about a hundred high-ranking surveillance hawks who argue for more wiretapping, and who connected through the activists’ unencrypted access point. They presented their findings in an op-ed in Swedish this Tuesday.

    • Zombie Cookie: The Tracking Cookie That You Can’t Kill

      An online ad company called Turn is using tracking cookies that come back to life after Verizon users have deleted them. Turn’s services are used by everyone from Google to Facebook.

    • David Cameron seeks cooperation of US president over encryption crackdown

      David Cameron is to urge Barack Obama to pressure internet firms such as Twitter and Facebook to do more to cooperate with Britain’s intelligence agencies as they seek to track the online activities of Islamist extremists.

    • Washington DC’s Public Library Will Teach People How to Avoid the NSA

      Later this month, the Washington DC Public Library will teach residents how to use the internet anonymization tool Tor as part of a 10 day series designed to shed light on government surveillance, transparency, and personal privacy.

      A series called “Orwellian America,” held by a publicly funded entity mere minutes from a Congress and administration that ​allowed the NSA’s surveillance programs to spin wildly out of control certainly seems subversive. But the library says it wasn’t really intended that way.

    • Facebook at Work pilot debuts on the web, Android, and iOS

      Facebook today debuted Facebook at Work, a new pilot program the company is testing to try its hand at social networking in the business world. The product is only available to select partners on the web, as well as Android and iOS apps available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

    • Denmark mulls new EU-defying session-logging law

      Danish authorities look set to bring back mandatory internet session logging despite an EU ruling last year that blanket data retention is illegal.

      Last May the European Court of Justice (ECJ) concluded that the EU Data Retention Directive was “a particularly serious interference with fundamental rights”, meaning countries across the EU were forced to re-evaluate their national laws on data retention.

    • The All-Women Hacker Collective Making Art About the Post-Snowden Age

      “There is something about the internet that isn’t working anymore,” is the line that opens filmmaker Jonathan Minard’s short documentary on Deep Lab—a group of women hackers, artists, and theorists who gathered at Carnegie Mellon University in December to answer the question of what, exactly, that disquieting “something” is. The film premieres on Motherboard today.

    • Hopefully the last post I’ll ever write on Dual EC DRBG

      I’ve been working on some other blog posts, including a conclusion of (or at least an installment in) this exciting series on zero knowledge proofs. That’s coming soon, but first I wanted to take a minute to, well, rant.

      The subject of my rant is this fascinating letter authored by NSA cryptologist Michael Wertheimer in February’s Notices of the American Mathematical Society. Dr. Wertheimer is currently the Director of Research at NSA, and formerly held the position of Assistant Deputy Director and CTO of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for Analysis

  • Civil Rights

    • Saudi blogger faces next 50 lashes as government ignores global protests

      Raif Badawi, the Saudi liberal convicted of publishing a blog, has been told he will again be flogged 50 times on Friday – the second part of his 1,000-lash sentence which also includes a 10-year jail term.

    • Saudi Arabia’s history of hypocrisy we choose to ignore

      Sir William Hunter was a senior British civil servant and in 1871 published a book which warned of “fanatic swarms” of Sunni Muslims who had “murdered our subjects”, financed by “men of ample fortune”, while a majority of Muslims were being forced to decide “once and for all, whether [they] should play the part of a devoted follower of Islam” or a “peaceable subject”.

    • At Silk Road trial, federal agent explains how he trapped Ulbricht

      More people were using the mail to get high, and Jared Der-Yeghiayan knew it.

      “We hadn’t seen ecstasy being seized in letter-class like that in a long time,” said the Homeland Security special agent. “Since I’d been at O’Hare.”

      Der-Yeghiayan was speaking on Wednesday from the stand in a Manhattan federal courtroom, where 30-year-old Ross Ulbricht stands accused of being the mastermind in the most successful drug-dealing website of all time, the Silk Road.

    • Judge Not Too Concerned That 68-Year-Old Woman’s House Was Raided Because Someone Used Her Open WiFi To Post A Threat

      We’ve written before about faulty legal activities based on nothing stronger than an IP address. An IP address is not a person, but many entities have decided it’s “close enough.” Fortunately, the judicial system has (occasionally) stepped in to correct this assumption, usually in the context of copyright infringement lawsuits.

      There are those in the law enforcement arena that know an IP address can’t be used as an identifier. Careless statements get made about the “danger” of open WiFi connections, or it’s suggested that accessing open networks should be illegal. This doesn’t have much to do with keeping citizens safe, but it does have everything to do with easing law enforcement’s investigative workload.

    • Los Angeles Cops Unimpressed With Pranksters’ YouTube ‘Coke’ Sale

      The Los Angeles Police Department isn’t laughing about a videotaped prank involving a “coke” sale that they say misused police resources, was misleading and potentially dangerous.

      The video, titled “Coke Prank on Cops,” was posted to YouTube on Monday with the caption, “officer we have some coke in our trunk.” By 3 a.m. ET Thursday the video had been watched more than 440,000 times.

    • The Paris Mystery: Were the Shooters Part of a Global Terrorist Conspiracy?

      On Friday, shortly after the gunmen were killed by French forces in a raid on a printing plant outside of Paris, a source from within al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) provided The Intercept with a series of messages and statements taking responsibility for the attacks, asserting that AQAP’s leadership “directed” the raid on the magazine to avenge the honor of the Prophet Mohammed.

    • Neo-Nazis in American Politics: Follow the Money

      According to public records, at least 58 U.S. politicians have accepted campaign contributions from David Duke supporters. This includes candidates for federal office, current and former Members of Congress, and one former president. Oh, and one Democrat. This information is all accessible in public records and we’ve presented it here at the bottom of this article.

    • Record 346 inmates die, dozens of guards fired in Florida prisons

      The United States has a prison crisis of epic proportions. With just five percent of the world population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, the United States has, far and away, the highest incarceration rate, the largest number of prisoners, and the largest percentage of citizens with a criminal record of any country in the world.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality debate reaches India as telcos look to charge extra for VoIP

      Most eyes have been on the US arrangements, due to be announced at the end of February, but quite a storm has emerged on the Indian sub-continent almost overnight, forcing one of the world’s fastest growing economies to face up to decisions on the future of the internet on its own soil, reports Techdirt.

    • Net Neutrality Under Threat In India

      We recently reported on extraordinarily wide-ranging censorship imposed on Internet users in India. That’s rather obscured another story that’s been playing out there: an attempt to undermine net neutrality in the country.


      That’s a clear attack on the principle that all IP packets should be treated equally, and prompted the creation of the site Net Neutrality India to raise awareness of what’s at stake, as well as vague promises from the Indian government to “look into it.”

    • President Obama Gets It: Net Neutrality Begins at Home

      We’ve been saying for months that while the FCC may have a role to play in promoting and protecting an open Internet, Internet users shouldn’t rely entirely on the FCC. That’s because, at root, the “neutrality” problem is a competition problem. Internet access providers, especially certain very large ones, have done a pretty good job of divvying up the nation to leave most Americans with only one or two choices for decent high-speed Internet access. If there’s no competition, customers can’t vote with their wallets when ISPs behave badly. Oligopolies also have little incentive to invest, not only in decent customer service, but also in building out world-class Internet infrastructure so that U.S. innovators can continue to compete internationally. Even in cities like San Francisco and New York, we pay more for slower connections than people in many Asian and European cities.

    • Broadband Needs Obama’s Help

      The U.S. broadband market has failed. It’s time for the people to step in.

    • Marriot hotels do U-turn over wi-fi hotspot blocks

      Hotel group Marriott International has announced it will stop blocking guests from using personal wi-fi kits.

      The firm was fined $600,000 (£395,000) last year by a US watchdog after a complaint that it had jammed mobile hotspots at a hotel in Nashville.

    • Marriott Abandons Quest to Block Personal Wi-Fi Hot Spots
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Links Online Piracy to Obama’s Cybersecurity Plan

        Hoping to deter and stop the ongoing threat of ‘cyber’ attacks President Obama unveiled new cybersecurity plans yesterday. While the plans don’t reference copyright infringement, the MPAA notes that Congress should keep online piracy in mind as it drafts its new cybersecurity bill.

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