12.15.15

Links 15/12/2015: CentOS Linux 7 1511, Enlightenment DR 0.20.1

Posted in News Roundup at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Core Developer Jeff Garzik on the Similarities Between Bitcoin and Linux

    Before making any contributions to Bitcoin, Bloq Co-Founder and Bitcoin Core Developer Jeff Garzik was a longtime Linux developer who started working on the operating system in the early nineties — before the creation of Red Hat. As someone who was involved in the early development of both Linux and Bitcoin, Garzik has a unique perspective on the common themes found in the two respective development communities.

  • Person of Year, Podcasts, and Polls

    Today in Linux news, several reviews lead the pack today. Jesse Smith and Das U-Blogger Prashanth reviewed Chakra 2015.11, Swapnil Bhartiya tested newly released Mint 17.3, and a couple of quick openSUSE reports were posted. Elsewhere, Donald Stewart posted an update on Mageia Cauldron and Antonio Rojas said Arch is dropping KDE 4. A couple of interesting polls warrant a mention as well and more in tonight’s Linux news recap.

  • So you want a lean mean Linux machine?

    No matter what people say, efficiently utilising the resources of your computer is very important. Sure disk space is cheap they say, but one thing they never tell you is that no matter how big your hard disk is, a way will be found to fill it up. Especially for older machines, as operating systems are getting bigger and bigger, requiring more memory and disk space than ever before.

  • Desktop

    • Qubes OS will ship pre-installed on Purism’s security-focused Librem 13 laptop

      Qubes OS, the security-focused operating system that Edward Snowden said in November he was “really excited” about, announced this week that laptop maker Purism will ship their privacy-focused Librem 13 notebook with Qubes pre-installed.

    • Here a Chromebook, there a Chromebook, everywhere a Chromebook

      I used to carry ThinkPads, starting with the IBM models and then Lenovo’s versions, with me everywhere. They were, and still are, great laptops. Then I started using Chromebooks. I still have a couple of ThinkPads, but they never leave my office. Why? Because a Chromebook can do anything I want, typically deliver battery life that can see me through a whole day of work at a coffee shop, and are immune to almost all of Windows’ security woes. I’m not the only one who loves them.

    • Chromebookify Your Laptop Now!

      A few years ago there was a project designed to boot generic laptops so they functioned as Chromebooks. It was a cool project, but unfortunately, the compatibility wasn’t great, and it wasn’t reliable to use on a daily basis. Although Chromebooks are old news these days, it still would be quite useful to transform aging laptop computers into Chromebooks. Because they have such low system requirements, older laptops running the ChromeOS can become quite useful again.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • 7 Linux Podcasts You Need to Listen To

      If you’re a die-hard Linux user, or a command-line newbie, you’re going to find something worth listening to in this list of seven download-worthy Linux podcasts.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Scholarship Recipient: Eduardo Mayorga Téllez

      Eduardo Mayorga Téllez, a Teens in Training scholarship recipient, is 17 and lives in Nicaragua. He plans to become a Linux kernel developer and use his knowledge of device drivers to help Linux support the most hardware possible. He says he often hears classmates and colleagues argue that Linux is not suitable for them because they cannot make the most of their hardware. Eduardo says he will change that.

    • Newest Linux Foundation Video Highlights Open Source In Space

      Linux in space is the subject of the Linux Foundation’s latest “World without Linux” video, which highlights how open source software helps power the world we live in — or, in this case, the things orbiting around it.

    • Dell and Red Hat Deliver Easier Firmware Updates for Linux Users

      Dell — the first big company to sell Linux computers — is catering to open source fans again by announcing plans to make user-friendly firmware upgrades possible on Linux.

      In a blog post, Richard Hughes, who works for Red Hat (RHT) and contributes to the GNOME project, writes that Red Hat and Dell have been collaborating on a system that will allow users of Dell hardware to update firmware from Linux. If that doesn’t seem significant to you, it’s probably because you either do not use Linux or have not spent enough of your life geeking out to know what firmware is.

    • Linux Kernel 4.3.3 Is Now the Most Advanced Stable Version Available

      The latest iteration of the stable Linux kernel, 4.3.3, has been released by Greg Kroah-Hartman, making this the latest and best version available right now.

      The 4.3 branch of the Linux kernel is a really popular one and it’s been adopted by many distros. From the looks of it, the maintainers will continue to provide support for it, but it’s not clear for how long. There is already a 4.1.15 version that has been declared long-term, so it’s difficult to say if another branch will be tagged LTS as well, after such a short time.

    • Microsoft offers its first-ever Linux certification on Azure
    • Microsoft offers MCSA qualification for IT workers using Linux on Azure
    • Microsoft wants you to train using its rival, Linux operating system
    • New Certification Announced for Linux on Azure Cloud
    • Technology Sector Trend Analysis Report: Microsoft (MSFT), Sunedison (SUNE), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Corning (GLW)

      Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) on December 9, 2015 announced the creation of a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Linux on Azure certification. Created in conjunction with the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, this certification represents one more important step in broadening the technology integration between Microsoft and the open source community.

    • Files Are Hard

      I haven’t used a desktop email client in years. None of them could handle the volume of email I get without at least occasionally corrupting my mailbox. Pine, eudora, and outlook have all corrupted my inbox, forcing me to restore from backup. How is it that desktop mail clients are less reliable than gmail, even though my gmail account not only handles more email than I ever had on desktop clients, but also allows simultaneous access from multiple locations across the globe? Distributed systems have an unfair advantage, in that they can be robust against total disk failure in a way that desktop clients can’t, but none of the file corruption issues I’ve had have been from total disk failure. Why has my experience with desktop applications been so bad?

    • It’s okay, break your kernel

      The reality is much simpler: the kernel is a software project. There is nothing particularly special about being a kernel developer. Jumping into any code base is going to involve a learning curve. You don’t need to be the best programmer ever to make modifications. The core kernel is completely self-contained in one project which means fewer dependencies than a lot of userspace projects. (yes, there are modules out of tree but the most important parts are in a single project). The self-contained nature means that it’s easy to switch back to a stable kernel from an unstable one which makes testing easier.

    • The Nexus 4 & 7 Will Be Closer To Handling An Upstream Linux Kernel

      Rob Clark submitted his MSM-Next DRM driver changes today in preparation for the Linux 4.5 kernel cycle.

      He was quick to note that with this MSM DRM driver update from the Freedreno project there is now DSI support for Qualcomm’s MSM8960 and APQ8064 hardware. He explains the impact as, “should be helpful for getting an upstream kernel working on nexus7/nexus4/etc.” DSI is short for the Display Serial Interface and is a MIPI specification for communicating between the host and display device.

    • Exynos DRM In Linux 4.5 To Support Runtime Power Management
    • AppStream 0.9 Brings Many Changes, Breaks API/ABI

      Version 0.9 of AppStream is now available. As a refresher, AppStream is a FreeDesktop.org specification backed by multiple major Linux distributions as a cross-distribution effort of standardizing Linux component metadata.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • 7-Way Linux Laptop Comparison From Sandy Bridge To Broadwell

        For those curious about how Intel’s laptop/ultrabook CPUs have evolved over the past few generations and whether it’s worthwhile upgrading from one generation to the next, here’s a fresh Linux laptop comparison with seven different laptops being tested on Ubuntu 15.10 x86_64 and comparing these laptops from Sandy Bridge to Broadwell on a variety of workloads while also doing some performance-per-Watt measurements.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Enlightenment DR 0.20.1 Release

      This bugfix release improves on the 0.20.0 release and resolves a number of issues.

    • Enlightenment 0.20.1 Released With Fixes
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME: Shortcuts love

        Keyboard shortcuts can be a powerful feature, particularly for actions that are repeated often and are consistently available. In GNOME 2, shortcuts could be learned through menu bars, but we moved away from these with GNOME 3. There were a number of reasons why we did this, and it was a good thing, but it did leave users without an easy way to learn keyboard shortcuts. This is something that we’ve wanted to address for some time, and are now finally resolving.

      • Evolution Email and Calendar Client Updated for GNOME 3.20 with Over 40 Changes

        The GNOME 3.19.3 desktop environment is under heavy development these days, and many of its core components and applications are being updated by the hour.

      • GNOME Maps 3.20 Is Going to Be a Really Big Update

        GNOME Maps is one of the many components of the GNOME stack, and it looks like the upcoming 3.20 version will get some pretty cool features.

        Not all the packages get big improvements when they move from one version to another. In fact, for many packages in the GNOME stack, not a lot happens. GNOME Maps is not one of those apps, and it’s becoming more useful with each new release.

      • GNOME Maps App Now Lets Users Edit Locations in OpenStreetMap
      • Video Series

        I’m nearly a month down on a branch for Builder 3.20. It’s goal is to radically simplify the process of creating plugins, and prepare for external plugins. We really wanted to create a solid plugin story before doing that and things are progressing nicely.

  • Distributions

    • Best distro of 2015 poll

      Let’s do it again. Last year, in a first-of-its-kind Dedoimedo best distro vote poll, I asked you about your favorite operating system, and you responded in kind. With exactly 1,900 votes, you opined on the state of the Linux. It’s that time of the year once more.

      I am going to post an article reflecting my own view on how this year of distro testing went, but I would also very much like to hear from you. Like in 2014, I used the THP on Distrowatch and selected the top ten entries for the poll. But there’s also a free field for you to add any other distro you like, as well as comments. It ought to be interesting, and hopefully not too quiet. After me.

    • Reviews

      • Review: Chakra 2015.11 “Fermi”

        Not only has it been a while since I’ve done a Linux distribution review on this blog, but it has been an especially long time (over 2.5 years, in fact) since I’ve looked at Chakra. I figured that now that KDE 5 (technically incorrect terminology, I know, but please bear with me, as I’m using this for the sake of brevity) is being used in Chakra, it may be time to see how a distribution I’ve rather liked in the past has evolved. In case you don’t remember, Chakra was originally based on Arch Linux, but a few years ago, it branched off into its own independent distribution with its own repositories, though certain tools (like the package manager Pacman) are based on things found in Arch Linux. It focuses exclusively on KDE, and it uses a semi-rolling release model in which core system packages are updated less frequently in order to maintain stability, while front-end applications seen by users most often are updated more frequently to provide a competitive desktop experience.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Some news of what’s boiling in the Cauldron

        For those of you who are most familiar with Mageia and its development, you are starting to know the drill: Cauldron is the place where we break stuff by upgrading everything that we tried to keep stable during the previous release cycle, and then we work on making it stable again. We are now in this stabilization phase and we were aiming internally for a first development snapshot of Mageia 6 as a set of ISO images, but there are still a number of factors that make it difficult right now.

    • Arch Family

      • Dropping Plasma 4

        Since the KDE 4 desktop has been unmaintained for several months and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to support two versions of Plasma, we are removing it from our repositories. Plasma 5.5 has just been released and should be stable enough to replace it.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • OpenSUSE LEAP: A Great Free Linux Server Distribution

        So what exactly is LEAP? What’s it for? The easiest way to approach something like OpenSUSE LEAP is to think of it like a beefed-up, more stable Fedora-type thing. The main goal of this Linux distribution is to create an enterprise grade distribution designed for workstations and servers free of charge.

      • I accidentally openSUSE

        I am sorry for this silly article. But it is important. Just as important as my other failures over the years. They teach as much as image-rich guides and prosaic, finely worded reviews, albeit with much less beauty and style. The moral of the story is, as you may have guessed already, DON’T DO IT. Wait for openSUSE to gets its due major and minor version increment and come around with Plasma 5 natively and a suave, integrated Gecko or Chameleon theme, as it just recently did.

        At this point, thinking in retrospect, I probably should have used BTRFS, and this might have given me the necessary snapshot to go back in time and undo the damage. Maybe. Furthermore, I am disappointed with the SUSE team. They should protect their system a little more robustly from aesthetic escapades. All I did was install a bunch of packages and let the system remove some of the conflicting dependencies with the previously installed desktop environment. Not something we should let happen in 2015. Food for thought. As for Plasma on openSUSE, I owe you that one. Leap 42.1. Very soon. Take care.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Ordering mount points in Jessie (systemd < 220)

        In the previous post I had mentioned that I didn’t figure out how to add dependency on mount points so as to achieve correct ordering of mount points. After a lot of search today I finally figured it out thanks to the bug report and the patch which adds x-systemd.requires and other option to systemd.

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, November 2015
      • Reproducible builds: week 33 in Stretch cycle

        Exchanges have started with F-Droid developers to better understand what would be required to test F-Droid applications. (h01ger)

      • Derivatives

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” Gets Linux Kernel 4.1.13 LTS in Second Test Build

          Today, December 14, the Parsix GNU/Linux developers announced the release and immediate availability for download of the second TEST build of their upcoming Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” computer operating system.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch to Get FM Support for Aquaris e4.5 and E5 HD First

            A couple of developers have started to work on bringing FM support to the Ubuntu phones, and they already made some progress, but it’s more complicated than it sounds.

          • OnePlus One Ubuntu Touch Developer Is Helping Other Projects Do the Same

            The community is working on a OnePlus One Ubuntu Touch port, and the developer who’s doing the heavy lifting is also trying to help other people port the OS to their devices.

          • Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition Project Seems to Be Still Alive

            The Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition is the elephant in the room, and it looks like people don’t want to talk about it. It’s been pulled from sales, and it’s virtually invisible on social media, but all hope is not yet lost.

          • Mycroft Is Now an Official Ubuntu IoT Partner

            Mycroft is a home automation Linux-based device that promises to change the way we interact with our homes. The guys who are making this hardware decided to show us how it’s made.

          • Ubuntu Bugs That Won’t Go Away

            I grew up on a farm and ranch up until I was fourteen. It’s a tough life, best suited for tough people who can beat their environment into submission and produce the results needed to thrive. Should I ever have displayed the poor judgement to complain about something within earshot of my dad, I would get the same advice every time.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon Review

              Linux Mint is among the most popular GNU/Linux-based operating systems. Although DistroWatch is not a metric of popularity, Linux Mint has claimed the #1 ranking on the website, which means it’s the most sought after distro on the site.

            • Monthly News – November 2015

              Our apologies for posting these news so late. Since the website and forums went down, we’ve been hit by two new server issues. Two of our repository servers lost their hard drives. That’s a total of 3 servers going down in just a few weeks. This time around we had full backups though and we were able to minimize downtime (no downtime at all on the Mint and LMDE2 repositories, a few hours yesterday on the LMDE 1 repositories). We’re eager to resume work on Linux Mint but at the moment most of our focus is still on server administration, on recovery, on configuration but also on making sure we’re stronger and issues like these have less of an impact on us going forward.

            • Linux Mint 17.3 OEM images available

              Reminder: OEM images are for computer vendors and manufacturers. They allow Linux Mint to be “pre-installed” on a machine which is then used by another person than the one who performed the installation. After an OEM installation, the computer is set in such a way that the next reboot features a small setup screen where the new user/customer has the ability to choose his/her username, password, keyboard layout and locale.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Manchester City will be happy with draw but London clubs get rough ride

    For the three English clubs left in the Champions League there must be a sense of deja vu about the draw for the last 16 but not a great deal of satisfaction. Arsenal’s supporters could be forgiven for thinking the worst after drawing Barcelona, with the prospect of going out at this stage for the sixth year in a row. Manchester City, for the second season in succession, will not be allowed to take fans to a Champions League tie because of the racism of others and the bad news for travellers on the Paris Métro is that Chelsea are on their way back to the French capital.

  • Yahoo told: cut 9,000 of your 10,700 staff

    Yahoo is facing shareholder pressure to pursue other alternatives besides a complex spin-off of its internet operations while chief executive Marissa Mayer struggles to revive the company’s revenue growth.

  • Las Vegas Review-Journal Now Owned By… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    The last time we wrote about the Las Vegas Review-Journal — the largest newspaper in Nevada — it was owned by Stephens Media and was making headlines for using the LVRJ as a copyright troll, pretending to sell its copyrights to a company called Righthaven. That scam fell apart when it was discovered that Righthaven didn’t really own the copyrights it was suing over. Since then, the LVRJ has changed hands a couple times. Stephens Media sold the paper to New Media Investment Group earlier this year. And then, last week, it was announced that “New Media Investment Group” had sold the newspaper to News + Media Capital Group LLC, for $140 million. News + Media Capital Group LLC is a brand new Delaware-based company, and no one has the slightest clue who they are, including all the folks working for the LVRJ.

  • Practical guide for avoiding burnout and living a happier life

    As open source fans, we tend to spend a lot of time curled up in front of our computers. Many of us we work in front of computers during the day, and some of us even work on or with open source projects, too. If you are anything like me, spending an entire day in front of a screen and then spending most of the evening there, too, is not uncommon. Today is a good example: I started work at 8:00AM, and at 8:21PM I am starting to write this article…

  • Microsoft apologizes for riling OneDrive users, restores some free storage space on request

    Microsoft on Friday apologized for how it conveyed last month’s decision to slash OneDrive storage allotments, and restored the 15GB of free cloud storage space to current users who asked for it. But it did not back down from its determination to eliminate the unlimited allowance.

    “We are all genuinely sorry for the frustration this decision has caused and for the way it was communicated,” wrote Douglas Pearce, a group program manager for OneDrive, in a message that shut down a massive plea on Microsoft’s own website for the restoration of the allotments.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • United Nations agency gives EU a tobacco warning

      The United Nations public health agency in charge of tobacco control has warned EU policymakers to keep their distance from industry as they consider reforms to fight cigarette smuggling.

      The head of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control secretariat, Vera Da Costa e Silva, wrote senior European Commission officials earlier this month, saying the EU’s close working relationship with tobacco companies to fight cigarette smuggling may violate Europe’s international commitments.

    • ‘On the Back of a Cigarette Packet’ – Standardised Packaging Legislation and the Tobacco Industry’s Fundamental Right to (Intellectual) Property

      Standardised packaging (also known as plain packaging) legislation has recently been adopted in some states as a tobacco control measure. Under such laws, tobacco products must be sold in drab coloured packaging without branding other than a written indication of the name under which the product is sold. Its aim is to reduce the attraction of tobacco products, particularly to young smokers, and to prevent advertising imagery from interfering with prominent mandatory textual and visual health warnings. In March 2015, the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 received Parliamentary approval in the United Kingdom. The tobacco industry vigorously opposed their introduction. Amongst other objections, it claimed that the restrictions on branding introduced under the Regulations violate its fundamental right of property under Art 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights and Art. 17 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union because they deprive it of its ability to use marks, designs and inventions protected by intellectual property law. In this article, this argument is tested by reference to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU. It is demonstrated that the absolutist view of property rights promoted by the Industry is very different from that prevailing in European fundamental rights law and that, as a result, the Industry’s suggestion that the Regulations violate A1P1 and Art. 17 is seriously misleading.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Peter Dale Scott and David Talbot

      David Talbot’s latest book, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, examines the post-WWII U.S. intelligence sector and the power it wields, by following the career of Wall Street lawyer, diplomat and spymaster Allen Dulles. Talbot discussed his new book with fellow author Peter Dale Scott, in a public event at the Mechanics’ Institute Library in San Francisco on December 2, 2015. Talbot says he believes CIA assassins were responsible for the death of John F. Kennedy.

    • U.S. Visa Process Missed San Bernardino Wife’s Zealotry on Social Media

      Had the authorities found the posts years ago, they might have kept her out of the country. But immigration officials do not routinely review social media as part of their background checks, and there is a debate inside the Department of Homeland Security over whether it is even appropriate to do so.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Pumped beyond limits, many U.S. aquifers in decline

      Just before 3 a.m., Jay Garetson’s phone buzzed on the bedside table. He picked it up and read the text: “Low Pressure Alert.”

      He felt a jolt of stress and his chest tightened. He dreaded what that automated message probably meant: With the water table dropping, another well on his family’s farm was starting to suck air.

      The Garetson family has been farming in the plains of southwestern Kansas for four generations, since 1902. Now they face a hard reality. The groundwater they depend on is disappearing. Their fields could wither. Their farm might not survive for the next generation.

    • Rampant Indonesian fires causing havoc in Papua

      Greenpeace says the impact of rampant forest and peatland fires in Indonesia’s Papua region is having a devastating effect on West Papuan society.

      Fires from land clearance on drained peatland have caused rampant fires across the republic including in Papua, catapulting Indonesia to being one of the world’s largest emitter’s of greenhouse gasses.

      Greenpeace’s Indonesia forest campaigner Yuyun Indradi says the fires have belched carbon haze across the region which is a health hazard for many communities.

    • How Indonesian Fires Are Affecting Global Climate

      Raging fires in Indonesia’s forests and peat lands since July this year are precipitating a climate and public-health catastrophe with repercussions across local, regional and global levels, experts told IndiaSpend.

      Acrid smoke and haze have enveloped Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, and have reached Thailand, choking people, reducing visibility and spiking respiratory illnesses, according to Susan Minnemeyer, Mapping and Data Manager for Washington-based World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Global Forest Watch Fires initiative.

    • North Carolina citizenry defeat pernicious Big Solar plan to suck up the Sun

      The citizens of Woodland, N.C. have spoken loud and clear: They don’t want none of them highfalutin solar panels in their good town. They scare off the kids. “All the young people are going to move out,” warned Bobby Mann, a local resident concerned about the future of his burg. Worse, Mann said, the solar panels would suck up all the energy from the Sun.

      Another resident—a retired science teacher, no less—expressed concern that a proposed solar farm would block photosynthesis, and prevent nearby plants from growing. Jane Mann then went on to add that there seemed to have been a lot of cancer deaths in the area, and that no one could tell her solar panels didn’t cause cancer. “I want information,” Mann said. “Enough is enough.”

      These comments were reported not in The Onion, but rather by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. They came during a Woodland Town Council meeting in which Strata Solar Company sought to rezone an area northeast of the town, off of US Highway 258, to build a solar farm. The council not only rejected the proposal, it went a step further, voting for a complete moratorium on solar farms.

    • [Satire] Koch Brothers Get Each Other Same Election For Christmas

      Chuckling and shaking their heads as they described their annual family gift exchange to reporters, Koch Industries executives Charles and David Koch confirmed Wednesday they had unwittingly gotten each other the same election for Christmas this year.

      The two brothers and energy industry magnates, who for decades have gathered to share a holiday meal and open presents next to the Christmas tree in Charles’ Wichita home, admitted they were a bit embarrassed to learn they had each given the other U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin’s congressional seat, but said they ultimately shrugged off the coincidence.

  • Finance

    • Poorest areas have low student debt, highest defaults

      The study comes as student loan debt continues to grow nationwide. Outstanding student loan balances increased by $13 billion to $1.2 trillion as of Sept. 30. That’s more overall debt than consumers owe on credit cards or auto loans. Nearly 12% of the money owed on student loans is 90 days or more delinquent in the third quarter of 2015.

      In the federal loan portfolio, which makes up $896 billion of the $1.2-trillion overall student loan debt, 20% of all borrowers, owing 13% of the debt, are in default, or more than 90 days late on a payment.

    • Prof. Wolff on The David Pakman Show: “Will Automation End “Full Employment?”

      Professor Wolff joins David Pakman to discuss the the future of employment in the context of automation and technological unemployment.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NRA Uses The San Bernardino Mass Shooting To Compare Liberals To Terrorists

      A commentary video from the National Rifle Association labeled those who called for more than thoughts and prayers following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California the “Godless Left” and claimed that they “march hand-in-hand” with terrorists “toward the possible, purposeful destruction of us all.”

  • Censorship

    • UK ISPs Unleash 85+ New Blocks on ‘Pirate’ Domains

      Internet service providers in the UK have begun blocking around 85 new ‘pirate’ domains following demands from rightsholders. All six major ISPs will implement the ban which targets, among other things, various clones, proxies and mirrors associated with The Pirate Bay plus major torrent and MP3 download sites.

  • Privacy

    • Twitter Says Possible State Sponsored Hack

      There is no indication what “government” Twitter suspects is connected with the hack, but online news sources are speculating the usual suspects, China and North Korea. PCWorld reports that many of the account holders receiving the Twitter notices are “privacy advocates and security researchers, some of whom tweet under pseudonyms.” Reuters is also reporting that Google and Facebook have also started warning users of possible state-sponsored attacks, but offers no details.

    • Let’s encrypt — because we really ought to

      Last week, Let’s Encrypt came out of beta. Let’s Encrypt is a collaborative effort that provides free SSL/TLS certificates for use by anyone with a valid Internet domain. It’s also a trusted certificate authority, and it’s currently issuing 90-day certificates free of charge. The upside is free SSL/TLS certificates. The downside is that 90-day expiration, though there are methods to renew the certificates automatically as the expiration approaches.

      Further, the tools provided by Let’s Encrypt make it pretty much effortless to implement. The Let’s Encrypt Python tool available at GitHub runs on a Web server, requests a valid certificate, and even does the Apache configuration for you, all with a pretty ncurses UI. Basically, you run this on a host with a bunch of non-SSL domains, and when it’s done, they’re all secured with free valid certificates.

    • A Victory for Privacy and Transparency: HRW v. DEA

      In a victory for millions of people in the U.S. who have placed telephone calls to locations overseas, EFF and Human Rights Watch have confirmed that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s practice of collecting those records in bulk has stopped and that the only bulk database of those records has been destroyed.

  • Civil Rights

    • Blair and Straw face questions over complicity in Shaker Aamer’s treatment

      In his first interview since returning home to London in October after being detained without charge for 14 years in the US military facility in Cuba, British resident Aamer suggested the former prime minister and the former foreign secretary were aware that he was being tortured.

      “The not unreasonable allegation that Shaker Aamer makes is that both the [then] prime minister Tony Blair and … Jack Straw must have known not just about his illegal abduction, but also about his torture at the hands of the US authorities,” Salmond told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show.

      The SNP foreign affairs spokesman and former Scottish first minister said that “as with so many other things”, Blair and Straw had a great deal to answer for. “They have to be asked the straight question of how could they possibly not have known about the fate that had befallen a British citizen,” he said.

      “Governments have many responsibilities, but the primary responsibility of all governments is to keep their own citizens safe from harm, and governments aren’t meant to collaborate on the illegal abduction and the torture of one of their own citizens. So both the then prime minister and home secretary have to face up and tell us exactly what they knew and when they knew it.”

    • Teenagers under 16 face being banned from social media and email under EU laws

      Teenagers under the age of 16 could be banned from Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and email if they don’t have parental permission, under last-minute changes to EU laws.

      The European Union is on the verge of pushing through new regulations that would raise the age of consent for websites to use personal data from 13 to 16.

      Officials quitely amended proposed data protection laws last week to increase the age and put the EU out of step with rules in other parts of the world.

    • Publicity hound, coward, liar: Whistleblowers are inevitably demonized by their enemies — Edward Snowden is no exception

      The most powerful gun in the damage-control arsenal isn’t truth. It is demonization—a vicious assault on the character of the whistleblower in order to destroy credibility and distract from the message. The damage controller’s bag of tricks is as old as Machiavelli.

      Find anything that borders on illegal behavior in the whistleblower’s past, such as court convictions, messy divorces, arrest reports, domestic violence complaints, a history of alcohol, child support issues, or drug abuse. Attack the whistleblower’s motive by alleging that he or she was driven by malice, revenge, deceit, greed, or hunger for publicity. Dig up colleagues, neighbors, and fellow workers who are willing to say, true or untrue, that the whistleblower is vindictive, sneaky, dishonest, prone to exaggerate, not a team player, disruptive in the workplace. Allege that the whistleblower is incompetent at his or her job, cannot be trusted with responsibility, or lacks leadership skills. Accuse the whistleblower of being a thief who stole proprietary documents, illegally revealed company secrets, broke a confidentiality agreement. Label the whistleblower mentally unstable.

      Edward Snowden—“the world’s most wanted man by the world’s most powerful government”—wasn’t surprised that his enemies tried to assassinate his character. He expected as much. As he told Greenwald and the Guardian, “I know the government will demonize me. They’ll say I violated the Espionage Act. That I committed grave crimes. That I aided America’s enemies. That I endangered national security. I’m sure they’ll grab every incident they can find from my past and probably will exaggerate or even fabricate some to demonize me as much as possible. . . . What keeps a person passive and compliant is fear of repercussions. . . . I decided a while ago that I can live with whatever they do to me. The only thing I can’t live with is knowing that I did nothing.”

    • Another Trustworthy Confidential Informant Allegedly Tied To Multiple Bogus Drug Arrests

      The only thing as trustworthy as a cop’s testimony are statements made by confidential informants. These are used to secure warrants and, occasionally, as supporting evidence in prosecutions. Never mind the fact that confidential informants are often career criminals who carry with them the innate desire to stay out of jail.

    • Supreme Court Again Makes It Clear: Companies Can Erode Your Legal Rights Via Mouse Print

      For years, AT&T worked tirelessly to erode its customers’ legal rights, using mouse print in its terms of service preventing consumers from participating in lawsuits against the company. Instead, customers were forced into binding arbitration, where arbitrators employed by the company unsurprisingly rule in their employer’s favor a huge percentage of the time. Initially, the lower courts derided this greasy behavior for what it was: an attempt by AT&T to eliminate customer legal rights and save a buck. And with AT&T’s massive history of fraud, you can imagine AT&T was looking to save quite a bit.

    • New U.S. FAA rule requires drone owners to register by Feb 19

      The Federal Aviation Administration, responding to heightened concerns about rogue drone flights near airports, unveiled a pre-Christmas rule on Monday requiring drone hobbyists as young as 13 years old to register their unmanned aircraft.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Grumpy Cat Sues Coffee Maker For Copyright Infringement

        Grumpy Cat is not happy. Her owners have filed a lawsuit at a California federal court, accusing a coffee maker of exploiting the cat’s copyrights and trademarks without permission. In addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, Grumpy Cat’s owners also want control of the coffee maker’s grumpycat.com domain name.

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