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Links 10/8/2013: Debian Celebrates 20 Years, Android Blobs Debated

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Server

    • NSA Responds To Insecurity By Cutting System Administrator Count By 90 %
      Chuckle. They must run a lot of GNU/Linux. There’s no way that other OS can be secure with such cuts because of the layers of cruft that M$ imposes. With GNU/Linux otoh, one guy can control an indefinite number of machines with SSH and package managers. Even in my home, I activate one script and it updates all the machines on my LAN in a few seconds.

    • IBM Opens Up POWER Architecture For Licensing
      IBM is now following in the steps of ARM Holdings and has decided to allow for licensing of their CPU architecture. IBM and a group of other companies wanting a stake in IBM's POWER architecture have also founded the OpenPOWER Consortium group.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • TLLTS Episode 517 Aug 7

    • Opsview
      Opsview is a global IT Systems Management software business. Our flagship product, Opsview Enterprise was released in 2009, based on the original Opsview open source project launched in 2003, and is in use in over 35,000 companies in 160 countries.

  • Kernel Space

    • Reiser File System (Reiser3 and Reiser4)
      The Reiser File System (Reiser3) was created by Namesys in 2001 and added to the Linux Kernel in version 2.4.1. Reiser3 was the first Journaling file system included in the Linux Kernel.

    • Journaled File System(JFS)

    • Queueing in the Linux Network Stack

    • Linux 3.11 Power Consumption Results Are Mixed
      Separate from the important Radeon DPM support in Linux 3.11 that can sharply lower system power usage when using this forthcoming kernel update, there's been other power-related changes in recent Linux kernel releases.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Reverse PRIME Committed To AMD X.Org Driver

      • OpenMP 4.0 Majorly Advances Parallel Programming
        The OpenMP 4.0 specification has been unveiled as a major new specification for programming of accelerators, SIMD programming, and better optimization using thread affinity.

      • NVIDIA 325.15 Driver Brings Fixes, New GPU Support

      • The What Why and How of Wayland and Weston on Linux
        Let's start from the beginning, because even though Wayland has been in development for over five years there is still a lot of misunderstanding of what it is. Wayland is a display server protocol that is intended to replace the X Window System. We've had X for 27 years, and computing has changed a wee bit in that time. Back in the olden days we had text terminals and every little pixel was precious. Now we have great honking graphics cards with more processing power than the servers and workstations of yesteryear, multiple displays, smartphones and tablets, embedded devices, and users who are not going to settle for colorful ANSI displays, but want complex 3D graphics. And why shouldn't Linux lead the way in graphics rendering? Are we not overdue for holodecks? And who would ever want to leave their holodeck? Though, as figure 1 shows, you can make some cool color images with ANSI.

      • Orbital: A New Shell For Wayland's Weston
        Orbital is a plugin/client for Wayland's Weston compositor that provides a custom shell for the next-generation display server. Orbital is made using Qt 5 and Qt Quick 2.

        Giulio Camuffo announced his custom Wayland/Weston shell today on the Wayland development mailing list. He's been working on this shell for a while that's written using the Qt 5 tool-kit with Qt Quick 2. It's now in a comfortable state so he's decided to publicly announce Orbital.

      • Nvidia Optimus on Linux

      • Nouveau NVC0 Fermi Compute Support Committed
        The patches published one month ago for Nouveau NVIDIA Fermi Compute Support on the open-source driver have now been committed to master for the next Mesa release. More importantly this is the base work for implementing NVIDIA performance counters.

      • AMD/ATI X.Org Driver Brings New GPU Support
        Version 7.2.0 of the xf86-video-ati DDX driver was released this morning. While the X.Org drivers aren't too exciting these days with most of the really great work happening within the DRM or Mesa/Gallium3D drivers, there's still an interesting number of changes to xf86-video-ati 7.2.0 for Radeon GPU hardware support.

      • Intel Linux GPU Driver Patches For 4K HDMI Support
        The set of new patches were written by Intel's Damien Lespiau and allow for parsing a dark corner of the EDID information for being able to expose the 4K x 2K resolution modes to user-space. These ultra high-resolution modes are supported by the HDMI 1.4 specification.

      • "Mega Drivers" Being Proposed For A Faster Mesa
        Eric Anholt of Intel is currently working on some experimental Mesa code for shipping "Mega drivers", or building all of the Mesa/Gallium3D drivers together as a single shared object library file. There's some promise to this mega drivers concept in enhancing performance due to compiler/linker optimizations.

      • RadeonSI Gallium3D Receives MSAA Support
        Marek Olšák, the well known Radeon Gallium3D contributor and AMD's newest open-source employee, has implemented multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA) support for the "RadeonSI" Gallium3D driver plus made other changes.

      • X.Org/Mesa Topics To Be Discussed Next Month
        The X.Org Developers' Conference is already coming up next month and there's a lot of interesting topics to be discussed from DRM security to Mesa to reverse-engineering NVIDIA GPUs.

      • Google Chrome OS Developers Working On DRM Code
        There doesn't appear to be much to get excited about right now, but it appears some Google developers working on Chrome/Chromium OS have begun working on some improvements to the Linux DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) kernel graphics drivers.

      • The State Of GSoC 2013 X.Org/Mesa/DRM Projects
        For this year's Google Summer of Code with the X.Org Foundation, three of the developers working on interesting X.Org/Mesa/DRM are on track while one student developer already dropped out.

        At this week's X.Org Board of Directors IRC meeting there was an update on the GSoC projects. The meeting minutes in full can be found via the X.Org Wiki. Of the four projects, three are on track while one of the student developers has already quit/failed.

      • Radeon Driver On XMir Still Is Messy Experience
        Going back to June on Phoronix there have been Ubuntu Mir/XMir performance benchmarks. Up to this point these benchmarks have only been done with Intel and Nouveau graphics drivers, since the AMD Radeon driver has been rather problematic with XMir. Sadly, this still appears to be the case.

      • XMir-Based Xubuntu Images Now Available
        Xubuntu, the Xfce-based flavor of Xubuntu, is presently evaluating the use of Canonical's Mir display server via the XMir X11 transition layer. For helping in the process and testing, the Ubuntu derivative has made public some Xubuntu XMir images.

      • Coreboot Gains Haswell Graphics Firmware Support
        Just days after the exciting news of Coreboot supporting the AMD "Kabini" APU, there's more good news for this open-source project... There's now Intel "Haswell" graphics firmware support!

      • Linux 3.11 Benchmarks For Nouveau Graphics
        We now know that the Linux 3.11 kernel has a heck of a lot of AMD Radeon performance potential through the new dynamic power management (DPM) support in its DRM kernel driver, but how's the Nouveau performance? Here's some new benchmarks.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt5, KDE Frameworks 5 Testing On OpenSUSE
        Using the openSUSE Build Servive it's now easy to test the very latest Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5 advancements from the openSUSE Linux distribution.

        Following in the steps of Project Neon, the initiative for providing daily packages on Kubuntu of KDE Frameworks 5, a similar push is underway in the openSUSE world.

      • Curry all over the C++11

      • New in kdepim 4.12: mboximporter
        I know 4.11 is still not released (will release today), but kde master is open.

        So I started to add new feature in KDEPIM.

      • Cycling (with a few bits of KDE)
        So while y’alls were frolicking at Akademy (with Dot coverage), I was on vacation. The choice between vacationing with my family or attending Akademy was a tough one: we also spent some time looking into getting the whole family to the conference, but the price tag and “what will the kids do there” tipped the scales. Maybe next year Akademy will be somewhere that fits in my summer vacation and is amenable to cycling.

      • Meet Coyau!

      • KDE Telepathy 0.6.3 Released
        We have just released version 0.6.3 of KDE Telepathy, the instant-messaging client for KDE.

      • A Nepomuk Integration Plugin for Konqueror
        Last week, I presented an idea about indexing messages from webmails in Nepomuk. The summary of this idea is to implement a browser extension for Firefox, Chrome and Konqueror. This extension parses the DOM tree of every page visited by the user that belongs to a webmail. When e-mails are found, they are extracted and stored in a temporary file. Nepomukfileindexer then quicks in and indexes these e-mails in the Nepomuk database.

      • An information kiosk in QML
        Back in May I had to travel to Bariloche, my hometown, due to family issues. While there, I met Javier Barcenas, a local FLOSS advocate and developer.

      • Season of KDE 2013 Applications Open
        Season of KDE is a community outreach program, much like Google Summer of Code that has been hosted by the KDE community for five years straight.

      • FolderView update
        Well I think it's time for a small update on porting the FolderView applet to QML.

        First of all, I've dubbed it QuickFolder for now, this is the name under which it exists in the kde-baseapps repo. The reason is that both codebases need to coexist for a while for me to carry over the old (existing) code to the new applet.

      • Organizing the next KDE PIM sprint!
        It’s that time of the year again for a new PIM sprint. I’ve been there the last two times now and it’s just one amazing bunch of people coming together and making massive progression in what they like doing most.

      • Season of KDE 2013 Applications Open

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 7th July 2013

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GeoClue rises again
        The free software world has been at risk of getting left behind. GeoClue, the location framework designed for these environments was in a state of flux for a long time with very little happening to it. But now we have GeoClue2, a rewritten implementation of the original idea.

      • GNOME Photos 3.9.x
        After being released as a preview for GNOME 3.8, Photos has seen some progress in the 3.9.x cycle. Some highlights so far:

        Flickr support. The ability to push to digital media renderers (or DMRs) using dLeyna. A new selection pattern and title bar.

      • GNOME 2 Fork MATE Desktop Aims For Wayland
        The MATE Desktop, one of the popular forks of the GNOME 2 desktop environment, is seeking to support the Wayland Display Server as well as systemd -- two popular Linux technologies that have only been a focus for GNOME3.

      • Vinagre 3.9.5 Implements New APIs
        Vinagre, an open source remote desktop connection and VCN client for the GNOME desktop environment, reached development version 3.9.5 a few days ago.

        Vinagre 3.9.5 fixes credential access with libsecret, improves credential description, fixes a logic bug in utils.show_many_errors(), adds the recognize_file() API to VinagreProtocol interface, and uses the new recognize_file() API for parsing files.

      • GNOME's GTK+ 3.10 Irons Out HiDPI, Wayland Support
        At GUADEC last week besides drafting Wayland plans for GNOME, there was a BoF session for GNOME's toolkit. Here's some of the stuff that's upcoming for the GTK+ 3.10 tool-kit.

        For end-users, GTK+ 3.10 is significant in that it should have near-complete HiDPI support -- the tool-kit playing nicely with retina-like displays. There's been a lot of work in recent months by GNOME on their HiDPI support throughout the desktop. The HiDPI blocker right now is just waiting on a new Cairo release.

      • GTK+ meeting notes
        We had a GTK+ meeting during the Guadec BoF days. It was a long and good discussion touching on many issues.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • OpenMandriva Lx Release Schedule, Sort of
        Last week when I wrote about the OpenMandriva Lx Beta delay I was a bit frustrated because I couldn't find any kind of release schedule for OpenMandriva Lx. Well, apparently I wasn't the only one because a long time contributor asked the technical committee for one. The answer was a bit disappointing I'm sure.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Those unexpected regressions...
        A while ago, I read Ken Stark's delicious rant because of a kernel regression.

        Ah, those regressions can be real bothersome in the world of FLOSS. Even so, I had never experienced one. Therefore, the whole thing remained pretty much an abstraction to me... until two days ago, when I found my original thesis presentation and understood the frustration of those regressions.

        Let me explain. When I was a student, computers were not as popular as they are today, let alone laptops. Thus, delivering a presentation meant that you had to borrow somebody else's laptop.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Gluster will transform storage market, IDC analyst predicts

      • Red Hat signs distribution agreement with Avnet Embedded
        Red Hat, Inc., a provider of open source solutions, has announced that it is expanding the reach of its embedded software program through a new partnership with Avnet Embedded, a business group of Avnet Electronics Marketing, an operating group of Avnet, Inc.

      • Red Hat Doubles Down on its Cloud Focus
        Red Hat is known to many people as the only U.S.-based public company that is exclusively focused on open source, and it has proven that its Linux-focused strategy is very profitable. But as I noted in a recent post, the cloud beckons for Red Hat. June was a big month for Red Hat in terms of advancing its cloud computing strategy, which the whole company is aligning around as an engine for future growth. The company unveiled the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure. It also introduced the Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network and Red Hat Certified Solution Marketplace.

      • Fedora

        • This week in rawhide, the mass rebuild edition…

        • Fedora from Scratch
          ok so you have a shiny new Fedora 19 installation, you’ve just installed it onto your computer/laptop, what’s next. Ok well here’s what I’ve done.

        • Flock 2013 (and stuff)
          Well hi there, strangers. I’m sitting in Robyn’s keynote at Flock 2013, so obviously I need to do something other than listen to what happened to her this one time at band camp (yep, really)! Also, I need to write a blog post so Fedora Badges will pick it up. Fedora Badges is the awesome new gamification thing for Fedora which I told everyone who’d listen I was way too cool to get sucked into, so of course as soon as it went up I started refreshing the leaderboard every three seconds…

        • Fedora 19 Samba Standalone Server With tdbsam Backend
          This tutorial explains the installation of a Samba fileserver on Fedora 19 and how to configure it to share files over the SMB protocol as well as how to add users. Samba is configured as a standalone server, not as a domain controller. In the resulting setup, every user has his own home directory accessible via the SMB protocol and all users have a shared directory with read-/write access.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Let the 1st annual Open SBC Games begin!
      Scarcely a week after the Intel-backed project began shipping its $199 open-hardware single board computer, the AMD-backed project released an unrestricted version of its $189 Gizmo SBC’s schematic and electronics distributor Digi-Key added’s open, Freescale-based $83-144 boardset to its online catalog.

    • SF Muni LED Sign at Home with Raspberry Pi
      My android phone wakes me up with its stock alarm clock into a cold San Francisco summer morning. I lie around a bit, but eventually get up to enjoy yet another day. An hour later, I'm running in my dress shoes, tie waving in the wind like that of an anime superhero schoolboy, towards a light rail train stop. Twenty seconds before I get there, the train leaves, right before an unanticipated 20-minute break in the service. I eat a bagel I don't want in a cafe nearby to sit there and work while waiting; my day, having barely started, is already ruined.

    • Building Rapiro – interview highlights with Shota Ishiwatari
      We spoke to the creator of Rapiro, the Raspberry Pi robot, about open source, Kickstarter and the future

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Amazon may be revving up its own Android game console
          Amazon could dive into the video game arena with its own Android-based gaming console, according to the folks at Game Informer.

          Citing information from sources with "knowledge of the in-development hardware," Game Informer said on Thursday that the console could reach consumers by the end of the year, mostly likely by Black Friday. The console would come with its own dedicated controller, say the sources, and would serve as a platform for the digital games already offered by Amazon through its Web site.

        • Sony Posts Open Source Files For The Upcoming Xperia M
          It's okay to love kernel source – you can admit it. Sony is pretty good to the open source community, and in keeping with that reputation, it has posted the open source files for the Sony Xperia M. Yay.

        • Sony Xperia Z Ultra Open Source Stock ROM Released
          Continuing its commitment to open source software, Sony has taken to its developer portal to upload version 14.1.B.0.461 of its upcoming (yes, not even released yet) Sony Xperia Z Ultra. The embracing of the open source community by Sony is very much a welcome habit of theirs, and consequently it’s little wonder that last year they were voted best OEM.

        • Samsung gains as Apple display supplier, says researcher

      • Android

        • Hey, you know Android apps can 'access ALL' of your Google account?
          One-click login hands over keys to Gmail, Google Drive et al, says researcher

        • BlackBerry slides crown jewels into Samsung: BBM Android app touted
          BlackBerry is sharing its crown jewels - BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) - with non-BlackBerry devices for the first time: and the lucky punters are Samsung fandroids in Africa.

        • This Watchdog Is Android's Best Friend
          If your Android smartphone is performing at a grindingly slow pace, it could be due to apps running in the background that are chewing up available memory. Task killers aren't really sufficient -- these background apps don't stay dead for long. However, Watchdog Task Manager lets you see exactly which apps are gumming up the works, letting you decide whether to kill -- or perhaps delete them.

        • Google Android roundup: Why did JBQ leave AOSP?
          Android news/rumors: The end of an era, plus giant robots annoyed as LG removes "optimus" title from latest release, Android's continued domination and why people think it's doomed, and a Moto X engineer hates back on critics

        • Is Android Really Open Source?
          You see, there is Google Android, the project that Google builds and shares with its handset partners, then there is the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The two are not exactly the same. One of them includes proprietary technologies that are not available as open source (guess which one?).

          Jean-Baptiste Quéru, the maintainer of AOSP abruptly quit his post this week, throwing into question the viability of Android as an open-source effort.

          "There's no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can't boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support," Queru stated in a G+ post.

          The challenge that Queru is referring to is the ability of AOSP to boot on the Nexus 4 and 7 devices. Apparently there are some proprietary bits that silicon vendor Qualcomm is not making available as open source, without which AOSP will not boot.

        • Jean-Baptiste Quéru, Post-Nexus 7 Factory Image Debacle: "I'm Quitting AOSP"

        • Acer to Expand Android, Chromebook Offerings
          Taiwanese personal computer maker Acer Inc. said it plans to offer fewer Microsoft Inc. products and more Chromebooks and Android-based mobile devices, after it posted a surprise second-quarter loss on lower sales and rising expenses.

        • The smallest and best new Android phones you can buy aren’t small at all
          You can have any kind of flagship phone, so long as it's 4.7 inches or larger.

        • Are Android phones too large?
          Today in Open Source: Giant Android phones. Plus: Strike Suit Zero released for Linux, and is Apache the most important open source project?

        • Android AOSP Leader Quits Over Binary GPU Drivers
          Google's maintainer of the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP), has quit the project out of being frustrated with the lack of open-source ARM GPU drivers. In particular, Google's flagship devices not working with the Android open-source project over no vendor-backed open-source graphics drivers.

        • Open Source and Hardware Have Transformed Google
          A year ago, BusinessWeek published a story called "It's Official: Google Is Now a Hardware Company." And since then, Google's involvement with hardware has been transformative. Chromebooks (portable computers running Chrome OS) are one of the few bright spots in the portable computing market, Google is spreading out with its Motorola Mobility phone strategy, and the company is getting buzz around its new Chromecast dongle for streaming video content to TVs.

        • Why Google's Chromecast is a hit with consumers

        • NVIDIA Opens Up SHIELD Gaming Operating System
          The NVIDIA SHIELD portable gaming device/console was released at the end of July and now NVIDIA has come forward with the source-code to the whole operating system in hopes of encouraging enthusiasts to modify and improve the platform.

        • Radeon DPM Power Management Gets Fixed Up Again
          Another round of bug-fixes for the Radeon Dynamic Power Management code has been submitted for the Linux 3.11 kernel.

        • Moto X review: hands-on customization, hands-off use
          Motorola has designed a phone meant to be customized, even to your voice. It's imperfect, but could return the company to its former glory

        • A day with Moto X: The anti-Droid made for everyone, not just geeks (hands-on)
          That the Moto X doesn’t feature the absolute fastest mobile processor doesn’t matter much. It’s all about simplicity, comfort, and some forward-thinking features. It’s a friendlier Android phone for people who would typically go for an iPhone.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Intel launches Android-powered Education Tablets in 7-inch, 10-inch sizes
        The new devices run on Atom chips, include customized educational software, and offer a number of learning accessories.

      • Asus-made Nexus 10 tablet reportedly coming soon
        Asus is responsible for both the original Nexus 7 and the refreshed edition, so it's clear the Taiwanese manufacturer has a good working relationship with Google. The refreshed Nexus 10 will reportedly be available "in time for the holiday season" through both Google Play store and Best Buy. Although he's unsure of the exact announce date, Holly tells us that Best Buy is already preparing for the tablet internally.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google open sources two Web Lab experiments ahead of shutdown this Sunday (video)
    Google's Web Lab exhibition has had a decent run at London's Science Museum, but all of that web-linked hardware is being packed up for good after the doors are closed this Sunday. Google's hoping that at least some of it will live on, though, and has teamed up with research and design firm Tellart to open source two of its most popular experiments.

  • Boffin Releases Its First List Of Open Source Web Design Software

  • FLOSS after Prism: Privacy by Default
    The disclosures by Edward Snowden will have a huge impact on our society and by that also on free software. I do not think that we can continue as we used to do, but that we have to adjust our software to fit the new reality, to make our software a true opponent to the surveillance state we live in and to return to 1983.

  • Using Open Source Tools For Malware Detection
    I started my technology career in the late '80s working as a bench tech at a small computer repair shop. The first major malware infection I remember was a virus called 'stoned,' which spread by sharing floppy disks between computers and replicating itself. It was hidden in the master boot record but not terrible difficult to find and repair. A computer infected by stoned simply displayed the message, “Your computer is now stoned, Legalise (sic) Marijuana.”

  • The Race Is Over, Open Source Has Won. Sorta.
    Philosophies on how to approach things in life, for example Open Source Versus Closed, run in cycles. In the 1970s hobbyists would be carefully typing BASIC code from there enthusiast magazine. Commodore, Apple or the highest podge of C/PM machines.

  • Events

    • Watch the Movie Trailer for LinuxCon/CloudOpen and Win VIP Gift
      What's been your summer blockbuster favorite? Wolverine? Lone Ranger? Pacific Rim?

      You ain't seen nothin' yet! Our favorite summer blockbuster comes out September 16 with an exclusive showing only in New Orleans: LinuxCon and CloudOpen North America taking place September 16-18, 2013 at the Hyatt New Orleans.

      This is the largest gathering of Linux and cloud professionals in North America. Deeply technical content has been produced in partnership with the Linux Plumbers Conference to extend the opportunities for learning and collaborating unlike ever before. We hope you will join us.

    • Announcing winners of the caption contest

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Jeff Hawkins: Where open source and machine learning meet big data
      The Palm pioneer has turned to neuroscience and big data to create a path to truly intelligent machines -- a path open to the community's contributions

    • Yes, the Open Cloud Does Matter
      Last week, I covered some comments from a couple of tech industry heavyweights having to do with the OpenStack cloud computing platform. Specifically, former Microsoftie and noted tech blogger Robert Scoble put up a Google+ post saying that OpenStack would be sidetracked by any attempt to build in API compatibility with Amazon Web Services (AWS). And, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said that his company's strategy is to "support OpenStack" despite the fact that the platform is "immature."

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Drupal 7.23 released
      Drupal 7.23, a maintenance release with numerous bug fixes (no security fixes) is now available for download. See the Drupal 7.23 release notes for a full listing.

    • ITX Design Announces phpBB Open Source Bulletin Board Software With All Small Business Hosting Packages
      Late Thursday afternoon, premier hosting provider and domain registrar ITX Design announced the upcoming launch of complimentary phpBB open source forum software with all new hosting and VPS accounts. The Virginia based company now guarantees the service where the customer won't ever need to purchase an additional server or pay for web hosting.

  • Education

    • Open education ideals from the past and present
      This year Arianna Huffington delivered the commencement address at Smith College and dared the female graduates (it's still a female college) to change how society has been defining success for women from money and power to wonder, wisdom, giving back, and community.

  • Business

  • BSD

    • ZFS Boot Environments

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (Who will guard the guards themselves)?

      Apache THRIFT: A much needed tutorial

      A closer look at the changes in PC-BSD/TrueOS 9.2 – Part 1 – ZFS Boot Environments

      An email gateway with FreeBSD to prevent malware and undesirable messages

      The Service Spawner

      FreeBSD Programming Primer – Part 7

      PKGNG: The future of packages on FreeBSD and PC-BSD


  • Licensing

    • Open Source License Trivia
      The world of open source licenses is really quite interesting if you give it a chance. The premise of taking the restrictive presumption of copyright law and using it to do the opposite, that is, grant a broad range of rights creates some interesting license language, to say the least. Although legal concerns around may be new to many people still, some of the licenses have storied pasts. Here's a sampler of open source license trivia to memorize for your next local pub quiz night.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • GS1 takes a look at opening product data following open source projects
        In February, CivSource reported on an effort by engineer Philippe Plagnol to open up the tracking and supply chain data contained in the barcodes on consumer products. Since then, Product Open Data (POD) has garnered the attention of the French government, private sector partners and the GS1, the organization responsible for creating and housing data on each unique barcode. In this interview, we talk to Dr. Mark Harrison, Director of the Auto-ID Lab at the University of Cambridge, who works with the GS1 and recently started looking at projects like POD in an effort to bring more openness to GS1.

    • Open Access/Content

      • 2013 University of California Open Access Policy
        The Academic Senate of the University of California passed an Open Access Policy on July 24, 2013, ensuring that future research articles authored by faculty at all 10 campuses of UC will be made available to the public at no charge.

    • Open Hardware

      • Space: ISS poised to launch open-source satellites

      • Open source 'Cubesat' set to soar
        Arduino-powered satellites arrive at International Space Station on Saturday

      • Weekly wrap-up: First open-source satellite goes to space, 3D-printed keys and more

      • Top open-source PCs
        Open-source PCs like the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBoard are finding interesting uses

      • Top 4 open-source PCs
        Single board or “open-source” PCs have become a hot market, with the Raspberry Pi selling in the millions and competitors getting in on the act, including Intel’s recently announced MinnowBoard (shown above).

      • Modular Laptops
        The video above shows how this laptop with a very modular design can be quickly disassembled without the use of tools. If you’ve ever taken apart a laptop, you know the pain and frustration that comes from trying to find and keep track of the nigh infinite number and variety of screws that hold these things together. As these students demonstrate, it just does not have to be this way. Interestingly, there may not be much of a need for a modular designed laptop as long as the components themselves were sufficiently modular. This is the kind of thing I’ve come to expect to be uploaded to Thingiverse.

  • Programming

    • Kids Can't Use Computers... And This Is Why It Should Worry You
      The truth is, kids can’t use general purpose computers, and neither can most of the adults I know. There’s a narrow range of individuals whom, at school, I consider technically savvy. These are roughly the thirty to fifty year-olds that have owned a computer for much of their adult lives. There are of course exceptions amongst the staff and students. There are always one or two kids in every cohort that have already picked up programming or web development or can strip a computer down to the bare bones, replace a motherboard, and reinstall an operating system. There are usually a couple of tech-savvy teachers outside the age range I’ve stated, often from the Maths and Science departments who are only ever defeated by their school laptops because they don’t have administrator privileges, but these individuals are rare.


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Breaking: Monsanto Teams Up With US Military to Target GMO Activists

    • Obamacare Opens For Business, Shuts Out Labor
      When the Obama administration announced July 2 that it would give a breather to employers affected by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), angry unionists noticed a pattern.

      Even before this delay, “every corporate interest that’s asked for regulatory relief has gotten it,” said Mark Dudzic, chair of the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, “but the concerns of union plans have been overridden.”

    • African Food Alliance Meets in Ethiopia to Oppose GM Products
      The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) will next week meet in Ethiopia to discuss strategies for resistance against genetically modified (GM) seeds.

      AFSA is a Pan African platform comprising networks and farmer organisations working in Africa including the African Biodiversity network, Coalition for the Protection of African Genetic Heritage, Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development Africa, Friends of the Earth- Africa, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee and Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Association.

      The rest are Eastern and Southern African Small Scale Farmers Forum, La Via Campesina Africa, World Neighbours, Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organisations of West Africa, Community Knowledge Systems, Plate forme Sous Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d’Afrique Centrale and African Centre for Biosafety.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • CIA sued over top secret leakage which served to promote Obama
      Judicial Watch has filed a law suit against the CIA, claiming that during his speech at a June 2011 awards ceremony the former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed “top secret” information in the presence of Zero Dark Thirty filmmaker Mark Boal. The conservative watchdog group seeks to investigate whether the White House put the national security at risk only to provide Hollywood directors with facts to make a “pro-Obama” film.

    • Iran Has Space Program–Some See Crisis!

      But if you go and read the Jane's report you might wonder what exactly is going on here. The report clearly puts almost no stock in the idea that this facility has anything to with a desire to launch missiles armed with nuclear warheads–that would make sense only to "those who believe Iran's rulers are messianic fanatics who are intent on destroying Israel as soon as possible with no regard for the consequences."

    • U.S. Drones Kill More Than 30 in Yemen; School Targeted in One Attack
      In fewer than two weeks, Hellfire missiles launched by U.S. drones have killed at least 31 people in Yemen. At least 14 of the victims were believed by President Obama — the launcher-in-chief — to be al-Qaeda militants.

    • Rohrabacher backs Obama policy on drone strikes
      A senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday praised the Obama administration’s policy of using of drones in the evolving war on terrorism, saying he has no problem with the precedent being set by the legally controversial policy and would not be bothered if other world powers — specifically Russia — began using drones to kill terrorists.

    • Israeli Drone Strike In Egypt's Sinai Kills 5
      An Israeli drone strike killed five suspected Islamic militants and destroyed a rocket launcher in Egypt's largely lawless Sinai Peninsula on Friday, two senior Egyptian security officials said, describing a rare Israeli operation carried out in its Arab neighbor's territory.

    • CIA Gun-running: Qatar-Libya-Syria
      A report from CNN’s Jake Tapper has reintroduced “Benghazi-Gate” to the US media spotlight. The report claims that “dozens” of CIA operatives were on the ground in Benghazi on the night of the attack, and the CIA is going to great lengths to suppress details of them and their whereabouts being released. The report alleges that the CIA is engaged in “unprecedented” attempts to stifle employee leaks, and “intimidation” to keep the secrets of Benghazi hidden, allegedly going as far as changing the names of CIA operatives and “dispersing” them around the country.

    • Al-Qaeda replacing Assad is the biggest threat to US security - CIA deputy director
      The second-in-command of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says that the toppling of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria is the largest threat to United States national security and may help al-Qaeda acquire chemical weapons.

    • Katherine Heigl Returning To TV? 'Grey's Anatomy' Star Reportedly Eyeing New CIA Drama
      The online magazine speculates that the mom of two will be returning to the small screen as the lead of a new CIA drama written by Alexi Hawley, the supervising producer of Fox's "The Following."

    • Katherine Heigl Looking to Make TV Comeback With CIA Drama
      Heigl would reportedly take on the role of an adviser or communications liaison for the United States president, while the storylines would focus around CIA operations around the world.

    • Croats, Bosnians, Serbs, you have been manipulated, war was staged – Former CIA officer
      Baer said at the beginning of the interview he arrived in Sarajevo by helicopter with three other agents on January 12 1991. He said that their jobs had been to keep an eye on the supposed Serbian terrorists, suspected of preparing an attack on Sarajevo.

      He said that they had information about a group called “Serbian Supreme” and their plans to attack key buildings in Sarajevo with the aim to make Bosnia leave Yugoslavia.

      However, he said, such group has never existed and he and other agents were tricked by their central command. They were actually given the task to warn people and raise panic amongst the politicians in Bosnia. They, as he said, basically just filled their heads with the idea that Serbs will attack. Eventually they realized they were spreading stories and fear about a group that did not exist.

      The operation was called “Istina” (The Truth) which is exactly what it had not been, he said. He was given another task and left Sarajevo after two weeks for Slovenia on another job. The operation in Bosnia continued for another month or two.

    • Jury clears police of using excessive force against Occupy Portland protester
      A jury has cleared the city of Portland, Oregon and two police officers of using excessive force during an Occupy protest in November 2011, when a demonstrator was struck in the throat with a baton and sprayed with pepper spray into her open mouth.

      The case of Elizabeth Nichols came to an end on Friday when a lawsuit against the city and police was thrown out of court. Nichols took part in an Occupy Portland protest several years ago and ended up becoming one of the highest profile instances of alleged police brutality against the Occupy movement.

    • The Murder of Tomas Garcia by the Honduran Military
      Tomas Garcia was a father of seven who would have turned 50 this December. He was a husband, father, brother, and community leader, serving as an auxiliar and on his community’s Indigenous Council. On Monday, July 15, his life was brutally taken away by the Honduran military when a soldier shot and killed him at close range in broad daylight in front of 200-300 people. He did not have a gun, he did not hurt anyone. His crime? Opposing the construction of a hydroelectric dam being constructed in his Indigenous Lenca community's territory against their will, in violation of ILO Convention 169 and the Honduran government's promises to consult Indigenous communities about projects in their territory. Why Tomas? He was one of the first to arrive, leading the delegation that had come to deliver a message to the companies constructing the dam at their installations in Rio Blanco. A soldier fired at him not once, not twice, at least three times from only 6 or so feet away, according to eyewitnesses.

    • Inside the Tor exploit
      Some of the people who were most concerned about Internet privacy, and were using the Tor anonymous Internet service to protect it, may have been the most exposed.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Was George W. Bush Aiding Al Qaeda?
      So the potentially most damaging part of Manning's disclosures was that the war kills civilians–and that U.S. enemies could use that fact to recruit others.

      If that's the standard– that the killing of civilians might rally people behind the cause of Al Qaeda–then shouldn't someone be talking to George W. Bush about ordering the invasion that caused all the killing? Of course not–the only person facing punishment is the person who thought the rest of the world should know about it.

      We–and certainly many others–have made the point that the prosecution of Manning should be treated seriously by journalists and press freedom advocates– especially now that the government is laying out its case about what it considers to be the harm done by WikiLeaks.

    • New York Times Dangerously Ignores Its Own Words In Calling For Extradition of Edward Snowden
      It should go without saying that Putin’s treatment of whistleblowers and journalists in his own country is deplorable, but that does not delegitimize Snowden’s asylum claim in any way. Right now, he is walking around a free man, able to contribute to the ongoing debate in the US if he so wishes. That almost certainly “feels safer” than being locked in a cage, held incommunicado, possibly surrounded by violent criminals, and facing life in prison, as he would be if he came home.

    • The Government Has Made Its Point

    • The Bradley Manning Verdict and the Dangerous “Hacker Madness” Prosecution Strategy

    • Court Rulings Blur the Line Between a Spy and a Leaker
      The federal government is prosecuting leakers at a brisk clip and on novel theories. It is collecting information from and about journalists, calling one a criminal and threatening another with jail. In its failed effort to persuade Russia to return another leaker, Edward J. Snowden, it felt compelled to say that he would not be tortured or executed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 'Citizen Koch' Rescued By Small Donors As Documentary Outraises Funds Pulled By PBS
      "Citizen Koch," a highly regarded documentary about the billionaire Koch brothers and the growing influence of money in politics after the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, suffered a major setback earlier this year when PBS pulled the film and the $150,000 in funding that had been promised. Scrambling to find a way to distribute their film, Academy Award-nominated filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin turned to Kickstarter in a highly successful move that recently surpassed the funds they had previously expected to receive from public television.

      As of Thursday, the "Citizen Koch" crowdfunding effort had attracted around $170,000 from nearly 3,400 donors. The average donation was just over $50, with contributions ranging from $1 to $5,000. The campaign -- which catapulted past its initial $75,000 goal after just three days last month -- has quickly become one of Kickstarter's most successful.

      Producers say the funds raised on Kickstarter will be used to pay for the final sound mix, the film’s score and graphics, color correction, creating mastered elements for distribution, licensing archival footage and music rights and other post-production and distribution costs.

    • Tomgram: Michael Klare, How to Fry a Planet
      Look at it any way you want, and if you’re not a booster of fossil fuels on this overheating planet of ours, it doesn’t look good. Hardly a month passes, it seems, without news about the development of some previously unimaginable way to extract fossil fuels from some thoroughly unexpected place. The latest bit of “good” news: the Japanese government's announcement that natural gas has been successfully extracted from undersea methane hydrates. (Yippee!) Natural gas is gleefully touted as the “clean” fossil-fuel path to a green future, but evidence is mounting that the newest process for producing it also leaks unexpected amounts of methane, a devastating greenhouse gas. The U.S. cheers and is cheered because the amount of carbon dioxide it is putting into the atmosphere is actually falling. Then Duncan Clark at the British Guardian does the figures and discovers that “there has been no decline in the amount of carbon the U.S. is taking out of the ground. In fact, the trend is upwards. The latest year for which full data is available -- 2011 -- is the highest level on record.” It’s just that some of it (coal, in particular) was exported abroad to be burned elsewhere.

    • ZCBlog: What would banning petrol cars actually look like?

    • PHOTOS: Oil Spill in Thailand's Samet Island
      About 50,000 liters of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Thailand on July 27 from a pipeline operated by PTT Global Chemical Plc. The oil spill reached Samet island off Rayong province which is a popular tourist destination.

    • Legislators Are Freaking Out About Oil Companies' Offshore Fracking: 'We Are In The Dark'
      Oil companies have quietly brought the controversial practice of fracking to the coast of California, causing some state legislators to wig out. They're now asking for a federal probe of an issue that hasn't gotten the same amount of attention as the fracking that takes place on land.

  • Finance

    • How The Financial Crisis Helped Turn Big Banks Into Global Commodities Kings
      Wall Street's biggest banks are currently under the gun for their massive role in global commodities markets. But what many don't realize is the vast expansion of that role was, in large part, an unintended consequence of the chaos of the financial crisis.

      Should we be shocked that the ramifications of the financial crises are still reverberating years later with unexpected repercussions? Not in the slightest.

    • The Origins of the Neoliberal War on the Poor
      Where there is no social program, there’s always a violence program. For the Clinton/Gore administration welfare reform and expansion of the police state were not only means to trump the Republicans; they were also essential to economic policy. Intense competition for jobs at the lowest rungs would depress wages, pit poor and working-class people against each other and, where workfare recipients displace municipal workers, weaken labor unions. The spectre and reality of incarceration would have the traditional effect of suppressing the dangerous classes, at a time when the wage gap between the rich and the poor grew wider than at any time in recent history.

    • Court officially declares Bitcoin a real currency
      A federal judge has for the first time ruled that Bitcoin is a legitimate currency, opening up the possibility for the digital crypto-cash to soon be regulated by governmental overseers.

      United States Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant for the Eastern District of Texas ruled Tuesday that the US Securities and Exchange Commission can proceed with a lawsuit against the operator of a Bitcoin-based hedge fund because, despite existing only on the digital realm, “Bitcoin is a currency or form of money.”

    • Australia Has $16 Minimum Wage and is the Only Rich Country to Dodge the Global Recession
      Australia has twice the minimum wage as the US and Big Macs cost roughly the same.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How Technology Companies Lobby the Federal Government
      The top lobbying issue for both Apple and Amazon is reforming the tax code. Unlike Apple and Facebook, however, Amazon is playing a major role in lobbying for vendor collection of Internet sales taxes. Apple’s second and third major focus areas are telecommunications and copyright, patent, and trademark – likely because its lawsuit with Samsung, with which Google is also involved.

  • Censorship

    • Website blocking measures lead to inadvertent censorship
      A technical decision made by Sky in implementing website blocking has lead to the blocking of news site TorrentFreak

    • Sky’s Court Ordered Piracy Filter Blocks TorrentFreak
      Website blocking has become a hot topic in the UK in recent weeks. Opponents of both voluntary and court-ordered blockades have warned about the potential collateral damage these blocking systems may cause, and they have now been proven right. As it turns out blocked sites can easily exploit the system and add new IP-addresses to Sky’s blocklist. As a result TorrentFreak has been rendered inaccessible to the ISP’s four million customers.

    • DOD Slapping Fort Hood Survivors With Gag Orders
      Autumn Manning, wife of one of the survivors, Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, is claiming via Twitter that the Defense Department is "slapping victims with gag orders" along the lines of this: Don't talk to the press following testimony in the Hasan trial.

  • Privacy

    • Your medical data - on sale for a pound

      The arbitrary resetting of people’s ‘privacy settings’ is a behaviour one might expect of Facebook, not the NHS.

    • Don’t worry, NSA says—we only “touch” 1.6% of daily global Internet traffic

    • At press conference, Obama denounces Snowden—and promises reforms
      During a Friday afternoon press conference, President Barack Obama said that he would work with Congress to declassify more information about the National Security Agency's (NSA) secret surveillance programs.

      At the same time, Obama denied that it was disclosures by Edward Snowden that moved this issue to the forefront. The reforms were already in the works, he insisted; Snowden's revelations were made in "the most sensationalized manner possible" and unduly scared people.

    • Obama Administration Releases Previously Secret Legal Opinion on NSA's Associational Tracking Program
      The Administration released a White Paper on Friday that summarized its claimed legal basis for the bulk collection of telephony metadata, also known as the Associational Tracking Program under section 215 of the Patriot Act, codified as 50 U.S.C. section 1861. While we’ll certainly be saying more about this analysis in the future, the paper makes one central point clear:

    • 9/11 Commission Chairs: NSA Spying Is “Out of Control”
      The NSA’s metadata program was put into place with virtually no public debate, a worrisome precedent made worse by erecting unnecessary barriers to public understanding via denials and misleading statements from senior administration officials.

    • NSA 'secret backdoor' paved way to U.S. phone, e-mail snooping
      The National Security Agency created a "secret backdoor" so its massive databases could be searched for the contents of U.S. citizens' confidential phone calls and e-mail messages without a warrant, according to the latest classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

    • NSA able to query U.S. citizens’ names in its FISA database
      The National Security Agency can search for U.S. citizens’ names and other information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according a document Edward Snowden leaked to The Guardian.

    • NSA Tries To Justify Its Surveillance Programs With Ridiculous Assertions
      As President Obama was laying out his "plan" in response to the public's concerns over NSA spying, both the DOJ and the NSA released some documents defending the various programs. I would imagine it will surprise none of you that these documents are chock full of hilarious and misleading claims. Let's highlight a few, starting with the NSA's document, which is shorter, more general and covers all the various programs more broadly. It's also a complete joke. We'll get to the DOJ one in another post.


      The NSA has absolutely no credibility on this subject, and the claims in this document are simply laughable.

    • Obama Announces Website For NSA Transparency, 3 More Reforms
      President Obama announced a series of new reforms to increase public confidence in the National Security Agency’s controversial Internet and telephone surveillance program. The press conference (live at is still on-going. Here are the 4 reforms he’s proposed.

    • Obama NSA reforms still allow metadata collection
    • Senator vows review of NSA programs
      Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Friday said the Intelligence Committee will hold a series of hearings in the fall to examine National Security Agency surveillance programs.

    • The N.S.A.’s Dirty Dishes: Obama’s Press Conference

    • Barack Obama pledges 'reforms' to NSA surveillance programme
      President Barack Obama says US "can and must be more transparent" about surveillance programmes and promised to work with Congress to put constraints on government spying.

    • Making You "Comfortable" with Spying Is Obama's Big NSA Fix

    • Exposure Of NSA Spying Programmes Could Damage The US Cloud Industry

    • NSA surveillance: the long fight to close backdoor into US communications
      For more than a year, two US senators on the intelligence committee have fought a lonely, unsuccessful battle to prevent the National Security Agency from combing through its vast email and phone records databases for Americans – a battle waged almost entirely in the shadows.

    • Germany Thumbs Nose at the NSA
      The global backlash against the National Security Agency’s cyber spying picked up a notch on Friday as Germany’s leading telecom company announced that all email flowing among three of the nation’s email services will remain on German servers at all times. The move reflects powerful differences in the way that Americans and Europeans view privacy—and just happens to coincide quite nicely with the commercial interests of European Internet companies, who have yet to achieve anything close to the scale of Google Inc. or Inc.

    • NSA spying chronicles, umpteenth episode: ‘Metadata, schmetadata’

    • NSA funds UK’s spying operations
      Material provided to the Guardian by US whistleblower Edward Snowden and released last week includes the fact that the US National Security Agency (NSA) paid the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) at least €£100 million over the past three years.

      In 2009 the NSA gave GCHQ €£22.9 million, increasing that figure to €£39.9 million the following year—including €£4 million for GCHQ’s work for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

    • New Snowden leak shows how the NSA gets away with domestic spying
      Newly leaked National Security Agency documents published by the Guardian reveal that the NSA can scour vast databases of personal information by searching for the names, email addresses and other identifiers of United States citizens.

    • Verizon entry could allow U.S. NSA to spy on Canadians, union warns
      Canadians’ personal data could end up in the hands of U.S. intelligence agencies if American telecom giant Verizon is allowed to operate here, warns the union representing communications workers.

      The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada charged Friday that Verizon’s recently revealed co-operation with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in its clandestine collection of telephone records of millions of U.S. customers could extend north under a federal policy that eases the sector’s foreign ownership restrictions.
    • Tens of thousands virtually thank Edward Snowden for his 'patriotism'
      A website launched to allow the public to thank Prism whistleblower Edward Snowden for his actions gained 10,000 posts within just a few hours of going live.

      The website was launched by digital rights group Fight for the Future on 7 August, shortly before it was announced President Obama would cancel a meeting with President Vladimir Putin over Russia's approval of Snowden's asylum. Thousands of messages poured in in those first few hours, reaching 10,000 by the time a statement was released from the White House over the Putin meeting.

    • CIA Vet: Obama Administration 'Most Irresponsible Ever' on Leaks
    • Will it work? German email companies adopt new encryption to foil NSA

    • Venezuela and Mercosur Meet with UN’s Ban Ki-moon to Reject US Spying
      On Monday the foreign ministers of Mercosur, including Venezuela’s Elias Jaua, met with the general secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, in New York, to express their rejection of “global spying” by the United States.

      The Mercosur ministers from Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, were referring to information about the US government’s PRISM global spying program revealed by Edward Snowden in June.

      The US government’s spying “absolutely violates international law, countries’ sovereignty, and the fundamental human rights of the citizens of the world,” Jaua said.

      He also told Ban that Mercosur countries are concerned about the “attempt to put pressure and conditions on countries who have offered asylum to Mr Snowden”.

    • Press Corps Fails To Ask Any NSA Questions At Obama’s NSA Press Conference
      The White House Press Corps just completely botched the one opportunity we had to learn details about the National Security Agency’s spying program, and the rationale for sweeping government surveillance. During the hour-long press conference President Obama held specifically to answer questions about the NSA, not a single journalist asked him details about the NSA. As a result, we learned precisely zero information from something slated to be critically informative.
    • Obama touts NSA surveillance reforms to quell growing unease over programs
      President to work with Congress to reform NSA's Fisa court and Patriot Act but made clear that mass surveillance would continue

    • NSA Reading Content of Americans’ International Communications
      Thursday saw yet another revelation in the ongoing exposure of a cluster of unconstitutional surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies of the US government. In a front page article, theNew York Times revealed that vast quantities of emails sent and received by Americans communicating with people abroad are swept up, “cloned,” and combed through by NSA analysts, on the basis that the messages contain certain words or phrases deemed suspicious by the government.

    • Obama Promises Reform of NSA Spying, But the Devil Will Be in the Details
      Earlier today, President Obama held a press conference to address the growing public concern over the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices. We are glad to see that the Administration has been forced to address the matter publicly as a result of the sustained public pressure from concerned voters as well as the ongoing press coverage of this issue. Obama acknowledged that Americans were uncomfortable with the surveillance that has been leaked to the media (and noted that he would be as well, if he weren’t in the government). He made four commitments to transparency and reform during the press conference, and also published a whitepaper describing the legal interpretation of the PATRIOT Act that is used to attempt to justify bulk surveillance.
    • Crypto experts blast German e-mail providers’ “secure data storage” claim
      In the wake of the shutdown of two secure e-mail providers in the United States, three major German e-mail providers have banded together to say that they’re stepping forward to fill the gap. There’s just one problem: the three companies only provide security for e-mail in transit (in the form of SMTP TLS) and not actual secure data storage.

    • ‘Broad standard’ OKs NSA snooping
      'Relevance' cited in surveillance of Americans' calls
    • NSA loophole allows warrantless surveillance, targeting U.S. citizens
      The leaks continue to pour forth revealing the totalized surveillance of American communications by the National Security Agency. Now, it appears that the communications of individual U.S. citizens can be specifically targeted, not just swept up in the spy dragnet. On Friday, the Guardian published the latest revelation, based on information gleaned by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, namely that a legal loophole enables the NSA to search through the vast hoards of data it keeps on communications within and going out of the U.S., and can search for U.S. citizens’ emails and phone calls. The findings stand at odds with claims in recent weeks by government officials that Americans are not targeted by the NSA’s vast surveillance programs.
    • First Step of NSA Transparency: Come Clean About Access To Fiber Optic Cables of Telecom Companies
      Prior to President Obama’s press conference on potential surveillance reform today, two important stories were published showing National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance has gone farther than government officials have admitted publicly. Now that the President has promised transparency on NSA surveillance, it’s time for the NSA to come completely clean to the American public. They can start by explaining—in detail—how and why they are obtaining the content of communications transiting telecom networks, which then go into the databases behind NSA programs.
    • NSA Reportedly Changing Section 702 Of The FISA Amendments Act To Search US Citizens’ Communications
      Today the Guardian reported that a change to section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) appears set to allow for the searching of communication information of United States citizens. Previously, section 702 was restricted to communications of foreign individuals who were located outside of the United States at the, to quote the Guardian, “point of collection.”

      United States citizens were outside the scope of section 702 authorization. However, that appears now to be potentially changed.
    • EU among priority spy targets for NSA — Germany's Der Spiegel
      The European Union is ranked as a key priority in a list of spying targets for the US National Security Agency, German weekly Der Spiegel said Saturday, citing a document leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
    • The NSA-DEA police state tango
      This week's DEA bombshell shows us how the drug war and the terror war have poisoned our justice system
    • Report: EU monitoring – top priority of NSA
      According to German news magazine Der Spiegel, the American National Security Agency placed monitoring of the European Union as one of the top priorities of the organization's activities. The report is based on documents that were allegedly leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
    • 'Spy Rings' in Germany: A Baker's Ode to the NSA and Snowden
    • Spy access to NZ used as bargaining tool
      The ability for US intelligence agencies to access internet data was used as a bargaining tool by a Telecom-owned company trying to keep down the cost of the undersea cable from New Zealand.

      Lawyers acting for Southern Cross Cable quoted a former CIA and NSA director who urged the Senate to "exploit" access to data for an intelligence edge.
    • WikiLeaks founder: Obama surveillance changes vindicate Edward Snowden
      The founder of the WikiLeaks website said on Saturday that President Obama’s announcement of changes to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program this week vindicated Edward Snowden’s release of information about the program.
    • Google, Microsoft claim proposed NZ spy law threatens IT industry
      Google and Microsoft have slammed a proposed bill that would compel United States providers to assist New Zealand agencies with interception as potentially harmful to the country's IT industry and incompatible with international privacy laws.
    • Someone Using A US Senate IP Address Edits Wiki Entry To Change Ed Snowden From 'Dissident' To 'Traitor'
      Government employees editorializing entries isn't uncommon. In fact, there's an entire Wikipedia entry devoted to the subject. But editorializing by editors using government IP addresses rarely goes unnoticed. Now, whoever did this may feel Snowden is a traitor but the verdict is still out (quite literally) on that. He's been charged with espionage but until there's actual court proceedings, he's nothing more than a "dissident" (although that term has its problems as well), albeit one the government would like to have back in the US as soon as possible.
    • Surveillance scandal rips through hacker community
    • Letter to Obama to stop the prosecution of Snowden
      We are writing to you as free speech and media freedom organisations from around the world to express our strong concern over the response of the US government to the actions of whistleblower Edward Snowden. We urge you to take immediate action to protect whistleblowers and journalists. - See more at:

    • Contribution from members of international civil society to the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
      We are concerned that surveillance conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) under Section 702 of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and other legal authorities is inconsistent with international human rights norms and U.S. international commitments, as embodied in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)[1] and resolution 20/8 of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [2]. We are particularly concerned about the human rights and civil liberties of non-U.S. persons, as defined under FISA, and urge you to give full consideration to the rights of non-U.S. persons in your findings and recommendations. Human rights are universal and must be guaranteed to all persons. We strongly advocate that current and future legal provisions and practices take this principle into consideration.
    • NSA loophole allows warrantless search for US citizens' emails and phone calls

    • U.S. openness, restraint could lessen fallout from NSA surveillance
      Clear restrictions on electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency is the best way to avoid economic damage to U.S. tech companies tainted by revelations of massive data collection on U.S. and foreign citizens, experts say.

    • No easy way to stop BREACH from plucking secrets from HTTPS pages, feds say
      Less than 24 hours after researchers disclosed a new attack that can pluck secrets from webpages protected by the widely used HTTPS encryption scheme, the US Department of Homeland Security is advising website operators to investigate whether they're susceptible.
    • Gone in 30 seconds: New attack plucks secrets from HTTPS-protected pages

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Department of Justice Proposes Remedy to Address Apple’s Price Fixing

    • Apple proposes new terms in e-books battle
      Hours after the Department of Justice and 33 U.S. states proposed a set of remedies for Apple following its July loss in the e-books price-fixing case, the company came back with its own set of terms and called the government's proposals vague, overreaching, and unwarranted.


      A federal judge last month ruled that Apple violated antitrust laws, following a trial in the Southern District of New York. Judge Denise Cote said the Justice Department proved that publishers conspired together to eliminate price competition for e-books, and that Apple played a central role in that conspiracy. Apple has said it plans to appeal the decision.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • PUBPAT Asks Supreme Court to Rule Part of Leahy-Smith America Invents Act Unconstitutional
      The Public Patent Foundation today asked the Supreme Court to rule part of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 unconstitutional. Specifically, PUBPAT filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court in Public Patent Foundation v McNeil-PPC, a case brought by PUBPAT in June 2009 against the manufacturer of Tylenol for falsely marking and advertising its acetaminophen products as patented, challenging the provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, passed in September 2011, that retroactively eliminated PUBPAT's standing to bring the case against McNeil. PUBPAT asked the Supreme Court to answer the following question, "Does the retroactive application of the AIA’s changes to the false marking statute to this case violate Petitioner’s Due Process under the Fifth Amendment?"

    • Copyrights

      • The Pirate Bay Turns 10 Years Old: The History
        Today The Pirate Bay celebrates its 10th anniversary. Founded in 2003 by a collective of hackers and activists, the small Swedish BitTorrent tracker grew to become a global icon for online piracy. We’ll take a look at how it all came to be, from a tiny community running on a 1.3GHz machine with 256MB RAM, to Hollywood’s arch rival serving millions of users from a cloud-hosted hydra.

      • Pirate Bay celebrates tenth birthday with Stockholm party

      • Are we done with copyright?
        There has been lots of talk about copyright reform in Washington over the past few months, as evidenced by the announcement from the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee that that panel would undertake a comprehensive review of the copyright law. The first hearing for that review was held back in May. As Mike Masnick from TechDirt noted, the Registrar of Copyrights is supportive of the effort but “still focused on bad ideas.” More recently, the Department of Commerce Task Force on Internet policy issued a “Green Paper” last month that helps us see what is right and what is wrong with the current attention in D.C. on copyright reform.

        The Task Force recommended three broad categories of reform: updating the balance of rights and exceptions, better enforcement of rights on the Internet, and improving the Internet as a marketplace for IP through licensing. These last two are straight out of the legacy entertainment industries’ wish list, of course, and they would do nothing at all to better realize the fundamental purpose of copyright to promote creativity and innovation. As for the first, it all depends, of course, on where one thinks the balance has gone wrong. The Task Force includes as a priority the reform of the library exception in section 108, which is a favorite goal of the Copyright Office right now, but it is not at all likely that anything the Office cooks up would be better than leaving the current 108 alone. The Green Paper also seeks “input” about digital first sale and remixes; note that input is a much weaker commitment than the task Force is willing to make to such things as online enforcement, reform of 108, or — another industry favorite — the extension of the public performance right for sound recordings.

      • Dotcom: Surveillance and Copyright Extremism Will Cost United States Dearly
        In response to growing fears of government spying, yesterday Kim Dotcom announced that parts of his company will relocate to Iceland if that means keeping customers’ data secure. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Dotcom says that continued broad surveillance will have serious financial consequences. “Mass surveillance and copyright extremism will cost the US economy more than any terrorist attack or piracy,” he predicts.

      • How the fashion industry thrives without IP protection
        High-IP industries are far smaller than those that have low copyright protection.

      • Prenda officially dissolves as Steele agrees to pay $5,400 penalty
        Records at the Illinois Secretary of State show that Prenda Law was "voluntarily dissolved" on July 26. The move isn't surprising and is largely a formality. A key lawyer for the embattled "porn troll" had already said it was "winding down" its operations.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Stefano Maffulli's (and Microsoft's) Openwashing Slant Initiative (OSI) Report Was Finalised a Few Months Ago, Revealing Only 3% of the Money Comes From Members/People
Microsoft's role remains prominent (for OSI to help the attack on the GPL and constantly engage in promotion of proprietary GitHub)
[Video] Online Brigade Demands That the Person Who Started GNU/Linux is Denied Public Speaking (and Why FSF Cannot Mention His Speeches)
So basically the attack on RMS did not stop; even when he's ill with cancer the cancel culture will try to cancel him, preventing him from talking (or be heard) about what he started in 1983
On Wednesday IBM Announces 'Results' (Partial; Bad Parts Offloaded Later) and Red Hat Has Layoffs Anniversary
There's still expectation that Red Hat will make more staff cuts
Richard Stallman's Next Public Talk is on Friday, 17:30 in Córdoba (Spain), FSF Cannot Mention It
Any attempt to marginalise founders isn't unprecedented as a strategy
IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 22, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, April 22, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Don't trust me. Trust the voters.
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Chris Lamb & Debian demanded Ubuntu censor my blog
Reprinted with permission from
Ean Schuessler, Branden Robinson & Debian SPI accounting crisis
Reprinted with permission from
William Lee Irwin III, Michael Schultheiss & Debian, Oracle, Russian kernel scandal
Reprinted with permission from
Microsoft's Windows Down to 8% in Afghanistan According to statCounter Data
in Vietnam Windows is at 8%, in Iraq 4.9%, Syria 3.7%, and Yemen 2.2%
[Meme] Only Criminals Would Want to Use Printers?
The EPO's war on paper
EPO: We and Microsoft Will Spy on Everything (No Physical Copies)
The letter is dated last Thursday
Links 22/04/2024: Windows Getting Worse, Oligarch-Owned Media Attacking Assange Again
Links for the day
Links 21/04/2024: LINUX Unplugged and 'Screen Time' as the New Tobacco
Links for the day
Gemini Links 22/04/2024: Health Issues and Online Documentation
Links for the day
What Fake News or Botspew From Microsoft Looks Like... (Also: Techrights to Invest 500 Billion in Datacentres by 2050!)
Sededin Dedovic (if that's a real name) does Microsoft stenography
[Meme] Master Engineer, But Only They Can Say It
One can conclude that "inclusive language" is a community-hostile trolling campaign
[Meme] It Takes Three to Grant a Monopoly, Or... Injunction Against Staff Representatives
Quality control
[Video] EPO's "Heart of Staff Rep" Has a Heartless New Rant
The wordplay is just for fun
An Unfortunate Miscalculation Of Capital
Reprinted with permission from Andy Farnell
Online Brigade Demands That the Person Who Made Nix Leaves Nix for Not Censoring People 'Enough'
Trying to 'nix' the founder over alleged "safety" of so-called 'minorities'
[Video] Inauthentic Sites and Our Upcoming Publications
In the future, at least in the short term, we'll continue to highlight Debian issues
List of Debian Suicides & Accidents
Reprinted with permission from
Jens Schmalzing & Debian: rooftop fall, inaccurately described as accident
Reprinted with permission from
[Teaser] EPO Leaks About EPO Leaks
Yo dawg!
IBM: We Are No Longer Pro-Nazi (Not Anymore)
Historically, IBM has had a nazi problem
Bad faith: attacking a volunteer at a time of grief, disrespect for the sanctity of human life
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Bad faith: how many Debian Developers really committed suicide?
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 21, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, April 21, 2024
A History of Frivolous Filings and Heavy Drug Use
So the militant was psychotic due to copious amounts of marijuana
Bad faith: suicide, stigma and tarnishing
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
UDRP Legitimate interests: EU whistleblower directive, workplace health & safety concerns
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 21/04/2024: Earth Day Coming, Day of Rest, Excess Deaths Hidden by Manipulation
Links for the day
Bad faith: no communication before opening WIPO UDRP case
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Bad faith: real origins of harassment and evidence
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 21/04/2024: Censorship Abundant, More Decisions to Quit Social Control Media
Links for the day
Bad faith: Debian Community domain used for harassment after WIPO seizure
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
If Red Hat/IBM Was a Restaurant...
Two hours ago in
Why We Republish Articles From Debian Disguised.Work (Formerly Debian.Community)
articles at aren't easy to find
Google: We Run and Fund Diversity Programs, Please Ignore How Our Own Staff Behaves
censorship is done by the recipients of the grants
Paul Tagliamonte & Debian Outreachy OPW dating
Reprinted with permission from
Disguised.Work unmasked, Debian-private fresh leaks
Reprinted with permission from
[Meme] Fake European Patents Helped Fund the War on Ukraine
The European Patent Office (EPO) does not serve the interests of Europe
European Patent Office (EPO) Has Serious Safety Issues, This New Report Highlights Some of Them
9-page document that was released to staff a couple of days ago
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 20, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, April 20, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Microsoft-Run FUD Machine Wants Nobody to Pay Attention to Microsoft Getting Cracked All the Time
Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (FUD) is the business model of "modern" media
Torvalds Fed Up With "AI" Passing Fad, Calls It "Autocorrect on Steroids."
and Microsoft pretends that it is speaking for Linux
Gemini Links 21/04/2024: Minecraft Ruined
Links for the day