Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 7/10/2014: CAINE 6.0, PC-BSD 10.0.3





GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux



  • Breakthrough in Wireless Technology…Or Not
    Exactly three weeks ago today I caught myself before hitting the “share” button on my Google Plus stream. My intent was to complain about some thing or another. I believe it was an out loud groan about a USB wireless device not working out of the box with Linux. I think I was going to triangulate on Broadcom’s insistence on making wireless a real headache.

    And yeah, it doesn’t take that much to get a Broadcom chip working in most cases. Unless you are installing Linux at a friend’s house or another place that doesn’t have a wired connection. Then you’re pretty much sunk. The popup says that the wireless will work once you connect to the package manager. Uh, what if I am not located near a wired connection? That’s kinda why I wanted to connect to the web anyway you friggin’ ijit.


  • Desktop



    • 5 powerful things you didn't know Chromebooks could do
      This last feature isn’t for the novice users that just buy Chromebooks for their simplicity. But this is World Beyond Windows, where I tout the benefits of Linux, so I can’t leave it out.

      Flip the developer mode switch (it’s in software now, but it used to be a hardware switch) and you can get full access to your Chromebook’s internals. You can install a full desktop Linux system (like Ubuntu) alongside your Chrome OS system. Flip over to the Linux system when you want to do some work with traditional desktop apps and powerful terminal commands.


    • Acer Chromebook 13 (FHD): Initial impressions
      The performance of the device is about acceptable (unfortunately, I do not have any comparison in this device class). Even when typing this blog post in the visual wordpress editor, I notice some sluggishness. Opening the app launcher or loading the new tab page while music is playing makes the music stop for or skip a few ms (20-50ms if I had to guess). Running a benchmark in parallel or browsing does not usually cause this stuttering, though.






  • Kernel Space



    • Linux Foundation: Certification More Popular But Tough to Get
      The Linux Foundation's "Introduction to Linux" MOOC on edX has enjoyed impressive popularity since launching in the summer. And the organization's Certification Program for open source engineers, which went live in August, is also rising in stature, according to data the Foundation has made available.


    • Linux 3.18 Gets Better Wacom Tablet & Sony Controller Support


    • Many ACPI & Power Management Changes For Linux 3.18 Kernel
      Rafael Wysocki sent out his first aligned set of changes of ACPI core and power management changes he's planning on volleying over to Linus Torvalds for the Linux 3.18 kernel merge window.


    • Linux 3.17 is Getting ready for the Year 2038
      The Linux 3.17 kernel is the fifth major kernel release so far in 2014 and among its features is a fix for a flaw that wouldn't actually impact Linux for another 24 years.


    • What's New in Kernel Development
      Kernel configuration has become more and more complex through the years with the proliferation of new drivers, new hardware and specific behaviors that might be needed for particular uses. It has reached about 3,000 config options, and that number will only increase.

      Jean Delvare recently pointed out that a lot of those config options were relevant only to particular hardware, and yet the config system presented them to users who didn't have that hardware. This seemed like a bug to him, and he suggested that maintainers begin requiring proper hardware dependencies for all config options.


    • Lennart Poettering's Linus Torvalds rant
      Linus Torvalds, Linux's creator and leader, is known for his sometimes frank and vulgar language on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML). He doesn't suffer programming fools gladly. For him, his management style works. Not everyone is happy about it and Lennart Poettering, a Red Hat engineer and one of the creators of the controversial systemd system and service replacement for Unix and Linux's sysvinit daemon, has called out Torvalds for his salty attitude in a public Google+ post.


    • Linux systemd dev says open source is 'SICK', kernel community 'awful'
      Lennart Poettering, creator of the systemd system management software for Linux, says the open-source world is "quite a sick place to be in."

      He also said the Linux development community is "awful" – and he pins the blame for that on Linux supremo Linus Torvalds.


    • Bitter Poettering, LibreOffice at 4, and Linux Tidbits
      The systemd fallout is getting to creator Lennart Poettering, who is sounding quite disillusioned. Sean Michael Kerner scored an interview with The Document Foundation's Italo Vignoli on the future of LibreOffice. Jesse Smith reviewed PC-BSD 10.0.3 in today's Distrowatch Weekly and Paul Venezia imagines Linux servers as "transient processes and services." And finally today, we have several Linux distribution tidbits to report.


    • Lennart Poettering On The Open-Source Community: A Sick Place To Be In
      With Lennart spearheading projects like systemd and PulseAudio that have ruffled the feathers of some users, Lennart is no stranger to controversy but today wrote about how "the Open Source community is full of assholes, and I probably more than most others am one of their most favourite targets. I get hate mail for hacking on Open Source." He also claims to receive hate mail from people who want him to stop developing and how reportedly there's even a Bitcoin collection for people trying to hire a hitman for him.


    • Stable kernel updates
      Greg KH has released stable kernels 3.16.4, 3.14.20, and 3.10.56.


    • Graphics Stack



      • NVIDIA vs. AMD 2D Linux Drivers: Catalyst Is Getting Quite Good At 2D
        Our latest Linux graphics driver benchmarks are taking a look at the binary NVIDIA and AMD Catalyst drivers using the latest versions while running on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. It's been a while since last time we closely compared the two proprietary GPU drivers with 2D workloads on an array of graphics cards so these results should be definitely interesting.


      • AMD Adds Native Object Code Support To Clover/Radeon: Big Performance Win
        Tom Stellard announced his latest OpenCL-related improvements to the open-source Radeon Linux graphics driver.

        Announced this afternoon by Tom Stellard are patches that add support to Gallium3D's Clover -- the OpenCL state tracker -- for compiling compute kernels into native object code. These native object code binaries from Clover are then accepted by the R600g and RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers.


      • NVIDIA vs. AMD 2D Linux Drivers: Catalyst Is Getting Quite Good At 2D
        Our latest Linux graphics driver benchmarks are taking a look at the binary NVIDIA and AMD Catalyst drivers using the latest versions while running on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. It's been a while since last time we closely compared the two proprietary GPU drivers with 2D workloads on an array of graphics cards so these results should be definitely interesting.






  • Applications



  • Desktop Environments/WMs



    • The Linux Desktop-a-week review: Cinnamon
      In the end, I like Cinnamon. It's high-quality, beautiful, and the team that works on it should be incredibly proud of what they've done. I just can't imagine the scenario in which I'd use it over something else.


    • GNOME Desktop/GTK



      • Just Say No
        Instead, GNOME, which breaks most of the traditional “desktop” meme, has returned to being the default. Newbies will need their hands held just to start something up. Single-CD installations are dead. That hammers much of the emerging “market” for GNU/Linux where CDs and even electricity and networks are in short supply. Of course, one can install XFCE4 instead of GNOME but the user has to take charge, something newbies may find intimidating.

        Just say “No!”. Uncheck GNOME. Check XFCE in the “tasksel” page of the installer or use APT to install XFCE4 after you boot your system. You can do it. You have the power.


      • GNOME 3.14 Gives a Well-Known Interface a New Lease on Life
        Recently, the GNOME Project announced the release of GNOME 3.14. Since it's arrival it has drawn some attention for its enhanced application development platform and some compelling new features. Some people in the open source community view GNOME as a project that lost its way, but the new version is actually being heralded as a big comeback for a project that has made the Linux desktop friendlier to use for many users.


      • GNOME Boston Summit 2014
        GNOME Summit is a three-day hackfest for GNOME developers and contributors. It is not primarily aimed at users or new contributors, but if you want to jump right into the deep end, it's a fantastic way to meet everyone and get involved. Unlike traditional conferences, the Boston Summit is all about getting developers together and getting things done. While there are some non-hacking sessions, they are geared heavily towards many-to-many, interactive discussion and planning, rather than one-to-many presentations.


      • The GNOME Infrastructure is now powered by FreeIPA!
        The GNOME Infrastructure is now powered by Red Hat’s FreeIPA which bundles several FOSS softwares into one big “bundle” all surrounded by an easy and intuitive web UI that will help users update their account information on their own without the need of the Accounts Team or any other administrative entity. Users will also find two custom fields on their “Overview” page, these being “Foundation Member since” and “Last Renewed on date”. As you may have understood already we finally managed to migrate the Foundation membership database into LDAP itself to store the information we want once and for all. As a side note it might be possible that some users that were Foundation members in the past won’t find any detail stored on the Foundation fields outlined above. That is actually expected as we were able to migrate all the current and old Foundation members that had an LDAP account registered at the time of the migration. If that’s your case and you still would like the information to be stored on the new setup please get in contact with the Membership Committee at stating so.






  • Distributions



    • New Releases



    • Red Hat Family



      • ownCloud, Red Hat Partner on Open Source Storage
        ownCloud Inc. and Red Hat (RHT) say they can deliver open source storage with lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and better compliance standards through a partnership that combines Red Hat Storage Server 3 with ownCloud's file syncing and sharing platform.


      • China's Inspur Forms Linux Partnership With Red Hat
        Chinese technology company Inspur and American open source manufacturer Red Hat have reached a strategic deal to combine Red Hat's latest-generation enterprise operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 with Inspur's X86 platform products.

        According to the agreement, Inspur and Red Hat will become OEM partners. The OEM partner designation is the highest partner rank for Red Hat and Inspur will enjoy the best prices and the highest priority technical support. Other financial terms of the deal were not released.


      • Making Red Hat Enterprise Linux manageable with Red Hat Satellite 6
        Red Hat Enterprise Linux is one of these open source infrastructure solutions, and offers the benefits of open source with the capabilities expected from modern IT infrastructure. To make management even easier, enterprises can utilize Red Hat Satellite to handle life-cycle and systems management.


      • Diversity is a crucial component of meritocracy
        This year's keynote speaker at the annual All Things Open conference is Red Hat's DeLisa Alexander, executive VP and head of Red Hat's human resources operations. DeLisa is not only in a professional position to comment on gender and diversity in open source and tech but has also personally campaigned for inclusiveness in the workplace to produce better outcomes for everybody.


      • Fedora



        • Fedora Might End Up Disabling Delta RPMs By Default
          Going back to 2009 with Fedora 11 has been delta RPM support to enable support with Yum for these packages that just contain the differences between one installed RPM version to the next version. With Fedora frequently pushing down new packages, delta RPMs have allowed those in bandwidth-constrained environments to more easily download updates since the file sizes of the deltas tend to be significantly smaller than full RPMs. Additionally, it's placed less of a burden on the Fedora infrastructure by having less disk space and bandwidth requirements. However, with DNF it looks like Fedora could revert to going back to full RPMs for distribution of updates.


        • Fedora To Replace Bash With Either Dash Or Mksh As The Default, Non-Interactive Shell?
          This being said, one of the Fedora developers have asked on the mailing lists whether Debian’s dash or Android’s mksh would be a safer alternative, as the future system’s default, non-interactive shell.


        • Fedora 23 Might Adopt Btrfs as Default
          Fedora 21 hasn't been released just yet, but the developers are already making plans for subsequent releases that will be made in the future. Right now, they are looking for a possible implementation of the Btrfs file system instead of the current Ext4.


        • The pain of trying to install a .deb package on Fedora using Alien
          During my search for a good Markdown text editor for Linux, I came across a few that had binary installation only for Debian and Ubuntu distributions. See The search for a usable Markdown editor for my Linux desktop.

          Because my main Linux desktop is powered for Fedora, I decided to find an alternate method of installing those applications other than compiling them from source. Call it a lazy approach, but sometimes you have to find shortcuts.






    • Debian Family



      • Debian 8.0 Beta 2
        Debian comes with over 20,000 packages (precompiled software that is bundled up in a nice format for easy installation on your machine) - all of it free. It's a bit like a tower. At the base is the kernel. On top of that are all the basic tools.


      • Derivatives



        • Canonical/Ubuntu



          • Users don't want Ubuntu 14.10
            What is also interesting that some people still plan to install Ubuntu 14.10 even though they are not waiting for that release. And, vice versa, some people are waiting for Utopic Unicorn release, but do not plan the installation.










  • Devices/Embedded





Free Software/Open Source



  • The right fit? 4 open source projects evaluated
    In the guide, I wrote about doing your research by casting a wide net, then evaluating yourself (your skills, your goals, and your time). In this evaluation to find the right fit, I looked at my motivations and skills, made a list of goals, and named a few target projects. Because this isn’t my first rodeo, I take a good, hard look at my track record. What can I learn from the ones that didn't stick to find the one that will? I notice patterns I can avoid and see how they line up against my new list of goals and skills. Then, I evaluate four open source projects and their communities to see if they might be a good fit. See the winner at the end!


  • 9 things to look for in an open-source project
    Not all open-source projects are created equal. There are plenty that have not been touched in years -- heck, I probably wrote a few of them. If you're going to rely on a community-contributed open-source project, you'll want to ensure the code is up to your standards and that the community will continue to support it throughout the project's life cycle.


  • The Importance of Being FOSS
    It's a fact of life in virtually every community that there will be countless daily distractions -- news announcements, controversies, squabbles -- that take up the majority of our time and energy, leaving little for the big picture.

    The Linux community is no exception.

    That's why it was such a relief to see a post over at Linux.com recently that struck directly to the core of all that is FOSS and offered a reminder as to what it's really all about.


  • Events



  • Web Browsers



    • Web Browsers for Linux
      Here is an overview of nine web browsers for Linux. Does not include terminal-based ones.


    • Mozilla



      • Testing a $35 Firefox OS phone—how bad could it be?
        You've got it pretty good, you know that? While you're sitting there using your Internet-enabled device to read about some other Internet-enabled device, it's easy to forget that the majority of people doesn't have any access to the Internet at all. The "World Wide" Web is actually not that worldwide—only about one-third of the population is online. That's 4.8 billion people out there with no way to get to the Internet.






  • Databases



  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice



    • The inside track on Oracle’s open-source strategy
      “NoSQL is definitely a component of Big Data and is part of the strategy of storing and managing very fast but simple operations over simple data,” Seglau explained to hosts Jeff Kelly and Jeff Frick. Oracle’s namesake relational system has a notoriously difficult time handling that kind of unstructured information, a critical gap that leaves the vendor little choice but to embrace the new paradigm of enterprise data management.


    • LibreOffice at 4: How the OpenOffice Fork is Forging Ahead
      The Document Foundation has been able to attract contributions to LibreOffice from AMD and Intel as well as governments, including Saudi Arabia and France. Donations are the primary source of revenue for The Document Foundation and Vignoli said that the donations have been growing steadily over the years. That funding has enabled The Document Foundation to hire three full-time people and two part-time people, as well as supporting continuing developer efforts around LibreOffice.

      [...]

      One of the main areas of growth for LibreOffice is in competitive migrations away from other office suites, including Microsoft's Office. While The Document Foundation would like to see more people use LibreOffice, the plan is not for all users to totally abandon Microsoft Office.

      "The objective is not to eradicate Microsoft Office from companies," Vignoli said. "The concept of migration is about giving an alternative to companies." - See more at: http://www.eweek.com/enterprise-apps/libreoffice-at-4-how-the-openoffice-fork-is-forging-ahead.html#sthash.Jp29EQC7.dpuf




  • CMS



    • WordPress Foundation Becomes an Open Source Initiative€® Affiliate Member
      The Open Source Initiative €® (OSI), the premiere organization that promotes and protects open source, announced today that the WordPress Foundation (WordPress) has joined the OSI as an Affiliate Member. The WordPress Foundation’s mission, to democratize publishing through open source, has elevated WordPress to not only a globally recognized content management tool, but a vibrant community encompassing the ideals of open source software development, and advocacy for the adherence to the Open Source Definition. Its affiliation with OSI helps enhance and sustain the open software development community, while ensuring that millions of individuals, organizations and businesses can cost-effectively communicate online using a robust set of content management capabilities.




  • BSD



    • Ten Year Old "Critical" Bug Discovered In OpenBSD
      While OpenBSD generally prides itself on being a secure, open-source operating system and focusing more on code corectness and security rather than flashy features, it turns out a potential security bug has been living within OpenBSD for the past decade.


    • PC-BSD 10.0.3: An alternative to desktop Linux distros?
      Linux is a terrific desktop operating system but sometimes it can be fun to use something else, particularly if you have the personality of a distrohopper. PC-BSD is one alternative that's worth considering since it's based on FreeBSD. DistroWatch has a review of PC-BSD 10.0.3 and finds that it compares well to most desktop Linux distributions.


    • First impressions of PC-BSD 10.0.3
      All in all, I am impressed with what the PC-BSD team has managed to deliver with their 10.0.3 release. The project has taken on additional polish with the last few releases. The graphical front ends look nicer, some bugs I spotted in previous releases (especially with Life Preserver) have been fixed and the way ZFS integrates with the other PC-BSD tools was very useful to me. There are a lot of great features in this release I would love to see ported to Linux and there were no serious problems during my trial, beyond the video driver issue I was able to work around. I definitely recommend giving PC-BSD a try, it offers a great deal of power in an attractive package.




  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC



    • GNU's Data Recovery Tool Updated With New Options
      GNU ddrescue, an open-source data recovery tool that copies data from one file / block device to another while rescuing the good portions of data in case of read errors, is out with a new version.


    • GNU ddrescue 1.19 released
      I am pleased to announce the release of GNU ddrescue 1.19.

      GNU ddrescue is a data recovery tool. It copies data from one file or block device (hard disc, cdrom, etc) to another, trying to rescue the good parts first in case of read errors.




  • Project Releases



    • man-pages-3.74 is released
      I've released man-pages-3.74. The release tarball is available on kernel.org. The browsable online pages can be found on man7.org. The Git repository for man-pages is available on kernel.org.




  • Public Services/Government



    • GSA CIO: Platform Reuse, Open Source Among Guiding IT Principles
      Platform reuse and open source technology are guiding IT principles being championed by GSA's CIO, Sonny Hashimi. The agency's new IT integration policy requires all new projects that are undertaken within GSA to follow several IT principles. For example, GSA must consider the reuse of its existing platforms before any new investments are contemplated.


    • Uganda Takes on Free and Open Source Software
      On this historic Wednesday, the Government was interfacing with the IT community to discuss among others the draft FOSS and Open Standards Policy and the National FOSS Strategy. This is the very reason that made it indeed historic, finally FOSS has arrived. While a few other African countries make mention of FOSS in their ICT related policies, one can hardly identify those that have come up with specific policies and strategies addressing FOSS. South Africa and now Uganda are going the extra mile to take the bull by the horn with the hope that others may follow.




  • Openness/Sharing





Leftovers



  • Mick Cash interview: Disillusioned with Labour, RMT union chief plots a new party for the left
    The north London headquarters of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is replete with history.

    When the executive meets, just across the corridor from Mick Cash’s office, they sit around a table where, more than a century ago, union leaders made the decision to found the Labour Party.


  • The Purpose of Politics
    That is, nothing to do with their beliefs, just trying to save their jobs. Exactly like the Westminster Labour establishment in Scotland.


  • 18 dead after illegal Indonesian gold mine collapses
    At least 18 people, including 16 men and two women, have lost their lives after an illegal mine collapsed in Indonesia’s Borneo island.


  • Health/Nutrition



  • Security



  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression



    • Qatar and Saudi Arabia 'have ignited time bomb by funding global spread of radical Islam'
      Qatar and Saudi Arabia have ignited a "time bomb" by funding the global spread of radical Islam, according to a former commander of British forces in Iraq.

      General Jonathan Shaw, who retired as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff in 2012, told The Telegraph that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were primarily responsible for the rise of the extremist Islam that inspires Isil terrorists.

      The two Gulf states have spent billions of dollars on promoting a militant and proselytising interpretation of their faith derived from Abdul Wahhab, an eighteenth century scholar, and based on the Salaf, or the original followers of the Prophet.


    • Moazzam Begg offered help over hostage release
      Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg offered to intervene to help secure the release of British hostage Alan Henning, he has told the BBC.

      Mr Begg, 46, said he thought he knew who had been holding the aid worker but said the government rejected his offer.

      He said Mr Henning's friends had sought his help and he had told the government he was going to intervene regardless.


    • US drone strikes kill eight militants in Pakistan
      At least eight militants were killed today when a US drone fired four missiles on a Taliban compound in Pakistan's volatile North Waziristan tribal region, the second such incident in the area in 24 hours.


    • U.S. Drones Strike Pakistan for 3rd Day
      On Tuesday, a U.S. drone strike hit a suspected militant training camp in northwest Pakistan, in an attack that intelligence officials say killed six and wounded nine. It marked the third U.S. drone strike on Pakistan in three days, after 2014 began with a six-month hiatus of strikes against terror cells in the country. Five suspected militants were killed in a strike Monday and another five in a strike Sunday. All three were in the Shawal area of South Waziristan. The U.S. had halted drone strikes in the first half of the year at the behest of Pakistan while it attempted, but failed, to negotiate a deal with the Taliban. Pakistan is dealing with unrest in other areas, as well. Its tenuous relationship with India has also flared up over Kashmir. In the worst attacks since their 2003 ceasefire, there have been casualties on both sides, with nine civilians dead in total.


    • Is there no other way?
      The difficulty seems to be that addressing the issues which drive people to violence and terror is more complex and demanding than simply bombing them. Rather than listening to grievances and struggling to address them, the choice is made to send in drones. They don’t risk American lives and they keep the war far from America’s shores.


    • North Waziristan: 19 killed in three drone strikes during last 36 hours
      At least nineteen people have been killed while several others injured in three US drone strikes during last 36 hours in North Waziristan tribal region, Dunya News reported on Tuesday.

      In the latest attack, six people were killed and 11 injured when a U.S. drone fired two missiles on militant commander Mustaqeem’s centre in Kandghar area of Shawal today.


    • Drones and Everything After
      Late one afternoon in December, a drone armed with Hellfire missiles was flying low over the Yemeni desert, an audible buzzing presence, tracking a €­convoy of cars and trucks that were caterpillaring along a route between villages. Within the convoy were the members of two large families, escorting a bride from a wedding celebration in her own village to another in her groom’s, and though they noticed the drone, its presence was not unusual. Then, while the group was stopped because of a flat tire, the noise from the drone grew louder, as if a decision had been reached, and it began to discharge missiles. Several men jumped from the fourth truck before it was destroyed, but as they fled the drone seemed to track them across the sand, and fired again, according to Al Jazeera America. An older sheikh ran from his car and found his son, dead and bloodied, pierced by flying shrapnel in his face, neck, and chest. Twelve men were killed. They were farmers, shepherds, and migrant laborers, mostly. U.S. government officials would say later that the target had been a militant, affiliated with Al Qaeda, who managed to escape the attack. A report by Human Rights Watch suggested that he might never have been there at all.


    • Anti-drone activists, limited to 'Free Speech Zone' at Hancock Air Base, protest without incident
      A group of about 50 anti-drone activists cordoned off by barriers protested without any arrests or incidents Sunday afternoon.

      The protesters, led by Upstate Drone Action and the Syracuse Peace Council, obtained a permit from the town of DeWitt, which allowed them to demonstrate for about two and a half hours starting at 1 p.m. The protest was part of a Global Action Day against the use of drones for surveillance and killing.


    • As Canada debates ISIS mission, U.S. already weighing potential civilian casualties
      As Canada's Parliament prepares to vote this week on expanding military involvement in the Middle East, the U.S. political system has already moved on to the next difficult conversation -- about civilian casualties.


    • The war on terrorism can only be ended morally
      So, why shouldn’t the United States torture suspected terrorists, rain hellfire missiles into Middle Eastern villages aimed at terror targets or use mass domestic surveillance to gather intelligence? Well, even if you have no sympathy for those who support terrorism, there are both blatant, moral and strategic flaws in these policies that not only violate the very principles that our great nation was founded on, but further perpetuate the seemingly never ending war on terror.


    • Why Air Strikes Against ISIS Will Fail
      War is a dirty, unforgiving business. It is not rendered clean by remote deployments and orders executed at a distance from seemingly safe areas. It takes lives, inflicts unspeakable harm, and rarely brings smiles to those who suffer it. But the members of the US-led coalition currently involved in striking Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq would have you think otherwise. They give the impression that clean distances are golden, and air strikes will have their intended “degrading” effect. Therein lies the message about the false salvation of machinery – the technological panacea that rarely does what it is meant to.

      The notion that air power would win the day has been something of a fetish for enthusiasts, both of the prophetic and practising sort. It prophetically concerned H. G. Wells in The War in the Air (1908). It enraptured Britain’s blood lusting Air Marshal Arthur “Bomber” Harris during World War II, who believed in characteristically delusional fashion that his death sowing fleets won the war in exclusive fashion. Curtis “Demon” Le May fronted as the US equivalent, instrumental behind the striking of sixty-four Japanese cities between March and August 1945 that killed around 330,000 people. The doctrinal holy water, however, came from the font of the US Strategic Bombing Survey.


    • Fighting the Hopelessness Machine
      Jeremy Scahill and Glen Greenwald's report Death by Metadata reveals that US drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen and are mostly targeted using phone metadata obtained by the NSA, with very little human intelligence (of either sort) involved. The result is pretty much what one would expect. "Real terrorists" who know they're targets change phones and SIM cards regularly to avoid detection, while victims of strikes often include random bystanders and uninvolved users of the same phone. This situation will only get worse for the NSA as word of Scahill and Greenwald's report spreads and more people start taking appropriate precautions.


    • Kenyan forces kill 22 'al-Shabaab' fighters in southern Somalia
      Kenya’s military has confirmed that its soldiers have killed 22 'al-Shabaab' militants and disrupted logistical base in Bula Gadud in southern Somalia.


    • Kenyan Forces Kill 22 Al-Shabaab Fighters In Southern Somalia


    • Hamas has resumed rocket manufacture, says top IDF officer
      Hamas has resumed rocket manufacturing in Gaza, the head of the Israeli Air Force’s Air Defense Command said.


    • Egypt army kills 16 militants in North Sinai
      Egypt's army killed 16 militants from the Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis jihadist group early Tuesday as it continues its operation to rein in extremists in the restive Sinai Peninsula, Aswat Masriya reported.


    • Critical thinking the first casualty of war
      Not only are we not getting satisfactory answers about the new conflict in Iraq — no one is even asking the right questions.


    • Eric Holder: A mixed legacy at best
      Ironically, while Holder scored on the civil rights front, he failed on the civil liberties front. His Justice Department authorized the use of drones to kill American citizens on foreign soil without a fair trial. His Justice Department has also defended the National Security Agency’s wholesale collection of phone data on millions of Americans accused of no crimes.


    • The Late Triumph of the Bush-Bin Laden Dance
      The terrorist group known as ISIS or ISIL has committed some atrocious acts, beheadings or throat slittings of innocent Westerners from the United States, Britain and France. This suddenly prompted a change in public opinion in these three countries, which now support air strikes on the facilities or oil rigs controlled by this spin-off of al-Qaeda. In the United States, a strong majority of Americans opposed strikes on Syria in 2013 and now supports them - even though they are illegal and will prove ineffective.

      The politics of emotion have won and abolished the lessons that the failure of the war on terror should have taught leaders, citizens and all kinds of political decision makers. France, which famously opposed the war in Iraq in 2003, is now in the forefront, at least the rhetorical forefront, of this new misguided war. This war could push the whole world into a Huntington corner and ignite a "clash of civilizations" which did not exist before the Soviet and American forays into Afghanistan.


    • Documenting the Next Generation of Drone Pilots
      During the 2010 White House Correspondents' Dinner, Barack Obama told the Jonas Brothers to stay away from his daughters. “I’ve got two words for you," he said, cueing up the punchline: “Predator drones. You’ll never see it coming.” The crowd burst into hysterics.

      Back then, flying death machines that kill innocent people were a lot of laughs. Nowadays, it's unlikely the president's joke would get the same response. The Obama administration has launched eight times more drone attacks in the past five years than Bush did throughout his entire presidency, the deaths of civilians in drone strikes are frequently publicized, and in late 2012 the world became aware of “double taps," which involve two attacks in quick succession, ensuring the slaughter of friends and family trying to rescue their loved ones from the bomb site.


    • The Law of Futility: Air Strikes Against the Islamic State


    • Dangers of weaponized heavens need attention
      Perhaps you are among many who give little thought to a growing arms race arising from the proliferation of military hardware in space overhead. The US Strategic Command is strengthening US space dominance over the entire world through satellites that control our so-called missile defense system, drones that kill by remote control, laser weapons that could destroy other nation’s satellites and the possible placement of nuclear weapons in space. There are dangers that space clutter from a war in space could make space impenetrable in the future eliminating the benefits space provides us.


    • Ethical and methodological issues in assessing drones’ civilian impacts in Pakistan
      Since 2004, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has conducted 379 armed drone strikes against presumed terrorists living in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which is comprised of several so-called tribal agencies and governed by a colonial-era legal dispensation that effectively renders the citizens of the FATA second-class citizens. While drone strikes have occurred in all agencies, the vast majority of them have taken place in the two agencies of FATA known as North and South Waziristan. Because international media cannot travel to FATA legally and because the U.S. government refuses to speak about the covert program, most reports rely upon the often conflicting claims made by militant groups or parts of the Pakistani government. What is known is that American drone strikes have killed innocent persons in Pakistan (and elsewhere where drones are used). What remains unknown — and perhaps unknowable — is how many of the persons killed in U.S. drone strikes are in fact innocent civilians.




  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife



    • California drought worries pool industry
      California swimming pool companies just regaining their financial footing after the recession are now facing a new challenge: a devastating drought that has put the state's ubiquitous backyard pools under the microscope.

      More than three dozen water agencies and local cities are cracking down on water use in swimming pools with rules that range from requiring a pool cover to prevent evaporation to banning residents from draining and refilling older ones that need repairs.


    • Dog Days of Yulin - Part 1
      Animal rights activists across China and the rest of the globe have increasingly condemned the Dog Meat Festival, calling for an immediate stop to eating man’s best friend. They say the dog meat trade is illegal, unregulated, and cruel. Many claim that numerous dogs that end up in cooking pots are stolen pets or diseased strays.






  • Finance



    • Argentina passes law to establish debt audit commission
      Argentina has legislated to create a commission to investigate the origin of the country’s debt, dating back to the military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983. The law states that once the commission has been established, it will report within 180 days. Campaigners in Argentina have been calling for a public audit into the debt, to discover if any loans were odious or illegitimate, and hence should not be paid. It is not yet clear when the commission will be established.




  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying



    • Justices in Walker Criminal Probe Face Conflicts of Interest
      The Wisconsin Supreme Court could decide the future of the criminal investigation into Governor Scott Walker and independent electoral groups, but some of the justices are faced with a significant conflict of interest: two of the groups under investigation have been the dominant spenders in Wisconsin Supreme Court elections in recent years, spending over $10 million to elect the Court's Republican majority.


    • Manufacturing Consent – Pakistani Style
      The Left is ignored, and the Right is pampered. The critical, thoughtful professional of yesteryear has been replaced by the savvy networker who conforms to all the rules and regulations of the well-oiled machine that is the modern media corporation.

      Public media in the United States, while having an appearance of neutrality, is actually a tool of powerful groups representing establishment interests. Years ago, Herman and Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent showed, using example after example, just how this happens. At times it could be a bit subtle – effective media engineering may require a dash of contrary opinion just to make it sound even-handed.




  • Censorship



  • Privacy



    • Journalists and their sources require privacy. But so does everyone else
      The police’s use of RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) to access journalists’ phone records came under attack this weekend from the Lib Dems, the Sun newspaper, Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, and the Government's Interception of Communications Commissioner.


    • EPIC Sues CIA For Release Of Senate Spying Report
      The CIA's spying on Senate staff members during the compilation of the "Torture Report" (last seen delayed until late October) provoked some righteous (but hypocritical) indignation from political figures who were otherwise fans of government surveillance of American citizens. Dianne Feinstein's dismay may have been genuine, but it was also completely tone-deaf.

      CIA director John Brennan said no spying occurred while also admitting some spying had occurred. Further details revealed by an Inspector General's investigation noted that spying continued after Brennan finally told everyone to knock it off, using a classified "hacking tool" to peer into Senate staffers' email accounts.


    • Law Enforcement Still Defending ComputerCOP: Says They'll Keep Distributing It Until After Someone's Been Hurt
      It appears that the police and other law enforcement folks who spent department money on the awful ComputerCOP spyware simply can't admit that they were handing out software that made kids less safe. Instead, they're sticking by their decision to do so. Given that the company personalized the software in the name of local law enforcement, and pitched it as the "perfect election and fundraising tool," you can understand their reticence to actually admit that they've been making kids a hell of a lot less safe. We already discussed San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis defending the software, even while issuing an "alert" telling parents how to disable the keylogging feature. Even more bizarre was the response of Limestone County, Alabama, Sheriff Mike Blakely, who simply questioned EFF's credibility in revealing the dangerous nature of the software.


    • FBI Director: The Internet Is The Most Dangerous Parking Lot Imagineable
      FBI Director James Comey was on 60 Minutes on Sunday, in a segment that will continue next week as well. Apparently next week is when we'll find out his views on mobile encryption and whether or not the FBI is spying on all of us, but this week, he gave us a tiny hint towards the end of the segment, in which he discusses why the internet is so dangerous.


    • Another 60 Minutes Puff Piece
      Based on its legacy, the CBS show 60 Minutes is still sometimes thought of as the remaining place in TV news where tough investigative journalism has a home. But lately, they've been doing something else.


    • Washington Post's Clueless Editorial On Phone Encryption: No Backdoors, But How About A Magical 'Golden Key'?


    • Documents Released In Silk Road Case Add More Evidence To The 'Parallel Construction' Theory
    • Silk Road Lawyers Poke Holes in FBI’s Story
      New court documents released this week by the U.S. government in its case against the alleged ringleader of the Silk Road online black market and drug bazaar suggest that the feds may have some ‘splaining to do.


    • U.K police used anti-terrorism laws to spy on journalists
      British police are to be forced to disclose their use of anti-terror legislation to investigate journalists as part of a new investigation by the U.K.’s top interception official.

      After the Mail on Sunday revealed this weekend that British police had used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA)—a piece of legislation designed for combatting terrorism—in order to uncover one of the newspaper’s sources for a report implicating a government minister in perverting the course of justice, acting Interception of Communications Commissioner Sir Paul Kennedy announced on Oct. 6 an enquiry into the use of RIPA against journalists throughout the U.K.




  • Civil Rights



    • Nicky Hager's house raided by police


    • Hate crimes against Muslims spike: We must face up to normalized Islamophobia
      Over the course of the last few years Islamophobia has alarmingly risen throughout the world. The roots of the problem can be traced back to 9/11, which to this day, is still constantly evoked by political leaders to justify murderous foreign policy.

      Countless human beings, including many Muslims, have been killed by Western bombs in the years following 9/11.All of this was done of course, in the name of making the world a safer place.


    • Bad Information Leads to Worse Police Raids
      David Hooks’s death reads like a boilerplate tale of a police raid gone wrong. Around 11 PM on September 24, deputies from the Laurens County, Georgia, sheriff’s department stormed their way into his house looking, they say, for meth. A reported 16 shots later, the 59-year-old was dead, and naturally there are conflicting accounts about what happened. The cops claim Hooks brandished his shotgun at them when they came in; Hooks’s family’s lawyer says that the raid victim’s wife, Teresa, had seen cops in hoods lurking around the house and was worried they were robbers (the home had been burglarized only a couple nights before) and Hooks was merely worried about defending his property. No drugs or anything illegal was found in the home, according to the lawyer.


    • A cop may be following you everywhere
      The crackdown on protesters after the police shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, highlighted that more and more, police departments possess sophisticated weapons and equipment originally designed for the battlefield. Federal anti-terrorism funding is a major driver of this trend, but once police departments have this equipment they use it -- even if it's not against terrorists.

      What few people understand is that police increasingly make use of sophisticated surveillance equipment as well. NSA-style mass surveillance technologies are making it possible for local police departments to gather information on each and every one of us, on a scale never before been possible.




  • DRM



    • Apple Facing Trial Over Whether Its Use Of DRM Violated Antitrust Laws
      When Apple first launched the iTunes store for music, it had DRM deeply embedded in it. According to reports around the time, this DRM was a key part of allowing Apple to get into the business of selling music. The labels demanded strong DRM. It didn't take long for most people to recognize how the labels' own demands for DRM actually gave Apple tremendous leverage over the record labels by basically handing the market over to Apple while making it that much more difficult for a competitor to jump into the space. While, years later, Apple and the labels finally ditched the DRM on music, one of Apple's competitors, Real Networks had tried to hack its way around Apple's DRM, which was called FairPlay, with its own DRM, called Harmony, that more or less reverse engineered Apple's DRM. Apple responded by changing things so that Real's music wouldn't work on iPods (yes, this was back in the day of iPods). Real adjusted... and Apple broke it again.




  • Intellectual Monopolies



    • TTIP Update XXXIX
      As previous updates - and many economists - have pointed out, the huge economic gains claimed for TTIP are largely illusory. The 119bn euros boost for the EU not only turns out to be under the most optimistic assumptions, clearly impossible to obtain now given the growing resistance to TTIP's de-regulation, but refers to 2027, and is the difference between an EU economy with TTIP and without. That means the claimed 0.5% GDP boost is actually a ten-year cumulative figure, and amounts to the rather less impressive 0.05% extra GDP on average - in mathematical terms, indistinguishable from zero given the very approximate nature of the models used to make these predictions.






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