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Links 11/11/2014: GNOME Trademark Dispute Settled, Mozilla Embraces Tor

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • YOLOTD: Could 2015 Be Linux's Big Year?
      The Year of Linux on the Desktop will come, but not in 2015, said Rodolfo Saenz. "Let's be honest: Linux is still an 'underground' OS. It is still targeted for elite users. That day will come when Linux becomes a truly intuitive OS that's good enough for the masses, but to be honest, I don't want that day to come soon -- it's part of the OS's charm."

    • Chromebooks: Debunking the misconceptions
      Chromebooks are the little laptops that could. They are relatively inexpensive and have capabilities that can work for a wide range of companies and consumers.

      That's if they are given a chance. There are some common misconceptions about Chromebooks and Chrome OS that prevent many from trying them.

    • A Pleasant Stroll Through Europe – GNU/Linux Rolls On Desktops
      Europe is a hot bed of activity with governments promoting and sharing ideas about how to implement FLOSS and GNU/Linux on clients and servers. A lot of activity is in schools where students will be introduced to FLOSS and run with it. I expect GNU/Linux to become more available and widely accepted in Europe in the next few years.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.18-rc4
      Hey, things are finally calming down. In fact, it looked *really* calm until yesterday, at which point some people clearly realized "hey, I should push my stuff to Linus so that it makes it into -rc4", and then a third of all changes came in the last day, but despite that, rc4 finally looks like things are falling into place, and we'll get to stabilize this release after all.

      Here's to hoping the trend holds...

      Things look fairly normal. A bit over half is drivers, and almost a third is architecture patches (arm, powerpc, mips and s390). The rest is a few filesystem updates (mainly XFS) and misc random stuff.

      The shortlog gives a feel for the details, and nothing looks particularly scary or odd.


    • diff -u: What's New in Kernel Development

      Hardware errors are tough to code for. In some cases, they're impossible to code for. A particular brand of hardware error is the Machine-Check Exception (MCE), which means a CPU has a problem. On Windows systems, it's one of the causes of the Blue Screen of Death.

      Everyone wants to handle hardware errors well, because it can mean the difference between getting a little indication of what actually went wrong and getting no information at all.

    • Differential Flame Graphs

    • Graphics Stack

      • ToAruOS: A Hobby Kernel & User-Space, Runs Mesa & GCC
        ToAruOS is a hobby kernel and user-space that can form a working operating system with some common open-source third party libraries. ToAruOS has been in development for nearly four years and was born at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

      • NVIDIA NVPTX Port Added To GCC
        The NVPTX back-end has been committed to GCC 5 as part of the process for offloading support to NVIDIA graphics processors from the compiler.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • My new library: Qlogind

      • Autostart in Plasma 5

      • Last week in Krita – Week 45
        Scott Petrovic revamped the UI of the transform tools for better readability and usability, and is now heading towards changing around the brush-settings.

      • Interview with Eo Fenstalker
        I’m Andrea, better known as Eo Fenstalker anywhere that it matters. I’m a freelance artist in my 30s living in Melbourne, Australia and I primarily focus on animal and fantasy related artwork under the name Toast Weasel Illustration.


        I try and help find and report bugs as I use Krita. It can sometimes add to the difficulty level of achieving finished work when using pre-release builds, but it’s fun in its own way and I enjoy being able to contribute, even though it’s in such a minor way. I also happily allow my art to be used in promotional material for Krita.

      • KDE Gardening Love Project: KRecipes
        KRecipes has been in 2.0beta since 2010 so we decided it will be our next Love Project.

      • Q&A with Aaron Seigo: How Kolab Systems Uses Open Source and Linux
        I’ve been involved since around 2001, during which time I’ve worked on a number of areas within the community. I ended up maintaining the panels and parts of the desktop shell in KDE’s 3.x desktop and from there ended up doing the ground-up redesign of the shell we now know as Plasma.

        That introduced some radical (at the time) concepts such as device-independent UIs, strong business/UI separation, animation rich interfaces, visual integration of desktop services and visual distinction between the desktop shell and applications running in them.

        Outside of technical work, I was also president of KDE’s global non-profit foundation, KDE e.V., and oversaw improvements in how we manage intellectual property, standardizing developer sprints, rigorous reporting and more. It was during this time that I was named one of the top 50 most influential people in IT by

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Ubuntu 14.10
        Ubuntu 14.10 is another nice little step forward for Ubuntu without being spectacular.

        Linux has faced many hurdles over the years such as lack of MP3 support, Flash support, hardware support, gaming, decent software, running Windows applications and recently Netflix. All of these issues can now be filed away as "used to be an issue".

        Ubuntu is one of the more popular distributions for a reason. As Windows users love to say "It just works" and for it just does.

      • Xubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Review: Looks great but slightly disappointed with performance
        I think frankly the developers could have done better for Xubuntu 14.10. The previous LTS version was a better release from performance and stability aspects. Further, a support of 9 months do not do any good as well. I am a bit disappointed and this is the first XFCE spin that I won't recommend. It gets a score of 8.2/10 from my side, which is actually much below average. If you are already using the launchpad ppa's then except the 3.16.0 Linux kernel, you would have got all the latest stable packages in your Trusty Tahr installation already. So, I don't see any motivation to actually use this Xubuntu release.

      • Introducing OpenMandriva 2014.1
        This version of OpenMandriva was presented mostly as a bug-fix and polish release and that shows. The operating system is stable and the interface looks friendly. For the most part, the distribution worked very well for me. OpenMandriva has a sense of polish and friendliness about it which is hard to qualify, but is certainly there. The system installer, the Control Centre and the pretty (yet traditional) desktop environment all appear to be designed to be as newcomer friendly as possible. I was especially impressed by the systemd front end. Recent experiments with Arch, openSUSE and Debian have left a bad taste in my mouth has far as systemd is concerned and OpenMandriva did a beautiful job of smoothing over the details of systemd while presenting a functional front end. During my trial I ran into two minor glitches, both with package management, but nothing that really caused me any concern.

        In recent years I think it has been too easy to think of the Mandriva-based projects as "also ran" distributions. The financial troubles Mandriva faced and the user friendly efforts of projects like Ubuntu and Mint have conspired to push Mandriva out of the spotlight. OpenMandriva 2014.1 is one of the best efforts I have seen to date to take back the "beginner friendly" crown. This distribution was easy to set up, easy to use, has a great control centre and should appeal to both novice users and power users alike. I was happy and a bit impressed with OpenMandriva 2014.1 and I recommend giving it a try.

    • New Releases

      • Q4OS 0.5.20 released
        Significant update 0.5.20 of Q4OS Desktop is out. The essential new feature is KDE4 desktop integration into Q4OS system. It is comprised of two plasma themes, converted crystalsvg icons, splash theme and original Q4OS desktop look&feel configuration. Single-command script for automatic easy installation is included. If users want to set up a complete KDE4 desktop alongside the standard Q4OS desktop, they will need to run the "kde4-install" script from the terminal. They will be able to choose the "KDE Plasma Workspace" session type option from the login screen and experience the brand-new environment. They will be able to select the classical Q4OS desktop too, of course.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Launches Linux Container Beta With Docker And Google Kubernetes Support
        Red Hat recognizes the changing face of enterprise computing involves containerization technology and to that end, they announced a Beta release of their Linux container platform called Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host.

        Containerization is a new trend that offers a more efficient and faster way to deliver applications than virtual machine technology. In a sense, it’s another step in virtualization that takes the concept and strips it down even further to produce greater resource efficiencies and faster deployment.

      • Fedora

        • Flock 2015: Rochester Institute of Technology
          After four bids (!) and much discussion to make the difficult decision between two great finalists, we’re happy to announce Rochester, NY and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) as the location for Flock 2015.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project Announces the Code Names for Debian 9 and Debian 10
        The Debian project has chosen the names of the next two versions of the operating system that are scheduled to be released in the coming years. They don't have any glamour, but they will be easily remembered.

      • Debian 8.0 "Jessie" Final Could Arrive in February – Screenshot Tour
        Debian 8.0 "Jessie" has been in the works for quite some time and it has just entered feature freeze. Now, the Debian project leader is pushing for a release of the new operating system in under 12 weeks.

      • Systemd again? Debian drops kFreeBSD as official architecture

        The Debian GNU/Linux project has decided not to support its GNU/kFreeBSD distribution as an official release for the forthcoming version 8.0 which is better known as Jessie.

        GNU/kFreeBSD is one of the numerous Debian architectures that combines the userland of GNU/Linux with a FreeBSD kernel. Debian is the only GNU/Linux distribution that releases with anything other than a Linux kernel.

      • Re: Plan B for kfreebsd

      • More Debian and Systemd, *Ubuntu Reviews, and Fedora Confusion
        Debian and systemd top Linux news today with the latter being blamed for the loss of high profile Debian developer. Paul Venezia says Red Hat has confused Linux users with its latest Fedora moves and bloggers contemplate Debian and other forks. Adrian Bridgwater says had Linux been proprietary it would have cost $1 trillion and Michael Meeks talks OpenGL rendering in LibreOffice.

      • How could you rationally fork Debian?
        The topic of Debian forks has come up a lot recently, and as time goes on I've actually started considering the matter seriously: How would you fork Debian?

      • Debian 8.0 Jessie Now Under Its Feature Freeze
        Jonathan Wiltshire on the behalf of the Debian release team announced this week that Debian 8.0 "Jessie" is frozen.

      • More systemd drama as a long-time Debian developer quits
        In today's open source roundup: Debian developer Joey Hess leaves the project after eighteen years. Plus: Is Linux gaming performance lagging behind Windows? And reviews of Ubuntu 14.10 seem to indicate that it's a mixed bag

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch Music App Is Proof That Total Ubuntu Convergence Is Getting Closer – Gallery
            While other platforms like Windows or iOS are still working towards their convergence goal, Canonical is already there and the developers now have applications that work both on the mobile and on the desktop platform without any major modifications. One such example is the Ubuntu Touch Music App, which looks and feels native on both operating systems.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 391

          • The Ubuntu 15.04 Online Developer Summit Starts Tomorrow
            The first Ubuntu Online Developer Summit for the 15.04 Vivid Vervet kicks off on Wednesday and runs through Friday.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Kylin 14.10 Utopic Unicorn : Adds New Features and Improve the System Stability
              Ubuntu Kylin 14.10 Utopic Unicorn is the latest version of Ubuntu Kylin based on Ubuntu 14.10 featuring with Unity desktop environment. Released and announced by Ubuntu Kylin team brings with improved stability along with newly added features which provides better user experience.

            • Kubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn - That's better
              Kubuntu has one definite advantage. It's predictable. Predictable in the sense that it will never give you a fully satisfying experience out of the box, and it will do its best to be controversial, bi-polar and restrained by default. You get a very good and modern system, but then it's almost purposefully crippled by boredom, a conservative choice of programs and missing functionality. Why, oh why. It could be such a shiny star.

              Utopic Unicorn is a pretty solid release, but it does suffer from some alarming issues. The graphics stack, first and foremost. Desktop effects are also missing, and Samba printing is simply disappointing. The rest worked fine, the system was robust, there's good evidence of polish and improvements, but then it lacks pride and color. I would say 8/10, but that's not enough to win people's hearts. We've all been there, every six months, so something new is needed. Maybe Plasma 5? Aha! Stay tuned.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Dev board runs Yocto Linux on Altera ARM+FPGA SoC
      Newark Element14′s “Lark Board” SBC runs Yocto Linux on Altera’s ARM/FPGA Cyclone V SX SoC, and offers USB Blaster II, camera, and expansion interfaces.

      The Lark Board, which sells for $940, is one of the more powerful ARM development boards you’re likely to find, at least if FPGAs are what you’re looking for. It’s designed for development of high-volume applications including automotive, medical equipment, video surveillance, and industrial control.

    • Raspberry Pi Model A+ is out now. It's 20% cheaper, 24% shorter and consumes 45% less power

    • Raspberry Pi Model A+ on sale now at $20

    • The Making of the Ninja Sphere: a Q&A with Daniel Friedman
      Like the Ninja Block, the Ninja Sphere runs on Linux and incorporates an Arduino-compatible microcontroller. However, it switches from a BeagleBone Black SBC to a computer-on-module that offers much the same Cortex-A8-based TI Sitara processor and other circuitry. Instead of being limited to a 433MHz RF radio, the Sphere adds ZigBee, WiFi, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and supports Z-Wave via an add-on.

    • Selecting an operating system for an embedded application
      Free OSes, in this context, do not really include Linux, as most embedded developers are likely to spend money on a supported and packaged version, so it is not really free. This section looks at some of the smaller, readily downloadable RTOSes that are quite popular.

    • Timesys Partners With GizmoSphere to Provide Embedded Linux Solution for Gizmo 2 Single-Board Computer

    • Gizmosphere focuses on graphics in open-source computer
      Open-source computers have so far lacked good graphics, but Gizmosphere’s new Gizmo 2 is an exception.

      The Gizmo 2 is an uncased single-board computer that will sell for US$199. The computer can be used to build robots, electronics with large screens, or interactive computer systems that can recognize gestures or images.

    • Linux Top 3: Raspberry Pi A+, Debian Freezes Jessie and ReactOS Polishes

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Apps to Make Your Android Smartphone More Productive, Fun
          The Google Play marketplace has more than 1.3 million apps available for download to Android mobile devices, many of them available for as little as 99 cents or less. But searching through all those apps to find the ones that might be most suitable for your needs may not be so easy. The sheer mass of available apps can make many users feel overwhelmed by the choices and they don't know where to begin. This can be especially true of the owners who just bought an Android smartphone for the first time. And there is no shortage of those because the smartphone market is growing by leaps and bounds. This slide show includes a curated list of Android apps that will serve as a good base for anyone to try out once they fire up their Android device for the first time. The list includes some consumer-focused apps, as well as those that can be used in business. To be sure, this isn't an exhaustive list. But it's a start because the first step to getting productive and having some fun with a new Android device is to invest in some cool apps.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source accelerating the pace of software
    Containers are fundamentally enabled by Linux. As I discussed in more detail recently, all the security hardening, performance tuning, reliability engineering, and certifications that apply to a bare metal or virtualized world still apply in the containerized one. And, in fact, the operating system arguably shoulders an even greater responsibility for tasks such as resource or security isolation than when individual operating system instances provided a degree of inherent isolation.

  • How To Use Emoji Anywhere With Twitter's Open Source Library

  • Taiwan's g0v: Using Open-Source Code And Communities To Engage Citizens And Make Government More Open
    The post goes on to describe g0v's hackathons, its first conference, and the Open Political Donation Project. This brought together 9,000 volunteers to digitize 300,000 political donation records as a pointed response to Taiwan's old Campaign Donation Act of 2004, which allowed the public access to campaign donation documents, but only as a paper copy, or in person at a government office.

  • ON.Lab Launches SDN Open Source Network Operating System (ONOS), Backed by AT&T & NTT
    The Open Networking Lab, ON.Lab, last week launched an open source SDN Open Network Operating System (ONOS) which is now available for downloads. ON.Lab is a non-profit organization founded by SDN inventors and leaders from Stanford University and UC Berkeley aimed at fostering an open source community for developing tools and platforms to realize the full potential of SDN. Tier 1 service provider partners such as AT&T and NTT Communications and several key vendors have supported the ONOS platform, including Ciena, Fujitsu, Huawei, Intel, NEC and members who are collaborating and contributing to ONOS .

  • MoD scientists publish open source code on GitHub for first time
    Defence ministry follows other government departments by publishing code for its ‘Ideaworks’ idea-sharing software

  • Ministry of Defence posts open source code to Github
    THE UK MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (MoD) has revealed that it has put a piece of code into the open source community for the first time.

  • MoD releases code to GitHub: Our Ideaworks... well sort of
    The Ministry of Defence is to consider making some of its more "sophisticated" software available online, having for the first time publicly released code onto open-source site

  • Gluster Lead Speaks on Open Source Scale-Out Storage and OpenStack

    GlusterFS, the open source scale-out storage system Red Hat acquired in August 2012, is poised to play a key role in OpenStack and cloud computing, according to Gluster lead Dave Mcallister.

  • MEMS group looks to promote open source development
    The MEMS Industry Group (MIG) has announced the Accelerated Innovation Community (AIC), an open source algorithm cooperative intended to collaboration across the MEMS/sensors supply chain.

  • DreamHost spinout Akanda offers open source NFV for cloud providers
    Akanda Inc., a company spun out from cloud provider DreamHost, will offer an open source, Layer 3-7 virtual network functions platform for OpenStack clouds. The company is calling its technology the first production-ready open source network functions virtualization (NFV) project.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenGL rendering for LibreOffice 4.4
      Many areas of LibreOffice have been hugely improved in recent times, from the general cleanup of the code, to the huge VCL / UI layout re-work touching all of our dialogs, the significant re-work of Calc's internals - many areas of the code have had big improvements. One area that has however sadly fallen behind is the Visual Class Libraries (VCL) rendering model - that is used to draw nearly everything in the document, and chrome around it.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Enhancing Education With FOSS
      So yeah, we occasionally run into people who have reinstalled Windows. We refuse to do it for them even if they supply a legitimate copy of Windows. Many of them have called after the switch to ask for help with virus or malware infections. We simply tell them that if they had left Linux on their child’s computer, we would not be having this discussion.

    • The Rich Landscape of Linux Education Software
      With regard to the various educational programs that are available for Linux, there are a number of different websites that are devoted entirely to promoting educational software for Linux based systems. The KDE Education Project,, and Kid’s Software for Linux are just a few of the websites that are devoted to promoting education software resources for children of all ages.

  • Business

    • SlamData announces General Availability of open source MongoDB BI solution
      SlamData, Inc., commercial developer of the SlamData open source project, announced the General Availability of their MongoDB BI/analytics solution. Installers for the release are available from the SlamData website, or the project can be accessed on GitHub and built from source code. The project is licensed under the AGPL V3 license.

    • 10 Open Source ERP Options
      While the ERP market is dominated by software giants like SAP and Oracle, there are plenty of open source ERP options.

  • Funding

  • BSD


  • Public Services/Government

    • Let Congress use open source, say transparency groups
      Transparency groups are recommending changes to the rules of the House of Representatives that would allow the use of open source software.

      Noting a push toward open source software adoption by the executive branch, the legislative branch should follow suit and allow open source code to be used and published, say recommendations (pdf) issued to the 114th Congress by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the Sunlight Foundation and the OpenGov Foundation.

    • Australian government Drupal-based CMS goes live
      GovCMS, the Australian government's new cloud-based web content management system, has gone live on, the federal government's chief technology officer, John Sheridan, said at a media briefing in Sydney on Tuesday. The site receives more than 2 million visitors each month, and is the first site to migrate to the platform.

      The Department of Finance has developed govCMS, an Australian government-specific distribution of the Drupal open-source content management platform, in conjunction with Acquia — a company founded by Drupal's creator, Dries Buytaert, to provide commercial-grade support for the platform.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • TAH, An Open Source Device That Connects Anything To Your Smartphone
      With smartphone prices falling alarmingly over last few years, everyone is moving from basic phones to Smartphones and with it world of possibilities have opened up, especially when it comes to controlling various devices and gadgets directly from your smartphones.

    • Open-source atlas of the human proteome goes live
      In 2003, a team of scientists and IT engineers set out to create a map of which proteins are found in each part of the body. Now, after committing more than 1,000 man years to the project, the team has released the Human Protein Atlas, an interactive map of the proteome containing 13 million annotated images.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Bacteria Contaminated Cosmetics Quietly Pulled from Shelves
      When Vogue International pulled over 200,000 bottles of OGX Biotin and Collagen Conditioner in May 2014 due to contamination by Burkholderia cepacia, a bacteria that can cause life-threatening respiratory infections for those with weakened immune systems, the only form of notice came from the FDA website, four months after the recall. When Kutol Products Co., a company responsible for two of seven major cosmetic recalls this year, quietly pulled 4,500 units of lotion from shelves, again, no notice was found save on the FDA website. These lotions were contaminated by P. aeruginosa and P. putida, types of bacteria that can cause inflammation, pneumonia, blood infections, and even sepsis, a potentially deadly full-body inflammation.

  • Security

    • Google Open Sources Sophisticated Network Security Tool
      Google has announced an open source tool for testing network traffic security called Nogotofail. The project is now available on GitHub, and Google is inviting the community to work with it and help improve the security of networks and the Internet.

      Many people are familiar with the “HTTPS everywhere” tool, and a related Firefox add-on, which protect online security. Nogotofail is a roughly similar tool, but is more robust. Here are the details.

    • Google Releases Nogotofail Tool to Test Network Security
      The last year has produced a rogues’ gallery of vulnerabilities in transport layer security implementations and new attacks on the key protocols, from Heartbleed to the Apple gotofail flaw to the recent POODLE attack. To help developers and security researchers identify applications that are vulnerable to known SSL/TLS attacks and configuration problems, Google is releasing a tool that checks for these problems.

    • The 7 deadly sins of startup security
      For startups, user growth, product growth, virality, marketing usually goes on the top of their priority list. As part of product planning cycles, embedding information security into their product/service is the last concern for most startups.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Russian Menace Made Simple
      There is currently a major propaganda blitz by arms and security industries to convince us was are in a “new cold war”, and therefore should be spending even more ludicrous sums of money on weapons of mass destruction. Here are a few simple facts.

    • On Iran Policy, America Is Not 'the World'
      There is not a disagreement between Iran and "the world." A small number of countries–the United States being the most powerful one–have made a variety of claims for the past several years about Iran possibly concealing a weapons program. There is no public evidence to support the most extreme accusation, but it doesn't seem to matter; Iran is under stiff sanctions, and US lawmakers want to hit them even harder.

    • Military Personnel Trained by the CIA Used Napalm Against Indigenous People in Brazil
      For the first time in the history of Brazil, the federal government is investigating the deaths and abuses suffered by Indigenous peoples during military dictatorship (1964-1985). The death toll may be twenty times more than previously known.

      Just as in World War II and Vietnam, napalm manufactured in the US burned the bodies of hundreds of indigenous individuals in Brazil, people without an army and without weapons. The objective was to take over their lands. Indigenous peoples in this country suffered the most from the atrocities committed during the military dictatorship (1964-1985) - with the support of the United States. For the first time in Brazil's history, the National Truth Commission, created by the federal government in 2012 in order to investigate political crimes committed by the State during the military dictatorship, gives statistics showing that the number of indigenous individuals killed could be 20 times greater than was previously officially registered by leftist militants.

    • Bob Schieffer, George W. Bush, And The Echoes Of The Iraq War
      There was nothing especially scandalous about Schieffer's decision to treat the former president differently than he did the sitting president, who, by definition, continues to face pressing issues and grapple with unforeseen crises. And yet, there was something noteworthy about the way Schieffer just tossed off Bush's answers about the Iraq War and didn't ask a single obvious follow-up question. The performance nicely captured the double standard that seems to have always existed between Bush and the Beltway press.

    • Never Too Late to Tell Old Iraq Lies
      Perhaps it is fitting that Bush would say, "When you say something as president, you better mean it"–and then say something so demonstrably false. It would have been nice for CBS to point this out.

    • Joy First: Good people must end denial, help ground drones
      As part of the Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, a group of us has been holding vigils at the gates of Volk Field Air National Guard base every month for the past three years. There they are training pilots to operate the Shadow drone, which is used overseas for surveillance and target acquisition. It is part of the program of U.S. drone warfare, responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Iran and Iraq.

    • "Killing Without Heart"
      My father's Air Force tenure in the Strategic Air Command filled my childhood with amazing military technology. Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas featured the U-2 spy plane. The SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet in history, was the pride of Beale Air Force Base in California. Hampton Roads' concentration of armed forces has meant battleships and jet engine noise as territorial background.

    • Weapons Directed by Robots, Not Humans, Raise Ethical Questions
      On a bright fall day last year off the coast of Southern California, an Air Force B-1 bomber launched an experimental missile that may herald the future of warfare.

      Initially, pilots aboard the plane directed the missile, but halfway to its destination it severed communication with its operators. Alone, without human oversight, the missile decided which of three ships to attack, dropping to just above the sea surface and striking a 260-foot unmanned freighter.

      The test was deemed a military success. But the design of this new missile and other weapons that can pick targets on their own has stirred protests from some analysts and scientists, who fear that an ethical boundary is being crossed.

      Arms makers, they say, are taking the first steps toward developing robotic war machines that rely on software, not human instruction, to decide what to target and whom to kill. The speed at which these weapons calculate and move will make them increasingly difficult for humans to control, critics say — or to defend against.

    • Don't Claim to Support the Troops If You Agree With Obama Sending 3,100 Soldiers to Iraq
      We've already learned that counterinsurgency wars aren't conflicts that America can win.

    • Protesters target B.C. drone mission
      Protesters from across Michigan are expected Saturday to demonstrate in Battle Creek against the use of military drones.

    • Israel woman dies amid stab attacks
      Two stabbing attacks have been launched on Israelis, killing a young woman and gravely wounding a soldier.

      The woman was killed at a bus stop in the West Bank and the Israeli soldier injured in Tel Aviv, with the attacks the latest in an ongoing wave of Arab violence that has put the country on edge.

    • The Mystery of Ray McGovern’s Arrest
      Why, I asked myself, would the New York City police arrest me and put me in The Tombs overnight, simply because a security officer at the 92nd Street Y told them I was “not welcome” and should be denied entry to a talk by retired General David Petraeus? In my hand was a ticket for which I had reluctantly shelled out $50.

      I had hoped to hear the photogenic but inept Petraeus explain why the Iraqi troops, which he claimed to have trained so well, had fled northern Iraq leaving their weapons behind at the first whiff of Islamic State militants earlier this year. I even harbored some slight hope that the advertised Q & A might afford hoi polloi like me the chance to ask him a real question.

    • Drone strike kills at least four suspected militants in northwest Pakistan
      A U.S. drone strike killed at least four suspected militants in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, security officials said, the nineteenth such strike reported this year.

      The strike hit a house and a vehicle in Datta Khel area of the North Waziristan tribal area near the Afghan border, three security officials said. The Pakistani government sent a protest to the U.S. government over the strike.

    • After an errant drone strike in Yemen, a trail of secret meetings and U.S. cash
      The shadowy world of 'condolence payments': Did the CIA pay off victims' families after a botched attack?


      The day Jaber and the executor were first offered the cash, they consulted with a committee of village elders. One group, Jaber said, argued against accepting the bag "because this should be public compensation," not "secret compensation where they are trying to push this all under the carpet." But another group, he said, argued, "'If we don't take it, we will lose it — and the families that have lost breadwinners are in a terrible state.' ... And the families said, 'We really need this money.'"

      In the end, the decision reached by the village elders was to take the money.

      So the next morning the executor returned for a second meeting at the National Security Bureau. While there, he told Yahoo News in an interview, he was told by the bureau's legal adviser that were it not for Jaber's trip to Washington the bag of cash "wouldn't have happened," noting that there has been no compensation for the majority of drone strikes.

      The lawyer then asked the executor to sign two documents acknowledging receipt of the money for the deaths of the police officer and the imam "during an American airstrike," copies of the documents show.

      But then, at the lawyer's insistence, the executor added the words "and this compensation comes only from the National Security Bureau" — an effort, as the executor saw it, to remove the fingerprints of the U.S. government.

    • Inside the CIA's Syrian Rebels Vetting Machine
      Nothing has come in for more mockery during the Obama administration’s halting steps into the Syrian civil war than its employment of “moderate” to describe the kind of rebels it is willing to back. In one of the more widely cited japes, The New Yorker’s resident humorist, Andy Borowitz, presented a “Moderate Syrian Application Form,” in which applicants were asked to describe themselves as either “A) Moderate, B) Very moderate, C) Crazy moderate or D) Other.”

    • Addicted to Lies: Kiev, CIA Still Pushing Fake Reports of ‘Russia Invading Ukraine’
      On Friday, the Ukrainian military’s PR machine spun-up its latest episode of the illusive “Russian Invasion”, this time accusing Moscow of dispatching a column of 32 tanks and “truckloads of Russian troops” into the country’s eastern region.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • More Establishment Hypocrisy
      Those suddenly concerned about the European Arrest Warrant in Westminster last night were notably silent when it was used against Julian Assange, with a case that had more holes in it than a condom torn by Anna Ardin, the noted CIA agent.

      Not only was the evidence against Assange not tested, the Supreme Court accepted that a Swedish prosecutor with a screaming political agenda was a “judicial authority”, despite her being neither a judge nor a court. That extraordinary ruling was itself dependent on two even more extraordinary false premises, directly stated in Lord Phillip’s judgement.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Trash Burning, Health, and Global Pollution
      In July 2014, Christine Wiedinmyer, Robert J. Yokelson, and Brian K. Gullett reported in the scholarly journal Environmental Science & Technology that unregulated trash burning around the globe is significantly increasing atmospheric pollution. Their study established the first “comprehensive and consistent” estimates for emissions of greenhouse gases, particulates, and toxic toxic compounds from open waste burning. As they report, these emissions “are not included in many current emission inventories used for chemistry and climate modeling.”

  • Privacy

    • Google’s New Open Source Privacy Effort Looks Back to the ’60s
      Google is building a new open-source tool designed to preserve privacy when analyzing large amounts of data. The company’s researchers unveiled their work at a computer security conference this week.

    • Dark net raids were 'overblown' by police, says Tor Project
      The impact of raids on so-called "dark net" websites has been "way overblown" by police, according to the group responsible for the Tor browser.

      Tor is a popular way of accessing the dark net - websites that are hidden from traditional search engines.

    • Dark net experts trade theories on 'de-cloaking' after raids
      The hidden web community has started trying to find out how services and identities were compromised after police raids led to 17 arrests.

      Last week, several high-profile sites on the so-called "hidden", "dark" or "deep" web were seized.

      Experts are looking at techniques the authorities may have used to "de-cloak" people running services accessed through anonymisation service Tor.

    • Ontario Provincial Police Recommend Ending Anonymity on the Internet
      The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs began its hearings on Bill C-13, the lawful access/cyberbullying bill last week with an appearance from several law enforcement representatives. The Ontario Provincial Police was part of the law enforcement panel and was asked by Senator Tom McInnis, a Conservative Senator from Nova Scotia, about what other laws are needed to address cyberbullying. Scott Naylor of the OPP responded (official transcript not yet posted online):

    • Asset Forfeiture Is Just Cops Going Shopping For Stuff They Want

    • Police Use Department Wish List When Deciding Which Assets to Seize
      The practice, expanded during the war on drugs in the 1980s, has become a staple of law enforcement agencies because it helps finance their work. It is difficult to tell how much has been seized by state and local law enforcement, but under a Justice Department program, the value of assets seized has ballooned to $4.3 billion in the 2012 fiscal year from $407 million in 2001.
    • Are Apple, Google, Microsoft And Mozilla Helping Governments Carry Out Man-In-The-Middle Attacks?
      Back in September, we reported on the Chinese authorities using man-in-the-middle attacks to spy on citizens who carry out Google searches over encrypted connections. That's done by using a fake security certificate to redirect traffic to a server where the traffic is decrypted, analyzed, and blocked if necessary.

    • Apple and Microsoft trust Chinese government to protect your communication
      Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla among others, trust CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center) to protect your communications on their platforms by default, regardless of whether or not you are in China. CNNIC has implemented (and tried to mask) internet censorship, produced malware and has very bad security practices. Tech-savvy users in China have been protesting the inclusion of CNNIC as a trusted certificate authority for years. In January 2013, after Github was attacked in China, we publicly called for the the revocation of the trust certificate for CNNIC. In light of the recent spate of man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks in China, and in an effort to protect user privacy not just in China but everywhere, we again call for revocation of CNNIC Certificate Authority.
    • NSA Chief Bet Money on AT&T as It Spied on You
      The former head of the world’s biggest spy agency didn’t just oversee the collection of billions of AT&T records. He also tried to make money off its customers.

    • Keith Alexander's Investments While At The NSA Included A Data Storage Provider For AT&T
      Keith Alexander's financial records -- sprung by Jason Leopold's lawsuit against the NSA and explored in depth by Shane Harris -- continue to point towards more questionable behavior on the part of the former NSA director.
    • Snowden: Congress needs to encrypt emails
      The communications of lawmakers and staffers on Capitol Hill are not beyond the reach of spies and hackers, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden warned on Friday.

      Without proper protections, he warned that sensitive details about upcoming bills and international deals could be unnervingly insecure.

    • In Surprise Call From Exile, Snowden Calls Out U.S. FBI Director
      “One of the most significant things that was not well understood about the events of last year was that it’s not entirely about surveillance,” said Snowden, who spoke via livestream to a conference on digital news and security held in Washington, D.C. The bespectacled former NSA contractor shot to international fame last year after revealing the government’s bulk intelligence-gathering practices.
    • German TV: Snowden says NSA also practices industrial espionage
      Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden claimed in a new interview that the U.S. agency is involved in industrial espionage.

      In the interview aired Sunday night on German public television broadcaster ARD, Snowden said if German engineering company Siemens had information that would benefit the U.S., but had nothing to do with national security needs, the National Security Agency would still use it.

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation release secure messaging scorecard to help identify the messengers you should be using
      It’s not true to say that everyone has become more wary of their communications data since we heard the news of the capabilities of the spy agencies. However many more are concerned. For those that are the EFF have released a score card outlining the most secure messaging services. On top in the chart are relative newcomers to the encryption market, Silent Phone and Silent Text. Also on top is RedPhone and Text Secure aka Signal on iOS devices. Also scoring perfect points was CryptoCat and ChatSecure + Orbot (both of them running together.)
    • ORG and Privacy International publish guidance on privacy and open government
      Open Rights Group and Privacy International have worked with the Transparency and Accountability Initiative to develop a new chapter on Privacy and Data Protection in the Open Government Guide, which will be officially launched at Open Up on November 12th.

      The new chapter provides a menu of commitments that governments could adopt in their next OGP Action Plans, each supported by standards and country examples. The ‘illustrative commitments’ are not prescriptive, but ideas that governments can adapt to local circumstances in order to enhance existing protections.

      Open Rights Group has long advocated for privacy to be addressed in this context as one of the thorny issues that will make or break the credibility of open government.

    • Where is Congress After a Summer of Proposed NSA Reform?
      Fake Fixes and Bad Bills

      Other bills suffered the same fate. In many cases, these bills were no great loss, being “fake fixes," or bills that would either codify or expand—not fix—the current spying programs.
    • How the NSA Became a Killing Machine
      Bob Stasio never planned to become a cyber warrior. After he graduated high school, Stasio enrolled at the University at Buffalo and entered the ROTC program. He majored in mathematical physics, studying mind-bending theories of quantum mechanics and partial differential equations. The university, eager to graduate students steeped in the hard sciences, waived the major components of his core curriculum requirements, including English. Stasio never wrote a paper in his entire college career.

    • Law enforcement lost public's trust after NSA leaks, says UK police chief
      Law enforcement agencies lost the public’s trust after disclosures on government surveillance by the whistleblower Edward Snowden and must ensure that they strike the right balance between privacy and security, the UK’s most senior police officer said on Thursday.

      Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, commissioner of the Metropolitan police in London, told a conference of senior American police chiefs that authorities must take care “post-Snowden” to use the most intrusive surveillance tools available to them “only where necessary”, or “risk losing them altogether”.

      “We need to ensure that where law enforcement accesses private communications there is a process of authorisation, oversight and governance that gets the balance right between the individual’s right to privacy and their right to be protected from serious crime,” said Hogan-Howe, whose force that takes the lead on police counter-terrorism efforts in the UK.
    • Is the NSA actually making us worse at fighting terrorism?
      The head of the British electronic spy agency GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, created a minor flap last week in an article he wrote for the Financial Times.

      In effect, Hannigan argued that more robust encryption procedures by private Internet companies were unwittingly aiding terrorists such as the Islamic State (IS) or al-Qaida, by making it harder for organizations like the NSA and GCHQ to monitor online traffic. The implication was clear: The more that our personal privacy is respected and protected, the greater the danger we will face from evildoers.

    • Leahy pulls rank on lame-duck agenda
      Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont is twisting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) arm about passing surveillance reform in the lame-duck session of Congress despite reluctance from the White House.

      Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the most senior member of the Democratic caucus, is insisting his bill, the USA Freedom Act, pass before he loses his gavel at the end of the year.
    • NSA Reform Drifts Sideways In The Senate
      According to Senate sources speaking to The Hill, the White House would prefer not to pass NSA reform in the coming lame duck Congressional session.

      Current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy, is trying to press forward with a vote on the bill that he authored — the USA FREEDOM Act — this year. The legislation has attracted approbation from technology companies and civil groups. A bill with the same name passed the House previously, but was scorned by privacy advocates as having been neutered in its final days before its vote.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Obama backs net neutrality plan
      Open net access should be seen as a basic right that all Americans should enjoy, President Obama has said.

      He said he supported net neutrality, which means all data travels on cables with the same priority.

      There should be no paid prioritisation system that slowed services if they did not pay a fee, he added.

    • Without Greater Transparency And Meaningful Net Neutrality Rules, The Netflix Interconnection War Will Get Much, Much Uglier
      If you've followed the ongoing feud between Netflix and the nation's biggest ISPs, you'll recall that streaming performance on the nation's four biggest ISPs (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner Cable) mysteriously started to go to hell earlier this year, and was only resolved once Netflix acquiesced to ISP demands to bypass transit partners and pay carriers for direct interconnection. Though the FCC has refused to include interconnection in their consideration of new net neutrality rules, we've noted how it's really the edges of these networks where the biggest neutrality battles are now being waged.

    • Will an open Internet policy emerge? FCC Advisor on net neutrality
      Daniel Alvarez—Legal Advisor for Wireline, Public Safety, and Homeland Security at the FCC (Federal Communications Commission)—spoke at a forum last week with the North Carolina Technology Association about the FCC’s deliberations on a framework to "protect and promote Internet openness."


      Over the past decade, the FCC has made a few attempts to provide guidelines or regulations that would prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from blocking or discriminating against certain online services, especially from competitors. In January 2014, the DC Circuit court held that while the FCC generally has authority to regulate broadband pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, the anti-blocking and anti-discrimination provisions of its Open Internet Order were Title II regulations that could not be applied to Title I services.

    • Obama trying to push FCC to enforce tough rules to ensure Net Neutrality
      For those not following net neutrality, it’s the concept where all users can access any website online at an equal speed, like we can now. However there is a subset of people who say that what we have today isn’t fair to ISPs and argue for a model where you pay more for certain services. If you look at services like Netflix, it’s what the average person uses the most and the content is bandwidth heavy. On the other hand you might have someone who never uses Netflix and other streaming services. Both of these people using the internet for one hour non-stop will have widely different data usages in that time and so some people argue for the person using more bandwidth to pay more for their service.

    • Obama wants more web regulation [anti-Net neutrality]
      Barack Obama has embraced a radical change in how the US government treats internet service, coming down on the side of consumer activists who fear slower download speeds and higher costs but angering US cable giants who say the plan would kill jobs.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Big Numbers: Google Challenges Wolfram to Open Up Math
      Sage, the free and open source analog to Wolfram Research’s Mathematica, is now SageMathCloud. Thanks to collaboration with Google’s cloud services, Sage is now in a position to draw more mathematicians to its community.

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