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Links 1/4/2015: Firefox 37, VirtualBox 5.0 Beta





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Contents





GNU/Linux



Free Software/Open Source



  • Why open source and enterprise users are natural allies
    Open source software and enterprise users are natural allies. For example, at HotWax Systems, enterprise users are our focus customers, and open source software is at the core of the capabilities we deliver.


  • The benefits of open source identity management software
    What happens when your identity vendor doubles its software maintenance costs and management is so tired of being held at virtual vendor gunpoint that they start looking for an equivalent product in the marketplace? Realistically, there are two ways to respond to this problem: First, go with another vendor and hope it doesn't have the same sales strategy as the last one, or second, look to see if there's something on the open source...


  • Events



  • Web Browsers



  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice



  • CMS



    • How Moodle is driven by user and community feedback
      Moodle is a well-established, highly flexible open source learning platform, having grown from small beginnings at the start of the century into the mainstream solution for millions of people worldwide. Its customizable and secure learning management features allow anyone to create a private website filled with dynamic courses in any subject that promote learning on a schedule that suits students.




  • Education



    • OSS Watch: ‘Universities need to adapt to open source’
      Computer Science students are not learning the skills they need for working in the modern free and open source-friendly of software development, says Scott Wilson, service manager at OSS Watch, a service for higher and further education institutions in the UK. “Institutions need to rethink how they teach computing, to ensure students can practice the craft of software development, such as the use of source control, issue tracking and test-driven development, rather than just programming languages.”




  • BSD



    • OpenBSD 5.7 highlights
      The OpenBSD 5.7 release is still a month away, but the changes have been done for some time. The release page lists lots of changes, though certainly not all, and sometimes it’s hard to tell the big changes from the small changes. Annoying perhaps, but rewarding to someone who reads through the entire list looking for hidden gems. A few notes about changes I found personally interesting.




  • Public Services/Government



    • Hungary: open source key to Internet security
      The use of open source and open standards is essential for a secure Internet, the Hungarian government says in a statement following a workshop with IT researchers and ICT service providers. This type of software will also reduce the cost of ICT and contribute to the country’s economy, says Tamas Deutsch.




  • Licensing



    • Allwinner: "We Are Taking Initiative Actions Internally"
      Allwinner has been taking a lot of heat lately for violating open-source licenses with their Linux binary blob components. They then got caught obfuscating their code to try to hide their usage of open-source code, shifted around their licenses, and has continued jerking around the open-source community.




  • Openness/Sharing



    • Jersey eGovernment to be restarted
      The government of Jersey is to restart its eGovernment project, according to press reports. The government failed to find a suitable contractor for the project and is reconsidering its objectives and approach. Jersey wants to make most of the island’s public administration services available online.






Leftovers



  • Science



    • Image of the Day: Intersex Fish
      Researchers found a developing egg in the testes of a male deep sea trout off the coast of France, an intersex condition possibly linked to pollution levels in the surrounding waters.




  • Security



  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression



    • Obama Personally Tells the Egyptian Dictator that U.S. Will Again Send Weapons (and Cash) to his Regime
      Yesterday, the Egyptian regime announced it was prosecuting witnesses who say they saw a police officer murder an unarmed poet and activist during a demonstration, the latest in a long line of brutal human rights abuses that includes imprisoning journalists, prosecuting LGBT citizens, and mass executions of protesters. Last June, Human Rights Watch said that Egyptian “security forces have carried out mass arrests and torture that harken back to the darkest days of former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.”






  • Finance



    • Harry Reid’s appalling defense of his attack on Mitt Romney’s tax record
      One of the more outlandish moments of the 2012 campaign came when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went to the floor of the world's greatest deliberative body and accused GOP nominee Mitt Romney of not paying any taxes at all for the past 10 years. Reid's evidence? Someone had told him. (That "someone" is alleged to be Jon Huntsman, father of the former Utah governor. Huntsman denies involvement.)




  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying



    • Lee Kuan Yew is finally dead — and America’s elites are eulogizing a tyrant and psychological monster
      Lee Kuan Yew made Singapore wealthy & kept people in line with barbaric fear. Clinton & Kissinger should be ashamed


    • Media Inflate Threat With ‘ISIS Plots’ That Don’t Actually Involve ISIS
      Right on cue, the American media publish dressed-up FBI press releases about the “disrupted” plot, complete with balaclava-wearing stock photos: “FBI Disrupts Plot to Kill Scores at Military Base on Behalf of Islamic State” was the Washington Post‘s headline (3/26/15).

      These outlets, as usual, omitted the rather awkward fact that this “ISIS plot” did not actually involve anyone in ISIS: At no point was there any material contact between anyone in ISIS and the Edmond cousins. There was, as the criminal complaint lays out, lots of contact between the Edmond cousins and what they thought was ISIS, but at no point was there any contact with ISIS–the designated terror organization that the US is currently launching airstrikes against.




  • Censorship



    • New Pirate Bay Blockade Foiled By Simple DNS Trick
      The world's newest blockade of The Pirate Bay has been thwarted in a matter of minutes. After a court in Spain ordered the country's ISPs to block the notorious site on Friday, users who tweaked their connections to use Google's DNS instead of the one provided by their service provider were back on the site in seconds.


    • How The TPP Agreement Could Be Used To Undermine Free Speech And Fair Use In The US
      We've been writing a lot about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement over the past few years. There are many, many problems with it, but the two key ones are the intellectual property chapter and the investment chapter. Unlike some who are protesting TPP, we actually think that free trade is generally a good thing and important for the economy -- but neither the intellectual property section nor the investment chapter are really about free trade. In many ways, they're about the opposite: trying to put in place protectionist/mercantilist policies that benefit the interests of a few large legacy industries over the public and actual competition and trade. We've already discussed many of the problems of the intellectual property chapter -- which is still being fought over -- including that it would block the US from reforming copyright to lower copyright term lengths (as even the head of the Copyright Office, Maria Pallante has argued for).




  • Privacy



    • [NyTimes] The French Surveillance State
      Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France has presented yet another antiterrorism bill to Parliament. French lawmakers, who overwhelmingly approved a sweeping antiterrorism bill in September, are scheduled to debate the new bill this month.


    • The French Surveillance State
      Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France has presented yet another antiterrorism bill to Parliament. French lawmakers, who overwhelmingly approved a sweeping antiterrorism bill in September, are scheduled to debate the new bill this month. Mr. Valls argues that the bill’s sweeping new provisions for government surveillance are necessary to monitor potential terrorist-related activity, especially on the Internet and cellphones.


    • French Surveillance Bill: Time To Act!
      As the French Intelligence Bill (which should be more aptly called the French Mass Surveillance Bill) is being examined from 1 April by the French Parliament's Law Commission, La Quadrature du Net launches a new campaign website and calls on all citizens to mobilize far and wide in order to convince Members of the French Parliament to refuse a law which, in its current form, organises mass surveillance and legalises intelligence methods that are highly detrimental to fundamental freedoms, all without any serious guarantees against abuse.


    • Facebook tracks everyone, everywhere, finds Belgian privacy probe
      FACEBOOK IS DISPUTING the findings of a Belgian study into the firm's treatment of user rights, and has claimed that the opinions are wrong and that actually it does a lot for human privacy.


    • How Big Business Is Helping Expand NSA Surveillance, Snowden Be Damned
      Today, the bill is back, largely unchanged, and if congressional insiders and the bill’s sponsors are to believed, the legislation could end up on President Obama’s desk as soon as this month. In another boon to the legislation, Obama is expected to reverse his past opposition and sign it, albeit in an amended and renamed form (CISPA is now CISA, the “Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act”). The reversal comes in the wake of high-profile hacks on JPMorgan Chase and Sony Pictures Entertainment. The bill has also benefitted greatly from lobbying by big business, which sees it as a way to cut costs and to shift some anti-hacking defenses onto the government.




  • Civil Rights



    • Leaked TPP Investment Chapter Reveals Serious Threat to User Safeguards
      A newly leaked chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement from Wikileaks has confirmed some of our worst fears about the agreement. The latest provisions would enable multinational corporations to undermine public interest rules through an international tribunal process called investor state dispute settlement (ISDS). Under this process, foreign companies can challenge any new law or government action at the federal, state, or local level, in a country that is a signatory to the agreement. Companies can file such lawsuits based upon their claim that the law or action harms their present or future profits. If they win, there are no monetary limits to the potential award.


    • New TPP leak reveals how we’re trading our sovereignty for cheap tariffs
      WikiLeaks has published the secret investment chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Dr Matthew Rimmer, associate professor at ANU College of Law, explains its insidious implications.


    • Cop caught berating Uber driver in xenophobic rant is NYPD detective, police sources say
      The angry lawman who was caught on camera belittling an Uber driver during a bias-fueled tirade in the West Village is an NYPD detective assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, police sources confirmed Tuesday.

      The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the video, which shows Det. Patrick Cherry lambasting the Uber driver during a traffic stop and mocking his broken English.

      “I don't know where you're coming from, where you think you're appropriate in doing that; that's not the way it works. How long have you been in this country?” Cherry, who is white, barked at the driver after pulling him over in an unmarked car with flashing lights, according to video of the encounter.


    • Witnesses, Who Say Police Killed Activist, Are to Be Charged in Egypt
      Egyptian prosecutors are bringing criminal charges against witnesses who said they saw the police kill an unarmed poet and activist during a demonstration, a lawyer who has seen the charges said on Monday.

      The witnesses voluntarily told the Egyptian authorities that on Jan. 24, they had seen a group of riot police officers fire birdshot across a street into the peaceful march, which had been headed to Tahrir Square to lay memorial flowers to mark the anniversary, on the following day, of the Arab Spring uprising here.


    • Chinese court jails Muslim for 6 years for growing beard, wife gets 2 years for wearing veil
      A court in China’s mainly Muslim Xinjiang region has sentenced a man to six years in prison for “provoking trouble” and growing a beard, a practice discouraged by local authorities, a newspaper reported Sunday.


    • Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
      That all changed following Katie’s comments, which pointedly linked the Pakistan flag to paedophilia. Employing her usual hateful and provocative shtick she went on to demand whether the nine men convicted in Rochdale of child grooming and sexual offences in 2012 were “my friends”. More abuse from Katie followed before she finished with a promise to come to Rochdale and “explain why no one messes with our white girls”.

      It would be easy to dismiss this as the vacuous posturing of an ill-informed pundit except my timeline suddenly became filled with a deluge of racist bile from Katie’s supporters. Soon I was getting threats from the EDL. A far right group called the North West Infidels suddenly announced they would be marching on our town and the Internet was quickly awash with intolerant abuse directed towards anyone of Pakistani origin in our town.


    • Leann and Paul DeHart to cross US/Canada border tomorrow, 1 April, 10am EDT
      With Paul having already been forced to give testimony to a secret grand jury in Washington DC regarding possible espionage charges, Matt’s parents are concerned that the actions they took to protect their son may have put them in legal jeopardy too.

      Matt, the Courage Foundation’s third beneficiary and a former US Air National Guard drone team member, was deported from Canada to the US on 1 March 2015, after being denied political asylum. Matt had sought refuge in Canada after he was tortured by the FBI during interrogation. The FBI’s own report confirms that US agents questioned him over an “espionage matter.” The FBI asked him about his unit, Anonymous, and WikiLeaks, yet they subsequently presented him with charges related to accusations of teenage pornography. Canadian officials said that the teen porn allegations have “no credible and trustworthy evidence” but deported him regardless, and Matt will be arraigned on Tuesday, 2 April, in Tennessee.
    • 5 other insane things a corrupt DEA agent did while allegedly stealing Bitcoin from Silk Road
      Anyone who has been following the real-life criminal drama swirling around the online drug marketplace Silk Road had their mind blown this week when San Francisco prosecutors announced charges against two federal agents involved in the investigation. DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV and Secret Service agent Shawn Bridges were allegedly helping themselves to copious amounts of Bitcoin through theft, deception and fraud, using the inside information and technical access they had to Silk Road operations as federal investigators.


    • Bureau of Prisons Demanded Whistleblower Work in Jail Cell
      A special prosecutor has stopped retaliation against a whistleblower committed directly under the nose of the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.
    • “Blackwater” Leads Failed Afghan Drug War, Reaps Hundreds of Millions of Dollars
      A mercenary force infamous for a 2007 massacre in central Baghdad has received nearly $600 million from US taxpayers to clamp down on Afghan opium production—an effort that’s been widely reported as a complete failure.

      New data released Tuesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) shows that the lion’s share of private contracting dollars spent by the Department of Defense in counter-narcotics operations is going to the security firm Academi—a corporation formerly known as Blackwater.


    • After a story is published, a minimum wage worker loses her job
      Shanna Tippen was another hourly worker at the bottom of the nation’s economy, looking forward to a 25-cent bump in the Arkansas minimum wage that would make it easier for her to buy diapers for her grandson. When I wrote about her in The Post last month, she said the minimum wage hike would bring her a bit of financial relief, but it wouldn’t lift her above the poverty line.




  • Internet/Net Neutrality



    • The Path Toward Tomorrow’s Internet
      High school students in Tennessee can see and manipulate ocean plankton under a superhigh-resolution microscope in Southern California, with a biologist in California serving as their tour guide.

      Surgeons in Cleveland and Los Angeles share insights and run through a simulation of brain surgery on a biologically exact image of the patient’s brain just before the real operation begins.

      Harnessing data from sources ranging from environmental sensor networks to patient records, researchers in Dallas and elsewhere are working to someday be able to send personalized alerts to people who are particularly sensitive to tiny airborne particles — notably, the 44,000 Americans who have an asthma attack each day, with 1,200 of them having to be admitted to a hospital.


    • Massive Anti-Net Neutrality E-mail Campaign Shows Signs Of Faking Many Signatures
      During the first round of the FCC's net neutrality comment period, the agency was absolutely swamped by public input (including ours), the vast majority of it supporting net neutrality. After the agency released a database of the comments, analysis of the comments showed that while around half were generated via "outrage-o-matic" forms from various consumer advocacy groups, once you got into the other half of the comments -- almost all were in support of net neutrality. After the volume of pro-neutrality comments received ample media coverage, anti-neutrality organizations -- like the Phil Kerpen's Koch-Funded "American Commitment" -- dramatically ramped up their automated form comment efforts to try and balance the comment scales.




  • Intellectual Monopolies



    • Copyrights



      • Georgia Supreme Court: No, Writing Mean Things About Copyright Trolling By Linda Ellis Is Not 'Stalking'
        A few years ago, we wrote about a terrible Georgia state court ruling against Matt Chan, the operator of Extortion Letter Info (ELI), a website/forum that has tracked copyright trolling for many years. There had been a number of discussions on the site about Linda Ellis, who is somewhat notorious for her trolling effort. Ellis wrote a poem called "The Dash" that gets reposted a lot online. Ellis and her lawyers then send threat letters, emphasizing the possible $150,000 in statutory damages (yet another example of how statutory damages aid in copyright trolling), before suggesting much lower (but still crazy high) dollar amounts to "settle." While some of the discussions on ELI were overly aggressive towards Ellis, it still seemed ridiculous that the court ordered Chan to remove all content relating to Ellis and to block any future mentions of her.


      • KickassTorrents Celebrates ‘Happy Torrents Day’


        For the fourth year in a row KickassTorrents is celebrating Happy Torrents Day by encouraging users to download and share as much as possible. The initiative was started to celebrate file-sharing and is growing bigger every year. The latest edition features various challenges and also sees the debut of a Kickass magazine and a Torrents Day album.








Recent Techrights' Posts

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VS Code is proprietary spyware of Microsoft. Jack Wallen keeps promoting its use.
 
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it gets worse
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congratulating or welcoming Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (E.E.E.)
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Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock