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Links 5/11/2015: Framing Linus Torvalds, NetBeans IDE 8.1

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Xiaomi Will Start Selling Two Linux Laptops In 2016
      According to a press release by Inventec, their company is currently in collaboration with Xiaomi Corp. to produce two new laptops. Xiaomi will start selling two Linux laptops early next year, according to a report. Both will be introduced under the Xiaomi name brand and are reported for a scheduled release date in the early part of 2016.

    • DDoS, botnet, and fiber cut fail to stop Twitchers crowd-installing Linux
      The Twitch in the Shell project has successfully installed Arch Linux using hundreds of people simultaneously hammering keys in a terminal. One of the organizers has explained to The Reg how it was done.

  • Server

    • Unikernels: The Next Generation of Cloud Technology
      Most technologists have heard about software containers (or simply "containers") – a technology that became popularized by Docker, which is an open platform for building, shipping and running distributed applications through containers. Containers use shared operating systems to create a capsule, of sorts, to contain your application.

      They are increasingly popular, but are not the panacea able to solve all the new challenges cloud computing presents. Problems mainly pertaining to security tend to hinder this technology. However, a new technology on the rise — unikernels — holds great promise for the next generation of cloud infrastructure.

    • Juniper Goes All in for SDN
      Disaggregated Junos software is part of Juniper's effort to extract that software value in a more meaningful way, while providing more choice to customers. With the disaggregated model, instead of simply just putting Junos on top of hardware, now there will be a thin Linux kernel with containers into which Junos, services and other third party tools and apps can be deployed.

    • ISG Cloud Comparison Indexâ„¢: Cost of Public Cloud Linux Highly Competitive with Internal IT
      The October ISG Cloud Comparison Indexâ„¢ shows configurations that are run on a public cloud version of the Linux operating system can be highly cost competitive with those run on internal information technology. However, when deciding between options, buyers need to consider the significant price differences between cloud providers and the added costs of running enterprise-class operating systems on the public cloud, the report said.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXQt 0.10 Release Fixes Over 400 Issues

    • LXQt 0.10 Released!
      This release, we focused on cleanup, polishing and quality-of-life improvements, with over 400 issues fixed and dozens of new translations. We have also gained two new frameworks: Solid, which replaces liblxqt-mount and some custom power management code and libkscreen, which replaces system xrandr calls and is wayland forward-compatible.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • LISA 2015 - Washington DC, November 11 and 12
        KDE will have an exhibit in the Expo at the upcoming LISA (Large Installation System Administration) Conference. The full conference takes place November 8 ‒ 13 in Washington D.C. The Expo is open on the 11th and 12th. There is no charge to attend the Expo.

      • Qt on Android Webinar slides
        It’s hard to believe that more than a year has gone by since BogDan and I did our Qt on Android webinar! Like all good things that come to an end, so has the hosting for the archived version of the webinar. We hate to deprive anyone of still useful content, so here’s a link to the slides from the webinar for anyone who’s looking for them.

      • Tips from the Experts
        We’re looking forward to exposing some gems hidden in the KDAB knowledge base. And we’d love feedback too—tell us if you find these tips useful, or what dramatic results you’ve achieved. We love to help, and we love hearing stories about how we helped. Your feedback helps us know that we’re on the right track.

      • Kubuntu: KDE 4.14.3 Bugfix release for Trusty is now available.
        I have been hard at work to bring to you 4.14.3 Bugfix release for Trusty!

      • A pager for activities
        One of the new useful tiny plasmoids that will be available in Plasma 5.5 is one called Activity Pager: you can find it in the kdeplasma-addons package of the release.

      • Call for new Plasma wallpapers contribution
        We’re all excited for the new release of Plasma coming in less than a month and we at the Visual Design Group want to make it more exciting for our users too.

        Every other release we try to change the extra wallpapers that we’re shipping with Plasma to our users and now it’s time the refresh the collection again.

      • Upgrading libhybris
        One of the most important dependencies for our phone project is libhybris. Libhybris is a neat technology to allow interfacing with Android drivers allowing for example to bring Wayland to a device where all we have are Android drivers.

        Given that KWin provides a hwcomposer backend which uses libhybris to create an OpenGL context. All other applications need libhybris indirectly to have the Wayland OpenGL buffer exchange work automatically.


        As we now use upstream libhybris I hope to see distributions to pick up the work and provide a Plasma phone spin. I’d love to see an openSUSE phone or a Fedora phone (or any other distribution).

      • QRegExp + QStringLiteral = crash at exit

      • Latinoware 2015
        Having Six talks on the event, whe managed to talk about beginner stuff to advanced ones without leaving anyone behind. Our talks this year – KDE Sysadmin: You can help even if you don’t progam (speaker Gomex) – KDE and Linus: Living Dangerously – my adventures in Programming (speaker Tomaz Canabrava) – KDE: First Steps to Contribute (speaker Icaro (Igor) Jerry Santana) – KDE Plasma Mobile (speaker Helio Castro) – KDE Plasma 5: Full of Resources (speaker Henrique Sant’Anna) – KDE: The structure behind it (speaker Helio Castro)

      • Calligra 2.9.9 Released
        We are happy to announce the release of the Calligra Suite, and Calligra Active 2.9.9. It is recommended update for the 2.9 series of the applications and underlying development frameworks.

      • Krita 2.9.9 Released
        The ninth semi-monthly bug fix release of Krita is out!
      • Krita 2.9.9 (Open-Source Photo Manipulation Software) Brings A Lot Of Changes
        As you may know, Krita is an open-source image manipulation software, allowing the user to either create pictures from scratch or edit existing images. It is good because it supports most graphics tablets very well.

      • Where have I been?
        And this is the reason behind my disappearance, my job at BlueSystems was not fun anymore and every project I mantained at KDE felt more like a chore than anything else. After a month of not jumping out of the bed to head to work it was time to move on. So I passed maintainership to the people that were actually doing the job (special mention to David) and I quit my job as a full time KDE hacker.
      • Embedding QML: Why, Where, and How
        KDAB believes that it is critical for our business to invest into Qt3D and Qt, in general, to keep pushing the technology forward and to ensure it remains competitive.
      • Winners Selected from Giveaway
        And the giveaway is over! I want to thank everyone for entering and showing your support for Krita.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • MATE 1.12 released
        After 5 months of development the MATE Desktop team are proud to announce the release of MATE Desktop 1.12. We’d like to thank every MATE contributor and user.

      • Welcome to Alexandre Franke, new board member
        As many of you will be aware, Christian Hergert recently stepped down from the GNOME Foundation Board. As a result, we've had a place on the board to fill. In these situations, the bylaws [1] state that the Board of Directors may choose a replacement of their choosing [2].

      • Native file choosers in Gtk+
        Ideally something like this would be completely hidden by the toolkit, and the application would just use the regular file chooser APIs. However, the Gtk+ filechooser APIs expose too much details about the file chooser dialog, which means it has to be a regular in-process widget. Unfortunately this means we can’t replace it by an out-of-process dialog.

  • Distributions

    • CoreOS Debuts Tectonic, a Commercial Kubernetes Distro
      CoreOS has taken the wraps off Tectonic, a commercial distribution of the Kubernetes container manager, one focused for enterprise usage.

      Tectonic can be used to run container-based workloads across a variety of cloud services, or within an organization’s own data center, or it could be used to shuffle containers across these environments.

    • The Decline of Linux Diversity
      Eleven months later, the decline seems to be continuing at about the same rate, with the number of active distributions down to 276, and the decline is starting to seem an actual trend.

      Critics might argue that the apparent trend might not be a trend at all. It could be a reflection of Distrowatch's criteria for listing a distribution, or how quickly Distrowatch posts new distributions. However, given that the site regularly posts announcements of new releases for both new and established distros, there seems no reason for either to be a factor. Admittedly, Distro Hunt, a newer, similar site, includes listings that Distrowatch does not. But since projects can add their own descriptions to Distro Hunt, it’s possible that some of its entries have never had a release or disappeared without taking down their descriptions. Moreover, unlike Distrowatch, Distro Hunt provides no easy way of counting the total. The best available (if tentative) evidence, then, is that the trend exists.

    • Reviews

      • GALPon MiniNo Makes Kid-Friendly Lightweight Linux
        The GALPon MiniNo distro is akin to a wolf in sheep's clothing. It will rival any of the leading Linux communities for performance.

        Widespread acceptance in the educational and consumer markets with non-Spanish-speaking users is at risk. The developers have to improve on the language localization issues.

        Critical packages like the system update launchers display in Spanish only. Others software titles have the same problem. Others suffer from bits and pieces of vocabulary crossover

    • New Releases

      • Vinux 5.0 released
        This release features not just the Unity Desktop, but Gnome-shell and the ever popular Gnome 2 fork called Mate, though we primarily will support Unity only.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • SteamOS Is Now Ready for Launch with Updates to Linux Kernel 4.1 and New Drivers
          Valve is getting really close to the launch of the Steam Machines, and the developers are preparing the SteamOS distro. They have just released a new stable update, and it comes with a ton of updates.

        • What happened to Mepis?
          My Linux migration story started in 2009, when I bought a tiny Asus Eee pc netbook pre-installed with Linux, a version of Xandros that I did not like much.

          In trying to replace it, I had my first encounter with Xubuntu (no wi-fi support), Debian (minimal shell), and Mandriva, which I installed because it supported wi-fi out of the box.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Software Centre To Be Replaced in 16.04 LTS
            Users of the Xenial Xerus desktop will find that the familiar (and somewhat cumbersome) Ubuntu Software Centre is no longer available.

            GNOME’s Software application will – according to current plans – take its place as the default and package management utility on the Unity 7-based desktop.

          • Prototype: A GUI-friendly Snappy
            So this is the week of the Ubuntu Online Summit, and many of the sessions are discussing Snappy. As you may know, Snappy is currently pretty geared toward embedded, headless devices. However, it is the successor to Click, and eventually the phones will be based upon it. To drive that effort forward, a few colleagues and I had a session (you can watch the video) where we discussed the path forward for supporting snaps on other devices, specifically the phone and the desktop.

          • The Ubuntu Online Summit Begins Tomorrow For The Xenial Xerus
            The Ubuntu Online Summit for developers and contributors to Ubuntu Linux begins tomorrow and runs through Thursday as planning gets underway for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, a.k.a. the Xenial Xerus.

            The Ubuntu Online Summit runs from 3 November to 5 November and can be monitored via

          • Mark Shuttleworth Kicks Off Ubuntu 16.04 Development Discussions
            The video is embedded below for those interested in detail what Mark had to say during his nearly hour-long talk. Among the focuses were reiterating that Ubuntu 16.04 is a Long-Term Support (LTS) release, work is ongoing towards the Ubuntu convergence goals and they are making progress, and also talk of Ubuntu in other areas like drones.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Will Try To Be Python-3-Only, No Python 2 By Default
            For years Ubuntu developers have been working on moving from Python 2 to Python 3 and for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS next April that goal will hopefully be finally realized.

            There were some dreams that the Python 2 to Python 3 migration would happen for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS so that Python 3 would be the default, now two years later, it looks like it might finally happen for the Xenial Xerus. A session was held today during the Ubuntu Online Summit for migrating over to Python 3 by default and to no longer ship Python 2 as part of the default package-set.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to Drop Ubuntu Software Center for GNOME Software
            Canonical is looking to make some substantial changes to the Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus), and the developers are preparing to drop Ubuntu Software Center and replace it with GNOME Software.

          • Firefox 42 Arrives in All Supported Ubuntu OSes
            Canonical just revealed that the latest Firefox 42.0 is now in the official repositories for the users of Ubuntu 15.10, Ubuntu 15.04, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Unity 7 to Support Snappy Packages
            Canonical has invested a lot of time and resources in the new Snappy packages, so it’s only natural that the developers want to make sure that people will be able to use it in the regular deb-based Ubuntu system.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 Drops Brasero and Empathy, GNOME Calendar to Be Adopted
            Ubuntu developers have a lot of plans for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and it already seems like it’s going to be a fascinating release. They have just announced that the Brasero and Empathy apps will no longer be included by default, and GNOME Calendar will be implemented.

          • New USB Startup Creator Is Being Made for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
            The application used in Ubuntu systems to write ISOs to USB disks, the Startup Creator, is being redesigned and rebuilt for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

          • Mark Shuttleworth Thinks That Using Ubuntu Touch On More Phones Would Be A Mistake Right Now
            As you may know, Canonical’s Ubuntu Touch is used by default on Meizu MX4, BQ Aquaris E4.5 and BQ Aquaris E5 and officially supported on the LG Nexus 4. While the BQ phones are mid-range, Meizu is among the most popular phone vendors in China, the MX4 being a premium headset.

          • Various Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Decisions From This Week's Summit
            Aside from trying to make Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Python-3-only, Kubuntu developers planning for Xenial, and Mark Shuttleworth's keynote, there's also been a lot of other interesting sessions to happen over the first two days of this week's Ubuntu Online Summit.

          • Firefox 42 Has Been Added To The Default Repositories Of All The Supported Ubuntu Systems
          • Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) Desktop Screenshots Tour
            Ubuntu 15.10 will be supported for 9 months for Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Core, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin along with all other flavours.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wind blows Helix Cloud, Pulsar Linux, Rocket RTOS toward IoT
      Wind River unveiled a “Helix Cloud” platform for IoT development and management, plus two small-footprint OSes: a “Rocket” RTOS and “Pulsar Linux.”

      Intel subsidiary Wind River has released Wind River Pulsar Linux, an IoT-oriented version of its commercial Wind River Linux distribution, as well as a new Wind River Rocket RTOS. Both of these embedded OSes are designed to work with a newly unveiled Wind River Helix Cloud platform for developing, testing, monitoring, and analyzing cloud-connected IoT applications. Wind River Helix Cloud is available in App, Lab, and Device versions, and is said to provide “anytime, anywhere access to development tools, virtual labs, and deployed devices.” (see farther below).

    • DAQ SBC runs Linux on Zynq, offers FMC expansion
      Innovative Integration’s “Cardsharp” SBC is an XMC form-factor board that runs Linux on a Zynq-Z7045, and provides an FMC slot compatible with FMC modules.

      Innovative Integration has launched a “turnkey embedded instrument” called the Cardsharp designed for embedded and mobile instrumentation, remote autonomous I/O, and distributed data acquisition applications. The Linux-based, 149 x 74mm XMC form-factor single-board computer is also said to be “perfect for portable or vehicle-based data loggers or handheld field equipment use.”

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Move over FireFox OS and BlackBerry, Tizen is now the Fourth Largest Smartphone OS in Q3 2015
          Earlier this year, Tizen overtook the Firefox Operating System (OS) and became the world’s No.5 Smartphone OS in Q2 2015. That was an Important step for the Linux based OS to gain wider recognition. Now, according to a published report, Tizen has overtaken Blackberry to become the Fourth largest OS shipping in Q3 2015. Android saw a slight Increase in market share whilst Apple gained momentum with their new iPhone models and Microsoft, Blackberry and firefox all drilled down.

        • Video: TIZEN – The OS of Everything
          Tizen the OS of Everything. That was the slogan that the Tizen Developer Conference (TDC) 2015 in Shenzhen this year. Tizen was Introduced to devs as a versatile OS that is light on CPU, Battery and Memory. You can develop WebApps using HTML5 / CSS3 / JS and also Native apps using Native – C / EFL. There are also Hybrid Apps, but as the name suggests are a mix between Web and Native apps.

      • Android

        • Android for Work now in more than 19,000 organisations
        • What it’s like to switch to Android after using only iPhones for 6 years
        • Google Android Update Includes Fix for New Stagefright Flaw

        • The best smartwatch for Android
          Smartwatches really only came onto the scene in a major way in the past two years — Google, Apple, and Samsung are all hoping it'll be the next big computing platform. Since then, we've seen lots of manufacturers try different strategies for strapping a computer on your wrist, but they were all pretty bad experiences — until right around now. More importantly, smartwatches have stopped looking like hideous wrist gadgets and more like, well, watches.

        • Is Google spinning a merged Chrome/Android OS for laptops?
          So far, most of the signs for a potential merger have occurred on the Chrome OS side rather than Android. In April of this year Google opened up its App Runtime for Chrome (ARC), enabling the porting of Android apps to Chrome OS. In addition, the Chrome OS Chrome Launcher 2.0 features a more Android-like Material Design, and integrates Android’s Google Now personal assistant.

          There was not much evidence of a Chrome OS infusion in the most recent Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” release. However, Google recently furthered its vision of Android on the desktop with the Pixel C, a keyboard-convertible tablet developed by Google’s Chromebook team.

        • Why an iPhone user switched to Android after six years
          A user switches to Android after six years of iPhones

          There's been quite a lot of stories in the media about Android users switching to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. But there are also some iPhone users who have gone the other way and switched to Android.

        • An Android Phone After 6 Years of iPhones
          Before I switched to Android I googled like crazy for similar articles. I was interested in the most common experience of former iPhone users on Android phones. Unfortunately, I couldn't find too much. So I want to share my notes to help fill this gap a little bit.

        • Mossberg: It's time for Google to make its own hardware
          It's Nexus time again, the time each year when Google ships its hero devices in the Nexus line. That's a brand of phones and tablets commissioned by the company starting in 2010 — not to be huge sellers, but to show the world the best of its Android operating system.

          Nexus phones are meant to present the latest versions of Android, in pure form, unadulterated by the software overlays and bloatware apps added by the hundreds of Android phone makers. They also give Google a chance to showcase its own latest apps and services, which are sometimes missing entirely from Android phones, especially in emerging markets. And, unlike most other Android devices, they get updated almost as soon as Google releases patches.

        • Sony Open Device Program Interview: Opening Much More Than Just Software
          At the Big Android Barbecue 2015, we had the honor of interviewing Alin Jerpelea from Sony, after his great talk on Sony’s plans to open up the hardware of their devices as well as future plans for their developer programs. You can find the full, highly recommendable talk here.

        • Google tries to woo enterprises with new Android for Work initiatives

Free Software/Open Source

  • Myth-busting the open-source cloud
    The Linux Foundation report states that in 2013, many cloud projects were still working out their core enterprise features and building in functionality, and companies were still very much in the early stages of planning and testing their public, private or hybrid clouds.

  • Neo Technology Releases openCypher Query Language to Open Source
    openCypher promises to accelerate a quickly expanding graph data space because it offers new benefits for users, tooling providers, organizations and end users.

  • Kustodian goes open-source only after success with BlueScope SOC
    The decision represents a market shift for Kustodian, a multinational provider of penetration-testing and other security services that has worked extensively with commercial SIEM platforms in the past. However, CEO Chris Rock told CSO Australia, it recently became clear that open-source solutions – in particular, the ELK stack from Elasticsearch – offered a significant new opportunity to democratise the delivery of SOCs that often weighed in north of $1m using conventional commercial products and services.

  • Is open source overtaking Splunk?
    Trying to understand open source adoption is a challenging task. In contrast to public companies, the metrics of open-source projects mostly rely on the number of GitHub stars (which is public) or the number of downloads (which is often unknowable).

    As a co-founder and CEO of, I've been heavily involved in the open source log analytics domain through working with with the community and focusing on the ELK Stack.

    The background: The ELK Stack is the combination of Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana that is used specifically in log analytics. Logstash ships log data to Elasticsearch, which indexes the information in a searchable datastore. Kibana then takes the datastore and shows the information in graphical format for log analysis.

  • Open Source Initiative launches free webinar series
    As you might expect the Open Source Initiative (OSI) uses quite a few open source tools to support our work in promoting and protecting open source software, development, and communities—things like content management systems (Drupal), wikis (XWiki), issue tracking/bug reporting (Redmine), desktop sharing (BigBlueButton), membership management (CiviCRM), etc.

  • Video: No more open source foundations, please!
    Not every new open source project needs a new foundation. In fact, the rise of all these new foundations could be hurting the open source cause

  • The new collaboration model for open source | #LinuxCon2015
    Cross-community collaboration is developing and thriving inside the walls of this year’s LinuxCon 2015, and people like Diane Mueller, director of community development at Red Hat OpenShift, are leading the charge.

  • Open source software gains depth
    The ability to scale up and stronger security has seen a pervasive proliferation of open source software (OSS) although these don’t have as many competitive features as proprietary software, according to the Ninth Annual Future of Open Source Survey conducted by Black Duck Software, a company that facilitates the adoption of OSS.

  • Introduces ELK Apps — a Free App Store for Open Source Log Analytics

  • The 100:10:1 method: my approach to open source
    The first step was to find a notebook and a pen and just write down 100 ideas for interesting open source projects. These project ideas ranged across all manner of topics, depth, and quality. I thought of wild language ideas, new features in existing projects, system designs, protocols, missing documentation, interesting forks, golfing code, games, prototypes, implementations of paper ideas, second-systems, whatever.

  • Polishing cars wasn't in my job description
    My advice for anyone starting out in open source is simple: Be humble, but bold. The great thing about open source is that you can make a great impact, but you have to do it within the confines of a community, and learning how to bring your best while working in sometimes challenging interpersonal situations is a skill that you can only acquire through practice.

  • Proprietary tools for FOSS projects
    My position on free and open source software is somewhere in the spectrum between hard-core FSF/GNU position on Free Software, and the corporate open source pragmatism that looks at open source as being great for some things but really not a goal in and of itself. I don’t eschew all proprietary software, and I’m not going to knock people for using tools and devices that fit their needs rather than sticking only to FOSS.

    At the same time, I think it’s important that we trend towards everything being open, and I find myself troubled by the increasing acceptance of proprietary tools and services by FOSS developers/projects. It shouldn’t be the end of the world for a FOSS developer, advocate, project, or company to use proprietary tools if necessary. Sometimes the FOSS tools aren’t a good fit, and the need for something right now overrides the luxury of choosing a tool just based on licensing preference. And, of course, there’s a big difference between having that discussion for a project like Fedora, or an Apache podling/TLP, or a company that works with open source.

  • OOSMOS goes open source

  • 8 tips for creating cultural change in your organization
    To foster engagement and keep people posted, publish and share both individually and as a team. Setting a schedule is difficult, but you should try to publish at least one reflective post per month (I do one a week). Pre-populate tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite during meetings. Utilize tools like IFTTT, Zapier, Buffer, etc. There are easy ways to share ideas around the Web. Use them!

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Metis to Offer Intensive Hadoop, Spark Training

    • How Will the Big Data Craze Play Out?
      I was in the buzz-making business long before I learned how it was done. That happened here, at Linux Journal. Some of it I learned by watching kernel developers make Linux so useful that it became irresponsible for anybody doing serious development not to consider it—and, eventually, not to use it. Some I learned just by doing my job here. But most of it I learned by watching the term "open source" get adopted by the world, and participating as a journalist in the process.

  • Databases

    • Open Source MongoDB Updated with Enterprise Features
      MongoDB Inc. announced a new version of its open source-based NoSQL database with features designed to make it more attractive for enterprise use.

      MongoDB 3.2 can handle a wider range of mission-critical applications, its parent company said, and has been extended to handle new enterprise-oriented tasks "by deeply integrating with the modern CIO's technology stack."

  • Oracle/Java

    • NetBeans IDE 8.1 Information
      NetBeans IDE 8.1 provides out-of-the-box code analyzers and editors for working with the latest Java 8 technologies--Java SE 8, Java SE Embedded 8, and Java ME Embedded 8. The IDE also has a range of new tools for HTML5/JavaScript, in particular for Node.js, KnockoutJS, and AngularJS; enhancements that further improve its support for Maven and Java EE with PrimeFaces; and improvements to PHP and C/C++ support.

    • NetBeans 8.1 IDE Released With Java Enhancements, HTML5/JS/Node.js Goodies
      The NetBeans 8.1 IDE continues to be focused around the latest Java 8 technologies from Oracle, but there's also a number of new tools for HTML5, JavaScript, Node.js, KnockoutJS, and AngularJS. NetBeans 8.1 has a number of additions for easing development with Node.js, adds/enhances support for a wide variety of HTML5 and other JavaScript technologies, also advances some PHP and C/C++ language handling, and the NetBeans profiler has been redesigned while adding new features. There's also better Git support with NetBeans 8.1.

  • CMS

    • OctoberCMS RSS Feed
      October is a content management system (CMS) based on the Laravel framework. Many of my readers will already know that I am a huge fan of Laravel. The framework makes development workflow a breeze and takes care of a lot of the mundane tasks. Linuxphile is, in fact, built on Laravel. I had also developed using Laravel. After the development of Twisted Tastes my wife and I came across October.

  • Business

  • BSD


  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Vanderbilt’s medical capsule robots’ hardware, software goes open-source
      Researchers around the globe who want to customize medical capsule robots won’t have to start from scratch – a team from Vanderbilt University School of Engineering did the preliminary work for them and is ready to share.

      Through a website and a paper revealed at a pair of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) conferences, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Pietro Valdastri, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering Akos Ledeczi and their team made the capsule hardware and software open-source.

      The paper, titled “Systematic Design of Medical Capsule Robots,” ran in a special issue of IEEE Design & Test magazine dedicated to cyber-physical systems for medical applications. Within years, Vanderbilt’s capsule robots, made small enough to be swallowed, could be used for preventative screenings and to diagnose and treat a number of internal diseases.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Not Just Academics Fed Up With Elsevier: Entire Editorial Staff Resigns En Masse To Start Open Access Journal
        It's really somewhat astounding just how absolutely hated journal publishing giant Elsevier has become in certain academic circles. The company seems to have perfected its role of being about as evil as possible in trying to lock up knowledge and making it expensive and difficult to access. A few years ago, we noted that a bunch of academics were banding together to boycott journals published by the company, as more and more people were looking at open access journals, allowing them to more freely share their research, rather than locking it up. Elsevier's response has been to basically crack down on efforts to share knowledge. The company has been known to charge for open access research -- sometimes even buying up journals and ignoring the open licenses on the works. The company has also been demanding professors takedown copies of their own research. Because how dare anyone actually benefit from knowledge without paying Elsevier its toll. And that's not even mentioning Elsevier's history of publishing fake journals as a way to help giant pharmaceutical companies pretend their treatments were effective.

      • Open source textbooks not flunking out
        Finally, a bit of good news on the college costs front: A study out of Brigham Young University finds that free open source textbooks do the job pretty darn well.

        The study of nearly 17,000 students at 9 colleges found that open source textbooks (or open educational resources -- OERs in academic lingo) found that students learn the same amount or more from the free books across many subjects. (Here's a sampling of the sorts of texts available, via a University of Minnesota site.)

        What's more, 85% of students and instructors said open textbooks were actually better than the commercial ones. The research focused its results based on measurements such as course completion, final grade, final grade of C- or higher, enrollment intensity, and enrollment intensity in the following semester.

  • Programming

    • Pyston 0.4 Released With Even Better Performance

    • Pyston 0.4 released
      A lot has happened in the eight months since the 0.3 release: the 0.4 release contains 2000 commits, three times as many commits as either the 0.2 or 0.3 release. Moving forward, our plan is to release every four months, but for now please enjoy a double-sized release.


  • Is the world ready for a bare-metal OS/2 rebirth?
    A US software company has signed on with IBM to release a new native build of Big Blue's OS/2.

    Arca Noae said its "Blue Lion" build of OS/2 will run on the bare metal of PCs without the need for an emulator or hypervisor.

    Those still using the 28-year-old operating system and its applications typically run the stack in a virtualized environment on modern reliable hardware. The bare-metal OS will be freed from its virtual prison, and released to the world, in the third quarter of next year, we're told.

  • J-Day: Denmark's start to the holiday season
    The nation's bars, pubs and discos will be jam-packed with drunken partiers decked out in Santa hats and elf costumes on Friday. Welcome to the strange Danish 'holiday' known as J-Day.

  • Hardware

    • New MCU-like Intel Quarks sip power, but skip the Linux

      Unlike the current, 400MHz Quark X1000, found on the Intel Galileo hacker SBC and numerous IoT gateway products, these new microcontroller-like Quarks run at only 32MHz, and support bare-metal code and real-time operating systems (RTOSes), but not Linux.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Some Use Chalabi’s Death to Lay Blame for Iraq War at His Feet
      Bush’s own Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill told 60 Minutes in 2004 that Bush “sought a way to invade Iraq.” Recent emails show Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair planning the Iraq war a whole year before 9/11. Put simply, the Bush administration didn’t need “convincing”—what it needed was fodder to convince the American public (not all of whom, of course, were ever convinced). These are two entirely different readings of history that have, in the past 48 hours, become dangerously conflated by some.

    • Caught On Tape: U.S. Army Jeep Rear-Ends A Nuke
      With helicopters hovering overhead, and surrounded by an army of security forces, this is how America transports its nuclear weapons. However, as this onlooker captures, amid police harrassment for filming, it appears one of the military trucks was just a little too close and rear-ends a truck carrying a nuclear missile.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • NASA Scientist Warned Deniers Would Distort His Antarctic Ice Study -- That's Exactly What They Did
      A new NASA study found that there has been a net increase in land ice in Antarctica in recent years, despite a decline in some parts of the continent. The study's lead author astutely predicted that climate science deniers would distort the study, even though it does nothing to contradict the scientific consensus on climate change or the fact that sea levels will continue to rise.

    • Climate change missing from full Trans-Pacific Partnership text
      The final text of a huge 12-country trade agreement has confirmed the "worst nightmares" of environmental groups, with no mention of climate change in its lone environment chapter and weak enforcement mechanisms, Australian academics say.

      The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was finally released on Thursday, with Trade Minister Andrew Robb saying the deal will deliver "substantial benefits for Australia" in the rapidly growing Asia Pacific.

      The TPP is the biggest global trade deal in 20 years, involving 12 countries in the Pacific region which collectively represent over 40 per cent of world GDP.

  • Finance

    • Chevron's Star Witness In $9.5 Billion Corporate Sovereignty Case Admits He Lied

      One of Techdirt's earliest posts on corporate sovereignty was back in October 2013, when we wrote about the incredible case of Chevron. It used the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism to suspend the enforcement of a historic $18 billion judgment against the oil corporation made by Ecuador's courts because of the company's responsibility for mass contamination of the Amazonian rain forest. Given the huge sums involved, it's no surprise that things didn't end there.

    • 5 things that wouldn’t be happening if America were a functioning democracy
      We Americans have been deceived by the notion that individual desires preempt the needs of society; by the Ayn-Rand/Reagan/Thatcher aversion to government regulation; by the distorted image of “freedom” as winner-take-all capitalism; by the assurance that the benefits of greed will spread downward to everyone.

      Our current capitalist-driven inequalities will only be rectified when people realize that a strong community makes successful individuals, not the other way around.

      Here are a few of the ways we would benefit with a social democracy.


      Nationally, we spend over $1 trillion per year on defense. Not just the half-trillion Pentagon budget, but another half-trillion for veterans affairs, homeland security, “contingency operations,” and a variety of other miscellaneous military “necessities.”

      But that’s not enough for the relative few at the top of our outrageously unequal society. The richest Americans build private fortresses to protect themselves from the rest of us, as they scoff at the notion of a 1950s-like progressive tax structure that would provide infrastructure funding for all of us.


      In the extreme capitalist mind, Steve Jobs started with boxes of silicon and wires in a garage and fashioned the first iPhone. The reality is explained by Mariana Mazzucato: “Everything you can do with an iPhone was government-funded. From the Internet that allows you to surf the Web, to GPS that lets you use Google Maps, to touchscreen display and even the SIRI voice activated system— all of these things were funded by Uncle Sam through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA, the Navy, and even the CIA.”

    • “Your little brother is not the ultimate authority”: How Jeb Bush cheated America & helped deliver the presidency to W
      When some of us hear Jeb Bush’s new slogan, “Jeb can fix it,” we don’t think of a mechanic getting under the hood and fixing the nation’s problems. We don’t even think of Jimmy Savile, the notorious British pedophile, whose show was called “Jim’ll fix it,” although some people sure will. No, we think about Election 2000 and the Florida recount, where Jeb proved that his slogan isn’t all hot air. Whatever else he did as Governor of Florida, when it came to that election, Jeb fixed it.

      Anyone old enough to remember that election night, which was 15 years ago today, will remember that the outcome of the electoral college depended on that one state. And what came next is exactly what anyone would have predicted would happen when an election is so close it triggers a recount in a state in which the levers of power and the electoral machinery are run by one of the candidates’ brothers. That candidate was the one who became president.

    • China Regulator Probes Competition Claims Against Alibaba
      China’s commerce regulator will investigate accusations by Inc. that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is unfairly pressuring merchants to shun competing platforms, JD said, ratcheting up a battle between the nation’s two biggest online retailers.

      The State Administration for Industry & Commerce accepted JD’s request to look into Alibaba’s attempts to lock in merchants ahead of the crucial “Singles’ Day” promotion next week, JD said in an online post Thursday. China’s second-largest Web retailer has accused its larger rival of forcing merchants to choose between the two, which it said hampers competition and violates regulations.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Copyright As Censorship: Sketchy Food Scanning Company Abuses DMCA To Censor Critical Reporting
      Another day, another example of copyright being used to censor. A few weeks ago, we wrote about a sketchy crowdfunded "food scanning device" company called TellSpec, which had ridiculously threatened the online publication Pando Daily with laughably ridiculous defamation claims. The threats were ridiculous for any number of reasons, including the fact that the statute of limitations had expired and the commentary wasn't even remotely defamatory. There were also some weird (and stupid) threats about suing in the UK, despite TellSpec being based in Toronto and Pando in the US. At some point, TellSpec then denied having made the threats, but that appeared to be pure damage control.

    • Copyright Terms And How Historical Journalism Is Disappearing
      The National Endowment for the Humanities announced last Wednesday the "Chronicling America" contest to create projects out of historical newspaper data. The contest is supposed to showcase the history of the United States through the lens of a popular (and somewhat ephemeral) news format. But looking at the limits of the archival data, another story emerges: the dark cloud of copyright's legal uncertainty is threatening the ability of amateur and even professional historians to explore the last century as they might explore the ones before it.

      Consider that the National Digital Newspaper Program holds the history of American newspapers only up until 1922. (It originally focused on material from 1900-1910 and gradually expanded outwards to cover material from as early as 1836.) Those years may seem arbitrary—and it makes sense that there would be some cut-off date for a historical archive—but for copyright nerds 1922 rings some bells: it's the latest date from which people can confidently declare a published work is in the public domain. Thanks to the arcane and byzantine rules created by 11 copyright term extensions in the years between 1962 and 1998, determining whether a work from any later requires consulting a flow chart from hell—the simple version of which, published by the Samuelson Clinic last year, runs to 50 pages.

  • Privacy

    • Surveillance bill: broad support gives way to alarm over detail
      The total redrafting of UK surveillance laws was under growing challenge last night after an initially broad political welcome gave way to alarm at the detail of the proposed sweeping powers for spies.

      MPs and privacy groups raised concerns about the proposed judicial oversight regime set out by Theresa May – while the home secretary also revealed that since 2001 ministers have issued secret directions to internet and phone companies to hand over the communications data of British citizens in bulk.

    • ORG's 10th Birthday Party!

    • Investigatory Powers Bill published and now the fight is on
      The Government’s just published the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. It will decide the surveillance powers that the police and intelligence have for years to come.

    • ORG response to the draft Investigatory Powers Bill
      “This Bill will redefine the relationship between the state and the public for a generation. The government needs to get it right and made sure that the UK's law enforcement and security agencies can fight serious crime while upholding all of our human rights.”

      “However, at first glance, it appears that this Bill is an attempt to grab even more intrusive surveillance powers and does not do enough to restrain the bulk collection of our personal data by the secret services. It proposes an increase in the blanket retention of our personal communications data, giving the police the power to access web logs. It also gives the state intrusive hacking powers that can carry risks for everyone's Internet security.”

    • The surveillance bill is as big a threat to state security as to individual liberty
      The past week has seen the most bizarre spinning. The BBC and the Times suddenly “managed to secure” exclusive stories about the wonderful world of secret intelligence, shamelessly pegged to the premiere of the film. The Times offered a gushing prospectus of work inside GCHQ. The BBC’s Frank Gardner sat, obsequious, in a darkened room and asked faceless voices what it was like being “the real James Bond”. It was like a spoof promotion video for the Stasi.


      Despite the fearmongers, Britain faces no threat to its territory or political stability, nothing that remotely justifies the massive intrusion into privacy originally sought by GCHQ and the police. Today’s threat is from fanatics and criminals who want to shoot people and explode bombs – extremely dangerous but not a state threat. The question is, does this require Britons to have their every phone call, email and browser record stored, scanned, registered and, inevitably, shared with spies, the police and – whatever anyone says – a wide range of public officials?
    • Surveillance, privacy, and the British press
      So why is the majority of the British press so relaxed about mass surveillance? Why do they not associate this threat with the ‘300 years of press freedom’, which they hold so dear? Have they not read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, which explicitly links the death of freedom with the death of privacy? Even the United Nations (not always first off the mark where human rights are concerned) is able to see the danger here, as evidenced by the creation this year of a new special rapporteur on ‘the right to privacy in the digital age’.

    • The Investigatory Powers bill: will it work in practice?
      The intention is that the draft Bill will be the basis of consultation, with a revised Bill being published in 2016. This revised Bill will need to be enacted by the end of next year, as the current Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act expires on 31 December 2016 and one section of it has been quashed by the High Court as from March 2016.

      Publication is therefore the start of what may be a year-long legislative process. On the face of it, the government intends to take the legislative process seriously. The Bill has been published with extensive explanatory materials, fact sheets and impact assessments. The page count of those documents is higher than that of the bill itself — the government wishes to give the impression this process is to be done properly and thoroughly.

      Of course, what the government brings to parliament next year may not correspond to this draft, and it may be that the government pushes measures through at speed next year which are not in this version. So it is too early to say that this draft Bill puts “parliament in charge” as the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation said on Wednesday.
    • Interception, Authorisation and Redress in the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill
      The Government has published a draft Bill on Investigatory Powers that it hopes to see through Parliament within a year. If it becomes law, the Investigatory Powers Bill will replace much, but not all, of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, as well as the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014.

      It is the Government’s response to the Edward Snowden revelations, and to three different reports that made almost 200 reform recommendations between them.There will be much debate about the powers set out in the draft Bill. It proposes to give certain powers of the intelligence and security services a (new) legal basis in statute and will consolidate much of the law in this field. While the nature and extent of these powers is open to disputation, if there are to be such powers, it is surely better that there is avowal and regulation, rather than secrecy and denial.

    • Surveillance bill triggers alarm over sweeping powers for spies
      The total redrafting of UK surveillance laws was under growing challenge on Wednesday night after an initially broad political welcome gave way to alarm at the detail of the proposed sweeping powers for spies.

      MPs and privacy groups raised concerns about the proposed judicial oversight regime set out by the home secretary, Theresa May, who made the dramatic admission that ministers had issued secret directions since 2001 to internet and phone companies to hand over the communications data of British citizens in bulk.

    • Wikipedia founder urges Apple to stop selling iPhones in UK if government bans encryption
      Jimmy Wales has suggested that Apple should stop selling iPhones in the UK, if the government passes a new law that would prevent technology firms and service providers from using end-to-end encryption to protect private communications.
    • Encryption ban banished from draft UK surveillance bill
      Britons could soon have their web surfing recorded for later police consultation, but the government has reportedly backed off plans to order companies like Apple to unlock encrypted phones and messages

      A threatened ban on encryption has been banished from a draft bill on surveillance powers in the U.K. -- but the government plans to explicitly allow bulk surveillance of Internet traffic by security and intelligence agencies.

      U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May began by listing the things the draft bill did not contain as she introduced it in Parliament on Wednesday.

    • Microsoft Didn’t Know You’d Take OneDrive's 'Unlimited' Storage This Far
      A year after its launch, Microsoft is making some changes to its OneDrive cloud storage plans—including eliminating the unlimited storage offered to Office 365 subscribers, because according to Microsoft, some people got greedy.

      In a post to the OneDrive blog, Microsoft wrote: “Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average.”

    • Microsoft confirms Windows 10 is harvesting more data than ever
      MICROSOFT HAS ADMITTED that Windows 10 is collecting more data than any of its predecessors, and there's not much you can do about it.

      In an interview with PC World, Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore defended the collection of what the company refers to as "basic telemetry", explaining that it is a necessary part of improving Windows' functionality.

      Windows has always collected information like this. Every blue screen of death creates an error report which is uploaded to Microsoft. But so much more is collected now and, yes, this does mean that search terms that you enter into Windows as well as anonymous machine gibberish is going up to the cloud.

    • First take on the Investigatory Powers Bill
      The long-awaited Investigatory Powers Bill has been published at last. The draft Bill is almost 300 pages long so it is going to take us a while to go through the detail but here is our first take on what it contains.

  • Civil Rights

    • US Presidential Candidate Jill Stein: I Want to Be President to Save the World
      The United States is governed at the national level by two major parties: the right-wing Republicans and the center-left Democrats.. It has been 165 years since someone was elected president who did not come from this political duopoly, which does not represent the full range of views held by the U.S. electorate but has worked hard to ensure that the candidates it puts forward are often the only ones from which voters can choose.

    • House Passes DHS ‘Insider Threat’ Program Bill That Could Impact Whistleblowers
      The United States House of Representatives passed legislation to establish an “insider threat” program at the Department of Homeland Security, which would permit the continuous monitoring of credit, criminal, and social media activities of DHS employees and would potentially impact national security whistleblowers.

    • California Cops Are Using These Biometric Gadgets in the Field
      Law enforcement agencies around the country are increasingly embracing biometric technology, which uses intrinsic physical or behavioral characteristics—such as fingerprints, facial features, irises, tattoos, or DNA—to identify people, sometimes even instantly. Just as the technology that powers your cell phone has shrunk both in size and cost, mobile biometric technologies are now being deployed more widely and cheaply than ever before—and with less oversight.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
      The text of the TPP was released by TPP Parties on 5 November 2015 and can be accessed by Chapter below. Legal verification of the text will continue in the coming weeks. The Agreement will also be translated into French and Spanish language versions.

    • Statement on the Release of the Trans Pacific Partnership Text
      Instead of combatting the ability to bring cases such as Eli Lilly’s, the TPP’s investment chapter invites them. Any time a national court – including in the U.S. – invalidates a wrongfully granted patent or other intellectual property right, the affected company could appeal that revocation to foreign arbitrators. The new language would also make clear that private companies are empowered by the treaty to challenge limitations and exceptions like the U.S. fair use doctrine, or individual applications of it. Adoption of this set of rules in the largest regional trade agreement of its kind would upset the international intellectual property legal system and should be subject to the most rigorous and open debate in every country where it is being considered.

    • Copyrights

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