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08.31.14

Links 31/8/2014: Linux 3.12.27, Akademy 2014

Posted in News Roundup at 4:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • AMD Steppe Eagle Flys To Coreboot

    Steppe Eagle is the codename for AMD’s new embedded G-Series SoC that arrived this summer. Steppe Eagle boasts a TDP as little as five Watts and is a big upgrade over earlier G-Series hardware. The Steppe Eagle SoC features GCN-based Radeon graphics while the CPU is Jaguar-based and similar to Kabini. As of today, basic support for these latest-generation AMD embedded SoCs can be found within mainline Coreboot. This Coreboot tooling was done by Sage Electronic Engineering, the firm responsible for much of AMD’s involvement in Coreboot.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome Beta adds easy account switching

        Recently Google made switching accounts on their various web and mobile services much easier. Signing in between multiple accounts in the Chrome browser however was somewhat a pain because the option becomes tucked away in settings after the first run sign-in, and because all extensions are re-installed/reloaded every time an account is connected to Chrome.

      • Balllon: a must have Chrome extension
    • Openness/Sharing

    • Standards/Consortia

      • 10 tips for easier collaboration between office suites

        Yes, you are likely using the Microsoft formats for your documents. However, they don’t always follow OpenDocument Format (ODF) standards. Instead of opting for the proprietary Microsoft formats, switch over to one that’s welcomed by nearly all office suites: ODF. You’ll find a much more seamless collaboration process and fewer gotchas when moving between office suites. The only platform that can have a bit of trouble with this format is Android. The one Android office suite that works well with ODF is OfficeSuite 7 Pro.

    Leftovers

    • Respected Medical Journal Sold To Scammers Willing To Publish Anything… For A Fee

      There are reports of such gibberish papers flooding academia, sometimes in attempts to highlight how lax publishers are, and what a giant scam all of this is.

    • Recruiting From Competitors Isn’t Sabotage: Overstating The Uber/Lyft Fight

      The Verge got a lot of attention yesterday for its story on “Uber’s playbook for sabotaging Lyft.” If you follow the space at all, you know that there have been stories making the rounds for months claiming that people working for Uber were scheduling competitors’ rides and then cancelling them, thereby tying up competitors’ systems. Uber has hit back saying that the reverse is actually true, and that Lyft has called up and cancelled Uber rides.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Hillary Clinton is Just Plain Wrong on GMOs

        In her June 25 keynote address to the BIO International Convention in San Diego, Calif., Hillary Clinton voiced strong support for genetic engineering and genetically engineered crops. She earned a standing ovation that day by stating that the biotech industry suffers from a public perception problem and that it just needs “a better vocabulary” in order to persuade GMO skeptics who don’t understand “the facts” about genetic engineering.

        And then Hillary proceeded to get the facts wrong.

        Why does it matter what Hillary, who holds no public office and has not (yet) declared her candidacy for president, says or believes about genetic engineering and genetically modified crops and foods?

        It doesn’t—unless she throws her hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination. And then it matters not just what her position is on GMOs, not just how deep her financial ties to the biotech industry run, not just how much she distorts the facts about the “promise” of biotech crops.

    • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

      • Gamm Theatre season opener looks at lone pilot operating killer drones

        Then three years ago, after looking into the facts surrounding unmanned aircraft, he sat down to put his thoughts on paper and came up with “Grounded,” a one-woman play about a fighter pilot assigned to operate drones in the Nevada desert.

      • International Human Rights: Dispelling The Myths

        Yet, some have argued that human rights are western concepts and not eastern and therefore not in keeping with our culture. If one studies human rights in detail as scholars such as Chandra Muzaffer in Malaysia and Abdullah An’aim in Sudan have done, one can immediately see that they are basically rooted in the concept of human dignity which is present in all the world’s religious and ethical traditions. In the past they were expressed in religious or ethical terms within religious texts, traditional laws and practices.

      • Obama linked to financial support for Hamas

        Seeking $1.5 billion in compensatory damages as well as punitive damages, it accuses the global figures of “laundering U.S. dollars” to Hamas, which is officially designated by the U.S. government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

      • HOW THE NSA HELPED TURKEY KILL KURDISH REBELS

        But in true “Spy v. Spy” fashion, Turkey is itself is the target of intense surveillance even as it cooperates closely with the U.S.— one NSA document describes the country bluntly as both a “partner and target.” The very politicians, military officials, and intelligence agency officials with whom U.S. officials work closely when conducting actions against the PKK are also considered legitimate spying targets by the NSA. To that end, in addition to the official SUSLAT liaison office and the intelligence workers it has cleared with the Turkish authorities, the U.S. has two secret branch offices, operating Special Collection Service listening stations in both Istanbul and the capital city of Ankara.

        The degree to which the NSA surveils its partner is made clear in the National Intelligence Priorities Framework (NIPF), a document establishing U.S. intelligence priorities. Updated and presented to the president every six months, the NIPF shows a country’s “standing” from the perspective of the U.S. In the April 2013 edition, Turkey is listed as one of the countries most frequently targeted by Washington for surveillance, with U.S. intelligence services tasked with collecting data in 19 different areas of interest.

      • Exclusive: U.S. may use secrets act to stop suit against Iran sanctions group
      • Iran Sanctions: US Plays a Dirty Game

        On Friday, the US government announced the imposition of a new round of sanctions on over 25 Iranian individuals and companies, including shipping firms, oil companies, airlines and six banks despite the fact that Iran and the six world powers Russia, China, France, Britain and the US and Germany are in the process of talks with the intention of resolving the West’s nuclear standoff with Iran.

      • Is America’s Second Contractors’ War Drawing Near?

        Four years ago this Sunday, President Barack Obama declared the end of the Iraq war. So much of that fight and our current involvement in the Middle East is carried out by a privatized military. Here’s why that matters

      • Libya’s ‘Regime Change’ Chaos

        America’s war hawks, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were thrilled by the Libyan “regime change” engineered through a U.S.- European bombing campaign in 2011. But now with Libya torn by civil war and Arab powers intervening, the “victory” has a bitter aftertaste, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

      • Reflections On The Illegal And Unconstitutional In Chilean History

        As Chile nears its 41st anniversary since the U.S.-backed military dictatorship toppled Salvador Allende’s government, the country remains incarcerated within a complex historical memory framework. Grappling with dictatorial restrictions enforced through the constitution, the ramifications of Augusto Pinochet’s macabre era, from 1973 to 1990, are evident in various struggles — from the ongoing endeavor to uncover the fate of Chile’s disappeared population, to protests calling for the termination of an education system that favors those of privilege.

      • Former British army officials now training ISIS militants in Iraq, Syria: MI6, CIA

        A report has revealed that British intelligence agency MI6 and America’s Central Investigative Agency (CIA) have intercepted conversations on mobile phones, e-mails that show that several former British Army officials have joined the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

      • CIA Analyst: US War Plan Involves Syria, Turkey, Jordan

        Washington should establish a new Syrian army in order to fight both the Islamic State and Bashar al-Assad, allowing the US to end the Syrian war “on its own terms,” believes Kenneth M. Pollack, a former CIA intelligence analyst and Senior Fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

      • Letter: Many Obama policies started with Bush

        Luckily this is the “Opinion” page and the letters submitted don’t require the use of actual facts, otherwise we wouldn’t have the pleasure of getting in our morning laugh while reading Thomas Hanley’s letters.

        Tom states that I was only able to list one positive accomplishment for Bush’s time in office. Apparently four out of the five that I listed were easily dismissed by your ingenious arguments, you know, ones like this: “A simple fact check and he would have discovered that the old right-wing lie that Bush’s use of torture led to Bin Laden has been soundly debunked.”

      • The military coup that almost was (and maybe is)

        Richard Nixon’s legacy is more alive and well than it should be

      • “Russian Invasion” – Screaming ‘Wolf!’ Strategy of Deception. Lies Repeated Umpteen Times. What is the Endgame?

        “Russian Invasion” – How long is screaming ‘Wolf!’ having an impact on Western public opinion? – Until Full Spectrum Dominance has been attained?

      • Kill Putin?

        We’re not sure how we missed this (the internet is kinda big) but earlier this week InfoWars picked up on a column published back on August 4 by former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative Herbert E. Meyer.

      • Destabilizing Russia, A Nuclear Power: Is the U.S. Trying to Implement “Regime Change” in Russia?

        America Has Undertaken Regime Change In Many Countries Before

        In 1957, the U.S. and British governments planned regime change in Syria … because it was drifting too close to the Soviet Union.

        20 years ago, influential U.S. government officials decided to effect regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The countries targeted were “old Soviet regimes”.

        The U.S. has, of course, already carried out regime change in Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Chile, Haiti and many other countries. The U.S. was also instrumental in the recent regime change in Ukraine.

      • THE COLD WAR HOAX

        Most books and articles about the CIA mention the Agency’s first two successful covert operations: the overthrowing of Premier Mossadegh of Iran in 1953 and the overthrowing of President Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954. Some of them spare a few paragraphs to mention the CIA’s alleged first mistake: its failure to predict the Bogotazo riots. But there is more about the Bogotazo affair than the CIA, Fidel Castro, and his CFR masters want us to know.

      • Ten ways you can tell if Russia has invaded Ukraine or not

        Armed with this list, you too should be able to determine whether or not Russia has invaded Ukraine last Thursday.

      • Ukraine Claims ‘Thousands’ of Russian Troops Invaded, Offers No Evidence
      • The true story of Mark Paslawsky, the ‘only’ American fighter with Kiev forces

        On Tuesday, August 20, a US army veteran named Mark Paslawsky was killed during a battle in Ilovyask, near Donetsk, which is currently held by anti-Kiev rebels.

        Fighting on the side of pro-government forces, the American had sprung to prominence because of his Twitter feed (@BruceSpringnote), often sharply critical of Ukrainian politicians, and a fawning video interview with Vice News’ Simon Ostrovsky shortly before his death.

      • America’s Gamble: Wealth, War and Power. “Russian Roulette” and the Drive To Nuclear Armageddon?

        Washington and NATO are providing personnel, mercenary forces and advice to help the Ukraine government bomb, kill, maim and drive out those who are demanding autonomy from the US puppet regime in Kiev [4]. Washington and its proxy forces in Ukraine are ‘ethnically cleansing’ the mainly Russian speaking separatists in the east, with up to one million having fled across the border into Russia [5].

        Yet it is Washington that accused Moscow of invading Ukraine, based on flimsy or no evidence at all. Washington has accused Moscow of having a hand in the downing of a commercially airliner based on no evidence at all. As a result of this invisible Russian ‘aggression’, Washington has slapped sanctions on Moscow, which are hurting Europe more they are hurting the US [6]. But that’s the point: to de-link Europe’s economy from Russia in terms of trade and energy and weaken Europe to ensure it remains dependent on Washington.

      • Protesters Don’t Want Drone Command Center In Montco

        With a replica drone in front and crosses with the names of those killed in military drone strikes at their feet, a little more than a dozen protesters begged for the government not to bring a drone command center to Montgomery county.

      • Jihadi Rebels Abduct UN Observers Along Israeli Border
      • Egypt jihadist group claims beheading of four men in Sinai
      • Egyptian Jihadists Behead ‘Mossad Spies’ in Gruesome Video
      • Sinai Jihadist Group Claims It Beheaded Four Men
      • Two more decapitated bodies found in North Sinai

        Sinai locals find again decapitated bodies of two young men who have been abducted amid continuous unrest in the peninsula

      • Egypt militants post beheading video

        An al-Qaida-inspired militant group in Egypt has posted an online video showing the beheading of four men in the Sinai Peninsula accused of spying for Israel, whose bodies were found earlier this month.

        The Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group, whose name means Champions of Jerusalem in Arabic, posted a 30-minute video showing detailed confessions of the four men. The four said that in exchange for money they helped Israel target the group’s members with drone strikes in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

      • Egypt jihadist group claims beheading of four Israel spies
      • Radical Islamists in Egypt Post Gruesome Video of Barbaric Executions — Why It’s Being Called a ‘First’
      • Australia’s collateral damage in the US drone program

        In the last few years there has been a hotly contested global debate about the civilian impact of the U.S. drone strike program and its moral and legal justifications. Despite being geographically part of Asia (where the majority of drone strikes took place) and politically aligned with the west (states responsible for the strikes), until now the global debate went largely unnoticed in Australia.

        The death of two Australians has led to a new reality Down Under – there is now an increasing public debate about whether the U.S-Australian intelligence sharing alliance has fairly been used as cover for Australia’s secret involvement in the controversial U.S. targeted killing program. The debate has raised concerns that Australia’s democratic institutions and rule of law could be collateral damage in the US drone program.

      • Marketing Death: How US Is Using Foley and McCain to Sell War

        Another American citizen has been killed in Syria in the past week, albeit under completely different circumstances. Douglas McAuthur McCain was killed by ‘Free Syrian Army’ militants during a gunfight while fighting for Islamic State (IS), becoming the first American Islamist to die in Syria. This comes as the world is still reeling from the beheading of reporter James Foley, which was first broadcast last week. The deaths of Foley and McCain back-to-back provide the US with different justifications for the same objective – the bombing of Syria.

      • Texas megachurch pastor uses drones to spread his message
      • A Texas megachurch is preaching the gospel of drones

        Imagine that there’s a powerful, invisible force hovering above you in the sky. It sees everything, controls everything—you can keep no secrets from it. If it wanted to, it could kill you instantly.

      • Man charged with murder says he didn’t know his dogs could kill

        Dressed in a navy button-down shirt and black slacks, Jackson said he had never encouraged his dogs to fight with each other or with people and that he played with them in a joyful manner. “They have a loving side to them,” he said.

      • Justifying the Kill

        Most British police, for example, do not carry firearms at all. In England and Wales over a 12-month period ending March 2013, there were only three incidents during which police had to discharge their guns. You would think the U.S. would be interested in what might help us move in a similar direction.

      • Islamic Jihad fighters parade after Gaza war

        Thousands of Islamic Jihad fighters paraded in Gaza City Friday, in a defiant show of force three days after a ceasefire ending a bloody war between Israel and Gaza militants.

      • BT faces further investigation over link to US drone network

        The UK government is set to reopen a complaint against BT after a Computer Weekly investigation found evidence suggesting the telecoms giant provided communication links that support controversial US drone strikes.

        BT has consistently denied the allegations, originally made in a complaint by legal charity Reprieve in 2013, that it had breached international rules on corporate social responsibility by taking a contract to supply a fibre-optic connection between a US military communications centre in the UK and a base in North Africa that has been linked to controversial drone strikes.

      • ​Cable collaborator: BT accused of aiding US drone strikes
      • BT accused of supplying cable system for US drone strikes

        Human rights groups Reprieve has asked the UK government to again investigate whether BT supplied high-speed fibre cable for US drones, after the surface of new evidence, the Guardian reported. The group alleges that the USD 23 million fibre-optic circuit built by BT in 2012 was installed to facilitate air strikes in Yemen and Somalia by US air force drones. The military internet cable reportedly connects US air force facilities in Northamptonshire to a base for unmanned craft in Djibouti.

      • BT alleged to have supplied high-speed fibre-optic cable to aid US drone strikes

        BT says $23m circuit linking US hub with base for unmanned craft in Djibouti is general purpose, not a special military system

      • UK Government urged to act on fresh evidence of BT drones link

        The British government is being asked to reopen an investigation into BT, after new evidence appeared to link the company to illegal US drone strikes and the mass government surveillance used to select their targets.

      • Cease-Fire Holds in Gaza

        In war, nobody wants to be the last to die. In Gaza, it was the chief of the electric company’s maintenance division and his deputy. In Israel, it was a pair of volunteers working a security detail on their kibbutz.

        The four deaths on Tuesday, hours before an open-ended cease-fire began between Israel and Hamas, reflected the often indiscriminate, opaque and lethal nature of a conflict that dragged on for 50 days and more than 2,100 deaths, only to end where it began, with a truce deal that is essentially a retread of the one signed in 2012 after the last Gaza war.

      • We have to defeat Islamism on the battleground of ideas

        In the minds of many, the American-led “War on Terror” arrived at a major turning point when it caught and killed the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011. His death followed a highly effective, though somewhat controversial, drone campaign that successfully eliminated many senior al-Qaeda members who were holed up in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Although there were no post-Iraq War style “Mission accomplished” banners being brandished, these developments were supposed to usher in a new era in which global jihadism was much less of a threat, and the US could retreat from the Middle East and South Asia and be slightly less concerned about it.

      • My Turn: The true cost of the ‘war on terror’

        As 51 million refugees are forced to flee their homes, it’s time to examine the connection between the history of our failed foreign policies and the exploding refugee crisis. It’s time to stop the killing. The world as had enough of U.S. plunder.

      • Qatar says ready to rebuild war-battered Gaza

        Qatar, a key backer of Palestinian militant group Hamas, hailed the Gaza ceasefire accord and offered to help rebuild the enclave battered by seven weeks of Israeli bombardment, AFP reported.

      • Gaza gravediggers unwittingly dig their own graves

        Cemeteries are becoming the most dangerous places in Gaza.

        The Israeli military has targeted both of Gaza’s primary burial grounds on six occasions over the past week, alleging that they’d received intelligence that rockets were being launched from the areas.

      • CIA acted to shape Portugal’s post-revolutionary political scene
    • Transparency Reporting

    • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Finance

      • Bitcoin Entrepreneur Charlie Shrem to Plead to Unlicensed Money Transmission

        Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of the digital currency to users of illicit online marketplace Silk Road, his lawyer said Friday.

      • When Whites Just Don’t Get It

        MANY white Americans say they are fed up with the coverage of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. A plurality of whites in a recent Pew survey said that the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

        Bill O’Reilly of Fox News reflected that weariness, saying: “All you hear is grievance, grievance, grievance, money, money, money.”

        Indeed, a 2011 study by scholars at Harvard and Tufts found that whites, on average, believed that anti-white racism was a bigger problem than anti-black racism.

        Yes, you read that right!

        [...]

        • The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data. The gap has worsened in the last decade, and the United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid. (Whites in America on average own almost 18 times as much as blacks; in South Africa in 1970, the ratio was about 15 times.)

    • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

      • Rick Perry serves up red meat at Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity summit

        Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in a Friday afternoon speech that sounded a lot like presidential red meat, accused President Barack Obama of overstepping his constitutional authority and abdicating national defense at home and abroad.

      • Government-Funded Writing Careers

        It turns out the CIA may have been pursuing a global propaganda strategy through its affiliation with the Paris-based Congress for Cultural Freedom, an organization meant to perform cultural guerrilla warfare against communism. Among recipients of the CCF’s money were a number of hip intellectual magazines throughout Africa, where people like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong’o wrote. When Soyinka was later jailed, the CCF paid his bail.

      • Hong Kong media baron denies CIA connection

        Mr Lai, a colourful self-made billionaire, is one of the most vocal critics in Hong Kong of the Chinese government. He recently came under the spotlight after leaked emails showed he had given money to anti-Beijing lawmakers in Hong Kong and to help pro-democracy group Occupy Central.

    • Censorship

      • Censorship will not consign Jihadism to the dustbin of history

        Our government’s lunge for censorship suggests a fear among both officialdom and elected representatives that our society cannot defend itself against bad ideas

      • Moscow may ban anti-Russian films from cinemas in new censorship threat

        Russian culture committee threatens to outlaw movies that show the country and its citizens in a ‘primitive and silly way’

      • My Scotland

        Yesterday the licensing man from Dundee Council went down the taxi ranks ordering saltires and yes stickers removed from the taxis. (would he have ordered No stickers removed as well? We can never be sure as there weren’t any.)

      • Lizard Squad Twitter taken down

        Update: After the Lizard Squad Twitter account was down for a couple of hours, it’s now back in business. It’s not clear what happened, but it’s back up now with tweets flowing.

        The Lizard Squad Twitter account has been taken down within the last hour and heading to the twitter.com/LizardSquad url only reveals an Account Suspended message. It is not clear if anyone in particular requested the profile to be taken offline, or if this was Twitter themselves, but the person behind this account reached almost 52,000 followers this week after taking PSN down along with outages like Twitch.

      • Arbitrary and capricious

        OVER 1.3 billion people, nearly the population of China, are now active Facebook users. That means a whopping 18% of the world’s population logs on to the site at least once a month. The social network is the largest community ever: a place where ideas, stories, images and perspectives are communicated instantly and widely across national, geographical and ideological boundaries.

      • Is it censorship or shying away from tough topics? The on-going debate on the role of social media
      • Snap-shots and tolerance

        The fact that Americans and Russians are taking opposite sides over the conflict in Ukraine is not just a matter of cultural sympathies or a geopolitical grudge match over the cold war. It is also, as Lilia Shevtsova writes in the American Interest, a conflict between the world’s liberal democracies and a new and adaptive form of capitalist authoritarianism. In other words, it’s a conflict between the kinds of countries where foreign athletes can openly express support for an increasingly unfriendly power, and those where even soldiers’ mothers’ committees may face crackdowns if they dare to criticise the government. As tensions between Washington and Moscow grow sharper, Mr Ovechkin may find that American fans are angered by his apparent support for the other side. Athletes are celebrities, and celebrities cannot publicly express their political opinions without affecting their brand. But Mr Ovechkin lives in a country where his position will not earn him any sort of official censorship.

      • WeChat Accounts Suspended By Tencent Due To New Censorship Rules In China
      • Deleting posts ‘not censorship’

        And the Facebook page – where scores had vented their frustrations – was wiped and frozen to prevent people thinking it was a way to reach the helpdesk, according to operations director Peter Lowes.

    • Privacy

    • Civil Rights

    • Internet/Net Neutrality

      • Comcast To Regulators: Data Caps? These? Nooo! These Are Just… Fuzzy Friendly Flexible Consumption Plans For Friends

        A few weeks ago, Verizon Wireless introduced a new bandwidth throttling plan and tried to claim it wasn’t throttling at all, but rather “network optimization,” and now Ars Technica has the story of how Comcast is trying to spin its data caps as not being data caps at all. Instead, they’re “flexible data consumption plans.” Because flexible is fun. Of course, their definition of flexible may be different from yours and mine, because they’re only “flexible” on Comcast’s side in determining just what the caps are. Once you go over those “flexible” plans, you’ll certainly be paying more. Just like a data cap. But, Comcast insists, it’s no data cap.

      • Champion Of The People: Verizon Complains Exigent Circumstances Order Inadequate For Info Requested; Hands Over Info Anyway

        Given how often major telcos and wireless service providers have willingly provided intelligence and law enforcement agencies with way more than they’ve asked for, the following shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

        The back story is this: In July 2008, an FBI agent had his gun and cellphone stolen from his “official” vehicle. The search for the missing items involved Verizon. In an application for a court order authorizing the release of cell site location info, it’s noted that the service provider performed the most futile of gestures on behalf of itself.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • More evidence GCSB sharing New Zealanders’ data
        • Can Key rule out that GCSB is sharing NZ’s data?
        • Dotcom’s Moment of Truth could backfire on his party and the left

          On September 15, five days before the end of an already extraordinary election campaign, Internet Party founder and funder Kim Dotcom will host an evening at the Auckland Town Hall that he says will discredit John Key and ensure National’s defeat.

          Announcing the event that he calls The Moment of Truth in early July, Dotcom said he would reveal “my evidence around the political interference and my evidence that John Key lied”. Two weeks later he announced he had hired Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, who led coverage of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, to be guest of honour. He told One News the event would cover “a lot of interesting things that will make our Prime Minister look pretty dull”, including alleged evidence Key knew of Dotcom earlier than the day before the 2012 raid of his mansion.

08.30.14

Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 5:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Haiku OS Gains Rudimentary Support For Haswell Graphics

    Haiku, the open-source operating system that maintains compatibility with the defunct BeOS, now appears to have basic support for Haswell graphics.

  • Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts

    Linux and *BSD have completely changed the storage market. They are the core of so many storage products, allowing startups and established vendors alike to bring new products to the market more rapidly than previously possible.

    Almost every vendor I talk to these days has built their system on top of these and then there are the number of vendors who are using Samba implementations for their NAS functionality. Sometimes they move on from Samba but almost all version 1 NAS boxen are built on top of it.

  • Yahoo to stop development on YUI library

    Yahoo has announced its decision to halt the development of Yahoo User Interface library (YUI), its open-source JavaScript library for writing HTML application interfaces. In the announcement, the company cites the rise in popularity of Node.JS, which has changed how developers build HTML applications, as have recent changes in package management and web application frameworks.

  • Cray’s Commitment to Lustre and OpenSFS

    At Cray, we are a big user and investor in Lustre. Because Lustre is such a great fit for HPC, we deploy it with almost all of our systems. We even sell and deliver Lustre storage independent of Cray compute systems. But Lustre is not (yet) the perfect solution for distributed and parallel-I/O, so Cray invests a lot of time and resources into improving, testing, and honing it. We collaborate with the open-source Lustre community on those enhancements and development. In fact, Cray is a leader in the Lustre community through our involvement in OpenSFS.

  • Netflix open sources internal threat monitoring tools
  • Genode OS 14.08 Has New GUI Architecture, Pluggable VFS

    Genode OS 14.08 also brings pluggable VFS file-system support, C run-time support for time functions, a port of the CPU jitter random number generator, a new port of OpenVPN, networking support for VirtualBox, and much better integration of the Qt5 tool-kit.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • 74 Countries and Counting: Mozilla’s Maker Party Increases Web Literacy Across the Globe

        Back in July we kicked-off Maker Party, our annual campaign to teach the web around the world. Throughout this two-month campaign we have seen people on nearly every continent increase their web literacy by writing their first line of code, making their first app, taking steps to protect their privacy, or creating engaging content for others to enjoy, share or remix. They’re all coming together thanks to the individuals and organizations that are helping us grow a movement by teaching their friends, family and communities through hands-on making and learning events.

      • Mozilla Marches Ahead with Ads for Firefox

        This November, Mozilla is up for renegotiation with Google for placement of Google search as the default search in Firefox and for the related subsidies that Google pays Mozilla, which reached almost $300 million last year. That comprised the majority of Mozilla’s income. With Chrome establishing itself as a leader in the browser wars, its unclear what relationship Google will continue to pursue with Mozilla.

      • Firefox OS Smartphones Change The Mobile Landscape Across India

        The launch of two Firefox OS phones in India in the same week marks an exciting moment in Mozilla’s mission to promote openness and innovation on the Web, and an opportunity to empower millions of Indians wanting to buy their first smartphones. Firefox OS will enable users to obtain lower-cost devices that offer telephony, messaging and camera and rich capabilities like built-in social integration with Facebook and Twitter, the Firefox browser, FM radio and popular apps.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Docker on Eucalyptus

      Docker has created a lot of buzz in the news over the last year. At Eucalyptus, we really understand the need that Docker addresses regarding the DevOps culture. In recognizing that, we have come up with a series of blogs and videos that demonstrate how to deploy, use and maintain Docker on a Eucalyptus — while still proving that Eucalyptus is the best on-premise AWS compatible cloud environment.

    • SUSE’s Flavio Castelli on Docker’s Rise Among Linux Distros

      Docker has only gained traction since its launch a little over a year ago as more companies join the community’s efforts on a regular basis. On July 30, the first official Docker build for openSUSE was released, making this distribution the latest among many to join the fray. I connected with Flavio Castelli, a senior software engineer at SUSE, who works extensively on SUSE Linux Enterprise and has played a major role in bringing official Docker support to openSUSE. In this interview, he discuses the importance of bringing Docker to each Linux distribution, the future of Docker on SUSE Linux Enterprise, and other interesting developments in the Docker ecosystem.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Open source communities start to buzz about edX

      Open source software is hugely important to us here at edX, since it’s what we do all day, every day. Two weeks ago, the O’Reilly company hosted their annual OSCON convention in Portland, Oregon—a convention focused on open source software. Of course, we had to be there. So, my edX colleague James Tauber and I packed our bags and headed to Oregon for a week of learning and teaching to meet wonderful people, and to get excited about open source. We even gave a presentation about edX!

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry: 26 new GNU releases!

      This month, we welcome Raman Gopalan as a new co-maintainer of GNU gengen (with its author Lorenzo Bettini), Marcel Schaible as the new maintainer of GNU gperf, and Sergey Poznyakoff adds yet another new package, direvent, to his long list. I’d also like to specially thank Assaf Gordon (the author and maintainer of GNU datamash, new last month) for a significant amount of effort with all aspects of Savannah; new Savannah volunteers are always needed, and welcome. Thanks to all.

    • Gimp 2.8.12 arrives with improvements, install it on Kubuntu
    • MediaGoblin version 0.7.0 out with new features

      Media publishing platform, MediaGoblin, has hit version 0.7.0. With this update new features include initial support for federalisation, a responsive CSS system, a featured media option, bulk uploading via the command line and a blogging media type.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Why we use open source – Australia’s Immigration agency explains

      Why choose open source? “In some ways, [the open source software used by the agency] is effectively more capable” than commercial products, he said. “In terms of cost-effectiveness, [it] wins hands down: no license/maintenance fees, extensible architecture [and] global open source R&D.” The team uses an open source software package called ‘R’.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Quick Test: PHP 5.6 Against Facebook’s HHVM
    • PHP 5.6.0 Released
    • Git 2.1 Released: What’s New

      Two-and-a-half months after Git 2.0, a new version of Git has been released. Though a minor update, the list of new features and improvements is large.

      The complete release notes can be found on git repository and provide full details about what can be found in Git 2.1. What follows provides a minimal selection of new features in Git 2.1.

    • Lazy declarative programming in C++11

      make does it, Haskell does it, spreadsheets do it, QML can do it and below I explain how to do it with C++11: declarative programming. And not just any declarative programming, but my favorite kind: lazy evaluation.

    • Checking On The Performance Of PHP 5.6

      Having not ran any PHP 5.6 development build in quite some time, this morning after the official PHP 5.6.0 official release I was running some tests to ensure the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org wouldn’t run into any problems when deployed on the latest version of PHP. Overall, everything is good and for those running the Phoronix Test Suite using any recent version of our open-source benchmarking software should be good for PHP 5.6.

Leftovers

  • Google’s Smith Is Top Candidate for U.S. Chief Technology Officer

    Google Inc. (GOOG) executive Megan Smith is close to heading to the White House.

    Smith, 49, who was most recently a vice president at Google’s X lab, is a top candidate for the role of U.S. chief technology officer, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Thirsty cyclists mistake soap for soft-drink

      The makers of “Omo”, a new clothes washing detergent, are considering changing their labelling after accidentally poisoning unsuspecting riders particpating in the “Fredagsbirken” race in Rena, near Oslo . The product was available as part of a sampling campaign by Lilleborg, sponsors of the event.

      All competitors were given a free sample of “Omo Aktiv & Sport”, together with their starting numbers before the race, reported Hamar Arbeiderblad.

    • Newsweek’s Monkey Meat Ebola Fearmongering

      But the problems of the piece were bigger than just the cover. The piece is built around the idea that illegally imported “bushmeat”–what we would call “wild game” if it were being eaten in the United States–could carry the deadly Ebola virus.

  • Security

    • Interview With Richard Kenner of AdaCore

      Q: In doing some research it seems that some of the hoopla surrounding Heartbleed came from the fact that Cloudfare announced they had fixed it, but only for their customers, is that correct?

      A: No, not at all. Once the existence of the bug was disclosed, the fix was absolutely trivial to anybody with technical knowledge because the code in question was Open Source. Anybody who wanted to fix it could very easily do so. This is very different from the later bug in Microsoft software that, even though the details were well known, only Microsoft could fix because the bug was in proprietary code that only Microsoft could change.

    • Friday’s security updates
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Labor Almost Invisible on TV Talk

      As the Labor Day holiday approaches, ask yourself how often you see unions represented on corporate-owned television. On the highest-profile public affairs shows, the answer is basically never.

    • Trust the New York Times to Tell You Not to Trust Twitter

      Using Twitter to follow the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, Bilton said he saw “thousands of one-sided accounts, many of which were grossly inaccurate.”

  • Censorship

    • Katherine Heigl Drops Her Lawsuit Against Duane Reade

      Back in April, I wrote to inform you of the crazy-pants lawsuit filed by Katherine Heigl after Duane Reade, a drug store chain, tweeted out a photo of Heigl shopping at one of its stores. Under the auspices of publicity rights and the corollary idea that celebrities are simply better people with more legal privileges than the rest of us, Heigl wanted six-million dollars for the following tweet.

  • Privacy

    • The executive order that led to mass spying, as told by NSA alumni

      One thing sits at the heart of what many consider a surveillance state within the US today.

      The problem does not begin with political systems that discourage transparency or technologies that can intercept everyday communications without notice. Like everything else in Washington, there’s a legal basis for what many believe is extreme government overreach—in this case, it’s Executive Order 12333, issued in 1981.

      “12333 is used to target foreigners abroad, and collection happens outside the US,” whistleblower John Tye, a former State Department official, told Ars recently. “My complaint is not that they’re using it to target Americans, my complaint is that the volume of incidental collection on US persons is unconstitutional.”

    • Surveillance Protesters Picket GCHQ

      The small number of protesters on Friday were reportedly outnumbered by the police and members of the media, according to the BBC. There was minor disruption at the Cheltenham site on Friday morning, as GCHQ staff were driven by bus into the site itself, instead of the usual practice of being dropped off outside.

    • If Social Media ‘Silence Debate,’ What Do Corporate Media Do?

      The study–or the Times recap, more to the point–is likely to get a lot of I-told-you-so attention from people who take a dim view of Twitter and the like. So it’s worth making two points.

    • Australian Federal Police Redaction Failures Expose Targets, Officers And Investigations

      Australian intelligence and law enforcement agencies are pushing for access to more personal data and other records with a minimum of court oversight. The most recent development tells us they should be trusted as much with this additional info as the guy standing in front of an empty barn asking for more horses. If they can’t keep what they already have safe and secure, why on earth would you give them access to more?

    • FISA Court Twists PATRIOT Act To Pretend It’s Okay To Spy On Americans Based On Their Constitutionally Protected Speech

      Thus, while depressing, it shouldn’t be too surprising to find out that when a Section 215 request came to him concerning activity of a US person that was entirely protected by the First Amendment, Bates figured out a way to give the FBI the go ahead to spy on the person anyway. Because terrorism.

    • Washington Law Enforcement Hides Stingray Purchase And Use From Everyone, But It’s OK Because They’re Fighting Crime

      More news of secret surveillance has been uncovered, thanks to FOIA requests. Police in Tacoma, Washington have a Stingray device and have been using it, unbeknownst to pretty much everyone in the area. And it’s not just a recent development. According to information obtained by The News Tribune, this dates back more than a half-decade.

    • Kaspersky Publishes (Then Deletes) Article Claiming ‘If You’re Doing Nothing Wrong, You Have Nothing To Hide’

      At least at the time I’m writing this, you can still see the full text via Google’s cache, though that may go away soon. The really ridiculous part is actually the final paragraph. The main part of the article lists out five areas where there are benefits to sharing your info (more on that in a second) and then it comes to this ridiculous conclusion:

      Apart from these five reasons, there are many more why you shouldn’t be paranoid and try to conceal your location while online. Remember if you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide. There is almost to zero chance that you would be of interest to any secret service on the planet. The only nuisance to you will be advertisement robots – and there are more effective tools against them than online anonymity.

    • DOJ Pretends No Fly Guidelines Haven’t Been Leaked, Claims ‘State Secrets’ To Avoid Revealing Them To The Judge

      Back in July, we wrote about the Intercept releasing a leaked copy of the US law enforcement guidelines for putting someone on the no fly list. There have been a series of lawsuits recently concerning the no fly list, and the government has basically done everything possible, practically to the point of begging judges, to avoid having those cases move forward. So far, that’s failed miserably.

    • Feds balk at court’s order to explain no-fly list selection process

      The Obama administration is fighting a federal judge’s order requiring it to explain why the government places US citizens who haven’t been convicted of any violent crimes on its no-fly database.

  • Civil Rights

    • Police Can’t Find A Bunch Of The Military Weapons And Vehicles That The Pentagon Has Been Handing Out

      Turning police departments into military bases has been one of the side effects of the 1033 program. This program routes military weapons and vehicles (as well as ancillaries like office equipment and medical supplies) to police forces, asking for nothing in return but a small donation and the use of the words “terrorism” or “drugs” on the application form. The program has been extremely popular and the US government can rest easy knowing that its excess inventory won’t go to waste.

    • 10 Acts Of Jihad In America That Americans Haven’t Heard About

      The ridiculousness is our notion that we will stop the jihad commanded by Islam by repurposing Cinnabon workers, dressing them up in faux cop uniforms, and stationing them at airports to feel us up and violate our Fourth Amendment rights.

    • Los Angeles cops do not need to hand over license plate reader data, judge finds

      The two groups want one week’s worth of data during Ramadan last year.
      A Los Angeles Superior Court judge will not force local law enforcement to release a week’s worth of all captured automated license plate reader (ALPR, also known as LPR) data to two activist groups that had sued for the release of the information, according to a decision issued on Thursday.

    • Is It Torture Now? ISIS Apparently A Fan Of CIA’s Waterboarding Techniques

      Among the many, many, many problems with running a torture program (beyond being morally problematic and with no history of effectiveness) is the fact that it makes it easier for others to justify torture programs as well. It’s now come out that ISIS has been waterboarding prisoners, including reporter James Foley whom they recently beheaded. Waterboarding, of course, was one of the CIA’s favorite torture techniques. And, of course, people had warned for years that having the CIA waterboard people would only encourage others to use the technique against Americans.

    • Counter-Strike Player’s Twitch Stream Captures His Own SWATting… And Some Questionable Police Behavior

      One of the more unfortunate side effects of police militarization isn’t directly the fault of law enforcement agencies or their enablers at the Pentagon. But it is related. Thanks to the Drug War, nearly every town in the US has a SWAT team or one minutes away, whether they need one or not. This has led to the rise of SWATting — calling in a false report in order to send a charged-up SWAT team to raid someone’s home.

      [...]

      At the beginning, the SWAT team does the usual cop thing of everyone yelling at the same time because that apparently works better than having a point person designated to deliver concise, well-enunciated instructions. (Note: it does work better than other situations where officers have yelled contradictory instructions over each other ["Stand up!! Lay on the ground!!].) Bonus points for swearing because no one takes guys with assault rifles and Kevlar vests seriously unless they use variations of the word “fuck.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How big telecom smothers city-run broadband

      Janice Bowling, a 67-year-old grandmother and Republican state senator from rural Tennessee, thought it only made sense that the city of Tullahoma be able to offer its local high-speed Internet service to areas beyond the city limits.

    • Thomas Stocking of gandi: FCC’s fast lane may kill the Internet as we know it

      Thomas Stocking is chief operating officer of US operations at gandi and I met him during LinuxCon Chicago. We talked about gandi’s no bullshit policy, how a France based company is offering services across the globe, how gandi is defending the Internet and how they engage with the Linux & Open Source community.

    • NY Times Endorses Tim Wu For Lieutenant Governor, But Chickens Out On Endorsing His Running Mate, Zephyr Teachout

      We’ve written a little bit about the campaign of Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu for Governor and Lt. Governor of NY — in particular about incumbent governor Andrew Cuomo’s petty attempt to bankrupt the campaign with a bogus attack on Teachout’s residency. That required a significant waste of time and resources, eventually leading a judge to toss out Cuomo’s frivolous challenge. Teachout and Wu have long histories of being really in touch with the internet generation, and being true anti-corruption reformers. While their campaign may be a longshot (big time “outsiders” against the quintessential insider), they’ve certainly managed to make some noise.

  • DRM

    • Cell Phone Kill Switches Mandatory in California

      The law only affects California, but phone manufacturers won’t sell two different phones. So this means that all cell phones will eventually have this capability. And, of course, the procedural controls and limitations written into the California law don’t apply elsewhere.

    • Keurig’s Coffee DRM Already Cracked By Competitors; Will There Be A Lawsuit?

      Earlier this year, we wrote about Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, maker of the infamous Keurig single cup coffee makers, and its plan to DRM its next generation coffee pods. The original pods were going off patent, and competition was rising. So, of course, the solution is to come up with something new… and lock it down to make it less useful for consumers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Obama nominates new intellectual property chief

      President Obama nominated a longtime trademark and copyright lawyer to be the White House’s new intellectual property enforcement officer.

      The White House announced on Thursday evening that Danny Marti was the president’s nominee for the post, which is tasked with coordinating ways to protect intellectual property with companies and other government officials.

      Marti, who is currently a managing partner at the Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton law firm in Washington, was greeted warmly by industry groups when his name was announced on Thursday.

    • President Obama Finally Gets Around To Nominating A New IP Czar

      While we’re still waiting for the White House to actually nominate a new head of the US Patent and Trademark Office, the other big administration “intellectual property” job has also been vacant for over a year: the “Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator” (IPEC) job, frequently referred to as the “IP Czar.” That job was previously held by Victoria Espinel, who left a year ago and immediately jumped to a lobbying job with the BSA, the copyright maximalist trade group run by Microsoft.

    • ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Maker Looks to Sanction Lindsay Lohan for Suing

      Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of Grand Theft Auto V, has told a judge that Lindsay Lohan’s publicity rights lawsuit is a publicity grab.

    • Reporter Annoyed To Discover He Doesn’t Own Facts; Suggests ‘Global Paywall’ For Reporters Like Himself

      Every so often we see this kind of thing: a reporter (who may very well do amazingly good work) gets upset to realize that other news sites and aggregators pick up on some of his stories and write about them — potentially even getting more attention than the original. In this case, it’s reporter Matthew Taub, who is annoyed that other sites got the glory for his investigative reporting on… on a guy dressing up as a clown and running around a Brooklyn cemetary…

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • As Expected, Aereo Pleads Its Case For Survival
      • Aereo Tells Judge It Can Beat Lawsuit Despite Supreme Court Ruling

        The digital company also renews a challenge to the irreparable harm faced by TV broadcasters

      • If You’re A Copyright Maximalist ‘Piracy’ Must Be The Answer To All Problems

        Tom Giovanetti is a wacky sort of copyright maximalist, who insists that “copyright is property, no questions asked” and never misses an opportunity to defend stronger and stronger copyright. Every so often he pops off with something totally nonsensical like the time he insisted that copyright could never be used for censorship. He recently spouted off, comically, about how “piracy” is “killing movie franchises.” Now, this might be a surprise to anyone who, you know, actually pays attention to Hollywood. Because nearly every top grossing film these days is… part of a movie franchise. Let’s take a look at the top performers of 2014 so far:

      • George Lucas Wants Desperately To Preserve Old Movies… Unless They’re His; So Fans Are Trying To Do It Instead

        Kevin Carson points us to a fascinating story in The Atlantic about fans trying to recreate the “original” version of Star Wars (“Episode IV — A New Hope for the folks who feel like being pedantic) from 1977. As various fans have pointed out repeatedly (mainly each time Lucas went back and “edited” Star Wars again), back in 1988 Lucas spoke to Congress about the importance of preserving original versions of movies, and avoiding the constant attempts to update and modernize them in ways that might erase the original versions.

      • UK Police Accuse Domain Name Registrar of Facilitating Criminal Activity

        City of London Police have increased the pressure on domain name registrars who do business with file-sharing sites. With a “notice of criminality” the police hopes to pressure the companies into taking action, or else.

      • Four ISPs Sued For Failing To Block Pirate Movie Sites

        VAP, the anti-piracy association of the Austrian film and video industry, has sued four local ISPs after they failed to act on a request to block streaming portals Movie4k.to and Kinox.to. The IFPI says it is preparing legal action against the ISPs for their failure to block The Pirate Bay.

      • Warner Bros. Sues New York Bar For Playing 80-Year Old Song

        Warner Bros. has filed a lawsuit against a small bar from Amityville, New York, for playing one of their songs without permission. The track in question is not a recent pop song, but the 80-year old love song “I Only Have Eyes for You” which first appeared in Warner’s 1934 movie “Dames.”

      • Dotcom Loses Bid to Keep Assets Secret from Hollywood

        Kim Dotcom has lost his appeal to keep his worldwide assets hidden from Hollywood in advance of a Court of Appeal hearing in October. The Court ordered the Megaupload founder to hand the information to Hollywood lawyers, although they must obtain permission to further share the information.

      • Is copyright trolling a thing in Finland now?

        I got a nasty letter(in English here) in the mail. I was being demanded 600 euros for alleged copyright infringement. I operate a TOR exit node and an open wireless network. I’m also an active member of the Pirate Party and have been a municipal election candidate in Turku, Finland.

      • Leaked Draft Reveals Hollywood’s Anti-Piracy Plans

        A leaked draft prepared for government submission has revealed Hollywood’s Australian anti-piracy strategy. Among other things, the paper says that providers should be held liable for infringing customers even when they only “reasonably suspect” that infringement is taking place.

08.28.14

Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

Posted in News Roundup at 5:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Considering Legacy UNIX/Linux Issues

    Gah, so frustrating! Ten years ago I wrote a rather popular book called Wicked Cool Shell Scripts, and I’m working on a new edition—a Tenth Anniversary release. There are lots of new scripts, entirely new chapters and updates to the older stuff. Fortunately, Bash hasn’t evolved that much in the last decade, so just about everything still works fine (although there are some scripts I’m now realizing can’t handle spaces in filenames—something I talked about years ago in this very column).

  • It’s All Linux Under the Hood

    The user friendly distros have done a great job of accommodating this new set of Linux users. It’s now entirely possible for a new Linux user running something like Ubuntu or one of its derivatives to never once open a terminal and still have a pretty decent experience. Some of these new users, who might have initially come to Linux only to breath new life into an old computer until they can afford a new Windows box, might be curious enough to delve under the hood enough to discover that what they’re using isn’t merely a free OS that works on obsolete hardware, but a powerful and highly configurable operating system that puts Windows to shame on almost every level.

  • OS Battle: Linux Takes 1.7% Desktop Marketshare

    We have another metric in showing a 1.7% Linux desktop market-share, which isn’t far off from other figures we’ve seen in the past indicating Linux desktop usage at under 2%.

  • China Promotes Linux-Based Operating System Against Windows, Android
  • Desktop

    • Why Linux Isn’t a Desktop Alternative

      The year of the Linux desktop has become a joke, referred to ironically when mentioned at all. Under the circumstances Linus Torvalds showed either courage or naivete when he admitted last week at Linuxcon that he still wants to see Linux become popular on the desktop.

      However, neither Torvalds nor anyone else should stay up nights waiting for the event. Most users have no awareness of the possibility, or set impossible standards for it, even though, for a minority, the year of the Linux desktop happened years ago.

    • Linux Doesn’t Need to Own the Desktop

      The simple fact is that Linux has changed the world and been a tremendous success outside the desktop, and there is nothing wrong with that. Android is hardly the only Linux-based platform that has made a big mark. Linux is huge on servers, in embedded technology, and is a constant prompt for innovation on emerging platforms. Ubuntu is the most popular platform for building OpenStack deployments on. Supercomputers all over the world run Linux, and Chrome OS is based on it.

    • Five big names that use Linux on the desktop

      It’s not just Munich city council that uses Linux on the desktop. A number of household names have also opted for open source.

    • Six Advantages of Choosing Linux over Windows

      Linux is multi-functional and efficient. Everyone shells out money for a computer. On top if it spending more on an operating system is not a feasible option for many if there are alternatives. Windows requires users to pay licensing fees and other extended fees, whereas Linux is free. It is charged a minimal fee when bought from other distribution companies. Hardware requirements are not a problem for Linux whereas Windows requires a higher set of specifications for hardware if it has to run, and be compatible on the users’ computer systems. The poor efficiency of Windows consumes a large space and the processing speed slows down drastically. With Windows users can not use old computers if they are aiming at good back up.

    • Linux on the desktop isn’t dead

      At LinuxCon this year, the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, was asked what he wanted for Linux. His response? “The desktop.” For years, the call to Linux action was “World Domination.” In certain markets, this has happened (think Linux helping to power Android and Chrome OS). On the desktop, however, Linux still has a long, long way to go.

      Wait… that came out wrong. I don’t mean “Linux has a long, long way to go before it’s ready for the desktop.” What I meant to say is something more akin to “Linux is, in fact, desktop ready… it just hasn’t found an inroad to the average consumer desktop.”

  • Server

    • IBM doubles down on Linux

      Less than a year after their announcement that they planned to invest a billion dollars in the Linux platform, IBM continues to ramp up their Linux play by rolling out Linux on Power System servers across 54 of the IBM Innovation and Client Centers worldwide. This comes almost two years after IBM announced that they had ported Linux to the Power Server platform.

    • Popularity (or lack of it) Of That Other OS on Servers

      According to Netcraft, it’s been many years since M$’s OS was so unpopular on servers…

  • Kernel Space

    • Appliance maker Electrolux joins IoT-focused AllSeen Alliance

      The group is one of the more diverse consortiums, with members ranging from consumer electronics and chipset manufacturers to retailers and service providers. Primarily, work revolves around the AllJoyn open-source framework, which AllSeen said acts as a universal translator for objects and devices to interact.

    • Linux hits 23 – the Time Machine that changed the world!

      Linux reached the entirely respectable age of 23 this week, more or less.

    • 2014 Kernel Internship Report (OPW)

      For the past year and a half, the Linux kernel has participated as a project under the FOSS Outreach Program for Women (OPW). OPW provides a three month paid internship for women (cis and trans) and genderqueer or genderfluid people. After a month-long application process, the selected OPW interns are paired with an open source mentor to work on a project. As of August 2014, there are eleven Linux kernel OPW alumni, and five interns that are just finishing up their internships.

    • Another Intel Linux Power Regression Is Being Investigated

      Power regressions are still easy to come by with the Linux kernel and other areas of the open-source stack… Multiple users have been reporting of a recent power increase on newer versions of the Linux kernel, which seem to track down to the Intel i915 DRM driver.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Re-Clocking Your NVIDIA GPU With Nouveau On Linux 3.17

        If you are trying to re-clock your NVIDIA GPU with the Nouveau driver when using the Linux 3.17 kernel, there’s an extra step involved, but still your mileage may vary and the re-clocking is still mostly for Kepler GPUs.

        With the Nouveau driver changes for Linux 3.17 there are no magic breakthroughs when it comes to re-clocking — allowing the GPU’s core and memory clocks to run at their rated frequencies and voltages rather than any (often much lower) values programmed by the video BIOS at boot time. With Linux 3.17 came re-clocking for Kepler GPUs and now it works, but generally not all performance levels/states properly function. If you are running a GeForce 400/500 “Fermi” GPU or other generations of NVIDIA hardware aside from the few integrated mobile chipsets, chances are you’re out of luck in being able to tap the full potential of the GPU when using this open-source, reverse-engineered NVIDIA GPU.

      • 20-Way Radeon Comparison With Open-Source Graphics For Steam On Linux Gaming

        When it comes to Linux gamers wanting a discrete graphics card backed by open-source drivers, the only solution right now to truly recommend for those serious about performance and making use of the hardware is really AMD Radeon graphics. While Nouveau has been making much progress, until re-clocking and other issues are worked out the performance can be unbearably slow depending upon the particular graphics processor or run into other problems. (Of course, when talking about proprietary graphics drivers on Linux, the story is entirely different, or if considering integrated Intel HD Graphics.) For those pursuing a AMD Radeon GPU for their own Steam Box/Machine build and hope to use the open-source Gallium3D drivers, here’s some Steam on Linux gaming benchmarks from almost two dozen different GPUs.

      • Nouveau On Oibaf PPA Is Back To Running Well

        Upstream Nouveau was unaware of this issue that was affecting my entire assortment of NVIDIA GeForce hardware so it was then quickly assumed to be an issue with the Oibaf PPA that constantly is packaging the latest open-source Linux GPU drivers. On top of mainline Mesa Git, recently there’s been the the Gallium3D Direct3D 9 patches (Gallium-Nine). While none of my testing was relying upon the Gallium-Nine D3D9 support, it was wreaking havoc on the system anyhow.

      • Radeon DRM Queues More Changes, RV6xx UVD For Linux 3.18

        With the DRM merge window for drm-next now closing earlier going forward than in past kernel releases, another Radeon DRM-Next pull request was already submitted for Linux 3.18.

        Alex Deucher of AMD had already sent in a pull request to add Radeon userptr support for Linux 3.18 after it just missed the Linux 3.17 merge window due to the user-space support not being tried and tested. In Alex’s latest pull request to DRM subsystem maintainer David Airlie, there’s more changes than the first.

      • Mesa Has A New Release Manager

        Mesa has a new release manager to allow the two existing managers from Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center to get back to more driver wrangling rather than release wrangling.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 14.08

      The overall theme of version 14.08 is the introduction of a new scalable GUI architecture that takes security as the most fundamental premise. It is unique in the way that the security of graphical applications and thereby the privacy of the user depends on only a few components of very little complexity. We strive for low complexity to reduce the likelihood for bugs and thereby the attack surface of the system. When using a secure microkernel such as NOVA, Genode’s trusted computing base for graphical applications is orders of magnitude less complex compared to contemporary operating systems. To illustrate the rigidity of this claim, the security-sensitive parts of the GUI stack do not even depend on a C runtime. With the current release, we maintain our focus on security while taking the scalability of the GUI architecture to a level that meets the expectations of general-purpose OSes. Thanks to its component-based design, the new GUI stack provides a great deal of flexibility with respect to its behaviour and style. Section New GUI architecture provides the rationale behind the development, the big picture of the architecture, and details about the current implementation.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • PLASMA ACTIVE PORTED TO KF5

        The GSoC might have come to an end, but I am very happy with the progress that we have made porting the Plasma Active to KF5. In my previous blogposts i have describe some of the stuff which they have been ported. So at the moment a lot of the basic features have come back to the Plasma Active, so yes it is at a usable state Smile One of the big changes is that Nepomuk has been replaced with Baloo. Despite the fact that a lot of the Nepomuk stuff has been ported, there are still some things left, for example the timeline and tag support on the active-filebrowser.

      • Meet Cornelius Schumacher – Akademy Keynote Speaker

        At Akademy 2014, outgoing KDE e.V. Board President Cornelius Schumacher will give the community keynote. He has attended every Akademy and has been amazed and inspired at every one of them. If you want more of what KDE can bring to your life, Cornelius’s talk is the perfect elixir.

        Here are glimpses of Cornelius that most of us have never seen. They give a sense of what has made him a successful leader of KDE for several years.

      • GSoC: Thumping the Malaria and voyaging in cosmos with KStars

        Let’s talk about my project now. KStars is desktop planetarium application under KDE Education Projects. I developed QML based cool interface to enable users to browse through image database of community of astrophotographers (i.e. astrobin.com) which contains more than 1,20,000 (number is increasing everyday) real time and very high resolution images along with various information related to them (i.e. Date on which image was captured, Bortle Dark-Sky Scale, RA Centre, DEC Centre, Telescope or Camera used, Description added by astrophotographer etc). I am sure that this browser will enthrall school children by showing them real time images of stars and galaxies located at hundreds of light year far from earth.

      • Akademy 2014: What I Plan To See
      • KDevelop master is now frameworkified
      • What’s new in porting script ? clean-includes.sh
      • New class in kcoreaddons: Kdelibs4ConfigMigrator
      • The KDE Randa 2014 meeting, in easy-digestible video format!

        In case you were wondering what was going on in Randa, here are some first hand impressions. The video was produced by Françoise Wybrecht (alias Morgane Marquis) and Lucie Robin, and the people in it are the actual participants of the event. It was also created using KDenlive, one of the awesome Free Software tools a team has been working on at the Randa meeting itself. The video introduces the faces and personalities of the contributors and their different backgrounds and origins. Many thanks to our brand new ad-hoc media team for producing this video!

      • Plasma Active Is Mostly Ported To KDE Frameworks 5

        With this year’s Google Summer of Code over, Antonis Tsiapaliokas shared a status update concerning the state of KDE’s Plasma Active being ported to KF5.

        Much progress was made this summer in porting Plasma Active to KDE Frameworks 5 and it’s now in a usable state. All basic functionality of Plasma Active should work in a KF5 world but parts of Nepomuk and other components are still being ported over.

        Antonis Tsiapaliokas says he continues to continue on with this work around the end of September after his university exams. More details can be found in Tsiapaliokas’ blog post and the KF5 Plasma Active porting video that’s embedded below.

      • KDE Mover-Sizer brings handy Linux desktop tricks to the PC

        Resizing and repositioning windows on the PC desktop is such a fundamental task that you’ll almost do it without thinking. Move the mouse to the title bar/ border, click, drag, release. Very basic, very simple — but there might still be room for improvement.

        KDE Mover-Sizer is an open source, portable tool which brings a common Linux desktop trick to Windows. Instead of having to move your mouse cursor to the title bar or border, you just hold down the Alt key, then left-click anywhere inside a window and drag to move it, right-click and drag to resize it.

  • Distributions

    • The Linux Desktop-a-week Review: elementary OS’s Pantheon

      First of all, I get why so many people say it is a “Mac clone.” I do. It has the same standard layout that Mac OS X has been using for several years: a dock on the bottom, menu bar up top. But that’s really about where the similarities end. My guess is that people who call this a Mac clone haven’t actually had the chance to use the system extensively and were going on screenshots alone.

    • New Releases

    • Slackware Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CTO unexpectedly quits, amid rumors of executive ‘friction’

        No-one among the rank and file at Red Hat seem to have seen this coming. In a move the Linux giant’s staffers said was “shocking” and a “punch in the gut,” long-time Red Hat chief technology officer Brian Stevens has resigned.

        In a short press release, the company announced: “Brian Stevens will step down as CTO.”

        In the same release, Red Hat’s president and chief executive Jim Whitehurst said, “We want to thank Brian for his years of service and numerous contributions to Red Hat’s business. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

      • Brian Stevens to Step Down as CTO of Red Hat
      • Red Hat Shake-up, Desktop Users, and Outta Time
      • Red Hat eyes up the cloud with CloudForms 3.1

        Red Hat Inc., might already be a superpower where Linux is concerned, but it has no intention of resting on its laurels. It has ambitions to become a major player in the cloud as well, and to that end it’s launched an open hybrid cloud management solution called Red Hat CloudForms 3.1, unveiled yesterday at the VMworld 2014 event in San Francisco.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 21 Will Try To Release Before Thanksgiving

          Today was another FESCo meeting but fortunately no further Fedora 21 delay was announced today, but it could happen with the F21 alpha change deadline being today and the developers trying to get an approved build.

        • DNF Makes It A Step Closer To Replacing Yum On Fedora

          DNF 0.6.1 was released today and this updated open-source package manager picked up a few more features as it’s still in pursuit of replacing Yum on Fedora systems.

          The DNF 0.6.1 release adds full support for the history redo command with integration for the repository-packages commands. DNF 0.6.1 also adds new configuration options pertaining to GPG keys/checking and there’s many bug-fixes.

    • Debian Family

      • $99 Parallella Supercomputer has Successful Launch After 18 Months

        There is also an unofficial Debian 7.0 image and it should be possible to run just about any distro that has an armhf architecture build. Provided that is that the aforementioned kernel and device tree are located in the BOOT filesystem on the SD card, along with an FPGA configuration bitstream.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 14.10 Beta 1 (Utopic Unicorn) to Arrive in a Couple of Days

            “So Beta 1 is this week and I’ll be taking care of the builds and paperwork. Could participating flavours please get in touch here or on IRC? In the mean time, I’m going to assume a participation similar to Alpha-2 and configure cron, propose-migration and the tracker accordingly, then build a first candidate for each of your flavours,” wrote Canonical’s Stéphane Graber.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn), Beta 1 preview: No big changes

            Despite optimistic 2011 predictions of a fully converged cross-platform OS running Mir and UnityNext (8) by 2014, Ubuntu 14.10 is set to retain X Windows and Unity 7. Based on this beta, it seems there will be no big changes in 14.10, although upgrading is always worthwhile.

          • Ubuntu Next with Unity 8 and Mir on the Desktop – Screen Tour

            Canonical is planning to bring the Unity 8 to the desktop, but it will take a while until this task is accomplished. Until then, users can test the new Ubuntu Next images, which incorporate Unity 8 and the Mir display server.

            Ubuntu developers have been working very hard on the new Unity 8 desktop environment, but their progress has been limited so far on the mobile phones. With the work that’s being done for Ubuntu Touch RTM and Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn), the implementation of the new desktop is now on a back burner.

          • Squid 3 Exploit Closed in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

            Canonical has published details in a security notice about a Squid 3 vulnerability in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating systems that has been found and fixed.

            The Ubuntu developers have closed a small problem with Squid, which could have been made to crash, if it received specially crafted network traffic.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) beta-1 released!

            The first beta of the Utopic Unicorn (to become 14.10) has now been released!

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Imagination Launches MIPS-Based “Creator CI20” Development Board For Linux And Android, Free For Developers

      Today, Imagination is announcing the launch of a MIPS development board called the MIPS Creator CI20, with support for Linux (running Debian 7 currently, but other distro images are supported) and Android 4.4 KitKat (coming soon).

      According to Imagination, this MIPS developer board is merely the first step in the company’s campaign to get more people to build cool stuff on top of the MIPS CPU architecture. The dev board is targeting open source communities, schools, hobbyists or anyone who might want to try out the MIPS platform. It’s basically a direct competitor to the likes of the ARM-based Raspberry Pi and Texas Instruments’ BeagleBone development boards.

    • Device Tree Overlay Support Lands Upstream

      This means that we should soon have Capemgr support in newer kernels and we are trying to get a jump on that now.

    • New MIPS Creator CI20 development board for Linux and Android debuts
    • Phones

      • Samsung’s Tizen Mobile OS Failing to Impress Device Makers, Pundits

        Samsung’s Tizen mobile operating system is under fire. Some industry pundits have called the operating system, which is open-source and designed to take on Android, a failure, even though it has reached the market in only a few minor mobile products and really hasn’t had a chance to show its worth. Just recently, in fact, Huawei, a top China-based device and telecommunications equipment maker, said that it researched the possibility of using Tizen but found that it couldn’t serve its needs. The company said that it sees Tizen failing eventually with no chance of competing against the likes of Android and others. Samsung, the company behind Tizen, has been silent on the complaints about its operating system. While the company has acknowledged that it has faced some challenges in design, it’s still saying publicly that it can make Tizen a mainstream option in the mobile space. Samsung has even said Tizen could be an ideal choice for wearables, where the company has already brought the operating system to some of its devices. The truth, however, is not as simple as Samsung would have the market believe. This eWEEK slide show looks at the reasons why Tizen may have a hard time proving itself as a viable alternative to Android or any other mobile operating system.

      • Tizen Samsung Smart Camera NX1 with a new UI coming next month?

        Samsung Electronics has been making steady headway in the world of cameras, and possibly leading the pack when it comes to Smart Cameras with its features that it offers. We heard a while ago that samsung where going to be releasing another flagship Smart Camera following the release of the Samsung NX30 camera.

      • Android

        • New Google Nexus Leak Confirms 192-Core, 64-bit Apple Rival

          Last September Apple AAPL +0.16% caused a stir when it announced iOS 7 and the accompanying iPhone 5S would support 64-bit operation. The move to this much faster architecture gave it the jump on 32-bit rivals Android and Windows Phone and brought Apple’s products in-line with desktop and laptop-class computing. But now Android has caught up and may well go speeding past.

        • HTC announces the Desire 510 Android phone but doesn’t mention its 64-bit processor

          Apple stole a march on Android when it released the iPhone 5S with a 64-bit processor, and Android manufacturers have put the pedal to the metal in a race to catch up and make their products 64-bit. AnandTech reports that HTC has announced the Desire 510, its first 64-bit Android phone.

        • HTC Announces Desire 510: First 64-bit Android Phone

          While normally one might expect high end phones to get the latest and greatest features first, this time we see a bit of a surprising reversal. The Desire 510 is HTC’s first 64-bit phone, and the first announced device with Snapdragon 410. For those that aren’t familiar with Snapdragon 410, it has four Cortex A53 CPU cores running at 1.2 GHz, along with an Adreno 306 GPU which suggests that it is a mild modification of the current Adreno 305 GPU that we see in the Snapdragon 400. Overall, this should make for a quite fast SoC compared to Snapdragon 400, as Anand has covered in the Snapdragon 410 launch announcement.

        • Free Android Apps August 2014: Google Play Store Titles for This Week

          There are actually good new Android apps in the Google Play Store that seemed to slide off under the radar. In this news, we’re going to mention some of the best, often ignored, Free Android Apps that you might want to check out. Perfect for those who are actually bored or disappointed with their present apps.

Free Software/Open Source

  • SelekTOR 3 now Open Source.

    If you have been following my blog or the SelekTOR news posts here at Dazzleships you will know that I intended to take SelekTOR open source under the GPL 2 license and also discontinue the Windows version well I can now report that this has come to pass.

    SelekTOR for Linux V3.06 and all its source code including the Netbeans build forms are now available for download on the SelekTOR page.

  • Kano’s Alejandro Simon: If This, Then Do That

    The OS has been available since February. It is open source. We tried to release a new version of it every two or three weeks. Anybody who runs Rasperry Pi can use it. So we already have users. They share content and discuss features and exchange idea on our forums. So far, we have sold 18,000 kits since last year, through the Kickstarter campaign via preorder. We are now in production and have most of the different pieces in place. We will start shipping by the beginning of September, hopefully. We do the materials and the hardware and the components and the packages ourselves. Finally, it is all coming together.

  • Netflix Open Sources More of its Useful Utilities
  • Netflix open sources internal threat monitoring tools
  • Chef engineer leaves the company after receiving death threats from its open source community

    A release engineer from Chef, the company providing commercial support for the open-source Chef configuration management tool, said in a blog post Wednesday that he is leaving the company after being harassed by members of the Chef community for his contributions to the open source project.

    Seth Vargo (pictured above) wrote that because he has “received numerous abusive emails and two death threats” in addition to other offensive behavior regarding his open-source contributions to the Chef community that were outside of his official work for Chef, he will not only be leaving Chef but will be taking a sabbatical from software engineering.

  • Chef pledges to better police open source community after engineer resigns following death threats
  • Events

    • New Vault Conference to Promote Open Source Cloud Storage

      The Linux Foundation, a non-profit consortium that promotes Linux and open source software, announced Vault on Thursday. The purpose of the conference, according to the group, is to help guide the direction of open source storage development as organizations increasingly move data to the cloud, creating new types of security and privacy challenges.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Mid-cycle meetups for OpenStack developers and users

      Taking place twice a year, OpenStack’s summits provide a great deal of the face-to-face interaction between developers, vendors, and users. But what about the rest of the year? Many projects opt to host mid-cycle meetups to bridge the gap to collaborate, make plans for the future, and knock out major tasks.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Kids aren’t the only ones learning to share

      This one is fundamental. If we look at the four software freedoms we can see very clearly how important the concept of sharing is. To clarify, obviously these four freedoms are not a part of all open source, but they do hold value as a reference when thinking through the concept of sharing.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 4 things you didn’t know about civic crowdfunding

      Crowdfunding is everywhere. People are using it to fund watches, comic books, even famous film directors are doing it. In what is now a $6 billion industry globally, I think the most interesting, disruptive, and exciting work that’s happening is in donation-based crowdfunding.

      That’s worth, very roughly, $1.2 billion a year worldwide per year. Within that subset, I’ve been looking at civic projects, people who are producing shared goods for a community or broader public. These projects build on histories of community fundraising and resource pooling that long predate the Internet; what’s changed is that we’ve created a scalable, portable platform model to carry out these existing practices.

    • Open Data

      • penStreetMap: the Next Truly Indispensable Open Project

        Last year, I described OpenStreetMap (OSM) as the “open source of maps”. On the occasion of the project’s tenth anniversary, I’d like to explore this important example of open collaboration in a little more detail, and explain why I think it is destined to become the next absolutely key open project.

        First, some history. To celebrate OSM’s anniversary, TechCrunch has an excellent interview with the project’s founder, Steve Coast.

  • Programming

    • PHP 5.6 Major Update Officially Released

      PHP 5.6, an HTML-embedded scripting language with syntax borrowed from C, Java, and Perl, with a couple of unique PHP-specific features thrown in, is now available for download.

      The PHP 5.x branch includes a new OOP model based on the Zend Engine, a new extension for improved MySQL support, built-in native support for SQLite, and many more features. This branch of PHP has been in the works for quite some time and it’s nice to see that the stable version is now out.

Leftovers

  • MenuetOS Updated With SMP Threads & Onscreen Keyboard

    MenuetOS, the operating system written in Assembly and now primarily focused on 64-bit x86 systems and fits on a 1.5MB floppy disk image, is out with a new release.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Feds warn first responders of dangerous hacking tool: Google Search

      In a restricted intelligence document distributed to police, public safety, and security organizations in July, the Department of Homeland Security warned of a “malicious activity” that could expose secrets and security vulnerabilities in organizations’ information systems. The name of that activity: “Google dorking.”

      “Malicious cyber actors are using advanced search techniques, referred to as ‘Google dorking,’ to locate information that organizations may not have intended to be discoverable by the public or to find website vulnerabilities for use in subsequent cyber attacks,” the for-official-use-only Roll Call Release warned. “By searching for specific file types and keywords, malicious cyber actors can locate information such as usernames and passwords, e-mail lists, sensitive documents, bank account details, and website vulnerabilities.”

    • Security updates for Thursday
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The danger of retaliation

      Like Al-Qaida, the Islamic State is a monster partly of our own making.

    • Op-Ed: Tripoli bombed for third night by unidentified aircraft

      For a third night unidentified aircraft struck targets in Tripoli. The attacks came just hours after the Misrata militia claim they have finally gained control of the Tripoli International AIrport from the rival Zintan brigades.

    • How to Provoke a Crisis

      There is no one more capable at provoking a crisis than the U.S. national-security establishment. They are absolute experts at doing so. They have to be. Their survival and ever-increasing tax-funded bounty depends on it.

      Consider, for example, a recent altercation between a U.S. surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet near the coast of Japan.

    • ‘The Congress Shall Have Power … to Declare War’

      President Obama is compelled to get permission before striking Syria, but if he violates the law by unilaterally ordering a strike it won’t be the first time.

    • BT alleged to have supplied high-speed fibre-optic cable to aid US drone strikes

      The government has been asked to investigate whether BT is aiding drone strikes with a specially built military internet cable connecting US air force facilities in Northamptonshire to a base for unmanned craft in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.

      Evidence is mounting that the $23m (£13m) fibre-optic circuit built by BT in 2012 was installed to facilitate air strikes in Yemen and Somalia by US air force drones, according to a complaint filed by the human rights group Reprieve.

      The circuit runs from RAF Croughton, a base where US air force personnel staff a command, control, communications and computer support hub for global operations organised by the US military.

  • Finance

    • Colonization by Bankruptcy: The High-Stakes Chess Match for Argentina

      Argentina is playing hardball with the vulture funds, which have been trying to force it into an involuntary bankruptcy. The vultures are demanding what amounts to a 600% return on bonds bought for pennies on the dollar, defeating a 2005 settlement in which 92% of creditors agreed to accept a 70% haircut on their bonds. A US court has backed the vulture funds; but last week, Argentina sidestepped its jurisdiction by transferring the trustee for payment from Bank of New York Mellon to its own central bank. That play, if approved by the Argentine Congress, will allow the country to continue making payments under its 2005 settlement, avoiding default on the majority of its bonds.

    • Detroit water shut-offs for overdue bills to begin once more

      More than a month after Detroit was criticized for turning off water to people who had not paid their bills, the water shut-offs are beginning again.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Spy on enemies, not Senate

      Revealing too much about the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities would undermine national security. But that doesn’t mean the CIA shouldn’t have to answer to Congress.

      And it certainly doesn’t mean the CIA should spy on Congress.

      Legislative oversight of the CIA is a legal, logical and necessary way for federal lawmakers to assure that the agency operates within proper limits. That’s how the American public, through our elected representatives, keeps track of what the CIA is doing in our name.

    • Former CIA Director Michael Hayden Trying To Pretend CIA Torture Report Is Just A ‘Democrat’ Political Ploy

      We’ve been covering the pending release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture report, which is currently undergoing a fight over what should or should not be redacted. We also covered the NY Times report about how former CIA boss George Tenet (who helped mentor current CIA boss John Brennan) is both implicated by the report… and has been leading the campaign to discredit the report.

  • Civil Rights

    • CIA acted to shape Portugal’s post-revolutionary political scene

      The US State Department approved its first clandestine operational plan for Portugal on 27th September 1974 with the stated aim of “avoiding the communists taking power” according to documents publicly released on their 40th anniversary.

    • Congressman Guns for High-Performance Body Armor Ban

      A California congressman wants to ban everyday Americans from owning high-performance body armor.

      Rep. Mike Honda, a Democrat, tells U.S. News law enforcement officers need an edge over criminals and rampaging madmen, whom he says can “wreck havoc with impunity” wearing the gear.

      Honda’s “Responsible Body Armor Possession Act,” introduced July 31, would prohibit civilians from buying or owning armor – including vests, shields, helmets and other items – rated Type III or higher on the National Institute of Justice’s penetration resistance scale.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality Is ‘Marxist,’ According to This Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

      A mysterious conservative group with strong ties to the Koch brothers has been bombarding inboxes with emails filled with disinformation and fearmongering in an attempt to start a “grassroots” campaign to kill net neutrality—at one point suggesting that “Marxists” think that preserving net neutrality is a good idea.

      The emails, which come with subject lines like “Stop Obama’s federal Internet takeover,” come from American Commitment, an organization that is nonprofit in name only and has been called out time and time again by journalists and transparency organizations for obscuring where it gets its funding.

      In an email I received, American Commitment president Phil Kerpen suggests that reclassifying the internet as a public utility is the “first step in the fight to destroy American capitalism altogether” and says that the FCC is plotting a “federal Internet takeover,” a move that “sounds more like a story coming out of China or Russia.”

  • DRM

    • GOG Looking To Extend It’s DRM-Free Message To Movies/TV

      If you like PC games, chances are you already know all about GOG, or Good Old Games. The GOG website has done more to extend the life of gently-aged games by building a platform for old games that will work on new machines while having one singular principal dominate their products: there shall be no DRM.

    • GOG To Start Selling Movies And TV Shows

      Well this is interesting: GOG.com, the digital retailer best known for selling old games without DRM, is branching out into film and TV.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom Battles to Keep Cash Sources Private

        With Hollywood hovering in the background looking for cash, last month the High Court ordered Kim Dotcom to reveal in detail where he’s getting all his money from. The Mega founder isn’t ready to give in though, and is putting up a fight ahead of an appeal hearing in October.

      • LA Police: Online Piracy Funds Drug Dealers and Terrorists

        The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sees piracy as one of its top priorities. In a highly tainted news report the Assistant Sheriff claims a direct link between piracy, organized crime and terrorism. But are the alleged pirates who inspired the report really hardcore criminals? Let’s find out.

We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

Posted in Interview, OSI, Patents at 4:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents’ demise

Software patents are gradually losing their grip on the industry, not just in the world at large but also in the US (genesis of software patents). A few days ago an interview was published in which Simon Phipps (OSI) spoke about the goal of eradicating software patents and explained the latest turn of events as follows: “The Supreme Court in their judgment created a very clear test to work out whether a software patent was going to be valid or not. What they said was that, they said that there could still be software patents, but that simply taking something that is not patent‑eligible like an algorithm and then claiming that it’s patentable because it runs on a computer is not sufficient to actually establish patentability.

“They said that to get a software patent, the software that you have has got to improve the computer significantly. Because of that, the standard for getting software patents has been dramatically increased by the Alice decision.

“The federal circuit court then referred to the Alice decision, and decided not even to proceed to find out if there had been infringement on the Digitech case because they declared that the image processing software was not a significant improvement to the computer. Rather, it was a computer implementing a non‑patent‑eligible technique.”

Based on the article “Appeals court knocks out computer bingo patents” and some that are citing it, yet another software patent has just dropped dead. “Silly software patents are finally on notice at the Federal Circuit,” says the summary and lawyers do some legal analysis (not challenging the ruling but interpreting it). Progressive sites like TechDirt use a clever headline and say: “Another day, another story of stupid software patents getting stomped out of existence thanks to the Supreme Court’s Alice v. CLS Bank ruling. As we’ve been noting, this ruling is looking like it’s going to invalidate a ton of software patents (and that’s a good thing). The latest one dumped was an attempt to patent bingo online. Yes, bingo. The lower court had already rejected the patent using previous Supreme Court rulings against patenting “abstract ideas.” Now, with the Alice ruling in hand, the Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) completed the stomping out of the bingo patent.”

Based on this same site, citing the post “Patent Troll Landmark Technology Sues eBay For Challenging Its Patents; EBay Responds With Anti-SLAPP Motion”, there is bullying over the suggestion that some patents need re-examining. To quote: “Over at Popehat, there’s a fascinating story about the depths to which patent trolls will go to “protect” their business models. The story involves Landmark Technologies, a troll we wrote about earlier this year for its rather aggressive take on patent trolling. Landmark holds patent 6,289,319: ‘Automatic Business and Financial Transaction Processing System.’ Or, as the EFF puts it more succinctly: paying with a credit card online. eBay recognized that Landmark’s trolling was bad news, and filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a re-exam of three patents. The USPTO initially recognized eBay’s request, noting that there were “substantial” questions about the patentability in those patents. While it eventually left two of the patents alone, it dumped many of the claims in a third patent.”

Remember how back in early August an invalidated patent caused much trouble for that aggressor called Apple.

There is a real opportunity here for change. Patents on software can now be eliminated. Rather than actively fight software patents Google is just promising not to sue. What a wasted opportunity and misguided strategy.

Back in 2013, Google announced its plans to not sue anybody who had implemented open-source versions of its MapReduce algorithm. Since then, the company has expanded what it calls its “Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge” to a number of other patents. Today it is announcing its largest expansion of this program to date, with the addition of 152 additional patents. This brings the total number of patents included in this program to 245.

Google ought to do more to end software patents, not just acquire some and then promise not to sue.

Meanwhile down in New Zealand, a lawyers’ site claims that changes are coming:

On 13 September the new Patents Act will come into force – whether you’re ready for it or not. So, too, will the Patents Regulations 2014 which were ratified by an Order in Council on 11 August.

Everything, then, is set. This article thus serves as something of a recap on the extent of the changes under the new regime.

Many of the provisions of the new Act are the same as the current Patents Act 1953. There will then be some continuity for patentees and businesses. However, two very significant changes are being implemented which concern how IPONZ examiners consider patent applications and the limits placed on the patentability of software.

IPONZ examiners will shortly have to examine patent applications to determine whether the claims made in respect of, for example, a product involve “an inventive step”. The inclusion of the law of “inventive step” in the new Act represents a higher threshold for hopeful patentees to meet.

There was lobbying by proprietary software giants to bring software patents to this island, but they have not been exceptionally successful. This is of course good news that reminds us that the end of software patents as elusive as we once assumed it to be.

Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono, VMware at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software

Why do so many FOSS sites cover VMware and VMWorld when all it’s about is proprietary software and EEE (embrace and extend) against FOSS? Remember that it was Paul Maritz, Vice President at Microsoft who later became the CEO of VMware, saying that he wanted to “cut off Netscape’s air supply.” VMware is not a friend of FOSS and it is also a GPL violator, based on strong evidence that was never quite revisited in recent years. VMware is about exploiting FOSS while giving nothing in return.

Maritz and his influence linger on because, as even a Microsoft-friendly site put it, this is “embrace and extend” all over again. It looks like VMware is ‘embracing’ FOSS, but it’s embracing it like a python embraces a lamb. From the summary:

VMware’s VMworld announcements are a case study in the “embrace and extend” approach used so well by Microsoft. The big difference is VMware doesn’t want to and couldn’t add the “extinguish” to the cloud (hybrid or otherwise).

Larry Dignan is wrong in that last part. Having been an involuntary user of VMware in some places at work, it seems clear that VMware and their effect on VMs is similar to that of Oracle in databases. Many who insist on FOSS compromise for proprietary software and if the openwashing PR works (many thing of Oracle and VMware as ‘Linux-friendly’ due to marketing), then better options like PostgreSQL or MySQL (and KVM) get ignored or only scarcely explored.

VMware should generally be considered a proprietary software snake crawling inside the FOSS yard, offering nothing more than back doors at hypervisor level (remember that VMware and RSA, the NSA’s back door ally, are owned by the same company). Watch this new article titled “VMware CEO details offensive strategy for containers, open source”.

In other news, Sonatype, which has a consistent track record of FOSS licensing FUD, uses its spun credentials to make itself seem like FOSS while bashing FOSS in the FOSS-hostile IDG. Sonatype should spend more time explaining to the public the grave dangers posed by proprietary software EULAs and licensing costs, not to mention gangsters/lobbyists such as the BSA.

Lastly, but not leastly (no, it’s not really a word), watch this coverage of a Mono release. This article does not cover the issues around patents, Microsoft and a lot more. Instead it quotes the Microsoft boosters from Xamarin as follows:

The developers are saying that “Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework based on the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Runtime. A growing family of solutions and an active and enthusiastic contributing community are helping position Mono to become the leading choice for development of cross platform applications.”

Mono is a great example of a FOSS mole. Mono and the company behind it are basically a Microsoft Trojan horse inside FOSS. The goal of Xamarin and of Mono is to make Microsoft richer, more dominant, more omnipresent, and in great control over all software. Xamarin hardly even cares for free/libre operating systems. It’s all about C# and other proprietary, heavily-patented Microsoft frameworks. Follow the money to better understand what drives Xamarin and what its true goals are. Look at who the company hires and what its staff says.

Writing about Microsoft’s pretense of embracing FOSS (like a wolf guarding the hen house), Jim Lynch cited us calling this whole thing “digital imperialism” the other day. He wrote: “I have seen some articles recently that asked if Microsoft has become a friend to open source over the last few years, and I think the behavior detailed in this article puts the lie to that idea. Microsoft was never a friend to the open source movement and it certainly isn’t now. But such press coverage is probably useful to the company as a cloak to hide behind while it tries to slip a dagger into the back of open source software.

“I also noted in an earlier article this week my skepticism of some of the articles about Munich supposedly dumping open source. If Techrights is correct then it looks like Microsoft may have had a hand in promoting some of the negative press coverage of open source in Munich. Sometimes it’s easy to smell a rat when you see a story like that suddenly cascading through technology media. ”

All that Microsoft can offer Munich is the return to blue screens of death, surveillance (espionage against Germany), a higher overall bill (in the long run), and fewer German jobs. Last week we noted that the one man who caused all the commotion in Munich (a self-professed Windows fan) was potentially a mole. People like John Dvorak are currently trying to exploit this deception to provoke and perhaps even troll GNU/Linux users.

08.27.14

Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why we need an open-source movement for the web

    Now consider open source, the software that powers all these web companies. Open source has a built-in guarantee that users are in control. Always.

    This matters, because open source “is where innovation happens,” as Red Hat’s Gunnar Hellekson opines. From Hadoop to Android to Mesos to MySQL, much of the world’s best software is available for free.

  • prPIG Joins the Open Source Initiative

    The Open Source Initiative ® (OSI), the premiere organization that promotes and protects open source, announced today that the Puerto Rico Python Interest Group (prPIG) has joined the OSI as an Affiliate Member. prPIG’s support of open source software development and its advocacy for the adherence to the open source definition are supporting software innovation in Puerto Rico. prPIG’s affiliation with OSI will help build a sustainable software development community in Puerto Rico, that will drive technological and social innovation.

  • What makes your developers stick around?

    Chawner begins by relating a tale that is probably familiar to many in the open source world. It is the story of Richard Stallman’s battle with a closed source Xerox printer. The printer was subject to frequent paper jams, but because the source code was not available, he could not modify the printer’s software to report the jams to inconvenienced users waiting on their print jobs. This event, along with a general trend towards closed source software, caused Stallman to start the GNU Project and found the Free Software Foundation. The story of that troublesome printer and the subsequent developments in the free software and open source movements led Chawner to explorer her research questions in an attempt to understand participant satisfaction with FLOSS projects.

  • Tux Paint: Doing FOSS Right

    Apparently, I’m not alone in thinking highly of the software, if this page of testimonials is any indication. In fact, the publication “This Old Schoolhouse” recently echoed many other reviews in their article in the June 2012 edition. In the article, Andy Harris, the Tech Homeschooler, wrote, “Tux Paint is just about the most kid-friendly program I’ve ever seen. It’s designed so the adult can set it up, and even very young children can enjoy it thoroughly. It also has sophisticated enough features for siblings and parents to enjoy.”

  • Linux at 23, Desktop Feedback, and GIMP 2.8.14 Released

    The top story tonight is the releases of GIMP 2.8.12 and 2.8.14. Linux celebrated 23 years yesterday and the community had a bit to say about “the desktop.” And finally tonight we have a couple of gaming announcements and Bruce Byfield on the KDE Visual Design Group.

  • Open Source Software: Sailing Into Friendlier Seas

    Open source software is now a force drawing enterprises and developers like a magnet.

    The factors pulling adopters into the open source fold are changing, though. Also changing are the attitudes of software developers and corporate leaders about the viability and adaptability of open source.

  • Netflix Open Source Security Tools Solve Range of Challenges
  • Things I Learned about Open Source…The Hard Way
  • Shortlist of open source software used at NASA lab

    The offer was too good to be true. Three whole weeks at the NASA Glenn Research Center and an invitation to come back. I could scarcely believe it when I read the email. I immediately forwarded it to my parents with an addition of around 200 exclamation points. They were all for it, so I responded to my contact, Herb Schilling, with a resounding “YES!”

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 37 Stable Arrives with Better Unity Integration in Ubuntu

        Google Chrome 37 is now the current stable version of the Internet browser from Google. It’s a release that’s more focused on security than anything else, but there are a few new features. It won’t feel different from the 36.x branch that users have just upgraded from, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to update the software.

    • Mozilla

      • First Firefox OS Smartphones Available in India this Week
      • Mozilla Adding Granular App Permissions to Firefox OS

        Mozilla is set to add a feature to its mobile Firefox OS that will give users the ability to revoke any application’s permissions on a granular basis.

        Firefox OS is the open source operating system that Mozilla built for smartphones. The software runs on a variety of devices from manufacturers such as Alcatel, ZTE and LG. The devices mainly are available outside of the United States, although there’s at least one Firefox OS phone sold in the U.S. The operating system is meant to be flexible and includes many of the security and privacy features that Mozilla has built into the Firefox browser over the years, namely support for Do Not Track.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • VMworld Brings New VMware OpenStack, Docker, and Hardware Technologies

      VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger kicked off his company’s VMworld 2014 conference with a message – Be Brave. Gelsinger’s message was intended for attendees but is also a message that is reflective of his company’s approach to the rapidly evolving Software Defined Data Center landscape.

    • VMware Misses Docker Opportunity
    • An introduction to Apache Hadoop for big data

      Apache Hadoop is an open source software framework for storage and large scale processing of data-sets on clusters of commodity hardware. Hadoop is an Apache top-level project being built and used by a global community of contributors and users. It is licensed under the Apache License 2.0.

    • OpenStack can stand on its own, whatever happens to Rackspace

      Four years ago, Rackspace and its early partners came up with an idea for an open source private alternative to Amazon Web Services –and OpenStack was born. Today, the future of Rackspace is murky, but the open source project it helped create is strong enough to stand on its own, whatever happens to one of the founding members.

    • Red Hat Enhances its Linux OpenStack Platform

      Red Hat has introduced updates for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5, the latest version of its enterprise-focused OpenStack platform built on the Icehouse release. An updated installer and new high availability platform security capabilities are designed to let administrators more easily protect a healthy and fault-tolerant OpenStack deployment.

    • The NSF Pours $20 Million Into Experimental Cloud Test Beds

      Never underestimate the impact that the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) can have on technology. After all, way back when there was no commercial web, it was the NSF that–under pressure from entrepreneurs–opened up the gates for the commercial web to become a low cost way for organizations and individuals to become networked.

    • VMware Debuts OpenStack Open Source Cloud Computing Distribution
  • Education

    • Do kids learn about open source in school?
    • Zuckerberg-backed Panorama Teams With Harvard To Open Source Its Student Survey

      Panorama Education, the Y-Combinator education startup backed by the likes of Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg’s Startup:Education, Google Ventures and other notable investors, is today announcing a partnership with Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education that speaks to how the startup is evolving its core business model. The pair have teamed up to launch Panorama Student Survey, Panorama’s signature school survey delivered as a free, open source product.

    • Back to school! 5 excellent open education resources

      It’s back to school for many kids in the United States, and soon to be so for many others around the world. While open source software and hardware are used less often to teach kids in grade school about the world, open principles are. They are what you might think of as the most natural methods of teaching. And, they are what we call the open source way.

      Think: sharing, collaboration, transparency, and failing faster.

      When I was a kid, these were the methods practiced by my teachers and taught to the students to use among their groups. To many adults, they are still the principles that guide them in their grown up world of business.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • MediaGoblin 0.7.0: Time Traveler’s Delight

      Welcome to MediaGoblin 0.7.0: Time Traveler’s Delight! It’s been longer than usual for our releases, but we assure you this is because we’ve been traveling back and forth across the timeline picking up cool technology that spans a wide spectrum of space and time. But our time-boat has finally come into the harbor. Get ready… we’ve got a lot of cargo to unpack!

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • US Military To Launch Open Source Academy

      Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Mississippi will offer open source training and Linux certification for military personnel and civilians in groundbreaking new program.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • New wiki to help you grow a better garden

      Have you ever tried to grow your favorite summer vegetable or garden herb and something went wrong? Maybe it was poor planting, a disease, or a pesky insect. Likely, you searched the Internet and found some answers, but millions of pages of information remains unviewed and unread on the subject. Maybe you need to troubleshoot problems or want definitive answers to questions like when to plant for your area or exactly when to fertilize.

      This is how the idea for OpenFarm sprouted. The knowledge for all these answers is out there, it’s just not in one place.

    • Open Access/Content

      • PACER Deleting Old Cases; Time To Fix PACER

        For years, we’ve talked about the many problems with PACER, the horribly designed and managed electronic court records system that the federal court system uses here in the US. Beyond being clunky, buggy, horribly designed and slow — it’s also expensive. With some exceptions, it’s 10 cents per page you download, and also 10 cents per search.

  • Programming

    • Checking Out C++14

      C++ has continued to garner more market share from C and the latest C++14 standard will help to continue this trend (see “C++14 Adds Embedded Features”). Most C/C++ developers are using compilers that support both but C still takes precedence for many for a variety of reasons. Support for legacy code is one reason. Corporate mandates are another. Unfortunately many stay away because of perceived complexity, inefficiency or that fact that it is an object oriented programming (OOP) language.

    • R programming language gaining ground on traditional statistics packages

      The R programming language is quickly gaining popular ground against the traditional statistics packages such as SPSS, SAS and MATLAB, at least according to one data statistician who teaches the language.

      “It is very likely that during the summer of 2014, R became the most widely used analytics software for scholarly articles, ending a spectacular 16-year run by SPSS,” wrote Robert Muenchen, in a blog post summarizing his analysis.

    • Programming with OpenCL 1.2

      printf-style debugging and the ability to partition computing devices into subdevices make OpenCL 1.2 a very useful upgrade.

    • Julia Language v0.3 Improves Technical Computing

      For the uninformed, Julia is a high-level, high-performance dynamic language centered around technical computing. The Julia high-performance JIT compiler is LLVM-based and features a large math function library, supports highly parallel execution, and is MIT licensed.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Feds: Red light camera firm paid for Chicago official’s car, condo

    The former chief executive officer of Redflex, a major red light camera (RLC) vendor, has been indicted on federal corruption charges stemming from a contract with the City of Chicago.

    On Wednesday, in addition to former CEO Karen Finley, government prosecutors also indicted John Bills, former managing deputy commissioner at the Department of Transportation, and Bills’ friend Martin O’Malley, who was hired as a contractor by Redflex.

  • ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Lands Dumb Criminal In Cuffs

    For those of you who have just woken up from a two-week coma, there are a couple of things you should know. People in Missouri are really pissed off. Iraq is being Iraq. ISIS isn’t a fictional spy agency on Archer any longer. And, finally, there’s this thing going around where people are pouring buckets of ice water over their heads in order to raise money for ALS, which it has successfully done to the tune of millions of dollars.

  • Science

    • Experiments explain why some liquids are ‘fragile’ and others are ‘strong’

      Only recently has it become possible to accurately “see” the structure of a liquid. Using X-rays and a high-tech apparatus that holds liquids without a container, Kenneth Kelton, PhD, the Arthur Holly Compton Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, was able to compare the behavior of glass-forming liquids as they approach the glass transition.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Federal Judge Overturns Kaua’i Pesticide and GMO Law

      U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren overturned Kaua’i County’s law regulating the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) this week. He ruled that it was preempted by Hawai’i state law, although not by federal law.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The World as WaPo Would Like It to Be

      So much of our discussion of public policy consists of absurd accusations from the right matched with self-serving justifications from the somewhat-less-right. The most obvious example of this is the perennial think piece on Obama’s foreign policy, which is invariably analyzed as being either foolishly pacifistic or prudently diplomatic.

    • Myth of ‘Limited’ US Airstrikes in Syria

      The US is once again on the warpath against Syria after the beheading of US citizen James Foley was released on the internet a week ago.

    • World War Three?

      Is the US about to attack Syria? President Obama has approved air surveillance of Syria to monitor possible ISIS activity, but the flyovers could be a precursor to eventual airstrikes.

    • US drones begin surveillance flights over Syria

      Barack Obama gives go-ahead for intelligence operation which could pave way for air strikes against Islamic State in Syria

    • We Have No Idea What’s Going on Inside Syria

      The AP reports today that President Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, a move that could be the first sign of the U.S. expanding its operations against ISIS to the other side of the porous Syria-Iraq border. It makes sense that such a mission would begin with an extensive intelligence-gathering effort. That’s because, compared with other areas of the world, the U.S. military knows very little about what’s happening in Syria.

    • U.S. Lays Groundwork for Syria Strike
    • US launches reconnaissance flights over Syria
    • Iran Arming Iraqi Kurds Against Islamic State

      Iran has provided weapons and ammunition to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, said the region’s President on Tuesday in a joint a press-conference with the Iranian foreign minister.

    • Possible airstrikes in Syria raise more questions

      The intelligence gathered by U.S. military surveillance flights over Syria could support a broad bombing campaign against the Islamic State militant group, but current and former U.S. officials differ on whether air power would significantly degrade what some have called a “terrorist army.”

    • Is the Pentagon preparing to launch air strikes against ISIS in Syria?
    • Gaza live: Long-term ceasefire agreement arrived at, says Hamas official

      A senior Hamas official says a ceasefire has been reached with Israel to end a seven-week war that has killed more than 2,000 people.

    • A ‘leak’ in Hamas’s once-tight system yields crucial leadership kills for Israel

      The alleged money man died in a pile of burnt cash. He was riding in a car in Gaza City when the Israeli missile struck. The blast tore apart the vehicle, ripping open bags of American dollars and blowing the bills across the street. An unidentified witness told the New York Times that security soon collected the dollars billowing across the road and searched the car for more.

    • US bills fly after Israel hits Hamas finance big

      Hamas’ finance chief was killed by a pinpoint missile strike that ripped open his car — and scattered US currency on the streets of Gaza City.

      Bills burned by the blast lay amid the debris near where Muhammad al-Ghoul, who handled “terror funds,” was killed.

    • The death by drone memo: a throwback to U.S. terrorism in Nicaragua

      On September 30, 2011, Anwar al-Aulaki, a radical Islamist cleric and an American citizen, was killed in a targeted drone strike in Yemen.

      Among the many legal questions raised by such an act, a most important and intriguing one relates to the legal status of certain CIA activities given the existence of 18 USC 119, a federal statute which prohibits the (actual or attempted) murder of an American citizen by another American citizen outside of the United States.

      The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memorandum providing the Obama administration’s rationale for the strike was released last week, the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the ACLU and the New York Times.

    • Washington’s Latest War Fever

      War fever is running high again in Official Washington with pols and pundits demanding that President Obama order a major military intervention in Iraq and Syria to stop the violent jihadists of ISIS, a group that got its start with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, as ex-CIA analyst Paul Pillar recalls.

    • What makes you an extremist and at what point will you be breaking the law?

      Will criticising British foreign policy be seen as something that defines how ‘extreme’ you are. If you are a Muslim and chose to state this openly will you be labelled a ‘radical’?

    • Avenging James Foley: Tit for Tat Is Not a Solution

      The ghastly killing of journalist James Foley — more than merely savage — was quite calculated to induce terror and to influence. And it did. Indeed, to discuss his death in a broader political context at this point may seem distasteful, clinical, and disrespectful to the dead and his family.

    • How the Brutalized Become Brutal

      An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire halting the Gaza war held into Monday morning, allowing Palestinians to leave homes and shelters as negotiators agreed to resume talks in Cairo. ()

      The horrific pictures of the beheading of American reporter James Foley, the images of executions of alleged collaborators in Gaza and the bullet-ridden bodies left behind in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are the end of a story, not the beginning. They are the result of years, at times decades, of the random violence, brutal repression and collective humiliation the United States has inflicted on others.

      Our terror is delivered to the wretched of the earth with industrial weapons. It is, to us, invisible. We do not stand over the decapitated and eviscerated bodies left behind on city and village streets by our missiles, drones and fighter jets. We do not listen to the wails and shrieks of parents embracing the shattered bodies of their children. We do not see the survivors of air attacks bury their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.

    • China deploys armed drone to multinational drills

      China’s air force said it deployed an armed drone to multinational anti-terrorism drills on Tuesday, underscoring the country’s rapid progress in developing unmanned aerial vehicles.

    • What does the US wants in Irak?

      The humanitarian situation was cynically manipulated by the Obama administration –and echoed by the U.S. media– to provide an excuse for the president to attack Iraq again. President Obama has started another war in Iraq and Congress has been completely silent.

    • The Evil of U.S. Aggression against Iraq

      How can anyone still be an interventionist after what has happened in Iraq?

    • New Iran-Contra book shows how US-Iran ties were scuttled

      The scandal that became known as Iran-Contra is a distant memory for most Americans and Iranians. But an important new book provides fascinating details about US ignorance about Iran, which contributed to the largely botched effort to free US hostages in Lebanon and hindered a possible breakthrough in US-Iran ties 30 years ago.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Pierre Trudeau caused ‘friction’ with U.S. over Arctic policy designed to boost Canadian nationalism

      Pierre Trudeau’s bid to enhance Canadian sovereignty and promote economic development in the Arctic created some “friction” with the United States, says a declassified CIA report.

    • Pierre Trudeau’s Arctic policy sparked international friction: CIA report
    • Trudeau approach to North irked U.S. — CIA
    • Energy ballet-2: Syria, Ukraine and “Pipelineistan”

      As much as Iran, Russia, the US and the EU are involved in a sophisticated nuclear/energy ballet, Syria and Ukraine are also two key power play vectors bound to determine much of what happens next in the New Great Game in Eurasia.

      And both Syria and Ukraine also happen to be energy wars.

      The Obama administration’s Syria master plan was “Assad must go”; regime change would yield a US-supported Muslim Brotherhood entity, and a key plank of Pipelineistan — the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline — would be forever ditched.

    • Associated Press Profile Of Koch Brothers Whitewashes Their Fossil Fuel Ties

      Extensive reporting from the Associated Press on the Koch brothers’ financial background and political influence glossed over the duo’s ties to the fossil fuel industry and ignored their efforts to dismantle action on climate change.

      On August 25, the Associated Press published a “primer on the Koch brothers and their role in politics,” headlined “Koch 101,” along with a lengthy overview of the history of the Koch family. A primer on the influence of Charles and David Koch is sorely needed: Their political organizations are reportedly expected to spend nearly $300 million during this year’s election cycle, yet most Americans still haven’t heard of the highly influential brothers.

    • WaPo Bemoans a Climate Debate It Helped ‘Devolve’

      Some of the most high-profile media climate deniers–George Will, Charles Krauthammer and Robert Samuelson–are all Post columnists who have done their part to contribute to the “shape of the climate debate.” Krauthammer most recently (2/20/14) mocked the idea that the science of climate change was “settled,” and that scientists who warn of the disastrous effects of climate change are “white-coated propagandists.” Krauthammer went on TV this year to mock climate change science as “superstition.”

  • Finance

    • World Bank Project Manager in Court for ‘Stealing’ $87k

      Daniel Roberts, a World Bank Project Manager assigned with Ministry of Finance has been forwarded to the court for an attempted Theft of Property and Economic Sabotage in the tune of US$87,486 by the National Security Agency (NSA).

    • Councils in poorest areas suffering biggest budget cuts, Labour says

      The poorest areas of England have endured council cuts under the coalition worth 16 times as much per household as the richest areas, research has claims.

      Hilary Benn, the shadow communities secretary, said his figures showed the government had “failed to apply the basic principle of fairness” when allocating money to local government.

    • The rise of ‘Obama Inc.’

      The presidency of Barack Obama has catapulted a network of former advisers into lucrative positions.

    • An austerity revolt has broken the French government. Will the EU follow?

      If there were any lingering doubts about the seriousness of the crisis hanging over the future of the euro – and potentially of the European Union itself – the shock announcement of the dissolution of the French government should remove them.

    • Washington’s using less than a percent of the power it has to boost federal tech pay

      Under U.S. law, federal agencies are allowed to pay above and beyond normal salary rates for would-be employees who are extraordinarily talented, especially in the fields of science and technology. So-called Critical Position Pay Authority was used, for example, to bump the 2011 salary of the director of the National Institutes of Health — a geneticist who is both a best-selling author and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — from $155,000 to just shy of $200,000.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Prof Loses Job Offer Over Israel Hate Tweets. Media Howls About ‘Academic Freedom’

      You would think in uber-liberal academia, a leftist professor could get away saying anything. But apparently you can go too far. Earlier this month, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign rescinded its offer to Steven Salaita, a Palestinian-American former Virginia Tech professor, for a tenured position in the American Indian Studies department. Why?

      Because of dozens of tweets Salaita made from his Twitter account preaching hatred of Israel and bashing America’s ties to the Jewish homeland. At the news of his hiring earlier in the Summer, the university started to get backlash from students, parents and donors who did not appreciate Salaita’s aggressively unfriendly attitude towards Israel. So the Univ. of Illinois’ Chancellor Phyllis Wise wrote to Salaita, stating he was no longer welcome as a professor at the university.

    • EasyDNS Tries To Balance Bogus Requests To Take Down Legit Foreign Online Pharmacies Against Truly Rogue Pharmacies

      We’ve written a few times about domain registrar/hosting company EasyDNS, which has been pretty vocal about how law enforcement and industry groups have recently started targeting registrars and hosting comapnies as “the soft underbelly” for censorship and coercive control. While we’ve covered this issue frequently as it relates to things like copyright, the real ground zero for this may be around online pharmacies. The online pharmacy space is a bit complicated — because there are really a few different kinds. There are US-based accredited/approved pharmacies, there are overseas accredited/approved online pharmacies… and then there are flat-out rogue pharmacies dealing in illegally obtained or counterfeit medicines. Obviously the last one is in a different category altogether from the first two, but US drug companies like to conflate legal foreign online pharmacies with the rogue ones.

    • University Bans Social Media, Political Content and Wikipedia Pages on Dorm Wifi

      “Finally, I can do whatever I want!” thought every incoming college freshman ever. But for some unlucky students arriving on campus this fall, that sought-after right of passage applies to just about everything except internet usage.

      Northern Illinois University enacted an Acceptable Use Policy that goes further than banning torrents, also denying students access to social media sites and other content the university considers “unethical” or “obscene.”

    • University Bans Social Media, Political Content and Wikipedia Pages On Dorm WiFi

      My understanding is that there was once a theory that America’s public universities were havens of free speech, political thought, and a center for the exchange of ideas. I must admit that this seems foreign to me. I’ve always experienced universities primarily as a group-think center mostly centered around college athletics. That said, if universities want to still claim to be at the forefront of idea and thought, they probably shouldn’t be censoring the hell out of what their students can access on the internet.

    • ‘Anarcho-Capitalist’ Stefan Molyneux, Who Doesn’t Support Copyright, Abuses DMCA To Silence Critic

      Either way, if you’re going to go around claiming that you’re against intellectual property and an “anarcho capitalist,” it’s going to look pretty sketchy when you use a federal law like copyright to censor someone else’s speech that is critical of you.

    • Can We Create A Public Internet Space Where The First Amendment, Not Private Terms Of Service, Rules?

      The other issue is that most sites are pretty much legally compelled to have such terms of use, which provide them greater flexibility in deciding to stifle forms of speech they don’t appreciate. In many ways, you have to respect the way the First Amendment is structured so that, even if courts have conveniently chipped away at parts of it at times (while, at other times making it much stronger), there’s a clear pillar that all of this is based around. Terms of service are nothing like the Constitution, and can be both inherently wishy-washy and ever-changeable as circumstances warrant.

    • Internet Uncertainty

      Tufecki should know. As a fellow at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, she focuses on the politics of free speech in social media. Over the years she’s traced this push and pull with particular attention to the Middle East and North Africa (Tufecki is a native of Turkey).

  • Privacy

    • NSA Makes Metadata (Including Info On Americans) Available To Domestic Law Enforcement Via ‘Google-Like’ Search

      The latest report from The Intercept on documents obtained from Ed Snowden (and, yes, they make it clear that these are from Snowden, rather than the purported “second leaker”) is about a “Google-like” search engine that the NSA built, called ICREACH, which lets the NSA share a massive trove (at least 850 billion) of “metadata” records not just with others in the NSA or CIA, but with domestic law enforcement and other government agencies including the FBI and the DEA. The database includes records collected via Executive Order 12333, which we recently noted a State Department official revealed as the main program via which the NSA collects its data (and which is not subject to oversight by Congress).

    • This Is What Happens When You Sleep Through an Earthquake

      The largest earthquake to hit California’s Napa Valley in 25 years struck near the Bay Area early Sunday morning. The 6.0-magnitude quake hit at 3:20 a.m. local time near American Canyon, about 6 miles southwest of Napa, at a depth of 6.7 miles. Nearly 90 people were injured—and countless more woken up, disturbed, and generally freaked out. Thanks to the quantified self phenomenon—the always-on activity and sleep trackers many people now wear—we know more than ever about the psychic effects of such an event.

    • Anti-spy technology remains hot a year after NSA leaks

      More than a year after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked secret documents describing the breadth and depth of US surveillance, policy makers continue to debate the legal framework for such monitoring.

      Yet a number of technology startups are blazing ahead to create a range of products that promise to restore people’s privacy online. Silent Circle, WhisperSystems, and Wickr offer a variety of services, from private instant messaging to secure data storage to encrypted phone calls. Other companies, such as Blackphone, have focused on creating a secure smartphone for the privacy-conscious.

    • ‘Spiral of Silence’ on Social Media Surrounding Snowden Revelations

      A “spiral of silence” has arisen on social media since government spying revelations emerged from Edward Snowden last year, according to a new study.

      Pew Research found that people were less likely to post their views or concerns about NSA surveillance on Facebook and Twitter than in person due to fears that their views are not widely shared.

      Around 86% of people surveyed for the study – which questioned 1,801 US adults in August and September last year – said that they were willing to have an in-person conversation about the surveillance program, but only 42% of Facebook and Twitter users were willing to post about it online.

    • Pew: There’s a ‘Spiral of Silence’ on Social Media
    • Facebook users self-censor on controversial topics in real life, too

      If you didn’t see a lot of talk about Ferguson and Michael Brown on your Facebook feed, maybe that’s because your Facebook friends were afraid you’d disagree.

      The Pew Research Center on Tuesday said a study of nearly 2,000 adults on an earlier hot-button political issue – the massive leak by Edward Snowden of documents that showed the National Security Agency had spied on U.S. citizens – found those surveyed were less willing to discuss the issue in social media than they were in person, and that social media did not provide an alternate platform to talk about the story if they weren’t willing to discuss it in person.

    • When it comes to Facebook, we all just want to be popular, study finds
    • All of Your Facebook Friends Already Agree With You
    • If You Want an Engaging Debate About Ideas, Stay Off Social Media, Study Warns

      The technology many of us use to stay in touch with friends is poorly suited to creating meaningful debate and discussion, argues a new study which examined how revelations of widespread NSA media surveillance played out on Twitter and Facebook. Conducted by Rutgers University and the Pew Center for Research, the study points out that since social media functions as a bonding tool between groups and individuals, those who hold dissenting views are hesitant to express them. Groups formed on social media tend to be like-minded so contradicting people’s opinions can result in exclusion which, psychologically speaking, is not a good feeling.

    • “Obese Intelligence”: The NSA Search Engine. “Over 850 Billion Records about Phone Calls, Emails, Cellphone Locations, and Internet Chats”

      The revelations have a few implications, the most obvious one confirming the seamless transition between intelligence work on the one hand, and the policing function on the other. The distinction between intelligence communities whose interests are targeting matters foreign to the polity; and those who maintain order within the boundaries of a state in a protective capacity, prove meaningless in this form. The use of ICREACH makes it clear that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are regular clients and users of the system.

    • UK privacy laws might need a technology reboot, says top UK judge

      UK SUPREME COURT PRESIDENT Lord Neuberger is pushing for an update to UK privacy laws.

      Neuberger was speaking in Hong Kong when he turned to the topic of privacy laws in the light of technology advances. He said that technology leaps forward while the legal system shuffles. He suggested that because of this, some sort of overhaul to UK privacy laws will be necessary.

      The judge spoke of the “astonishing advances” and “enormous challenges” presented by technological progress and the need to make adjustments before real problems occur.

      He said that technology developments have radically changed how content moves around, and how easily it can be transmitted, recorded and manipulated.

    • The EU ‘cookie law’: what has it done for us?

      It’s now more than two years since the cookie law began to be ‘enforced’ in the UK, but has it changed anything?

    • ‘Truthy’ joins NSA, IRS in watching you

      Americans’ telephone conversations already are being monitored by the National Security Agency and their health-care policies by the Internal Revenue Service. Now there’s “Truthy,” a government-funded project at Indiana University that will watch their Tweets for “political smears” and “social pollution.”

    • NSA’s metadata search engine used by US, foreign agencies

      The NSA has secretly built a “Google-like” search engine to be used by various US government agencies and intelligence agencies of the Five Eyes countries to sift through phone call, email, and Internet chat metadata, as well as cellphone locations collected and stored in a number of different databases.

    • Banks to meet with Treasury Department on cyber threats: sources

      Bankers and bank regulators have become more vocal lately about concerns that cyber attacks could put customer data and the stability of the financial system at risk.

    • Larry Page believes private medical histories shouldn’t be private

      Bloggers are all a-twitter about Charlie Rose’s recent interview of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) co-founder Larry Page at a TED conference in Vancouver, Canada. Page, enduring the softball-quickly-followed-by-frustrating-interruption style of Rose, still managed to eke out responses of intense bloggy interest. When asked about government surveillance, Page lamented the “tremendously disappointing” behavior of the NSA. Sounds noble, but it may end up sounding duplicitous. Recent testimony by NSA general counsel stated Google had full knowledge of data harvesting activities from day one, despite the company making denials to the contrary for months.

    • New French surveillance law: From fear to controversy

      America’s NSA scandal has been making headlines all over the world since it first came to light back in July. Somehow, though, France’s surveillance program has managed to fly under the radar for the most part.

    • Russia’s bid to expose users highlights law enforcement’s tricky relationship with Tor

      On Friday, Russia’s Ministry of the Interior (MVD) awarded a contract for $110,000 to an unnamed Russian contractor with top security clearance to uncloak Russian users of the surveillance-evading Tor browser. This is the Russia’s Federal Security Service’s (FSB) response to the surge of Russian Tor users from 80,000 to 200,000 due to the restrictions by the Russian government on free use of the internet, such as the new law that requires all Russian bloggers to register.

      The NSA and the FSB want to puncture Tor anonymty and expose the identities of the people using it because the Tor browser erases identifying browser fingerprints. Almost everyone who uses the internet has a unique traceable fingerprint. An Internet user can check his or her own internet uniqueness in a few seconds with Panopticlick, a one-click test created by the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). Most people find themselves to be pretty unique; 1 in 4.5 million to be exact. Go ahead, try it.

    • Aussie, Kiwi spies hooked into NSA metadata search engine
    • What is the meaning and what is the use of ‘metadata retention’?

      Privacy and individuals’ ability to remain anonymous are important protections against persecution, bullying, intimidation and retaliation. These can be perpetrated by other people, private businesses and, perhaps most seriously, the state and its police and intelligence agencies.

    • Documents: Tacoma police using surveillance device to sweep up cellphone data

      The Tacoma Police Department apparently has bought — and quietly used for six years — controversial surveillance equipment that can sweep up records of every cellphone call, text message and data transfer up to a half a mile away.

      You don’t have to be a criminal to be caught in this law enforcement snare. You just have to be near one and use a cellphone.

    • Tracking everywhere: Private companies offer worldwide spying tools
    • Cell Phone Tracking Surveillance Systems Hit the Dictator Market

      Dictators around the world can now exploit a fundamental feature of cell phones, leaving individuals at risk of having their whereabouts monitored wherever they go.

    • It’s not just the NSA: Phone surveillance tech lets any government track your movements
    • Report: Surveillance Companies Are Secretly Selling Tech That Tracks Your Phone’s Location

      Cellular carriers already know where you are thanks to your phone. On paper it makes sense: Service providers like AT&T need to know your location in order to relay calls and texts, determining your position from cell towers. But now, according to a new report in the Washington Post, surveillance companies are selling advanced tracking systems that take advantage of this technology, making it possible even for small governments to track users anytime, anywhere–for days or even weeks at a time with stunning accuracy.

    • Surveillance and the Creative Mind

      In a world where many aspects of our daily lives are written or recorded and transmitted digitally, our raw thoughts and casual observations are increasingly open to scrutiny and vulnerable to interception. Our behavior is frequently documented, whether it is by government agencies, corporate entities, news organizations, or fellow citizens. This means that every iteration of an evolving idea, off-hand comment, and emotional outburst could be recorded. Given how often we all misinterpret each other, especially in writing, the exponential increase in documented human behavior is cause for concern.

      [...]

      The American climate of fear about terrorism has combined with this technological shift into a potent mix that stifles debate and free expression.

    • Hands-on: Pwn Pro and Pwn Pulse, mass surveillance for the rest of us

      At Black Hat and Def Con earlier this month, the penetration testing tool makers at Pwnie Express unveiled two new products aimed at extending the company’s reach into the world of continuous enterprise security auditing. One, the Pwn Pro, is essentially a souped-up version of Pwnie Express’ Pwn Plug line of devices; the other, Pwn Pulse, is a cloud-based software-as-a-service product that provides central control of a fleet of Pwn Pro “sensors.” Combined, the two are a whitehat’s personal NSA—intended to discover potential security problems introduced into enterprise networks before someone with malevolent intent does.

    • Satire: NSA Quits Spying on Americans Out of Disgust

      Citing an endless river of filth, vacuous conversations, idiotic Tweets and endless cat videos, the NSA announced it is “freaking done” with spying on Americans.

      The NSA decision came only hours after thousands of analysts, following similar threats at CIA, said they planned to quit and apply for jobs as Apple Geniuses and Best Buy Geek Squad Support workers.

  • Civil Rights

    • Michael Brown, According to the New York Times

      A Times editor defended this assessment of Brown by explaining that it was a reference back to the opening scene of the piece, where Brown talks to his stepfather about seeing the image of an angel in a storm cloud. Of course, this reference was plainly obvious to anyone reading the piece.

    • The FBI’s Criminal Database Is Filling Up With Non-Criminals And No One In Law Enforcement Seems To Care

      America has long held the position as the world’s foremost imprisoner of its own citizens. Around 2 million people are incarcerated in America, giving us nearly one-fourth of the world’s total prison population. Spending any length of time in prison is a good way to destroy your future. But even if you never spend a day inside — or even end up facing charges — there’s a good chance you’ll still be facing a bleak future should you ever have the misfortune to be booked.

    • As Arrest Records Rise, Americans Find Consequences Can Last a Lifetime
    • Kelly McParland: The Ferguson shooting will have the usual result; more guns, not fewer

      According to the New York Times, the White House is having “second thoughts” about the policy of arming U.S. police to the teeth. The images from Ferguson, Missouri – of police kitted out like paratroopers with sniper rifles and armoured cars – is causing consternation in Congress. President Barack Obama has ordered a “comprehensive review.”

    • Ferguson PD Confirms Officer Wilson Shot at Brown as He Ran Away

      As Charles Johnson at LGF says, this is a “big admission”. Although the autopsy suggests none of these shots struck Michael Brown, it explains why more than one eyewitness described his having been shot in the back. Several eyewitnesses said that after these shots were fired, Brown turned around with his hands in the air.

    • Police Officers Facing Potential Felony Charges After Using Government Databases To Screen Potential Dates

      The basic issue is this: many, many people have access to personal information that the government demands you provide in exchange for essential items like driver’s licenses, vehicle/home titles, etc. Connected to these databases is one used to house information on every person booked by police (notably, not every person convicted or even every person charged).

    • Tell Congress: no more weapons of war for local police.
    • Officials: Girl accidentally kills gun instructor

      A 9-year-old girl accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use an automatic Uzi, authorities said Tuesday.

      Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, died Monday shortly after being airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Mohave County sheriff’s officials said.

    • 4 Weird Decisions That Have Made Modern Cops Terrifying

      We’re pretty much begging cops to be our heroes. Think about it: Every major blockbuster movie is about a brave hero enforcing an important moral code: John McClane, Transformers, every superhero — even if they’re going outside the law, they’re still doing the exact job a cop is supposed to have: upholding the law and protecting the innocent. In fiction, they’re the ideal we strive for.

    • Tomgram: Anya Schiffrin, Who Knew We Were Living in the Golden Age of Investigative Journalism?

      Almost a decade ago, I spent more than a year freelancing for a major metropolitan newspaper — one of the biggest in the country. I would, on an intermittent basis, work out of a newsroom that appeared to be in a state of constant churn. Whoever wasn’t being downsized seemed to be jumping ship or madly searching for a life raft. It looked as if bean counters were beating reporters and editors into submission or sending them out of the business and into journalism schools where they would train a new generation of young reporters. For just what wasn’t clear. Jobs that would no longer exist?

    • ‘Approved Responses to the Civil Unrest in Ferguson’
    • US courts trash a decade’s worth of online documents, shrug it off

      The US Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has removed access to nearly a decade’s worth of electronic documents from four US appeals courts and one bankruptcy court.

      The removal is part of an upgrade to a new computer system for the database known as Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER.

      Court dockets and documents at the US Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 7th, 11th, and Federal Circuits, as well as the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, were maintained with “locally developed legacy case management systems,” said AOC spokesperson Karen Redmond in an e-mailed statement. Those five courts aren’t compatible with the new PACER system.

    • The Police Aren’t So Brave When Someone Has a Weapon

      Compare these stories with two instances of UK police—only about five percent of whom are armed—handling men with knives in an admirably brave (and restrained) fashion: in one, an officer Tasers a man with two knives from just a few feet away, while in the other, 30 cops—the visible ones clearly unarmed—spend nearly six minutes trying to apprehend an aggressively unhinged man holding a machete. If folks with whittling knives, bats, and steak knives are given mere seconds before fatal shots are fired, this guy deserved a millisecond. And yet, the cops brought him in alive—and took him to a mental health facility.

    • Putting Body Cameras On Cops Won’t Fix Misconduct, But It’s A Good Start

      Prompted by the fatal shooting of Ferguson resident Mike Brown, a We the People petition asking the federal government to require body cameras for all law enforcement officers has roared past the 100,000 signature threshold required for a White House response. (Theoretically.)

    • New Orleans Police Officer Turns Off Body Camera Minutes Before Shooting Suspect In Forehead

      In New Orleans, Armand Bennet, 26, was shot in the forehead during a traffic stop by New Orleans police officer Lisa Lewis. However, the police department did not reveal until much later that Lewis turned off her body camera just before shooting Bennett. Bennett survived and has now been charged under prior warrants for his arrest. It also reviewed that Lewis had had a prior run in with Bennet who escaped about a week earlier.

    • Dating On Duty: Officers Accused Of Screening Dates Using Police System

      Court documents show that Fairfield Police Officers Stephen Ruiz and Jacob Glashoff used company time and equipment to search for women on internet dating sites.

      The documents also show that two used the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System – a statewide police database – to screen the women they liked.

    • Obama Review Of Military Gear Handed To Law Enforcement; Thinks Real Problem Is ‘Training And Guidance’

      Not that local law enforcement agencies couldn’t throw an impressive Victory Day parade. The 1033 program, which sends military vehicles, weapons and equipment downstream to law enforcement agencies for pennies on the dollar, has shifted $4.3 billion from the Dept. of Defense to hundreds of police departments across the United States since 1997. Here’s what the President is actually interested in seeing.

      “Among other things, the president has asked for a review of whether these programs are appropriate,” said a senior administration official, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the internal assessment. The review also will assess “whether state and local law enforcement are provided with the necessary training and guidance; and whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding.”

    • Calif. Lawmaker Votes for More Regs for Ride-Sharing, Then Gets Busted for DUI

      Courtesy of California political reporter John Hrabe, California Assemblyman Ben Hueso, a Democrat representing the San Diego area, was arrested in the wee hours of the morning for allegedly driving under the influence. This came just hours after voting for legislation that would force more regulation on ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber.

    • Uber, Lyft, Sidecar fight to block new California regulations
    • California Lawmaker Votes To Kill Uber… Then Caught Driving Drunk Just Hours Later
    • Federal Law Requiring Annual Report on Excessive Force by Police has been Ignored for 20 Years

      The circumstances of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, have brought that one police shooting into the national conscience. But many other Americans are killed by police and their deaths go unnoticed and mostly uncounted, despite a Congressional mandate.

    • Federal Law Ordering US Attorney General To Gather Data On Police Excessive Force Has Been Ignored For 20 Years

      Are police officers getting worse or is this apparent increase in excessive force nothing more than a reflection of the increase in unofficial documentation (read: cameras) and public scrutiny? What we do know is that as crime has gone down, police forces have escalated their acquisitions of military gear and weapons. With options for lethal and less-lethal force continually expanding, it seems that deployment of force in excess of what the situation requires has become the new normal, but it’s tough to find hard data that backs up these impressions.

      One of the reasons we don’t have data on police use of excessive force is because compiling this information relies on law enforcement agencies being forthcoming about these incidents. Generally speaking, it takes FOIA requests and lawsuits to obtain any data gathered by individual police departments. This shouldn’t be the case. In fact, as AllGov reports, this lack of data violates a federal law.

    • Rep. Mike Honda Introduces Bill Banning Civilians from Buying Body Armor
    • Ferguson Police Officer Justin Cosma Hog-Tied And Injured A Young Child, Lawsuit Alleges

      A Ferguson police officer who helped detain a journalist in a McDonald’s earlier this month is in the midst of a civil rights lawsuit because he allegedly hog-tied a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mail at the end of his driveway.

      According to a lawsuit filed in 2012 in Missouri federal court, Justin Cosma and another officer, Richard Carter, approached a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mailbox at the end of his driveway in June 2010. Cosma was an officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at the time, the lawsuit states. The pair asked the boy if he’d been playing on a nearby highway, and he replied no, according to the lawsuit.

    • As Police Get More Militarized, Bill In Congress Would Make Owning Body Armor Punishable By Up To 10 Years In Prison

      We’ve been writing an awful lot lately about the militarization of police, but apparently some in Congress want to make sure that the American public can’t protect themselves from a militarized police. Rep. Mike Honda (currently facing a reasonably strong challenger for election this fall) has introduced a bizarre bill that would make it a crime for civilians to buy or own body armor. The bill HR 5344 is unlikely to go anywhere, but violating the bill, if it did become law, would be punishable with up to ten years in prison. Yes, TEN years. For merely owning body armor.

    • ‘Revenue Generating’ Traffic Cameras Forcing Governments To Refund Millions Of Dollars

      Technology saves time and labor, but is as ultimately fallible as the humans it displaces. Thanks to the efficiencies of technology, mistakes can now be made faster than ever. Municipalities which have turned over traffic enforcement to cameras probably hoped to generate funds much faster than it could with an un-augmented police force. Instead, they’re finding themselves issuing refunds, deactivating faulty cameras, fighting with contractors and investigating corruption. Not much of a payoff.

    • Justice Dept. Official: We Could Get Lois Lerner’s Emails From Backups, But It’s Too Hard So Naaaaaah

      I try not to go for conspiracy theories generally, but this ongoing IRS nonsense involving conveniently disappearing emails potentially pertaining to the scandal involving targeting certain groups is making my skeptics beacon go off. The official story essentially involves a computer (server?) crash that obliterated the email data of several email accounts that would otherwise be of great interest to those trying to figure out who in the Obama administration knew what about how the IRS was operating. That crash somehow also involves the destruction of any local backups these IRS folks are required to keep as part of their job.

    • Lack Of Diversity In St. Louis Area Police Departments Is Just Flat-Out Embarrassing

      In the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, a light was shone on the unbelievable lack of racial diversity within the Ferguson police department. It was revealed that while Ferguson’s population is 67% African-American, only three of the town’s 53 full-time police officers are black. The complete disconnect between the racial makeup of the community and the demographics of law enforcement patrolling Ferguson’s streets has been cited as a prime example of the simmering racial tensions in the town that boiled over in the aftermath of Brown’s killing.

    • “Police State U.S.A.: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality”

      Anybody tuning in to the media coverage of the daily protests of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri can’t help but notice the intimidating police presence that makes the city look more like a battlefield than a suburban enclave.

    • EDITORIAL: Journalism a tough but essential job
    • Why The Obama Administration Wants This Journalist In Jail

      President Barack Obama came into office in 2009 promising a new era of unprecedented transparency in his administration. But when he leaves office, reporters may remember him for an effort that has largely turned out to be the opposite — and for being what one affected reporter has called the “greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”

    • Here’s The Story Of A Spectacular CIA Screw-Up That Could Cause Journalist James Risen To Land In Jail

      For the last five years, New York Times journalist James Risen has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Obama administration over his refusal to reveal an inside government source. While that case (and the motivations behind it) is compelling, the leaked story that got Risen in trouble in the first place is one of the most spectacular CIA screw-ups in the agency’s history.

    • The Road to Ferguson and the Necessity of Anti-Imperialist Spirit

      “Since Obama was first elected in 2008, the ‘hope and change’ President has overseen the largest number of Pentagon arms and intelligence giveaways to local police in US history.”

    • CIA reform? Don’t hold your breath
    • Guantánamo Torture Victim Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Harrowing Memoir To Be Published In January 2015 – OpEd
    • In Senate-CIA fight on interrogation report, another controversy

      The background of a key negotiator in the battle over a Senate report on the CIA’s use of interrogation techniques widely denounced as torture has sparked concerns about the Obama administration’s objectivity in handling the study’s public release.

      Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is a former defense lawyer who represented several CIA officials in matters relating to the agency’s detention and interrogation program. Now he’s in a key position to determine what parts of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,300-page report will be made public.

    • Forgetting Cheney’s Legacy of Lies

      The neocons – aided by their “liberal interventionist” allies and the U.S. mainstream media – are building new “group thinks” on the Middle East and Ukraine with many Americans having forgotten how they were duped into war a dozen years ago, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • Cheney’s Legacy: Honesty Still in Short Supply

      As the world marks the centennial of World War I, the guns of August are again being oiled by comfortable politicians and the fawning corporate media, both bereft of any sense of history. And that includes much more recent history, namely the deceitful campaign that ended up bringing destruction to Iraq and widened conflict throughout the Middle East. That campaign went into high gear 12 years ago today.

      [...]

      Why did Kerry mislead the world on August 30 in professing to “know” that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical attack near Damascus on August 21? It is crystal clear that he did not know. Typically, Kerry adduced no verifiable evidence, and what his minions leaked over the following weeks could not bear close scrutiny. (See Robert Parry’s “The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case.”)

    • Former head CIA lawyer defends torture in Der Spiegel interview

      In an August 20 interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, former acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo defends his role as the legal architect of the US government’s international campaign of detention and torture.

      In the interview, Rizzo, who worked at the CIA from 1976 to 2009, declares that although the torture programs he approved “seemed harsh, even brutal,” he does not regret his support for their implementation.

    • Federal Cybersecurity Director Found Guilty on Child Porn Charges

      One of these techniques involved the used drive-by downloads to infect the computers of anyone who visited McGrath’s web sites. The FBI has been using malicious downloads in this way since 2002, but focused on targeting users of Tor-based sites only in the last two years.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why Internet Access Monopolies Harm Innovation

      When antitrust stories make headlines—as the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger has—even well-intentioned analysis often confuses harm to competitors with harm to competition. Viewing antitrust law through a “competition” lens, as opposed to a “competitors” lens, is not intuitive: consumers are harmed not by being denied access to existing services, but by being denied new ones.

    • How the web lost its way – and its founding principles

      When Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web 24 years ago he thought he’d created an egalitarian tool that would share information for the greater good. But it hasn’t quite worked out like that. What went wrong?

  • DRM

    • Kill Switches on Smartphones Now Mandatory in California

      California Governor Jerry Brown signed historic legislation Monday, mandating that every smartphone sold in California after July 1, 2015, be equipped by default with a kill switch, a feature that can render the device useless if stolen.

      Proposed by state senator Mark Leno and endorsed by a bevy of law-enforcement officials, the new law — the first of its kind in the nation — is designed to curb cell-phone theft in cities like San Francisco, where more than 65% of all robberies involve stolen phones, or Oakland, where it’s 75%.

    • The Califonia Kill Switch Bill Has Been Signed into Law

      The California kill switch bill is a bill that requires all smartphones that have been manufactured after July 1, 2015 to include anti-theft measures if they are to be sold in the state of California.

    • California bill requiring kill-switch on smartphones becomes law

      On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a piece of legislation mandating that all smartphones come with kill-switch software automatically installed so that a user can remotely wipe his or her device if it gets stolen. The bill will affect all smartphones manufactured after July 1, 2015 to be sold in California.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Guy Claims Patent On Photographing People In Races And Then Selling Them Their Photos; Sues Photography Company

      The folks over at EFF have yet another story of patents gone wrong. This time it’s from a guy named Peter Wolf, who owns a company called Photocrazy, that takes photos of sporting events like running and bike races, and then offers to sell people their photos by matching up their bib numbers. This kind of thing has been around forever, but because Peter Wolf paid a lawyer and said some magic words, he got some patents (specifically: 6,985,875; 7,047,214; and 7,870,035).

    • Ryan Seacrest’s Typo Blows Off Injunction, Sells Thousands Of Possibly-Infringing Keyboards

      Ryan Seacrest’s Typo (because it is never to be referred to simply as “Typo” in headlines or opening paragraphs), maker of physical keyboard accessories for iPhones, was sued by RIM (maker of formerly-popular Blackberry phones) for patent infringement earlier this year. The ailing phone manufacturer took issue with the keyboards made by Ryan Seacrest’s Typo, which it felt veered a bit too close to “looking damn near like a Blackberry keyboard.”

    • Intellectual Property Casebook Now Available As A Free Download

      About a month ago I wrote about James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins of the Center of the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School releasing a free download of an Intellectual Property Statutory Supplement (which normally big publishers try to sell for around $50). As noted, this was a kickoff for an even bigger project, an open coursebook in intellectual property. That Open Intellectual Property Casebook is now available. You can download the whole thing for free. If you want a nice printed copy, it’ll currently run about $24 on Amazon — which is about $135 less than other IP case books. The entire book weighs in at nearly 800 pages, so there’s a lot in there if you felt like delving into a variety of topics around copyright, trademark and patent law — including specific efforts by Congress around those laws and the way that the courts have interpreted them.

    • Copyrights

      • Total Wipes A Total Failure: Sends Increasingly Ridiculous DMCA Notices To Wipe Out Unrelated Content

        TorrentFreak has a fun, if ridiculous, post about the near total failure of a digital music distribution company named Total Wipes to “wipe out” certain content via entirely bogus DMCA notices. In what appears to be one of the more egregious attempts out there to issue automated DMCA takedowns without anyone bothering to look at the sites in question, Total Wipes tried to remove all sorts of websites in trying to “protect” a track called “Rock the Base & Bad Format.” It appears that, as a part of that, any site that its automated systems turned up that had both “rock” and “base” on it was targeted for takedown. That was especially problematic for news stories about the death of DJ E-Z Rock, whose most famous track was “It Takes Two,” done in partnership with Rob Base. Note the problem: Base and Rock. That meant that Total Wipes targeted news stories about Rock’s death. It also targeted stories about rock climbing and a “rock” music festival on a military “base.”

      • Copyright Trolling Lawyer Abusing DMCA To Try To Silence Critics

        Nearly three years ago, Fight Copyright Trolls had an interesting post about a copyright lawyer named Mike Meier who “flipped sides” from defending people who had been hit with copyright troll demands to becoming something of a troll himself. It featured two screenshots, showing how Meier’s website quickly flipped from looking to help people who’d received a demand letter to a site that looked similar… but was clearly on the other side.

      • German Regulator Rejects German Newspapers’ Cynical Attempt To Demand Cash From Google

        Back in June we wrote about the ridiculous and cynical attempt by a number of big German newspaper publishers, in the form of the industry group VG Media, to demand 11% of Google’s gross worldwide revenue on any search that results in Google showing a snippet of their content. We noted the hypocrisy of these publishers seeking to do this while at the same time having done nothing to remove themselves from Google’s search — and, in fact, using Google’s tools to help them rank higher in search results. In other words, these publishers know that ranking high helps them… and yet then still demanded cash on top of that.

      • We the goondas

        Have a smartphone? Run for cover. Bizarre as this might sound, the cops are going to come after you if you so much as forward a song to a friend. Forget actually doing it, any plans to do so could land you in serious trouble too. You could be labelled a ‘goonda’ in the eyes of the State and find yourself behind bars.

      • Indian State Says You Can Be Jailed If They Think You’ll Infringe Copyrights Or Share ‘Lascivious’ Content In The Future

        Over the weekend, Engadget had a post claiming that India has said it’s illegal to “like” blasphemous content. The headline there somewhat misstates what’s actually happening, but what’s actually going on is no less ridiculous. It is not all of India, but rather the state of Karnataka (which includes the city of Bangalore), which has passed a new law officially called “The Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Slum-Grabbers and Video or Audio Pirates (Amendment) Bill, 2014″ though it is being locally referred to as the Goonda Act. The main thing it has done is taken offenses under the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Indian Copyright Act, 1957, and let the government take people into preventative custody if they think you’re going to break one of those laws.

      • Amazon and Hachette feud could rewrite the book on publishing

        The battle between Amazon and the French publisher Hachette is not just a spat about the price of books. Their row over ebook prices, which led to the online retailer freezing out pre-orders of Hachette books and has provoked angry words from authors such as Donna Tartt and Phillip Pullman, could determine the next chapter of the publishing industry.

      • City Of London Police Turn Down Torrentfreak’s FOIA Request Because It Would Take Too Long To Fulfill

        The City of London Police (notably, not the London Metropolitan Police and you will rue the day you ever make that mistake) have been both a law unto themselves and the UK’s foremost copyright cops… which would make them a copyright law unto themselves… or something. Name another law enforcement agency that has single-handedly done more to pursue the Pirate Bays of the world. I follow this sort of stuff pretty closely and no one else even comes close. Here’s a very brief rundown of the City of London’s efforts in the service of King Copyright.

      • Fast & Furious 6 Pirate Sentenced to 33 Months Prison
      • Crime And Punishment? 33 Months In Jail For Filming And Uploading Fast & Furious 6

        As a whole bunch of folks sent in, over in the UK, a guy named Philip Danks has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for camcording Fast and Furious 6 and then uploading it to the internet. As is all too often the case, the UK authorities more or less let the movie industry, in the form of FACT (the Federation Against Copyright Theft) run the entire investigation. FACT employees were involved in all facets, including controlling most of the interview after Danks was detained. If that seems… questionable, you have a point.

      • Rightscorp’s New PR Plan: The More Ridiculous It Gets (Such As By Claiming To Hijack Browsers), The More Press It Will Get

        Over the last few months, there’s been tremendous press attention paid to a little nothing of a company called Rightscorp, which has basically tried to become the friendlier face of copyright trolling: signing up copyright holders, sending threat letters to ISPs, hoping those ISPs forward the threats to subscribers, and demanding much smaller fees than traditional copyright trolls (usually around $20). The idea is by being (just slightly) friendlier, and keeping the fees much lower, they might be able to “make it up in volume.” The company has been subject to big profiles in Ars Technica, which calls it “RIAA-lite,” and Daily Dot, which referred to it as a “boutique anti-piracy firm.” Frankly, the only thing that Rightscorp has shown itself to be good at is getting press coverage — often through outrageous claims, such as saying it found a loophole in the DMCA that lets it send subpoenas to identify ISP subscribers without filing a lawsuit. Lots of copyright trolls think they’ve found that loophole, only to discover a court already rejected it.

FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Security at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft

A Microsoft Windows (exclusively) infection is having a colossal impact on businesses right now, but corporate press coverage fails to name Windows [1, 2, 3], not to mention any possibility of blaming it. The name of an operating system is only mentioned for negative news when it’s not Windows. This is typical and it matches a pattern we have covered her under the “call out Windows” banner. IDG, the liars’ den, put it like this:

The Target data breach was one of the largest in recent memory, resulting in tens of millions of credit and debit cards being compromised. In the last couple of weeks, SuperValu said that at least 180 of its stores had been hit by a data breach and earlier this week UPS said 51 of it UPS Store locations had been hit.

We wrote about this last week because Windows was not being named, despite it being a critical part of this scenario. Instead, there was deflection to FOSS. It helped distract from Windows, which is insecure by design. It is an architectural problem because since 15 years ago, by some estimates, Windows has been a back doors carrier (for the NSA). Here is one British writer complaining about the approach Microsoft takes to composition as well:

In August last year, one-time-sysadmin and now SciFi author Charles Stross declared Microsoft Word ”a tyrant of the imagination” and bemoaned its use in the publishing world.

“Major publishers have been browbeaten into believing that Word is the sine qua non of document production systems,” he wrote. “And they expect me to integrate myself into a Word-centric workflow, even though it’s an inappropriate, damaging, and laborious tool for the job. It is, quite simply, unavoidable.”

To make matters worse, it facilitates surveillance and sabotage, as more stories from last years served to show (Snowden Files at the Guardian for instance). For security reasons Germany and Russia have moved back to typewriters; we can assume they were using Office and Windows beforehand.

Trust the spinners of Microsoft to create and disseminate some “Heartbleed” FUD, an OpenSSL bug that Microsoft likes to hype up and use to generalise so as to create an illusion that FOSS is inherently less secure. This has become Microsoft’s main propaganda against FOSS, based on just one single bug. The FUD started on the day that XP support (patches) came to an end; this timing is unlikely to be a coincidence for reasons we outlined before.

Jason Thompson writes an offensive piece titled “After Heartbleed, Is Open Source More Trouble Than It’s Worth?”

It starts with the following important disclosure:

Jason Thompson, formerly of Q1 Labs, is the vice president of worldwide marketing at SSH Communications Security.

Marketing for proprietary software (for Windows)? This is the type of thing we saw last week when issues in proprietary VPN software were unfairly blamed on OpenSSL. As we pointed out last week, there is also an attack on Android security (usually rogue apps at to blame) and then there is the recent security FUD against Android from former employees of Microsoft. Mind this new article which highlights Microsoft’s hypocrisy:

The Biggest Problem with the Windows Store: Scams Everywhere

Windows 8′s “Windows Store” is a great idea, but unfortunately, it’s a disaster. It’s full of scam apps, designed to trick you into buying an app you don’t need.

Our friends over at the How-To Geek recently wrote a great piece about the biggest problem with the Windows Store, and how Microsoft has apparently done nothing to address it (despite claiming they would over a year ago). For example, here’s what happens if you search for VLC, a popular free video player

Microsoft is creating some new FUD against Google at the moment and Google has responded as follows:

In Worldwide Partner Conference 2014, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) claimed that more than seven hundred and eighty five customers have switched to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Office 365 from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Apps. Microsoft didn’t give any proofs for this claim, but shown a slide having the names of the pronounced customers who made the switch. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) immediately started investigating this claim and has recently come up with a response. According to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), 5,000+ companies sign up for Google Apps on a daily basis and thousands of these companies switch from Microsoft. In a Forbes article, Ben Kepes mentioned Google’s response and said that it was already expected that Google will come up with a befitting response on Microsoft’s claims.

Microsoft is a malicious, criminal company. Its ability to manipulate the press into writing negative stories about the competition is quite flabbergasting. Microsoft’s key strategy right now is badmouthing the competition. AstroTurf and press manipulation is how that's done, as we showed in the previous post.

Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shameless lies spun as “news”

Arguing with IDG

Summary: Media in Microsoft’s pocket is telling Microsoft’s lies and deceives the public for Microsoft’s bottom line

There is Microsoft spin the media which continues to disturb because it is quite shallow and very easy to spot. Just watch Microsoft Peter with his latest shameless vapourware (Microsoft ads disguised as “journalism”). That’s positive advertising as opposed to negative advertising (against the competition), but it is still advertising and it should have no room in journalism.

The Microsoft-funded (through ads) propaganda apparatus CBS says “Gmail” to make a widespread Internet issue sound like Google’s. This, in a sense, is like anti-Google advertising. It is a bit like The Intercept associating Google — with the word “Google-like” — when speaking about NSA search of people’s personal data. It is not just CBS though (notorious for NSA and CIA connections). A writer who was typically writing for the CBS-owned ZDNet UK is now moving on a bit. A few days ago we saw Simon Bisson, a longtime Microsoft booster with conflicting interests that ought to make him unsuitable to cover Microsoft matters, showing up in IDG. It is a new site and the article is unsurprisingly a Microsoft-serving one, following a longtime tradition (his bio at IDG completely omits his connection to Microsoft this time around). It is a puff piece/advertising/spam for a de facto extension/proxy of Microsoft, working with Microsoft and funded by ‘former’ Microsoft executives to promote Mono and .NET.

The only thing worse than that was this piece from IDG trying to portray Microsoft as “open source” (openwashing). Microsoft is trying to crush all FOSS projects from within, so IDG helps with puff pieces like this one titled “Does Microsoft Really Love Open Source?” It is just an assortment of quotes from Microsoft and Microsoft propaganda entities like Directions on Microsoft. Here is an example:

“Compared to 10 years ago, it’s mind-blowing that Microsoft is doing what [it's] doing now,” says Wes Miller, a research vice president at Directions on Microsoft. “If you look at open source projects like Hadoop or Docker (both of which Microsoft is involved in), in the past Microsoft would have tried to crush them with its own closed source product.”

Microsoft-linked and Microsoft-friendly sources to piece together quite a propaganda piece which omits the fact that the above is intended to promote proprietary Windows. If anything, it show Microsoft subverting FOSS to tie it to proprietary. Here is one comment I received about this article:

Rabellino points to how Microsoft has helped bring Linux support to Azure in what he deems the right way. “We could have made proprietary drivers, but no, we’ve open sourced them,” he says. The same is true of the way Microsoft has helped bring Hadoop support to Windows and Node.js support to Azure.
Seriously, WTF?! What about the UEFI? this is made to help GNU/Linux too, isn’t it? c’mon…

About Microsoft becoming friendly to FOSS one person told me: “Of course it does!! don’t you see how open is the Windows source? oh, wait…”

In less disturbing news, here is an example of potential Microsoft spin, portraying Microsoft as a gainer by comparing it only to the biggest loser, the patent troll BlackBerry.

As a reader is ours put it: “LosePhone is not rising, BB is just falling that much.”

Very clever way to create Microsoft spin; find a contender that falls even quicker. This is essentially what we often find in the media, namely pro-Microsoft deception which if remains unchallenged might recur until it is widely accepted.

According to this article and this other new article, BlackBerry has 44,000 patents that it can use against Android/Linux one day. Just watch the latest on what Apple does to Samsung’s software side. It is a direct attack on Android itself:

Supreme Court ruling won’t kill Apple’s ‘slide to unlock’

In June, the US Supreme Court decided the Alice v. CLS Bank case, tweaking patent law in a way that suggests a lot more patents should be thrown out as overly abstract.

Samsung hoped that case would allow it to knock out two patents that Apple had successfully used against it in the long-running patent war between the two smartphone leaders. Last month, Samsung lawyers filed papers arguing that Apple’s patents on universal search and “swipe-to-unlock” are exactly the type of basic ideas that the US Supreme Court wants to see rejected.

Of course one could relate this whole patent strategy to Microsoft’s hatred of FOSS and also note that Microsoft, under Nadella, recently sued Samsung like Apple had done. It is an attack on Free software using software patents. To call Microsoft friendly towards Open Source requires either a propagandist or a liar. Sounds like a job for IDG!

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