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07.31.14

Links 31/7/2014: Zorin OS Educational 9, Android Nearing 90% Share

Posted in News Roundup at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Looking for a technology job? Learn as much as you can about open source

    The Friday afternoon I received an offer for an internship at Red Hat was hands down one of the most important days of my career. Every time people asked me where I was working and I saw their reactions when I told them, I knew I was in a fortunate position.

    Just look at all the headlines surrounding open source today: Facebook is opening its hardware, Tesla is opening its patents, even Apple has a page on its website dedicated to the open source projects it implements and contributes to.

  • Google release source code for the 2014 I/O app as a learning tool

    Google have today released the source code for their I/O app as a means of providing a glimpse into what Google expect from their open-source developers.

  • Open Source provides compelling benefits to business

    Executives have traditionally viewed proprietary systems as safer, lower-risk options. However in recent times increased scrutiny of capital expenditure has forced corporations to consider alternative technologies in an effort to extract maximum value from their IT budgets.

  • NICTA unveils seL4 open source operating system
  • Secure Microkernel seL4 Code Goes Open-Source

    General Dynamics C4 Systems and Australia’s Information and Communications Technology Research Centre (NICTA) today open sourced the code-base of a secure microkernel project known as seL4. Touted as “the most trustworthy general purpose microkernel in the world,” seL4 has previously been adapted by organizations like DARPA as high-assurance systems used onboard military unmanned aerial vehicles and for similar defense and commercial uses.

  • Fresh attacks on open source miss the mark

    Critics are laying siege to open source, but their arguments both mistake what open source is and how companies benefit from it

  • Futures Lab Update #69: Open Source Commenting System; the Verification Handbook

    This week we learn about a collaboration to build an open-source commenting and discussion platform for news organizations, and we explore how the Verification Handbook can help inform the use of citizen-generated materials.

  • Apache Spark Gets Billed as the Next Big Data Thing

    People in the Big Data and Hadoop communities are becoming increasingly interested in Apache Spark, an open source data analytics cluster computing framework originally developed in the AMPLab at UC Berkeley. According to Apache, Spark can run programs up to 100 times faster than Hadoop MapReduce in memory, and ten times faster on disk. When crunching large data sets, those are big performance differences.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • OrFoxOS combines Firefox OS and Tor on a $25 smartphone

        Mobile privacy concerns are at a fever pitch right now with all the NSA spying, tracking by advertisers and other privacy violations happening on the Internet. I came across an interesting video that demos a new mobile operating system called OrFoxOS. OrFoxOS combines Firefox OS and Tor to help protect your privacy.

      • My Life with Firefox OS

        It is not the best smartphone in the market, I know. In fact, I read lots of reviews before buying this phone. The most interesting point was that it was labeled a “developer” device, not an end-user phone. Even with its many “flaws,” I made up my mind and bought this smart thingie because it has everything I want on a cellphone: Firefox OS ;-)

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Coding all summer long in OpenStack

      The end of Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is near, so I wanted to share with you how things worked out for me as an intern with OpenStack. Precisely, I wanted to let you know my perception about what it takes to participate in GSoC,

      the blockers you may encounter and how to overcome them, what to expect after the internship, and a brief description of what I have been doing during my internship.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

      Every so often, people who don’t really understand the importance of anonymity or how it enables free speech (especially among marginalized people), think they have a brilliant idea: “just end real anonymity online.” They don’t seem to understand just how shortsighted such an idea is. It’s one that stems from the privilege of being in power. And who knows that particular privilege better than members of the House of Lords in the UK — a group that is more or less defined by excess privilege? The Communications Committee of the House of Lords has now issued a report concerning “social media and criminal offenses” in which they basically recommend scrapping anonymity online. It’s not a true “real names” proposal — as the idea is that web services would be required to collect real names at signup, but then could allow those users to do things pseudonymously or anonymously. But, still, their actions could then easily be traced back to a real person if the “powers that be” deemed it necessary.

    • Govt.nz, built on open source code, goes live

      A new website making it easier for government in New Zealand to deliver information and services was designed and developed in-house by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), using the Common Web Platform. The templates are written in PHP, which DIA runs on the Silverstripe CMS.

      Govt.nz is based on the open source code available through Gov.UK. Its design and content was tested with users on a publicly available beta site, and content fact checking was undertaken in collaboration with more than 40 government agencies.

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GDB 7.8 Betters Python Scripting, Adds Guile Support

      Version 7.8 of the GNU Debugger is now available with a variety of enhancements.

      GDB 7.8 notably brings Guile scripting support, improvements to Python scripting, a variety of new options, PowerPC64 litt-endian target configuration, BTrace enhancements, ISO C99 variable length automatic arrays support, and a variety of other new features.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Company Offering Open-Source Biological Reagents Hopes To Recapitulate Free Software’s Success

      I have synthesized, manufactured, tested, and fully validated a collection of open source plasmids [small circular DNA strands] coding for some of the very basic building blocks of biotechnology. I do charge an initial purchase price to pay for storage, ongoing quality control, and the provision of a reliable source of these molecules. But there is no proprietary barrier of any type on their use. You may grow them on your own, modify them, give them to others, sell them, sell products derived from them, and do whatever you (legally) want to do with them.

      What’s fascinating here is to see the application of the business model commonly found in the world of open-source software — whereby the code is freely available, and customers effectively pay for a service that provides quality control — in the world of DNA. Given the easy profits that will be put at risk by this new offering, we can probably expect the same kind of scaremongering and lobbying from the incumbents that free software experienced when it became clear that it posed a serious threat to the traditional, high-margin world of closed-source code.

    • Open Source iPipet System Created as an Alternative to Costly Liquid-Handling Robots

      A team of Whitehead Institute researchers is bringing new levels of efficiency and accuracy to one of the most essential albeit tedious tasks of bench science: pipetting. And, in an effort to aid the scientific community at large, the group has established an open source system that enables anyone to benefit from this development free of charge.

    • Open Data

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

Leftovers

Microsoft-Linked Codenomicon and Bluebox in the Business of Smearing FOSS/Linux/Android

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Google, Microsoft at 3:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Name tag
Embracing and extending, but not yet extinguishing

Summary: Codenomicon and Bluebox, two companies with strong Microsoft links, fill the media with negative articles about Android

“M

icrosoft marketing again” is what our reader labeled it. Brett Winterford, who played ball for OOXML after Microsoft had given him gifts, smears Android using a Microsoft buddy, Codenomicon, the company that hyped up an OpenSSL bug, or as this new article puts it:

Codenomicon, which coined the term “Heartbleed” upon discovering the OpenSSL flaw, will name and shame app developers later this month when it publishes its findings on those that neglected robust security practices.

Codenomicon did not discover the bug (a man from Google did, but some give both credit); Codenomicon did the marketing, registered a domain, and spread the “Heartbleed” brand.

The “Heartbleed” marketing is still floating in the media, this time because of Venafi, keeping it in the media nearly 4 months later. What we basically have here is Codenomicon making a comeback, this time making derogatory claims about Android.

A reader of ours says that “it makes sense. I have trouble tracking all the names though. If one is cynical, pretty much 100% of the pro-Microsoft or anti-Linux (especially anti-FOSS) writings can be tracked to direct Microsoft influence. One wonders society can do with all the “former” employees, especially the managers.”

Codenomicon’s board is managed by a man from Microsoft, one of Microsoft’s chief executives, for those who have not been keeping up.

Another company like this is Bluebox, whose Microsoft connection we covered here before. It is a Microsoft partner created and managed by a Microsoft guy. Now it has some dirt to throw on Android, too.

We first saw that covered by the FOSS-hostile Dan Goodin (he still only covers FOSS/Linux security issues, ignoring any proprietary software issues) and then we saw this in the Bill Gates-funded “The Guardian” and BBC, which like to chastise only Google over things that Microsoft does (and worse). This is definitely some of the earliest coverage, maybe coordinated ahead of distribution, leading other sites to covering it, only later on, even though the issue was already fixed. Later on we saw a report saying that it “Could Put Millions in Jeopardy” (key word is “could”) and Microsoft-friendly sites joined in, making a huge fuss about a bug that was patched very quickly.

“One need to keep track of who’s who and where the money travels.”While it is hard to show a conspiracy to smear Android, like Microsoft asking its former employees and affiliates who run Codenomicon and Bluebox to fill the media with negative coverage about Android bugs, we do need to consider such possibilities based on evidence that exists. It is clear who these companies are loyal to; it’s no secret, just follow the money. Why don’t they cover the loads of bugs in Windows or even the back doors, which are there by design?

The media too should be held accountable here, as we know that Microsoft bribes publishers like O’Reilly (we gave examples for years) and based on fresh complaints from the President of OSI [1], it is true that OSCON (O’Reilly’s so-called ‘open source’ conference) has become more of a Microsoft-subsidised breeding ground for moles and misdirection (sponsored by Microsoft in exchange for stage time/room).

When living in a spin zone (not spin-free zone), where many of the messengers are funded by Microsoft, it would be unwise to take and accept everything at face value. One need to keep track of who’s who and where the money travels.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. SAP embraces opens source — sort of

    At the annual OSCON (Open Source Convention) last week, those stuck in a worldview of open source from the previous decade would have suffered serious cognitive dissonance.

    First, Microsoft was an anchor of the conference, with a full-scale display from Jean Paoli’s subsidiary Microsoft Open Technologies. As I walked past I repeatedly heard people expressing shock that Microsoft was there at such scale. Wholehearted support for open source still largely stops at the boundaries of Microsoft’s Azure cloud offering, but plenty of staff people with genuine open source credentials were showing their wares. Microsoft’s journey is definitely progressing.

Is Microsoft Being Raided Not Just for Anti-Competitive Reasons but for Bribes and Back Doors?

Posted in Apple, Fraud, Microsoft, Security at 2:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Great Wall of China

Summary: News about raids in Microsoft China mostly lacking when it comes to background, context, and information about Microsoft’s crimes in China

THE WORLD is moving away from Microsoft. It starts with countries like China, which makes its own hardware (as well as much of the world’s), and then there’s Russia, which abandoned x86 (Wintel) and will make its own chips on which only GNU/Linux will neatly fit. We covered all that earlier this year and it’s clearly not just rhetoric; these things are already happening as the wheels are in motion. Microsoft is desperate to keep up with the changes, but Wintel is like an order of magnitude more expensive than Linux with ARM. It’s game over. Android is dominating many areas, along with its derivatives or other Linux-based operating systems.

The other day there was plenty of press coverage (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]) about Microsoft being raided by Chinese authorities. “Chinese regulators swarm Microsoft offices over antitrust concerns,” said some headlines (focusing on competition issues, not back doors), but most reports were a lot more vague with claims [1, 2, 3] ranging from nationalism to concerns about Office tie-up. The plutocrats’ media tried to blame it on China and make the Chinese government look irrational (watch what Microsoft boosters say, another one that’s Gates-washing it, and ludicrous claims that “China steps up the arms race in the digital cold war”). The English-speaking Chinese press says that 4 Microsoft offices were visited in the raid. One summary says that “[r]egulators claim Office, Windows illegally tied” while mostly, instead of speaking about recent success stories with Linux, including Android, the article looks backwards and says: “While there have been several attempts to get Chinese punters to switch to Linux – including Red Flag Linux and the unimaginatively named China Operating System – none have been particularly successful at shaking off Windows’ dominance.”

Now, remember that Microsoft was raided in other countries before (e.g. Hungary) and in 2013 the “US probe[d] Microsoft China bribery claim”, as we covered at the time. There is a criminal element to Microsoft’s conduct in China. One of our readers asked, “pressing for more bribes, discounts and backdoors?” Watch China demonised in Western media for protecting itself from espionage (terms like “Microsoft Chinese burn riddle” don’t help).

As Charlie Demerjian reminded us a short while ago, Microsoft is now extorting Windows users:

Microsoft decided to extort Windows 7 users too

Not content to blow both feet off with a shotgun, Microsoft is going for the kneecaps now by blackmailing it’s customers. If you are still dumb enough to use Windows, you are about have your wallet shaken down by Microsoft in a familiar yet still unwelcome way.

We don’t feel the need to sugarcoat this much because the company’s behavior is so blatant and uncaring it is almost staggering. Worse yet the victims, that would be almost all Windows users, have only themselves to blame because the pattern has been well laid out for years now. Microsoft has been unapologetically blackmailing users for years, anyone who bought one of their products in the last few years should have known better.

China has an issue like this; even in the UK the NHS has faced similar issues and is constantly being pressured by Microsoft, as we showed some weeks ago. Office (online) and Windows (the platform for Office on the desktop) are both banned by the Chinese government now.

Leading Chinese media, the New York Times (trend-setting in the US) and BBC (trend-setting in the UK) covered this and have ended coverage by now, so we saw no urgency to point out the news immediately (unlike some bloggers), only to add some background information which has been omitted by the media. A year after Microsoft came under investigation in the US (over allegations that had bribed Chinese officials) it got a visit from Feds, so what is the likelihood that these raids are at least partly related to criminal activity? Microsoft bribery in China is nothing new; it’s how Microsoft does business and the investigation dealt with numerous countries in which Microsoft was alleged to have bribed officials. The BBC says:

Microsoft has confirmed that officials from China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce – the body responsible for enforcing business laws – have visited some of its offices.

It sounds like bribes would fall under this category. This comes amid shrinkage of Microsoft’s presence in China:

Microsoft Corp’s biggest reduction in company history could cost China more than 1,000 jobs, analysts warned on Friday.

Apple too is laying off employees, 200 people in fact, so let’s not treat Microsoft alone as the problem. Moreover, based on today’s (and yesterday’s) news [1-7], Russia may be close to banning or kicking out Apple and SAP, due to the fact that their software is secret (proprietary) and thus cannot be trusted.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Russia wants Apple and SAP to prove that their software isn’t used for spying
  2. Russia: Apple, SAP to share source codes to combat spying

    Russia has suggested that IT-giants Apple and SAP disclose their source codes to Russian state specialists in order to clear up information security issues after the chain of spy scandals undermined trust in foreign products.

  3. Russia Wants Apple and SAP’s Source Code to Check Spying Activities
  4. Quick Note: Russia Requests Apple, SAP’s Source Code to Prevent Spying

    Russia has made a bold request for both Apple and SAP’s source code to make sure that neither company’s software contains any sort of spy tools.

  5. Russia Asks Source Codes from Apple, SAP
  6. Russia wants Apple and SAP to prove that their software isn’t used for spying
  7. Sorry Russia, Apple and SAP aren’t revealing their source code

    To ensure that SAP and Apple products aren’t vulnerable to spying, Russia suggested last Tuesday that the companies give Russia access to their source code, Reuters reports.

Former Microsoft Engineer Working on Windows BitLocker Confirms Government Asks Microsoft for Back Doors

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 1:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Built with elegance, concealed with compilers

Iron doors

Summary: Recalling the times when even Microsoft staff spoke about secret government collaborations and back doors

China and Russia are currently moving away from Windows (GNU/Linux to be imminently installed on all government machines) — a point which we are going to focus on later today because truths about security and privacy rapidly come out, revealing the clear advantage of Free — as in freedom/libre — software. China and Russia must be motivated by advice of security gurus (of which they have plenty) and the secret services; it’s not about anti-American sentiments but about national sovereignty, especially now that we know about espionage and attacks on companies like Huawei (breached by the NSA, with proof provided).

On numerous occasions in the past we highlighted Microsoft’s relationship with the NSA, going about 7 years back. Many of Microsoft’s back doors are there by design; they need not involve slow patches, hidden patches, malware (e.g. CIPAV) or even warrants for physical access (COFFE). Microsoft is like the world’s leading back doors specialist, and it needn’t even require that people upload their data to some so-called ‘cloud’ services which tempt the gullible (low-hanging fruit). Surely Microsoft understands that it is losing business because people understand what it does now; it’s not due to misconceptions; quite the contrary; businesses and governments finally realise what was true all along. Remember Stuxnet?

Microsoft’s Scott Charney, a professional liar with agenda and big salary (people would happy lie for the type of money he receives), is trying hard along with Smith (lawyer who lies or deceives by omission) to deny Microsoft book doors, but as the following new article explains, the admissions from Microsoft itself are already out there and they cannot be retracted:

Scott Charney, of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing, said the government has “never” asked for a backdoor in Microsoft products. Yet a former engineer working on BitLocker claimed the government does ask, but those requests are “informal.”

Four of Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, China, were raided as part of an official government investigation. Microsoft China spokeswoman Joan Li confirmed that Investigators of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce were investigating the company and Microsoft would “actively cooperate”’ with the Chinese government. The South China Morning Post reported that the investigation may involve antitrust matters.

[...]

Yet in September 2013, The New York Times reported the NSA worked with Microsoft “officials to get pre-encryption access to Microsoft’s most popular services, including Outlook e-mail, Skype Internet phone calls and chats, and SkyDrive, the company’s cloud storage service. Microsoft asserted that it had merely complied with ‘lawful demands’ of the government, and in some cases, the collaboration was clearly coerced.”

Mashable followed up these claims by asking the FBI if it had ever asked for backdoors in Microsoft products. Although the feds denied it, Peter Biddle, the head of the engineering team working on BitLocker in 2005, claimed that the government makes “informal requests” for backdoors. Allegedly after making claims about “going dark,” the FBI “informally” asked Microsoft for a backdoor in BitLocker.

A request for a backdoor, whether informal or not, is still a request for a backdoor. That’s quite a bit different than the government having “never done that,” but perhaps the feds didn’t request backdoor access directly from Charney?

[...]

Yet you might be wise to recall that Caspar Bowden, the man formerly in charge of Microsoft’s privacy policy for 40 countries, claims he no longer trusts Microsoft or its software; he added that Microsoft’s corporate strategy is to grind down your privacy expectations and that the company’s transparency policies are nothing more than “corporate propaganda.”

Over the years we have covered several more examples. Whenever Microsoft makes claims about collaborations with government surveillance pay careful attention not to what Microsoft is saying but what Microsoft refuses to say. The same goes for Apple. They embrace carefully-worded non-denying ‘denials’. When everyone sees through the lies they will both pay for it dearly, and perhaps go bankrupt owing to the network effect.

07.30.14

Ruling Against ‘Abstract’ Software Patents is Already Derailing Patent Attacks on Linux and Free Software

Posted in Patents, Samsung at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Patent litigation against Android/Linux impeded by the introduction of arguments that cite the Supreme Court

Dr. Mohan Dewan, Dr. Niti Dewan and Adv. Sahil Ahuja say that “Alice v. CLS Bank [is] another blow against software patents” (the headline of an article just published in a legal site). This is part of exciting developments around software patents. As a result of this ruling, which is still quite fresh and is reportedly impacting USPTO guidelines (Groklaw’s Pamela Jones broke her silence and came back to point this out), the patent cases against Linux, FOSS and other entities or projects like Android will be severely impeded. Samsung is in fact striking back against Apple using the precedence above:

When the US Supreme Court decided the Alice v. CLS Bank case last month, it was a signal that courts should be throwing out a lot more patents for being too abstract to be legally valid. Groups seeking patent reform and tech companies rejoiced, hoping the decision would knock out more of the patents wielded by so-called “patent trolls,” whose only business is litigation.

[...]

In legal papers (PDF), Samsung argues that both patents are attempts to “claim an abstract idea, implemented with generic computer functions that do not state any technical innovation.”

The search patent describes using “heuristics,” which an Apple witness described at trial as simply being “good ideas,” to “locate information in multiple locations.” Slide-to-unlock, meanwhile, “covers nothing more than the idea of moving an image to unlock the device.” Everything else in the key patent claim is generic computer language. “This simply is not enough to qualify for patent protection post-Alice,” write Samsung lawyers. “Both claims are invalid as a matter of law.”

Many thanks to Joe for his report. Nobody else appears to have reported this. Some people don’t agree with Joe’s “troll” classifier, but overall he is one of the best reporters out there on patent issues.

This is great news that shows how software patents were all along a major barrier to FOSS. Unlike Tesla with its PR stunts, FOSS backers do not play ball with software patents (Microsoft is a FOSS foe). As one site put it the other day:

Beware Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk’s patent pledge, say experts

[...]

Unlike pledges from other companies like IBM and Red Hat, Musk did not explicitly say that his promises were intended to be legally binding or irrevocable.

Microsoft uses a similar type of promise against Mono, reminding us that Microsoft uses “Open Source” for marketing purposes. It is not a FOSS supporter but an opponent.

Links 30/7/2014: Chris Beard as CEO of Mozilla

Posted in News Roundup at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • From Clouds to Cars to Kitchens, Linux Making an Impact Everywhere

    There’s no operating system more ubiquitous than Linux. It’s everywhere. It’s even running in devices and computers you may not suspect—our cars, our cell phones, even our refrigerators. Linux supports businesses and organizations everywhere, and because it underpins open-source innovation, it is the platform of choice for new applications. Companies such as IBM and their work with organizations like the OpenPOWER Foundation are creating such new innovations as Big Blue’s new scale-out servers running Linux and putting them in places all around us. In fact, eWEEK recently ran a slide show depicting how prevalent the operating system is in the supercomputing space. Linux has quickly become the operating system of choice in the high performance computing (HPC) market, growing from relative obscurity 15 years ago to powering 97 percent of the fastest computers in the world. But its appeal is found in more than cost or choice. This list, compiled with assistance from IBM, provides some examples of where Linux is making an impact.

  • ARM’s first 64-bit servers: Just what can you expect to run on them?

    That’s what is being worked on by Linaro, an engineering group supported by a range of ARM-based chip designers, server OEMs and Linux operating system custodians, all of which share an interest in broadening the range of open-source software for the ARM platform.

    By the time the first 64-bit ARM-based SoCs become generally available for use in production servers later this year, Linaro is confident that certain core enterprise software packages used for serving websites, data analytics and databases will be running acceptably on the 64-bit ARM-based architecture.

    These enterprise software packages include the LAMP stack – an acronym for software widely used for websites, commonly referring to a Linux OS, Apache web server, MySQL database and PHP scripts – as well as the NoSQL database MongoDB and the distributed storage and processing framework Hadoop, together with other web-serving technologies such as memcached and HAProxy.

  • Why Use Linux for Device Drivers?

    The fun factor continues to draw developers to Linux. This open-source system continues to succeed in the market and in the hearts and minds of developers. The success of Linux is clearly a testament to its technical quality and to the numerous benefits of free software in general. But for many, the true key to its success lies in the fact that it has brought the fun back to computing.

    One of the authors of the book Linux Device Drivers is quite clear about the fun aspects of playing with Linux. In the introduction to the book, Jonathan Corbet noted that, “The true key to the Linux success lies in the fact that it has brought the fun back to computing.” Corbet insists that Linux is a system where technical excellence is king. “With Linux, anybody can get their hands into the system and play in a sandbox where contributions from any direction are welcome, but where technical excellence is valued above all else.”

  • UK Surveillance Bill: giving up privacy for security but with no guarantee of security

    By now, people are aware of at least some the spying being conducted by the NSA and the GCHQ. The two programs working together form the largest data collection project in human history.

  • Desktop

    • Reglue: Opening Up the World to Deserving Kids, One Linux Computer at a Time

      They say you never forget your first computer. For some of us, it was a Commodore 64 or an Apple IIe. For others, it was a Pentium 233 running Windows 95. Regardless of the hardware, the fond memories of wonder and excitement are universal. For me, I’ll never forget the night my father brought home our first computer, a Tandy 1000. Nor will I forget the curious excitement I felt toward the mysterious beige box that took up a large portion of the guest bedroom. This happened at a time when simply having a computer at home gave a school-age child an advantage. I have no doubt my experiences from that time positively influenced my path in life.

      In the decades that have passed since the beginning of the personal computer revolution, computers have gone from being a rare and expensive luxury to a mandatory educational tool. Today, a child without access to a computer (and the Internet) at home is at a disadvantage before he or she ever sets foot in a classroom. The unfortunate reality is that in an age where computer skills are no longer optional, far too many families don’t possess the resources to have a computer at home.

  • Server

    • CoreOS Stabilizes Cloud Container Linux Operating System

      The open-source CoreOS Linux operating system hit a major milestone on July 25, issuing its first stable release. CoreOS is an Andreessen Horowitz-backed startup that offers the promise of a highly available operating system platform that is fully integrated with the Docker container virtualization technology.

    • Linux Top 3: CoreOS Goes Stable, Oracle Clones RHEL 7 and Tails Updates
    • Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready

      The developers behind the stripped-down CoreOS Linux distribution have pushed version 367.1.0 to the Stable release channel, marking the first time the project has delivered a production-ready release.

    • Bright Computing raises $14.5M to expand services for Linux cluster management

      Bright Computing, which helps companies manage Linux clusters, has picked up $14.5 million in Series B funding.

      The funding is an indication of how much demand there is, in modern corporate computing environments, for clusters of servers that can grow to include hundreds or even thousands of nodes. That’s because of the increased popularity of Hadoop and other clustered storage technologies, which help companies store enormous quantities of often unstructured data on cheap commodity servers, rather than the more-expensive storage area networks and dedicated storage hardware that an earlier generation of data center architects preferred.

    • Radio Free HPC Looks at the Need for Better Resource Management in Linux

      In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC teams looks at Henry Newman’s recent straw proposal for better resource management for Linux in HPC.

    • Who’s using Docker?

      I’ve spent the last couple of months working an internship for The Linux Foundation, doing research on new developments and adoption trends in the open source industry. If you have spent any amount of time reading about open source over the last year, you have probably heard about Docker; a lot of people are talking about it these days and the impact it’s going to have on virtualization and DevOps.

      With new technologies like this, it can often be challenging to filter out the hype and understand the practical implications. Additionally, complex jargon often makes subjects like Linux containers confusing to the layman and limits discussion to those who are deeply knowledgeable on the subject. With this article, I will step back for a moment from the discussion of what Docker can do to focus on how it is changing the Linux landscape.

  • SUSE/Microsoft

  • Kernel Space

    • The Shocking Truth About Torvalds’ Home Office

      “I am really incredibly surprised that my work space is very similar to Linus’ and also the working hours are almost identical,” said Google+ blogger Rodolfo Saenz. In Saenz’s setup, though, “the treadmill stands alone. I use it religiously every day, but I don’t like to mix work with exercise. I climb on the treadmill to clean my mind, listen to music and think about many things.”

    • Linux 3.16-rc7 released; final may be tagged next week
    • My First Unikernel

      Unikernels promise some interesting benefits. The Ubuntu 14.04 amd64-disk1.img cloud image is 243 MB unconfigured, while the unikernel ended up at just 5.2 MB (running the queue service). Ubuntu runs a large amount of C code in security-critical places, while the unikernel is almost entirely type-safe OCaml. And besides, trying new things is fun.

    • Introducing the OpenDaylight Ambassador Program

      Someone who is passionate about OpenDaylight and open SDN and recognized for their expertise and willingness to help others learn about the software. Usually hands-on practitioners. Someone who has the characteristics of being helpful, hopeful and humble. People like bloggers, influencers, evangelists who are already engaged with the project in some way. Contributing to forums, online groups, community, etc.

    • New Linux Foundation Members Leverage Global Linux Growth

      BearingPoint, Daynix, Linaro Limited and Systena Expand International Reach of Linux-Based Solutions

    • Graphics Stack

      • Hawaii Bug-Fixes Start Hitting Mainline RadeonSI Gallium3D

        For those excited about the recent working Radeon R9 290 “Hawaii” Gallium3D support, a number of bug-fixes were committed in recent hours to Mesa for bettering the support for those wishing to use this open-source AMD Linux driver for their ultra high-end graphics hardware.

      • Updated Source Engine Benchmarks On The Latest AMD/NVIDIA Linux Drivers

        Benchmarks of Valve’s Source Engine games (and other Steam titles for that matter) aren’t done in all Phoronix driver tests and graphics card articles for various reasons, among which is that there’s other more GPU-demanding OpenGL tests to utilize for modern hardware. However, for those curious about the performance of various AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards using the latest proprietary drivers, here’s some updated numbers.

      • NVIDIA Is Working Towards VDPAU H.265/HEVC Support

        NVIDIA is working on adding HEVC/H.265 video decoding support to VDPAU.

        NVIDIA developers are extending the “Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix” interfaces to allow the HEVC/H.265 requirements. The work aims to enable hardware-accelerated decoding of HEVC content under VDPAU and to provide a reference implementation for this video decoding. José Hiram Soltren, the developer that worked on this support, is also working on a HEVC decode patch for FFmpeg and MPlayer based upon the new API.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • An unusual comparison of Desktop Environments

      I created and published a series of videos few months ago, that show how to set up multiple keyboard layouts in different Desktop Environments.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.4 Going Into Feature Freeze Next Week With Exciting Changes

        The Qt 5.4 feature freeze is set to go into effect on 8 August with already there being a large number of changes for this next major Qt5 tool-kit release.

        Heikkinen Jani of Digia sent out a reminder this morning that the 5.4 feature freeze is effective beginning 8 August. The Qt 5.4 code will be branched from Qt’s “dev” branch on 11 August.

      • Tor Bounty, Plasma 5 ISOs, and Best Desktops

        Today in Linux news, the Kubuntu team have released ISOs with the Plasma 5 desktop for all to test. Russia has offered 3.9m roubles to anyone who can crack the Tor network. And Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has a round-up of the best in Linux desktops.

      • KDE Applications and Platform 4.14 Beta 3 Is Out, Final Version Just a Month Away
      • KDE Software Compilation 4.13.3 available in the stable repositories
      • KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
      • meta-kf5 usable

        Finally I’ve had the time to work over the final issues in meta-kf5. Right now, I build most tier 1 and tier 2 components. I’ve packaged most functional modules and integration modules from these tiers.

      • Layout Guidelines: A quick example

        The guidelines suggest layout patterns for simple, complex and very complex command structures. So where does our calendar app fit? Well, I wasn’t quite sure either. And that’s ok! Some things are tough to know until you start delving into the design work. The guidelines suggest starting with a pattern for a simple command structure when you’re not sure. So that’s what I did. As I started putting together a design and thinking about how Sue would use it for the purposes described, it became clear that not only were there several other desirable functions (like switching calendars, setting up calendar accounts, setting calendar colors, and more) but there are also certain commands Sue might use quite often (like switching between a day, week and month view of her schedule, adding an event and quickly getting back to today after browsing forward or back in time). So I settled on the suggested Toolbar + Menu Button command pattern for a complex command structure.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • A talk in 9 images

        My talk at GUADEC this year was about GTK+ dialogs. The first half of the talk consisted of a comparison of dialogs in GTK+ 2, in GTK+ 3 under gnome-shell and in GTK+ 3 under xfwm4 (as an example of an environment that does not favor client-side decorations).

      • Eye of GNOME 3.13.3 Features Improved GUI Test Handling

        According to the changelog, the deprecated GtkMisc and GtkAlignment usage has been dropped, the GUI test handling has been improved, the dialogs made with Glade have been converted to GResource and widget templates, disabling the dark theme plugin no longer disables the dark theme, and the plugin manager is now resizing in the preferences window.

      • GUADEC 2014, Day Three: GTK+ and Wayland

        The third day of GUADEC was mostly devoted to lower level parts of the GNOME stack. There were talks on GTK+, CSS, Wayland, and WebKitGTK+, but also an annual general meeting of the GNOME Foundation.

      • GUADEC 2014 Core Days Finish

        They say you never forget your first computer. For some of us, it was a Commodore 64 or an Apple IIe. For others, it was a Pentium 233 running Windows 95. Regardless of the hardware, the fond memories of wonder and excitement are universal. For me, I’ll never forget the night my father brought home our first computer, a Tandy 1000. Nor will I forget the curious excitement I felt toward the mysterious beige box that took up a large portion of the guest bedroom. This happened at a time when simply having a computer at home gave a school-age child an advantage. I have no doubt my experiences from that time positively influenced my path in life.

      • GNOME Stakeholders Take Issue With Groupon Over their Gnome

        Earlier this year the Groupon discount web-site introduced Gnome, a tablet software solution for helping business owners run their business. This software is completely unrelated to the open-source GNOME desktop environment on Linux systems. The Groupon Gnome announcement reads, “Today we announced Gnome, a new tablet-based platform that will provide sophisticated tools to local merchants to run their businesses more effectively and understand their customers better. The tablet will let merchants instantly recognize their Groupon customers as they enter their business, seamlessly redeem Groupons and save time and money with a simple point of-sale system and credit card payment processing service. Gnome will soon integrate with popular accounting software programs such as QuickBooks and Xero and offer a suite of customer relationship management tools, including the ability to customize marketing campaigns based on purchase history, share customer feedback via social media and respond to customer inquiries or comments.”

      • GNOME/GTK On Wayland Gains Focus At GUADEC

        GTK+ and GNOME Wayland support were frequent focal discussion points at this year’s GUADEC — GNOME’s annual conference — for getting rid of X11.

  • Distributions

    • Minimal Linux Live

      Minimal Linux Live is a set of Linux shell scripts which automatically build minimal Live Linux OS based on Linux kernel and BusyBox. All necessary source codes are automatically downloaded and all build operations are fully encapsulated in the scripts.

    • Minimal Linux Live
    • Adventures in live booting Linux distributions

      Building highly customized live images isn’t easy and running them in production makes it more challenging. Once the upstream kernel has a stable, solid, stackable filesystem, it should be much easier to operate a live environment for extended periods. There has been a parade of stackable filesystems over the years (remember funion-fs?) but I’ve been told that overlayfs seems to be a solid contender. I’ll keep an eye out for those kernel patches to land upstream but I’m not going to hold my breath quite yet.

    • 10 reasons to try Zorin OS 9, the Linux OS that looks like Windows

      Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution designed especially for newcomers to Linux. With a Windows-like interface and many programs similar to those found in Microsoft’s proprietary OS, it aims to make it easy for Windows users to get the most out of Linux.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Leaders are catalysts for shared purpose and results

        On every floor at Red Hat Tower in downtown Raleigh, you’ll find a brand message sign that describes Red Hat’s values and culture. On my floor, where I am an intern at Red Hat, the brand message is “Leaders are catalysts, turning shared purpose into shared results.” I see this sign multiple times everday. Coming into work. Going to meetings. Grabbing a coffee. It’s always there.

      • When Metrics Go Wrong

        In one open source project (on which I was a release manager), the main metric I cared about was the bugs open against a milestone. As time went on, and the number was not going down fast enough, we regularly would bump bugs to the next milestone, not because they were not important issues, but because we knew that they would not be fixed by the date we had set ourselves. Having participated in a number of projects, I have a pretty good idea that this is a universal tendency as release approaches.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 21 will feature “solarized” color schemes in both the Terminal and Gedit

          Recently, I have been using what will become Fedora 21 as my day-to-day machine, (side note: I have found it to be pretty stable for pre-release software). One really nice improvement that i am enjoying on Fedora 21 is the addition of the solarized color scheme in both the default terminal (gnome-terminal), and the default graphical text editior (gedit). Solarized comes in both light and dark variants, and really makes these applications look fantastic and works really well on a wide range of displays and screen brightness levels. From the solarized website:

    • Debian Family

      • The FFmpeg vs. Libav War Continues In Debian Land

        Long story short, due to security concerns, package incompatibility issues, and being too short of time before the Debian 8.0 Jessie release, and there’s some measurable resistance to adding FFmpeg back to the repository. However, others are after FFmpeg in Debian for features it has over Libav with regard to some codecs and other abilities, some programs not compiling against Libav, and other differences between it and the forked Libav project. Time will tell if/when FFmpeg will be allowed back in Debian and whether it will happen in time for the 8.0 Jessie releae.

      • Debian Squeeze Reaches Version 6.0.10

        This is the tenth major update and unfortunately the last one in the life of this branch of the Debian distribution. According to the official changelog this update corrects alot of security problems due to the old stable release and contains a few fixes for serious problems. It is very important to mention the fact that this major update of the Debian 6.x included all the security updates that have never been part of a point release.

        Read more

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

07.29.14

New Optimism in the Age of Doubt Over Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Marching against software patents has finally paid off

Marching

Summary: As the tide turns against software patents, even in their country of origin, their opponents come out of the woodwork to celebrate

The CAFC, which brought software patents to the world (starting in the US), is now a disgraced and gradually-weakening institution because of scandals. Its legacy too — including software patents — is now in a state of disarray.

There are real changes afoot. The patent debate around around the world has quickly shifted (or been shifted) so as to focus again on software patents. Last year and the year before that the debate shifted from software patents to patent trolls after giant corporations had lobbied for a change that benefits only them. That was when we stopped covering the topic. We nearly gave up.

In Thailand, patent lawyers from this law firm called DFDL choose to focus on trolls and make the following observations about Tesla's PR stunt and about patent scope in Thailand:

Yet perhaps Tesla’s is a unique case, and one motivated by self-interest rather than altruism. For electric cars to occupy a prominent place in the world’s car markets there must be adequate infrastructure to support them (eg charging stations), consumer acceptance of the product and the unit costs of production must decrease. By providing their intellectual property to competitors Tesla may have decreased its potential market share, but it has increased the chances of there being a viable market at all.

The last troll you saw was probably in The Hobbit. But patent assertion entities, better known as “patent trolls”, are more threatening to your way of life than their mythical brethren. Patent trolls are in the business of buying up broad patents for the express purpose of suing infringers to obtain settlement payments or licensing fees. They neither produce nor invent anything, and they add to the costs of doing business for those who do. For example, an alleged patent troll has claimed that it has a patent that covers serialised downloadable podcasts and it is suing several of the top podcasting entities. The problem generally relates to software patents, and whether what is arguably just an abstract idea should be patentable. The big battle is currently occurring in the US, in the small, patent-troll friendly jurisdiction of Marshall, Texas, in particular. But the problem is global, which is another reason that the granting of patents requires careful consideration in each jurisdiction.

[...]

What isn’t patentable? Under Section 9 of the Patent Act, inventions are not patentable if they are (i) naturally occurring in microorganisms and their components; (ii) scientific or mathematical rules or theories; (iii) computer programs; (iv) methods of diagnosis, treatment or cure for human and animal diseases; and (v) contrary to public order, morality, health or welfare.

This article focuses on trolls more than it focuses on software patents, but it towards the end mentions patent scope as well. It is important that we do not lose sight of the real problem. It seems like the real enemy now is lawyers and lobbyists (of large corporations), to whom the debate about patent scope seems like a threat. They try hard to dodge the subject and divert attention to phantom enemies.

An article posted by Groklaw on Sunday, which recently became active again (see “Groklaw Stirs from its Deep Sleep”), covers new scope limitations at the USPTO, inspired by a case that Groklaw covered for a long time. Dennis Crouch writes: “Based on information from several sources, it appears that the USPTO is now taking a more aggressive stance on subject matter eligibility and is particularly re-examining all claims for eligibility grounds prior to issuance. This is most apparent in technology centers managing data-processing inventions classes (Classes 700-707).”

Pamela Jones, speaking online for the first time in about 8 months, writes: “Ask yourself: when the Alice Corp. case was first decided, is this outcome analysts told you to expect?”

The smiley face after that shows that Jones is happy. There are many victories these days, not only loses (to privacy, free speech and so on).

“I hope PJ comes back,” wrote a reader to us, “but it is more likely that she might be continuing just the NewsPicks.”

07.28.14

Links 28/7/2014: New Linux RC, Plasma 5 Live in Kubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 5:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • The (True) Legacy of Two Really Existing Economic Systems

    By running an experiment among Germans collecting their passports or ID cards in the citizen centers of Berlin, we find that individuals with an East German family background cheat significantly more on an abstract task than those with a West German family background. The longer individuals were exposed to socialism, the more likely they were to cheat on our task. While it was recently argued that markets decay morals (Falk and Szech, 2013), we provide evidence that other political and economic regimes such as socialism might have an even more detrimental effect on individuals’ behavior.

  • Men are happier with a smarter wife

    Dramatic shift in divorce patterns shows younger husbands are the first generation of men not to find more highly educated women ‘threatening’

    [...]

    …in previous generations marriages where the husband was better qualified

  • Small Data: Getting stuck on things or in things

    My favourite figure of last week came from the London Fire Brigade, writes Anthony Reuben.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Corporate Takeover of “All Natural” Food

      Walk through your local grocery store these days and you’ll see the words “all natural” emblazoned on a variety of food packages. The label is lucrative, for sure, but in discussing the natural label few have remarked on what’s really at stake — the natural ingredients and the companies themselves.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Zimbabwe Wikileaks probe on

      Investigations into the WikiLeaks saga, that saw government ministers and senior Zanu-PF officials quoted by United States diplomats speaking ill of President Robert Mugabe, are still on, Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana confirmed on Sunday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Armed robbery in Gaza – Israel, US, UK carve up the spoils of Palestine’s stolen gas

      Israel desperately covets Gaza’s gas as a ‘cheap stop-gap’ yielding revenues of $6-7 billion a year, writes Nafeez Ahmed. The UK’s BG and the US’s Noble Energy are lined up to do the dirty work – but first Hamas must be ‘uprooted’ from Gaza, and Fatah bullied into cutting off its talks with Russia’s Gazprom.

    • Gaza: Israel’s $4 billion gas grab

      Never mind the ‘war on terror’ rhetoric, writes Nafeez Ahmed. The purpose of Israel’s escalating assault on Gaza is to control the Territory’s 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas – and so keep Palestine poor and weak, gain massive export revenues, and avert its own domestic energy crisis.

  • Finance

    • Can Argentina escape the inflation trap?

      Taking into consideration Argentina’s historic precedents, it’s not a venture to say that soon this crisis will hit rock bottom, with a strong devaluation, a significant economic set-back, and a rise of unemployment and poverty levels. Then, as always, the economy will start to recover, and after some years of prosperity, the cycle will start again.

    • Why should anyone trust Paul Ryan’s poverty plan?

      Paul Ryan’s budgets can be summed up in a single sentence: Cut the deficit by cutting programs for the poor. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that fully two-thirds of Ryan’s cuts came from programs to the poor. Meanwhile, Ryan refused to raise even a dollar in taxes. Politics is about priorities, and Ryan’s priorities — lower deficits, no new taxes, steady defense spending, no near-term entitlement changes — meant programs for the poor got hammered.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wikipedia blocks Congress from editing

      An IP address from a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives has been temporarily blocked from making edits to Wikipedia articles after some of its changes were deemed disruptive.

    • How Big Tobacco Went To War With A Tiny Country

      The small South American nation of Uruguay might be forced to pay a heavy price for trying to curb smoking and avert a public health disaster. The country is currently embroiled in a high stakes legal battle with Phillips Morris, the world’s largest cigarette manufacturer. The industry giant, whose annual profits outsize Uruguay’s entire yearly GDP, is suing the government of Uruguay over a 2008 law that requires cigarette packs to be 80 percent covered by health warnings.

    • The Conservative War Over Impeachment

      Largely relegated to the fringe for years, the prospect of impeachment has been invigorated thanks to conservative media figures like Fox News contributors Sarah Palin and Allen West, who have spent recent weeks loudly demanding Obama’s removal from office. But not everyone in conservative media is on board, with several prominent figures arguing that impeachment is ill-fated, politically toxic, and could severely damage Republicans’ chances in the upcoming 2014 midterm elections.

  • Censorship

    • Media freedom remains under threat in Hungary

      A free and plural media is the foundation of a free society, and a safeguard of democratic tradition. The new “advertising tax” in Hungary shows it is still very much under threat.

    • The New York Times editorial: Censorship back in India “with vengeance”, reminiscent of Emergency days

      In a move without precedence, one of world’s most influential dailies, the New York Times, has editorially declared that “press censorship” is back in India “with a vengeance.” But there is a caveat, it suggest. During the Emergency, imposed on June 25, 1975, Prime Minister India Gandhi imposed “strict” censorship, but this time it is “not direct government fiat but by powerful owners and politicians.” Titled “India’s Press in Siege”, the top daily, however, compares it with the censorship imposed Indira Gandhi, recalling how, “with defiant exceptions, much of the press caved in quickly to the new rules.”

    • Civil Rights and “Censored” Groups support Whistleblowers on Capitol Hill
    • As wounded Israeli troops return home, military censorship is harder to enforce

      The Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv is on a war footing. In the 10 days since Israel started its ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the hospital has received more than 50 soldiers with wide-ranging combat injuries.

    • Right to be forgotten: Wikipedia chief enters internet censorship row

      Internet search engines such as Google should not be left in charge of “censoring history”, the Wikipedia founder has said, after the US firm revealed it had approved half of more than 90,000 “right to be forgotten” requests.

    • Foreign Social-Networking Software Banned as China Tightens Censorship

      The Chinese Central Propaganda Department has banned the downloading of all foreign social-networking products. Previously downloadable social-networking products have also been blocked on a large scale.

    • Is censorship on the rise in Canada?

      After a week of the Harper government again drawing criticism for hiding information or clamping down on dissent, the public’s eyes may have glazed over at the latest in a litany of cases. But are we getting inured to something serious going on at the federal level and throughout society?

    • B’Tselem to petition High Court against ‘censorship’ of Gaza dead

      The High Court of Justice should force Israel Radio to run an advertisement with the names of 150 Gaza children killed during the last 16 days of Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli NGO B’Tselem said on Thursday.

      B’Tselem plans to petition the High Court on Sunday to overturn the Broadcasting Authority’s (IBA’s) decision and that of its appeals board, which also rejected its ad, titled “The children of Gaza have a name.”

  • Privacy

    • Kim Dotcom wants to ‘abolish mass surveillance’… with more legislating?

      In an interview with The Guardian he is quoted as saying that his party will “abolish mass surveillance and rejuvenate politics by giving the internet generation a voice.”

    • Bugging devices at Gadkari residence, minister calls reports speculative

      It reported: “Initial investigations have revealed that the bugs were ‘planted in the house by a foreign agency since the sophisticated listening devices found are used only by western intelligence operatives, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA)’”.

      The paper said “it may be recalled that Edward Snowden’s revelations carried by Washington Post on 30 June stated that top BJP leaders were under surveillance by a premier US spy agency. ”
      - See more at: http://indiablooms.com/ibns_new/news-details/N/3036/bugging-devices-at-gadkari-residence-minister-calls-reports-speculative.html#sthash.kIHnEH5V.dpuf

    • Gadkari house ‘bugged’: BJP Sarkar on US radar?

      But the denial emanating from Gadkari has been far from categorical. Also, another BJP leader, Subramaniam Swamy, has conceded that Gadkari, a former BJP president and known for his proximity to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, could well have been on the radar of intelligence agencies.

    • Nitin Gadkari house bugged: Congress demands probe as Gadkari dismisses reports as ‘speculative’

      BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has asked the government to make an official statement on the issue and said, “My own investigations and my sources reveal that this may happen not later than October last year. The planting of the device and that means at that time, when the UPA was in power, the NSA has specifically targeted the BJP and Gadkari was a very important person. He had the confidence of the RSS.”

    • Snooping and bugging: Five high profile cases

      Was Nitin Gadkari’s house bugged? The reported recovery of listening devices from Union Minister Gadkari’s house has set tongues wagging in political circles, with Congress suggesting that this shows there is lack of trust among the NDA leaders. Even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has demanded a probe into this matter.

    • SORRY STORY

      Very recently, her patience with persistent American spying even after Snowden’s revelations snapped quite dramatically, when she ordered the US Central Intelligence Agency’s “chief of station” at the American embassy in Berlin to leave the country. The US has never formally apologized for tapping Merkel’s phone. It refused to give her access to the NSA file on her before she visited Washington. And it went on paying a spy who worked for the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND-Federal Intelligence Service) right down to this month.

    • Reward offered by Russia to crack Tor likely to improve the anonymity network, Finnish expert views
    • A Stronger Bill to Limit Surveillance

      The Senate is about to begin debate on a bill that could, at long last, put an end to the indiscriminate bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records and bring needed transparency to the abusive spying programs that have tarnished the nation’s reputation.

    • Four Senators Team Up on Anti-NSA Letter to Clapper

      These assaults on personal privacy included reading random people’s emails, text messages, and Facebook conversations en masse, recording Skype calls between users, and even passing around nude photos picked up from webcams that were spied on through services like Yahoo.

    • Obama quietly expands government’s ‘watchlist’

      The Obama administration has quietly rewritten the rules on how it goes about designating Americans as terrorists, according to a new report by Glenn Greenwald’s Intercept online investigations project.

    • Silicon Valley sees hope in battle against NSA

      Tech companies and civil liberties groups are becoming more optimistic that the Senate will take major steps to rein in the National Security Agency this year.

    • US govt wiretapping online media makes systems less secure

      Right now, only phone companies, broadband providers and some Internet phone services are required by law to build in intercept capabilities, but the government wants to extend that requirement to online communication providers.

    • Facebook posts can land Americans on watchlists

      Concrete evidence of being a suspected terrorist is not necessary before nominating people to watchlists; leaked “guidance” states that uncorroborated posts on social networking sites are sufficient grounds for the government to add people to watchlist databases.

    • NSA losing interest in deal for Snowden

      The Obama administration is increasingly less inclined to make a deal to allow Edward Snowden to come back to the United States, according to a top National Security Agency official.

    • NSA: Less need now for Snowden deal

      A top National Security Agency offficial says there’s less need now for the U.S. Government to cut a deal with leaker Edward Snowden than there was after his wave of surveillance disclosures began more than a year ago.

    • Securing IC Magazine from facebook and other troublemakers

      Why did we do this? With Google continuously expanding its social media reach and the long line of controversies surrounding facebook’s practices of tracking users and reportedly providing the NSA with unfettered access to user data–not to mention the incessant location tracking features that come with mobile phones, tablets and cameras–it’s becoming dangerously simple for anyone to gather intelligence on us whether it’s a corporation, some government agency or a rag-tag group of racist rice farmers with mad computer skillz. That intelligence can in turn be used to hurt or undermine our movements, organizations, campaigns, networks, families, communities and Nations.

    • Data privacy isn’t political — it’s personal

      Two recent examples in Germany are particularly telling. First, the German government ended its contract with Verizon in late June, saying the U.S.-based telco was a liability due to its relationship with intelligence agencies like the NSA. Then, in early July, Deutsche Telekom unveiled a new highly secure German data center, which it touted as “Fort Knox” for data protection. Germany is well known for its strict data privacy standards, and clearly, new privacy concerns are reshaping how service providers do business within German borders.

    • The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) is just CISPA in new clothing — and this bill is even worse!

      The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) is just CISPA in new clothing — and this bill is even worse!

      CISA would give the NSA even more authority to access our data and force companies to hand it over without a warrant than CISPA did, strengthening and legitimizing the toxic programs we’re working our hardest to eliminate.

    • NSA partnering with Saudi regime ‒ Snowden leak

      The National Security Agency has increasingly been working hand-in-glove with the repressive Saudi Arabian government since 2013, sharing intelligence and assisting with surveillance, according to the latest Snowden leak.

    • Edward Snowden Wants To Build Anti-Surveillance Technology, But Can We Trust Him?

      Edward Snowden claims he wants to keep up the fight against the NSA and other high-level spy agencies. The question is whether or not we can trust him, or if he’ll just go back to spying on us like a secret cell of the NSA.

    • Common Core Expert: Techno-Progressives Seek To Violate Your Child’s Privacy

      “Common Core is not a political issue. It’s an issue of their children,” Robbins told The Daily Caller. “You can mess with a lot of things. You can have the IRS going after people. You can have the NSA spying on people, but when you start to mess with people’s children, they start to pay attention.”

    • The NSA, Snowden, And Citizen Cryptology

      More ambitiously, the NSA is hoping to build a quantum computer that “could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business, and government records around the world,” according to the Washington Post (NSA source documents stored on Electronic Frontier Foundation server here and here). A quantum computer could conceivably break “all current forms of public key encryption,” the article says, “including those used on many secure Web sites as well as the type used to protect state secrets.”

    • Data bill is ‘new Big Brother’: Manchester activist slams ‘Orwellian’ government for trying to force through law

      A Manchester activist has claimed the government are using George Orwell’s 1984 as a ‘handbook’ as it tries to push through new laws that threatens to further encroach on people’s privacy.

  • Civil Rights

    • Chinese police remove church cross amid crackdown
    • Netanyahu’s driver accused of serially raping young girls under 12

      A driver for the Prime Minister’s Office was arrested in Jerusalem three weeks ago on suspicion of serially raping young girls between the ages of 8 and 12, it emerged Thursday.

    • How to survive in post-constitutional America

      You can’t get more serious about protecting the people from their government than the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, specifically in its most critical clause: “No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” In 2011, the White House ordered the drone-killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki without trial. It claimed this was a legal act it is prepared to repeat as necessary. Given the Fifth Amendment, how exactly was this justified? Thanks to a much contested, recently released but significantly redacted — about one-third of the text is missing — Justice Department white paper providing the basis for that extrajudicial killing, we finally know: the president in Post-Constitutional America is now officially judge, jury, and executioner.

    • Obama administration grants architects of torture sneak peek at Panetta review of CIA programs

      In close collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency, President Obama has granted the masterminds of the Bush administration’s torture programs access to the agency’s “Internal Panetta Review” in advance of the review’s expected August publication.

    • Some in ‘torture’ report denied chance to read it

      About a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were notified in recent days that they would be able to review parts of the document in a secure room in suburban Washington after signing a secrecy agreement.

    • European Court exposes illegal detention facilities linked to CIA’s extraordinary rendition program in Poland
    • Ron Paul: Shut Down The CIA

      The cover-up continues with the Obama administration, Paul claims, citing last week’s European Court of Human Rights verdict that two suspects were illegally detained and tortured in so-called “black sites” in Poland. The Polish government was ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation to those men in that verdict.

    • End Torture, Shut Down the CIA!

      Remember back in April, 2007, when then-CIA director George Tenet appeared on 60 Minutes, angrily telling the program host, “we don’t torture people”? Remember a few months later, in October, President George W. Bush saying, “this government does not torture people”? We knew then it was not true because we had already seen the photos of Iraqis tortured at Abu Ghraib prison four years earlier.

    • Top German court rejects effort to access Eichmann files

      Ruling thwarts journalist’s attempt to shed light on whether West German authorities knew in the 1950s where Eichmann fled after the Holocaust.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon Gets Snarky, But Basically Admits That It’s The One Clogging Its Networks On Purpose

      So the war of words over interconnection has continued. Last week, we wrote about the back and forth between Verizon and Level 3 on their corporate blogs concerning who was really to blame for congestion slowing down your Netflix video watching. As we noted, Level 3 used Verizon’s own information to show that Verizon was, in fact, the problem. Basically, in spite of it being easy and cheap, Verizon was refusing to do a trivial operation of connecting up a few more ports, which Level3 had been asking them to do so for a long time. In other words, Verizon was refusing to do some very, very basic maintenance to deliver to its users exactly what Verizon had sold them.

    • How tiered Internet in US may help create a surveillance state

      The net neutrality debate has been going on the United States for a number of years now, put simply, net neutrality means keeping a non-tiered internet, all content can reach users at the same speed.

    • Home Stretch For Supporting Our Net Neutrality Reporting
  • Intellectual Monopolies

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